The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller was a rich historical fiction book.  This is the first book I have ever read by this author, and I was surprised by how much I liked this book. On the back of the book they compare this author’s writing to Julie Klassen, and if I had to pick between this author and Julie, I would choose this author.  I was interested in this book right from the first page right up until the end of the book.  I liked both Livvie and Nicholas from the outset because they seemed like they were people who were alive at one point.  I love when I find that characters in historical books seem like they were alive at some time because it means I was able to feel like I was part of the book and that doesn’t often happen when I am reading historical romance.  If you are looking for a great book to read I would one hundred percent recommend this book.  I also think that this book would be a great book for some who is looking to start reading historical fiction.

About The Book

Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.

That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother-who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.

Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war, he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.
That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.

These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.

Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love.

About The Author

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.

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Kill and Run by Lauren Carr

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Kill and Run by Lauren Carr was an interesting book.  I know in a prior review that I wrote that I love how this author has created an entire world for her books where characters from different books show up and have parts in other books.  I really like that because it means that you still get to see the characters that you have fallen in love with from her other books.  I really enjoyed getting to know these characters better, and I can’t wait to get started with the next book in this series.  I fell in love with Murphy right from the onset of this book, and when it was over, I was so glad that I already have the second book in the series waiting for me to read it.  I find that even though her books can be repetitive I still enjoy them and I always get excited when I see that I can get one to review.  If you love mystery books, I know you will love this book and even more than that she has a ton of books out, so you will have something to read for quite awhile.

About The Book

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

About The Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband, son, and four dogs (including the real Gnarly) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

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March 2017 – Monthly Book Review List

I can’t believe we are already in March and this is the first month that I have had time to get one of these posts up.  The end of last year and the start of this year were totally crazy for me, and I had no time to do anything other than getting book reviews typed up and posted.

March 3rdKill and Run by Lauren Carr

March 4thThe Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

March 7thThe Ashes by Vincent Zandri

March 10thHome At Last by Deborah Raney

March 14thWooing The Wedding Planner by Amber Leigh Williams

March 15thHer Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

March 21stThe Cutaway by Christina Kovac

March 23rdA Fine Year for Murder by Lauren Carr

March 28th– A Fine Piece of Chocolate by Jacqueline R. Banks

March 29th– An Amish Home by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, Ruth Reid

I don’t have as many book reviews this year because I have had to tell authors that I can’t review their books because I have no time to read the books let alone type up more reviews.  I also am looking for a couple of people to join my review team so if you or someone you know might be interested send them my way.  I also will be having a Multiple Sclerosis update up in the next couple of weeks because I saw my doctor in January and I also had an MRI on the 25th of February.  I also have had weird things going on that I want to share so that I can come back and look the post if I ever need to remember how I am feeling.

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Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Grace and the Preacher by Kim Vogel Sawyer was a sweet story.  I don’t read many historical books anymore because I find that I get bored with them and I do have a hard time getting into them.  This is the third book that I have read by this author, and I am starting to think that she can’t write a book that I won’t enjoy.  This book was a slow start for me, but by the third chapter I was hooked, and I ended up staying up way too late because I didn’t want to put the book down.  I didn’t like Theo throughout the entire book, and I am not sure why I didn’t like him.  I did, however, love Grace right from the start of the book.  If you are looking for a new historical fiction book to read I would recommend this one to you.

About The Book

The Kansas community of Fairland anticipates the arrival of their new minister, and in recent months, late in 1882, postmistress Grace Cristler has communicated with Reverend Dille via letters, answering his questions about the little town, and developing affection for the man who pens thoughtful missives.

Theophil Garrison grew up under the loving influence of his saintly grandmother but was roped into his cousins’ train-robbing plan. When they fail and are apprehended, Theo fled the scene, evading jail time. Now an angry cousin is out to avenge Theo’s duplicity, and he’s on the run. He encounters a fatally ill traveler–a minister. Seeing a way to keep hidden, Theo trades identities with the man, dons his fine black suit, carries a Bible, and prays that he’ll be accepted as Rufus Dille.

Once in Fairland, if Theo’s true identity is uncovered, what will be left of the world he has built for himself, Grace, and those in the town who have come to love and accept him?

From the Trade Paperback edition.

About The Author

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women’s fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas and have three daughters and six grandchildren. She invites you to visit her Web site at www.kimvogelsawyer.com for more information.”

Kim’s father is author Ralph Vogel

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Meet Nigel—the Most Unique Character of the Thorny Rose Mysteries

A Guest Post By Lauren Carr

Did you know that a significant percentage of millennials give their phone a name? I learned that on John Tesh’s Intelligence for Your Life years ago and now can;t find the actual percentage, but hey! If you hear it in the media it must be true! Right?

