Friday, November 15, 2013

To Know You

Book Review

To Know Him is actually three stories collected into one book. Authors Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel do a stunning job of pulling the three stories into a coherent whole. It is also a tour of the country - from Dallas, to Los Angeles, to Boston and Colorado Springs – all in a private luxury jet and staying in five star hotels. It is a detailed look into a way of life most of us can only imagine. I truly enjoyed this “lifestyles of the rich and famous” tour.

This is a story of miracles. Real miracles of Biblical proportion. The authors do it in a way that is believable and not contrived. There are relationship miracles and healing miracles and redemption that could only be a miracle. It is book that will make you feel like you have just observed something holy and precious.

The characters are all memorable and I became genuinely fond of most of them. I found myself relating to them in personal ways. I loved Destiny. She was an amazing young woman and she made me laugh. I thought that Matt must be one of the finest men to walk upon this earth. I enjoyed Julia’s flawless style and loved her career as a criminal sidewalk artist. Jack and Hope/Chloe were obnoxious but they are part of the redemption story. And then of course, there is Dillon. Dillon was an angel in the form of a young, teenage boy.

Ethridge and Mackel have penned a book that I had to keep reading, even when I should have been accomplishing other things. It absorbed me and I absolutely had to find out how this complex set of problems was going to play out. And – of course – I do recommend this book; but if possible, set aside enough time to read the book in its entirety. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

Julia Whittaker's rocky past yielded two daughters, both given up for adoption as infants. Now she must find them to try to save her son.

Julia and Matt Whittaker's son has beaten the odds for thirteen years only to have the odds---and his liver---crash precipitously. The only hope for his survival is a "living liver" transplant, but the transplant list is long and Dillon's time is short. His two older half-sisters, born eighteen months apart to two different fathers, offer his only hope for survival.

But can Julia ask a young woman---someone she surrendered to strangers long ago and has never spoken with---to make such a sacrifice to save a brother she's never known? Can she muster the courage to journey back into a shame-filled season of her life, face her choices and their consequences, and find any hope of healing?

And what if she discovers in her own daughters' lives that a history of foolish choices threatens to repeat itself? Julia knows she's probably embarking on a fool's errand---searching for the daughters she abandoned only now that she needs something from them. But love compels Julia to take this journey. Can grace and forgiveness compel her daughters to join her?

In To Know You, Shannon Ethridge and Kathryn Mackel explore how the past creates the present . . . and how even the most shattered lives can be redeemed.

About the Authors

Shannon Ethridge is a best-selling author, speaker, and certified life coach with a master's degree in counseling/human relations from Liberty University. She has spoken to college students and adults since 1989 and is the author of 21 books, including the million-copy best-selling Every Woman's Battle series. She is a frequent guest on TV and radio programs and mentors aspiring writers and speakers through her BLAST Program (Building Leaders, Authors, Speakers & Teachers.)

Learn more about Shannon:

Kathryn Mackel is a best-selling author and acclaimed screenwriter for Disney and Fox. She was on the screenwriting team for Left Behind: The Movie, and Frank Peretti's Hangman's Curse. She is the acclaimed author of "The Surrogate", "The Departed", and "The Hidden" and resides in Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband.

Learn more about Kathryn:


Shannon Ethridge is celebrating the release of  To Know You (co-written by Kathryn Mackel), by giving away a $100 gift certificate to Lisa Leonard Designs and a personal coaching session, as well as throwing a Facebook Author Chat Party!


One winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 19th. Winner will be announced at the "To Know You" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 19th. Connect with Shannon and friends for an encouraging evening of fun chat, book club discussion, giveaways, and a chance to win a PERSONAL COACHING SESSION WITH SHANNON!

So grab your copy of To Know You and join Shannon on the evening of November 19th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER or Pinterest and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on 11/19!

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Book Review

Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher is part of the Where the Heart Lives series. Hatcher is a veteran writer of many novels and knows her craft well. The novel is a familiar pattern, part of the historical romance genre.  Yet, Hatcher has written a book that draws you in. Set in Boise City, Idaho, right at the turn of the 20th century, the male protagonist, Tyson Applegate, is the son of a wealthy owner of several silver mines. He walked out on his wife, Diana, a few months after they were married. Now he has returned, a changed man, who wants to convince Diana that he has changed and wants to love her. When I condense it like that the plot sounds worn-out and perhaps even boring.

This is where the skill of the author shows. Hatcher traces the path that Tyson went through to come to a decision to make things right. She writes of God’s redemption – how God can take a hopeless situation and bring healing. Hatcher has seamlessly blended the storyline, showing how Tyson’s rebellion hurt the individual (Diana); but also how his choices created a wider net of hurt that affected several other people.

The book is a testament to how God can take an individual who has committed horrendous wrongs and help him to relinquish control and allow God to guide his life. In contrast to the hurt Tyson caused, God changes everything to love, peace and joy. He blesses Tyson and Diana’s home over and over.

I do recommend this book. Even thought it is a bit predictable, it is a wonderful story. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

Diana is ready to begin a new chapter in her life—until the husband she believed dead reappears at her engagement party.

Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word from him in years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when Tyson returns, claiming to be a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom.

He agrees with one condition—she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

About the Author

Robin is the author of 65+ novels and novellas. Her home is in Idaho, where she spends her time writing stories of faith, courage, and love; pondering the things of God; and loving her family and friends.


Robin Lee Hatcher is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Belovedwith an iPad Mini giveaway! 
  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 15th. Winner will be announced November 16th at Robin's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin's blog on the 16th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Gunpowder Tea

Book Review

Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley is the third book in the series The Brides of Last Chance Ranch. It is a novel written about two private detectives, one with the fabled Pinkerton Agency and one with Wells Fargo. The story is set in 1897 in Arizona Territory. For the first part of the book, the plot seemed almost comedic.  Neither of the two detectives figured out that they were both private eyes searching for the same criminal, the Phantom.

