Monday, December 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #274

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished the past few weeks:
I've gotten some great reading in lately! Loving getting all these Christmas stories read as Christmas rapidly approaches!

What I am currently reading:
Loving this (After glancing back through the series to remember what exactly happened with Azzan since it's been years since I read them)!

What I hope to read this week:
Pretty sure these are the last Christmas stories on my docket!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

All Things Now Living

About the Book
Her whole life Amy has been taught the people of New Lithisle deserve to die, but when she falls for Daniel, she determines to save him.
Sixteen years ago, the year Amy was born, a devastating pandemic wiped out most of the world's population. Now, a new disaster threatens the lives of millions, but Amy, like everyone else in her home of Old Lithisle, has accepted New Lithilse's impending doom as God's judgement.The people of New Lithisle did, after all, trade their souls for immunity to the swine flu virus by adding pig genes to their own. Then,on a scavenging trip with her father, Amy gets stuck in New Lithisle.When Amy meets Daniel, she begins to question how less-than-human and deserving of death he really is.

My Thoughts
I requested this book honestly on a random whim and didn't really know all that much about it. So as I began to read I wasn't sure what to expect. Sadly I couldn't seem to get hooked and a few things were a little off-putting for me. The characters were intriguing and the dystopian world was well done. The author definitely had a unique style and story and I can see how another reader's intrest could be captured it just wasn't for me.  There really was nothing wrong with this book and I seem to be in the minority of those who didn't love it. But with my schedule and TBR pile I just can't afford to spend too much time on something I'm not enjoying. Please though go check out some other reviews!

Meet the Author
Rondi Bauer Olson is a reader and writer from Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Her debut novel for young adults, ALL THINGS NOW LIVING, was a finalist in the 2012 Genesis Contest. She and her husband, Kurt, live on a hobby farm with three of their four mostly-grown children, along with a menagerie of animals including, but not limited to, horses, cows, alpacas, goats, dogs,cats, rabbits, chickens, and parrots. Rondi also works as a registered nurse and owns a gift shop located within view of the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Dangerous Illusions by Irene Hannon

About the Book
Trish Bailey is on overload trying to deal with a demanding job, an ailing mother, and a healing heart. When a series of unsettling memory lapses leads to a tragic death--and puts Trish under police scrutiny--her world is once again thrown into turmoil.
Detective Colin Flynn isn't certain what to think of the facts he uncovers during his investigation. Did Trish simply make a terrible mistake or is there more to the case than meets the eye? As he searches for answers, disturbing information begins to emerge--and if the forces at work are as evil as he suspects, the situation isn't just dangerous . . . it's deadly.
Bestselling and award-winning author Irene Hannon captures readers with a mind-bending story that will have them doubling back to retrace their steps--and figure out what they missed!

My Thoughts
This story was amazing! All of the twists and details were brilliantly thought out and executed. I never saw any of them coming and the ending completely shocked me. As things were revealed I found myself flipping back through the book disbelief discovering how subtly the author wove all the details in!
And in addition to the genius suspense angle the author also wrote some pretty amazing characters. I loved Colin and Trish and how well they fit together. I really appreciated the way Colin handled everything, he kept things absolutely professional when necessary but still found ways to be there for Trish. And I loved how he listened to her and didn't discount her thoughts and theories. Trish had a lot of things to deal with in a short amount of time but I admired the way she kept her head up and held on to her faith through it all. And I liked the fact that even though she had a lot of wealth at her disposal she never acted like it and instead chose to give back.
It was also really fun to have Mac McGregor (from Buried Secrets) as a secondary character and I smiled at the mentions of Cal Burke and Phoenix Inc. (from the Private Justice series)! I love when authors tie series together!
I loved everything about this book from the start until the very end and I was completely hooked through out, finishing in less than two days. If you enjoy a good suspense I highly recommend this book!

