Sunday, June 18, 2017

Review: Cold Shot by Dani Pettrey

Lately I've been reading up a storm, but I just keep forgetting to write the reviews. Sorry.

About

Four Best Friends.
And Then One Went Missing . . .

In college, Griffin McCray and his three best friends had their lives planned out. Griffin and Luke Gallagher would join the Baltimore Police Department, Declan Grey would head to the FBI, and Parker Mitchell would study to become a crime scene analyst. But then Luke vanished before graduation and their world--and friendships--crumbled.

Now years later, Griffin has left the police and his friendships behind. Still trying to forget a case that went bad when he was a SWAT team sniper, he's living a quiet life as a park ranger at Gettysburg. Quiet until skeletal remains are uncovered near Little Round Top--and they aren't Civil War-era.

Griffin just wants the case to go away, but charming forensic anthropologist Finley Scott discovers evidence pointing to the work of an expert sniper. When FBI agent Declan Grey steps in to take over the case, past and present collide. Griffin soon realizes he'll need to confront some of the darkest days of his life if he--and those he cares about--are going to escape a downward spiral of crime, danger, and murder.

(Yes, I did steal that from the website.)


I'm going to give this book 5 stars.

1: The intercharacter dynamics were amazing. I loved how they worked together in the different situations. And Finley and Griff make the CUTEST couple. Ever.

2: Super scary. Super dangerous. Lots of dead people. A tangled web that would impress Charlotte (from Charlotte's web, in case you didn't follow my maybe funny joke.)

3: The spiritual journey's of the different characters were great. One of the reasons I love Dani Pettrey's books.

4: The crazy part of this book, and this might or might not be a SPOILER, is that there are two sets of bad guys, which is a really unique way to go. You just play the bad guys off of each other and then distract them that way. Genius!

5: By the end, I was in tears. I didn't want it to stop. Talk about emotionally over-investment. But that's not always bad. (Or is it? I don't know.)



Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: The Secret Slipper by Amanda Tero

So this is gonna be a long post again guys! But that's okay, because I know you're gonna like it!


Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?
Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?
As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?


I'm giving this book 5 stars!

1: First off, this has a really captivating storyline. I was rooting and cheering, and about half-way through or maybe less I just let out a rush of air in complete frustration. I was totally in there. And I read it straight through. No way was I going to put this book down!

2: The author made completely lovable characters. I kept bouncing back and forth between wanting to see through Ellia's POV and Raoul's POV. I loved both those characters, and Noel, and Dumphey, and Jolin so much. I just want to read more about them. I want to know what happens next. And I know you will too after you read this book!

3: Ellia finding her way to Christ in the dungeon was so amazing. And seeing the way her limp truly worked out for the best was incredible too!

4: There are very few bad guys I've hated more than Bioti. She was just so.....(You can't tell but my fingers are doing that weird dance thingy over the keys because I can't find the right word to vent all my anger and frustration)

5: That ending though... just about squeezed my heart out! I was not ready for the book to be done! At all.....



I received this book through CelebrateLit. This is my honest review.




About the Author

Amanda bio picAmanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels.
If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!


Guest post from Amanda Tero

Do you ever have plans that come up from almost nowhere? That is kind of how “The Secret Slipper” started. I had written a fun novella, “Befriending the Beast.” It was a stand-alone. Just for fun. My relief project during a longer project. Well, no sooner had “Befriending the Beast” released when a friend asked me, “Hey, have you considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” That night I stayed up until after midnight, mulling over ideas and coming up with the title. Lord Kiralyn, who appeared in “Befriending the Beast” as Belle’s uncle now had a story—involving a daughter that I didn’t know existed, but whose existence created a whirlwind of adventure, heartache, and excitement. And now that I have two books in the series, my brain is already pulling at ideas for a book three. But that’s another story for another day.


Are you ready for a giveaway? Well... duh! I know you are!


Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away a grand prize of paperback copies of Amanda’s three novellas: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, and The Secret Slipper.Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b994



You will love this book! I'm being serious!
Click here to purchase your copy.



Want to know what other people thought? Follow the tour!

Blog Stops

June 6: Remembrancy
June 10: Reading Is My SuperPower (Spotlight)
June 12: A Path of Joy
June 13: Bukwurmzzz
June 13: cherylbbookblog (Spotlight)
You are here- June 16: Live.Love.Read.
June 19: Henry Happens
June 19: Bookworm Mama (Spotlight)


Thanks for sticking with me. I know it's a long post. But totally worth it! Am I right?!




Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Meet the Author: Beth Durkee

Hey guys! I'm super excited to introduce you guys to Beth Durkee and her book. I love doing author interviews, and I know you love reading them. I was so super excited when I saw Beth's comment on the blog! I know you're as stoked as I am for this interview!

But first, a little bit about Beth!


About the Author
Beth Durkee (born April 9, 1969) is an American author and inspirational personality. Her message is that life is often hard, but God is with us through it all. She specializes in short reads for the Christian market that bring awareness to God’s quiet callings and His whispered presence in our daily lives.




Beth answered a TON of my questions, which is super awesome! Enjoy getting to know her a little better. (And yes, I probably will be putting random comments in the middle, because I can't help myself. I'll use italics or something so you can tell)



What was your first book?
The first book I wrote was The Disposable Noble Wife (2009). The first full-length book I read was Prince Caspian by C. S. Lewis. (Oh my word, I love Narnia!)

When did you start writing?
I think I was in about seventh or eight grade that I began writing my first book. I gave up after a few years, when I was only about 20 handwritten pages into it. (Thank goodness because, in retrospect, it was pretty awful.)

If you weren't a writer, what would you be?
I would be a very bored, disabled homemaker.

Any books upcoming?
June 23, 2017 hails the release of my 2-volume set, “A Memoir. A Testimony.” in electronic form. Both of these volumes are stories from my own life where I have seen and felt the direct influence of heaven in my own life. The set will be exclusively available from Amazon and will be enrolled in the Kindle Online Lending Library program upon release. (I'm gonna have more info about this later on)

Who was your favorite author growing up and why?
This is very much too difficult to decide as I had access to so many wonderful books (literally thousands of them!) in my parent’s basement library. In my top four are Alan Dean Foster, Christopher Stasheff, Isaac Asimov and Piers Anthony.

What has been the most encouraging comment you've gotten on a book?
The most encouraging comment I ever received was sent to me in an email from an 86 year old retired reverend to whom I had given a copy of Memory of Miracles, volume one in the two volume set that is being released this June. He said, “I enjoyed the victory and testimony of the reality of Jesus presence 
in your life.  I am sure it will have a ministry for many years -- maybe 
as long as John Newton's OUT OF THE DEPTHS, written over 200 years ago??”

What are some things that you would say to fans if you met them?
My heart swells when I think of my fans. By investing their time in reading my books they let me know that that my words matter to them. Every reader makes it all worthwhile to me.

About how long does your typical book take to write?
My first book took the longest. It was an emotionally difficult one for me and took about 5 months of devoted, every minute of every day, writing and editing. It was also my longest work and my only “novel,” at just under 50,000 words. My other books range between 10,000 and 25,000 words and usually take only about one or two months to complete.

Outline or Make it up as you go?
My works are mostly literary non-fiction so I just tell it like it happened and insert appropriate scripture to bring out certain points, although I suppose I do have two that were not like that. One of those I outlined. The other I made up as I went along. Like children of the same parents often need different parenting approaches, different types of books by the same author often need different writing approaches. (That was probably the best answer to this question ever!)

What is your cure for writer's block? Or do you even get that?
I don’t get much writer’s block. Usually I get more of a “how do I tell this part now” block. In those instances, I just stop writing and pray about it. When I wake up the next morning, I know the answer.

