Books reviewed prior on this site prior to March 2019 were provided to me, at no charge, by the publisher, or by the author, in exchange for an honest review. I have received no further compensation for these reviews. Reviews beginning March 2019 come from a variety of sources: advanced copies, library loans, and my own purchases. All reviews are my honest opinions.

August 29, 2016

Catching Heat {Janice Cantore}

catching heat janice cantore
Twenty-seven years after the deaths of Detective Abby Hart's parents, she's desperate to find the proof that will put the mastermind--the governor's wife--behind bars. When she joins a newly formed task force and teams up with PI Luke Murphy, Abby is sent to San Luis Obispo to work the cold case of a murdered college student. Realizing their investigation will bring them near the town where Alyssa Rollins grew up, Abby decides to do a little digging of her own into the Triple Seven fire.

Luke is eager to help Abby close the books on a case they both have personal stakes in. But as she uncovers long-held secrets, Abby stumbles into an explosive situation, and Luke fears that her obsession may prove deadly.

My Thoughts:
This is the third book in the Cold Case series, and I have been looking forward to it for quite a while. So I was a little disappointed when the book started really slow for me. I felt there was a lot of filler content in the first part of the book and I wanted the story to move along. However, once the book hit a stride and the action picked up, it was impossible to put it down.

Abby and Luke are back working a case together, and both have finally admitted to themselves how they feel about the other one. However, neither has yet to mention their feelings to the other one. This seems to cause a bit of tension between them as they try to work together and keep their feelings in check. 

Abby is still hung up on finding the truth about what happened to her parents and the person behind their deaths. She is so sure she has a viable lead and she convinces Luke and Woody to go along with her on her hunt for her suspect.

Of course, they find themselves in quite a bit of danger as their work progresses and it is the suspense of how they will come out of their predicament alive that really makes this book worth the read. The heart-stopping action, paired with the love growing between Abby and Luke, makes this book such a good read in the end. I am glad I stuck with it and am very happy with how this series ended up. 

A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. She’s always enjoyed writing and published two short articles on faith at work for Cop and Christ and Today’s Christian Woman before tackling novels. A few years ago, she retired to a house in the mountains of Southern California, where she lives with three Labrador retrievers, Jake, Maggie, and Abbie. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Accused is the first book in the Pacific Coast Justice series, featuring Carly Edwards. Janice also authored the Brinna’s Heart series, which includes The Kevlar Heart and A Heart of Justice. Visit Janice’s website at and connect with her on Facebook.

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD

August 25, 2016

Without Warning {Lynette Eason}

without warning lynette eason
Katie Singleton, a partner with the Elite Guardians Protection Agency, stumbles upon her next assignment quite by accident. Spotting blue lights at a familiar restaurant, she stops to investigate, only to discover that owner Daniel Matthews has become the target of someone who will go to any lengths to put him out of business. 

Daniel might be concerned, but he's not convinced that a bodyguard--and a female one at that--is necessary. A new attack and his niece's urgings are enough to make him reconsider. He and Katie must figure out who's behind the intimidation and threats--before a would-be killer strikes again. 

My Thoughts:
Two books in and this series is turning out to be a must-read for sure. In this book we get to know Katie better and the story behind her inclusion in the Elite Guardians Protection Agency. Katie has a background as an arson investigator, but a tragedy has left her with PTSD and a new career protecting those in danger.

Katie comes across as a very caring lady, willing to do anything for those around her. She is very aware of the feelings of those she comes in contact with, and this plays to her advantage in her work with the protection agency. This also comes in handy as she meets Daniel and must risk her life to protect his.

Daniel is very well off but works hard anyway. He is raising his niece after the death of this brother and his wife, and it is obvious the relationship Daniel has with his niece is very special. Daniel is a former Marine who has found his life in danger but has no idea why.

Daniel is very reluctant to hire the protection agency, but his niece finally convinces him he needs them around. However, as the book progresses, it is obvious Daniel needs the protection and the relationship that appears to be forming with Katie.

