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Heartbeat of the Bitterroot ~ Review

Heartbeat of the Bitterroot
By Janice Mineer

The cover alone is reason enough pick up this book and read it - the cover is gorgeous but the real treat comes from what is hidden within. Jenn Clark was fortunate that she was able to spend as much of her childhood with her Aunt Ann, Uncle Martin, and cousins - if not for their love and support she may have found herself as adrift in life as her late mother was. But her early years have laid a foundation that has made a mark and she feels that she will never have the family that she wants or any family if her boyfriends are any indication.

But Jenna has come back to her roots in Montana with her latest job transfer and she is determined to find what she is missing and to spend time with the family who has loved her through the years. And to start off she's about to attend her cousin's wedding - a wedding that may, in fact, reveal a little-known secret about her past and her father.

But the revelation that she never knew her father is a revelation to more than Jenna. But with the passage of so much time can she ever hope to find the truth as to who she is? This journey will allow Jenna to see her mother in a new light.

But when Jenna finds her safety threatened the question becomes why. Is it related to her search for answers about her past or is it related to something entirely different? And then there is Michael Callahan her cousin Jack's friend who has somehow found himself involved in Jenna's search. Is he someone that Jenna could trust her heart with? Or is his heart already taken?

Altogether this is a beautiful story that one will want to re-read. The characters are alive and one can empathize with them. Well, maybe not Jenna's jerk maybe-ex-boyfriend Derek. And I loved the subtle weaving of the strength and beauty of the Bitterroot throughout the story as a parallel to Jenna's own.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.

About the Book:
And so, it followed me, this dream.
It launched me on a journey.
But I never imagined that the journey
would nearly cost me my life.


Jenna Clark tries to keep her bleak childhood memories buried in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, but a newfound secret about her father’s identity forces her to dig into her past. Whit the help of Michael Callahan -- the charming man she meets at her uncle's ranch--she delves deeper into a history that would rather stay hidden. When harmless pranks quickly turn into aggressive threats, Jenna must decide whether to run away one more time or face her past with courage and finally let love into her heart.

About the author:
Janice Mineer was born in the state of Washington. She graduated from Brigham Young University and later taught English, allowing her to spend quality time with something she loves-the written word. A hopeless romantic, Janice has played harp for weddings, even for one that took place on the edge of a cliff over a river. Because of her first husband’s long illness, Janice and her family spent extended time away from home to be near the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. When her husband passed away, Janice dedicated herself to work with the Ronald McDonald House to provide a home away from home for families who need medical care for their children. Janice is the author of a children’s book, Gingerbread from the Heart. Heartbeat of the Bitterroot is her first novel.
Janice lives in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana with her husband, Randy. Between them, they have five children and 11 beautiful grandchildren.


Dark Deception ~ Review

Dark Deception
Defenders of Justice #2
By Nancy Mehl

Kate O'Brien's life hasn't been the same since her twin sister was murdered before her very eyes and the murderer left her for dead beside her. After two trials she thought it was behind her as she lived out her life in WITSEC. But someone has raised questions about whether or not the man convicted on her testimony was truly the killer. And Kate is being subpoenaed for a new trial - a trial she wants no part of.

But Kate has conditions of her own if she is going to loose the demons in her life - she wants the Deputy Marshall who was there for her before to again protect her - she wants Tony DeLuca because she trusts him.

But someone is determined to silence Kate and Tony may not be able to stop them. And the evidence against Kate's would-be-killer is all based solely on her testimony, which if she is unable to provide will free a killer who may even now be after her.

This book will leave the reader wondering just who is guilty of what as a number of potential suspects comes to light. Can Tony and his team keep Kate alive long enough for the truth come to light? Or will a killer be allowed to walk free and target a new victim?

This is the second book in the Defenders of Justice series and fans of Nancy Mehl will not be disappointed in the suspense level. Nancy will definitely keep the reader guessing as to who is guilty of what as the story progresses. As one potential suspect is raised another seems even more likely. A perfect read if you want to be kept wondering into the wee hours of the night. This book is also the perfect reason to plead just one more chapter.  If you haven't read the first book in the series don't worry as this book can easily be read and followed as a different set of characters is the main focus than those of the first book Fatal Frost.  Get ready for some intense heart-pounding reading from the first page!

