Debut or New to Me Authors - Favorite Reads of 2017

Saturday, December 30, 2017

I tried to expand my reading horizons this year, and read new authors whether debut or ones I haven't read before. Some were great others not so much. I was surprised to have quite a few make my top reads for 2017.

My Reviews: 

The Ester Paradigm

The Outlaw's Second Chance

The Engagement Plot

Dragon Seed

Christmas Embers

A Season to Dance

If you've been following my top reads posts this week you've probably already seen these in another list. That's the hard part about choosing a favorite read for the year when you read so many books it's like choosing a favorite child. With that said, for the first time in eleven years of blogging I actually have a favorite read of the year. I will unveil that book on Monday, so keep watching for it. I may actually give out some hints between now and then.

Happy New Year!

Books That Will Take You On An Adventure 2017

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Reading does take us somewhere when we have no place to go. Some books are adventurous from the time you open to the first page until you close the last. The world and characters keep you breathless, on the edge of your seat, and your mind trying to figure out what may happen next, which I seem to always be wrong about. 


Deadly Proof

Rule of Law

Imperfect Justice

Fatal Accusation

Dragon Seed


For Love and Honor

The Illusionist's Apprentice


The Warrior's Seal

What adventures have you been on this year? Were we on any of the same ones?

My Favorite Contemporary Reads of 2017

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Contemporary fiction is, in my opinion, the closest we get to real life and present day. The books I chose for this category while fictional, the plot and characters deal with real life issues. Some that you and I deal with daily. I love how these authors take humanness, intertwine God's precepts, and write a story that we can not only relate to, but learn from. Each one of these books are full of humanness, God's precepts, and teachable moments.

My Reviews:

His Steadfast Love


Just Look Up

Then Came You

Looking Glass Lies

The Writing Desk

True to You

A Fragile Hope

Life After

I hope you found some new books, or remember some sweet hours of escape between the pages of a book(s) in my list.

My Historical Top Reads of 2017

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

I did not realize how much historical fiction I read until I started working on my favorite historical reads of 2017. In fact Laura Frantz's book almost got missed because it wasn't on my 2017 Goodread's shelf.

What I love about historical fiction is being able to travel back in time and learn not just about the civilization at the time, but the people of the time. I never want to return to present day. That's really true of all reading, but especially true for me of historical stories.


My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah

Out of the Ordinary

A Name Unknown

When Tides Turn

Many Sparrows

High as the Heavens

A Lady in Disguise

The Mark of the King

With You Always

A Moonbow Night

  Silent Songbird                                                             

My Swoon Worthy Top Reads of 2017

Sunday, December 24, 2017

I've decided to switch up the way I do my top reads. Instead of doing just a straight top reads of 2017, I'm going to break it up into fun categories. My first category, Swoon Worthy reads.

Swoon Worthy Definition: To faint, lose consciousness from extreme emotion. In a definite romantic way.

Each of these books evoked swoony romantic emotion. You'll find the link to my review next to the cover photo, or click the cover photo for the review.






What are your top swoon-worthy books of 2017?

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas celebrating the true reason for the season. The birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who came to be the ultimate sacrifice!

2017 Recap

Friday, December 22, 2017

We're nine days away from 2018 and as I look back on 2017 I see all the hills and valleys, that I've been on this year. While there have been more hilltop views than valley views, the valley views not only stretched my faith, they also drew my focus to Christ, which is where it is supposed to be.

The end of 2016 into 17 will be known here in Idaho as the snowpocalypse. We had more snow here in Idaho than we did in 25 plus years. It started snowing in December, and the snow blower was left on until March at least of 2017. I hope to not see snow for a very long time. This was our front yard last year. And as I write this, it is snowing. Once again God shows His sense of humor.

On a personal level 2017 will be a year that started me off on the road to being seizure free again. On February 25, 2017, was my last full seizure. I haven't experienced that since I had brain surgery in 2004. Part of the hilltops, the valley was the way I was feeling about a few things within the blogging community. While I was walking on cloud nine physically, emotionally I was insecure, something I hadn't experienced in a long time. Probably since I was in my twenties, but there I was allowing myself to be tormented emotionally by the father of lies. When God finally smacked me upside my head, it made sense, but in the midst of it I was completely oblivious. Satan takes advantage of those things, he just can't capitalize on them, only God can do that. I am so thankful He smacked me upside the head, with His truth. I have a new friendship with someone that I thought was an enemy and she is quickly becoming one of my dearest friends. That is a God thing, folks!

