Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in Early America
by Elaine Marie Cooper

When we sit down at our Thanksgiving meal this month, we’ll be recreating a celebration that is as old as our country: sharing food with loved ones while thanking the God Who has provided the abundance.

While we understand that the First Thanksgiving was celebrated here by the Mayflower survivors along with the Indians that had helped them, the first official proclamation that was decreed to celebrate such a holiday was in 1777. It was a recommendation to the thirteen states by the Continental Congress to set aside December 18th that year as a “solemn thanksgiving” to celebrate the first major victory for the Continental troops in the American Revolution: the Battle of Saratoga.

The Battle of Saratoga has significant interest for my own family since one of my ancestors was a soldier there. But he was not on the American side—he was a British Redcoat. After surrendering to the Americans, he escaped the line of prisoners and somehow made his way to Massachusetts and into the life and heart of my fourth great-grandmother. *SIGH* L’amour!

This family story was the inspiration for my Deer Run Saga that begins in 1777 with The Road to Deer Run. There is an elaborate Thanksgiving meal scene in this novel as well as in the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run.

Some may wonder why such detail was afforded this holiday in my novels set in Massachusetts, while Christmas is barely mentioned. The reason is simple: Thanksgiving was the major holiday in the northern colonies, with Christmas considered nothing more special than a workday. According to Jack Larkin in his book, The Reshaping of Everyday Life, “The Puritan founders of New England and the Quaker settlers of Pennsylvania had deliberately abolished (holidays) as unscriptural.”

But Thanksgiving was begun as a way to give thanks to God for His provision. It usually began with attending church services in the morning, followed by an elaborate feast in the afternoon. The food for this meal was prepared for weeks in advance.

Since the individual state governors chose their own date to celebrate the holiday, it was theoretically possible for some family members—if they lived in close proximity—to celebrate multiple Thanksgiving meals with family and friends across state borders. The dates chosen could be anywhere from October to December, according to Dennis Picard, Director of the Storrowton Village Museum in West Springfield, Massachusetts.

Chicken was most commonly served, said Picard, as it was readily available in the barnyard. And the oldest woman in the home had the honor of slicing the fowl for dinner.

Pies were made well in advance of the holiday and stored and became frozen in dresser drawers in unheated rooms.

“I like the idea of pulling out a dresser drawer for, say, a clean pair of socks, and finding mince pies,” said Picard, tongue in cheek.


Have a BLESSED Thanksgiving!

Author Bio

Elaine Marie Cooper grew up in Massachusetts but now lives in the Midwest with her husband, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandchildren who are now one years old. The Promise of Deer Run is dedicated to the triplets and to veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years, and is a regular contributor to a blog on the Midwest called The Barn Door (www.thebarndoor.net) and a blog on Christian living called Reflections In Hindsight (http://ReflectionsInHindsight.wordpress.com ). She is the author of The Road to Deer Run and the sequel, The Promise of Deer Run. Prior to becoming an author, Elaine worked as a registered nurse.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Nov 21, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 

Currently reading:

Books up this week:

Bathroom Book:

Books finished last week:
Promissory Payback by Laurel Dewey
Unrevealed by Laurel Dewey
Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

Books reviewed last week:

Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

New Baby Pics!

I thought it was time to show off some more pictures of my granddaughter!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop (Nov 17 - Nov 27)

This is a hop to thank all my followers over the last couple of years.  I cannot believe that I am almost at 1000.  I am thinking about doing a giveaway after I reach 1000, so if anyone has any ideas for a good giveaway (keep it reasonable folks), let me know.  It is being hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer  and All-Consuming Books.

I am giving away an ARC of Iron House by John Hart for this Hop.  All you have to do to enter is be a GFC follower and enter the info in the rafflecopter form.  This giveaway is only open to U.S. though.  Sorry - things are tight around here and I can't afford to send outside U.S.

There was nothing but time at Iron House.  Time to burn, time to kill, and time for Michael to emerge strong and unforgiving while his brother, Julian, became a tormented soul at the orphanage for boys.  Two decades later Michael returns to North Carolina with a sentence on his head, the mob in hot pursuit, and his disturbed brother in trouble of a different kind.

One man destined to break the chains of his fate. . .

Iron House is a tour de force narrative of loss, courage, redemption, and the unbreakable ties of family set against a backdrop of greed and violence.  This is John Hart at his best. 

Be sure to check out all the other blogs on this hop - over 300!(Links are at the bottom)   They are all giving away something a reader, author, or blogger would enjoy - and all entries should be simple - because those are the rules!!  So spend your Thanksgiving break entering some great giveaways! This hop runs until midnight on Nov 27th.

