Friday, September 22, 2017

A Christian Mom's Thoughts on The Star Movie 2017



I was browsing through the October issue of CBA Christian Market online magazine and saw this cute animated movie announcement for The Star: The Story of the First Christmas. I was about to promote it on my website, but then I looked at the above trailer and now feel very mixed about it: think Shrek landed in Biblical times and you get what I'm talking about.

While I know other Biblical events have been portrayed in a lighter way (Prince of Egypt), the birth of our Savior should be treated with greater reverence than that. Silly camels, birds shaking their booties, Mary offering to give the donkey a belly rub, etc. feel out of place to me.

Maybe I'm taking this too seriously. If this portrayal of the first Christmas brings more people into the Church, who am I too complain? It's just that a Christian's journey is a big commitment. It's a conscious choice. It's not a joke. While there is much joy, faith doesn't take away your hardships. It doesn't always even make them easier to handle--it should if you're able to have 100% faith, but that's not always the case. Faith is a journey of growth. It's slowly learning to give up control of your life to God and knowing that He will bring you through your trials just as much as He brings you blessings. If we draw people in with this half way approach, will they have the strength to stick with it when the times are tough?

Is it wise to trivialize faith? Is it fair to trivialize it? And again, am I'm making too big a deal out of this? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guest Post from Education.com: Math Facts Game



Math Facts Game

Practice makes perfect – especially when it comes to memorizing math facts. But does your child balk at flashcards, making multiplication practice a struggle? If so, consider playing this fun math facts game to help your child review the math problems that tend to trip him up. Especially enjoyable for kinesthetic learners or musically inclined children, the game combines music with movement and allows children to move around as they practice. Although the game is perfect for practicing the multiplication tables, it can be used for any math concept that children should be able to do in their heads rather than through writing.



What You Need:
Paper
Markers
Tape
CD or MP3 player

What You Do:
1. Make a list of math problems that your child is having difficulty with.

2. Write the answer to each of the math problems on its own piece of paper with a thick marker. Each number should fill up the paper and be dark enough for your child to see easily from several feet away.

3. Tape the numbers at random on a driveway, bare floor, or patio.

4. Turn on the music and let your child dance around on top of the numbers. After a few seconds, pause the music and call out a math problem, such as “Three times eight!”

5. Your child should then jump as quickly as possible onto the number that is the correct answer to the problem you called out.

6. You can keep on calling out math problems while repeating the previous steps. If your child has a friend over you can change the game into more of a competition, in which children race to see which one can jump on the correct number first.



Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Book Spotlight: Reflections: A Journey to God







Title:
REFLECTIONS: A JOURNEY TO GOD

Author: Gary & Susan Eby

Publisher: Christian Faith Publishing

Pages: 268

Genre: Spirituality/Self-Help/Healing/Poetry


Our disclaimer: you are completely free to reject everything we have to say about spirituality. What we believe in is not that important. What really counts is what you believe that gives your life meaning, direction, and purpose.
This book is about our personal stories with Spirit and what we've learned along our journeys. We're sharing it with you because it might help you on your own journey to God. We only ask that you read
this book with an open mind and heart.
We suggest you pick one of these spiritual essays. Ponder it, meditate for a while, even read it out loud. Allow yourself to feel the words and the light, which may lead you to discover the better life you truly deserve.

ORDER YOUR COPY:

Amazon | Barnes
& Noble


Emotional Healing
In the twilight of an Oregon summer night, the half-moon projects a mystical glow. Cool mountain air flows with the gentle sounds of cricket music. A glimmering star curtain unfurls to reveal a celestial vision of power and energy that transcends all human worry, doubt, and fear.
Tonight I am at peace, yet I still struggle with discouragement. A part of me obsesses and worries about an unsure financial future. This negative side is unforgiving, self-critical, and emotionally
abusive.
At age 60, it appears overwhelming and even impossible to change the direction and course of my life. As I try out new ideas and new technology to achieve my dreams and goals, I stumble and fall. So many barriers and obstacles loom on the horizon. The prospect of giving up and throwing in the towel appears seductive.  Why not just give up? What's the point anyway?
I ask myself why am I trying so hard to achieve my dreams, when reality smacks of karma, suffering, powerlessness, and death?  We all know about all of those 'bad things' that keep happening to 'good
people'. Right?
I accept that evil and injustice exists in this world.  I know random or calculated acts of violence, painful relationships, disease and the loss of loved ones, cause untold pain and suffering.  In these moments of despair, frustration, and discouragement, my consciousness returns to the power of the half-moon.
There is darkness but the moonlight always conquers the night. Even when no moon can be seen in the sky, the moon is there.  Tonight, I choose to thrive on the Light living within all of us.
Much of life will remain a mystery. The stars above and the universe within will sustain me through predictable trials and life challenges. I choose to embrace the majesty of life made sublimely radiant
by those infinite, flashing, celestial spheres.
I feel myself merging with the universe and my thoughts begin to turn toward God.  This is the place I want to be.  This is the space I want to be in.  This is where I want to live my
life.  I refuse to let the negative overtake me.  
I emotionally reach out toward the lights dancing in the sky and accept what is always, always true.  I am forever guided by God, and whatever happens in my life, I know Spirit will show me through.  No fears, worries or negativity can touch me when I am existing in the Love Light.
Link to Trailer:






Gary Eby is a retired social worker, mental health counselor and addiction therapist. He writes about self-help and spirituality. Gary loves playing the piano, the drums and walking on the beach with his wife, Susan. His motto is "Choose the positive, because it's all good!"



Susan
studied philosophy in college. Some of her favorite philosophers are Socrates,  Plato, William James and St. Thomas Aquinas. She is currently enjoying Emerson's mystical essays. We have conducted an interview with them.  

Their current book is Reflections: AJourney to God.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK




Friday, September 8, 2017

Back to School and Back to Workouts



I can't stay I love working out, but I will say that it's obvious when I don't. Energy levels get zapped, my belly feels fully, and I plan old feel yucky.

Now that the girls are back to school it's time for me to get back in shape. Signed up for a workout FB group and pulled out my weights, resistance bands, and mat. The Lil' Diva has a punching bag now, so I can use that. I also ride my bike for a bit. It has been very busy, so doubtful I'll get in a daily workout; but if I manage four days a week I will be happy.


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Book Review: Poetry and Ponderings by Diamante Lavendar

Poetry and Ponderings by Diamante Lavendar might just be the most powerful collection you'll ever read. Journaling her way through abuse and eventual healing, Lavendar holds back nothing: pain, anger, hate, sadness, acceptance, revelation, peace, healing...

Meant to encourage and inspire other victims of abuse, this captivating collection of Christian poetry and prose will make you cry, will make you think, and will stay with you long after you've turned the last page. You will want to hold onto this one and read it again.


Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Written Dreams Publishing (April 26, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0998167398
ISBN-13: 978-0998167398

Purchase at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, BAM, Indiebound

Diamante Lavendar has been in love with reading since she was a child. Diamante believes that everyone should try to leave their own positive mark on the world, and to make it a better place for all. Writing is her way of leaving her mark—one story at a time. She began writing in college and has published poetry in anthologies over the years. Most of her writing is very personal and stems from her own experiences, and those of her family and friends. She writes to encourage hope and possibility to those who read her stories. To learn more about Diamante Lavendar and her books, please visit her website at: www.diamantelavendar.com.

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.



Sunday, August 27, 2017

Guest Blogger: Jason Reid, Author of Dinner Conversations



“You are going to LAUGH! You are going to then wonder if these conversations actually happened. You are going to wonder what kind of guy would actually say these things to his family.”

The answer is simple—yes, these conversations did actually happen. They occurred over a period of roughly 5 years, mainly at my dinner table. I took them verbatim and posted them on Facebook so that all my friends could get a good laugh.

I must be honest with you, some of you will are going to laugh and say things like “…that sounds like something I would say or want to say” others are going to think that I am a horrible parent. I am ok with either thought process.

What I hope is that after laughing, scratching your head and wondering what is wrong with Jay Reid, you realize that you need to create more of your own Dinner Conversations.

Please join me @ www.Facebook.com/DinnerConversations to read more and post your own.”


GUEST POST

When was the last time you had an actual conversation with your family around the dinner table, without the distraction of the television or any other form of technology?

