Saturday, October 17, 2015


MIND OF HER OWN by DIANA LESIRE BRANDMEYER

What a treat this book was. The author has captured a story that intrigued me so much I read the book in one day. It is very well written with great characters. The story is about Louisa Copeland, mother to three children and her husband Collin who is a very successful attorney. Louisa is almost to perfect of a housewife. She keeps things in perfect order and always has wonderful meals for the family. But not all is well between Louisa and Collin. They seem to be drifting apart and the perfect family life is not so perfect after all.

One day Louisa is preparing to make grilled chicken. She reachs high up in the pantry when Bam! It seemed to happen so fast, first she was grabbing for the grill and then finds herself in a hospital room with a strange man staring at her. Everyone keeps calling her Louisa and she is confused. Her name is Jazz and she writes inspirational stories and lives in Florida. What a dilemma she has gotten herself into. The doctor explains that she has a concussion and has temporarily lost her memory. Louisa is not happy when she finds out she is going home with this stranger who insists he is her husband.  The adventure is on as two people try to re establish their relationship and bring their family back together.

The author has written such a charming story with laughter, tears, hope and secrets that could change everything. Will Louisa get her memory back ? As she tries to find her way back home , will Louisa and Collin fall in love all over again?  When a hidden memory is revealed what impact will it have on Louisa? As I read the book, it made me think how precious life is and how we are all guilty at times of taking someone for granted. Thank you for writing such an inspiring story filled with a lesson we all need to be reminded of. Sometimes we need to appreciate what we have and cherish those moments more. What a sweet story that is written with compassion and second chances.

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

Friday, October 16, 2015




FINDING THE GREAT WESTERN TRAIL

by
Susan Gann Mahoney

published by 







The Great Western Trail (GWT) is a nineteenth-century cattle trail that originated in northern Mexico, ran west parallel to the Chisholm Trail, traversed the United States for some two thousand miles, and terminated after crossing the Canadian border. Yet through time, misinformation, and the perpetuation of error, the historic path of this once-crucial cattle trail has been lost. Finding the Great Western Trail documents the first multi-community effort made to recover evidence and verify the route of the Great Western Trail.

GRWSTRNTRL.jpgThe GWT had long been celebrated in two neighboring communities: Vernon, Texas, and Altus, Oklahoma. Separated by the Red River, a natural border that cattle trail drovers forded with their herds, both Vernon and Altus maintained a living trail history with exhibits at local museums, annual trail-related events, ongoing narratives from local descendants of drovers, and historical monuments and structures. So when Western Trail Historical Society members in Altus challenged the Vernon Rotary Club to mark the trail across Texas every six miles, the effort soon spread along the trail in part through Rotary networks from Mexico, across nine US states, and into Saskatchewan, Canada.

This book is the story of finding and marking the trail, and it stands as a record of each community’s efforts to uncover their own GWT history. What began as local bravado transformed into a grass-roots project that, one hopes, will bring the previously obscured history of the Great Western Trail to light.


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Sylvia Gann Mahoney was an educator for thirty-three years at community colleges in Texas and New Mexico as an administrator, teacher, and rodeo team coach. She became involved with the Great Western Trail project through her involvement in the Rotary Club of Vernon. She now lives in Fort Worth











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THE BISHOP'S SON by KELLY IRVIN

I love Amish stories and was thrilled when I received a copy of this book. I have read the author's previous book in this series, so I anxious to see how this story would flow. The story is about two young people that each face a decision that causes change in all areas of their life. Leila will find that two men have captured her heart. Who will she go with? Sometimes when we are in love, we don't see their flaws. We try to ignore them and subsequently our decision can have consequences that will be hard to overcome.

What if you were The Bishop's son and you felt your faith wavering ? Would you seek guidance or walk away? Jesse will make that difficult choice and many others . The story weaves through the trails of making hard decisions and waiting on God to direct their path. Do we wrestle with waiting for an answer from God? I won't tell you what the characters decide, but I will say that the author tackles difficult subjects with wisdom that keeps the reader glued to the story.

Take a journey to The Amish of Bee County as these young people make choices that may not be right, but they know that they have family, the community and their faith to guide them.

I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild group which I am a member of for an honest review.