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Bethany House with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Kate O'Brien's quiet life in small-town Shelter Cove, Arkansas is shaken when her past suddenly comes roaring back to life. Four years ago, she and her twin sister were attacked by an elusive serial killer. Only Kate survived, and she's been in witness protection ever since.

When new evidence arises to suggest the convicted man wasn't the murderer, she's subpoenaed to testify in the new trial. Afraid to go back into that world, Kate only agrees if Tony DeLuca, the deputy Marshal who protected her during the original trial, escorts her to St. Louis.

Tony readily takes on the assignment; Kate's beauty and inner strength made more of an impression on him than he expected. But when Kate's safety is threatened, Tony must race against the clock to keep her alive and put this ugly case to rest before anyone else gets killed.


The Most Misused Stories in the Bible ~ Review

The Most Misused Stories in the Bible
by Eric J. Bargerhuff

Surprising ways popular Bible stories are misunderstood

All too often we are taught from a young age what a story in the Bible is all about. But these stories are often made to fit the lesson that is being made. In this book, Eric Bargerhuff attempts to dispell our misconceptions about some of the most used stories.

David and Goliath - the classic example of facing and overcoming our fears is not about facing fear at all. David wasn't afraid of Goliath - in fact, he seemed to be the only Israelite not afraid of Goliath. Rather this is a story about trusting in God and in His strength.

Cain and Abel's story is explained and how too often we misunderstand the point of the story - which is not the rejection of one sacrifice over another or even murder. Rather the point is the condition of one's heart which only God can see. When we study the story of Jonah we tend to focus on the fish, rather than on God and what He accomplished. And the woman caught in adultery is not a shield giving us permission to sin with a free pass to "get out of sin card". Through this book, we will examine not only these stories but 10 additional ones that will help us to read in context and not add personal biases or beliefs to our interpretation of the Bible.

This book is both interesting and informative. A definite must to have on hand and share with those you know. In my opinion, this would be any excellent choice for either a group or family Bible study. Often we never look beyond the stories we heard in Sunday School and study them on our own to learn the truths that they have to offer us. Eric Bargerhuff offers us a look beyond that can help us decern other truths that we have allowed to lay hidden behind the comfort of the children's stories that we are comfortable and familiar with.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:

Are you sure you know what your favorite Bible stories mean?

A surprising number of popular Bible stories are commonly misused or misunderstood, even by well-intentioned Christians. In this book, Eric J. Bargerhuff helps you sort through modern-day distortions of these well-known stories and grasp their meaning and purpose for us today. See with fresh eyes the life-changing truths in stories such as:
David and Goliath
Jonah and the Big Fish
The Woman Caught in Adultery
Zacchaeus, the tax collector
Gideon and His Fleece
Judas, the Betrayer

Filled with fascinating historical and scriptural insights, this concise yet thorough book will help you learn how to read and apply all of God's Word more faithfully.

Eric J. Bargerhuff, PhD, teaches in the Bible and Theology department and directs the Honors Program at Trinity College of Florida.  Author of the acclaimed book The Most Misused Verses in the Bible, he served in pastoral ministry for more than twenty years. Eric received his doctorate in biblical and systematic theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.


A Love So True ~ Review

A Love So True
Teaville Moral Society #2
By Melissa Jagears

Evelyn Wisely is drawn to helping those that are in need in Teaville - the orphans, the cast-off children, and the women who find themselves trapped in the town's red district.  She gives her all to help them, unfortunately, she needs the financial support of others to do this. But most don't want to muddy their reputations by associating with women who have been reduced to such a life.

Most can't understand why Evelyn has refused the attentions of men who seek to court her. Even her parents are in the dark, but Evelyn has a secret one that no one knows or even suspects and it has broken her heart.

But Evelyn's carefully laid plans are about to run into a most determined obstacle in the form of David Kingsman - a young man who has traveled to Teaville on the request of his father. David is hoping the time away from his father will allow him time to breathe and determine exactly how his life will unfold. And if he can somehow win his father's approval by what he has planned - perhaps his father will see him for who he can be and not whom he thinks he can force him to be.

