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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

About the Book:

Pockets of Joy
Name of book: Pockets of Joy
Author: Roxane Battle
Genre: Non-fiction, inspirational
Release Date: September 5, 2017
“No matter your situation, you have a choice. I chose joy.” 
Roxane Battle was on television for much of her adult life. As a news reporter and anchor, she traveled the world and met notable people from Jay Leno to Mariah Carey to Prince. But shortly after landing her dream job in her hometown of Minneapolis, Roxane’s marriage fell apart. Every day was a battle to keep it together on camera while piecing her life back together at home as the single mom of eleven-month-old Jarod. At one point, broke and alone, dinner was a single chicken McNugget. With wit, dignity, and gripping detail, Roxane shares her story of intentionally looking for joy during this challenging chapter of her life. Her faith was the guiding force as she searched for moments of gratitude and found a lifetime of grace. She also includes secrets to spiritual, professional, and personal wholeness for today’s woman, with chapters on authenticity, service, generosity, gratitude, self-care, yielding, forgiveness, and more.
click to purchase your copy

About the Author:

ROXANE BATTLE-HEADSHOT 2016 8 x 11 fix5Author Roxane Battle is veteran TV news journalist well known in the Minneapolis region for her work as an anchor, reporter, and former co-host of the KARE 11-NBC Today show. She currently produces award-winning videos for corporate and non-profit clients through her company, Roxane Battle, M. A., LLC. Named an “Architect of Change,” Roxane is a contributor to mariashriver.comand has been featured in Working Mother, Ebony magazines, the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press. An entertaining and inspiring speaker, she is regularly called upon to address civic, business, and philanthropic groups. She’s recently been a keynote speaker at events hosted by the Girl Scouts, TeamWomen Minnesota, and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation. For more on Roxane Battle:
Twitter @roxanebattle

Guest post from Roxane Battle

What this book is about is the season in my life when I was on my own and overwhelmed with trying to put my life back together while I learned how to raise a child and navigate a demanding television
career. A working, divorced single mom. That was me. For years.
There were many days when I smiled in front of the camera and cried alone at night. During those years, my time in the wilderness, I learned a lot about myself.
I am now at a point when I am able, willing, and desire to share the very personal and intimate stories of how I found peace in the midst of my struggles. I discovered what I call pockets. Pockets of joy. The kind of joy that causes your eyes to mist and wash over the hurt. The kind of joy that catches you by surprise and for a moment makes you forget, if ever so briefly, that you ever felt pain. The kind of joy that, in some ways, cannot even be described.
It is my hope and prayer my story will enable others to grasp a piece of the kind of joy I’m talking about and allow it to stir the kind of hope within that can renew and transform.


If ever there was a time to find joy in my life it would be right now. With all the violence and hatred going on in the world, my life seems lonely and sad. I have been thinking about all the wrong choices I’ve made in my life and wondered how I could still be here. This book has been a lifeline for me. The author is straightforward and gets right to the heart of the matter. I enjoyed reading about her life as a single parent. It was refreshing to read how she struggled and shared openly how she had to do some soul searching and realize she made right decisions.

As I started reading the second part of the book, I felt like she was describing me. I wore those awful cat glasses in junior high and was nicknamed “Toothpick.” I hated going to school each day knowing I would be made fun of. I cried at night because I was called stupid and ugly by my parents. What I did was start believing all this and my joy disappeared for a very long time. “I know self-acceptance is tough, but it is also a paver on the path toward happiness. Being our authentic selves, however we get there, leads to joy.” What wonderful words that is to know that I can find joy just by accepting myself. How many of us have felt the pain of dealing with self esteem? It time to let that go and be happy with the way God made us.