THE GIRL FROM THE TRAIN by IRMA JOUBERT

The story will capture the very essence of superb storytelling from the first page. We are taken to a scene where a young girl, Gertl Schmidt courageously escapes from a train bound for Auschwitz. The train is in a course of disaster due to Jakob who has planted a bomb directly under the bridge where it will cross.  Jakob is part of a movement called "Home  Away." The story gripped me from the beginning as I got so engrossed  that it  kept my heart racing . These two characters by their actions will become involved in something that will change their future.  Will their decisions have bad consequences? Can they find a better life ?

It is a story with many dimensions such as love, hope and pain that will impact many. The author does an amazing job of telling the history of this era and describes in vivid detail the land where most of us have only read about. Gertl will find herself in South Africa where prejudice is rampant and heartbreaking. It is hard to read about this unjust way of life, but the author writes it with such beauty and depth. We get a glimpse of what war was like and how it can destroy even the most innocent. The characters in the story will experience pain, suffering and withstand many difficulties as they find love and hope that endures them on their quest . It is not a book that you will want to put down. This will be one story I will not forget .

I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild groups which I am a member of for an honest review .

THE DAUGHTER's OF JIM FARRELL by SYLVIA BAMBOLA

At one time the Farrell's were a very wealthy family with impeccable standing with the high society. They were well respected and invited to all social gathers. That changed one day when Jim Farrell was hanged for murder. Their life turned upside down  and the daughters were determined to prove their father was innocent. After much discussion they hire a Pinkerton agent to prove their father's innocence.  Will this detective be able to prove that their father was hanged  for a crime he did not commit?

As each of the three sisters are introduced into the story , we find each one with their own turmoil of dealing with their  fall from high society and the death of their beloved father. The town would whisper as they saw the family and made the sisters feel unwanted and perhaps a bit ashamed. The author does  a great job of describing the coal mines. The men and even young boys worked  hard in the mines for little pay. The work was extremely dangerous and a disaster hits the mine one day. Who will perish in this accident?

What secrets will be uncovered as the agent continues his investigation? As you meet each sister in the story you come to enjoy their different personalities and total commitment to clearing their father's name. I loved getting to know the sisters and read as they each discover their hopes and dreams. The author has written a very good mystery that had me guessing till the end. I will be looking for more books from this author to read and enjoy her great stories that come  to life.

I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


THE CHRISTMAS JOY a RIDE by MELODY CARLSON

Joy Jorgenson who is eighty-five has decided to move to Phoenix to be near her sons. Her friend and neighbor Miranda, helped Joy do a blog called Christmas Joy. There were a lot of entries, but they were able to narrow it down to six very lucky winners. As Joy prepares for her trip in a RV , she is able to convince Miranda to join her.

Off they go down the road to bring Christmas to some well deserving people. The story is a great read filled with characters that are humbled by the kindness of Joy. At each designated stop, Joy has meticulously prepared just the right items to bring a smile to those who haven't smiled in awhile. She has Christmas cookies, decorations, and special gifts for each stop. I loved reading the book that was such a heartwarming story. It helps us to remember that kindness goes a long way. Sometimes we get so busy during the holidays we forget that there are some who can't afford Christmas or don't celebrate it  because of a tragedy that happened.

If you are looking for a feel good Christmas book, you won't be disappointed in this one. Each person who was selected to win the prize from Joy's blog contest will get you in the holiday mood. It is a great reminder that everyone needs a little joy in their life.

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

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


SURRENDER TO LOVE By MARYANN DIORIO

Get ready to take an emotional journey as the story shows  us how healing from loss can bring a new beginning. Teresa is having a hard time getting over the loss of her husband. It has been five years and still she clings to his memory. She works as a life couch and then comes home to think about her husband and the memories she cherishes of him.  One day Teresa gets  an opportunity to go to Puerto Rico to help a young girl named Pilar. Her dad is desperate to help his daughter who grieves for her mother.

Teresa is hesitant to go because she doesn't want to leave her home and is trying to overcome her own emotional turmoil she is having. Her mother tells her, " There comes a point when you have to let go of the past if you want to live in the present and have hope for the future."

