Sunday, December 31, 2017

“Crisis Shot”, Book 1 “The Line of Duty” series--Author Janice Cantore’s many years in law enforcement add great authenticity and an insider’s eye for detail to her storytelling

Crisis Shot (The Line of Duty #1)

Tess O'Rourke dreams of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California. As commander of the East Division, she is well on her way . . . until the night she responds to an officer-needs-assistance call and fatally shoots an unarmed teenager. Despite being cleared of wrongdoing by a grand jury, Tess is so hounded by the public that she takes a job in Oregon to escape the bad press.

Winning over the residents of Rogue's Hollow might be more difficult than adjusting to her new role as police chief in the small, backwater town. Especially when her closest friend, the pastor's wife, goes missing and the woman's cousin is found shot. Tess finds an ally in sheriff's deputy Steve Logan, but as they track down Rogue's Hollow's first murderer, she worries that she's breaking one of her rules and getting too close to him.

MY REVIEW:  Author Janice Cantore’s many years in law enforcement add great authenticity and an insider’s eye for detail to her storytelling. “Crisis Shot”, Book One in her “The Line of Duty” series is a compelling romantic suspense tale featuring an appealing heroine. When a tragedy in the line of duty ends Tess O’Rourke’s dream of becoming the first female chief of police in Long Beach, California, she relocates to the small town of Rogue’s Hollow, Oregon. Serving as chief of police of the small community is an adjustment to say the least, but small towns often have big secrets which lead to big trouble, and Tess soon has her hands full of problems. She finds a friend in sheriff’s deputy Steve Logan, and he proves to be a much-needed ally with finding a missing person and solving a murder. Tess has always had her own rules regarding not becoming involved with someone with whom she works. Will she break the rules this time? Faith, courage, and a dedication to law enforcement, along with trust, will be needed to bring all matters to right—can Tess and Steve find the strength of conviction to see justice served? I highly recommend other works and series by Janice Cantore.

Book Copy Gratis Tyndale Blog Network


A former Long Beach, California, police officer of twenty-two years, Janice Cantore worked a variety of assignments, including patrol, administration, juvenile investigations, and training. She’s always enjoyed writing and published two short articles on faith at work for Cop and Christ and Today’s Christian Woman before tackling novels. A few years ago, she retired to a house in the mountains of Southern California, where she lives with three Labrador retrievers, Jake, Maggie, and Abbie. Janice writes suspense novels designed to keep readers engrossed and leave them inspired. Accused is the first book in the Pacific Coast Justice series, featuring Carly Edwards. Janice also authored the Brinna’s Heart series, which includes The Kevlar Heart and A Heart of Justice. Visit Janice’s website at and connect with her on Facebook.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

ALL THE BEST FROM BETHANY HOUSE BOOKS--four top authors offer inspiring and entertaining historical romance

Author Kristi Ann Hunter continues her charming Regency-set series, "Hawthorne House", with Book Four, "An Inconvenient Beauty". The most honorable Griffith, Duke of Riverton, is a logical man, and he naturally applies his sense of order to his search for a bride. His lady of choice, Miss Frederica St. Claire, appears to be a suitable candidate, but she has one quality he can't quite fathom--elusiveness. To make matters more perplexing, Griffith is intrigued by Frederica's beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge, whose unfortunate family circumstances are taking their toll on her personal hopes for happiness. A mutual admiration develops between Griffith and Isabella, but dare they defy society and their own preconceived notions and take a great leap of faith toward love? A recommended series for lovers of inspirational Regency romance. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books**********

The wit and wisdom of author Jen Turano shines through all of her work. "Out of the Ordinary" is Book Two in her "Apart From the Crowd" series. Miss Gertrude Cadwalder finds that working as a paid companion for the eccentric Mrs. Davenport is no easy task. A misunderstanding makes it appear as though Gertrude may be a thief of some items from the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair, whose son Harrison is caught between his mother and the lovely Miss Cadwalder. As his admiration for Gertrude grows, so does his awareness that trouble follows wherever she goes. When Harrison realizes that Mrs. Davenport is the one with the sticky fingers, he is eager to mend fences with Gertrude. Soon, however, a real thief begins to prey on society's elite. As Harrison and Gertrude work to capture to end the crime spree, they may just steal each other's heart. Can they solve the case and build a life of love and happiness together? If you like to smile while you read, you will love the work of author Jen Turano. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books**********

Crackling with the wit and adventurous spirit of author Mary Connealy, “Too Far Down” is Book Three in her “The Cimarron Legacy” series. The Bodens of New Mexico have been plagued with deadly disasters which threaten the future of their ranch and their mining company. Cole Boden has returned to the ranch after a Harvard education and life back East. Caught between his family and his future, Cole is also intrigued by pretty Melanie Blake, a longtime family friend. Melanie and Cole work together to end the curse against the Boden clan, but Melanie may lose her heart after all. Could there be a happy life for Melanie and Cole together—if they survive? Mary Connealy is a uniquely entertaining storyteller—betcha you can’t read just one of her books! Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books**********

Author Regina Jennings begins her “Fort Reno” series with “Holding the Fort”, an inspirational historical romance in which mistaken identity may be a most fortunate blessing in disguise. Louisa Bell lives the life of a dance hall singer, not by choice, but by the hand that Fate has dealt. When even the saloon singing is lost, Louisa turns to her brother, Bradley, for help. No stranger to misfortune himself, Bradley is stationed at Fort Reno under the stern watchful eye of Major Daniel Adams. A mix-up when she arrives finds Louisa accepting the job as governess for the major’s two young daughters. Louisa is far too pretty and unconventional, but the widowed major is in need of immediate assistance. With Daniel and Louisa working together to manage his daughters, the major may lose some of his starch, and the dance hall singer just might gain respectability. Will they lose their hearts to each other along the way? Regina Jennings is a gifted storyteller who infuses her romantic tales with charm, surprises, and abiding faith. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books**********

Sunday, October 15, 2017

''THE TWO OF US"--a poignant and inspiring contemporary romance from author Victoria Bylin

Heartwarming and Touching Contemporary Romance from Victoria Bylin

After two broken engagements, nurse practitioner Mia Robinson is done with dating. From now on, she only trusts herself and God, and she's focused on her eighteen-year-old sister, Lucy, and caring for patients. Just as she applies to work for an international aid organization, a phone call from Lucy, who's pregnant and running off to marry her twenty-one-year-old boyfriend, throws a wrench into all of Mia's plans. 

Jake Tanner may have recovered from the physical injuries he sustained on the job as a police officer, but his heart has yet to heal from losing his former partner in the tragedy. He's poured himself into starting a camp for the sons of fallen officers and mentoring Sam, the adult son of his deceased partner, who's asked him to be his best man at his wedding. 

Mia is expecting a mess when she arrives to sort out the situation with Lucy, but she wasn't expecting Jake. And Jake, who can't help envying Sam and Lucy, doubts he'll ever experience their happiness for himself. But maybe Jake's courage and Mia's caring spirit are just what they need to bring them a lifetime of healing and a forever kind of love. . . .


