Saturday, September 26, 2015


GOODBYE, HELLO by ALLYSON R. ABBOTT

Linda has lost her husband and now must face being alone. As she contemplates her life, she comes to a realization that even from the grave, her deceased husband is still in control. Linda is an unhappy person and has. Been for many years.  She is use to having her deceased husband direct her every move. How did she allow this to happen? What will she do to be her own person? Seems that things need to change or she will become a lonely widow with nothing to look forward to. Linda makes a plan and on her list is a much needed trip to a place she has never been. She jets off to Fiji and soon meets a man that shows Linda how a gentleman treats a lady. Will she find love ? Are there answers waiting for her to take control of her life?

The story is not just about romance but of finding yourself in the murkiness of your own life. It is not easy to break old habits.   The author does an excellent job of writing Linda's struggles as she transforms into a new person. I'm glad the author slowly developed Linda's many stages of grief. She goes through anger, guilt, denial and a sense of loss in a mature way. The emotions were raw and exposed a side that many of us go through when facing new challenges. The book is a short  read, but it is packed with laughter, tears and gives the readers a look at life and what their purpose may be. The theme was one of becoming strong, and overcoming the feeling of having no future. Perhaps after reading the book, readers may take a look at their own life and say hello to a brighter and happier future and goodbye to unhappiness and the thoughts that keep them  from living a life of fulfillment .

I received a copy of this book from Librarything for an honest review.

FINAL SENTENCE by DARYL WOOD GERBER

What a great way to start a new series with funny characters, a lovely new cookbook shop and a very famous celebrity chef.

Jenna has lost her husband in a tragic boating accident and decides she needs a fresh start. She finds herself at her hometown where she feels content with family and friends around her. The story focuses on Jenna  and her aunt opening a cookbook shop. The author does a superb job of using real cookbooks in her story which helps readers connect to the storyline.  After reading the vivid description of the new shop, it seemed to be a very inviting place to shop and get to know the locals of the town. For their grand opening, Jenna has lined up a very famous celebrity chef from the Food Network to make a grand appearance at the opening.

Desiree , the celebrity chef has it all. She is gorgeous, a fabulous chef and fame that others  envy. The town is all abuzz about her appearance . But alas, there seems to be an untimely muder about to take place. Who will be the victim? Why do certain people point accusing fingers at Jenna as the suspect? The character development is good and introduces readers to a quirky assortment of townspeople who will have you intrigued.

The author's choice to have the setting in a small town is a welcome treat . She describes the town and the people much like those from Mayberry. It gives the reader a sense of peace and tranquility. If you are looking for a light hearted book with fun characters, gossipy noisy townspeople and  a great murder mystery, this book is for you. I loved the banter between the characters and the drama surrounding who really committed the unthinkable crime. At the end of the book , the author has graciously included recipes and a snipet  of her next book in the series, "Inherit the Word." I look  forward to reading more cozy mysteries from this author.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review

Friday, September 25, 2015


REFUGE AT HIGHLAND HALL by CARRIE TURANSKY

Every once in awhile a reader will  come across a book that sweeps them  away to another era. They are so immersed in the story that they can't stop reading. This is one of those few books that captivates you from the beginning. This is the third installment of a breathtaking series called The Edwardian Brides series.

The story is set during WWI and we find one of the main characters, Penny coming to live with her sister and brother-in-law. She has her hands full with helping her sister with orphan children they have graciously opened their home to. At one point in the story we are introduced to Alex. He is a pilot for the British and is set to return to battle very soon. They become smitten with each other and they find it hard to say goodbye when he has to leave. Is true love awaiting them? Can their feelings stay strong even though they are miles apart from each other?


The descriptive details of Alex at war is so vivid you feel like you are in the fighter plane with him. You can almost hear the bombs as they explode around the plane and pierce your ears with the loud rumble the plane makes.
Even though Penny and Alex exchange letters during his time at war, she worries for his safety and the emotions are real and heartfelt . There are many dimensions to the story that keep the reader so intensely involved as the words flow effortlessly across the pages.

The author does  an amazing job of writing about the struggles  the characters deal with.  She  shares their true emotions  that come to life on the pages. I recommend this moving story to anyone that  loves a gripping storyline filled with conflict , hope , faith,  unforgettable characters and a book you will remember long after the last word has been read. This is one book that I will always cherish as it gave me a story that will forever be in my heart.

I received a copy of this book from the author for an honest review

Thursday, September 24, 2015



Reflections on a Plainswoman's Life
by 
Sandra Scofield




Frieda Harms was born into a farming family in Indian Territory in 1906. Widowed at thirty and left with three children in the midst of the Great Depression, she worked as a farmer, a railroad cook, a mill worker, and a nurse in four states. She died in 1983.
Sandra Scofield spent most of her childhood with her grandmother Frieda and remained close to her in adulthood. When Frieda died, Sandra received her Bible and boxes of her photographs, letters, and notes. For thirty years, Sandra dipped into that cache.