Teresa decides to go to Puerto Rico and see if she can help Pilar. Marcos,  who is Pilar's father is anxious for Teresa to arrive. His daughter has been unhappy for a long time. It seems she has always blamed herself for her mother's death. Tragically her mother died giving birth to Pilar and the child has carried this guilt for so long, that she can't forgive herself.

I loved how the author used similar situations in each of the characters to show how God can help you overcome loss and open your heart to love again.  The story moved at a fast pace since it is a short book, but it has such good values to be learned while reading the story. Isn't it just like God to place people in your path who are going through similar heartaches. The loss of a spouse or parent can be difficult, but when we learn to let go we are able to move forward. The author does a good job of showing when you step out and trust God , he is there to help you and guide you. The book is packed with healing, forgiveness , letting go and learning to love again.

I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015




I HATE PINATAS
Surviving Life's Unexpected Surprises
A Memoir

by 
Heather Maloy






Heart surgery doesn't happen in a vacuum. This is what Heather Maloy learned first-hand when her son, Colman, was diagnosed in utero with a combination of congenital heart defects which are fatal without surgical intervention. I Hate Piñatas is a compelling story of hope and strength that vacillates between heartbreaking and outrageously funny as Maloy takes you through what three heart surgeries in three years looked like for one family. 

Author's Note: I Hate Piñatas is not an inspirational book, but rather a true and honest account of what we went through as a family. In my quest to keep it real, there are curse words contained within the story. However, it's my hope that this book will leave you feeling inspired.



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Awards won by I HATE PINATAS
  • 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards' Gold Medalist - Best Adult Non-Fiction E-Book
  • Honorable Mention in the 2015 San Francisco Book Festival
  • 2015 Indie Excellence Awards' Finalist - Memoir.

Kirkus Review

Maloy bares her heart (and sometimes her teeth) in an honest debut that’s both snarky and sweet.
It’s hard to imagine that a memoir about a baby with a rare heart defect could make readers laugh. But that’s what “Crazy Heart Mama” Maloy’s blunt South Texas voice does. Sometimes her irreverent humor feels more like whistling in the dark; e.g., when first finding out that something could be wrong with her baby, she sadly wonders if he’ll be a “bobblehead.” Other times, her gritty humor is a pressure valve releasing stress, albeit in a juvenile way, such as when she felt like telling her mother-in-law to “go eat a giant bag of dicks.” And there are a few startling admissions; for example, when sick baby Colman wouldn’t sleep, she almost called him a “little fucker.” But honesty is the beauty of Maloy’s to-the-point voice. What sleep-deprived mom hasn’t fantasized—even with a healthy baby—about handing her screaming bundle of poop to somebody else for eight hours? The fact is that when Colman was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome and a leaky valve, Maloy rolled up her sleeves and became his biggest advocate. Describing Colman’s condition as being born with “half a heart,” Maloy adroitly details the excruciating choices she and her husband had to make. None of the options were good. The author’s brusque voice may make some readers flinch—at times, even her family thought she was cold—but there’s no doubt that she dearly loves her son. Whether it was caring for Colman’s bloody hernia, being covered in projectile vomit, or waiting through surgery during which her baby would be clinically dead, Maloy’s well-written, heart-rending story spares no detail.
A heartbreaking, inspirational account.


Heather Maloy works full-time as a court reporter in district court and writes sporadically on her blog, Crazy Heart Mama. 

She lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, three boys, and their dog Buster, who doesn't seem to mind that none of his people are dog people.




By Deana Dick

The joy of finding out you are pregnant is short lived when Heather and her husband receive devastating news. Their baby that they have been so excited to have has been diagnosed with HLHS in utero. The shock and disbelief is overwhelming. Every moment, everyday, every decision depended on the fast action done to save this precious child's life.  Heather was ready to fight and became well informed about the illness. She would not take no for an answer. She wanted results and through her research and commitment the best physicians were found to help save their child.

The baby, Colman is a fighter and I cannot even comprehend the tests, the surgeries and setbacks this family faced everyday. I was emotionally drained as I read the book, but I couldn't put it down. Heather wrote with brutal honesty , the daily struggle Colman  went through. I loved her candor and fierce spirit as her and her husband began a journey that no parent wants to face. Some may say Colman had hurdles to face, but in reality they were huge mountains that were tough to climb. The strength of this family is a testament to their unconditional love for a child who some didn't think would make it. Her in-laws didn't seem to be much help and at times I almost hoped they would leave the room so Heather wouldn't be so stressed out.

