Archive | December, 2015

#BookReview: Tough As They Come by Travis Mills

28 Dec

Tough As They Come

Tough As They Come by Travis Mills
Click here to purchase a copy or learn more about Tough As They Come.

Thousands have been wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Five have survived quadruple amputee injuries. This is one soldier’s story.

Thousands of soldiers die year to defend their country. United States Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills was sure that he would become another statistic when, during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan, he was caught in an IED blast four days before his twenty-fifth birthday. Against the odds, he lived, but at a severe cost—Travis became one of only five soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to survive a quadruple amputation.

Suddenly forced to reconcile with the fact that he no longer had arms or legs, Travis was faced with a future drastically different from the one he had imagined for himself. He would never again be able to lead his squad, stroke his fingers against his wife’s cheek, or pick up his infant daughter.

Travis struggled through the painful and anxious days of rehabilitation so that he could regain the strength to live his life to the fullest. With enormous willpower and endurance, the unconditional love of his family, and a generous amount of faith, Travis shocked everyone with his remarkable recovery. Even without limbs, he still swims, dances with his wife, rides mountain bikes, and drives his daughter to school.

Travis inspires thousands every day with his remarkable journey. He doesn’t want to be thought of as wounded. “I’m just a man with scars,” he says, “living life to the fullest and best I know how.”


My thoughts:

“You have to make the best of it. You have to keep going. You’ve got to be as tough as they come.”

Tough As They Come is an inspiring true story, one that will challenge and motivate all who are facing adversity! “It’s amazing what you can accomplish once you make the all important decision to go forward.”

I appreciated Travis’s candor and honesty as he recounts his life before and after the IED explosion that forever changed his world. “Against the odds, he lived, but at a severe cost – Travis become one of only five soldiers from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to survive a quadruple amputation.”

Travis shares his thoughts and actions throughout the book, and he also shares those of his family and friends. I was moved not only by Travis’s words, but also by the journal entries from his wife Kelsey that detail the emotional turmoil their family endured.

Travis says, “My main message is one that many people can relate to. Hard times come to everybody. When hard times happen, we have a choice to make. We can become discouraged and bitter, or we can choose to never quit. When life gets hard, the key is just to keep pushing forward. Instead of saying “It could be worse,” the key is to say, “It’s going to get better.” Then work with all your might toward that goal.”

Travis Mills’ memoir is a remarkable story and one that will encourage all who read Tough As They Come!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

#BookReview: At Love’s Bidding | Cozy Winter Night #Giveaway

21 Dec

At Love's Bidding

At Love’s Bidding by Regina Jennings

Purchase a copy:


She sells priceless antiques. He sells livestock by the pound. Is he really the man to make a bid for her heart?

After helping her grandfather at their Boston auction house, Miranda Wimplegate discovers she’s accidentally sold a powerful family’s prized portrait to an anonymous bidder. Desperate to appease the people who could ruin them forever, they track it to the Missouri Ozarks and make an outlandish offer to buy the local auction house and all its holdings before the painting can move again.

Upon crossing the country, however, Miranda and her grandfather discover their new auction house doesn’t deal in fine antiques, but in livestock. And its frustratingly handsome manager, Wyatt Ballentine, is annoyed to discover his fussy new bosses don’t know a thing about the business he’s single-handedly kept afloat. Faced with more heads of cattle than they can count—but no mysterious painting—Miranda and Wyatt form an unlikely but charged partnership to try and prevent a bad situation from getting worse.


My thoughts:

At Love’s Bidding is a cleverly crafted historical romance! Book 2 in the Ozark Mountain Romance series, this novel reads as a stand-alone story. However, those who have read A Most Inconvenient Marriage will enjoy revisiting some beloved characters.

I delighted in Miranda Wimplegate and Wyatt Ballentine and their auction house adventures! The thread of mystery that brings these two characters together adds an interesting element to the story line and to the romance that develops. While Miranda and Wyatt’s story is filled with humor, it also shares some poignant moments as well.

At Love’s Bidding boasts its own unique charm, as only Regina Jennings can create. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to more!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.  All thoughts expressed are my own.  