Meet the Author
Irene Hannon is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifty novels, including Buried Secrets, Thin Ice, and Tangled Webs, as well as the Heroes of Quantico, Guardians of Justice, and Private Justice series. In addition to many other honors, she is a seven-time finalist for and three-time winner of the prestigious RITA Award from Romance Writers of America. She is also a member of RWA's elite Hall of Fame and has received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews. Learn more at

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Books on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Christmas Stories

#1. Falling Like Snowflakes by Denise Hunter

#2. Cowboy Chrismas Homecoming Novella Collection 

#3. O Christmas Bree by Erynn Mangum

Review Books (Hopefully)

#4. For Love of Liberty by Julie Lessman

#5. Troubled Waters by Susan May Warren

#6. A Song Unheard by Roseanna M. White

#7. The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

Non-Review TBR 

#8. Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

#9. The Hesitant Heiress by Dawn Crandall

#10. A Twist of Faith by Pepper Basham

Monday, November 27, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #273

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished last week:
To say I adored both of these is a bit of an understatement! They were both absolutely amazing!

What I am currently reading:
Really enjoying this fun new release from Jen!

What I hope to read this week:
So excited for 2 new Julie Lessman stories and some Christmas novellas!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Monday, November 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #272

Hosted by: The Book Date

Here is what I finished three weeks:
Three amazing novels! Two series endings and one series beginning!

What I am currently reading:
I have a lull in review books so I dived into this book I've been dying to read! It's so good!

What I hope to read this week:
If I don't get any new review books I think this will be the next book from my TBR I'll be reading!

Hope you have a great reading week, thanks for taking the time to check out mine!
Leave your link below and I'll be sure to stop by!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Vanishing Point by Lisa Harris

About the Book
During Garrett Addison's first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She's the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common--a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.
The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies--number six--Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn't have what it takes to be an agent. What he'll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him--or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki's sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

My Thoughts
This book was amazing and I couldn't devour it fast enough and was picking it up every spare second. Despite a non-stop schedule I had this book finished in around 24 hours and it kept me up way later than I intend even though I was exhausted. I loved the three Nikki Boyd novels and the story of the Angel Abducter and what had happened to Sarah had intrigued me immensely. I loved getting to see the case from almost the beginning and even though I knew they wouldn't solve it for many years I was still on the edge of my seat as they chased down leads and raced against the clock. We got some answers in the previous books but with this one we got details in more of a first hand manner and we finally got the whole story with an ending. The story is spread out over the course of more than a decade picking up each time a girl was abducted and leaving off when the case began to grow cold. Initially I wouldn't expect that kind of writing to work but it did and it all flowed brilliantly. It never felt chopped up and it ended and began at the right times.
I really liked both Garrett and Jordan's characters. Garrett had his priorities straight and didn't let money change his values. Instead choosing the hard path that allowed him to actually do good in the world. He was that guy always quietly doing what needed to be done, seeing even unspoken needs, and never wanting any recognition for it. Jordan was extremely smart and hard-working, doing whatever necessary to get a job done. She was very focused on her job but she still had a close relationship with her family that I admired. They had once been in a serious relationship until the FBI called Jordan away and they slowly lost touch. The Angel Abducter case brought them together again but with Jordan living in another state they didn't really get the chance for anything to fully develop between them. But there were definitely moments and it was obvious to everyone around them that they were meant for each other. Unfortunately life and their own stubborness kept pulling them apart. And normally that would drive me a little crazy but the way the author did it made it make sense and it didn't even really bother me.
In short this book was fantastic, wonderfully written, and I absolutely loved it! This is technically Nikki Boyd #4 and I loved reading it after the first one but it also could be read stand-alone or even before the others. But that would take away some of the mystery from those stories. But regardless of what order you choose I just recommend that you go get your hands on them!