MY REVIEW: Author Victoria Bylin definitely tugs at the heartstrings with "The Two of Us", an inspirational contemporary romance tale. A gifted storyteller, whose writing just gets better and better with each new book, Ms. Bylin crafts a poignant, and ultimately uplifting, story of new and unexpected romance for a pair of wary souls. Young hearts are also featured along with a longtime love story that epitomizes the promise "for better or worse". Mia Robinson's disappointment over failed relationships has left her gun-shy when it comes to men. After having spent years as a caretaker for her younger sister, Lucy, now eighteen, Mia is making plans to change the focus in her life to giving care on a larger scale with an international aid group. Her plans come to a startled stop when Lucy informs Mia that she and her boyfriend Sam are tying the knot in Vegas. Former police officer Jake Tanner lost his partner, Sam's mother, in a tragic incident from which he has yet to fully recover. He finds some comfort in watching over Sam, and now he must cope with Sam's sudden marriage. His own parents, Frank and Claire, are dealing with the effects of Claire's progressive Alzheimer's Disease. Amidst all the swirling life changes, an awareness and attraction grows between Mia and Jake, and each of them has reason to be very careful where matters of the heart are concerned, but love and faith have a way of steering hearts in the right direction, even if the course is not smooth and steady. "The Two of Us" is a highly recommended read for lovers of inspiring and touching romance.

Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books


Victoria Bylin is a romance writer known for her realistic and relatable characters. Her books have finaled in multiple contests, including the Carol Awards, the RITAs, and RT Magazine's Reviewers Choice Award. A native of California, she and her husband now make their home in Lexington, Kentucky, where their family and their crazy Jack Russell terrier keep them on the go. Learn more at .

Sunday, August 27, 2017

"THE CASE OF THE CLOBBERED CAD"--an entertaining and atmospheric 1950's mystery tale from author Debra E. Marvin

The Case of the Clobbered Cad (Nosy Parkers Mysteries #2) by Debra E. Marvin Inspired by the famous Girl Detective, the members of the Olentangy Heights Girls' Detective Society, affectionately known as the Nosy Parkers, spent their formative years studying criminology, codes, and capers. Unfortunately, opportunities to put their unique skills to work were thin on the ground in the post-war boom of their little corner of suburbia and they eventually grew up to pursue more sensible careers. Until... Heather Munro’s youthful devotion to The Girl Detective led to a passion for digging around in history. Now pursuing her Master's Degree in Celtic Studies, Heather must balance exploring Edinburgh with her determination to excel in her all–male classes at the University. Unfortunately, on her first night working in the Archives room, she discovers the dead body of a visiting professor, the same would-be lothario she’d hoped never to see again. As clues come to light, it’s clear someone hopes to frame Heather for the murder. Besides her quirky landlady, whom can she trust? How can she clear her name? The police and the American Consul have plenty of suspects, but only two seem to have both motive and opportunity: Heather and the quiet Scottish historian she longs to trust.

MY REVIEW: Reading “The Case of the Clobbered Cad”, from author Debra E. Marvin, is a fun trip back to the 1950’s, and it includes all of the elements of those great black & white mystery movies from that era. With its appealing heroine, quick pace, beautifully detailed story line, and of course, the “Whodunnit” at the heart of the tale, this is a real treat for mystery lovers. Settle in for a while with a pot of tea and some “biscuits”—you’ll enjoy the story so much that you will read it all the way through in one setting. Young American Heather Munro is residing in Edinburgh, Scotland to pursue her Master’s Degree in Celtic Studies. Her part-time job at the university begins and ends in one fell swoop with the murder of Jack Winter, author and celebrity professor. Movie-star handsome with charisma to spare, Jack is also a womanizer. Heather met Jack, and his wife, on the ship which brought her to Scotland. After realizing that Jack was married, his appeal began to fade, and Heather was more than surprised to find him on staff at her university. On her first night monitoring the Archives room at the university, Jack is murdered, and Heather is the one who finds his body. Fascinated by detective work and historical research from a young age, Heather now finds herself at the center of a crime case where suspicions swirl around and about, and she must find the real killer in order to be free from implications of guilt. Her landlady, Mrs. Kintyre, is a policeman’s widow with a lively mind of her own. She offers friendship and advice, and Heather is grateful for her support. Then there’s Tom Brown, a university historian who seems most interested in Heather—but is he someone she can trust? As a history lover myself, I enjoy Debra E. Marvin’s way of making the past come alive while telling an entertaining story with rich detail and captivating characters.

Book Copy Gratis Author


Debra E. Marvin tries not to run too far from real life but the imagination born out of being an only child has a powerful draw. Besides, the voices in her head tend to agree with all the sensible things she says. She'd like to live a wee bit closer to her grandchildren, but is thankful that God is in control, that He chooses to bless us despite ourselves and that He has a sense of humor. Other than writing light-hearted romances and gritty gothics, she has rather normal obsessions such as fabric, peanut butter, vacations, British dramas, and whatever mystery series she's currently stuck on. Inkwell Inspirations Blog

Sunday, August 20, 2017

“THE AMISH OF SUMMER GROVE”—inspiring contemporary fiction series from author CINDY WOODSMALL

Ties That Bind: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove Book 1) Ariana’s comfortable Old Order Amish world is about to unravel. Will holding tightly to the cords of family keep them together—or simply tear them apart? Twenty-year-old Ariana Brenneman loves her family and the Old Ways. She has two aspirations: open a café in historic Summer Grove to help support her family’s ever-expanding brood and to keep any other Amish from being lured into the Englisch life by Quill Schlabach. Five years ago Quill, along with her dear friend Frieda, ran off together, and Ariana still carries the wounds of that betrayal. When she unexpectedly encounters him, she soon realizes he has plans to help someone else she loves leave the Amish. Despite how things look, Quill’s goal has always been to protect Ariana from anything that may hurt her, including the reasons he left. After returning to Summer Grove on another matter, he unearths secrets about Ariana and her family that she is unaware of. His love and loyalty to her beckons him to try to win her trust and help her find a way to buy the café—because when she learns the truth that connects her and a stranger named Skylar Nash, Quill knows it may upend her life forever. Ties That Bind is the first novel in the Amish of Summer Grove series.

Fraying at the Edge: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove Book 2) Family, community, faith, and love. These “quilt blocks” sewn together made Ariana’s beautiful life. When they are pulled to pieces, will anything familiar remain? The Old Order Amish life Ariana Brenneman loved vanished virtually overnight with the discovery that she was switched at birth twenty years ago. Now she’s immersed in the Englischer world, getting to know her mother and under the authority of her biological father, an atheist intellectual with resolute plans to expand Ariana’s worldview. Only Quill Schlabach, a childhood friend living Englisch, can steady the tilting ground between Ariana’s two worlds, but can she trust him after so many betrayals? At the same time, Skylar Nash is forced to choose rehab or spend several months with her true relatives, the large Brenneman family and their seemingly backward life—no electricity, no technology, no fun. What the young woman can’t leave behind is her addiction to illegal prescription drugs and a deep emptiness from the belief that she doesn’t belong in either family. New ties are binding Ariana and Skylar to the lives they were meant to have. Can they find the wisdom and strength they’ll need to follow God’s threads into unexpected futures? Fraying at the Edge is the second novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

Gathering the Threads: A Novel (The Amish of Summer Grove Book 3) Finally back in the Old Order Amish world she loves, Will Ariana’s new perspectives draw her family closer together— or completely rip them apart?’ After months away in the Englisch world, Ariana Brenneman is overjoyed to be in the Old Order Amish home where she was raised. Yet her excitement is mixed with an unexpected apprehension as she reconciles all she’s learned from her biological parents with the uncompromising teachings of her Plain community. Although her childhood friend, ex-Amish Quill Schlabach, hopes to help her navigate her new role amongst her people, Ariana’s Daed doesn’t understand why his sweet daughter is suddenly questioning his authority. What will happen if she sows seeds of unrest and rebellion in the entire family? Meanwhile, Skylar Nash has finally found her place among the large Brenneman family, but Ariana’s arrival threatens to unravel Skylar’s new identity—and her sobriety. Both Ariana and Skylar must discover the true cords that bind a family and community together and grasp tight the One who holds their authentic identities close to His heart. Gathering the Threads is the third and final novel in The Amish of Summer Grove series.