WoMen's Literary Cafe Authors Gratitude Blog Hop - Nov 16 -

That Little Voice
by Bonnie Trachtenberg

Although I don’t consider myself a religious person, I am quite spiritual and do believe in higher beings of love that listen to us when we pray. That’s why before going to sleep at night, after a long day of work, I take a few minutes to connect and show gratitude. I generally begin by thanking God for all the gifts in my life. The health, happiness, safety and longevity of my family, friends and pets come first. Then I pray for all the suffering in the world to end, from abused children and animals to war-torn communities to starving people around the globe. I ask God to please help enlighten the people who use religion as an excuse to hate instead of love, and to rip people apart instead of bringing them together. I also thank my loved ones who have passed, for I believe they have a hand in many of the good things that have come my way. And of course, if anyone I know is sick or in emotional distress or crisis, I say special prayers for them, too.

I’ve repeated this bedtime practice for many years, but I’ll never forget the night, when just after uttering my prayers, something wild and completely unexpected happened—someone answered! It was just a brief few words that I heard—a question actually—but it stunned me nonetheless. In my head, after once again directing my prayers at others, I heard a loving voice say, What about you, Bonnie?

I recall my eyes shooting open wide, wondering where it came from. It wasn’t my roommate, who was the only other occupant of the house, of that I was sure. So was it an angel? A passed loved one? My own evolved spirit? One thing was for sure, I knew it was not coming from my own thoughts. You see, I always thought prayer should be about others and about trying to better the world. I thought it was too selfish to pray for things I may have wanted, since unlike so many others, I had most of the things I needed. So where did this comment come from? There was only one answer that made sense to me. Some higher being was letting me know it was okay to wish for even more abundance.

From then on, I’ve added to my prayers things that would even more greatly enhance my life: a truly fulfilling job; a loving man to share my life with; true contentment and love—all of which have been answered. And when I was laid off from that fulfilling job a few years ago, I had a surprisingly good outlook. Probably because I felt it was God’s little kick in the side that I needed to finally finish the book I’d been writing sporadically for years. I did. In June of this year, Wedlocked: A Novel was finally published and I had no qualms about praying for its success. Amazingly, after four months of hard marketing, it actually hit Amazon’s bestseller lists, and as an added bonus, Wedlocked became an Award-Winning Finalist in its category for USA Book News’ “BEST BOOKS OF 2011”.

So this year, like every year, I’m thankful for all the usual things I cherish. But I’m also grateful that I listened to the little voice that startled me out of my prayers all those years ago. Until then, I had felt unworthy of such a wonderful dream—but now I realize somebody up there doesn’t think so and just wanted to let me know!

The WoMen's Literary Cafe Authors wish to thank all of the support we had on our recent book launch. As a thank you, three of you can win an ebook copy of “Wedlocked: A Novel”.  Just leave a comment telling what you are thankful for with your email address.  One entry per person - open worldwide!  TODAY ONLY!

About Wedlocked: On what should be the happiest day of her life, Rebecca Ross is panic stricken. Rebecca has just wed Craig Jacobs, but she realizes she put more thought into choosing her florist than she did in choosing the man she's just pledged to love for the rest of her life.

Before Craig, Rebecca, a talented Long Island girl, dreamed of following in her grandmother's footsteps with an acting career. Unfortunately, she was cut down to size by years of disappointment, and by her first love-a Hollywood director. She returned to Long Island a lost and broken woman, and ended up in the last place she ever wanted: her old bedroom at her parents' house.

But Rebecca's mother, an overzealous convert to Judaism, has a long held dream too: marry off her three daughters to Jewish men. So no one is more thrilled than her when Rebecca meets and marries bon vivant Craig Jacobs, the man who has won over the whole family. Too bad they're all about to discover that underneath his charismatic shell, this Prince Charming is anything but!

Bonnie Trachtenberg is the award-winning, bestselling author of Wedlocked: A Novel, a romantic comedy about a hilariously disastrous marriage. It is available in hardcover, paperback, and now for only 99 cents on Kindle and Nook. Bonnie was senior writer/copy chief at Book–of-the-Month Club. She lives on Long Island with her husband and a houseful of adorable pets. http://ning.it/ovIMiw

All of the blogs listed below are hosting wonderful authors on Nov 16th and are all having GIVEAWAYS!  Be sure to visit them all on Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Promissary Payback and Unrevealed - Two by Laurel Dewey (Book Reviews)

Title: Promissory Payback
Author: Laurel Dewey
Publisher: The Story Plant

Laurel Dewey’s Detective Jane Perry is quickly becoming one of the most distinctive, dynamic, and unforgettable characters in suspense fiction today. She’s rock hard, but capable of extraordinary tenderness. She’s a brilliant cop, but she’s capable of making life-altering mistakes. She’s uncannily talented, and she’s heartbreakingly human.

In PROMISSORY PAYBACK Jane is called in to investigate the gruesome murder of a woman who profited greatly from the misfortunes of others. The case leaves Jane with little question about motive...and with a seemingly endless number of suspects.

