Facade by Pepper Basham - Reviewed

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

About the Book:

Facade - Timeless Love Collection
Author: Pepper D. Basham

A reclusive academic
who would do anything to save her brother.

A reluctant spy
willing to risk his life to save the woman who broke his heart.

Olivia Rakes has the unique gift of observation, which suits her well since she prefers her books over the general populace, but when her brother goes MIA over France, Livy’s unique skills and her determination to save her brother force her into a world of espionage, deceit, danger…and the most frightening of all–romance.
Agent Christopher Dawson has never forgotten his childhood friend, and first love, Livy Rakes, but since she broke his heart, he’s avoided seeing her for years…until the search for his best friend brings them both together in the most unlikely of ways.
In a world where war changes the rules of life and love, can Christopher and Livy work together work together to unveil the mascarade before the enemy catches them?

Amazon || Barnes and Noble || Better World Books ||

About Pepper Basham

Pepper D Basham has been telling tales ever since she was a little girl. When her grandmother called her a “writer” at the age of ten, Pepper took it as gospel and has enjoyed various types of writing styles ever since. A native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, mom of five, speech-language pathologist, and lover of chocolate, Pepper enjoys sprinkling her native Appalachian culture into her fiction wherever she can. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC, where she works with kids who have special needs, searches for unique hats, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends at her writing blog, The Writer’s Alley.

My Thoughts:

This is a quirky fun novella. As with all of Ms. Basham's books to date she creates great dialogue, interesting characters with a sweet romance. This intriguing novella is set during WWII with a spy espionage plot. It moves along at a nice pace, not too fast or slow. There were some surprises that had me holding my breath wondering how Livy was going to get herself out of situations.

This is a novella that is apart of the Timeless Love Collection. Look for my upcoming review of all the books in the collection.

Disclaimer: I received an advance copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pack Your Bags For The Long Nights of Summer Reading

Monday, June 18, 2018

Ahhh . . . the relaxation of Summer has started. I love Summer for so many reasons. Warmer weather and long Summer nights! Living here in Idaho we have really long Summer nights.

This is 9:25 pm in Idaho.
I love it but I can't even imagine how difficult it has to be for parents to get little ones to go to bed.

Are you looking for some Summer reading? Today's Top Ten Tuesday is books to read by the pool or at the beach, or Summer TBR.

These are some great books for your Summer  reading.                  

The Saturday Night Supper Club by Carla Laureano

The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo

The Engagement Plot by Krista Phillips

Hometown Girl by Courtney Walsh

Unblemished by Sara Ella

Love's Silver Lining by Julie Lessman

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Charming the Troublemaker by Pepper Basham

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

  And then there is some of my Summer TBR
The First Gift by Ruth Logan Herne                              

by Kristin Billerbeck

A Light on a Hill by Connilyn

Light My Fire by Susan May Warren

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac

The Orphan's Wish by Melanie Dickerson

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

The Traitor Prince by C.J. Redwine

Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh 

These ten are just the tip of my Summer reading iceberg. It seems just as one book gets finished three more get added.

What books are you packing to read on the long summer nights? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Summertime Reading!

Where Hope Begins by Catherine West - Reviewed

Friday, June 15, 2018

About the Book:

In the aftermath of her husband’s act of adultery and abandonment, Savannah must finally face the ghosts that haunt her and discover for herself whether authentic faith, grace, and ultimate healing really do exist.
When her husband of twenty-one years leaves her, Savannah Barrington believes she’s lost almost everything she’s ever loved. With her daughter in college and her son in boarding school, Savannah retreats to her parents’ lake house in the Berkshires, where hope and healing come in the form of an old woman’s wisdom, a little girl’s laughter, a touch of magic, and a handsome man who’s willing to risk his own heart to prove she’s still worth loving.
But when her husband asks to reconcile, Savannah is faced with the hardest challenge of all: Forgiving the unforgivable. Somehow she must find freedom from the chains of their past and move forward, or face an unknown future without him.

About Catherine West

I’m a grown-up who refuses to grow up. Seriously. Because adulting . . . right?
Alas, most days I have to suck it up and put on my big girl panties and get on with life. I hit my 50’s a couple years back, and I can tell you, it’s no walk in the park. But there’s also a lot of fun going on around me to distract me from the unpleasant moments that hit at this age.