Upon hearing that information, I tucked it into my cranial pocket only to take it out again last year when I was writing Candidate for Murder. At the end of Kill and Run, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday, the Thorny Rose detectives, were forced to move out of their home. If you want to know why, you’ll need to read Kill and Run. For now, to keep from giving out spoilers, let’s just say for security reasons.

So, I had to go house hunting for my thorny rose protagonists. Finding their new home was easy. I used a lot of fantasy and, since I knew that it had to be secure, I knew it had to have a fence and security system.

Now, I could have stopped there with giving Murphy and Jessica a wall with no name and I would have if my husband had not insisted that I sit down to watch a documentary he had found about the high-priced, high-tech security utilized by the one-percenters (aka billionaires).

I watched the whole ninety-minute documentary with my jaw hanging open. These folks don’t stop with any old wall! They have concrete safe rooms with food and supplies to last for days. They have rooms in which, with the press of a button, will instantly seal up to capture the bad guys. Then, with a second press of a button, let loose with a hail of automatic gun fire to take them out. (Try explaining that to your home owner’s insurance!) They even have security measures installed on the one percenters’ private jets to ward off hijacking attempts.

Upon seeing this documentary, my writer’s mind started spinning like a top. I had already established in Three Days to Forever and Kill and Run that Murphy worked for the Phantoms, a cutting-edge, ultra-secret organization that only answered to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They would have access to all of this technology and then some—enough to warrant a prototype, a beta (test) system, to protect the Faraday-Thornton home under the guise of a virtual butler.

Of course, butlers have to have names. This was when I extracted my mental note that I had jotted down from John Tesh. I named him Nigel. To any outsiders, Nigel is on par with Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri, but as readers see in Candidate for Murder, Nigel does so much more than relay the latest news brief, control their lights and sound system, and keep their calendar.

Some readers, including my mother, believe that Nigel was a complete figment of my imagination, and yes, many parts of him are—however, be warned—everything Nigel does is doable with today’s technology. I just put everything together into one computer system—and gave him a name and personality.

Nigel doesn’t just monitor the estate’s security. In Candidate for Murder, when intruders break in, Nigel goes on the offensive, with Mac Faraday’s Gnarly the German Shepherd, to defend their turf!

Jessica’s brother Tristan, a science whiz, maintains and monitors Nigel, who acquires a personality of his own, which Nigel claims is simply a mirror of Tristan’s personality. Tristan claims otherwise. Judge for yourself in this excerpt from A Fine Year for Murder.

In the following excerpt, Jessica calls Tristan for comfort after having a fight with Murphy, who walks out and Nigel steps in to help:

All of her close girlfriends were working, since it was midmorning on a weekday. That left only Tristan, her dear brother, to talk to. Grabbing her cell phone, she dialed Tristan’s number.

“Hey, Sis, how’re you doing?”

Her heart overflowing with regret and fear, Jessica immediately broke into uncontrollable sobs. Her attempt to communicate the source of her emotions came out as little more than unintelligible blubbering.

Tristan, who was sitting at the bank of monitors in the control center in the Faraday-Thornton estate, where Nigel’s system was housed, peered at his cell phone. “I don’t understand.”

“Based on the lack of full sentences in Jessica’s speech and on the high levels of negative emotion in her voice, I believe that Jessica and Murphy are having a fight,” Nigel said.

“So why is she calling me?” Tristan asked.

“Because you’re her brother. She feels the need to reach out to a family member for some emotional reassurance.”

“Like I’m going to take her side in a fight with Murphy,” Tristan said. “He could kill me with his pinky. I’m not stupid.”

“She just said that it was all her fault,” Nigel said.

Uttering a sigh of relief, Tristan brought the phone to his ear. “Jessica, calm down. What are you two kids fighting about?”

“Costantino,” she said. “He dumped a whole teapot of boiling water in Murphy’s lap.”

“And now Murphy’s in jail for killing him. Sounds like self-defense. Call our lawyer. He’ll get Murphy out by noon. Talk to you later, Sis.”

“Will you listen to me, you antisocial moron?” Jessica’s heartbreak became more like fury—fury directed toward her brother. “No, Murphy is not in jail! I swear! You make him sound like a serial killer.”

“Think about it, Sis. No guy in his right mind would dump boiling water in the lap of a guy he didn’t know. For all he knows, the other guy is a serial killer who’d think nothing of disemboweling you in a room full of witnesses.”