Sandra always sensed an undercurrent of hard feelings within her grandmother, but it was not until she sifted through Frieda’s belongings that she began to understand how much her life had demanded, and how much she had given. At the same time, questions in Sandra’s own history began to be answered, especially about the tug-of-war between her mother and grandmother. At last, in Mysteries of Love and Grief, Scofield wrestles with the meaning of her grandmother’s saga of labor and loss, trying to balance her need to understand with respect for Frieda’s mystery.

BUY LINKS: AMAZON ~ Texas Tech Press ~ B&N


Praise for MYSTERIES OF LOVE AND GRIEF

Throughout her depiction of her own family, Scofield kept me surprised—a moment of generosity when I didn't expect it or of anger when I didn't expect that. Mysteries remain as they must, but I trusted the insights as well as the mysteries. I thought it was a very beautiful book, smart and sharp.
Karen Joy Fowler, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves and The Jane Austen Book Club

Largely ungoverned by chronology, Scofield’s journey of discovery unfolds organically, true to the way memory works. Seeking to know her grandmother, she honors the lives and artistic bent of many women marginalized by gender and poverty in the early to mid-twentieth century. This is a unique and necessary work.
Lorraine M. López, author of Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories and The Darling








A native Texan, Sandra Scofield divides her time between Missoula, Montana, and Portland, Oregon. 



She has written seven novels, a memoir, and a craft book for writers. An excerpt from Mysteries of Love and Grief won first place in Narrative magazine’s 2014 Spring Story Contest. She is an avid landscape painter.




The book is about a woman named Sandra  who struggles with the loss of her grandmother who she was very close to. She discovers secrets that were kept from her and realized how hard her grandmother worked . Sandra had to endure many days where she was not allowed to see her grandmother because of family  arguments. As she tries to write her grandmother's story, you sense the hurt and grief she goes through. They shared a very strong bond and after her death, Sandra tries to put pieces of her grandmother's life into an order that would make more sense to her. The story is hard to read without feeling her sorrow and pain.




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THE POTTER'S LADY by JUDITH McCOY MILLER

I love books that take me back to another era. Judith has written a masterful story about a young woman named Rose during the late 1800's. She is excited to have  graduated from design school and has chosen to return home to be with her brother Ewan and his family . Rose discovers on their travel that Ewan has decided to buy a business. Once the decision is made to purchase the pottery place, the family is excited and is convinced that Rose will be a great asset to the company. With her design skills they know the will succeed.

But alas, the best laid plan don't always turn out the way we hope. The story is filled with   struggles, trying to start up a thriving company and betrayal from people who they thought were trustworthy. Some people get Freddy and try to destroy their business.   As it feels like the company is going under an opportunity arises that could save everything. They must stand strong and fight for their right to have a business that prospers.  The characters are well developed . Rose will find herself having to work very closely with someone in order for this opportunity to be successful. Will there be a spark  of romance between her and the employee she must work beside?

The story flows at a nice pace with life lessons for some. Is money the way to happiness? Will Rose find her true calling? Can God fulfill their needs and  help them  find  contentment ? The author does  an amazing job of taking readers back to a simpler life as she  breathes the freshness of a time period of long ago through descriptive words. She captures the era with an easy flow of words that paint a picture of a relaxed time and a story that captures the heart of a young woman who believes in herself. I enjoyed the story and I was sad it ended. It was such a heartfelt story thst I felt a peace surround me as the last word was read.

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House for an honest review.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


TOILS AND SNARES by ROBERT L. SLATER

This is a short  read, but does  a superior job of  telling  a gripping story of a family trying to survive an epedimic that is killing people everywhere. They decide to flee and hope to reach a place where they can survive . Sam loads up his pregnant wife and two children and head out for a place they once were familiar with. His oldest daughter Maria and her boyfriend follow in a vehicle behind them. The story moved at a fast pace and is well written.

The author does  a great job of showing the animosity from Anna, Samuel's wife to   Maria, his daughter from another marriage. Their conflict is a great addition to the story. This is not just a story of trying to survive , but of rebuilding relationships and forgetting about the past. As you read the book, you immerse yourself in the family's fight for survival as well as trying to rebuild a place to  feel safe. I loved the trials they faced as the author keeps you glued to the story with realism. Although the book ended rather abruptly, I am hoping for another book that follows these well developed characters.

I received a copy of this book from Librarything for an honest review.

THE QUEST FOR WELLNESS by MARK SHERWOOD


This book is filled with insightful tools to a better life. The book touches on all areas of your life and encourages you as you strive for wellness. There are many books out there about how to eat healthy, but this books gives details of how to make changes in your diet and overall health. It is time to   take back your life. As the book describes  if there is one area in your life that is suffering, it will cause everything else to suffer as well. One thing I learned was how to overcome stress and take charge over that area.