I’m happily married to a wonderful man who loves to cook, (yay me!), and I so appreciate that, because I don’t. I can, but it’s not something I enjoy and I’m always looking for excuses not to!

We’re fortunate enough to live on the beautiful island of Bermuda, where it never snows. My husband originally hails from Canada, where it does snow, and we also own a home in Northern Ontario, where we enjoy retreating to quite often. Even in the snow on the odd occasion.

Somehow between us, we managed to raise two amazing humans. Our daughter is a lifestyle photographer here in Bermuda, she does spectacular work, and she also manages the front desk of my husband’s busy pediatric office, as well as being a wife and new mom. She’s basically superwoman. Her husband is just as busy and impressive, because hello, he’s a firefighter. Thanks to them, we are first time grandparents, which is kind of scary and cool and every feeling in between. We adore (worship?) our beautiful granddaughter and spoil her as often as we can! She is the cutest baby on the planet. Not even kidding. I’m also her part-time care giver, which is lots of fun, and tiring, but mostly fun! 

Our son and his fiancée reside in Boston, where they make musical magic together in a band called The Western Den. We are in love with them and their music. You should check them out. We are so looking forward to watching what the future holds for these two.
Family is everything to me, and I am crazy about mine.
We also have a loveable energetic border collie, Noah, who still thinks he’s a puppy even though he’s 9. I’m dog crazy. I’d have more than one if I could, but life right now doesn’t allow it.
I live for that first cup of coffee in the morning. I love to read, watch movies and sometimes I sing in the shower. I’m slightly sarcastic but I’m told this is an endearing quality. I love Jesus, but I drink a little. Did you laugh?

Good. We’re going to get along just fine.

You can read more about Catherine on her website.

My Thoughts:

Wow! I finished this book a couple of nights ago but I needed to let all of the emotions Ms. West evoked in her story rest for awhile before I could write a legible review. I had to take breaks as I read because the emotions were so raw and genuine.

This book evoked all the emotions. I was Savannah ten years ago, and Ms. West got every emotion that a woman who finds out about her husband's infidelity right on the money. At least for me and other women I know.

Ms. West is one of my favorite Inspirational women's fiction authors because she isn't afraid to tackle tough topics that most Christian's, and loads of churches would rather just sweep under the proverbial rug and never discuss.  Besides dealing with infidelity within a Christian marriage, this book tackles grief, addiction, along with suicide. Each are difficult on their own and quite overwhelming when all put together.

In dealing with issues like these the big questions are is forgiveness possible, and can this relationship be restored? Ms. West shows both the human and spiritual answer. As you read this book you will see undertones of reaping what you sow and how that impacts those around you especially the people you live with day to day. Another undertone is how trying to solve things yourself rather than leaning on God for healing and how that action can and will alienate the one person you love the most. 

My Bottom Line:

This is a definite must read! You may want to stock up on Kleenex before hand, because you will cry and not just teary-eyed the ugly cry.
Ms. West placed the sweetest little girl named, Mayise in the story. Her sweet, bubbly personality just bursts onto the page. I love when little kids show up in books and Mayise is one of my favorites.
This is a book that you will have to take your time reading. Not just because of the raw emotion but because you may miss something.
While Ms. West shows all the raw, and genuine pain, like a composer she produces a melody of redemption, healing, and true forgiveness that will stay with you for a lifetime.
You need to read this book!

Disclaimer: I did receive a copy via the publisher, but I also purchased my own copy.

Love's Silver Lining (Silver Lining Ranch #1) by Julie Lessman - Reviewed

 About the book:

She tampers with his life.
He tampers with her heart.
Love tampers with them both.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage to a womanizer, twenty-two-year-old Maggie Mullaney flees New York for Virginia City, Nevada with her Aunt Liberty, two spunky suffragists intent on bettering the life of women. Fresh out of nursing school, Maggie hopes to devote herself to serving others rather than just one man, a goal quickly affirmed when she encounters Blaze Donovan, a womanizing cowboy who both riles and rouses her pulse. But when Aunt Liberty’s parent’s house burns down, she and Maggie are coerced into staying at the ranch of Liberty’s ex-husband, Finn McShane, who just happens to be the uncle of the cocky cowboy Maggie had hoped to avoid.
If there’s one thing twenty-nine-year-old Blaze Donovan can’t abide, it’s respectable women who spout piety and prayer, so when he butts heads with perky Maggie Mullaney at St. Mary Louise Hospital, he wants to stay as far away from her as he possibly can. Unfortunately, she now lives in the bedroom next to his in his uncle’s ranch house, a revolting development that sends Blaze to The Ponderosa Saloon more than usual. But when Maggie interferes in Blaze’s life by converting his favorite “disrespectable” girl, Blaze is determined to make her pay. Only problem is—the price HE has to pay may be a little too steep for his heart.