Each chapter has such helpful words of wisdom and yes at times I cried but kept pushing on. I remember the chapter about forgiveness very well. I have struggled with that for years. I know it has held me back and kept me angry and depressed. No wonder I don’t have joy in my life. I have let what others have said and done to me squash my joy. I am encouraged by the authors words as I let go of my anger and take a step toward forgiveness. Along the way I forgot to find joy in having three amazing sons and a husband who shows me unconditional love. Thank you for writing a book that reached into the dark places of my life and showed me that there is joy waiting for me. I need to reach out and grab it and remind myself everyday that “joy comes in the morning.”

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.


In honor of her tour, Roxanne is giving away
Grand Prize Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition, in Pockets of Joy tote bag with Abba Jerusalem Frankincense pillar candle, and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book.
1st Place Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition, “You Are An Amazing Woman” (Abbey Press) mug, and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book.
2nd Place Package: Pockets of Joy, hard cover edition and commemorative Whitaker House/Anchor Distributors coloring book!
Click the link to enter!

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, October 26
autism mom, October 27
A Greater YesNovember 3
A Reader’s Brain, November 4
Splashes of JoyNovember 5
Mary Hake, November 6
Texas Book-aholic, November 8

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

About the book:

Official verdict: Suicide.
But why would that vigorous department chairman kill himself? To avoid disgrace? Those rumored ventures on the dark side? Some other secret life? Visiting professor Preston Barclay wonders. But his questions bring no answers, only anonymous threats. He has enough problems already, proving himself on a strange campus while radical faculty do all they can to undermine him. Worse yet, that sexy siren assigned as his assistant complicates his courtship of the beautiful Mara Thorn.
While Press keeps asking questions, Mara's research reveals a cancer of criminal activity that permeates the community and even the campus itself. The more Press questions, the more dangerous the threats against him become, and the more determined he grows to clear his friend's name.
But can Press and Mara's stumbling efforts prevail against the entrenched forces of the police, the campus radicals, and an unseen but powerful criminal organization that increasingly puts their lives in danger...?

About the author:
With a PhD in English literature (Renaissance), Donn Taylor taught literature for 18 years at two liberal arts colleges. Now retired, he has published suspense novels, mysteries, and poetry. His historical novelLightning on a Quiet Night was a finalist for the 2015 Selah Awards. He is a frequent speaker at writers' conferences. In a prior incarnation, he led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. He now lives in the woods near Houston, TX, where he writes fiction, poetry, and essays on current topics.
Find out more about Donn at


The more I read books from this author, the more I notice how detailed and complex his books are. The mystery within a mystery within a mystery in this story is nothing short of brilliance. It takes real talent to weave a tale such as this one and keep the characters all on the right path. I thought Barclay was on top of his game in this book. Coming back to teach for the summer after losing a friend is very hard. When that friend dies in the office you now occupy is even more complicated. 

Mara is back with her eye for detail and a sense of protectiveness for Barclay. He does have a way of finding himself in trouble even when he tries to steer clear of it. Mara really compliments Barclay’s personality and it helps the story flow with ease. The story is surrounded with rumors that Barclay’s friend killed himself. What I did find very intriguing was the way Barclay very cleverly inserted himself into investigating not only his friends death, but some very unsavory dealings going on in the town. 

This is one book that has everything I love in a mystery such as twists, greed, betrayal, danger, revenge and most of all a determined person to find the truth. I encourage mystery fans to grab a copy of this book and settle in for a thrill ride. . You are going to want to read this action packed book without stopping. Well done Donn Taylor. You have another hit on your hands. 

I received a copy of this book from LitFuse. The review is my own opinion.

