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4.18.2019

The Edge of Over There ~ Review

The Edge of Over There
The Day the Angels Fell #2
By Shawn Smucker

When Abra Miller and Sam Chambers were present at the battle of the Tree of Life their lives changed and took different paths. Abra was left with a sword that she along could touch and with a dream. The dream of that night and a message that Mr. Tennin left with her before he was lost to this world.

And Abra on that night her friendship with Sam ended. Time has passed and Abra's life has come to an end and Sam is about to hear Abra's story. A story that a stranger is about to reveal to him. A story that took Abra on a mission to destroy a second Tree of Life. A Tree that is at the Edge of Over There and if any eat of its fruit all could be lost.

But to stop this threat Abra must travel to New Orleans where a Gateway that no living person should ever cross must be opened and entered. But Abra's journey is about to be joined by a young man who has been seeking this very Gateway since the night he lost his family to it.

But can she withstand this place of sorrow and pain? This place of temptations will be her battlefield and she is about to discover just how alone she truly is.

The Edge of Over There takes us to the point where The Day the Angels Fell left off. And we along with Sam are about to discover just what he abandoned Abra to face alone. Reading the first book is not a necessity as this story follows Abra more than Sam but it wouldn't hurt to have a greater backstory understanding before reading this book. Fans of Speculative Fiction will enjoy this book and series. I'd say if you like any of the following authors you'd want to give Shawn Smucker a try:
Robert Liparulo, Frank E. Peretti, James Rubart or Billy Coffey. There are some similarities to these authors work that if you are looking for someone new to read I can see this being a nice fit.

 And here's hoping that the hints of a third book are soon to come to fruition as I'm anxious to learn what is next to happen. Does it delve further into Abra's story or will we instead turn to Sam? Either possibility could happen and I really want to know.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion ~ All thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Abra Miller carries a secret 
and a responsibility she never expected.

Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller's life had been predictable. Safe. Normal. But after the Tree, everything has felt fragile . . . like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. After years of fruitless searching for the next Tree, she begins to wonder if it was nothing more than a vivid dream.

Now sixteen, Abra finds a clue to the whereabouts of the next Tree of Life when an ominous woman--who looks exactly like a ghost from her past--compels her to travel to New Orleans where she'll find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. But she's not the only one interested in finding the gateway. There's also a young man searching for his father and sister, who escaped through it years before. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn't know whom to fear or whom to trust.

She's also starting to think that 
some doorways should never be opened.

4.17.2019

Doomsayer ~ Review and Author Interview with Giveaway

Doomsayer
Conquests of Brokk #3
By Thane Keller

This is the third book in the Conquests of Brokk series, that being said after the first few chapters one can easily get into the story even without reading the two previous books. But you'll be so intrigued by this book you'll want to go back a read them later (speaking from experience here).

But now to the story, the Galactic Order is teetering on the edge. War is on the horizon - the Jark Empire's rogue commander Brokk attacked the Tassi and now turns his sights on his own world. But his war on Tassi has earned he and his people the hate of Cale. Cale's revenge will leave Jark in shambles just as Tassi was.

But war isn't the only threat to the Galactic Order as a coming collision with a neighboring galaxy looms ever nearer. What lies beyond is a question no one can answer. Is someone waiting to claim their space as their own? Will the merging of the galaxies forever alter what they've known? Only time will tell that is assuming anyone will survive.

This is a most interesting book and well worth reading. It is a clean read as far as SciFi goes - there are deaths as there is a war taking place this should not come as a surprise but the language and morals get an A+ in my estimation. The characters are not flat they have a dimension with facets that depending on the angle you view them at gives one varying insight into them.