Title: Unrevealed
Author: Laurel Dewey
Publisher: The Story Plant

In UNREVEALED, Dewey gives us four indelible portraits of Jane Perry:

ANONYMOUS: One of Jane's first AA meetings leads her to an encounter with a woman in need of her detection skills...and a secret she never expected to uncover.

YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER: Forced by her boss to speak at a high school career day, Jane meets a troubled boy and finds that his story is only the beginning of a much more revealing tale.

YOU'RE ONLY AS SICK AS YOUR SECRETS: An early-morning homicide call introduces Jane to a mystery as layered as it is unsuspected.

THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM: Jane finds herself sharing a 2:00 am conversation at a downtown bar with an old acquaintance. Will the bloody night that proceeded this moment complicate Jane's intentions?
 About the author: Laurel Dewey was born and raised in Los Angeles. She is the author of two nonfiction books on plant medicine, a Silver Spur-nominated Western novella, hundreds of articles, the Jane Perry novels, PROTECTOR, REDEMPTION, and REVELATIONS, and the Jane Perry novelette, AN UNFINISHED DEATH. She lives in Western Colorado with her husband, where she is currently working on a standalone novel.
You can find Laurel at her website and on facebook.
My thoughts: At 80 and 96 pages, I read both the novelette and the collection of stories in one sitting.  It was a great way to become immersed in the life of Jane Perry and make me hungry to read the series about her. Though Jane comes across as a tough as nails police detective, I believe that she has a softer side that allows her, through her "observations" to see more than other people. I probably saw this most in the short story - You Can't Judge a Book By It's Cover.  This is a good adage for Jane as well as the woman and boy in the story.
I have to laugh as I did a cut and paste on the above descriptions from the press package that I received, and as I just went back and read the Promissory Payback one, I realize that I wrote the same thought about Jane expressed there! 
In Promissary Payback, I like the way that Jane looked beyond the obvious and took her time putting together the clues to solve the homicide.  She noticed peoples behavior and their "tells" to figure out what they weren't saying. It was fast paced and didn't string you along before coming to a quick conclusion. 
Each of the short stories either took place in hours or days, but you still get some of Jane's backstory to help you know a little more about her. I also liked that each of the stories were very different from each other.  They weren't so much about the crimes as they were about the people who committed them and what led them to their behavior.  
On a side note - these read well as stand alones - you do not need to have read the series to enjoy them, but as a stated before, beware if it makes you hungry for more!
~I received a complimentary E-copy of these from Partners in Crime Tours and The Story Plant (through Net Galley)  in exchange for my review.~

Read on for an excerpt from Promissory Payback:
Detective Jane Perry took another hard drag on her cigarette. She knew she needed to quiet her nerves for what she was about to see.

Another victim. Another senseless, gruesome murder that she would add to the board at Denver Headquarters. When Sergeant Weyler called her half an hour ago, she hadn’t even finished her third cup of coffee. “This one is odd, Jane,” he told her with that characteristic tone in his voice that also suggested an evil tinge behind the slaying du jour. “Be prepared,” he said before hanging up. It was a helluva way to start a Monday morning.

As Jane drove her ’66 Mustang toward the crime scene in the toney section of Denver known as Cherry Creek, she tried to look on the bright side. If she’d still been a drinker, she’d be battling an epic hangover at that moment and doing her best to hide it from Weyler. But since becoming a friend of Bill W., her addictions involved healthier options such as jogging, buying way too many pounds of expensive coffee and even briefly joining a yoga group. She stopped attending the class only because the pansy-ass male instructor wasn’t comfortable with her setting her Glock in the holster to the side of her mat during class. Since she was usually headed to work after the 7 AM stretch session, Jane was obviously carrying her service weapon. She wasn’t about to leave it in her car or a locker at the facility. Nor would she be so careless as to hang it on one of the eco-friendly bamboo hooks that lined the yoga room.

So for Jane, it was obvious and more than natural for the Glock to lie next to her as she attempted the Salutation to the Sun pose and arched into Downward Facing Dog. In her mind, there was no dichotomy between the peacefulness of yoga and the brain splattering capacity of her Glock. As the annoying, high-pitched flute music played in the background—a sound meant to encourage calmness but which sounded more like a dying parakeet to Jane—she felt completely safe knowing that a loaded gun was inches from her grasp. The other people in the class, however, did have a problem and they showed it by arranging their mats as far from Jane as humanly possible. None of this behavior bothered Jane until the soy milk-chugging teacher took her aside and asked her to please remove the Glock from class. Since Jane wasn’t about to take orders from a guy in a fuchsia leotard who had a penchant for crying at least twice during class, she strapped her 9mm across her organic cotton yoga t! op and quit.