The relationship between Katie and Daniel seems so natural and meant to be. The two of them seem perfect for each other, and I could not wait to see if they would end up together as this book wrapped up. I was also on pins and needles to see who was causing all the havoc in Daniel's life. The identity completely shocked me!

This is a must read and will keep you up late at night to find out how it will all end. Put it on your reading list for sure.

Lynette Eason grew up in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina, Columbia, and then obtained her masters in education from Converse College. Author of twenty inspirational romantic suspense books, she is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Romance Writers of America (RWA). In 1996, Lynette married "the boy next door" and now she and her husband and their two children make their home in Simpsonville, South Carolina.

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD

August 24, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: Night Night Farm {Amy Parker}

night night farm amy parker
Moo moo, cows!

Baa baa, sheep!

When the sun sinks low down on the farm, the animals are all tuckered out from the day’s adventures. Join these adorable farm animals in pajamas as they say night night to the farm, to their mommies and daddies, and to God.

Your little ones will sleep until the rooster crows knowing that the God who made them loves them too.

Our Thoughts:
My kids love a bedtime story, and this book is the perfect closure to a fun-fulled day for little ones. We get to tour through the farm and say goodnight to each of the animals as their parents calm them down and put them to bed. Just like my kids, some of the animals try to convince their parents to let them stay up a little later, but they are nudged to bed with a sweet goodnight from their parents.

I loved the illustrations of the little animals in their pajamas - so cute! My kids do love this book and I can see it being a regular in our bedtime book routine.

Amy Parker’s children’s books have sold more than 800,000 copies including two Christian Retailing’s Best award-winning books and the bestselling A Night Night Prayer. She lives outside Nashville with her husband and two children.

August 22, 2016

The Things We Knew {Catherine West}

the things we knew catherine west
After her mother's death twelve years ago, Lynette Carlisle watched her close-knit family unravel. One by one, her four older siblings left their Nantucket home and never returned. All seem to harbor animosity toward their father, silently blaming him for their mother's death. Nobody will talk about that dreadful day, and Lynette can't remember a bit of it.

But when next-door neighbor Nicholas Cooper returns to Nantucket, he brings the past with him. Once her brother's best friend and Lynette's first crush, Nick seems to hiding things from her. Lynette wonders what he knows about the day her mother died and hopes he might help her remember the things she can't.

But Nick has no intention of telling Lynette the truth. Besides the damage it might cause his own family, he doesn't want to risk harming the fragile friendship between him and the woman he once thought of as a kid sister.

As their father's failing health and financial concerns bring the Carlisle siblings home, secrets begin to surface—secrets that will either restore their shattered relationships or separate the siblings forever. But pulling up anchor on the past propels them into the perfect storm, powerful enough to make them question all they ever believed in.

My Thoughts:
This book took me on a roller coaster of emotions. The characters were so well developed I felt I had known them forever and immediately had a connection with each of them. I liked how the author brought the characters together little by little, and then slowly revealed details of their past to keep you engaged in their story.

As the story progresses, it is obvious Lynette is eventually going to figure out the truth about how her mother died. Knowing this information is going to come out makes this book so exciting to read. We can see how each piece of the family relationship and the past begin to come together to form the truth surrounding the details of the day the mother passed away.

Tucked inside the suspense of finding the truth is the developing love between Lynette and Nick. I loved watching this relationship unfold as the book progressed. It was obvious to me they were meant to be together and was so exciting to see them finally give into the truth and allow that relationship to take place.

God's love and forgiveness are also a huge factor in this story. The siblings have been apart for so long and seem to have an unspoken grudge between them they continue to hold onto. As they come together for the good of the family, it was so wonderful to see them let down their guards and let God work in their lives to make their family complete again.

I also really appreciated the author for not writing an epilogue for this book. I know that sounds a little strange, but I enjoyed letting my imagination decide where all these characters ended up and how the story ends for this family and the house that brought them all together.

I think this is an amazing book and one you will want on your shelf to read over and over again.