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chantal | this chattanooga mommy saves
Stacey | Books,Dreams,Life

vicky | Deal Sharing Aunt

Debi | 2014 and Beyond!
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Andrea | The Young Girl Who Loved Books

Amy | A Nest in the Rocks
Steve | DocsDoins

Lena Nelson | A Christian Writer's Workd

Cassandra | Cassandra M's Place

Billy | Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
Deana | Texas Book-aholic
Amanda | Inklings and notions

Becky | Living Outside the Lines
Pamela | Daysong Reflections
Sue | Thoughts from Mill Street

Kelly | Simply Kelina
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Jennifer | Mother of Three
Lizzie | A Dusty Frame

Amanda | amandainpa

andrea | Two Points of Interest
Mark | Thoughts of a Sojourner
Julie | More Of Him
Kristie | Moments

Janelle | Milk & Honey Meadows
Kathleen | Reviews From The Heart
Marjorie | The Writer's Tool

Crystal | Our Perfectly Imperfect Life
Leah | As We Walk Along the Road
Rachel | EmpowerMoms
Nancy | sunny island breezes

Paphapin | Feeling in Red
Mindy | A Room Wihtout Books is Empty
Virginia | My Full Cup
Vera | Chat With Vera
Deb | Positive Grace
Lisa | seeking with all yur heart
Missica | Through the Open Window
Amy | Pause for Tales

Beckie | By The Book
Bethany | The perfect beginning
LeAnne | Rockin' My Mom Jeans
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Monday, November 6, 2017


What a wonderful Christmas novella the author has written. I loved the rich history she shared about the Civil War. Being out on the battlefield was hard and many lifes were lost. I could see the beautiful town of Nashville as she described the place where the lovely Rachel and her family resided at. It is hard not to like Rachel with her tenderness and compassion for others. I very much enjoyed the interactions between her and her sister . I did have to laugh a bit at Susan. She is a bit younger, but she sure does try to compete with her older sister.

James finds himself waking up with bandages on and in a strange bed. As he struggles to remember how he was hurt, his eye catches Rachel . I could feel in that one instant an electrifying glance between them. The author does a lovely job of developing their relationship. They each have trust issues that could prevent them from sharing their feelings for each other. I was very intrigued by the job James had. During that time period they didn’t have much to rely on for getting the news except for what the war correspondents were able to share. James was a very gifted artist and great with details.

I loved the way the author shared how the characters turned to God to show them their weakness and how they could always depend on Him. There is a part in the story that made me cry. I won’t share what it was, but I will say the author wrote the scene with such raw emotion I wanted to rush in and hug the person. When you can write a scene like that you have my admiration. Are you looking for a great Christmas story filled with history, emotions and exceptional characters? I highly recommend grabbing a copy of this book. Each story this author writes I come away with a feeling of warmth and contentment. Thank you for writing a story that stirred my emotions and gave me a glimpse into how important family is at the holidays .

I received a copy of this book from the author. The review is my own opinion.

My Heart Belongs in Castle GATE


My heart belongs in castle utah FB banner copy

About the Book

Name of book: My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah
Author: Angie Dicken
Genre: Historical Romance
Release Date: November 1, 2017
Schoolteacher Leanna McKee plans on leaving the coal mining town of Castle Gate, Utah, and never looking back. Good riddance to coal dust, rugged men, and the fatal mine that took her husband’s life.
Until the widow meets a widower who awakens her heart…and she finds herself inexplicably falling for miner Alex Pappas which stirs up a whole heap of trouble.
Alex’s Greek parents have arranged a more traditional match for him. When the schoolteacher’s association with the Greek family begins to anger the American miners, they threaten Alex and his family. Leanna has received an offer to teach elsewhere and feels she has no choice but to leave Castle Gate. . .though she will be leaving her heart behind.

Click here to purchase Angie's amazing book!