In today’s technology-driven world finding time to stop and enjoy real, in-person conversations with our loved ones is becoming less of a priority and more of an inconvenient task. Like any family, our individual schedules keep us constantly on the go, passing each other as we run in and out of the front door. I travel a couple of nights out of every week, my wife and 4 kids have busy lives and their own individual obligations—it is easy to find ourselves disconnected from each other. Starting to sound a little familiar?

Dinner Conversations is a book that contains my personal collection of conversations that happened roughly over a five-year period, mainly between my kids, wife, and I around our dinner table. I know what you’re thinking and before you start glancing towards the top corner for the “x”—let’s get personal for a minute, shall we…

My name is Jason, I have four children, a wonderful wife of 24 years, a successful career and have absolutely NO filter. Every family has that one person who says exactly what pops into their head, always without hesitation and in my family that ONE person is yours truly. I use my own personal “trial and error” approach to parenting, cross my fingers and hope for the best.

I’m turning 50 this year and like most guys my age--I figure things out the old fashion way. I don’t read manuals. Typically, I find myself trying unusual ways of putting things together, taking different paths and swearing more frequently no that I have teenagers, which I find clears the head and helps a great deal with the thought process.

Two of the most important pieces of my unique parenting style are:

If I am home, we are all sitting down to a family dinner (except on date nights that is just for my wife and I).
Dinner should be fun, we should all laugh and not be afraid to speak our minds.

In Short, the collection of conversations and hysterical moments a family has and laughs about privately, I have put together for you to laugh, enjoy and possibly even find some of the unique conversations relatable. I invite you to take a break from the serious page turners and chapters that seem to go on for weeks, because you are in the constant process of finding where you left off. Take a break from raising your own kids and just have a good laugh at how I raised mine. The only thing bigger than my college tuition bills will likely be the therapy bills that I will be paying for down the road, so feel free to go ahead and pick up a few copies of the book to share the laughs with your own friends and family : ) profits from this book will be applied to one of the following:
-Family Therapy Jar
-College tuition bills (Did I mention I had FOUR kids?)
-The 18+ years of alcohol consumption my wife and I will surely need to get them all graduated and still maintain some degree of sanity.

If you’re still here and have made it this far, I hope that you enjoy reading Dinner Conversations and the raw glimpse of our family’s most hysterical conversations and moments over the years.

Grab a seat, a drink and as always enjoy the conversations.

All the Best,
Jason Reid

P.S. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook @DinnerConversations for new conversations, family updates and to also share your own dinner conversations with us!


Jason Reid is an entrepreneur by trade and a dad by passion. He currently lives in Murrieta, California with his wonderful wife and amazing four children. Over the years he has written numerous business books, a novel, and children’s The Protector Bug book series.


Mailbox Monday - Aug 28



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

I wouldn't want you to think I am busy or anything, but the last Mailbox Monday I posted was on....July 31! As I mentioned in my recent post, life is hectic around here. I just signed up a new seller and three new buyers. I am also committed to holding open houses every Wednesday at a new subdivision in town and an open house there every other Sunday. If everything works out the way it should, September will bring with it five closings.

School is starting on Wednesday, so we've been doing a bit of back to school shopping. Now that the Lil' Diva is able to drive, I've been trying to give her the chance to do it as much as she can so she'll be ready for Driver's Ed. And get this...she just got her first job! How in the heck is she old enough to be working and driving? Pretty soon we will be touring colleges. Yikes!

The Lil' Princess had her first soccer practice last week and we are hoping she has a wonderful season. She has missed playing and a good season would prepare her for high school next year. She gave up the violin, but might pick up piano. We will see how that goes.

On to book matters....

I've lost track of how many books have arrived since my last Mailbox Monday, but here is what is visible from my desk.



















What was in your mailbox last week? Hope it was great. Wishing you a blessed week.




Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Book Spotlight: The World to Love and Not to Love by Horace Allen


Understanding the true nature of the world's system, contrasted with God's creation, will bring clarity to readers and help Christians make right choices to live God's way. God's standard of righteousness is contrasted with politically-correct responses and declining ethical and moral standards.

There are two worlds--God's creation and the present world system. God loves His creation and has a restoration plan for it. But the world's system organized under the direct influence of the devil is in direct opposition to God. Horace E. Allen reveals the true nature of the world we should not love.