Meet the Author
Bestselling author LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent almost fourteen years working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to "speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves...the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice." (Proverbs 31:8)

When she's not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, October 27, 2017

CFRR 2017 aka The Best Day Ever

**I know this post is beyond late but life has been a bit busy! I almost had it all written less than a month afterwards but somehow it didn't save and I lost all but the first few paragraphs (which if you read this whole thing you'll see was a lot to lose). That was a huge discouragement and I just couldn't find the desire to do it all again. Insert a crazy amount of activities, forgetfulness, and whatever other excuses you can find and you'll have my reasons as to why this post is going up almost 4 months after the fact. But the fact that I still remember everything in such detail is a testament to just how awesome this event was! 
Last year I heard of this wonderful new event called the Christian Fiction Readers Retreat (CFRR). A
one day event for readers and writers of Christian fiction to spend together. It sounded too good to be true but since it was mid-week I knew getting the time off of work would be difficult and my finances weren't the best so I had to skip it. Afterwards I saw everyone's posts about it and it looked like an absolute blast. I knew I had do whatever it took to make it this year so when sign-ups opened up I jumped on it and reserved my spot. I was over the moon excited, the only grey cloud was that I wished my sister (and book bestie) Becky, was joining me, but we didn't think her schedule would allow it.
Months later, after the event was fully booked, she started a plan to come visit from TX and it ended up that she would be here the days I was at the retreat. Then a miracle happened, and four spots opened back up due to cancellations. I immediately sent her a text to call me. We talked, and after working out a few things with her schedule, she booked her spot. Now I was even more excited and the countdown began in earnest.
On Thursday night (at an ungodly hour) I picked Becky up from the airport and we crashed at our parents for the night. We didn't get a whole lot of sleep due to our excited gushing into the wee hours of the morning. We drug our sleep deprived selves out of bed then rooted around the basement for the books she'd had to store there, ran to a couple places that sold books, loaded up on McD's Sweet Tea (our road trip staple) turned the country music up loud (our road trip tradition) and set off on the 5ish hour trip to Cincinnati. The drive was pretty simple and we made good time.
After checking in we wandered around a bit trying to locate the elevator (we were a bit oblivious-lol). The kind Naomi Miller showed us to the one closest to our rooms and while she was giving us directions someone approached us. I thought she looked like Jen Turano but since she wasn't supposed to be there I dismissed it. However as she got closer she looked at me and said something to the effect of "I know who you are!" It WAS Jen Turano and she actually recognized me!! I think I was a little speechless-lol! She hugged me and we chatted a bit! And the whole actual day of CFRR she kept telling people how she named a secondary character in her A Class of Their Own series. Needless to say I was riding pretty high that night!
We played part of a round of Pandemic, grabbed dinner at Smashburger, finished our game, played Phase 10, then watched several episodes of House Hunters, mocking the people buying house. We headed to bed at that point but the excitement of what awaited the next day made getting to sleep a little difficult!
We got up a little after 7 and got ready to go. I was so hyped up that caffeine would have just been redundant! As soon as we were presentable, we gathered our books (to get signed), and headed down to registration. We joined the already long line and while waiting Melissa Tagg walked by, recognized me and actually stopped to give me a hug! After a few minutes of standing quietly I stepped out of my introvert self and said something to the lady in line behind us. It turned out to be the awesome Charity and we had a blast talking
while we were waiting our turns to register. After getting through the line (and getting our jam-packed swag bags) Becky and I found some seats in the middle of the room and started our fangirling as we spotted favorite authors around the room. We also took a quick look through our bags! Debby Giusti talked to us briefly and took a nice pic of us. Then a few minutes later Kristi Ann Hunter (we are both obsessed with her books) came up to where we were sitting and we got to say hi and she gave us her "Good Little Reader" stickers she was giving everyone who had read her books.
Things started to get moving at that point and Annie (one of the Stewards of the event) told us to find the candle in our swag bag and move into groups based on the title of your candle. Thankfully Becky and I had the same one, Currently Reading, and we gathered our stuff to move to the other side of the room. Somehow we ended up with front row seats and Pepper Basham was sitting next to me and Katie Ganshert was next to Becky!
Annie, Bonnie, and Carrie gave the official welcome, Debby Giusti led us in prayer and then the talented Nicole Coley led us all in worship. The perfect way to kick off this event!
Cynthia Ruchti was our first speaker and she had us all in stitches with her tale about the man she sat next to on the plane and the outlandish life story he had to tell. When she was done we played some games where authors from each group competed for team points. Some of them were a wee bit competitive and it was hysterical to watch. Speaker session two was supposed to be Becky Wade and Dani Pettrey but Dani couldn't make it due to health issues. She did FaceTime for a few minutes though and Becky did a great job! They had made a video diary of