About the Author

Angie Dicken BioAngie Dicken is a third generation Greek American, the granddaughter of strong men and women who endured hardship to grow American roots. My Heart Belongs In Castle Gate, Utah is set near the birthplace of her grandfather, a Greek coal miner’s son, and published 100 years after his birth. Angie is a contributor to The Writer’s Alley blog and an ACFW member since 2010. She lives with her husband and four children in the Midwest where she enjoys exploring eclectic new restaurants and chatting with friends over coffee. You can connect with Angie at

Guest Post from Angie Dicken

My Publishing Story: A Journey of Perfect Timing

“Wait for the LORD;
Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.” Psalm 27:14
I wrote a story five years ago. My footing was finally solid on how to write, after a couple ACFW conferences and connecting with my bestie writing sister, Ashley. So in 2012, I poured my heart out within the parameters of what I’d learned.
The story I wrote stemmed from my heritage. From a very young age, I’ve been inspired by my grandfather. He was the son of a Greek coal miner who came over from Greece in the 1910’s. My grandfather always had wonderful stories to tell–he stirred up my intrigue for WWII era as he was a Purple Heart recipient (twice), and spoke of freeing concentration camps and invading Hitler’s homes; my grandfather lived a rags to riches legacy, having been born in a tent in a coal town, and then becoming a successful home and commercial builder–I declared I’d be an architect at age eleven…even majoring in Landscape Architecture in college.

My great grandfather, born in 1884 and immigrated to Utah in 1910's.
My great grandfather, born in 1884 and
immigrated to Utah in 1910’s.

Papou was one of my greatest heroes. And my novel was a tribute to him, to my Greek roots, to an American legacy.
So, at ACFW 2012, I took my novel to conference with more confidence than I had before. This story caught the attention of an agent– and I signed a contract with the Steve Laube Agency in November of that year. That was amazing…I chuckle now because the name of the room that I interviewed with Tamela was the “McKee” room–the last name of my heroine. A sign? Maybe. When she sent my story out for all publishers to see that next month, I thought my time for that book was just around the corner.
Now it’s 2017, and that story is under contract with a publisher as of Fall 2016.
What timing, right?
Why the heck did it take so long? Not for lack of trying. My agent and I took every possible measure.
Why did I get rejection after rejection, and write two other books in the wait?
What happened between then?
Only in looking back, do I see why I had to wait for this book. And when I look back, I realize just how much Timing is His and there’s nothing I can do to speed it up or make it mine. All I can do is take courage, and wait.
I’ll give you a quick recap of what happened between 2013–when the book was put in the proverbial drawer of unwanted manuscripts–and now, 2017, the year it will get published (um, after a few rewrites and edits–always learning…).
In looking back, this is what I see:
My Community was Built. I fell in love with my writer friendships. A bit dramatic? Maybe, but it’s the truth. I connected with ladies who knew my heart as a writer, and allowed me into their lives in an authentic, Christ-loving way. I found hope in the writing journey because my friends held my hands and rubbed my back when all seemed lost. And in this, I grew not as a writer, but as a heart. My heart became soft for the needs of others and the value of authenticity in this short, precious life.