Award-winning author Catherine West writes stories of hope and healing from her island home in Bermuda. When she’s not at the computer working on her next story, you can find her taking her Border Collie for long walks or reading books by her favorite authors. She and her husband have two grown children. Catherine’s novel, Bridge of Faith, won the 2015 Grace Award.

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD

August 18, 2016

(un)Natural Mom {Hettie Brittz}

unnatural mom hettie brittz
Do you feel like you’re the only mom who serves store-bought birthday treats, dreads school plays, and misses the days of going to the bathroom by herself?

unNatural Mom gives you permission to say that mothering doesn’t always come naturally to you. Parenting expert and self-proclaimed unnatural mom Hettie Brittz helps you;

Recognize how unrealistic our culture’s standards of mothering are

  • Move beyond the myths of "supermom"
  • Complete the Parenting Style Assessment to determine your own parenting style
  • Understand and forgive the mothers who hurt you
  • Embrace your capabilities as well as your challenges
  • Come find new hope in discovering that every mother has unique gifts. In Christ, the "unnatural" mom becomes the supernatural mom who is just right for her family!

My Thoughts:
I have read a lot of parenting books in recent years, but none of them have grabbed my heart quite like this one. I wore out my pen and highlighter as I underlined, marked, and made notes all over this book.

This book starts with instructions for an online parenting assessment. Those who have read the book will understand when I say I am a Box-Rose mom – the no-nonsense, get things done kind of mom. My kids are independent, not used to a lot of cuddles, and fully aware that mom might come roaring through like a lion at any given time.

I have always known this about myself, but to see it in actual black and white words ripped my heart into a million pieces. It broke me in ways I did not think I could be broken and made me want to change.


But then we get to see how God uses each and every type of mom exactly how he planned. He made me a Box-Rose because He wants me to be a Box-Rose. He gave my kids a Box-Rose mom because He wants them to have a Box-Rose mom. He brought my husband and I together because my husband needed a Box-Rose wife. God’s plan is always perfect and He never messes up.

This book also takes our parenting personality and shows us how to use them to the greater good for our kids, our marriages, and our lives in general. Shows us how to bring out the compassion that is not always naturally there, how to discipline without always being a lion, how to love without having to be uncomfortable, and how to be the best mom God made me to be.

Not a Box-Rose mom? No worries, the books also walks through the other personality types. This just happens to be what I am, so this is the chapters I read J I honestly wish I could put a copy of this book in the hands of every single mom I know. It is that good. Go pick up a copy for yourself today. And get your highlighter ready – you are going to want it.

Hettie Brittz is an author, international speaker, and one of South Africa’s foremost voices on parenting advice. She is the developer of the Evergreen Parenting Course and Tall Trees Profiles. Hettie and her husband, Gospel singer Louis Brittz, live in South Africa with their three children.

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD

August 17, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: Totally Twins {Aleesah Darlison}

totally twins aleesah darlison
Musical Mayham
Persephone begins writing her own personal SECRET diary. She is horrified when she has to audition for the school musical and takes comfort in writing down her most SECRET thoughts.The Heartfield Heights Musical Extravaganza soon launches into full swing, much to Persephone's dismay and her sister Portia's jubilation.

Model Mania
Portia is determined to become the next top model. Persephone thinks she is DELUSIONAL. Persephone spends hours on the couch at the Heavenly Models Agency writing her diary, rolling her eyes and sneezing from the toxic fumes of hairspray, perfume and makeup. Follow the next comical TOTALLY TWINS adventure as Portia sets her sights on a modelling career.

totally twins aleesah darlison
Tropical Trouble
Perse and her twin, Portia, are set for an exciting holiday, but there's one catch. The girls' annoying seven-year-old neighbour, Dillon Pickleton, is going with them!In Perse's greatest adventure yet she faces the perils of sailing the open seas, swimming with sharks and a dreaded dance-off.Follow the next hilarious TOTALLY TWINS adventure as Portia and Perse get themselves into tropical trouble in Fiji.