Blog Tour:



Join Regina in celebrating the release of At Love’s Bidding by entering to win her Cozy Winter Night giveaway and RSVPing to her January 5th author chat party!

at love's bidding - 400

One grand prize winner will receive everything you need for a cozy winter night:

at love's bidding - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 1/5. The winner will be announced at the At Love’s Bidding Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Regina and other readers, as well as for a chance to win some great prizes!

at love's bidding-enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!


Regina Jennings

Regina Jennings is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University with a degree in English and a history minor. She is the author of A Most Inconvenient Marriage, Sixty Acres and a Bride, and Caught in the Middle, and contributed a novella to A Match Made in Texas. Regina has worked at the Mustang News and First Baptist Church of Mustang, along with time at the Oklahoma National Stockyards and various livestock shows. She now lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

Connect with Regina: website, Twitter, Facebook


20 Dec

Hi, friends!  I was out of town over the weekend and appreciate Carrie stopping by and visiting with everyone in my absence. How fun to see all the movie selections! I really enjoy watching Hallmark movies during the holiday season. They always warm my heart!

 The winners have been drawn and they are…

Winners- The Substitute Bride

Thank you all so much for stopping by and entering this giveaway!  Merry Christmas!

#Giveaway: The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels

18 Dec

The Substitute Bride

The Substitute Bride by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Purchase a copy: Amazon

A letter for Sonja’s deceased friend arrives at the post office in Michigan, and with it a proposal. With her father threatening to kick her out of his home, Sonja impulsively responds, offering to travel west to be a substitute bride. At the same time, Louis’s railroad promotion sends him back to Michigan, the one place on earth he’d hoped to never return—where Christmas past was full of pain. A mysterious stranger leaves him marked copies of “A Christmas Carol” as he considers romancing Sonja in Christmas present. Will Louis discern the best choices for Christmas future? Does it include the Poor House, again? Even so—will God bring healing and love to him this year?


My thoughts:

The Substitute Bride is an enchanting novella! With this tale of “A Christmas Carol meets It’s A Wonderful Life”, Carrie Fancett Pagels completely charmed me. I loved the delightful characters, engaging story line, and sweet romance. I also enjoyed the touch of intrigue and am left wondering about the mysterious stranger and the gifts she leaves. The Substitute Bride is a heartwarming story and a perfect treat for yourself or others this holiday season!

Speaking of treats, I am treating THREE of my readers to this delightful novella!

Giveaway- The Substitute Bride 

THREE readers will win a print copy of The Substitute Bride!

To enter the giveaway:
Comment with your favorite Christmas movie and your email address. The giveaway ends Sunday, December 20 at noon CST.  The winners will be drawn and announced Sunday afternoon.

To earn additional entries:
Follow this blog and/or share the giveaway via social media. Be sure to let me know what you’ve done to earn additional entries!

What is your favorite Christmas movie?



Carrie Fancett Pagels Ph.D. is an award-winning, best-selling, and multi-published Christian historical romance author. Carrie was a psychologist for twenty-five years. Married for twenty-seven years with two children. Carrie resides in Virginia’s Historic Triangle and enjoys reading, traveling and researching. She’s a finalist for the 2014 Maggie Awards for Excellence.


Website | Blog- Overcoming with God | Blog- Colonial QuillsFacebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads | LinkedIn

#BookReview: Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

15 Dec

Whispers in the Reading Room

Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Purchase a copy:

Lydia’s job at the library is her world—until a mysterious patron catches her eye . . . and perhaps her heart.

Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.

Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks-the man so many people fear-is actually everything her heart believes him to be.


My thoughts:

Whispers in the Reading Room is an enchanting tale of mystery and romance! Shelley Gray captured my attention on the very first page and held it steadfast until the end. The following passage opens the story and describes how I feel about this novel.

“She still remembered the expression on his face last week when he’d finished and closed the last tome. He’d looked pleased and just a bit melancholy. She knew those dual feelings well – the satisfaction of completing a well-written piece of literature while also coming to terms with the fact that those few moments of pure bliss would soon be replaced with a longing for more.”