Book Copies Gratis WaterBrook Press


Cindy Woodsmall is a New York Times and CBA best-selling author who has written nineteen (and counting!) works of fiction and one of nonfiction. She and her dearest Old Order Amish friend, Miriam Flaud, coauthored the nonfiction, Plain Wisdom: An Invitation into an Amish Home and the Hearts of Two Women. Cindy's been featured on ABC Nightline and the front page of the Wall Street Journal, and has worked with. National Geographic on a documentary concerning Amish life. In June of 2013, the Wall Street Journal listed Cindy as one of the top three Amish fiction writers. She is also a veteran homeschool mom who no longer holds that position. As her children progressed in age, her desire to write grew stronger. After working through reservations whether this desire was something she should pursue, she began her writing journey. Her husband was her staunchest supporter as she aimed for what seemed impossible. She’s won Fiction Book of the Year, Reviewer’s Choice Awards, Inspirational Reader’s Choice Contest, as well as one of Crossings' Best Books of the Year. She’s been a finalist for the prestigious Christy, Rita, and Carol Awards, Christian Book of the Year, and Christian Retailers Choice Awards. Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, seeds were sown years ago that began preparing Cindy to write these books. At the age of ten, while living in the dairy country of Maryland, she became best friends with Luann, a Plain Mennonite girl. Luann, like all the females in her family, wore the prayer Kapp and cape dresses. Her parents didn’t allow television or radios, and many other modern conveniences were frowned upon. During the numerous times Luann came to Cindy’s house to spend the night, her rules came with her and the two were careful to obey them—afraid that if they didn’t, the adults would end their friendship. Although the rules were much easier to keep when they spent the night at Luann’s because her family didn’t own any of the forbidden items, both sets of parents were uncomfortable with the relationship and a small infraction of any kind would have been enough reason for the parents to end the relationship. While navigating around the adults’ disapproval and the obstacles in each other’s lifestyle, the two girls bonded in true friendship that lasted into their teen years, until Cindy’s family moved to another region of the US. As an adult, Cindy became friends with a wonderful Old Order Amish family who opened their home to her. Although the two women, Miriam and Cindy, live seven hundred miles apart geographically, and a century apart by customs, when they come together they never lack for commonality, laughter, and dreams of what only God can accomplish through His children. Over the years Cindy has continued to make wonderful friendships with those inside the Amish and Mennonite communities—from the most conservative ones to the most liberal. Cindy and her husband reside near the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains in their now empty nest.

“CONVENIENTLY WED TO THE GREEK”—author KANDY SHEPHERD engages the heart of the reader with a sweetly-sensual, timeless love story...

A marriage for the sake of her baby… When luxury hotelier Alex Mikhalis encounters the blogger who once nearly destroyed his reputation, he wants to get even. Only Adele Hudson isn't exactly as he remembers. She's pregnant and alone, and he can't stop his protective instincts kicking in! After a difficult breakup, Adele is very wary of all relationships. She has no choice but to accept the Greek tycoon's offer of a job, despite their complicated past. But his next suggestion is much more intimate: becoming his convenient wife! MY REVIEW: Author Kandy Shepherd has unique strengths as a storyteller: Her perfectly contemporary romances fascinate the reader with an up-to-minute look at modern society, but then they also engage the heart of the reader with sweetly-sensual, timeless love stories. All this makes for an irresistible reader's treat! With "Conveniently Wed to the Greek", secondary characters from a previous storyline are now featured for a chance at finding their own "Happily-Ever-After". Food writer Adele Hudson and hotel and restaurant tycoon Alex Mikhalis were once at extreme cross-purposes. Her painfully truthful review of his restaurant exposed secrets and changed both their lives. After three years, a chance meeting brings them together again, and now sparks of anger are turning to a different kind of heat. Adele, on her own and pregnant after the end of a difficult relationship, needs a job. Alex needs someone like Adele to help him make a success of his new luxury resort venture. It's a project near and dear to his heart--it's located in the beautiful Greek Islands of his home place. With the kindness and generosity of Alex's family making her feel welcome, and the undeniable charm and appeal of Alex himself keeping her enthralled, Adele is caught between two worlds. Alex tries hard to resist the lovely, warm woman whom he once despised, but she is bringing light to the darkness of his own tragic past. As the bitterness from prior days melts away, is there hope of new happiness and the gift of an unexpected love? Those who are captivated by poignant, heart-stirring romance will greatly enjoy "Conveniently Wed to the Greek". Book Copy Gratis Author KANDY SHEPHERD
Kandy Shepherd left a fast-paced career as a magazine editor to write award-winning romantic fiction. Kandy lives in a small farm in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband, daughter and a menagerie of four-legged friends. She believes in love-at-first-sight and real-life romance—they worked for her!

"RED, WHITE AND BUILT"--exciting romantic suspense series from author CAROL ERICSON features awesome NAVY SEALS

Red, White and Built A team of six Navy SEAL Snipers has been matching skills and wits against a known sharpshooter nicknamed “Vlad” across several deployments. Now Vlad has assembled a group of international terrorists, who are threatening to create chaos and fear across the globe. Each member of the sniper unit receives a stateside assignment that will not only challenge his skills and fortitude but his personal honor and commitment to himself and those he loves.

Locked, Loaded and Sealed (Red, White and Built #1) A navy SEAL sniper turned bodyguard, he'll protect his target at any cost The SEAL's secret assignment had been to protect a certain important doctor. But when the man is murdered, Austin Foley's mission changes. The navy sniper must now protect the doctor's protégé, the irresistible Sophia Grant, at any cost. For Sophia has information that could endanger the entire country. There's only one problem: Sophia has no idea what those secrets are. With lethal terrorists on their heels, Austin and Sophia must embark on a covert operation. But it will mean placing Sophia even more in harm's way--a sacrifice even the steel-hearted SEAL may be able to make.

LOCKED, LOADED and SEALed by Carol Ericson MY REVIEW: “Red, White and Built”, an exciting new romantic suspense series from author Carol Ericson, begins with “Locked, Loaded and SEALed”. Navy SEAL sniper Austin Foley is sent back to the US to protect Dr. Hamid Fazal, a former informant in the war on terrorism. However, Austin arrives too late to keep Dr. Fazal from being murdered, and now the doctor’s young assistant, Sophia Grant, seems to be the next target. Sophia is bright, beautiful, and street-smart—her young life as the child of substance abusers led to her growing up years being spent in various foster homes. Austin, the oldest of six children, grew up on a ranch in Wyoming. He’s cowboy-tough, cool, calm, and collected—but his attraction to Sophia is red-hot, and he can’t let his feelings get in the way of keeping her safe and completing his mission. Sophia knows her big, strong, handsome, green-eyed protector can’t stay around forever, but that doesn’t stop her from wishing he could be a permanent part of her life. As the two of them work together to solve the mystery of the doctor’s murder, they realize that it’s not just their lives at stake—it’s their hearts as well. A great beginning to a much-anticipated romantic suspense series from the talented Carol Ericson.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Alpha Bravo SEAL (Red, White and Built #2) Navy SEAL Protector When members of her film crew start being killed off, documentarian Nicole Hastings is relieved to find the man following her is Slade Gallagher—a navy SEAL sniper who once saved Nicole from Somali kidnappers. Now he's shadowing her to trap the terrorists behind the killings and find out just what they want. Nicole couldn't be more different from the women Slade usually falls for. But he quickly learns that there's a lot more to this socialite than he first thought. And as Slade's admiration for her courage and resilience grows, so does his yearning. Protecting Nicole is an assignment, but can he let her go when it's all over? ALPHA BRAVO SEAL by Carol Ericson