Birthday Bonanza
Perse and her twin, Portia, are about to turn 11. How will they celebrate their birthday? Will shy Perse want the same outrageous party as Portia?Birthday Bonanza is full of surprises.Follow the next hilarious Totally Twins adventure as Perse and Portia plan their party and receive a few unexpected presents.

Our Thoughts:
These books were very entertaining. My daughter read each of them and found them to be very entertaining and funny. She said she liked both of the twins, but in different ways. Her favorite among the four books was the Birthday Bonanza, but she said she wishes there were more books about the twins for her to read.

The books are written in diary format from a middle-schooler perspective. The language is very easy to follow and read, and very obvious written for the middle school age group. From a parenting perspective, I thought the books were entertaining and somewhat funny at times. The twins seem like fun girls who enjoy their lives.

These are great books to have in a middle-school book collection. I plan to keep them on our shelves for several years as I know my daughter will come back to them many times as she reads throughout the years.

August 15, 2016

Fetching Sweetness {Dana Mentink}

fetching sweetness dana mentink
It should have been so simple for Stephanie Pink: Meet up with Agnes Wharton in a small town in California, retrieve the reclusive author's valuable new manuscript, and be promoted to a full-fledged literary agent.

But Agnes's canine companion, Sweetness, decides to make a break for it before Stephanie can claim her prize. Until Agnes has Sweetness safely back at home in Eagle Cliff, Washington, Stephanie will never set eyes on the manuscript she needs to make her dreams come true.

When Stephanie tracks the runaway mutt to a campground, she meets Rhett Hastings—a man also on the run from a different life and a costly mistake. Rhett agrees to help Stephanie search for the missing dog...thus launching a surprising string of adventures and misadventures.

Once Sweetness gets added to the mix, it's a recipe for love and loss, merriment and mayhem, fun and faith in the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest.

My Thoughts:
I have a soft spot in my heart for dogs, so any book about dogs is bound to be a winner for me. I thought this one was so… sweet.

Stephanie is a little high-strung and only focused on closing the deal with this author she has admired for so long. Stephanie seemed to get under my skin a little because she was so unwilling to see those around her and open up to the possibility that her whole life may not revolve around this particular book deal she was trying to close. I felt myself wanting to talk some sense into her and make her realize what was right in front of her throughout her entire road trip.

Rhett. Rhett is one complicated dude. We figure out pretty quickly Rhett has something to hide, but it takes a while before the truth about his background is fully revealed. He is a sweet guy one minute, and a hard-headed jerk the next. It is so obvious he and Stephanie are perfect for each other, but neither one are willing to take their focus off the task at hand long enough to realize it.

Sweetness is one nutty dog, but he grows on you as this book progresses. Through his antics and adventures, he is finally able to reveal the deep feelings that each of the characters in this book has – even if the characters themselves do not realize it is happening.

A huge aspect of this book is Rhett insisting he is following God’s plan for his life, even though it is not clear if it is really God’s plan he is following. Rhett seems to be the type who has a relationship with God and is willing to do what He says, but may not always be listening to the correct advice. Stephanie does not have, nor does she want, a relationship with God. Throughout a lot of this book, we see Rhett trying to convince Stephanie that putting her trust in God is the only way to live her life.

In the end, we see an ending only God could orchestrate. After so much let-down, it is the perfect ending for each character in this book and brought a huge smile on my face.

Dana Mentink enjoys writing in many different capacities. She currently writes for Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House Publishers.

Dana is the recipient of a Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award and an ACFW Carol Award as well as a Holt Medallion Merit Award winner. 

Dana loves feedback from her readers. Contact her via her website

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD

August 10, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: 5-Minute Nighttime Bible Stories

five minute nighttime bible stories
These brief Bible stories allow parents to spend precious time with their little ones before bedtime, naps, or meals. With their to-the-point wording and calming artwork, the 5-Minute Nighttime Bible Stories is a great option for parents who look for ways to integrate the Bible into their busy schedules. This affordable 208-page book offers a lot of content for a great price, and the five-minute format will be a hit with parents and children alike. Short stories and gentle, colorful illustrations make this a great Bible and a quick story for little ones and parents before bedtime.