That’s what predictably happened whenever you shoved a square peg like Jane Perry in a round hole of people and situations that don’t understand the real world. Crime has a nasty habit of worming its way into the most unlikely places—churches, schools, sacred retreats and possibly yoga studios. The way Jane Perry looked at life, yoga might keep your flexible but a loaded gun kept you alive so you could continue being flexible. She knew what it felt like to be the victim of circumstance; to be held hostage by another person’s violent objective. Even though it was a long time ago, she’d never wash the stench from her memory. Her vow was always the same: Nobody would ever make Jane Perry a victim again.

But somebody apparently had made the old lady inside the Cherry Creek house a victim. Jane rolled to the curb and parked the Mustang, sucking the last microgram of nicotine from the butt of her cigarette. Squashing it onto the street with the heel of her roughout cowboy boots, she flashed her shield to the cops standing at the periphery and ducked under the yellow crime tape that was draped between the two precision-trimmed boxwood shrubs that framed the bottom of the long, immaculate brick driveway.
Publisher/Publication Date: The Story Plant, Aug 2011
ISBN: 978-1611880076
80 pages
Publisher/Publication Date: The Story Plant, Oct 2011
ISBN: 978-1611880236
96 pages

Sunday, November 13, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too! 

Currently reading:

Books up this week:
Promissory Payback by Laurel Dewey

Bathroom Book:

Books finished last week:
The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson

Books reviewed last week:

Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Christmas Shoppe by Melody Carlson (Book Review)

Title: The Christmas Shoppe
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Baker

About the book:  The small town of Parrish Springs is not ready for Matilda Honeycutt. A strange older woman with scraggly gray hair and jewelry that jangles as she walks, Matilda is certainly not the most likely person to buy the old Barton Building on the town's quaint main street. When it becomes apparent that her new shop doesn't fit the expectations of Parrish Springs residents, a brouhaha erupts. After all, Christmas is approaching, and the last thing the town needs is a junky shop run by someone who looks and acts like a gypsy. But as townsfolk venture into the strange store, they discover that old memories can bring new life and healing.

Once again, Melody Carlson delivers a Christmas story that will touch hearts and delight the senses. Sure to be a classic, The Christmas Shoppe is filled with the special magic the best Christmas stories share--that intangible mixture of nostalgia, joy, and a little bit of magic.

My Thoughts: This was definitely a feel-good story but for those who  might be scared off by the title, I did not find it overwhelmingly "Christmas-y".  It was set in the weeks before and after Thanksgiving, and does give you small doses of the message of salvation, so would be good for someone who doesn't have a personal relationship with Christ.

It made me think about treasures from my childhood that might evoke nostalgic memories if I were to stumble across them today.  Like a Mrs. Beasley doll or an old diary. Do you have treasures in your life that remind you of a certain time or experience?

This was a quick story and just gave you glimpses in to the lives of these townspeople.  I look forward to seeing if Melody Carlson is going to expand on any of these characters for any further books.  Seems like there would be some interesting backstories or future stories here - Like that of Rose, Susanna's mother-in-law; or the future of Susanna and Tommy. 

If you want a quick read and a "warm-up" book for the Christmas season - take a look at The Christmas Shoppe.

~I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review from Baker Publishing.~

Publisher/Publication Date: Baker, Sept 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1926-5
168 pages



Congrats to Valentina for winning the copy of Cloudburst by VC Andrews.

Congrats to Janiera for winning the copy of The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas. 

Both winners have been emailed!

Mailbox Monday (Nov 14, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in November at the Mailbox Monday blog.  In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 

Wayward Saints
by Suzzy Roche

Mary Saint, the rule-breaking former lead singer of the almost-famous band Sliced Ham, has given up on music after the death of her band member and lover Garbagio seven years earlier.  With the help of her best friend, Thaddeus, Mary is trying to make mochaccinos in San Francisco.  Meanwhile, back in her hometown of Swallow, New York, her mother Jean Saint, struggles with her own ghosts.

When Mary is invited to give a concert at her old high school, Jean is thrilled, though she's worried about what Father Benedict and her neighbors will think of songs such as "Sewer Flower" and "You're a Pig."  But she soon realizes there are going to be bigger problems when her arch-nemesis, Adele from the Silver Tray Bakery, gets involved.

Wayward Siants is a touching, emotionally complex, and hilarious look at how the past always bumps up against the present.  Punctuated by winks at the music business and loving flourishes about family, faith, and the unpredictability of talent, the novel touches on the very deep pain of loss, and the possibilities of the miraculous.

If You Hear Her
by Shiloh Walker

The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood -- she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger.   Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim.  But Lena knows what she heard -- and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can't escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams.  When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her.  He aches to touch her -- to be touched by her -- but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close?  When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman's screams, his instincts tell him that Lena's life is also at risk -- and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.