sorts over the last year as they both worked on novels to give us a glimpse of the writing process from the beginning idea to finally having the finished copy in hand. They got us involved too by giving everyone a paper and each row a bag of M&M's. For each category, the color of M&M you got matched to one of the options given on the screen. I ended up with: Genre-Speculative, Setting-The Make-believe Land of Holly Brooke, Heroine's Profession-Innkeeper, Hero's Profession-Cowboy. From there we had to figure out what would bring the characters together and what each of their story goals were. And then we wrote a rough draft first sentence and lastly a rewrite of it! I'm no writer but it was still really fun and a clever way to get everyone engaged!
Immediately following that we went right into the first of the author panels. There were two consecutive panels both on the subject of  "Subtle Faith and the Change in Christian Fiction". Becky and I choose to attend the second one which was moderated by Pepper Basham. The authors on this panel were, Elaine Marie Cooper, Kristi Ann Hunter, Meghan M. Gorecki, Rachel McMillan, and Sondra Kraak. They discussed the two trains of thought between the loud and proud Christian message throughout the book and the more subtly woven in and maybe not straightout discussed route. There were points made for both sides and in the end I think we all agreed that we need both and it truly is a matter of what each particular story needs.
Once both panels wrapped up we broke for lunch but Annie made the caveat that you couldn't sit with the person you came with or were super close to so Becky and I had to split up. I made my way out of the room and stopped to say hi Sarah Baker, (who I can't remember how we first met but we've been friends of Facebook for a little while). While we were chatting Melissa Tagg came out and asked if we would want to join her for lunch. I of course said yes and we got in line together. Another girl was there, Reece, and we spent our time in line discussing Melissa's books, including an idea she had for a future story, and other aspects of writing. We got our food and made our way outside to find a table. As we got our seats another lady joined Melissa, Reece, and I, and then Melissa called Susan May Warren over to join us. What followed was one of the greatest hours of my life, getting to just sit and discuss books with two of my absolute favorite authors! We talked about their books, about authors they liked, and we even got to hear about what books will hopefully be coming soon from them! One of the absolute best parts was when Susie educated us on the difference between loincloths and breechcloths using a napkin as a prop. It was one of those had to be there moments but we we're all dying of laughter.
Lunch sadly came to a close and we all gathered back inside for worship once again led by Nicole Coley. Some more games were played one of my favorites of which was a guess that book game where the books were wrapped in paper and a few descripters were listed. The authors then had to try to guess which book was inside! It was clever and entertaining!
Shelley Shepard Gray was our third speaker of the day. My favorite part of her talk was when she was telling us about a character that was refusing to follow the original writing plan and after sharing her frustration with her husband he replied something to the effect of, "Shelley honey you made her up you can make her do whatever you want her to!" It cracked me up and has stuck with me and often makes me smile when I think of it!
Next came the author speed chats. We split up into groups of ten or so and authors would travel from group to group spending a few minutes talking and/or answering questions. Then Annie would call out and they would switch groups. The authors participating were: Becky Wade, Carrie Turansky, Dana R. Lynn, Dawn Crandall, Elaine Stock, Katie Ganshert, Laura Frantz, Rachel Hauck, Ruth Logan Herne, and Gabrielle Meyer. It was a really fun way to get to connect with a lot of authors in a short amount of time! When we ran out of time we had a brief snack break then the second set of author panels.
The first was "Merging the Imaginary and the Real Worlds" with Ann H. Gabhart, Gabrielle Meyer, Karen Barnett, Susan Anne Mason, and Tracy Lyons.
The second, which Becky and I attended, was "Book Boyfriends" with Courtney Walsh, Melissa Tagg, Dawn Crandall, Shelley Shepard Gray, and Susan May Warren and moderated by Melony Teague. This was one of the absolute highlights for me,  not much better than discussing heroes with the people who created them! Shelley shocked and amused us all, talking about her Amish hero who had been in prison and the one scene with him in his heroine that had Susie remarking "Maybe I need to read more Amish fiction!". Susie talked about how when she creates a hero she figures out  the lie he believes and the truth that sets him free. As I thought about it I could clearly see that theme in all of her books (and I have read them all) but it's so versitile that it never feels redundant. Melissa of course talked about Logan (I would have been disappointed if she didin't)! And Courtney and Dawn talking about two of their heroes had me immediately going to the bookseller to by their books! Seriously it was so much fun fangirling about heroes with the authors!!
Everyone gathered back together for one last time of worship and the final round of games. Our group, Currently Reading, won which meant we each got a book! Since Becky and I were in the front and super fast we managed to snag copies of An Inconvenient Beauty by
Kristi Ann Hunter which wasn't even going to release for a few weeks! And my copy got to be the first of this novel that she had ever signed!
There was also a bit of a fashion show where several authors dressed up in period costume from the time periods their books were set!
Annie and Carrie wrapped things up and people who had signed up for personal prayer found their groups and for the rest of us author signing began! It was awesome being able to chat for a few minutes with so many authors whose books I absolutely love and I got to get pictures with almost all of them! Several of them recognized me from my blog or Facebook and it was the coolest thing ever! Getting to meet someone you greatly admire and having them know who you are-best feeling ever!