Why did you pick the genre you write in?
It is kind of strange to me that I write any Christian books because I prefer to read Fantasy and some Sci-Fi. I will read about relationships or finances and other non-fiction subjects, but not Christian (except the Bible, of course). So I don’t really know that I picked the genre I write in. I think it must have picked me by giving me a framework for understanding my own life experiences.

What social media do you like to share your works through most? How can readers best connect with you?
Readers can find me on Facebook, Beth Durkee Fans (Right here  folks), and Twitter, @Beth_Durkee. (Why yes, I am providing a direct link) I had a blog on Blogger called A Writer’s Blot for a few years that still contains a bunch of personal stories and musings, but I don’t really write in it anymore. (In case you're interested, I've linked this too)

What was the most difficult thing about publishing your first book?

I would have to say the most difficult thing about my first publishing was lack of confidence in my writing abilities combined with the negative reviews that every book, especially those on controversial topics, naturally receives. After pouring my heart and soul into its pages for several months: Rereading, rewording, editing till I was blue, then submitting and winning a competitive award for the book, I was truly ill-equipped to handle so much negativity from readers who picked it up on its first (and only viral) “Amazon free download” day, read it and absolutely hated the story. That was a truly devastating blow to my ego.

How do you choose the names for your characters? Do you research the etymology of the names you use?
I kind of just go with names I like or think are appropriate, like “Faith” in my first book. Sometimes I look up “popular male [or female] names” and choose from the more popular, like “Greyson” in the second volume of, “A Memoir. A Testimony.”

Which of your character would you want to be your best friend?
I have a YA fantasy series under a pen name that I have kind of paused working on. There is a character named Barwick in the series that I would definitely want for a best friend. He has integrity, loyalty, a gentle soul and an injured past that he overcame. I think we would get along quite well.

What advice can you give to fledgling writers?
For independent authors, my advice is edit, edit, edit! A large majority of indie writing is poorly edited, which makes it quite difficult to find book bloggers willing to give good reviews. Poor editing also frustrates readers, which means fewer repeat purchases. Personally, I think I spend at least as much time editing as I do writing a story.



Beth's book is releasing through Amazon on June 23rd. Here's a direct link to Beth's Amazon page so that you can find not only her upcoming book, A Memoir, A Testimony, but also her other books. (There are quite a few!) Make sure to check it out, and follow her too.


Beth, I'm so glad that you chose to do this! Thank you! It was great getting to email back and forth! (And yes, I am obsessed with exclamation points)

If you have any other questions, or comments, feel free to leave them below or tag Beth on Twitter and Facebook! We'd both love to hear them!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Pictures from last week's trip!

So, yeah. I totally meant to put these pictures up on Sunday or Monday or something, but that didn't happen. Now I'm actually going to do them. You can enjoy these pictures while I'm at the beach with my best friend, soaking up some sun... You know. Also, reading lots of books. (Mom packed three books, I've got four, plus all my ebooks on my phone, and yet I'm still trying to fit more books in my bag.)

(Oh, by the way, I WON'T be getting "gorgeously tanned", I'll be burning. Like a marshmallow held too close to the flames.)



I left the house at 3 (Bleh!) to catch my flight. The sunrise was gorgeous though, and they fed me my favorite airplane fare. (Shoutout to American Air!)




First stop, after I got picked up in Boston, (Well, besides Dunkin', cause New England runs on Dunkin', not even lying!) was Mystic Aquariums. The Beluga whales were so adorable and playful. I got to touch a ray for the first time, and my sister flipped over the pings (Penguins.)

We were in the Penguin gift shop, when suddenly Jaye yells, "Look at that ping! He's sooo RICH!"


Then Tuesday we started off with Animal Adventure Park, where we got to see April, Oliver, and Taj. And the most adorable baby camels ever!!!!!!!!! Oliver wasn't too happy since no one was giving him carrots though.