About Julie Lessman:

Hello ... I’m Julie Lessman, an Inspirational Romance author with a passion for God and a passion for romance. Since the age of twelve, I’ve been in love with the idea of being “in love.” It happened the moment Scarlett seared Rhett with a look on the winding staircase of Twelve Oaks. Suddenly I was a goner, spellbound by the emotional ebb and flow of romantic relationships.
As an adult, I quickly learned that true romance is spiritual as well as physical and emotional. And one pass through the “Song of Solomon” in the Bible told me that God was the biggest romantic of them all, deeply passionate in His love for each of us. Through my love affair with Him, I have discovered that romance can transcend to another dimension where romantic passion and spiritual passion merge, creating a 3-D love story: the hero, the heroine, and the God that brings them together. I hope you enjoy my stories ... and may they bring you closer to the Father’s heart.

You can learn more about Julie, and sign up for her Journal Jots at her website.

My Thoughts:

Cowboys, Sizzling Romance, and a Julie Lessman novel, the perfect trifecta for me! While there is a novella that introduces us the Liberty and Finn's story, this book kicks off the series. And what a kick off it is!

Ms. Lessman has a way of creating family saga novels that capture your heart and make you feel like a member of the family. With all of their craziness the McShane's are definitely a family you want to be apart of. 

Ms. Lessman's tagline is Passion with a Purpose, putting romantic passion in it's proper place with God's precepts. The sizzle flies off the pages, but nothing inappropriate or that crosses the line. 

Forgiveness, healing, trust and learning how to deal with one's temper seem to be the main themes that are woven through the story. Ms. Lessman takes each of these struggles and shows that only the one true God is the only one who can heal, teach you to trust, forgive and help control an Irish temper. Or for me, an Italian temper. 

My Bottom Line:

In true Julie Lessman style we have sparks flying between Liberty and Finn, and Maggie and Blaze just like we had in the Daughter's of Boston series. Ms. Lessman creates some fun expletives that Liberty uses quite often as she attempts to put Finn in his place. "Holy Frog Spit." and "When steers fly." are just a couple that you will come across in this book.

The main thing you can always count on in a Julie Lessman book is spiritual lessons that encourage your heart and point you back to our Father.

I highly recommend this book!

Disclaimer: I did receive a complimentary copy of the book. However, I also purchased my own copy.

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck - Review

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

I haven't used one of my rating meme's in a long time but I just had to pull one out for this book. I need to make a Ten star review meme for books now because this is a definite TEN in my book. You can see my rating meme guidelines here.

About the book:

 With the colonies at war and his country divided, Hamilton Lightfoot must choose sides:
Fight for the British Crown or for the Independence of America. But after witnessing the death of his family at the hands of redcoats, he fears he’ll fight for revenge instead of honor. On the verge of a great battle, he pens a letter to Esther, the woman he loves.
Esther Longfellow is in love with Hamilton, but her father is a loyalist, living in upcountry South Carolina and working for a wealthy British lord. When the Revolutionary War comes to her doorstep she is forced to choose between devotion to her father and her love for Hamilton.
Chloe Daschle is the daughter of Hollywood royalty—a great director and an Oscar-winning actress. Yet her career has taken an unexpected turn: She’s the queen of death scenes. Trying to break out, she accepts a supporting role in a revolutionary war film. But she longs for the perfect role and the perfect real-life romance. Does happily ever after only exist in the movies?
After a life-changing tragedy, MIT graduate Jesse Gates decides to leave his life behind and move to LA to try his hand at acting and screenwriting. When he finds a page from one of his ancestor’s letters, he becomes consumed with the love he finds there. Determined to help his grandfather find happiness at the end of his life, Jesse writes and sells a screenplay based on the events surrounding the lost love of previous generations.
When Jesse meets the woman he has cast to play Esther Longfellow—his grandfather’s one true love—the stories of all four collide across time and space. The love letter from the past might have more power to affect the future than any of them could have imagined.

About Rachel Hauck

What's Your Dream:
Dreams are tough. Hard to define. Hard to achieve. Costly. Time consuming.