Gray’s characterization is excellent and one of the things I love most about this novel! Lydia Bancroft and Sebastian Marks are unique, complex characters; each struggling to discover who they really are and where they belong. Their contrasting personas make for a captivating story, one that carefully and cleverly unfolds with each turn of the page.

I loved Whispers in the Reading Room! I have been remiss in not reading the first two books in this series, but that is an oversight I will soon remedy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Blog Tour:


Shelley Gray

Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

Connect with Shelley: website, Twitter, Facebook


#BookReview: The Midwife’s Choice by Delia Parr

13 Dec

The Midwife's Choice

The Midwife’s Choice by Delia Parr

Purchase links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Christianbook | DeeperShopping

In a time when the traditional ways of medicine are constantly being questioned by new doctors fresh from medical school, midwife Martha Cade tries to balance her life’s calling with the demands of her family. Recently reunited with her estranged seventeen-year-old daughter, Martha finds herself torn between guiding her child and allowing her to be an adult. At the same time, she must decide whether she’ll risk reopening the heart she’d long closed off to love.

Though a small town, Trinity, Pennsylvania, is fraught with secrets, and as a midwife, Martha moves among its people. She knows which homes are filled with light and love, which families have slipped into grief, which wives are unhappy, and which husbands dare to cross lines…As Martha struggles with the conflicts of being a mother, a midwife, and a woman, she learns the greatest lessons of all–that hope can shine even in the darkest hours, and that faith has a way of making the impossible possible.


My thoughts:

The Midwife’s Choice is a wonderful story! Once again, Delia Parr brings Trinity, Pennsylvania, and its residents to life in a captivating tale of faith, family, and friendship.

I love Martha Cade and her work as the community midwife! In this second book of the At Home in Trinity series, Martha is confronted with events that cause her to struggle with the decisions she has made and the life she has chosen. Each twist and turn of the plot drew me deeper into the story, and I reveled in its drama, emotion, and romance.

There are beautiful spiritual threads woven through the story and numerous words of wisdom shared. I made note of several meaningful quotes and passages throughout the book, and the following encapsulates one of the many lessons Martha learns.

“It’s natural for things to change. Even the land changes over time. So do people. They come into our lives and sometimes, sadly, they leave far too soon. But our memories–of our loved ones and our lives together–are ours to keep. Sometimes they fade a bit and we lose little details, or we might even forget whole incidents. Until something prompts us to remember. But the goodness, the warmth, the love our memories contain–that’s what will always stay in our hearts so we can carry our memories wherever we go. And there’s always room to add more.”

I thoroughly enjoyed The Midwife’s Choice and can’t wait to revisit these beloved characters again in The Midwife’s Dilemma!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.


About the author:

Delia is the author of fifteen historical novels who now devotes herself to writing inspirational historical romance. The mother of three grown children, she is a full-time high school teacher in southern New Jersey who spends her summers writing on Anna Maria Island in Florida.

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: The Bartered Bride by Lena Goldfinch

12 Dec

The Bartered BrideThe Bartered Bride by Lena Goldfinch

Purchase links:
Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iTunes/iBooks


Jem Wheeler has always been a survivor. He just wants to make a fresh start in Colorado Springs after the loss of his wife. But then he happens upon a young mute woman being sold off to the highest bidder. He wasn’t looking for a mail-order bride. He wasn’t looking to rescue anyone either. But desperate circumstances can drive a good man to do things he hadn’t planned on doing…

When Jem steps into Annie’s life, she’s not expecting anyone to save her. Mute from birth, she’s just using all her wits to survive. All she’s ever really wanted is a family of her own. For someone to see her. To look at her long enough to hear the things she can’t say.

Can a rescued bride who can’t speak communicate her love for a grieving widower and his little girl? Will her love ever be returned?


My thoughts:

The Brides Series is one I have enjoyed since reading the first book, The Unexpected Bride.  Although each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone novel, reading them in order will provide a more complete reading experience.