After Becky and I got all of our books signed we were kind of just standing around and almost went back to our room but for some reason we deceided to stick around a little more and boy am I glad we did! I went to use the restroom and when I came out Becky told me that Charity (who we had met in line at the beginning of the day) invited us to join her, Kristi Ann Hunter, and some others out for dinner! Of course we said yes and after a bit of coordinating we dropped our stuff off in our room
then went back to the lobby to meet up with the super sweet Kat who had offered us a ride. We all got to the resturant, LaRosa's Pizeria, and there were 11 of us in total. It was me and Becky, Charity, Kristi Ann Hunter, Dawn Crandall, Debra E. Marvin, Winnie Thomas, Denise, Jessica, Sarah, and Kat. We had such a fun time and had the most fantastic server that handled our craziness like a pro! After dinner we loaded back up into the cars and went to United Dairy
Farmers for ice cream! All of us were a bit sleep deprived and may or may not have been a little giggly and loopy! We finally took pity on the poor employees and went back to the cars saying our goodbyes before we all headed in different directions. When we got back to the hotel I figured we'd just head to bed but as we passed the hotel resturant we saw Jen Turano with a bunch of ladies and they invited us to join them. We got to have some awesome conversations and meet even more people including Rebecca and Michaela. We all finally admitted our various states of exhaustion (I'm pretty sure it was either close to midnight or beyond at thie
point) and Becky and I headed back to our hotel room. We were both beyond tired but I was still riding high from everything that had happened and it took me forever to fall asleep.
We got up bright and early, got ready, packed up, checked out, got gas and sweet tea, and began the road trip home. The whole way we kept discussing everything that had happened the previous day and already started making plans to attend CFRR 2018! To say that it went above and beyond our expectations is a great understatement and this day will forever go down as one of my favorite days ever! I can't say thank you enough to all those who worked so hard to make this event a reality!