Our Thoughts:
This book has definitely been a hit at our house! The stories are written that my daughter can easily read them and my son can easily understand them. I love to listen as she read the Bible stories to him and he just soaks it all in.

These stories are true to the Bible but written in an easy-to-understand format. They are condensed down to short stories to hold the attention of young children so they can absorb the entire story. The graphics are also very attention grabbing and entertaining.

I can see this book having a place on our bookshelves for many years to come and being a favorite for my children.

August 8, 2016

When Death Draws Near {Carrie Stuart Parks}

when death draws near gwen marcey carrie stuart parks
Forensic artist Gwen Marcey is between jobs when she accepts temporary work in Pikeville, Kentucky—a small town facing big-city crime. But before Gwen can finish her first drawing of the serial rapist who is on the loose, the latest witness vanishes. Just like all the others.

Gwen suspects a connection between the rapist and the “accidental” deaths that are happening around town, but the local sheriff has little interest in her theories. When her digitally-obsessed teenage daughter joins her, Gwen turns her attention to a second assignment: going undercover in a serpent-handling church. She could get a handsome reward for uncovering illegal activity—a reward she desperately needs, as it seems her breast cancer has returned. But snakes aren’t the only ones ready to kill. Can Gwen uncover the truth—and convince anyone to believe her—before she becomes a victim herself?

In a thrilling race against time, When Death Draws Near plunges us into cold-case murders, shady politics, and a den of venomous suspects.

My Thoughts:
I read my first Gwen Marcey book a few months ago and have been anxiously waiting for this next book to release. It may actually be better than the first one I read!

Gwen is one of those women who does not let anything or anyone stand in her way of doing her job. In this book, she is faced with tracking down both a rapist and those participating in snake handling. She is hired by one of the richest men in the state who is about to make his bid for President, and she believes his intentions are good.

It does not take long for Gwen to discover she has been deceived in a very big way, and that her life is in danger. The people who hired her are not what they seem, and the people she has been hired to investigate may not be the ones in the wrong. However, her job becomes increasingly difficult when she becomes the hunted, and each step puts her closer to her death.

To make matters worse, Gwen’s daughter is once again by her side for most of the events as they play out throughout this book. Gwen will stop at nothing to protect her daughter, but it is also her daughter that keeps her motivated to live when she is about to give up and take her last breath.

Gwen is driven by three things in life: God, her daughter, and her determination to always complete her job. This drive makes Gwen Marcey a force to be reckoned with, and a character I love to have in a book. This book kept me on the edge of my seat and had my heart pounding so many times. Such a great read.

Carrie Stuart Parks is an award-winning fine artist and internationally known forensic artist. Along with her husband, Rick, she travels across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement as well as civilian participants. She has won numerous awards for career excellence. Carrie is a popular platform speaker, presenting a variety of topics from crime to creativity. 

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD

August 6, 2016

Join Barbara Cameron for the ‘Seasons in Paradise’ Facebook Party

seasons in paradise- fb event

Sam Stoltzfus left the Amish community and followed his older brother into the Englisch world, walking away from a chance for love. Is there more to Sam's leaving the Amish community than what he says? Find out in Barbara Cameron's new book, Seasons in Paradise.

Join Barbara and other readers on Facebook on August 16th for a fun author chat party at 8:00 PM EDT (that's 7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, & 5:00 Pacific)! Barbara will be chatting about Seasons in Paradise, answering your questions about the book and all things Amish fiction, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways and prizes too!

Get your copy of Seasons in Paradise so you're ready for a fun book discussion. You can order your copy and find out more about the book here.

We hope you can join the fun. Bring your friends who love to read and who love Amish fiction!

Hope to see you on August 16 for Barbara's Seasons in Paradise Facebook Party!

August 3, 2016

Wee Read Wednesday: I Love You Just Because {Giveaway}

i love you just because tommy nelson
Through adorable, cuddly art and fun rhyming text, I Love You Just Because will help little ones understand their parents' love for them and that it doesn't have to be earned. With playful artwork and the same friendly bear family you already know and love from Donna Keith's first two books—I Love You All the Same and I Love You Even When—the sweet story of this book will touch you and your family and will remind you that family members love each other...just because.