As the reader, it seemed obvious to me that the two protagonists, Annie and Branch, should have been able to figure each other out. Instead they seemed to bumble along. Consequently, after about a hundred pages I was unprepared when the book morphed from a seeming comedy to an exciting story. I have to say, the climax of the book surprised me. The author kept the identity of the Phantom a secret and had me puzzled right to the end. It made for an exciting ending.

Brownley writes knowledgeably about life in 19th century Arizona. She described ranching life, the desert terrain and portrayed the sense of community in the small town of Cactus Patch. Her characters are marvelous, from the quirky Aunt Bessie, “the hello-girl” who lived in the town, to the “family” of complex characters who call The Last Chance Ranch home.

Gunpowder Tea is an interesting book with a surprise ending. I do recommend this book. I received Gunpowder Tea from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Purchase a copy of the book here.

About the book

In a case that could change her career, Miranda uncovers a love that will change her life.

When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom---an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.

But she isn't the only one at the ranch with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective
Jeremy Taggart is working undercover as well. Their true identities may be a secret, but it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the sparks flaring between them.
Neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn't removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they get to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets---and no one on the ranch is safe.

The longer Miranda and Jeremy spend working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers-and their lives-depend on solving this case. Love will just have to wait.

"In the exquisitely intriguing finale to her Brides of Last Chance Ranch trilogy, Brownley blends faith and romance with a dash of mystery to serve up a cozy, fulfilling story set in the Arizona Territory of the 1890s . . . .This enchanting account of the hardships and wonders of the Old West features many delightful characters. The story stands on its own merits, independent of the first two in the series, drawing readers into a world that is difficult to leave." 
---Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this---except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter at the time. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, "Maybe God's calling you to write fiction." So that's what Margaret did. She's now a New York Times bestselling author and a Romance Writers of America RITA finalist with more than 25 novels to her credit. Her first non-fiction book Grieving God's Way: the Lasting Path to Hope and Healing has won much critical acclaim. She is currently working on the third book in her Brides of Last Chance Ranch series. Not bad for someone who flunked 8th grade English. Just don't ask her to diagram a sentence.

Learn more at Margaret's website:


Margaret Brownley's latest release, Gunpowder Tea, is receiving high praise, and she's celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway and a "Tea with Margaret" Facebook party!

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at the "Tea with Margaret" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 7th. Connect with Margaret and friends for an evening of book chat, prizes, and get an exclusive look at Margaret's next book!

So grab your copy of Gunpowder Tea and join Margaret on the evening of November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 11/7!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Snow On the Tulips

Book Review

World War II has been a very literate period of time with both fiction and non-fiction publications. I have read several fictional offerings with a World War II setting and found most of them fascinating. The stories of sacrifice are amazing. Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma, is not an exception. I found the book riveting, right up to the end.

Cornelia was a young woman whose husband was killed on the first day when war broke out in the Netherlands. The story covers the few months just before the Canadians came in to liberate the Dutch state of Friesland. I think one of the main points of the story was the dichotomy between people who believed that a person should obey the state in all situations and those who believed that it is important to protect those that the state is abusing.

Cornelia’s brother-in-law, Piet, was a believer in always following the law and he went willingly with the Nazis to a camp. He did not even try to hide. Cornelia chooses to shelter and nurse a young man who was a Dutch resistor who survived a Nazi execution. The book gives a reader much to think about. I definitely came down on the side of those who were sheltering Jewish people and helping the Dutch Resistance.

Other than Corrie ten Boom’s story I have not read much about the Dutch during World War II so this was interesting. I had not realized that when Hitler’s Blitzkrieg rolled across the border the Dutch army rode against them on bicycles. Obviously, it was not a fair fight. I also respected the stubbornness and determination that the Dutch people exhibited, against all odds.

Snow on the Tulips is a book based on characters in the author’s family. It is a fascinating book, definitely worth reading. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The war is drawing to a close, but the Nazis still occupy part of the Netherlands. After the losses she's endured, war widow Cornelia is only a shadow of the woman she once was. She fights now to protect her younger brother, Johan, who lives in hiding.

Buy a Copy of the Book

About the Book

When Johan brings Gerrit Laninga, a wounded Dutch Resistance member, to Cornelia's doorstep, their lives are forever altered. Although scared of the consequences of harboring a wanted man, Cornelia's faith won't let her turn him out.

As she nurses Gerrit back to health, she is drawn to his fierce passion and ideals, and notices a shift within herself. Gerrit's intensity challenges her, making her want to live fully, despite the fear that constrains her. When the opportunity to join him in the Resistance presents itself, Cornelia must summon every ounce of courage imaginable.

She is as terrified of loving Gerrit as she is of losing him. But as the winter landscape thaws, so too does her heart. Will she get a second chance at true love? She fears their story will end before it even begins.

About the Author

Liz Tolsma has lived in Wisconsin most of her life, and she now resides next to a farm field with her husband, their son, and their two daughters. Add a dog and a cat to that mix and there's always something going on at their house. She's spent time teaching second grade, writing advertising for a real estate company, and working as a church secretary, but she always dreamed of becoming an author.

She'd love to have you visit her at


Liz Tolsma is celebrating the release of her novel, Snow on the Tulipsby giving away an Amazon Reading Pack to one lucky winner. Find out what readers are saying about the book here.


  One winner will receive:
  • A $50 Amazon gift card
  • Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 16th. Winner will be announced November 18th at Liz's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz's blog on the 18th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox! Just enter your email address on the left sidebar of her blog.)


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