That's what I mean when I say hills and valley's. I would have been happy with just a straight continuum but God doesn't work like that. He uses everything to draw us closer to Him, even and especially if it's no fun, that seems to be His MO.
It may not be fun during the stretching of our faith, but it's always worth it in the end.

As I look ahead to 2018, I see loads of new books on the horizon. I will be doing a week's worth of top reads from 2017, and a few highlights of upcoming releases.

For myself, I hope I remain seizure free. I am working on thoughts I want to focus on all year instead of one word for the year. One that comes to mind is "Forgive quickly, and often." Look for those thoughts making their way to my blog by or right after the first of January.

What do you see as you reflect on 2017? What are your hopes for 2018, besides all the new books? LOL

If you'd like to read the blog post about my insecurities you can read it here.

I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The Greatest Showman - Thoughts . . .

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I am not sure I can write an accurate review of this movie. This really isn't a movie it is an experience.

In 2016 I read a book by Kristy Cambron, titled The Ringmaster's Wife which I absolutely adored, and after watching this movie I will have to read again. This movie was this book coming to life and I absolutely adored it!

The music is bold, and attention grabbing. I was dancing in my seat. Besides the music being bold the costumes were bold, colorful, and fit for not only the time period, but the movie itself.

The story of PT Barnum was engaging. His starting as the son of a poor tailor, and his determination to make something of himself. I took a lot away from the movie, which is why I say this is an experience not just a movie. PT Barnum was a man who believed in dreams and celebrating humanity in all forms. Critic's of PT Barnum said he exploited oddities, when in actuality he celebrated them, because he brought them out of the shadows and showed that they are people just like the rest of us.

One of my favorite quotes comes from Paul Sparks, who plays the newspaper critic, James Gordon Bennett, who is not particularly fond of PT Barnum.

"Another critic might have called your show 'a celebration of humanity.'"

PT Barnum's response "The noblest art is that of making others happy."

In this case both are right. PT Barnum celebrated humanity, and being able to use any art form to make another person happy is noble.

My bottom line:

This is a must see movie, that is perfect for the entire family! I don't remember one cuss word, which is amazing coming out of Hollywood. I've read that this was a movie Hugh Jackman desired to make, and it took seven years from conception to reality.

Imperfect Justice ( Hidden Justice Book 2) by Cara Putman Reviewed and Interview

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Yay me! This book is my final review of 2017! And what a way to end a wonderful year of reviews!

About the book:

 The police say the woman was a murderer. Emilie Wesley knows they can't be talking about her client . . . can they?
To the world it seems obvious: Kaylene Adams killed her daughter and then was shot by police. Attorney Emilie Wesley knows a different story: Kaylene would never hurt anyone and was looking for a way out of a controlling, abusive relationship. Her death shakes Emilie's belief that she can make a difference for women in violent marriages. Self-doubt plagues her as she struggles to continue her work in the wake of the tragedy.
Reid Billings thought he knew his sister-right up until he learned how she died. He discovers a letter from Kaylene begging him to fight for custody of her daughters if anything should happen to her. No attorney in her right mind would support an uncle instead of the father in a custody case, but Kaylene's letter claims Emilie Wesley will help him.
Thrown together in a race to save Kaylene's surviving daughter, Emily and Reid pursue the constantly evasive truth. If they can hang on to hope together, can they save a young girl-and find a future for themselves in the process?
Learn more and purchase a copy.

About Cara Putman:

Cara Putman is the author of more than 25 legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing's BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at 16, college at 20, completed her law degree at 27, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.
Find out more about Cara at 

My Thoughts:

First let me say that I applaud Ms. Putman for tackling such a difficult subject as abuse. I know the pain of control and manipulation, and Ms. Putman tells the story with realism and honesty.

This book has it all, a legal thriller, with romantic tension, and mystery. This was a very personal book for me. I identified with Kaylene and Reid. While Kaylene is dead, her story is told through both Emile and Reid. Reid wants to know the truth and protect his niece and the truth about what really happened that fateful night.

My Bottom Line:

While this is a fast-paced thrill ride, it is also a heart-wrenching story. Ms. Putman uses her legal skills, and knowledge to craft a real to life story. Reid is a sweet hero. Emile is a strong heroine, who has a soft heart, she wants to be loved, but she is scared to trust and allow herself to fall in love. The inspirational thread is not overwhelming but is definitely present. While this is book two in her Hidden Justice series, it can be read alone.