Full Dark, No Stars
by Stephen King

"I believe there is another man inside every man, a stranger . . ." writes Wilfred Leland James in the early pages of the riveting confession that makes up "1922," the first in this pitch-black quartet of mesmerizing tales from Stephen King. For James, that stranger is awakened when his wife, Arlette, proposes selling off the family homestead and moving to Omaha, setting in motion a gruesome train of murder and madness.

In "Big Driver," a cozy-mystery writer named Tess encounters the stranger along a back road in Massachusetts when she takes a shortcut home after a book-club engagement. Violated and left for dead, Tess plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself.

"Fair Extension," the shortest of these tales, is perhaps the nastiest and certainly the funniest. Making a deal with the devil not only saves Dave Streeter from a fatal cancer but provides rich recompense for a lifetime of resentment.

When her husband of more than twenty years is away on one of his business trips, Darcy Anderson looks for batteries in the garage. Her toe knocks up against a box under a worktable and she discovers the stranger inside her husband. It’s a horrifying discovery, rendered with bristling intensity, and it definitively ends a good marriage.
Like Different Seasons and Four Past Midnight, which generated such enduring films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, Full Dark, No Stars proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

Where all the Dead Lie
by J.T. Ellison

The shot to the head didn't kill Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson.  But it will crack her psyche and take her to the very edge.

In her showdown with the murderous Pretender, a bullet taken at close range severed the connection between Taylor's thoughts and speech.  Effectively mute, there's no telling if her voice will ever come back.  Trapped in silence, she is surrounded by ghosts -- of the past, of friendships and trusts lost. . . of a lost faith in herself and her motives that night.

When Memphis Highsmythe offers Taylor his home in the Scottish Highlands to recuperate, her fiance can't refuse her excitement, no matter his distrust of the man.  At first, Memphis's drafty and singularly romantic castle seems the perfect place for healing.  But shortly the house itself surrounds her like a menacing presence.  As Taylor's sense of isolation and vulnerability grows, so too, does her grip on reality.


Someone or something is coming after Taylor.  But is she being haunted by the dead. . . or hunted by the living?

What books came home to you this week?

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Giveaway Hop - Win The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas!

Welcome to the November Giveaway Hop!  This is my first giveaway in which I am using Rafflecopter, so if there are any problems - please leave me a comment so I can try to fix them!

This hop is being hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Tristi Pinkston.  It will run from Tuesday, Nov 8 through Friday, Nov 11th. It officially starts at midnight, but I wanted to make sure that rafflecopter worked before I went to bed!  There are over 200 blogs giving away things that a reader, author or blogger would enjoy! 

I have a copy of The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas to giveaway. 

About the book: In Harmony, Texas, twenty-year-old Reagan Truman has found her place and her family. But with her uncle taken ill and her friend Noah lost and disheartened with his life, Reagan is afraid of ending up alone again -- and she's not the only one. Harmony seems to be full of people yearning to make a connection. Like funeral director Tyler Wright, who longs to take his relationship with his friend Kate to the next level, but doesn't know how. And Ronelle Logan, a woman frightened of everyday human interactions, until she meets an angry, lonely man -- someone just like her.

When a terrible storm threatens the town, the residents of Harmony are forced to really think about what they truly want. Because making the connections they so desperately desire mean putting their hears at risk.

You can read my review here.  Please give rafflecopter time to load if it is not showing up. 

Start Hopping!

Collecting Innocents by CK Webb and DJ Weaver (Book Review)

Title: Collecting Innocents (The Second Novel in the 911 Abduction Series)
Authors: CK Webb and DJ Weaver
Publisher: Suspense Publishing

About the book: Highway travel can be lonely and treacherous. Broken down vehicles litter the Emergency Lane like corpses on a battlefield. What if you were alone with no one to call when you found yourself stranded? Your only companion; your small child sleeping in the back seat. What would you do?

On I-10 in Louisiana the answer is simple… you use the Emergency Call Box. But, while you sigh a breath of relief in the knowledge that help is on its way, a much more sinister listener has heard your 911 call.

Calls for help are coming in from Emergency Call Boxes along I-10 in Louisiana. But when the State Trooper or wrecker service arrives to assist, there is no sign of the vehicle. Days later, the driver is found savagely murdered with no trace of their tiny passenger in sight.

When a police officer, formerly of the Aberdeen Police Department, sees a twisted pattern of murder and child abduction arising from 911 calls, he contacts Sloanne Kelly, now known for her work with child abduction cases. Together, Sloanne, Shawn Tyler and Mac Mackenzie, with the help of reporter Birney Sullivan, go on the hunt for a killer and the innocent children he is collecting.

My thoughts:  Let me just say quickly, that even though this is the second book in the series, it read very well as a stand alone.  Be warned - there is a good chance that you will want to go back and read the first book, Cruelty to Innocents, when you are done!