Yet dreams are worth our time and our effort.

I had several dreams growing up. But the one that surfaced the most and stuck around the longest was to write novels.

In ’93, as I approached my first wedding anniversary, the Lord tugged on my heart to quit my day job. My well paying day job, mind you, with benefits. Little did I know the Lord was whispering the same thing to my husband.

I thought I’d quit and work with him in ministry. Maybe have a baby or two. Instead, I stepped up my reading of the exploding Christian Fiction Market and in ’94, I started my first novel, a WW 2 epic set on the Aleutian Islands.

The book was never published in complete form, though aspects of it showed up in my book, Love Starts With Elle.

See, my whole life I’d been telling stories. Playing make believe with my friends. Creating 4,254 diary entries, pouring out my heart, detailing my life.
Thinking and imagining on the long drives from Tallahassee to Ohio State University where I studied Journalism.

I wrote stories in my heart while traveling all over America as well as Australia, Spain, Venezuela, Mexico, Ireland and Canada in my post college job as a software trainer.

Growing up Ohio, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Florida and being the second oldest girl of five children, stories formed in my heart. Next came my married life, decades of youth ministry, leading worship and helping other writers as a writing coach…  Every aspect of my life is the underlying tapestry of my novels.

You see, everything is… story.

Yet, what really moves my heart is the pure power of story itself. One reader wrote to me and said, “I work at a bridal boutique and after reading The Wedding Dress, I’m going to change the way I do my job. I’m going to see each bride as beautiful and unique.”

So what’s your dream? Whatever it is, partner with the living Lord.

My first novel was published in 2004, and since then my books have won awards, hit bestseller lists and hopefully helped readers escape into worlds where they can breathe in the fragrance of Jesus’s love. My hope is my novels take what is true in heaven and imitate it here on earth, in the form of story.

My prayer is that you will know true JOY and the pleasure of your dreams coming to life! And if my stories can ease your heart for just a moment from what ever load life is laying on you, then I am honored and blessed.

Rachel's Favorite Things:

• Exercise.
• Watching the Buckeyes and college football. It’s a “season” in our house.
• Worship/Singing (I’m the worship leader at our church)
• Movies (like Remember The Titans, The Proposal, Notting Hill, It’s a Wonderful Life)
• Love stories (real and made up!)
• Photography
• A good prayer meeting!
• Family and friends – the spice of life.

My Thoughts:

Now that I've finished ugly crying after finishing this book I think I can write a review.

The Love Letter takes us from the battlefields of the Revolutionary War to stage of the Hollywood of today. 

As with previous historical time slip novels by Rachel Hauck her research is impeccable and her timing in switching from past to present day is done smoothly. I was so completely engaged in the story that I only noticed the time change because the characters changed.

I thoroughly enjoy time slip novels, especially historical ones and Rachel Hauck does them so well. This is now my favorite novel of Ms. Hauck's and I will most likely be cuddling up with it again sometime this summer.

My Bottom Line:

The Love Letter is a deeply moving story with themes that focuses on guilt, the power of love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. You will want to stock up on tissues because you will need them. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Bookish Confession . . . I Have Definite Bookish OCD

Monday, June 11, 2018

Today's Top Ten Tuesday is books that make you want to travel. Since I did a travel topic in March, which you can read here. I found a topic on Broke and Bookish that I missed and thought it was the perfect topic, especially since I just re-organized my bookcase today.

Confession # ONE - I have to remove the dust jacket from a hardback book. I am afraid I will wrinkle or tear it while I read.
Confession # TWO - Whether hardback or paper, I can't break the binding.

Confession # THREE - No dog-earing allowed! I have colored post-it flags that I use if I want to remember something.
Confession # FOUR - I have to read an entire series in order. And they have to be put in order on my bookcase.
Confession # FIVE - This is one of the hardest ones for me. If I am reading a book for review I have to finish it no matter how daunting and grueling the task might be.
Confession # SIX - Bookmarks are sacred, especially the ones I receive from the author. They are not to be touched.
Confession # SEVEN - I could be dog tired, falling asleep with the book but I can't stop reading until I get to a chapter break. Since the kindle has a percentage on the bottom I can't stop until I'm at an even percentage 20, 25, 30, 35% etc.
Confession # EIGHT - I think I am the only one who can't read one book at a time. I think my anti-epileptic medication has made me a little ADA, because I used to just read one at a time.
Confession # NINE - Loaning books gives me anxiety, even if it's just to my kids or grands. I'm constantly worried how they are being treated and how or if they will be returned.
Confession # TEN - I am a huge list maker. All my TBR or books I am reading is on a list. I check them off as they're read and I put a date I started and finished.