Social and political correctness have replaced God's standard of righteousness. The result is a world system in constant moral, social, and ethical decline. This declining moral system is constantly being redesigned by man's imagination to accommodate his unrestrained sinful desires. What was once immoral is now accepted as normal. Christians who determine to maintain a biblical standard are put on the defensive and labeled intolerant.

Understanding the true nature of the world God created and this world's system will help us make right choices to live God's way.

There is a clear line between what is godly and what is ungodly. Likewise, there should be a difference between the standards of believers and nonbelievers. The World to Love and Not to Love will give readers clarity about the dividing line between the secular and spiritual worlds.

Read an excerpt here!

Publisher: Redemption Press (June 28, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1683142144
ISBN-13: 978-1683142140

Purchase from:

Redemption Press
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Horace Allen is licensed in New York State as a professional marriage and family therapist with a B.S. degree in psychology from New York Institute of Technology; M.S. degree in counseling from St. John’s University of Queens, and a D. Min from Andersonville Baptist Seminary. He served as senior pastor at the East End Baptist Church, Brooklyn, New York for thirty-four years. Now semi-retired in Florida, he conducts seminars, speaks at conferences and maintains his therapy practice through video and telephone sessions. He and his wife of fifty- two years have two children and two grandchildren. Dr. Allen is also the author of Thinking with the Heart: Principle, Practice and Purpose for Spiritual Wellness.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Busy Days, Busy Mom



This is definitely me lately. It has been a hectic two weeks around here. We took the Lil' Diva, the Lil' Princess, and a friend to Cape Cod for a few days for the Lil' Diva's 16th birthday. Oh my gosh, how did that happen? Didn't I just take that girl home from the hospital.



The real estate market continues to be crazy. Sales in our county were up 10% from the same time last year and up 5.3% in the Pioneer Valley overall. I'm working late many days of the week and that's no fun since summer is winding down and the girls will be going back to school next Wednesday. 

Last Friday we also transitioned my father-in-law into assisted living. My mother-in-law, who is more independent and not in such ill health, is still living at home. It's tough bouncing around between two homes and trying to keep everything moving forward, but we will figure it out. Thankfully God sends little blessings throughout the week to encourage us. 

I've got new book arrivals to share if I ever have time to post a Mailbox Monday and I've got at least one book review to write. 

Well, tomorrow is another day and we will see what God has in store for us. Hope you are having a great week. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Barbour Launching New and Unique Historical Fiction Series



Read my Family Fiction This Week news today and discovered Barbour Publishing is launching an 18-book historical fiction series that follows one family tree through American history. Now, for those of you who don't know it: I love historical fiction and I am partial to American history. I live here after all. I can't remember the last time I have been this excited about a new series.

The series is slated to release over three years starting in February 2018 with The Mayflower Bride by Kimberley Woodhouse. According to the site, "This book, which takes place in 1620, features voyages on two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower, and will set the stage for subsequent books with its focus on adventure, romance, and a thread of espionage that is woven throughout each of the 18 stories.
"Releasing every other month by a team of well-known authors, the Daughters of the Mayflower will satisfy voracious readers of Christian fiction continuously for three years. The books are written in such a way that they can be read in succession or stand alone, making them perfect for readers interested in specific time periods in American history."

You can learn more about this series and the first six books being released at https://www.familyfiction.com/barbour-launches-unique-historical-fiction-series/


Monday, August 7, 2017

Book Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

A story of life changes, new discoveries and friendships fills the pages of While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax.

In a brilliant move, Wax wove a story of four lives that intersect at an historic apartment building in Atlanta around the insanely popular Downton Abbey television series. Published near the height of the series' popularity, this novel tells the story of three women from different backgrounds and in different stages of their lives who become fast friends thanks to the concierge's decision to air weekly episodes of Downton Abbey.

Not only are Wax's characters likable, complex, and realistic, the secondary characters provide some comic relief to balance out the unfolding drama. I found a little bit of me in each of the women, which is always nice. Claire, Brooke, and Samantha almost became like my friends and I was sad to see them go; though getting to the end was worth it. There aren't many books that make me stay up past two in the morning to finish these days--busy realtors need their sleep--but While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is definitely one I couldn't put down until I read it to the satisfying end. Wax has a ton of other books to check out, which I definitely plan to do.

This is women's fiction at its finest. Pick up While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax and discover it for yourself.


Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (April 2, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425263312
ISBN-13: 978-0425263310

I received a copy of this book from the publicist. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Father/Daughter Reunion


I mentioned last week that I reconnected with my father, who I haven't seen in nearly 30 years. In my blog post for Christian Children's Authors I talk about this event and how I made peace with my past. Please click here to read about our reunion.

Have you ever reconnected with someone after a long time? Were you able to reconcile?

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mailbox Monday - July 31



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

How is it Monday again? And the last Monday of July too! This month has flown by. Had planned some posts for last week but had a closing and sold three houses within seven days, so that didn't happen. It's also been an emotionally draining week for me. I've been visiting assisted living facilities in the area because it looks like that is the next step for my in-laws. The thought of selling their home makes me cry. We've had so many wonderful memories there. It's a hard decision, but ultimately might be the best thing for them.

Had some sad news: a real estate agent I knew for years in North Carolina passed away and she was only a few years older than me. I find this tragic on so many levels and it reminds me how we never know what tomorrow will bring, which is part of why I dropped in on my father this past week, who I haven't seen in close to 30 years--his choice, not mine. I'll share more on that another day. God's hand was in this situation from the start.

On to lighter and happier things...


I'll be reading this new arrival for a review campaign. I have two books to read in August so I better get started.


Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who know what’s best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn’t understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

That's it for my mailbox. What did you receive?

Wishing you all a great week.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Mailbox Monday - July 24



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! I was so bummed last week when I was too busy to post Mailbox Monday. My son's father had a heart attack while we were away and last Monday morning he suffered a stroke. Praise God he is finally home resting and recuperating.

Vacation was wonderful and it gave me a chance to catch up on some overdue book reviews.


Books I read from NC

While we were away I had a few arrivals too.


Through her interview series, The Conversation, Amanda de Cadenet talks with some of today's most badass women--from Hillary Clinton to Lady Gaga--in as-honest-as-it-gets conversations that speak to what it means to be female. Now, in It's Messy, Amanda shares her own story: a portrait of childhood fame, A STINT IN JUVIE, teen motherhood, a high-profile marriage (and divorce), and the sexism that threatened to end her career--all before she turned nineteen.

With the raw honesty and intense passion for which she's known, Amanda tackles uncomfortable yet familiar topics: ambivalence about motherhood; marriage; sex; body image; and the cultural influences that shape unrealistic expectations for women. Part manual, part manifesto, this intimate, hilarious, and insightful collection of essays challenges stereotypes and social norms, and examines the universal experiences relevant to women today.


When Reagan Summerside turned the first floor of her old Victorian home into a consignment shop, she never imagined she’d be harboring a fugitive in her attic. But after a dead man is found in a bathtub and local lawyer Walker Boone is accused of doing the dirty deed, she suddenly has a new houseguest.

Having the lawyer who took her to the cleaners in her divorce settlement—and who has been getting under her skin ever since—in close proximity is enough to drive Reagan to distraction. For the sake of her sanity—and Walker’s freedom—they need to put their heads together to find out who is trying to get the lawyer out of the picture . . .


For fans of the beloved TV show Little House on the Prairie, a self-help book by Melissa Francis, bestselling author of Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter and child star of Little House, revealing important life lessons inspired by a childhood on set.

Melissa Francis was only eight years old when she won the role of a lifetime: playing Cassandra Cooper Ingalls on the world's most famous prime-time soap opera, Little House on the Prairie.
Now in Lessons from the Prairie, she shares behind-the-scenes stories from the set, and lessons learned from the show's dynamic creator, Michael Landon, that have echoed throughout Melissa's adult life. With novel insights on hard work, making mistakes, and even spirituality, Francis shares inspirational and practical life lessons that will appeal both to her current TV fans, and fans of one of the most adored TV shows of all time.

I bought this book from Downton Books in Manteo, NC...


In 1886, a young woman becomes the sole survivor of a disastrous shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina's treacherous Outer Banks. She is rescued by the brave surfmen of the Life Saving Service at Little Kinnakeet Station and is suddenly forced to make her own way in the world... One hundred thirty years later, a young widow moves to the Outer Banks of North Carolina seeking a peaceful place to build a new life and somehow come to terms with her own tragic loss… The lives of these two vulnerable yet remarkable women unexpectedly intertwine in what becomes a moving, must-read story of peril, friendship, newfound strength and love.