I enjoyed getting to know Sloanne and Shawn, the founders of Saving Angels and learning about the work that they did in finding abducted children. They worked well together with Birney and Mac, and even though they tended to "stretch" the boundaries sometime, they backed each other up and generally came out without too many scratches because of it.

If anything, this book shows how vulnerable - and how trusting - people can be.  When stranded on a stretch of highway, don't trust someone just because they show up with a tow truck!  Sometimes they can be a wolf in sheep's clothing!  But it isn't just women with children that were at risk in this book - anybody with a child could be in possible danger.  The way that they were subdued was unusual, as well as the different ways that the adults who were murdered were found! 

I was drawn in with the first abduction and caught myself holding my breath each time someone else was taken.  I thought I had figured out who the abductor was, but it turned out that I was wrong!  I always like it when I am not able to figure out the book before it is revealed to me!  I would recommend this book to those that like thrillers or suspense.

Find out more about the series at the authors' website.  You can also connect with CK Webb on twitter.

~I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from the authors in exchange for my review.~ 

Publisher/Publication Date: Kindle Edition - Suspense Publishing, Oct 2011
ASIN: B005Z731FE
211 pages


Here are the winners of my last two giveaways:

The Ring by Bobbie Pyron was won by Christine W.

Destined by PC and Kristin Cast - the original winner entered multiple ways by saying they followed by twitter, email, facebook, etc, etc when in fact this could not be verified, so I had to draw a new winner - That winner is Melissa!

Both winners have been contacted by email and have confirmed their winnings!  Congrats!

Note - I do check if you win that you follow how you say you follow - Be fair to those who do and follow the rules.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Nov 7, 2011)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too!  I have some new giveaways going on, so be sure to check the right sidebar!  And in other news, my little girl had her little girl on Friday.  She weighed in at 7lbs 3oz and 20 1/2" long.  Watch for pictures later this week!

Currently reading:

Books up this week:

Bathroom Book:

Books finished last week:
Collecting Innocents by CK Webb

Books reviewed last week:

Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!

Mailbox Monday (Nov 7, 2011)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in November at the Mailbox Monday blog.  In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 

I have some giveaways ending in the next couple of days with low low entries - so be sure to take a look at them - Three novella books Hold Me, Thrill Me and Entice Me, Destined by PC and Kristin Cast (ends today!),  Cloudburst by VC Andrews (ends tomorrow!).

The Space Between
by Brenna Yovanoff

Everything burns in Pandemonium -- a city in Hell made of chrome and steel, where there is no future and life is an expanse of froze time.  That's where Daphne lives.

The daughter of a demon and a fallen angel, she wonders what lies in store for her.  Will she become a soulless demon like her sisters?  Or follow in the footsteps of her brother Obie, whose life is devoted to saving lost souls on Earth?  All she wants is to find a place where she belongs.

When Obie saves a bleeding, broken boy named Truman from the brink of death and then suddenly goes missing, Daphne runs away to Earth to find him.  But on Earth, everything is colder and more terrifying, and Daphne struggles between her demon instincts and her growing -- yet achingly unfamiliar -- feelings for Truman.  As Daphne and Truman search for Obie, they must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in their way.

But Daphne also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

Dark Flame (The Immortals, Book 4)
by Alyson Noel

Ever is trying to help Haven make the transition into life as an immortal.  But with Haven drunk on her new powers and acting recklessly, she poses the ultimate threat -- exposing their secret world to the outside.  But Ever's struggle to keep the Immortals hidden only propels Haven closer to the enemy:  Roman and his evil companions.

At the same time, Ever delves deeper into dark magick to free Damen from Roman's power.  But when her spell backfires, it binds her to the one guy who's hell-bent on her destruction.  Now there's a strange, foreign pulse coursing through her, and no matter what she does, she can't stop thinking about Roman -- and longing for his touch.  As she struggles to resist the fiery attraction threatening to consume her, Roman is more than willing to take advantage of her weakened state . . . and Ever edges closer and closer to surrender. 

Frantic to break the spell before it's too late, Ever turns to Jude for help, risking everything she knows and loves to save herself -- and her future with Damen. . . 

What books came home to you this week?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Lucianne Rivers - Sister, Sister (Guest Post and Giveaway!)

I'm an only child. So why did I write about three sisters? Well, Jane, Margo and Allison Caldwell are three extraordinarily different women with a common goal. Bonded by their love for their recently deceased mother, each sibling embarks on a journey across the world to find their long-lost and presumed dead father, Zach, finding love and danger on the way.

Jane is the well-kept, refined, all-American news anchor knocked off her perfectly chiseled high heels by the mysterious Harrison DeNeuve in the Guatemalan jungle. Margo is the potty-mouthed, tough as nails police detective who meets her match in sea captain, Adrian Prince on the treacherous waters near St. Thomas, VI. And Allison, the stay-at-home rancher, melts the heart of jaded ex -navy SEAL, Robert Rivera in the

barren mountains of Afghanistan.