MY REVIEW: I greatly enjoy author Carol Ericson's thrilling romantic suspense reads with their intriguing and imaginative storylines and their captivating characters. "Alpha Bravo Seal" is Book 2 in the "Red, White and Built" series, and it is now one of my favorite books by Carol Ericson. I always become involved in following the action-adventure of the stories, but "Alpha Bravo Seal" has an extra-special love story at its core. Navy SEAL Sniper Slade Gallagher once saved the life of documentary film-maker Nicole Hastings when he freed her from captivity at the hands of extreme terrorists. The two of them didn't actually meet at that time, but now Slade is once again assigned to protect Nicole--this time on her home ground. Not exactly comfortable as a big-city bodyguard, Slade must think on his feet to keep Nicole safe. Smart, capable, and gorgeous, Nicole is more than a match for her handsome hero. The attraction is immediate, but the warm friendship which blooms between them grows into a real affair of the heart, with plenty of heat to keep sparks flying. Their relationship is natural and so well-written, and I couldn't wait to see how they could make the differences in their lives and lifestyles work out for a united, happy future. A great romantic suspense read from a great storyteller.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Bullseye: SEAL (Red, White and Built #3) by Carol Ericson A navy SEAL's mission is to protect a vulnerable target, not give in to temptation... Saving Gina De Santos from attempted kidnappings is one thing. But navy SEAL sniper Josh Elliott's assignment requires getting close to the ravishing widow to ascertain what she knows. And that feels more dangerous than combat. In her presence, Josh has to remind himself she's not to be trusted. Gina's drug-kingpin father had been negotiating with terrorists when a CIA raid killed him and Gina's husband. Now someone is after the vulnerable single mom and her little boy. While traveling to the Caribbean in search of clues, Josh and Gina find their sizzling desire overpowering. But when they're attacked again, they must overcome their mutual mistrust to survive at the hands of an unknown enemy.

 MY REVIEW: “Bullseye: SEAL”, Book 3 in author Carol Ericson’s “Red, White and Built” series has Navy SEAL sniper Josh Elliott feeling the pressure of trying to keep an emotional distance from Gina De Santos, the woman he must protect and investigate. Josh was part of the elite sniper team who took down Gina’s own father and also her husband and others as they negotiated with terrorists. Gina was left a widow with a young son, but her knowledge and involvement with the terrorist group must be ascertained and clarified—is she a victim or an insider? More than a year after the elimination of the men in her life, Gina is trying to make a new life in the real estate business for herself and her son in Miami, but she finds herself the recipient of mysterious text messages asking for the whereabouts of drugs and weapons. Josh originally finds his way into her world under the cover of someone interested in buying a property, but eventually he must reveal his assignment as the danger of the situation closes in on them. As the threat escalates, so does the flare of attraction between Gina and Josh. To keep them all safe, he must stick to his mission and his training—above all he must do his utmost to seek out and destroy the ultimate evil of the terrorist leader, Vlad. Can Josh and Gina find a way to make a new family with her son and keep the ever-present dangers at bay? If you love contemporary romantic suspense, you will greatly enjoy the “Red, White and Built” series from the intriguing imagination of author Carol Ericson.

Book Copy Gratis Author

Point Blank SEAL (Red, White and Built #4) You can keep your protocol--he'll go rogue to keep his family safe Tortured in captivity, navy SEAL Miguel Estrada owes his survival to his fiancée, the memory of her keeping him strong through his darkest moments. But when his escape is compromised by military protocol and he suspects the woman he loves is being targeted, he turns rogue. Jennifer Lynch has spent a year mourning Miguel and raising the baby he never met. But her reality is shaken once she finds him at her door and discovers they're all at risk. Putting his life on the line for Jennifer and their child, Miguel is forced to face some hard truths--and confront the secrets that might separate them permanently.


Author Carol Ericson says: "I was always a bookworm. I think most authors are. I started reading romance when I was about 12 or 13. The first romance novel I read was Victoria Holt’s Secret Woman. I went on to read all of Ms. Holt’s books and started devouring all the Gothic romances of that time. I’m also a huge Georgette Heyer fan and have read all of her books. As an English major at UCLA, I read a heavy dose of the classics, and later I started reading a lot of non-fiction and true crime. What better way to combine my love of romance with my interest in true crime than by writing romantic suspense?! I have written over 25 books for Harlequin Intrigue (check out my Books page!), and have self-published a few more books, including a romantic comedy (check out my Indie Books page!). I live near the beach in Southern California, and when I’m not writing, I’m reading, running on the beach, and going to my son’s water polo and soccer games. I have two teenage sons and a husband retired from law enforcement, who gives me an idea or two. I hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them. I love hearing from readers, so let me know what’s on your mind. Also, follow me on Facebook and Twitter for news and contests and check out my blog for up-to-date info." Happy reading!

''THE PROPER PROPOSAL" and “THE VISCOUNTESS BEQUEST” (THE FRENCH ADVENTURE)—two delightful Regency Romances from author Sophy Hester

Sir John, 4th Baron of Chalkstone, inherited an estate deep in debt even before he came of age and the responsibility as well for five younger brothers. After ten years of hard work and self-denial he has finally done it: The debts are paid off; the estate is flourishing. Time to go looking for a bride! The right one just is not there for him among the ladies of the countryside. So the attractive nobleman takes himself to London – and meets there the enchanting Louise Staunton. With his customary energy and strength of purpose, he goes about winning her over. A strong man who knows what he wants and a smart, beautiful woman who is willing to be persuaded…

MY REVIEW: Author Sophy Hester's "The Proper Proposal" is an engaging, well-written Regency Romance with all the traditional elements that readers of this genre find so appealing. However, the author's voice is all her own, and she tells this story in such a way that one is reminded of why we first fell in love with Regency. I so enjoyed "The Proper Proposal" with its detailed story line and characters for whom you root to find their happy ending. At age sixteen, John Bradley, the 4th Baronet of Chalkstone, lost his parents and gained a heavy burden. Not only did he become responsible for all lands and obligations, he become the responsible guardian of his five younger brothers. Not only did Sir John rise to the challenge, he brought prosperity and security to his family and his community. After ten years, at age twenty-six, he began to realize that it was time for him to find a suitable wife and make a satisfactory marriage. Where better to look than London for a lady of quality who met his qualifications? As soon as he meets Miss Louise Staunton, he sets about in his usual forthright manner to quickly woo and win her for his bride. A visit to his home place, accompanied by her cousin Harriet, seems just the thing to convince her of the pleasant practicality of the arrangement. Louise is quite taken by the beautiful manor and countryside, and she is most enamored by her persuasive suitor, but she wants more than just convenient companionship. Sir John is used to commandeering, not compromising, and Louise fears his heart may never become involved as hers has become in the relationship. Can her gentle, womanly strength, along with her beauty and intelligence open his eyes and his heart? I loved "The Proper Proposal" and hope that the author will write a sequel featuring one the secondary couples, Victoria and Lester.