What was in your mailbox? Hope you have a blessed week.

Book Review & Giveaway: Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard

Another superb novel of love, friendship, and forgiveness can be found in Weddings at Promise Lodge by Charlotte Hubbard.

The community of Promise Lodge, founded by the three Bender sisters, continues to thrive. The arrival of widowed Bishop Monroe Burkholder seems like an answer to prayer, but Preacher Amos believes he's too good to be true and is determined to uncover the details behind his unannounced arrival.

Christine Bender fell in love with the new bishop the moment she laid eyes on him and Monroe feels the same way. Their love is quickly put to the test when a young girl named Leola shows up claiming the bishop "ruined" her and how she is going to make an honest man out of him. Monroe can only pray everything will be worked out so he can stay in Promise Lodge and have a future with Christine.

Hubbard never disappoints. Every book draws you in from the very first page and holds you until the last word is read. In this latest Promise Lodge novel, characters are put to the test in all kinds of ways; but faith, goodness, kindness and grace see them through. It was such a joy watching this story unfold and reading it every moment I could sneak away. Paradise for me would be a never-ending library filled with Hubbard's books.

If you enjoy Amish fiction and sweet romances, you need to pick up Weddings at Promise Lodge. Better yet, read the series from the beginning. You won't want to miss anything that happens at Promise Lodge.


Excerpt:

“You look lovely in that deep red dress, Christine. It was all I could do to keep my mind on marrying Amos and your sister.”

When Christine turned, Bishop Monroe was standing so close she nearly bumped into him. She smiled up at him a little nervously, for he was tall and broad and extraordinarily handsome—and his dimples had come out to play. “Mattie wanted Rosetta and me to have new dresses with some color to them,” she explained. “And since Christmas was only a couple of weeks ago, we decided this red would be more cheerful than, say, the usual dark blue or gray or teal.”

“Mattie’s a wise woman—with admirable taste in color and husband material, as well,” he added. He held her gaze with his glowing green eyes. “May I have the honor of sitting with you at dinner, Christine? And spending the rest of the day with you, as well? Once we’re alone, I’d like to discuss some important decisions.”

Christine wondered if Monroe could hear how rapidly her heart was beating. Was her face as red as her dress? “I’d like that a lot, Monroe,” she said breathlessly.

The crowd around them seemed to disappear as he offered her his elbow. All Christine could see was Monroe’s attractive face, framed by wavy brown hair and a neatly trimmed beard—and those deep green eyes that focused so intently on her. What decisions could he possibly want to discuss with her? Did she dare hope he wanted her to become a permanent part of his new home, his new life at Promise Lodge?

Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Zebra (June 27, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1420139452
ISBN-13: 978-1420139457

The author sent me a paperback copy of this novel. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Many moons ago—like, in 1983 while she was still a school librarian—Charlotte Hubbard sold her first story to True Story. This launched her into writing around seventy of those “true confessions” stories over the years, and she’s been a slave to her overactive imagination ever since. Over the course of her writing career, she has sold nearly 50 books—most recently, Amish romance series she’s written as Charlotte Hubbard or Naomi King.

Charlotte lived in Missouri for most of her life, so her Amish stories are set in imaginary Missouri towns. These days she lives in St. Paul, MN with her husband of 40+ years and their Border collie, Vera.

WEBSITE www.CharlotteHubbard.com

Facebook www.Facebook.com/Charlotte.Hubbard1


Charlotte will be awarding a $15 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, July 21, 2017

Coming this Fall: Kent McCray: The Man Behind the Most Beloved Television Shows


A behind the scenes look at the world of the production and producing for some of the television legends of yesterday and today. The book chronicles the illustrious career of Kent McCray from his days at Hartt School (University of Hartford), running the Central City Opera House , working in Live Television then into film.

During the apex of his career McCray has worked with television greats as Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Groucho Marx, Ralph Edwards, Michael Landon and many others. McCray shares his experiences which led to his being head of the production and producing his caliber of television entertainment still being aired today to an ever-growing vast audience around the world.