“Are you saying—”

“I’m not saying that Murphy would do that. He could, but he wouldn’t. What possessed Costantino to dump boiling water in Murphy’s lap—besides the fact that he’s an idiot?”

“To make a long story short,” Jessica said, “Costantino has become obsessed with me and wants Murphy out of the way.”

“That’s totally creepy. You’re cousins.”

“What am I going to do about Murphy?”

“What else can you do? You have to apologize.”

“I wasn’t the one who—”

“You should have told Costantino that you’re married to Murphy and that his efforts to court you were a waste of his time,” Nigel said, “not to mention dangerous to Costantino’s health and well-being.”

“Yeah,” Tristan said, “you tell her, Nigel.”

“By failing to put a stop to Costantino’s attempt to court you,” Nigel said, “you disrespected Murphy’s role as your mate, which was an implicit insult to his masculinity. As a result, he feels emotionally impotent.”

“TMI,” Tristan whispered to the computer.

“Based on the psych profile I have stored in my system for Lieutenant Thornton, I hypothesize that Murphy has withdrawn from the scene to reboot his limbic system and to reassess the situation.”

“Reassess what? Our marriage?” Jessica asked with a note of hysteria in her voice. “What’s he rebooting?”

“His limbic system,” Tristan said. “That’s the part of the brain where emotions are stored.”

“I should have called Archie,” Jessica said to herself.

“Once the reboot is complete, Murphy will come back,” Nigel said. “I would recommend that you then reaffirm your commitment to each other.”

“Have makeup sex,” Tristan said. “Then stay away from Costantino.”

Review for this book will be up in the next couple of weeks!

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Joel Osteen – Quote Of The Week

This week’s quote is by Joel Osteen.

I chose this quote because it is something that I have been trying to focus on.  I am trying to concentrate on the good things in my life because I know that other people in the world had it worse than me.  I also know that people don’t like to be around individuals who are always complaining about everything.  I had a rough childhood, and after things had calmed down, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 15 which made me hate the world even more.  I am not sure what made me change how I look at the world, but I am glad that I did because I am in such a better place in my life right now.  I have people in my family who get so caught up in everything bad that happens to them that they can’t ever see any of the good that happens to them.  Those are just a few of my thoughts about this quote.

What do you think of this week’s quote by Joel Osteen?

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Door To Freedom by Jana Kelley

FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Door To Freedom by Jana Kelley was a great book.  This is the second book in the series and going into this book I was sure I was going to like it because I loved the first book in this series.  This is such a unique plot that I can’t help but love it because it is so different from anything else that I have ever read.  I love that with these books you get to peek inside of what it would be like to be a Christian living in Sudan.  I also enjoyed this book because it is based on true stories and I am always a sucker for books that are based on real stories.  This book made me want to share my beliefs more because if people are sharing their faith in places like Sudan, I should do the same thing here.  If you are looking for a book that is different from most of the books out there, I would recommend this entire series to you because I know you will love them like I do.

About The Book

In the dusty, Islamic country of Sudan, Mia, who is raising her family in a Muslim country, has learned to boldly share her faith. Rania, the daughter of a wealthy Sudanese Arab, seeks to find the reason for her sister’s sudden disappearance. Mia holds some of the answers, but both women quickly discover they must each walk through their own doors to freedom—the freedom that only comes when you trust God’s sovereignty more than man-made security.

Part of New Hope® Publishers’ line of contemporary missional fiction, Door to Freedom, the sequel to Side by Side, opens the reader’s eyes to modern-day persecution and the life of Muslims in Sudan. Based on real-life events, Door to Freedom also reveals some of the struggles that Christians face when living under Islamic law. The reader will be inspired to pray for those who are persecuted for their faith as well as for the salvation of the persecutors.

About The Author

Jana Kelley is a Texan who hardly ever lives in Texas. Raised in Southeast Asia, Jana developed a love for cross-cultural living early in life. Her love for writing came soon after. Jana returned to Texas to attend college. She and her husband married a month after she graduated, and by their second anniversary, they were living in a remote African town. After 13 years living in Africa and the Middle East, Jana, her husband, and their three boys moved to Southeast Asia where they currently live. You can learn more about Jana at janakelley.com.