Our Thoughts:
The world would be so boring if everyone looked and acted exactly alike. But for kids, it can be discouraging when they don’t look or act exactly like their siblings. This book is a great way to help kids understand that they are loved by their parents just because they are who they are.

In this book, the bear family has three kids: a brown bear, a white bear, and a polar bear. Of course these three bears do not look alike. They also have different habits and abilities. But their parents love them all just the same simply because they are their children.

It is so important for kids to know they are loved based on being themselves. The world is so full of trying to tell them to be something and someone else, I think it is wonderful to have a book as a resource to help them know they are loved for just being themselves.

My son loves the bear family in this book, and the message is relevant for both my children at their different ages. I know this is a lesson they will need for many years to come, and I hope they will be able to pull out this book and be reminded they are loved no matter what.

Enter To Win:
FlyBy Promotions is allowing one of my readers to win a copy of this book for their own family! Simply use the widget below to enter. One winner will be selected on Sunday, August 7. I will email the winner. Good luck!!

August 1, 2016

The Wedding Shop {Rachel Hauck}

the wedding shop rachel hauck
It’s the 1930s, and Cora is taking the reins at her family’s wedding shop in Heart’s Bend, Tennessee. Brides come from far away to be doted on by Cora and her family while they find the perfect wedding dress. Meanwhile, Cora has found her true love, Rufus, a riverboat captain. Cora counts the days until his return from the river, and she continues to wait for him as days turn into months and months turn into years. When he finally returns, she receives the shock of a lifetime: he is married to another. Nursing her heartbreak, she must find a way to continue pouring her heart into the hopes and dreams of the brides who visit her shop, all while wondering if she will ever find true love or if it has passed her by.

In present day, Haley has finished her time as a soldier, and suffering from PTSD, wants nothing to do with the heartbreak of this world. She sets off for Heart’s Bend, Tennessee, and in order to honor the memory of a fallen friend, she takes on the task of reopening an abandoned and long-forgotten wedding shop. Perhaps through helping others, she can forget the pain and disappointment in her own life.

Haley isn’t looking for love, but when her friend’s former fiancé becomes involved in the shop’s renovations, they both find that healing and restoration can perhaps happen in their lives too.

My Thoughts:
I love the way Rachel Hauck can take two unrelated characters, weave their stories together, and then connect their lives in the way you least expected.

Cora and Haley had me hooked from the very beginning. Cora seems to be the kind of woman I would have liked in real life. She was not worried about the world’s perception of her, she was determined to live her life on her terms, and she was a successful businesswoman. She held true to what she believed to be the love of her life, and her heartbreak broke my heart on her behalf. I wanted so badly for Cora to have her happy ending and was devastated when I did not think she was going to get it. Cora was a woman who trusted God and was willing to let Him have his way with her life. I was so happy with how her life turned out and the decisions she made for herself.

Haley came home a lost, wounded, and lonely woman. I felt like her decision to reopen the wedding shop came out of nowhere, but once her heart was revealed it was so obvious God had his hand in her decision making. I longed for Haley to make true amends with her mother and to allow her heart to be opened to those around her. I felt Haley punished herself too much for the mistakes of her past. When she finally let go and let God show her forgiveness, it was such a turning point in this story. I wanted to leap for joy when the wedding shop finally opened, and all the pieces fell into place in only a way God could orchestrate.

The connection between Cora and Haley was one I would have never guessed. And I loved it! It was so perfect, and it made a great story just perfect. I also love with characters from other books show up in stories, so I was thrilled to see a few people and locations show up in this book (but that is all I am going to say without giving away any great secrets J )

Put this book on your reading list. It is a must read for sure!

Rachel Hauck is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestselling, and award-winning author.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.
She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel lives in central Florida with her husband and pets, and writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

Amazon  |  Nook  | CBD