Interview with Cara Putman

What are your ideal writing conditions?

I have emotional energy, a little space, and good music playing in the background. I also have characters I love and a story thread I can’t wait to unravel.

If you could write in a different genre, which would you choose?

I would return to my World War II novels. I have so many stories left to tell in that space. Someday I’d love to write one of those a year along with the legal thrillers.

What book have you reread the most?

It’s a toss up between Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, and Dee Henderson’s The Negotiator or Danger in the Shadows.

If you could have lunch with any literary character, who would it be and why?

Anne with an E – I would love to meet her as a grown woman.

Favorite first line of a book:

In the beginning… we all need to be reminded that there are new beginnings waiting for us.

Do you have a go-to writing snack?

Coffee and a little bite of chocolate from an Aldi’s chocolate bar. Or nachos. 

What is your favorite writing tool?

My laptop!

If you were trapped in a book, what fictional place would you like to explore?

Oh, this reminds me of the middle grade series Land of Stories! Such fun. I would choose The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, because I’d get to experience London during the Blitz (ties to WWII) and Narnia.

What would the title of your biography be?

A Wonder Woman who didn’t Feel so Wonderful All the Time 

If you could live a day in one of your characters’ lives, who would you choose?

Emilie. The state of passion for her work that she feels is inspiring. She also cares deeply about her friends and clients.

Favorite quote:

Delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4


I received this book compliments of NetGalley through Litfuse Publishing's blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Hope Travels Through by Loni Moore - Review and Giveaway

About the Book

Name of book: Hope Travels Through  
Author: Loni Kemper Moore
 Genre: Contemporary Lit

TeJae Smythe gave up on God and her hometown of Evansville, Indiana, ten years ago, but a deep personal loss requires her to return to both. Her life as a stewardess is going to be perfect. She has a plan. If only life would stick to it. In Hope Travels Through, TeJae finds the biggest challenge comes from the conflict within herself. Will she hold it all together? Or will she fall apart and embrace the beauty in the midst of disaster? Based on actual events of December 13, 1977, a date most people don’t remember, but one many living in the Ohio River Valley will never forget, the crash of the University of Evansville men’s basketball team plane.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Loni Kemper Moore is a Denver-Broncos cheering, Diet-Pepsi sipping, Rocky Mountain adventure-seeking kind of girl. She’s passionate for God and wants to share His beautiful love through life’s ugliness with remarkable women around the globe. Her writing came alive seven years ago after she broker her ankle. The crazy time of being laid up forced her to flip through decades of diaries which inspired the story that became Hope Travels Through. When she’s not writing, she’s an entertainer, technical support analyst; mom of a teenager named Adam; traveler with Robert, her dear “Hugsband,” stepmom to University of Evansville alumna Becca and her husband, Anthony; and spender of way too much time on Facebook. With her experiences of learning to trust God through tragedy, being employed by travel agencies and Delta Air Lines, and attending University of Evansville graduate school, she’s the best person to tell this story.

Guest Post from Loni Moore

What Made Me Write Hope Travels Through?