Book Copy Gratis Author

The Viscountess Bequest: A Regency Romance (The French Adventure) by Sophy Hester England and France, 1817: Henry Wenton, 6th Earl of Brentford, is the black sheep of the family and deplored by good society as a bon vivant and wastrel. Neither the censure of polite society, nor the entreaties of his buttoned-up mother, nor the attention of the daughters of aristocrats can rein in the wayward Earl. Yet when a distant French uncle bequeaths Henry the lavish Maligny coastal estate on the condition that he wed his daughter, the orphaned 18-year-old Florence, a marriage of convenience suddenly has appeal for the incorrigible bon vivant. However, when the young Earl travels with his brother Stacy to become acquainted with his would-be bride, he finds not a helpless youth consumed by sorrow but a quick-witted, spirited belle. Instead of a helpless young woman in mourning, he finds an independent-minded, radiant beauty. The 18-year-old fascinates him. She is sensuous and innocent at the same time. Florence also feels herself drawn to the Earl. However, his domineering manner and his experience with women frighten her – and yet awaken in her a desire for love. Henry’s authoritative bravado and Florence’s innocent but sensuous charm make for a heady mixture, at once combustible and compatible, but will their mutual stubbornness stifle love before it can bloom? An entertaining Regency novel full of wit, charm and romantic tension with two enchanting main characters and personable secondary characters. Amusing commotions and entanglements offer genuine reading enjoyment for aficionados of historical romances.

MY REVIEW: With a fresh voice, and a great love of subject, author Sophy Hester spins a delightful Regency Romance in “The Viscountess Bequest” (The French Adventure). Henry Wenton, the 6th Earl of Brentford, has long been the despair of his family and polite society. A bequest from a distant French relative proves to be a challenge and an adventure for Henry, who travels to France with his brother, Stacy. With the inheritance of the estate comes an unexpectedly appealing condition: Henry must marry Florence, daughter of his benefactor, in order to inherit the estate known as Maligny. Although young and aware of Henry’s experience and autocratic manner, Florence has a mind and spirit of her own. Sparks and words fly between Henry and Florence, but can these two fiery hearts find the sweet compromise of love for a future of lasting happiness?

Book Copy Gratis via Author


Sophy Hester studied musicology and Russian at university and works as a copywriter and editor. For love she moved from a city of millions to a village. She has been married since 2004 and has three children. She loves to play the piano, to read romantic novels and to write - classic, contemporary Regency Romances. Since her youth, Sophy Hester has been an avid reader of Regency novels. Georgette Heyer is her favorite author.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


REMEMBERING ELVIS...and his greatest Mama...

August 16, 1977 will always be remembered as the day that Elvis Presley died. No one could ever replace Elvis, and no one could ever take his place in my mother's heart. Here is the true story of how my mother's sacrifice for me led to her moment of a lifetime. January 8, 1935 is the birth date of one of the most incredible entertainers who ever lived--Elvis Presley. It's hard to believe that Elvis would now be in his eighties, and it's even harder to believe that over forty years have passed since I saw him in concert in Roanoke, VA, a popular stop throughout his concert career. Even though I was in one of the "high altitude" seats in the civic center, the power, passion, and potency of this magnificent performer could barely be contained by the walls of the structure. It was April 11, 1972, and I was thirteen years old. I have been a fan of Elvis since I was old enough to recognize him on TV. During my growing up years, I never missed an "Elvis movie" at our local theater. At the time of this performance, Elvis was 37 years old, and he was in his prime. Mercy! It was only natural that I would adore Elvis. My Mama was one of the all-time greatest Elvis fans who ever drew a breath. She was so well known as his fan that even casual acquaintances would bring back souvenirs from Graceland and give them to her for her collection. When a series of Elvis collectible dolls became available at one of our local stores, I almost lost my life making sure that I got one for Mama, but I will save that story for another day.

I have written numerous articles and commentaries about Elvis, and I definitely have an "Elvis book" inside my soul. However, my greatest story is the one about Mama and Elvis, and how her sacrifice for me resulted in her ultimate reward. A very good friend and coworker of my mother's had obtained four tickets for the concert, and she wanted Mama to join her and her two sisters in attending the show. Well, of course Mama was thrilled, but she didn't want to go without me, so the five of us went with only four tickets. We squeezed together into the coworker's dark blue VW Beetle, and off we went, with Mama sure that somehow things would work out so that all of us would see Elvis. I am five-feet-ten, and so were Mama's friend and her sisters. Mama was the shrimp at five-feet-five. We were like sardines in a can, but what an adventure! When we got to the civic center, there was no way to obtain a fifth seat anywhere for the concert, and Mama would not allow me to miss seeing Elvis. She asked for the keys to the car and said she would wait on us, and that she would probably be able to hear some of the concert outside the building. I did not want to see the show without Mama, and I felt tremendously guilty about being inside while she was outside waiting. In fact, I kept saying how bad I felt until our friends told me in a nice way to "shut up". I was also very worried about Mama being out there somewhere on her own. I should have never underestimated my mother. She said all along that things would work out, and they couldn't have worked out better if they had been planned with meticulous detail. When we left Mama inside the entrance of the civic center, she didn't immediately try to go back to the car. She decided to call home and let my grandparents know that we made it okay, and so she went and closed herself up in the phone booth to make the call. When she came out of the booth, everyone was gone and the doors were locked. All of the civic center people had gone into the show so they wouldn't miss Elvis, and they had locked Mama in the building! She couldn't find anyone to help her, so she followed everyone else's lead and went inside to the show. No one stopped her or asked her what she was doing, so she walked straight down to the stage area and watched the whole concert from ten feet away from the stage. She was able to describe the color of Elvis' eyes, count all of his rings and admire the detail work of his jumpsuit and cape. All the while that I was up in the rafters making everyone miserable, Mama was front and center having the time of her life! I will never forget the weird, almost other-worldly sensation of going through the inner doors when the show let out and hearing Mama call me from behind. Behind? She was in the parking lot all by herself, possibly in peril--wasn't she? No, she wasn't! I finally turned around, and there she was behind me in the crowd, waving madly. Her face was lit from within, and she looked like a kid who caught the real Santa Claus placing presents under the tree.

Mama sacrificed her concert seat for me, and she ended up with the best seat in the house! I don't know if you believe in miracles, but as for me and Mama, we believed. Mama worked at our local hospital for over thirty years. The original hospital had an old-fashioned "plug-in" switchboard, of which Mama was the master. The day that Elvis died, August 16, 1977, Mama was working the switchboard as part of her duties as an admissions clerk. The hospital was flooded with calls, and the switchboard was lit up and humming. Most of the calls were for Mama. When Elvis died, she was the first person that many people thought of, and they called to check on her and offer their condolences. It took me a while to reach her, and then we shared our disbelief. In fact, she was one of the people who didn't believe that Elvis was really dead, and as long as Mama lived, he lived in her heart. I like to believe that when she passed away, she was met at the gates of Heaven by a man dressed all in white--a white jumpsuit, that is. What beautiful music they make! Mama on the keyboard, and Elvis singing Gospel with all his might.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

CATCHING THE WIND--author Melanie Dobson's memorably poignant tale of unimaginable loss and ultimate, uplifting faith

That question has haunted Daniel Knight since he was thirteen, when he and ten-year-old Brigitte escaped the Gestapo agents who arrested both their parents. They survived a harrowing journey from Germany to England, only to be separated upon their arrival. Daniel vowed to find Brigitte after the war, a promise he has fought to fulfill for more than seventy years.

Now a wealthy old man, Daniel's final hope in finding Brigitte rests with Quenby Vaughn, an American journalist working in London. He believes Quenby's tenacity to find missing people and her personal investment in a related WWII espionage story will help her succeed where previous investigators have failed. Though Quenby is wrestling her own demons--and wary at the idea of teaming up with Daniel's lawyer, Lucas Hough--the lure of Brigitte's story is too much to resist. Together, Quenby and Lucas delve deep into the past, following a trail of deception, sacrifice, and healing that could change all of their futures.