There was a Pride Monster, and He needed to kill it. Oh, Lord, if ever there was a pride monster, it was me. My gut reaction in every rejection, every criticism, every other person’s success was a measurement against them according to me. Yuck. Do you know what the best way to kill a Pride Monster? Starve it. Even though I had my sweet friends and my agent encouraging me along the way, my heart was set on publication and I was not getting that. I wanted it so badly that I turned ugly when it seemed to slip through my fingers with every rejection. And I spiraled and I came up for air to those authentic friendships speaking Truth in love. God knew what He was doing when He built my community, and He knew He would use it to lift me up and tear down my ugly.
The Darkest Valley Was Ahead. Everything stood still in 2014. My personal crisis gave me little room for any true focus on my writing success. If anything, it made the effort seem petty. When you go through your days wondering if you’ll make it to the next morning without a complete mental breakdown, you can’t really dream. My dream in those moments was to crawl out of my skin and run away. This was not about my writing, this was about God’s faithfulness to someone who was losing faith–in the person she loved, in the life she constructed, in the heart that was broken. Looking back (I did climb up and out of this valley), I needed this valley walk (or crawl) to happen when it did–without a book on the shelf, without confidence in something that I had accomplished. I needed brokenness to become stronger and know that my strength has nothing to do with me.
There are several other moments and signs that I see as I look back, but I’m not going for the longest blog post of 2017, but I do want to share two sweet confirmations that the timing really is His.
First, I got a book contract! You know this, but, the contract came at a time when I had grown peaceful in the journey–the pride monster lay slain, and I picked up a pen and took an opportunity. My Oklahoma Land Run book with Love Inspired Historical won the Manuscript Matchmakers contest…and WAS coming out in Spring 2018.
I had secretly told those closest to me, that it would’ve been nice for it to come out in September instead…just because that’s when the book opens–September, 1893–the historical date of the Land Run.
So, what happens after I turn in my complete book a few days before its deadline? My editor tells me they bumped up my date to September of 2017. And I am sure, for them, it had nothing to do with the history, but for me, it was everything to do with the history–and His timing. Look for my debut novel, The Outlaw’s Second Chance this September!
There’s more…
My second contract came in! And this was a wonderful surprise. My agent and I had found out last spring that a new series was being launched based on geographical places around the U.S. I immediately thought of my Coal country story. So, I put together a proposal for a book I’d written long ago…and got a contract with Barbour this Fall for my novel, My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah.
But, the timing? November 2017 is my release.
God’s Timing in its finest…The book comes out during the centennial year of my grandfather’s birth. He was born in Dec. 1917 in Carbon County, Utah. My hero and my inspiration for this very book.
I just can’t stop smiling at the chance to honor my late grandfather with a story written by his third generation Greek American granddaughter who was inspired by his roots grown a century ago.
If only he could be here now. But I know he’s smiling, too.
A century.
It took a CENTURY.
Only by God’s grace, and His perfect timing.


What a pleasant surprise I had in store for me as I began the story. I loved the setting in Utah and found it to be quite intriguing. I especially liked the time period , but most of all I loved learning about the Greeks. The author has done an amazing job of sharing racism in America by opening my eyes to a culture I never thought of. The book is rich in Greek heritage and I could hear the laughter and fun in the background as they shared meals together.

Leanna is a woman who is trying to make it on her own. She has come to the small town to get away from her family. She is accustomed to the finer things, but her parents are hard to deal with. I loved how her faith really helped her make decisions that were difficult at times. There were a few times I did want to scream at her because she made things harder on herself. She was quite a mess at times by always making sure she doesn’t offend anyone. I wanted her to stand up for herself a bit more.

Alex was my favorite character. I loved his strong family values and his hard working ethics. As a Greek , he knew people in the town didn’t like him. His heart was heavy at times and I wanted him to find peace. It’s funny I have always thought we can’t help who we fall in love with, and this story really follows that thinking. Leanna and Alex definitely have an attraction to each other, but they both see prejudice working in the town.

The story centers on will the couple get together or not. For me this one was a bit different because of the minor characters that play such a key role in Leanna and Alex's life. There are a few that speak wisdom to them and others that share their heart. For all of us, we want to provide for our family and be happy. Will the town accept Leanna as she explores her relationship with Alex? Can Alex find a way to make his parents happy and find true love? This is one story that is a must read for everyone. It is rich in history, faith and reminds us that prejudice can happen to anyone.

“I pray that one day we will all see one another for our hearts and not our origins,”

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Blogger Program . The review is my own opinion

To celebrate her tour, Angie is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and a copy of her book The Outlaw’s Second Chance!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Blog Stops

Faithfully Bookish, October 31
Caffeinated Reads, October 31
A Greater Yes, November 2
Daysong ReflectionsNovember 2
Carpe Diem, November 4
Radiant LightNovember 5
Texas Book-aholic, November 6
Babs Book Bistro, November 7
Neverending Stories, November 9
Have A Wonderful Day, November 10
Pause for Tales, November 10
Mary Hake, November 11
Splashes of JoyNovember 11
BigreadersiteNovember 12
Vicky Sluiter, November 13
Bibliophile ReviewsNovember 13