Each sister is motivated by familial devotion and finds love in the wonderful form of a strong, hot, loving man.

Not having had sisters (nor the love of a wonderful, strong, hot loving man) I had to use my vivid imagination while writing the sisterly affection on the pages of HOLD ME, THRILL ME, ENTICE ME.

For my readers out there, I'd like to hear your tales of sibling rivalry and love. The most interesting comment wins a copy of HOLD ME, THRILL ME, ENTICE ME (all three novellas).

Thanks for stopping by.

Author bio: Lucianne writes romantic suspense for Entangled Publishing and Cobblestone Press. Born and raised in Ireland, she currently lives in New Mexico with her young daughter.

Formerly a stage and television actress, she now manages a non-profit and is NM State Champion in her weight class for Olympic style weightlifting. Long story. Recently she has taken up Crossfit, Jiu Jitsu and boxing.

ENTICE ME by Lucianne Rivers

Heartsick over the untimely death of her mother, Allison Caldwell is blindsided again by the secret revealed in her mom’s will. Her supposedly dead father is alive, and she and her two sisters must find him in order to settle the Caldwell estate.

Robert Rivera, private investigator and former Navy SEAL, alerts Allison to new intel identifying her father as a P.O.W. in Afghanistan. With her sisters out of the country pursuing leads, Allison insists on heading to the war-ravaged country to find him. Robert doesn’t want his na├»ve client to take the risk. He knows what danger lays in that godforsaken land…he’s lived through it. Barely.

But Allison is determined to go, and Robert can’t let her travel alone. Reluctantly appreciative, Allison quickly realizes how much she needs his guidance and protection, and how deeply she longs for his love. Robert struggles to understand her effect on his battle-weary heart.

The path to Allison’s father is blocked by terrorists, traps and treachery—all demons of Robert’s past. Can he survive a second round with the enemy and keep Allison out of harm’s way?

Title: Entice Me (Caldwell Sisters, #3)
Author: Lucianne Rivers
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Novella
Launch Date: October 2011
ISBN: 978-1-937044-32-9

To purchase:
Barnes and Noble

Author's Links
Web: www.luciannerivers.com
Blog: www.viceandvalkyries.blogspot.com

Friday, November 4, 2011

I'm a Grandma!

Isn't she beautiful! Kalii Faith was born at 5:15pm this evening. She is 7 lbs 3 oz and 20 1/2 inches long. Mother and baby are both healthy and doing fine!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Love Out Loud by Joyce Meyer (Book Review)

Title: Love Out Loud: 365 Devotions for Loving God, Loving Yourself and Loving Others
Author: Joyce Meyer
Publisher: Faith Words

About the book: Jesus said, "You must love the Lord your God with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." - Luke10:27

If one had to choose a single verse in the Bible that is a formula for successful living, this would be the one to live by, says Joyce Meyer: love God, yourself and others - in that order.

Many Christians get mixed up about love. They know they should love God and others, but many do not understand that loving oneself is one-third of God's equation. They mistakenly think of it as selfishness or self-aggrandizement.

Joyce Meyer believes that this misconception is one of the greatest pitfalls in the Christian journey. Loving oneself in a balanced, healthy manner is essential in order to have healthy relationships with God, ourselves and others.

Drawing upon her previous work and teaching series as well as original devotions, the author of Power Thoughts examines the three loves that we've been commanded to exhibit.

My thoughts:  What better thing to immerse yourself in learning about, for a year no less, than love.  With a devotion for every day of the year, Joyce Meyer once again is able to to hone in and give us nuggets to ponder each day. 

Each devotion is just a page long, beginning with a scripture, followed by words of wisdom from Joyce, and ending with some direction on who to love for that day (God, others or self) and some leading in how to do that.

Whether you are looking for a devotional for yourself or for someone you love, this would make a great gift.  I think it is applicable for a man or woman, or a mature teen looking to grow their relationship with God. 

You can find Joyce Meyer online at http://joycemeyer.org/ on Facebook, or Twitter.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Faith Words in exchange for my review.~

Publisher/Publication Date: Faith Words/Nov 2, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-446-53847-3
368 pages

Jodi Thomas on The Comforts of Home

THE COMFORTS OF HOME will be hitting the stands on Nov. 1, 2011 and I’m very excited to see my people of Harmony, Texas come alive. In my mind they already are and sometimes I feel like they’re so real that I could pack my bag and go down for a visit any time I liked.

With writing it’s always been that way for me. I don’t really feel like I create characters, I feel like I just meet people and get to know them. If I’m lucky they tell me their story. When I meet people who read and love my books I always like to hug them. After all, we have friends in common.