If you like Star Wars you should like this offering from Thane Keller - it has a similar feel in how it plays out. Perfect reading for teens and up! And the ending let's just say it will leave you wanting more.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion ~ all thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:
Brokk, Commander of the mighty Rogue Fleet, desires more than just his exile come to an end. His heart is set on revenge and his aim is to be the ruler of the Jark Empire. With his Armada resupplied and a powerful priestess at his side, Brokk intends to stop at nothing until his goals are achieved. Despite Brokk's plans, Cale has his own intentions for the Galaxy and his own desire for revenge. As conflict descends on the Jark Empire, a fog of war masks the plans of the remaining species in the Galaxy and a battle for positioning begins


About the Author:
Thane Keller is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a degree in psychology and a minor in English. Following college, Thane married his high school sweetheart, Sarah, and started his career as a cavalryman in the United States Army. Over the course of his career, he has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan where he was personally engaged in ground combat. He has earned two Bronze Stars and numerous other awards and decorations. Relying on his background in psychology, military experience, and Christian faith, Thane writes novels that seek to explore human nature under dire circumstances, the reality of pain and suffering, and the resilience of individuals to accomplish superhuman feats. He and his wife have four children. 

For more information, visit www.ThaneKeller.com


Author Interview:
1) What genre do you most like reading? 

~ I like reading science fiction the most, but as far as sub-genres I tend to read
space operas or technology-based thrillers. Anything that allows me to imagine
the fantastical with little care for present reality is fine by me! I also like a book
that keeps me moving. If the author lets me imagine the little details and keeps
the storyline pumping, I’m all in.

2) What one author past or present would you like to mentor you?

~ I would love to be mentored by Dean Koontz. There is a casualness in the way
that he writes and I appreciate the brief descriptions he gives in a setting that are
vivid and intense. Dean Koontz can tell a story with no more than three
characters and keep your interest throughout the novel. I love that about him.

3) How do develop your setting (a photo, a trip, a random comment)?

~ I’ve tried to give my reader a variety of unique settings that shaped the history
and evolution of the species they will encounter. In that sense, setting is almost
always developed by thinking through genetics first and struggle second. One
thing that I find fascinating about the science of our Earth is how fine-tuned it is to
life. But what if we find complex and sentient organisms on a planet that had
twice the gravity? What would they look like? How would their bodies form to
allow them to thrive on such a planet?

~ Another quality that captures my attention is how unbelievable space is and how
those qualities relate to space warfare. I try to build a space environment that is
harsh but still allows for a dynamic environment. In my Sci-Fi world, I want ships
hiding in nebulas and using stars and planets as terrain they can fight behind.

~ The final aspect of my settings are always emotional. Our emotions control how
we remember people and places far more than we ever realize. In Doomsayer
there is a scene where poor Sabik and his crew are being tortured and I describe
it as a fire that was always burning but never leaving him fully burned. It was all
consuming but never consumed him. It doesn’t end. Depression often feels that
way, doesn’t it? For me, these emotional settings are personal and I try to let
these emotions from periods in my past come out through my writing.

4) Do you have a favorite author that you would recommend?

~ Of course I love Dean Koontz but I already gushed on him enough. Recently, I’ve
really enjoyed reading James Maxwell and his book series “The Shifting Tides.”
The classics always capture my attention and books like “The Things They
Carried” and “Lord of the Flies” hold a special place in my heart because of the
psychological facet of the author’s writings.

5) What aspect did you most enjoy writing about in this series?

~ When I started this series, I wanted to write about space warfare, but the
character that stole my heart was Tamara and I loved writing about her from start
to finish. Tamara represents so many variables within the human experience: she
is a category, a stereotype, a victim, and a villain. She is desperate for
meaningful relationships but often develops a helpless love to those that abuse
her. She is idolized by followers and idolizes those in power. If Tamara was a
real person, the soldier in me would probably have fallen in love with her. Sadly,
the psychopath in her would likely find more joy in killing me than going to the
movies with me.

6) What one question do you wish you would be asked and how would you answer it?

~ Wow, what a hard question! If I have to choose just one, I wish someone would
ask me what relevancy this far out space conflict has on my job as a soldier. I
would tell them that the way we think about conflict, technology, and people must
continually be challenged. I would tell them that fiction can serve as an engine to
drive the way we think about the future and that the Army with the broadest
thinkers might be the Army that has the greatest ability to innovate and adapt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Enter the Giveaway for a chance to win 
one (1) copy of Doomsayer
Open to US Residents with a US mailing address 
who are 18 years of age or older.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

4.14.2019

Justice Delivered ~ Review

Justice Delivered
A Memphis Cold Case Novel #4
By Patricia Bradley

Carly Smith has lost years of her life - years that she'll never get back. And she's always looking just in case the men responsible find her again. She escaped but she isn't truly free and she won't be if she can't stop them. There's just one problem to stop them means she has to go back to her old life and the person she was at 17 died 16 years ago.