This place is the awesomest (I know that's not a real word but whatever) zoo ever. You could feed literally all the animals. (Albeit, sometimes you just tossed a grape down a tube so your hand didn't get bitten.)

Then the Crayola Experience, where we all got crayons with our name on them! It was so neat.

Taylor of Jaye wanted a picture with the huge mosaic of Scarlet. Taylor's really starting to "pose" for pictures, as you can tell by her feet.


Then Colonial Williamsburg Wednesday, which silly me forgot to take pictures of. It was really nice, but super hot. The highlight of the day might have been when Jaye caused a guy to come out of character to rescue his ruler from her.

We had a great trip, and I wish I had taken more picture. Honestly though, with a kid holding each hand, it was a miracle I got what I got. Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you.







Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review: Dark Deception by Nancy Mehl

Ummm.. yeah. So this time you are definitely getting the "back-of-the-book" summary. There's no way I can do this one.

Kate O'Brien's quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she's been in witness protection ever since.

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn't the murderer, she's subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.

Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate's beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.


Right.. so.. stars. 4.5!

1: Spine-tingling quality.... check. I mean really. And the needles. I mean come one guys. (Okay, technically one) but seriously, both mysteries I read today had needles. Why? I can barely stand to read the word. (Which is terrible and babyish of me I know.) But totally a scary mystery!

2: I knew it. I never felt comfortable around *********** (That's the guy's name. Not that it's the right length. Nevermind.) I just felt uneasy around him. Well, reading a scene with him in it then. Whatever.

3: So Tony and Kate were a super sweet couple. I loved that they drew strength from each other like that. *cue melting heart* Also, it wasn't a romance with a mystery. It was a mystery with a romance. If that makes sense. Does anything I'm saying right now make sense? Probably not.

4: I absolutely loved Tony helping Kate grow closer to the Lord again. And Leon helping Fred with that as well. Can't get any better than that, now can it?

5: You know I ALWAYS have to say something about the endings. This one...well... it wasn't exactly the neat bow that either I or Batterson wanted. Which means that while it may not have been my favorite ending ever, it's probably the most realistic one ever ;)




I received this book for free through NetGalley.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Series Review: Alaskan Courage by Dani Pettrey

This is a series of five books all set in Alaska (YAY!). It follows the lives of the five McKenna siblings through several spine-tingling mysteries. I'm telling you what, people are dropping like flies in this series ;) But sereiously, I loved this series. The writing was the kind that pulls you in. I love a book that transports. (Honesty, if it isn't like that, I probably won't finish it!) I loved seeing each person's struggles throughout the series. Loved watching them all grow. Each book had lots of deep Scriptural truths. I loved the McKenna family. They were perfect, because they weren't perfect. (Did that make sense?) And of course, each book had one of the McKenna siblings falling fast and hard for a special someone. It was a little too lovey-dovey for me in parts...but...anyway, I still loved the romance. It was so super sweet. I think the last one was my favorite, well... maybe not my favorite story, I couldn't pick one for that, but I loved the ending. A strong, good, complete ending is absolutely needed for me to enjoy a book/series to the fullest. (Guess what... Dani Pettrey delivered!) All in all... spine tingling goodness getting 4 stars!





Sunday, June 4, 2017

Review: Playing The Part by Jen Turano


Lucetta Plum is angered when she is forced to go on the run after her step-father decides to gamble her away to an annoying admirer. Her friend, and self-appointed matchmaker, Abigail, carries her away to Ravenwood Castle, which just happens to be owned by Abigail’s grandson Bram. Abigail is sure that Bram and Lucetta would make a great match, but Lucetta is not ready to be set up. Besides, Bram has secrets. Secrets that make him look a few marbles short. So why, then, is she feeling attracted to him?



I’m giving this final installment in the A Class of Their Own Trilogy 5 stars.



1: This was the funniest one. It was HILARIOUS. But almost to the point of ridiculousness. However, it never quite crossed over. It was the perfect amount of humor. (This was the funniest but the first one was my favorite.) It’s a perfect balance of lightheartedness and weight. With a nice mysterious air thrown in there for kicks.

