About Me I am a retired librarian and I now support books and authors through my reviews.

I have always loved to read and I was able to share that love through my work as a public librarian for 22 1/2 years. I now enjoy reading to my granddaughter and supporting authors through my reviews!

Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 Is About To Be------- 2018 But A Memory!

Old Fashioned Happy New Year Clipart Banners

2018 has been quite a year! A routine colonoscopy for my husband turned into a "Go straight to Lexington, don't stop for anything" trip and a pacemaker for him the next morning. May 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation and in August I watched my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter go to pre-school for the first time. Talk about age differences! In late September I joined many of my former classmates as we officially celebrated our 50th Class Reunion. A wonderful night of reminiscing, comparing how many grandchildren we each have and honoring the classmates who will never be as old as we are. And then, in December, Gerald and I observed our Golden Anniversary. When we exchanged those wedding vows that cold December night, we planned to be together this long but our marriage license didn't include that guarantee. God blessed us and we made it!

Yes, 2018 was a year of firsts and it was also a year of hellos and goodbyes! Babies taking their first breaths and others breathing their last. This happens every year but in 2018 so many of those last breaths belonged to friends and neighbors. Some older, some my age but many who were younger! Some who had been given a chance to live many years and others who barely had the chance to live at all!

So what is ahead? Joy, sadness, laughter and tears?
Expected turns, unexpected twists
A brand new year, a clean new slate,
Welcome 2019---I can hardly wait!!

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Devoted Life: A Creative Devotional JournalThe Devoted Life: A Creative Devotional Journal by Marjorie Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"The Devoted Life" is targeted for young adults but I am many years past this age group and I am thrilled with this book! It is labeled as a creative journal and there are 208 pages that allow you to explore your own creativity. "The Devoted Life" is divided into 31 sections and the beginning page of each section lists the topic and offers you a page to color. This is followed by a Bible verse that is applicable to the topic and devotional thoughts to add to your worship time. Additional scriptures allow you to go deeper into study and journal prompts help spur your thinking and offer a place to record your own thoughts. The final page of each section is another coloring page and it features the Bible scripture that began the section. This journal concludes with several blank pages that offer you a place to feature your own special verses and create your own special pages.

I am very impressed with both the outward appearance and the inward quality of this book. The imitation-leather cover is a beautiful pink color and it is soft enough to allow the journal to be easily written in. This is a wonderful choice for anyone wanting to enhance their worship time and I look forward to using my own copy in the new year ahead. I also believe that "The Devoted Life: A Creative Devotional Journal" will be great for gift-giving also!

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


View all my reviews

Friday, December 28, 2018

Mind Games (Kaely Quinn Profiler, #1)Mind Games by Nancy Mehl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I must admit that my limited knowledge of criminal profiling has been gained from watching Criminal Minds on TV so this book has been an enlightening reading experience. I was drawn into this story from the very beginning and the poem that the killer sent to Kaely was certainly a unique way to keep her (and me!) guessing! Kaely Quinn is an extremely fascinating character and part of the suspense in this story revolves around Kaely and her unusual method of finding the criminal. Kaely's traumatic experience when she was very young has left her with very few people that she can trust and she has very few close relationships. Her former FBI partner Adam fell in love with her and this ended their partnership and now her new partner Noah seems to be going down the same path. I am anxious to read the second book in this series to see if there is a romance waiting to be explored or if this partnership will also be jeopardized.

Mind Games has taught me so many interesting facts about the FBI and the way that they solve their cases and I have a new admiration for these men and womem who work to not only solve crimes but to prevent them from ever happening. I have also been reminded of the troubled society that we now live in and of the need to believe in and trust in a Higher Being. Kaely knows God personally and we witness it throughout this book in her thoughts and her actions. In one instance, as Kaely rushes to solve the poem and prevent another death, she asks God for help. "Lord," Kaely prayed out loud, "please show me whatver it is I need to see. Deliver me from these awful dreams. And give me insight into whoever wrote that poem. Help us to stop him before he kills again. Thanks." And as Kaely and Noah work together, Noah begins to wonder about his own relationship with God. Yes, Mind Games is faith-based but it isn't overly preachy.