Carly trusts no one and especially not cops, not when they could have helped her. But when her past and present come together she may have no choice but to trust someone with the truth. The question is who will help her while she searches for the men still out there trapping young women with their false promises and lies of fame and fortune.

Someone is determined to keep Carly quiet and they have no problem using the young niece she has never met as leverage to silence her permanently. Can she trust the one man she thought was involved in her chance meeting all the years ago? Or will her teenage crush be the hero she needs to help her get to the truth, rescue her niece, and stop a killer before he stops them?

This is the fourth book in the Memphis Cold Case series but it can easily be read as a stand-alone if you haven't read the three previous books. There are characters from the other books in this book but their backstories are not essential to enjoying this book. If you like clean romantic suspense with a more than one whodunit involved give this one a read.


About the Book:
Carly Smith came by her trust issues honestly. She's been at the mercy of merciless men, ignored by law enforcement officers who should have helped her, and seemingly rejected by her family. She can't even trust herself to do the right thing. Though she is working hard on building a new life, the past continues to haunt her when she discovers that the man she couldn't bring herself to report to the police is still out there, luring vulnerable girls under the guise of being a modeling agent.

When her own niece is kidnapped, Carly must overcome her fears and come forward with the information she has. But if that proves to be too little, too late--she'll have to go after the perpetrators herself.

Thinking About ~ Jesus His Life and the Provisions of God

Thinking about worry and the cares of today. Have you worried and stayed up late borrowing troubles that might come tomorrow? Well, we are told to not worry in Matthew 6:26-34:


26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. 

New King James Version (NKJV)

Now if God will care for the plants of the field and the birds that live out of doors why would He not take as much concern in our day-to-day existence when we were created in His image. Instead of worry, we should instead seek Him when the cares and pressures of life try to overwhelm us. 

When my father died, my family had many worries and concerns first how would we survive the loss of the head of our household and the loss of the family breadwinner. The assurance of this passage was one we turned to often during that first couple of years. But through small ways that wouldn't be impressive in the eyes of most, we were provided for. An old family friend whom we hadn't seen for several years called telling us about a job - one that provided an additional $150 to $300 a month. A job that involved listening to and transcribing old radio sermons - not only did this provide for our daily needs it provided for our spiritual needs as well. 

By giving tomorrow's unknown troubles to God we can rest in the assurance that He will provide if we can see that sometimes His provisions are not given with grand fanfare or even with over-abundance but rather what we need for today - just like His provision of manna for those who were wandering in the wilderness. 

When Jesus commanded Peter to "feed His lambs and care for His sheep" we can know that this care continues today and will continue into every tomorrow to come. With Easter soon upon us, it is important to remember that the greatest need we will ever have has been provided for - the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

  




Synopsis:
“Jesus: His Life” explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.

Each figure takes a turn guiding viewers through the emotional and epic story of the most famous man in history, through his birth, death and resurrection, all conveyed through a combination of scripted drama and interviews with prominent religious and historical experts. Utilizing some of the world’s most respected Biblical scholars, historians, faith leaders and theologians, the series weaves together the canonical Gospels, historical sources and cultural context to create a complete portrait of Jesus – the man and the Messiah.  The series finale airs this Monday, April 15 on The History Channel at 8pm ET/PT.

4.12.2019

Beauty in Battle ~ Review

Beauty in Battle
Beauty in Flight #3
By Robin Patchen

Harper Cloud wants to run now that the truth about her past has come out but to keep Red safe she'll to return to Maryland. Harper knows that she'll end up in jail - she sees no other possible outcome not with her record and the fact that she's a person sought in connection with the murder of two men. Jack Rossi is convinced that no one will hear Harper's story and think her guilty of this crime but Jack doesn't know the world as Harper does. And together they're about to find out just how the justice system works.