In THE COMFORTS OF HOME I wrote about people who probably live all around us but we never take the time to know. One was Ronelle Logan. She’d lived and worked at the post office without anyone noticing her. She solved the funeral home’s crossword puzzles before she handed over the magazines, but no one complained. Tyler Wright, the funeral director, just brought her a huge crossword puzzle book. He was a kind man who tried to help everyone he came across. In the lives of these people now and then, wonder happens, brightening the world around.

In a closing note, I’d like to add that you are going to love a new character I introduce. He’s just a kid (17) with long hair, and a dream to make it big in the music world. We’ll be watching him grow up and fall in love several times before he figures women out.

Come along with me to Harmony. We’ll have a grand visit with the people there.

Wishing you much love and laughter in your life,
Jodi Thomas

Waiting on Wednesday: 77 Shadow Street

This week's pre-publication can't wait to read selection is:

77 Shadow Street
by Dean Koontz
Publication Date: Dec 27, 2011

I am the One, the all and the only. I live in the Pendleton as surely as I live everywhere. I am the Pendleton's history and its destiny. The building is my place of conception, my monument, my killing ground. . . .

The Pendleton stands on the summit of Shadow Hill at the highest point of an old heartland city, a Gilded Age palace built in the late 1800s as a tycoon’s dream home. Almost from the beginning, its grandeur has been scarred by episodes of madness, suicide, mass murder, and whispers of things far worse. But since its rechristening in the 1970s as a luxury apartment building, the Pendleton has been at peace. For its fortunate residents—among them a successful songwriter and her young son, a disgraced ex-senator, a widowed attorney, and a driven money manager—the Pendleton’s magnificent quarters are a sanctuary, its dark past all but forgotten.

But now inexplicable shadows caper across walls, security cameras relay impossible images, phantom voices mutter in strange tongues, not-quite-human figures lurk in the basement, elevators plunge into unknown depths. With each passing hour, a terrifying certainty grows: Whatever drove the Pendleton’s past occupants to their unspeakable fates is at work again. Soon, all those within its boundaries will be engulfed by a dark tide from which few have escaped.

Dean Koontz transcends all expectations as he takes readers on a gripping journey to a place where nightmare visions become real—and where a group of singular individuals hold the key to humanity’s destiny. Welcome to 77 Shadow Street.

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Comforts of Home by Jodi Thomas (Book review)

Title: The Comforts of Home
Author: Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Penguin

About the book: In Harmony, Texas, twenty-year-old Reagan Truman has found her place and her family. But with her uncle taken ill and her friend Noah lost and disheartened with his life, Reagan is afraid of ending up alone again -- and she's not the only one. Harmony seems to be full of people yearning to make a connection. Like funeral director Tyler Wright, who longs to take his relationship with his friend Kate to the next level, but doesn't know how. And Ronelle Logan, a woman frightened of everyday human interactions, until she meets an angry, lonely man -- someone just like her.

When a terrible storm threatens the town, the residents of Harmony are forced to really think about what they truly want. Because making the connections they so desperately desire mean putting their hears at risk.

My thoughts:  I really like the way that Jodi brings her characters to life.  You learn a little more about some of the characters that were introduced in the first book, Welcome to Harmony, and get to know some other characters like Ronelle Logan.

 I really liked Ronny, she was probably my favorite character in this book.  She starts out as this lonely girl, who just sort of goes along in the world, trying to stay hidden - and either being verbally abused by her mother or virtually ignored.  Out of chance, she delivers the mail to a wheelchair bound man one day who truly sees her, and a friendship is born.  It was really neat to see her start to come out of her shell, sort of like a turtle, very slow, thinking she might pull her head back in at any time.

Then there is Autumn, who is found at the cemetary by none other than the local mortician.  She is very sick, very nearly frozen, and newly pregnant.  With no where to go and an abusive boyfriend looking for her, she takes up residence at the funeral home and soon has created a new atmosphere there with her spot-on cooking and unobtrusive ways.

These are just two of the inhabitants of Harmony that you get to know - and these are people that you want to know.  It makes you want to live in a small town, where the comforts of home can be found in more places than just where you grew up.

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for my review.~

If this sounds like a good book - please watch for the Giveaway Hop Nov 8 - 11th, (hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Tristi Pinkson), where I will be giving away a copy!

Books in the Harmony series:

Find Jodi on Facebook, Twitter, her website.

Publisher/Publication Date: Penguin, Nov 1, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-425-24448-7
320 pages

Teaser Tuesday (Nov 1, 2011)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
  • Then visit MizB and add your link!

Something jingled -- probably jewelry -- and her long, curly gray hair hung in a loose ponytail, tied midway with a loopy piece of purple cloth.  Her feet shuffled along the wood floor, not bare today -- but wearing sandals in mid-November?  (The Christmas Shoppe, p81 by Melody Carlson)

Title: The Christmas Shoppe
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher/Publication Date: Revell, Sept 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1926-5
168 pages


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