Evelyn intrigues David from their first meeting - a young woman who visits the outcasts of society, isn't seeking marriage, and has an obvious love of children. Determined to learn all he can about Evelyn - David finds himself thwarted by her aloof and standoffish behavior towards him. Can David determine why Evelyn seems opposed to courtship and the idea of marriage? Or will she break his heart without knowing it?

This is the second book in the Teaville Moral Society series and those who enjoyed Nicholas and Lydia's story will be delighted to know that they too are in this book. And we learn more of Caroline O'Connor's backstory and it is heartbreaking.  This book draws the reader into the story from the first page and keeps one's eyes firmly glued to the pages. Melissa Jagear brings to life characters whom one can empathize with and whom one wouldn't mind getting to know in person.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher Bethany House with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Evelyn Wisely loves working at the local orphanage, but her heart can't ignore the women of Teaville who are also in need. Her boss is willing to help build a shelter for them, but only if she gains the cooperation and financial support of other local businessmen. 

While David Kingsman plans to stay in Teaville just long enough to get his father's business back on solid ground, he's intrigued by Evelyn's cause and finds himself more invested with each passing day.

Will their plans and partnership fall apart when confronted with all that is stacked against them, or can they trust in God's plan despite it all?


Speaking with Strategic Impact ~ Book Spotlight with Giveaway

This book is a must-read if you’re a consultant, analyst, pitch team leader, roadshow executive, technology specialist, project manager, internal or external marketer, sales rep, subject matter expert or innovator.

Book Details:

Book Title: Speaking with Strategic Impact: Four Steps to Extraordinary Presence and Persuasion

Author: Kate LeVan

Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 152 pages

Genre: Business

Publisher: Delton Press

Release date: May 24, 2017

Tour dates: June 12 to 30, 2017

Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Speaking with Strategic Impact is for business people who make their living—or their mark—through presentations long and short.

It’s a must-read if you’re a consultant, analyst, pitch team leader, roadshow executive, technology specialist, project manager, internal or external marketer, sales rep, subject matter expert or innovator.

Do your presentations unexpectedly fall flat? Do others hijack your meetings? Do you spend more time compiling slide decks than actually influencing decision-makers? Has someone vaguely told you that you “should look more confident up there” or that you “lack gravitas”? Have you watched TED Talks but wonder how you can bring that level of effectiveness into real business presentations?

Speaking with Strategic Impact gives you the key to leadership presence and persuasion. More than just tips and tricks, it outlines a discipline for navigating real business situations with consistently superior outcomes that’s favored by top business schools and Fortune 500 companies. You’ll get specific strategic and tactical advice to keep you on the mark in your presentations and meetings—and differentiate you from the vast majority of business presenters.

Read Speaking with Strategic Impact to master the means by which you make a living and a difference in the world!

Buy the Book:

Meet the Author:

Kate LeVan trains, coaches and collaborates on business communication effectiveness with major corporations worldwide and as an instructor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her training consistently receives top ratings from executive development program participants for its simplicity, applicability and career-changing impact.

Connect with the Author: 

Enter the Giveaway!
Win one of 5 prize packages that contains:
a signed copy of Speaking with Strategic Impact by Kate LeVan,
a $20 Amazon gift card and
an optional coaching call with the author
(open to USA and Canada only - 5 winners)

Ends July 8
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The Farmers' Market Mishap ~ Review

The Farmers' Market Mishap
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
        and Jean Brunstetter

 Elma Hochstetler wants to get married but at her 30+ years doesn't think its ever going to happen. Her twin sister Thelma is married and expecting her first baby and want Elma to marry too. Just one problem Thelma wants to pick out the man Elma will marry after all that is the only way to ensure Elma stays close and in Topeka, Indiana.

In Grabill, Indiana, Ben Wagler is having his own matchmaking troubles - his mother, Dorothy can't accept that he doesn't want to marry any of the local Amish in their community. After all why wouldn't he want to marry an eligible young woman especially at his age! She's sure he could fall in love if he'd just put a little more effort into it.

But when Ben and Elma meet over a spilled basket of fruit they have a connection - there is just one problem they live more than 50 miles apart. This is an instant strike against them in both the eyes of Thelma and Dorothy. But when the heart's involve who will win ~ love or loyalty to family ties?