Will be available September 18 at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Visit Kent's book website for more news at http://kentmccray.com

Tips for Avoiding "I'm Bored" This Summer


I blog at Christian Children's Authors every first and third Friday of the month. Today's topic is one most parents have had to cope with each summer: kids who sigh, "I'm bored." Check out my article at "Avoiding the 'B' word" today that includes some tricks I've used and links to other great articles. You'll find it at http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2017/07/21/avoiding-the-b-word/

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

New Release: The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Zondervan (July 11, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310341590
ISBN-13: 978-0310341598

Order at....

Christianbook.com
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Novella Review: Dead Man Walker by Duffy Brown

If you're a fan of Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series, you'll definitely want to pick up an e-copy of Dead Man Walker, a digital only novella that is considered book 3.5.

Springtime has come to Savannah, bringing with it customers into Reagan Summerside's consignment shop. Maybe now she can pay off some bills and think about getting some wheels.

Mercedes is a mortician beautician and housekeeper, so dead bodies don't scare her; but she doesn't really expect to find one of her clients dead in his bathtub. Having already had some trouble with the law, this sure won't make her any more popular with the police, so she calls on lawyer Walker Boone to help her out.

But Walker has his own connection to the recently deceased, which quickly makes him the number one suspect. Now, he'll need Reagan's help to clear his name.

As you can tell from recent reviews, I'm a fan of Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series. What the author did with this short addition is keep it fresh while still giving the reader all of what she loves about these books. Though the previous three books are told from Reagan's point of view, this one is from Boone's. Not only is the reader treated to seeing things through his eyes, they learn a bit more about the mysterious gang member turned lawyer. For me, this was a mixed bag. Part of Boone's appeal is his secretive nature and the unknown parts of his past he hasn't shared with Reagan. Though there is still a ton to learn, part of that has been lost and he's not quite so mysterious anymore.

One of the best parts of Dead Man Walker is seeing Boone interact more with people from his former life, like Big Joey.

The cliffhanger ending on this one is superb and the reader gets a short excerpt from the next book in the series, Demise in Denim--which will be waiting for me when I get back home. While I'm not usually a fan of the cliffhanger ending in a series, here it works well because Boone's story naturally flows into Reagan working to clear his name in the next book. I can't wait to get started on it!

File Size: 1036 KB
Print Length: 71 pages
Publisher: Berkley (February 3, 2015)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Language: English
ASIN: B00KGH5GVA

I purchased a copy of this book from Amazon. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Mailbox Monday - July 10



Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Happy Monday! Our day started out with a thunderstorm and a tornado warning where we were instructed to seek shelter. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Since we are on vacation my mailbox is very far away this week. That's okay, I've been catching up on my reading. Probably won't have anything new when we get home, but I need to order the next two books in Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series. These characters are addicting.

Watched The Girl on the Train last night. Good, but a little creepy. Also watched The Zookeeper's Wife  and now I want to read that book.

Here are some shots from vacation:






See you back at home by this time next week. Have fun!



Sunday, July 9, 2017

Book Review: Pearls and Poison by Duffy Brown

Can Reagan Summerside clear her mother's name when she is accused of murdering her election time opponent?

In Pearls and Poison, the third book in Duffy Brown's Consignment Shop Mystery series, Judge Guillotine Gloria is running against Kip Seymour, a local construction contractor, for alderman. When Kip is found poisoned, Gloria quickly becomes suspect number one.

Determined to clear her mother's name, Reagan delves into who might want Kip dead. Unfortunately, that is a very long list and many of these people are dangerous. Keeping herself out of harm's way is going to be challenging enough, never mind trying to keep Auntie Kiki safe. With her loyal companion, Bruce Willis (a.k.a. BW) by her side, Reagan will need to tread lightly if she doesn't want to wind up the next victim.

Pearls and Poison is my favorite of this series so far. Brown combines her well-developed characters, a bit of backstory, great dialogue and the essence of the south to create a fast-paced, fun cozy mystery. I've been a fan of the series since the first book and each one gets better as new characters are introduced, bits and pieces of well-known characters' pasts are shared, and each new mystery with its twists and turns evolves.

If you like cozy mysteries, you have to put Duffy Brown on your "to read" list. You won't be disappointed.


Series: A Consignment Shop Mystery (Book 3)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley; 1st edition (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425252485
ISBN-13: 978-0425252482

I received a copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.