This book is a very hard book to read without becoming sad, angry and hopeful . I loved what Heather wrote and I think it is a perfect way to end this review. " I wasn't so sure I'd outlive Colman anymore. He chipped away chunks of my life expectancy with one crazy stunt after another , and I didn't see that changing anytime soon. All I could do was make the most of everything and enjoy this life while it lasts. One heartbeat at a time."
I received a copy of this book from Lone  Star BookBlog  Tours for an honest review








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EXPOSING GOD AMIDST THE CHAOS by JAMES BARS

The book is a short read that explains the importance of having a clear understanding of who God is. How you perceive Him can affect your well being  and ability to stand strong against the enemy. We need to have the mindset that He is loving , caring and forgiving at all times. Who better to have on your side, than the One who gives us grace .

The authors encourage us to "focus on the simplicity of following Jesus toward home."  Harmony should be a way of life for us, not discord which causes chaos. The enemy would love for us to continue in strife but we know the truth. We do have choices and are free to make them. God has forgiven us and we make the decision to accept Him or turn our back on Him.

Throughout the book we are given scriptures that show us a loving God who wants the best for us. We may struggle in areas, but He is always there to comfort us. The last chapter in the book is filled with scriptures that show God's promises. I encourage everyone to read those scriptures, meditate on them and know that you can "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your  paths." Proverbs 3:5-6

I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.

Monday, October 12, 2015


STEALING JAKE by PAM HILLMAN

What a refreshing story to read from a new author to me. I loved the story from beginning to end. We meet Livy, also known as Light-Fingered Livy. She is hoping thst her past can be left behind as she starts a new journey. The story is set in the 1870s right outside of Chicago. There is much to take in as she looks around her at this town. It is almost like chaos as street children run loose with little to no supervision.

Livy knows some of the mistakes she has made and hopes thst she can turn her life around. We all do things we regret, but isn't it nice to know that we can be forgiven ?  Her heart is filled with compassion  for these children who don't seem to have a very healthy  life. Can Livy help these children?

Jake is the deputy of this town and is very strong willed and determined to keep everyone safe. I don't think he had much patience for these children. There are many tough subjects the author tackles in this book with a gentle spirit. It is not easy to talk about abuse, shame, unforgiveness  and working conditions that are painful and hard to overcome. The characters are written with an ease of confidence and a longing to forget their past. They both will come to realize that God has forgiven them and they can hold their head up high.

Overall the book is very entertaining and keeps the reader interested throughout the book. I loved how the author was able to take readers back to an era with the whisp of descriptive words thst placed you among the characters. I look forward to reading more books from this author who captured the spirit of the late 1800s in a delightful story.

I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review

HAND ON THE LINE by STEVE WISNIEWSKI

The title suggests that this is a book for men to challenge them. I agree with the author that is a book that will challenge you but it is not just for men. It is a powerful testimony of how Steve overcame many obstacles that changed his destiny. After reading this book, I felt encouraged, energized and thankful that I was blessed to have the opportunity to read a thought provoking book.

Steve has played for the Oakland Raiders and was" once known as NFL's dirtiest  player in 1997." He has decided to retire from a sport that he loved and was very good at. As we step out in faith and trust God , we need to remember that he has our best interest at heart. On page 44  it says, "He is the only one who knows all your secrets and still loves you perfectly." Isn't that encouraging?

It's time to plunge in and get lost in his presence. We can't sit on the sidelines hoping to get called in. Each of us needs to take a bold step and fully commit to Jesus. I loved the author's example of being "on the line" at a football game. The players that are on the front line are there to protect to quarterback and defend their team. We need to have that same mindset. Each of us need to be on the front line ready to defend the truth and not be afraid to get a little dirty.

What an encouraging and insightful nuggets of truth the author has shared. At the end of each chapter is questions for you to continue in your growth. He gives credit for all his achievements to the blessing of God. It took hard, strenuous work, dedication and no regrets. At the end of the book is a powerful prayer that Steve Wisniewski wrote. I encourage you to read it and  take it in as the words speak of hope, love  and a life that blesses Him and others.

I received a copy of this book from The BookClub Network for an honest review.