I can only imagine how much time and research went into writing this book and I applaud Nancy Mehl for her efforts. I recommend Mind Games to anyone who loves suspense and mystery mixed with a touch of romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and I voluntarily chose to write this review. All views expressed are my honest opinion.

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"Catching Christmas" Book Tour & Giveaway



About the Book

Book: Catching Christmas
Author: Terri Blackstock
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Christmas                                         
Release Date: October 9, 2018



This Year, Christmas Comes Just in Time
As a first-year law associate, Sydney Batson knows she will be updating her resume by New Year’s if she loses her current court case. So when her grandmother gets inexplicably ill while she’s in court, Sydney arranges for a cab to get her to the clinic.
The last thing cab driver Finn Parrish wants is to be saddled with a wheelchair-bound old lady with dementia. But because Miss Callie reminds him of his own mother, whom he failed miserably in her last days, he can’t say no when she keeps calling him for rides. Once a successful gourmet chef, Finn’s biggest concern now is making his rent, but half the time Callie doesn’t remember to pay him. And as she starts to feel better, she leads him on wild goose chases to find a Christmas date for her granddaughter.
When Finn meets Sydney, he’s quite sure that she’s never needed help finding a date. Does Miss Callie have an ulterior motive, or is this just a mission driven by delusions? He’s willing to do whatever he can to help fulfill Callie’s Christmas wish. He just never expected to be a vital part of it.
 Click here to purchase your copy.


MY REVIEW

I truly loved this book! Catching Christmas is a sweet story that reminds us of the importance of family, the necessity for faith and the comfort that comes from believing in God. The characters are also very believable. There is Callie, an adorable, elderly woman who grabbed my heart from the beginning with her desire to find someone that her granddaughter can lean on once she is gone. Her granddaughter Sydney Batson is challenged by being a first-year law associate in danger of losing her job and trying to find time to care for her very ill Grammy. And, of course, there is Finn Patrick. Finn is a once-successful chef who is now a cab driver and he reluctantly gets caught up in Callie's efforts to find that perfect man for Sydney. Finn could almost be labeled a Scrooge until you realize that he has a heart of gold. As hard as he tries to keep from getting involved, as much as he wants to move away from the situation, he can't because Callie is such a special person! There is humor in Catching Christmas and Callie is like many older people who have no filters on their speech and reactions. As I was reading it, I made some notes about some of the funny sayings that Callie utters and some of her insightful thoughts on religion and I named them "Callieisms". I was right on track because eventually, near the end of the book, the word "Callieisms" is actually mentioned in the plot. Callie is very ill and she struggles with dementia but readers are very aware of Callie's deep faith. In one episode Finn mentions that Callie seems to be talking to Jesus and Sydney replies "She loves Jesus and she talks to him a lot, right out loud. She did this even before she had this...confusion." Callie herself shares that "I can just imagine Heaven being a mountaintop experience every day...every hour, just as much as you can stand, till your heart just can't hold anymore." Oh, to be as wise and as devout as Callie! Callie wants to give Sydney the perfect Christmas and it is heartwarming to watch Finn as he finally decides that Christmas is worth having. I believe that Terri Blackstock has perfectly captured his reluctance and ultimately, his acceptance of the true meaning of Christmas.

Catching Christmas is the perfect book for the Christmas season. If you read it before Christmas it will help you get in the Christmas spirit; if you read it after Christmas it will help you prolong your Christmas holiday! I recommend it to all who enjoy a faith-filled story filled with romance and the spirit of Christmas.
I received this book from Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author 



Terri Blackstock has sold over seven million books worldwide and is a New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author. She is the award-winning author of Intervention, Vicious Cycle, and Downfall, as well as such series as Cape Refuge, Newpointe 911, the SunCoast Chronicles, and the Restoration Series. Catching Christmas is her first Christmas romance. Visit her website at www.terriblackstock.com Facebook: tblackstock Twitter: @terriblackstock

From Terri Blackstock



Enjoy this premium excerpt from Catching Christmas

https://aerbook.com/books/-128993.html?utm_source=pubpage

To get you in the Christmas mood, here’s an early holiday playlist:

“White Christmas” sung by Bing Crosby
“I Heard the Bells” sung by MercyMe
“Light of the World” sung by Lauren Daigle
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sung by Amy Grant
"Don’t Save it All for Christmas Day” sung by Avalon
“Till the Season Comes ‘Round Again” sung by the Katinas


Blog Stops

Daysong Reflections, December 15
Genesis 5020, December 15
Back Porch ReadsDecember 15
The Power of Words, December 16
Quiet Quilter, December 16
Among the Reads, December 17
Kathleen Denly, December 17
By The Book, December 17
Lighthouse Academy, December 17
Cultivating Us, December 18
Simple Harvest ReadsDecember 18 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)
Remembrancy, December 18
All-of-a-kind Mom, December 20
amandainpa, December 20
Multifarious, December 21
Cathe Swanson, December 21
Stories By Gina, December 21
Connect in Fiction, December 22
Have A Wonderful Day, December 22
Splashes of Joy, December 22
Bibliophile Reviews, December 22
Lis Loves Reading, December 23
Mary Hake, December 23
Bigreadersite, December 23
Book by Book, December 24
Pause for Tales, December 24
Vicky Sluiter, December 25
Inklings and notions, December 26
Captive Dreams Window, December 27
Texas Book-aholic, December 27
Older & Smarter?, December 28
Janices book reviews, December 28
Carpe Diem, December 28

To celebrate her tour, Terri is giving away a grand prize of a finished copy of Catching Christmas and a Christmas Tree Ornament!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d776/catching-christmas-celebration-tour-giveaway

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Christmas Eve Night at the Courthouse

Our local newspaper recently encouraged its readers to share a special Christmas memory. I have so many precious memories but I decided to mention visiting Santa Claus when he made his annual stop at our Fleming County Courthouse on Christmas Eve night. I'm sure there are pictures of these visits in archived newspapers but I still have the images in my mind. The Courthouse sitting on top of the hill in Flemingsburg and the lights shining on the front. Our Courthouse is truly a beautiful building at night! The steps leading up to the "front porch" and Santa Claus at the top, waiting with his bag of treats. The long line of children and parents that seemed to go on forever and ever. Often these lines extended down the Courthouse Hill but the memory that is most vivid to me probably occurred during one of the last years that I visited this jolly old elf. My parents, my brother and I stood in a line that extended out West Main Street past the old jail that is no longer there and the Methodist Church that still sits next door. I'm sure that it was cold but I didn't feel it and I didn't worry about Santa because he was used to the cold. North Pole, remember? I don't recall if there were impatient children but I suspect that most of them felt like me. Santa Claus was here and I had to be on my best behavior! And then, when we finally made it to the top of the steps, there was Santa and his brown bag of treats that he gave each child. Oh, the joy that this one small brown paper sack had to offer!

These nights were so special and I believe that most people in town took their children to experience the magic of visiting this man in red. Yes, there was magic in those nights because we believed. We believed in Santa Claus and we believed that he could somehow visit our small town on Christmas Eve and still manage to deliver toys to other boys and girls all over the world. He really did know if we had been good all year or just the past few months. He truly cared about our small town in Kentucky and he really was as fat and jolly as we had always been told.

It was only when I was much older that I realized that sometime during our long wait on that one night that my Daddy must have disappeared. I don't remember missing him at the time but I do know that after we finally saw Santa Claus and then returned to our home, Christmas had come! There, under our tree, were gifts! On his way out of Flemingsburg Good Saint Nick had made a stop at our house at Route 1 Flemingsburg and rewarded my brother and me for trying to be a good boy and girl.

So many years have passed and so many Christmases are now memories but I have never forgotten  those special Christmas Eve nights at the Fleming County Courthouse! I don't know just how many years that Santa Claus made those visits but I do know that during the mid fifties to early sixties, I was privileged to be there with him!


Friday, December 21, 2018

Book Review & Giveaway: A Christmas Story of Light by Ora Smith


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God's light shines in all of His creations, from the Star of Bethlehem, to the angel proclaiming Christ’s birth, to the Son of God Himself—the light of the world.