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Home To Paradise by Barbara Cameron

Home to Paradise Barbara Cameron

FTC: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Home To Paradise by Barbara Cameron was a great Amish fiction novel.  As most of you know by now, I am a huge fan of Amish fiction books.  Every time I see one I have to get it and read it because I can’t get enough of them.  This is the third book in the “Coming Home” series.  This is the first book that I have read in this series and me able to figure out what was going on.  If had had the time I would have liked to read all three books in order, but I didn’t have the time, so I am hoping that I will be able to read the other two books later even though I know what happens to them because I read this book.  I really liked Rose and John right from the start, and I was sad when the book was over because I felt like I really connected with the characters.  If you love Amish fiction like I do I would tell you to pick up the first two books so that you can read them in order.

About The Book

Rose Anna Zook has watched her two older sisters marry two Stoltzfus men and has always thought she and John, the third Stoltzfus brother, would marry, make a home together, and have children. But John has other ideas. He’s enjoying his Rumschpringe in the Englisch world a little too much and isn’t interested in returning to the Amish community–especially to marry.
Rose Anna is determined to bring her man back into the Amish fold. John is equally determined to live his life free and unencumbered. Who will win this battle of wills? Will love prevail?

About The Author

CBD, CBA, and ECPA best-selling author of 24 books (including new series upcoming for Abingdon Press in 2011/2012) including fiction and non-fiction books for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Harlequin, and other publishers.

I sold three films to HBO/Cinemax and am the first winner of the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

My two novellas won the 2nd and 3rd place in the Inspirational Readers Choice Contest from the Faith, Love, and Hope chapter of RWA. Both were finalists for the novella category of the Carol Award of the American Christian Writers Award (ACFW).

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Let’s Try This Again by Jordyn Woodtke

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FTC: I received a free copy of this book from iRead Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. I received no other compensation and the opinions expressed in this review are one hundred percent true and my own.

Let’s Try This Again by Jordyn Woodtke was an okay book.  I enjoyed the story but I did find it pretty predictable.  I know I have said this before but after you read as many books as I do you are able to see the patterns in books so you always know what will happen.  That being said I did enjoy this book and I really like Josie right from the start.  I was also amazed that this is a debut novel because I usually don’t enjoy the first’s book that the authors write.  These types of books always leave smile on my face because they are almost always sweet stories and who doesn’t love a good romance novel.  If you love chick lit than I am sure you will enjoy this book like I did.

About The Book

One girl.  Two guys.  It’s complicated. And hot.

First, there is Isaac, the ex-boyfriend who threatens her move to a sunny new life on the west coast when he suddenly comes back into the picture.  The chemistry is intoxicating, and Josie starts eating, breathing, and sleeping with him again until the move.  Things are hard enough saying goodbye to her childhood home and very best friends, but when Isaac makes it seem like he might actually want her to stay, Josie wonders if she’s giving up on him too quickly.

Josie takes the plunge and moves to California.

Then comes Carter. Sweet, doting – and, oh my god! – Former boy band heartthrob, Carter. Josie’s new life falls into place, with new friends and a job working as the personal assistant to Carter as he plans the re-launch of his career. When it seems like there might be something between Josie and her new boss, she can’t help but hold back in fear of crossing a line and, worse yet, getting her heart crushed.  Once again.

What spirals into a complicated, heart-wrenching, unexpected love triangle forces Josie to face a decision that she is not sure she can make.  Carter or Isaac.  Or – who knows?

It’s Sex in the City meets Bridget Jones Diary under the Hollywood sign.  A masterful debut novel of love, sex and rock & roll in the New Adult genre.

About The Author

Jordyn Woodtke is an exceedingly gifted new author who is destined to take the New Adult genre by storm with her debut novel entitled Let’s Try This Again.

A graduate of NYU, she majored in screenwriting with a minor in bottomless brunching, skills she took with her when she moved to Los Angeles to follow her dream of becoming a writer. Jordyn started writing poetry and plays in high school, garnering prestigious awards and accolades from the Hartford Stage, Drexel University, the Waterbury Young Playwrights Festival and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, among others.

Now, on any given afternoon you are likely to find Jordyn petting random dogs on her street, noshing at any of the numerous brunch spots in LA, or bingeing Netflix on her couch. She’s grateful and dedicated to the art of storytelling because it lets her say all the things she wished she’d said when she had the chance.

And if Let’s Try This Again is any indicator of future success, Jordyn will get to keep saying them for a long, long time.

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Demi Lovato – Quote Of The Week

This week’s quote is by Demi Lovato.

I really liked this quote when I saw it because it is something that I have always done because nothing has ever come easily to me.  I learned at a very young age that I just have to keep pushing forward because is the end I will get where I want to be.  I am sure that one of the reasons I do this is because I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at such a young age that I had to learn how to keep going even though I didn’t feel good.  Those are just a few of my thoughts on this quote.

What do you think of this week’s quote by Demi Lovato?

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