MY REVIEW: CATCHING THE WIND by Melanie Dobson "Catching the Wind" is a memorably poignant tale of unimaginable loss and ultimate, uplifting faith. Author Melanie Dobson crafts her story with exquisite care and detail, spanning the decades from the WWII Era to present day. Two young German children, Dietmar and Brigitte, escape Germany and the Gestapo who captured their parents only to be separated when they arrive in England. Dietmar spends the rest of his life searching for Brigitte, and eventually he enlists the help of an American journalist working in London. The journalist, Quenby, has her own answers to seek, but she joins Dietmar's lawyer, Lucas, in a quest which will uncover long buried secrets and hidden, never-suspected truths. Lives are forever changed as more and more facts are revealed. "Catching the Wind" is a remarkable work, a riveting blend of fact and fiction, which once again reminds us of both the depth of human depravity and the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Highly recommended.

Book Copy Gratis Tyndale Blog Network


Writing novels is a fun excuse for Melanie to explore ghost towns and old houses, travel to unusual places, and spend hours reading dusty books and journals. She writes both contemporary and historical fiction with threads of romance and suspense. Melanie is the award-winning author of sixteen historical romance, suspense, and contemporary novels including Catching the Wind, Beneath a Golden Veil, and The Silent Order. Three of her novels including Chateau of Secrets have won Carol Awards, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana won Best Novel of Indiana. Melanie and her husband, Jon, have two daughters. After moving numerous times with Jon's work, the Dobsons have finally settled near Portland, Oregon, and they love to travel and hike in both the mountains and the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or researching, she enjoys line dancing, biking, and making up stories with her kids. More information about her and her books is available on her website at

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd, #1) by Jen Turano Author Jen Turano long ago created her own genre. Her stories are always a reader's treat: the characters are captivating, the story lines are involving, and her writing is always infused throughout with delicious wit and abiding faith. "Behind the Scenes", Book One in the "Apart From the Crowd" series, is set in the societal whirl and world of New York City in the late 1800's. While Miss Permilia Griswold appears to onlookers to be a languishing wallflower, she is actually "Miss Quill", the mysterious gossip columnist with an insider's eye view of the whims and peccadilloes of the city's elite citizens. An overheard conversation leaves Permilia with knowledge of a threat against Mr. Asher Rutherford, a department store owner and a businessman on the rise. Convincing Mr. Rutherford that he is in danger is no easy task, and Permilia feels compelled to act upon her own resolve. Circumstances bring Permilia and Asher together, and admiration and unexpected attraction grows between them, but it will take faith and fortitude to see their way to a possible lifetime of lasting love. Once you read one story by Jen Turano, you will just have to read them all. Highly recommended. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
True to You (Bradford Sisters Romance #1) by Becky Wade Becky Wade is a wonderfully talented author of contemporary inspirational romance. The characterizations and storylines are fresh and captivating, layered and nuanced. "True to You", Book One in the "Bradford Sisters Romance" series, is a classic opposites attract tale made new and appealing with its unique twists and turns. Nora Bradford is a genealogist and owner of a historical village who dedicates herself to her work and her love of books. Losing herself between the pages is preferable to dealing with the heartaches of real life. John Lawson is a former Navy Seal who is very much a man of the modern world. When John becomes diagnosed with a hereditary health condition, however, he must look to the past and beyond his adoptive family to seek answers that may bring much needed help for his concerns. Nora is just the person to help John in his quest, and spending time in each other's company brings a new light and hope for the future to both their lives. When all truths are revealed, can a great leap of faith bridge the gap between the past and the present? Highly recommended for lovers of heartwarming, uplifting contemporary romance. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
Heart on the Line (Ladies of Harper’s Station #2) by Karen Witemeyer Karen Witemeyer writes engaging and entertaining tales of Inspirational Historical Western Romance. As the stories unfold, the characters experience both spiritual and personal growth while facing adventures and finding humor along the way. Of course, the romance is just perfect, with a hero and a heroine who learn about themselves while learning about each other. "Heart on the Line" is Book Two in the "Ladies of Harper's Station" series. Harper's Station is a little Texas town in the late 1800's where women rule the day and the democratic society they have created. Grace Mallory, on the run from a personal tragedy in Denver, Colorado, is a skilled telegraph operator. For some time, as "Miss G" she has connected with "Mr. A", a fellow telegrapher. Their friendship develops across the wires--a form of "frontier social media". When "Mr. A", Amos Bledsoe, relays a disturbing personal message to Grace from Colorado, her lack of response alarms him and propels him to seek her out. What follows is a charming and eventful courtship between two very likeable characters who must take a great leap of faith to solve a mystery and hold on to the "life-transforming" love that just may be their ultimate reward. A very lovely story from the talented Karen Witemeyer. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
A Name Unknown (Shadows Over England #1) by Roseanna M. White Will a master thief have her own heart stolen and find a lasting and life-changing faith along the way? "A Name Unknown" is the stellar beginning to author Roseanna M. White's "Shadows Over England" series. Set in early 1900's England, with the threat of looming world war casting an ominous shadow over all, this intriguing inspirational Historical Romance features an unlikely heroine whose family is a band of street survivors who have graduated from pick-pocketing to relieving the upper echelon of society of their valuables, which may just include vital, secret information. Rosemary Gresham, one of the older "sisters" in the family receives an assignment which will pay her more than she has ever earned through her own particular skill set: She must infiltrate the realm of a certain writer of German descent to learn if his true loyalties lie with England or Germany. Peter Holstein pens his best-selling adventure novels under a "safe" pseudonym, and while he is a man of means and has friends of influence, he remains awkward in his personal life. Suffering from stuttering, Peter feels that he best communicates through his writing. Rosemary enters his life in the guise of an historian of esteem, she seems just the person to help him sort out his lineage and social standing and help him silence dangerous gossip-mongers. Neither of them is prepared for the relationship which grows between them, and their involvement brings unexpected personal and spiritual growth to them both. In such a time when suspicion and fear bring great change to everyday life, is there a chance for Rosemary and Peter to find the love of a lifetime? "A Name Unknown" is a marvelous treat for lovers of history and romance. Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books AdChoices © 2017 AOL Inc. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, May 14, 2017


REMEMBERING MAMA--one of kind, vastly entertaining, often disconcerting, always my Mama! 

May 3rd, would have been my mother's 84th birthday. It's hard to imagine my mother being over eighty years old. She's been gone for over ten years, and though she was very ill for the last decade of her life, her spirit prevailed. I don't think anyone who met Mama could ever forget her! She was unique, sly, witty, talented, charming, funny, and very pretty. Mama was an animal rights champion and a world-class wildlife care provider. As a young girl, running through the woods near her home, she would sometimes come across horrible steel-jaw traps. She would smash them with a big rock, which sprung the trap, and then she would throw the trap in the river. She loved to ride horseback, and she always said that horses were her favorite animals.

Mama was a true daughter of the South, both sassy and refined. I lost track of how many times we watched "Gone With the Wind". Mama was also talented, artistic, and very theatrical. She studied ballet and tap, and she played the piano "by ear". I used to get tickled when she played because she added extra notes throughout the music piece. I asked her about those little extras one time, and she just gave a grin and said that was the way it ought to be played. I couldn't afford to buy her a spinet piano, but I did get her a full-sized electronic keyboard with a stand. She loved it so much! She was like a kid experimenting with all the different sound effects. More than once when I returned home at the end of a work day I could hear Mama, aka "The Phantom", at the keyboard. When the house windows were open, you could hear her playing out through the neighborhood. We both loved "The Phantom of the Opera". Mama also loved to figure skate, and we spent many, many hours watching figure skating programs on the TV. She was very knowledgeable about the sport, and her comments were often more enlightening than those of the professional commentators.