The keys may sound simple, but can completely change your entire lifestyle. You can start with moving around more, become more active and to do these simple things on a daily basis. This book also encourages you to read your bible ten minutes a day. What a great idea to enrich your body , mind and soul with the Word of God. I loved this quote from the book, " Health is not simply a matter of physical health. A person cannot be truly healthy unless he or she is healthy in emotions, intellect, and spirit."

The goal is to use your physical, emotional ,  intelligence  and your spirit to achieve success. The book helps you as it provides a journal so you are able to keep track of your achievements. Simple tools like eating better and getting at least seven hours of sleep are keys to help you in your Quest. The book is filled with many steps and I'm encouraged as I start this journey as I "Quest for Wellness."

I received a copy of this book from book fun.org for an honest review .

Tuesday, September 22, 2015


HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDES by RILEY LUCAS

I received a copy of this boo from Librarything for an honest review

The book talks about  ten famous deaths from David Carradine to John Lennon to name a few. Each section of the book is a small synopsis  of the famous person , their accomplishments and a description of their death. Some were ruled  as homicide, while others were ruled as suicide. The details were a bit brief as well as the way each of them died. It would have made a better book if more indepth details were given of each person's untimely death. The background on each famous person was short but gave you a quick look into their rise to stardom or the impact their death had on many.

There are still unanswered questions of the deaths of some the author talks about in the book.  Perhaps the background of some of the people or person responsible for  the famous people's death could have been examined a bit more. Overall it is a good but brief look at ten  famous people who died unexpectedly  and who will always be remembered.   It doesn't matter if you are famous or not, death can knock on a door at anytime.

MILLION DOLLAR MIRACLE by JENNIFER SZEWCZUK

I received a copy of this book from Librarything for an honest review.

Sam is a typical high school girl but has a bit of trouble following rules. She finds herself in detention more than her parents like. As she sat outside the principles office, she had a feeling this visit was not going to be a good one. After looking sternly at Sam, the principle decides that he needs to try a new tactic to get her attention. He assigns her to a hospital as candy stripper. To stay that she was less than thrilled would be an understatement .

The story moves fairly quickly and has a great theme of forgiveness and building friendships mixed throughout the story. The young man  named Christopher that Sam  encounters in the hospital,  is a mix of anger and hope at the same time. There is an urgency for Christopher  as he faces a life or death situation. He has been estranged from his brother for  over a year and perhaps the health issues Christopher is facing will bring them  back together.

The author does a good job of showing the dynamics and distance in Christopher's family as they come to terms with the diagnosis. Sam and Chris become fast friends and their relationship is a good , clean , healthy distraction for Christopher. It is a great story about teens who support each other as they learn to be more compassionate.
The story also shows us how the teens come together in a crisis and stand together to help Christopher as he fights to live.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


DEAN CORLL: THE TRUE STORIES OF THE HOUSTON MASS MURDERS

I received a copy of this book from Librarything for an honest review

 I rember seeing news reports about this heinous crime but never realized to what extent the victims suffered.  The book is very graphic in details of the torture of what  the young men were put through. It is hard to believe that anyone would be capable of such violent acts. As Dean was growing up, he didn't have a stable family life and seemed to be on his own a lot.  The more he was own his on, the more he was able to become a very vicious, but persuasive young man. He was known around the neighborhood as the "Candy Man." He passed out candy to young boys and lured them to his house. This started taking place in the 1970's , when some referred to that generation as the hippie generation. It didn't seem to strike the police department as strange that teenage boys were suddenly disappearing.

It always unnerves me to think that anyone would be capable of controlling someone else. Dean was a master at it. He was able to manipulate two young men to help him lure young boys to their eventual torture and death. Dean was good at controlling his little accomplishes with promises of cars and money. As the killings continued, the author talks about how the bizarre behavior and torture soon took on a thrill for the accomplishes .

Where were the police during this unexplainable event of missing teens? Some figured they had run away and didn't seem overly concerned about their safety. That must have been devastating to the families when they realized not much was being done to find their sons. I don't think we will truely know the depth of torture these young boys endured, but the author does a tremendous job in capturing those moments with precise details .

It seemed to all come to an end when one of the accomplishes , Wayne Henley, shot and killed Corll. He told the authorities it had been in self-defense. During his reign of terror , Dean  Corll tortured and killed at least 28 young men. It is possible that there were other victims. As the news spread, Houston was gaining attention as having the most grisly mass muder Texas history and the worst in U. S. history.

The book is well written and you can tell much research went into this book. It is a story that will not be forgotten. For the victim's families their nightmare will never end. As the police began to uncover bodies buried in the boat shed and other areas, it shows that there was no remorse or even feelings for these victims . I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys true crime. It is one of the best written, most precise account of a crime that is almost to hard to comprehend.