This is a cute book that at times can get a tad redundant with the main characters rehashing their feelings and the re-explaining of situations. Yes, Elma's horse was injured and needs a few more weeks of rest - got it. But if you're looking for a quick read and have enjoyed Wanda Brunstetter's Amish novellas in the past you'll enjoy this book as well. I was a tad disappointed in the book and the story flow at times and at other times it flowed smoothly when not dealing with Elma's chore load, and Thelma and Dorothy's attempts at marital manipulation.

And an added bonus for those who like to cook - there are two recipes in the back one for crisp and one for potato salad.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

About the Book:

New York Times Bestselling Author Wanda E. Brunstetter and Daughter-in-Law, Jean, Weave a Lighthearted Romance from Indiana’s Amish Country

Living alone for the first time in her life is lonely for Elma Hochstetler, whose twin sister Thelma recently married. Though they share the running of a general store, more and more of Thelma’s time is taken up by her growing family. Elma has dated some, but she wonders if she is just too picky to find love.

Through a mishap at the farmers’ market, Elma meets Ben Wagler and instantly likes him. But there is a problem. He lives in Grabill—50 miles away! But Elma has tried long-distance dating before, and it won’t work for her. Besides the store needs her. Her sister needs her. Elma feels love will forever remain beyond her grasp.

Elma has a habit of putting others before her own needs. Can she learn to take a risk at following the desires of her heart?


Sweetbriar Cottage ~ Review

Sweetbriar Cottage
By Denise Hunter

For the last 18 months, Noah Mitchell has been divorced.  Betrayed by his wife Josephine he wasted no time filing and signing the paperwork. Unfortunately, Josephine messed up and the divorce was never finalized. Thanks to the IRS this not so little mistake comes to light and totally ruins Noah's day and his general disposition, which admittedly hasn't been the best since his break from Josie.

 The last thing Josie needs is having more face time with her not-so-ex ex, but she thought they were done with everything. But she's determined to expedite rectifying her mistake even if it means taking the new divorce papers up to Noah's ranch. But Josie's best intentions are about to strand her at Noah's when a winter storm makes an unexpected spring visit to Georgia.

The story shifts between the present day and key moments in the past that contributed to Noah and Josephine's marriage and divorce. Secrets and betrayals are at the heart of their pain and until they can acknowledge them and allow healing to come they will both be trapped by their failures.

In a small way, Sweetbriar Cottage reminds me of  Hosea and yet it is much more than just a modernized fictional retelling of this Biblical book. This is a story of unconditional love and the truth that it cannot be found within the human heart. But unconditional love can be found in God and experienced through His grace and mercy.

This is a book that will leave the reader emotionally moved as one experiences the pain of betrayal that both Noah and Josephine suffer even as their love still is glimpsed at unguarded moments. God gives second chances and this is just such a moment for these two hurting people.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher through BookLook Bloggers with no expectations of a positive review. All expressed opinions are my own.

About the Book:

When Noah and Josephine Mitchell discover their divorce was never 
actually finalized, their lives are turned upside down.

Following his divorce, Noah gave up his dream job, settling at a remote horse ranch in the Blue Ridge Mountains of northern Georgia, putting much-needed distance between himself and the former love of his life. But then Noah gets a letter from the IRS claiming he and Josephine are still married. When he confronts Josephine for the first time in months, they discover that she missed the final step in filing the paperwork and they are, in fact, still married.
Josephine is no happier about the news than Noah. Maybe the failed marriage—and okay, the botched divorce—was her fault, but her heart was shattered right alongside his, more than he would ever believe. The sooner they put this marriage behind them, the better for both of their sakes.
But when Josephine delivers the final paperwork to his ranch, the two become stranded in his cottage during the worst spring snowstorm in a decade. Being trapped with Josephine is a test of Noah’s endurance. He wrestles with resentment and an unmistakable pull to his wife—still beautiful, still brave, and still more intriguing than any woman he’s ever known.
As they find themselves confronted with each other and their shared past, old wounds surface and tempers flare. But when they are forced out into the storm, they must rely on each other in a way they never have before. Josephine finally opens up about her tragic past, and Noah realizes she’s never been loved unconditionally by anyone—including him. Will Noah accept the challenge to pursue Josephine’s heart? And can she finally find the courage to trust Noah?