The Bartered Bride is a compelling story! Lena Goldfinch does a wonderful job crafting characters readers will care about, and my heart ached for several in this story. Jem and Annie’s story is rife with drama and danger, but it is also a tender tale of romance.

I delighted in the unique characters, historical details, and engaging plot of this well-told story. I really enjoyed The Bartered Bride and recommend it to fans of historical romance!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. All thoughts expressed are my own.


BB Giveaway


In celebration of the release of The Bartered Bride, Lena is giving away some awesome prizes!
• Grand Prize: $25 gift card (Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or Google Play—winner’s choice) + all three e-books in The Brides Series (Open internationally)
• Second Prize: Paperback copy of The Bartered Bride (Open to US residents only)
• Third Prize: All three e-books in The Brides Series (Open internationally)

To enter these drawings, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Winners will be chosen after the end of the blog tour (December 19, 2015).

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway!


Lena Goldfinch

LENA GOLDFINCH writes sweet Historical Western Romance / Inspirational Romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs.

Connect with Lena:
Website | FB Profile | FB Author Page | Twitter | Pinterest

BB Banner

Spotlight: Books and Beverages – The Shoppe!

11 Dec


I’m excited to tell you about a new venture from blogger extraordinaire Jamie Lapeyrolerie!  She has just opened an online store, Books and Beverages – The Shoppe!  If you’re looking for some great gifts this holiday season or any time of the year, be sure and visit this fun store!  



One of my favorite items is The Book Blogger’s Planner.  I love the size and versatility of this planner!  I can drop it in my purse or book bag and stay organized on the go.  The post checklists are great, and I really appreciate the pages dedicated to notes and quotes.    

If you have a book blog and need a little help staying on top of requests and posting to the right places, then this little gem is for you! Custom designed with the help of the amazing team at May Designs, this planner will give you space to plan, dream, keep track of favorite quotes and stay organized!


The planner includes: 

* Six Non Dated Months
* 28 Weeks of the Weekly Checklist and Weekly Notes Page
* Pages to record the books you’ve read
* Pages to write down quotes


love-of-literatureThe Shoppe! also features other bookish goodies, including For the Love of Literature Postcards and The Inklings Collection!  

Speaking of goodies, there are several {GIVEAWAYS} being offered right now, so head over to Books and Beverages to find out more!

About The Shoppe!

Books and Beverages – The Shoppe! is a place for book bloggers and readers alike. Whether you’re a book blogger or not, there’s something for you and friends at The Shoppe!

When you purchase items from The Shoppe, you are also helping to change the world! A portion of the profits goes to:
● World Vision’s work with refugees
● Compassion’s work with students and education
● Children’s Hunger Fund work to help kids in America and around the globe with supplies they need to go to school
● Mocha Club’s Action Project


About the owner:

The Shoppe! was started by Jamie Lapeyrolerie author of Books and Beverages and She Laughs With Dignity. You can connect with Jamie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest! If you enjoy a Podcast, J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, please check out Jamie’s podcast, Jack & Tollers: An Inklings Podcast.

#BookReview: One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg

10 Dec

One Enchanted Christmas

One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg

Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Last December, mystery author Maren Grant had the most perfect night of her life. On a glimmering winter evening, she got to watch the photo shoot for her very first book and ended up on a magical date with the cover model himself—Colin Renwycke.

Fast forward one year. This December, with a looming deadline, restless spirit and her creative spark long since gone, Maren is desperate to get unstuck. And she can’t get Colin out of her head…or his year-old open invitation to spend a couple weeks writing at his family’s farm.

Drew Renwycke never planned to come home and take over the Renwycke family farm. But he’s spent too many years watching his siblings unravel, including his brother, Colin, after one terrible family mistake. If moving to Maple Valley, Iowa, renovating an old farmhouse and switching careers is what it takes to put the Renwycke family back together, he’ll do it.

But his simple plan upends when a scrappy author lands on his doorstep. And she just might be the key to coaxing his brother home. But what if he wants her all to himself? Drew will have to choose between his Christmas wish and the enchantment of a holiday romance that just might be the happy ending they all long for.