Derrick is determined to make Harper pay for her disloyalty to him. After all, if she had just played the part he had in mind for her he would have had the money he needed to pay off his gambling debts. Not only did Harper deny him she took his grandfather and ran. And he is going to find her and get what is his.

This is the exciting conclusion to the Beauty in Flight series and it will most definitely keep the tension and suspense at a steady incline throughout. At times the future of Harper and Jack is in serious doubt. And a word of warning these books must be read in order the story is continuous and will be lacking key components if you start somewhere in the middle. Fans of Love Inspired Suspense books will want to read this series.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest review. All thoughts expressed are my own.

Want to learn more about the series? Read my reviews of Beauty in Flight and Beauty in Hiding to learn more.


About the Book:

The truth is out, but will it set her free, or will it land her in the grave?

The last thing Harper wants is to do is return Maryland to face the police and explain the mess she left behind, but with Red safe and the authorities waiting, she has little choice. At least Jack didn't abandon her, even after he discovered her lies.
Now that Jack knows the truth about Harper, his feelings for her are deeper than ever. Jack isn’t about to leave her side, and he'll protect her from anybody who tries to hurt her--or die trying. 
But Derrick is on their trail, and he’s the least of their problems. How can they battle both Derrick and the killer who hides in the shadows? 
Don’t miss the exciting conclusion of the Beauty in Flight series. 

4.10.2019

We Were Beautiful ~ Review

We Were Beautiful
By Heather Hepler

She can't remember,
She can't forget...

Nearly a year has passed since the night Mia killed her sister. She doesn't remember it but she was driving and Rachel is dead. Her family has become as scarred as Mia's face and nothing will be able to repair the damage of that night. And now Mia is being sent to spend the summer with a grandmother she has never before met.

But this summer may just offer Mia a chance to live again but there are the dreams that refuse to let her go and yet they keep the memories from truly surfacing. And then there is the job her grandmother arranged for her - I mean who wants to get up before the sun and go to work during summer vacation. But Brunelli's Diner is just the place for Mia, especially after she meets Fig a personality that just may make her Mia's closest friend.

As Fig introduces Mia to her closest friends Mia is about to see the world through new eyes seeing beyond the surface to that which is inside. Sometimes to start healing we need to see the pain of others and this is just what Mia is about to do. And when you throw in the Brunelli family one has no choice but to heal with all the love they share.

This is an emotionally charged book that shows the different ways we can confront pain and loss. No one person handles it the same as evidenced by Mia, her parents and how dealt with the loss of Rachel differently. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself and this what several characters in this book are dealing with. The guilt one heaps upon one's self is not usually in proportion to what happened but we are left with "if only's" that get magnified as we look back.

This is definitely a teen book with all the issues it deals with. Issues that will leave the reader thinking "How would I have handled this situation?" And the best fiction that stays with us has a way of making us look past the normal that we are comfortable with and thinking and empathizing with the characters we are being introduced to. This would be an excellent teen book club selection if you are looking for a title to add to your list of possibilities.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.


About the Book:
It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.
As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the cafĂ© down the street. There she meets Fig—blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious—who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends—including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia’s mind—she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.
Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.
From acclaimed author Heather Hepler comes We Were Beautiful, a poignant young adult novel about tragedy, forgiveness, and love. Perfect for fans of Robyn Schneider and Justina Chen.

Paperback: 304 Pages
Publisher: Blink (April 2, 2019)
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Coming of Age
ISBN: 978-0-0310-76643-8

Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Heather Hepler is the author of several books for teens and tweens, including Frosted KissesLove? Maybe, and The Cupcake Queen. Having lived in East Texas, Alaska, and Death Valley, she currently resides with her son, their two spoiled cats, and their ridiculously smart dog in Maine.