Do you have bookish OCD Confessions? Are any of yours some of mine? Let me know in the comments.

NFL Anthem Controversy

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Whether you are a football fan or not I'm sure you've heard at nauseam the continued rhetoric  regarding the NFL players standing vs. kneeling during the National Anthem. The picture shown above is actually against the proper procedure for carrying the American Flag. See below. You can read about all of the policies here.

Carrying an American Flag is a great way to pay tribute to flag and to the United States, but carrying it improperly can be disrespectful. The Flag Code specifies the rules and regulations of handling and displaying the flag in an appropriate manner.
Proper Procedure

Unless the flag is folded, it should be carried on a handheld staff, so it can fly freely. It should never be carried flat, horizontally or vertically.
The only time a flag can be carried flat is when it is draped over a casket at a funeral.
You can tilt the staff forward, allowing the flag to fly in front of you or you can rest the staff on your right shoulder allowing the flag to fly behind you.
If you tilt the staff forward, you should hold the base of the staff in your left hand at your waist. Place your right hand about two feet up the staff. You can also purchase a flag holder which ties around the waist and holds the base of the staff.
Do not hold the flag at an angle where it falls over the staff.
Never allow the flag to touch the ground or any object below it.

The first problem is the carrying of our flag horizontally across a football field before the game or during half-time. According to our U.S. Flag Code the flag is to fly free vertically.

Secondly, the evangelical conservatives who abhorred President Obama are the ones making the biggest noise regarding the NFL players not standing on the field. Here's the ironic thing. Prior to 2009 NONE, you read that right, NONE of our NFL players stood on the field during the National Anthem. After President Obama's election in 2008, and the beginning of the 2009 football season the Department of Defense began paying the players to stand in an effort to show patriotism and increase enlistment. You can read more about it here.

Here's the ironic thing. Since President Trump's election and his constant drivel about the players sitting, kneeling, and now being able to stay in the locker-room, along with the Philadelphia Eagles not coming to his party, no one is pointing out that this policy started under President Obama, the abhorred president, and yet the evangelical conservatives along with President Trump are holding onto this policy with white-knuckles.  Why? Their constant argument is that it is disrespectful to the military. Really now? I am a Navy brat and former Navy wife who lived on base and had to stop driving when the anthem played, stop walking if I was outside. Even if I was just outside of my house I had to stand and face the music, and I don't find not standing disrespectful at all. And once my retired father who served 32 years found out about the players being paid he doesn't see it as disrespectful either. I signed up to be a Navy wife so I knew that came with the territory, and so does every military personnel. Until all the rhetoric regarding the anthem controversy it was highly suggested by the NFL to stand but it was not a requirement like in the NBA, MLB, and the NHL.

In 2016 Nate Boyer a former Army Green Beret had a conversation with Colin Kaepernick regarding the sitting, standing, and kneeling during the anthem. In 2017 Mr. Boyer wrote an open letter to Kaepernick, President Trump, the NFL, and America. In the letter you will see Mr. Boyer's heart and desire for all sides to come together. You can read it here.

While researching for this post I found something quite interesting that I knew nothing about. Did you know that there was a third verse to the National Anthem? Here's an article discussing how Colin Kaepernick got it right when he chose to sit during the anthem. And here is all of the verses to our national anthem. We only sing verse one, but take a good long look at verse three.

The Star-Spangled Banner
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

This entire issue is a huge hot topic for me because I saw racist hate up close and personal when I lived in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Besides that, conservatives all over our country called President Obama a dictator. I didn't like him, but I didn't call him that. And now with President Trumps "order" for our players to stand or be fired, that seems more like a dictator than anything President Obama said in eight years. I think everyone should stand for our anthem. However, I do not think they should be paid to stand, nor forced, by either intimidation or the like. I also wish before people on either side of the issue said anything they did a little research to understand all sides. There is always more to the story, and in this case quite a bit that isn't being reported. If I could find the information anyone can. It just takes time and desire to look at facts instead of feelings and opinions.

I want to know your thoughts, but please be kind and respectful. I will delete all messages that don't fall into those categories.

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