The weathered orthopedic surgeon shook his head and stared at the x-rays. Without making eye-contact, he said, “I usually work on Olympians and professional athletes. This doesn’t look good. She’s going to have arthritis and limp for the rest of her life.” I hadn’t had anything stronger than Tylenol since the entire weight of my 128 (at the time) pounds crunched my left ankle, 24 hours earlier. Robert, aka Dear Hugsband, had told me, so very graciously, when we arrived at Skate City, “Once you’re over 50, you shouldn’t roller skate.” But our son, Adam was 10 and I wondered how many more years he’d want me to hang out with him, so I’d strapped on the skates and joined the crowd of skaters. I avoided landing on the body of the five-year old who cut me off. Didn’t that count for something? However, none of that mattered at that moment. I needed drugs, and Robert agreed to whatever that surgeon said to get my prescriptions. One afternoon, my stomach growled on a gurney as I waited in the surgery center with IVs in my hands until a perky nurse announced, “The doctor will need to reschedule because something came up.” REALLY? After waiting 10 days, he no-shows? I’ve never loved Robert’s New York attitude more than the next day when by 7 pm that evening I was at Red Robin, post-surgery, eating a celebratory French Onion soup. Thanks to a nerve blocker the new, cute surgeon had provided after rebreaking bones and inserting pins. Adam was able to complete his homeschool work with little interference from my drug infested brain and I occupied my time by flipping through decades of accumulated diaries. The story of a woman surviving tough times percolated in my brain and I remembered my mother saying, “Everyone has a Great American Novel in her. You just need to take time to write it.” As my leg healed leaving no arthritis nor limp, I returned to the million things life demands, including a visit to our Becca at the University of Evansville, where I’d done my graduate work. As she showed us the Weeping Basketball, my protagonist informed me the story began in 1976, not 2011. The story climaxed when the university’s men’s basketball team plane crashed, but I was too busy to spend much time on it. Three days before Christmas that year, my younger sister passed away from Lyme complications, I could barely breathe. I’ve seen it a dozen times someone’s busy life prevents her from taking care of herself until something stops them in their tracks and they cannot move on. That happened to me. At the time, Dear Hugsband programmed Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine (you’re welcome), so Adam and I joined him in Atlanta for several months. During that time without the cooking-cleaning-requirements and Adam insisting he preferred independence of his homeschool curriculum with minimal input from me, I processed my grief by putting the story that became Hope Travels Through on my computer. “In a weak moment, I have written a book.” Margaret Mitchell – Gone With The Wind Dear Hugsband loved his project with Coca-Cola and enjoyed everything about working in Atlanta except the humidity, the traffic and the commute. Typically, he worked in Georgia every other week, and was home every weekend. But occasionally, he’d be forced to stay in Atlanta over the weekend and tried to find something to entertain himself. One weekend, after seeing every movie running, he decided to go to the Margaret Mitchell House Museum where one of my favorite books, Gone With The Wind, was written. He bought me a mug with the above quote on it which he said was to encourage me in my writing, along with several commonalities between myself and the famous author.
  1. She was short—I am 5 feet tall, if I stretch;
  2. Her husband was over 6 feet tall—mine is 6’3 1/2”;
  3. She started writing her novel, after an ankle injury– I started writing after I a similar injury;
  4. She used a typewriter—I use a computer;
  5. Her mother gave her the quotes she used about how to survive in an upside-down world – my mom had a Bible verse for every occasion. I think her favorite was Ephesians 4:32 “And be ye kind, Loni to whomever…”;
  6. It took Margaret ten years to complete her novel – I’m not far behind, at nearly eight years.
Obviously, I don’t have one commonality with Margaret, in that she died at the age of 48 in a traffic accident, but his conclusions are precious. I’m well aware the odds of my little novel being successful, without the industry connections Margaret had, are low, but it’s been a fun journey even if no one buys a copy!

My Thoughts:

I was only eleven when this tragedy happened, and I don't remember hearing anything about it. Learning about the accident involving the University of Evansville basketball team was an eye opener and very informative.

With that said I found the dialogue to be slow and the novel jumped around quite a bit with not tying the parts together.

My bottom line:

Overall the novel was interesting and informative. Sadly, I can't say I found it engaging. It was and is a great tribute to the University of Evansville basketball team.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 16

Karen Sue Hadley, December 16

Jami’s Words, December 17

Quiet Quilter, December 18

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 18

Inspiration clothesline, December 19

Texas Book-aholic, December 19

Radiant Light, December 20

Carpe Diem, December 21

Avid Reader Book Reviews, December 21

A Reader’s Brain, December 22

A Greater Yes, December 23

Blogging With Carol, December 23

Books, Books, and More Books, December 24

SusanLovesBooks, December 25

Remembrancy, December 26

Mary Hake, December 26

Janices book review, December 27

The Power of Words, December 28

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 29

Just Jo’Anne, December 29


To celebrate her tour, Loni is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon Card!!
Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit's blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.

Top Ten Tuesday - Christmas

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Broke and the Bookish blog meme for top ten Tuesday is books you want to find under your Christmas tree. I get to read and review a lot of wonderful books, by fabulous authors, yet there is one complete series set that I don't have yet. In 2008, my first year of being a blogger I read, and reviewed Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh. From the moment I read that book, I knew I'd be reading all of her books. The only problem, I can't keep up with her writing. I am way, way behind in her medieval series and she has a new one, The Awakening, book seven, releasing on my birthday! The books I would love to find under my tree are Tamara Leigh's Age of Faith series. The book tree was made by my daughter, Stefani and her best friend, Ashlee last year. I don't have room this year for one.

Here are the beautiful covers of this series!

These books are my Christmas wish books! I'd love to have them all and just read from one to the next.

You can visit Tamara Leigh here.

Are these not some of the prettiest covers you've ever seen?

What books do you want for Christmas?

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