Connect with Heather

Website | Facebook | Instagram



Heather Hepler’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, April 1st: @booksbeforebedtime and Books Before Bedtime
Tuesday, April 2nd: Book Fidelity
Wednesday, April 3rd: @createexploreread
Friday, April 5th: Not in Jersey
Monday, April 8th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, April 9th: Teachers Who Read
Wednesday, April 10th: Blooming with Books
Thursday, April 11th: Christian Chick’s Thoughts
Monday, April 15th: @diaryofaclosetreader
Wednesday, April 17th: @librarycutie
Thursday, April 18th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Monday, April 22nd: Book by Book
Tuesday, April 23rd: Bookworm for Kids
Wednesday, April 24th: Amy’s Book-et List
Thursday, April 25th: View from the Birdhouse

4.08.2019

The Unexpected Champion ~ Review with Giveaway

The Unexpected Champion
High Sierra Sweethearts #3
By Mary Connealy

When Pinkerton agent John McCall and Penny Scott escort the body of Raddo into Dismal, Nevada, they never expected to be kidnapped and find themselves on the wrong side of the law and forced into a marriage at gunpoint. John and Penny are determined to get on the trail of those who put them into this situation but 

Worse they find that their kidnappers are determined to stop them from revealing what they don't know. But working together John and Penny are about to put their unique skills to the test as they hunt for the man responsible for the mess that they are in.

Meanwhile, the Chiltons aren't content to just wait for John McCall to return with their grandson Ronnie, whom the Scotts refuse to give up. And they are going to make their presence known in a most interesting way in this third installment of the High Sierra Sweethearts series. Now I highly recommend reading all three books in order as it is vital to understanding the story and just who is who and what has happened.

Penny is a personality that can't be ignored and she has an interest in learning more about what catches her attention. John has been a detective for years and his skills of subterfuge are about to catch Penny's interest. This unlikely pair is about to discover that sometimes the most unexpected thing is just what you've always wanted.

A cute read that will appeal to fans of historical romance fiction. If you lean towards a cozy read over high suspense you'll want to give this series a go. And the town of Dismal may be one to avoid passing through especially if you don't want to get on the wrong side of gossip (you'll just have to read the book to know what I mean).

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I offer my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.


ABOUT THE BOOK
9781493417209Title: The Unexpected Champion
Series: High Sierra Sweethearts, Book 3
Author: Mary Connealy
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: March 5, 2019
Genre: Historical Romance / Western
They’re as Different as Could Be.
But They’ll Need to Trust Each Other to Survive
the Wilderness . . . and the Dangers Chasing Them.


City dweller John McCall never expected to be out in the High Sierras of 1868 on a wild-goose chase to find the Chiltons’ supposedly lost grandson. But now that he’s out here, things have gotten even more complicated, mostly due to wildcat Penny Scott. She’s not like any woman he’s ever met–comfortable in the woods, with a horse, and with a gun.
When Penny and John are taken against their will by a shadowy figure looking for evidence they don’t have, both realize they’ve stumbled into something dangerous. With their friends and family desperately searching for them, Penny and John must make a daring escape.
When they emerge back into the real world, they discover their kidnapper just won’t stop. This city man and country woman must bring a powerful, ruthless man to justice, all while fighting a very inconvenient attraction to each other.
PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | BN.com | Book Depository | Christian Book |

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MaryConnealy by Ginger Murray Photography
Photo courtesy of
Ginger Murray Photography

Mary Connealy
 writes “romantic comedies with cowboys” and is celebrated for her fun, zany, action-packed style. She has more than half a million books in print. She is the author of the popular series Wild at Heart, Kincaid Brides, Trouble in Texas, Lassoed in Texas, Sophie’s Daughters, and many other books. Mary lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her very own romantic cowboy hero.
CONNECT WITH MARY: website,  facebook,  twitter,  instagram
You can also find Mary at these sites:                   Seekerville and Petticoats and Pistols

the unexpected champion giveaway
TOUR GIVEAWAY
(1) winner will win
A complete set of all three High Sierra Sweethearts books
(print, US only)
and a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight April 8, 2019, and last through 11:59 pm April 15, 2019. US only. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of the close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Learn more and visit all The Unexpected Champion by Mary Connealy tour stops by visiting  JustRead Publicity Tours!