2: Abigail. She is the classic match-maker grandmotherly type. I love her so much. And she got the perfect ending that I’ve been wishing for since book one. Plus, she got to repair her relationship with her daughter, at least a little bit. Which I thought was very nice for her.

3: Poor Lucetta. She had so much more baggage than she gave herself credit for. 😉 I felt so bad for her, but the baggage turned her to God, so I don’t feel as bad as I could. And I think she got a little bit of that dealt with. Not all of it, but some of it for sure.

4: I loved that everyone got to come back for at least one scene in the book. Even Buford, for whom I have a soft spot as large as he is. Did I mention that this book has the most perfect ending? Like ever.

5: I totally had Mr. Grimstone and his identity pegged before the book was half over. I had to stop reading, while I just…. Processed is a good word, but not the perfect word.



I’m sorry the review was kinda skimpy. It’s 1:15. I shouldn’t be awake, much less writing a review. I promise, I read it. I loved it. I laughed. It's great. Me, not so much.




As you can tell, I wrote this during vacation, after a really long day. I read the book during a seven or eight hour drive (It didn't take me that long, I was also sleeping a tiny bit and talking some) and then wrote the review. I barely even remember writing it. Sorry. I hope it's still good.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Review: Pursued by Lisa Harris

Nikki is contacted by the FBI to find a material witness, the only witness, for a high profile case. The woman was sitting next to Nikki on the plane when it crashed, and now she's disappeared. But time is running out for Erika. Nikki needs to find her before it's too late. But things keep happening to distract her. First, the plane crash itself, and then an incident at the prison, and new information that keeps coming up. Plus there's some health and romantic distractions. Nikki is under so much emotional and physical stress. And now, she's pretty sure the FBI isn't shooting straight with her.

Well.... I'm going to go with 5 stars for this.

1: My first time reading Lisa Harris! I was not disappointed! The story had great hooks, and the style of writing was awesome!

2: This was one of the most action packed books. From the first line, until the last, it keeps moving. And it all takes place in the space of like two days. So that makes it even more action packed. And the mystery itself was pretty scary. Just the way I like them!

3: Tyler and Nikki's relationship was really something special. Their love for each other was so unconditional. And then add Liam to the mix and it's adorable.

4: I loved how Nikki realized that she wasn't strong enough in herself. She was always leaning on the Lord's strength.

5: Definitely I want to read more of these books, because I want to know if Nikki ever finds Sarah. Talk about a hook.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: Crabby the Crab by Dr. MC

This picture book (free on Amazon Kindle, last time I checked) is a great little read. It has more words than some picture books, and a sweet message. It tells the story of Crabby the Crab who feels like he's too old to play with his little sisters. In the end though, he realizes that he can enjoy their company. The pictures were a little small on my Kindle app, that is the one thing that I would change. But I feel confident that this is a great bedtime story that you can read to your kids in 5 minutes or less (depending on how good you are at "the voices") 4 out of 5 stars for this cute picture book. (Y'all noticed that I use cute a lot when describing picture books? I'm starting to drive myself crazy!)


Thursday, June 1, 2017

June Update

So... I'm still on the trip. But, I think you should know what else is coming up this month. After this trip, I'm headed back to the beach in a few days. I don't remember a summer when I've been this crazy busy. Then later this month I'll be going to Summer Orientation for college. And VBS is this month. The last week I think. It shouldn't stop me from posting, but who knows. Anyway, that's the crazy hectic stuff. Here are some posts to look forward to.

June 13: Author Interview with Beth Durkee (Squee)
June 16: Celebrate Lit tour The Secret Slipper by Amanda Tero

Sometime this month I'll also be reviewing Pursued by Lisa Harris, Danger on the Mountain by Lynette Eason, Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin, and the books I got through Thrift Books. So be on the lookout!