One Enchanted Christmas graphic

My thoughts:

Adorable! Bubbly! Charming! Delightful!

I’m pretty sure I could continue through the alphabet listing adjectives to describe this holiday novella. I loved it! All of the story elements, from the narration to the cover model crush to the trip Maple Valley, were such fun, and the romance was enchanting!

One Enchanted Christmas is the perfect read for the holiday season; it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart!



Melissa Tagg is a former reporter and total Iowa girl. In addition to her homeless ministry day job, she’s also the marketing/events coordinator for My Book Therapy, a craft and coaching community for writers. When she’s not writing, she can be found hanging out with the coolest family ever (not that she’s biased), watching old movies, and daydreaming about her next story. She’s passionate about humor, grace, and happy endings.

Melissa blogs regularly and loves connecting with readers at

#BlogTour: Cooking Up Christmas by Teresa Ives Lilly

8 Dec

Christmas Mail Order Angels Tour

As part of the Christmas Mail-Order Angels Tour hosted by Singing Librarian Books, I’m happy to welcome Teresa Ives Lilly to the blog today!  

Please share a little about yourself, Teresa.
I am in my fifties. I grew up in Buffalo New York…but got out of the snow as fast as possible. I now live in Texas, but I miss the changing seasons…and the snow Ha Ha.

When did you decide to pursue writing and eventually publication?
I homeschooled my children and once they were grown I began writing unit studies. However, I also began to pursue writing. I tried the traditional publishing at first, but met a nice woman on line who told me about self publishing and have followed that course since. (I was self publishing when it was not the THING to do)

What is your favorite part of the writing process? Least favorite?
Favorite is coming up with the ideas, least favorite is writing everything between the beginning and the end.

Please tell us about your latest release, Cooking up Christmas.
Cooking up Christmas is one book I wrote with a group of ladies. I was very pleased to be chosen to be in the group but working on a story line started by someone else in the first book was hard to go with.

What inspired this story?
I just kept wondering what kind of job the character could have in the town and it came to mind.

What will you be working on next?
I’m currently writing Wild Prairie Rose with many of the ladies from this book group. However, we all write our own story as long as we bring in the state flower.

Where can readers find out more about you and your books?


Cooking Up Christmas

Cooking Up Christmas by Teresa Ives Lilly

Purchase a copy:

When Henrietta agrees to become a mail order angel for Benjamin Capel, she moves to Angel Vale Wyoming eager to begin working in the town’s eatery. Although happy with her job and attracted to her husband-to-be, she discovers that Benjamin has several secrets. What does he do for a living, why does talking about money upset him so much and who actually owns the Angel Vale Eatery. Will these questions be answered so she can freely say I Do or does God have a different plan for her life in Angel Vale?

My thoughts:

Cooking Up Christmas is a delightful novella! I really enjoyed the chemistry between Henrietta and Benjamin and the development of their relationship through the story. Filled with humor and romance, Cooking Up Christmas is a heartwarming holiday tale!

I received a complimentary copy of this story in exchange for an unbiased review.  All thoughts expressed are my own.


Giveaway graphic- Christmas Mail-Order Angels Tour

I’m excited to share not one, but TWO giveaways!  

Giveaway #1 is just for this blog stop and includes an e-copy of Cooking Up Christmas.  Giveaway #2 is a tour-wide giveaway; the lucky winner will receive the entire Christmas Mail-Order Angels collection.  Click on the links below to enter BOTH giveaways!  

Giveaway #1 ~ An e-copy of Cooking Up Christmas

Giveaway #2 ~ The Christmas Mail-Order Angels Collection


Teresa Lilly

Teresa Ives Lilly has authored 16 novella/novels in Christian Romance. She tends to write historical but dabbles in contemporary as well. She also writes children’s chapter books and Unit Studies which are used in both private, public and homeschool. She lives in Texas with her husband and her grown children live near by. She currently owns and runs a Christian Library which offers over 2000 books to the public in the Christian genre only.

Connect with Teresa: website, Facebook