Mama was a "selective cook". If she liked it, she cooked it, and she cooked it well. Cubed steak and gravy with peppers and onions over mashed potatoes. Baked beans and coleslaw. "Secret Recipe" salad dressing. Fried chicken cooked in real butter in a big old cast iron skillet--with gravy, of course. Yellow cake with caramel frosting. Stuffed peppers. Hot dogs loaded with everything but the kitchen sink. Everywhere we traveled on our road trips, we found a little place that sold hot dogs. A hot dog, chips, and a cold drink would always hit the spot. Mama taught me how to ride a bike, how to knit, and how to remain gracious in the face of disaster. She encouraged me to read as a child, and she started me off with a library of "Little Golden Books". She said they were for me, but I think she enjoyed them even more than I did! She also started my cookbook collection. Before I was born, she began collecting recipe booklets and little cookbooks, and she wrote the date and a little note in each book. When I was older, and really got into recipes and cooking, Mama used to tell people that I could prepare dishes that looked "just like the picture in the book". That was her way of complimenting my cooking.

I come from a long line of dramatic, intelligent, piercingly humorous Southern women. My all-time favorite movie is "Show Boat" (1951), with Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson. When I was a kid, my mother, grandmother and I would sing along with the movies. Mom had the high voice, mine was lower, and Gran did the "silly singing". On a non-musical note, my mother was totally enamored of the film "Gone With the Wind". I have truly lost track of the number of times that we saw it in the theater, and then again when it started being shown on TV. She thought Leslie Howard, who portrayed Ashley Wilkes, was quite a hunk! My most vivid memory of our "Gone With the Wind" experience was when it was shown at our local theater during my senior year in high school. Mom and I had to go, and we ended up sitting on the front row with two friends of mine from my high school class. We three girls spent as much time watching Mom and her expressions and taking in her comments as we did watching the movie. Many times through the years, my friends have told me that Mom made the movie memorable for them! I can still see her face, lit with an almost childish delight, and illuminated by the images on the screen.

Do you have a favorite book that your mother read to you as a child? Is there a book that you have read as an adult that you associate with your mother? Have you ever read a book in which a character reminded you a lot of your mother? Do you have a favorite food from childhood--something that only your mother prepared the best? I'd love to hear your own memories and stories of your mother or someone who was like a mother in your life.


Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie

1 quart strawberries
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese
1 baked pastry shell, 9-inch
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
red food coloring
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

Wash, drain, and hull strawberries. Beat cream cheese with a fork until smooth. Spread cream cheese over bottom of the cooled pie shell. Stand half of the whole strawberries in the shell with tips up. Puree remaining strawberries in a blender, adding enough water to make 1 1/2 cups of puree. In a saucepan, mix granulated sugar with cornstarch; gradually stir in the strawberry puree mixture and the lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened and clear, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in a few drops of red food coloring; remove from heat. Cool sauce for about 10 minutes, then pour over the strawberries in the shell. Chill for about 3 hours, or until firm. Beat cream with confectioners' sugar until mixture holds its shape. Spoon whipped cream in a ring around the edge of the pie. Store leftover pie in the refrigerator.

Westerner Beef and Beans

1 1/2 to 2 lbs ground chuck
1 large onion, chopped
1 large bell pepper chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
salt & black pepper
one small pinch of red pepper flakes
1 can (16 oz) baked beans or pork & beans, undrained
1 can (16 oz) Great Northern beans, undrained
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 cup barbeque sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
crumbled cooked bacon

In a large, deep skillet or Dutch Oven, brown ground chuck with onion, bell pepper, and celery. Season lightly with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spoon out grease from skillet. Stir in remaining ingredients and cook over medium heat until bubbly. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. To serve, top with crumbled cooked bacon. If there are any leftovers, this makes a great hot dog topping.

Tangy-Sweet Coleslaw

6 cups shredded fresh green cabbage
2 carrots, shredded
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 small bell pepper, chopped fine
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
salt & pepper to taste

Toss cabbage in a large bowl with carrots, onion, and bell pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour the dressing over the slaw mix and toss to coat thoroughly. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving time. Stir well before serving.   


Cornbread Casserole 

1 box or pouch (approx 8.5 oz) corn muffin mix
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) creamed corn
1 can (15 ounces) whole corn kernels, drained
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the cornbread mix, creamed corn, corn kernels, eggs, sour cream, and butter. Stir in cheese. Pour batter into a 13-x-9-inch greased baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until the center is firm, and bread is golden in color. Cut into squares to serve.

Easy Lemon Cookies

1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oil, and lemon extract until well blended. Drop teaspoonfuls of dough into a bowl of confectioners' sugar. Roll them around until they're lightly covered. Once sugared, put them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6 to 9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown, and the insides chewy. 

Butter-Fried Chicken

one whole chicken, cut into fryer pieces
one to two sticks real butter
salt & pepper
poultry seasoning

In a large ziploc bag, add about one cup flour with a good shake of salt & pepper and a pinch of poultry seasoning. Add chicken pieces a few at a time and shake in sealed bag to coat well. Repeat until all chicken pieces are well-coated. Save any leftover flour mixture to make pan gravy. In a large (10 inch), deep cast iron skillet melt butter over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and cook until crispy brown on bottom. Turn chicken pieces and cook until well-done and golden, crispy brown. Arrange chicken pieces on serving platter. While skillet is hot, brown leftover flour in grease (add extra flour if needed). Carefully add enough cold water (be careful of hot grease splatters) to make gravy. Stir gravy continuously until smooth and thick. If needed, add extra seasoning to taste.

Mama's Summer Salad

one red ripe tomato
one yellow ripe tomato
one cucumber
one bell pepper
one onion

1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light cooking oil
salt & pepper to taste

Cut vegetables into bite-sized chunks and mix together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, dissolve sugar with vinegar. Blend in oil. Add salt & pepper to taste. Pour dressing over vegetables and stir well. Cover and chill. Flavor improves overnight. Stir salad well before serving.

Yellow Cake with Caramel Icing

one two-layer size butter-flavored yellow cake mix
Prepare cake mix as directed for two cake layers. Bake and allow to cool.

2 c. white granulated sugar
2 c. brown sugar
2 sticks butter
1 sm. can evaporated milk plus a small amount of milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine sugar, butter, and evaporated milk (pour evaporated milk in a measuring cup and fill to 1 cup with whole milk). Place in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and cook to the soft ball stage. Add vanilla extract. Cool and beat until creamy. Spread quickly over cooled cake.

If Mama ain't happy...ain't nobody happy...

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Entertaining Historical Western Romance from author Mary Connealy--humor, heartfelt romance, inspiring faith...

Someone Will Stop at Nothing to Claim the Boden Homestead!

The Boden clan thought their problems had ended with the death of a dangerous enemy, but have they uncovered the real plot to take their 1880s New Mexico ranch? Justin Boden is a top rancher and a rugged man, and yet with his brother, Cole, shot and in mortal danger, even a tough man faces doubts. And it doesn't help that Angie DuPree, the assistant to the doctor trying to save Cole, is as distracting a woman as Justin ever laid eyes on.

With her and the doc's timely skills, Cole looks to be on the mend. Now Justin and the rest of the Bodens can turn their attention back to the threats facing them. It's clear now that everything that's occurred is part of a much bigger plot that could date back to a decades-old secret. Can they pull together all the pieces before danger closes in on them, or is the risk of losing the ranch even greater than any of them could imagine?
MY REVIEW:  Author Mary Connealy continues her Cimarron Legacy series with Book Two, "Long Time Gone". The Boden family has faced a series of threats to their home, health, and happiness. Patriarch Chance Boden almost lost his life in an avalanche which was no accident. While he is away receiving medical care, his directive for his three grown children is for them to work together and live on their family ranch for one full year. As the siblings struggle to survive and hold on to the ranch, daughter Sadie meets her match in ranch hand Heath Kincaid, whom Chance had left in charge as overseer. Now, brothers Justin and Cole Boden are battling a life-and-death emergency as Cole is seriously wounded at the hands of an outlaw. The doctor working to save Cole's life has a beautiful young assistant, Angie DuPree. As smart as she is pretty, Angie can't help but notice the rugged charm of Justin Boden. Both Justin and Angie had given up on finding real love--thinking their time for true romance was a "long time gone". The dangers they all face bring the two of them closer together--could it be that this is the love of a lifetime for them both? Will the Bodens solve the mystery of the ongoing attacks that may cost them their home and their very lives? Mary Connealy always entertains with her inspiring western tales which are woven together with love and laughter.
Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books

No Way Up (Cimarron Legacy, #1)

No Way Up (The Cimarron Legacy)

New Western Romance Series from Bestselling Author Mary Connealy

When Cimarron ranch patriarch Chance Boden is caught in an avalanche, the quick actions of hired hand Heath Kincaid save him. Badly injured, Chance demands that his will be read and its conditions be enforced immediately.

Without anyone else to serve as a witness, Heath is pressed into reading the will. If Justin, Sadie, and Cole Boden don't live and work at home for the entire year, the ranch will go to their low-down cousin Mike.

Then Heath discovers the avalanche was a murder attempt, and more danger might follow. Deeply involved with the family, Heath's desire to protect Sadie goes far beyond friendship. The danger keeps them close together, and their feelings grow until being apart is the last thing on their minds.

MY REVIEW:  A new book from author Mary Connealy is always a treat, and when it's the start of a new series, then that's even better. The "Cimarron Legacy" series begins with Book One, "No Way Up".  A near-death experience in an avalanche and the possibility of losing a leg makes ranch patriarch Chance Boden determined to bring his three adult children together as a family. He wants them united in heart and mind, for their own sake, as well as for the future of the ranch. As Chance departs to receive medical treatment for his leg, he leaves ranch hand Heath Kincaid in charge of the siblings, and he orders them all to follow the directives he has laid out in his will. The three grown children, Sadie, Justin, and Cole, will live and work at the ranch for one year. If not, the ranch and all of the Boden legacy will be left to a distant relative. Heath had noticed how pretty Sadie was from the very beginning, but he doubted she'd ever noticed him. Now, with him having to enforce her father's wishes, he felt sure he would never find her favor. When he discovers that the avalanche was no accident, Heath vows to protect Sadie and her family at all costs--but will it cost him his heart? Sadie has definitely noticed Heath, and she knows that he is a good, strong man, and also an attractive man. Can she put asides her doubts and let her heart lead the way? Will all of them find a way to work together and keep their faith and their home intact? I look forward to future entries in the "Cimarron Ranch" series from wonderful storyteller Mary Connealy. 

Book Copy Gratis Bethany House Books 


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy...with cowboys. She is a Carol Award winner, and a Rita, Christy and Inspirational Reader's Choice finalist. She is the author of bestselling Kincaid Brides Series: Out of Control, In Too Deep, Over the Edge. The Trouble in Texas Series; Swept Away, Fired Up, Stuck Together. The Wild at Heart Series; Tried and True, Now and Forever, Fire and Ice. Her work also includes Lassoed in Texas Trilogy, Montana Marriages Trilogy and Sophie's Daughters Trilogy. And Novella collections; A Bride for All Seasons, Four Weddings and a Kiss, A Match Made in Texas, Hope for the Holidays Contemporary Collection, Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection, With this Kiss Contemporary Collection, With this Kiss Historical Collection and many more books. Under the pen name Mary Nealy, she also wrote Ten Plagues--a romantic thriller, and The Historical Society Murders--three cozy mysteries. Mary is married to a Nebraska rancher and has four grown daughters and a small bevy of spectacular grandchildren.

With This Ring?: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry

by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jegears

MY REVIEW:  Four of the top talents in Historical Western Inspirational Romance combine their considerable storytelling skills for the delightful anthology "With This Ring?: A Novella Collection of Proposals Gone Awry". In "The Husband Maneuver", from author Karen Witemeyer, Marietta Hawkins must act fast to keep from losing the love of her life, ranch foreman Daniel Barrett. Daniel is even more of a hero to her than the star of her beloved dime novels, but can she make the real man realize how much she cares? Author Regina Jennings puts her pair of prospective sweethearts in quite a predicament in "Her Dearly Unintended". Can the relationship they pretend to have in order save face turn into a love to last a lifetime? When author Mary Connealy's "Runaway Bride" Carrie Halsey finds Texas Ranger "Big John" Conroy sent by her sister to help her evade an unwanted suitor, the lawman begins to see the situation as appealingly arresting. He promises to keep Carrie safe from harm, but can he keep himself safe from the sparks of an unexpected attraction? Tomboy Charlie Andrews has been the lifelong rival of Harrison Gray in author Melissa Jagears' "Engaging the Competition". When grown-up Charlotte must help Harrison in a time of need, will rivalry turn to romance? Wonderful writers with a talent for engaging storytelling make this anthology a reader's treat.

Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books

Sometimes Love is Found in the Most Unexpected Places!

Love isn't always a fairy tale, and it doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes the best stories, though, are the ones that are the most unexpected. Join Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings, and Melissa Jagears for novellas that celebrate the power of love to triumph . . . even when circumstances go awry!

The Husband Maneuver

When ranch foreman Daniel Barrett seems ready to leave her life forever, Marietta Hawkins decides to grab the reins on their relationship. But to have any hope of maneuvering him into a proposal, she has to act fast or risk losing him completely.

Her Dearly Unintended

Josiah Huckabee just wanted to make sure Katie Ellen Watson was safe, but when the only bridge to her farm is washed out, the two find themselves alone. Alone, that is, until a menacing stranger appears. Maybe by pretending to be newlyweds, they'll save their reputations--but can pretending to be in love turn into the real thing?

Runaway Bride

Hired to help Carrie Halsey escape from a dangerous man intent on making her his wife, Big John Conroy never expected the job to interrupt his solitary Texas Ranger life. But now that he's promised to keep Carrie safe, he discovers he may just want to make a few more promises.

Engaging the Competition
Harrison Gray and tomboy Charlotte Andrews have been rivals for years. With Charlotte intended for someone else, it seems they'll never settle their differences until an accident changes things completely. When Charlotte breaks Harrison's glasses--without which he's nearly blind--she must help with his teaching position, and working together forces these former adversaries to reconsider everything.

"This quartet of authors consistently write with hilarity, warmth and toe-curling romance. Their individual contributions to this entertaining collection hold true to form. Connealy tips her hat to long-time fans with a grin-inducing reunion and clever word-smithing. Witemeyer's ingenious story-within-a story adds even more humor and drama to her contribution. Jennings and Jagears perfectly complete the ensemble with witty tales of friendship and breathless kisses."--RT Book Reviews Top Pick

About the Authors

Karen Witemeyer is a winner of the Carol Award and has been a finalist for the RITA Award and National Readers' Choice Award. She lives with her husband and three children in Abilene, Texas.

Mary Connealy is well-known for her award-winning, bestselling historical romantic comedies. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband and has four grown daughters.

Regina Jennings is the author of five acclaimed historical romances. She lives outside Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, with her husband and four children.

Melissa Jagears
, author of the Unexpected Brides series, is a homeschooling mother of three little ones on a tiny Kansas farm with a fixer-upper house. Her first novella, Love by the Letter, won the 2014 Carol Award for Best Novella.