Through this light, He illuminates darkness, gives us guidance, and shows us how to love one another.



Enjoy the artwork and inspirational messages of A Christmas Story of Light this holiday season and let God’s light bring you the brightness of hope.














Ora is an artist, genealogist, seamstress, lover of a good book, traveler, antiquer, upcycler, and history buff. She’s one of those people who always has a project she’s excited about. Although she’s lived in Arizona since 1986, she spent her early life in Lake Tahoe, California, where her passion to write blossomed on a tranquil riverbank with a beautiful backdrop of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
She recently received her Master of Arts in Nonfiction Creative Writing at Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. She also writes children’s books and historical fiction. In 2013, she placed first in a short-story writing contest sponsored by Writers Unite to Fight Cancer, in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Creative Writing Center at Arizona State University. Her historical novel, White Oak River, won first place in the 2017 Phoenix Rattler Contest sponsored by Christian Writers of the West (an ACFW affiliate)
Ora’s been a wife and mother for more than thirty-six years, raising four sons and one daughter. She has the three cutest grandchildren in existence.
For more than twenty years Ora’s taught family history research at conferences and to individuals. Read an article she wrote for the online magazine, Almost an Author, about “Using Ancestor’s Stories in Fiction.” Also visit her blog, Writing About Ancestors, to learn how you can write about your ancestors.
As a mother, genealogist, artist, and faithful follower of Jesus Christ, Ora blends her understanding and unique skills to create faith inspired stories that she hopes will give others an added testimony of God’s goodness.




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Facebook ~ Website ~
Twitter ~ Instagram ~
Blog ~ Pinterest ~


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"God sent Jesus to guide us. He wants you to show His light by being kind and loving others. Then you'll have your own light."
At the end of this book author Ora Smith tells readers that she wanted to share with her grandchildren the story of God and his son Jesus and this is exactly what she has done in A Christmas Story of Light. The beautiful star on the cover reminds us of the star that was present on the night of Jesus's birth and this 34 page book relates the story of Jesus being born and how his birth changed mankind forever. Along with the Christmas story the author stresses that Jesus came to light our way and that each one of us can be a light. This book has a beautiful cover and the bright, colorful illustrations inside are appealing to children. Older children should find the text easy to read and pre-school children will enjoy listening to it as they look at the pictures. I am looking forward to sharing this with my 4 1/2 year old granddaughter. This is a wonderful way to share the story of Jesus's birth and to impress upon children the true meaning of Christmas; it also encourages them to follow God's Word and to share love and hope with others. I recommend A Christmas Story of Light for those who are looking for faith-based reading material for children. I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.


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To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

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Friday, December 14, 2018

Fifty Years! How Can This Be?

In 1987 my in-laws celebrated their Golden Anniversary and then, in 2000, my parents enjoyed their own special day. Both times I remember my feelings of pride and also a sense of amazement.  Both couples had dodged the fast balls that life can throw, they had avoided the pitfalls of their individual journeys and they had successfully ridden the roller coaster ride that is known as marriage. For fifty years they lived together, worked together and managed to raise children who became reasonably sane adults and productive members of society.  Certainly their celebrations were well deserved. But both times I also remember feeling thankful.  There have been many loving and faithful couples who were separated by death and were never permitted to experience this achievement. Our parents had indeed been blessed and each couple was allowed to spend several more years together before their deaths.

Well, the unthinkable has happened and today Gerald and I have reached our own milestone. Fifty years ago, on a snowy Saturday night, we exchanged rings and made promises. We've dodged those fast balls, we've maneuvered those pitfalls and we've ridden that roller coaster. Once again I have feelings of amazement and thankfulness. Amazed that the years have flown by and thankful that through them all I've had a husband, daughter and now a granddaughter to love and enjoy. God has certainly been good and I have indeed been blessed!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

In Too Deep (Dive Team Investigations, #2)In Too Deep by Lynn H. Blackburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Too Deep is the second story in the Dive Team Investigations series and this story focuses on Sabrina Fleming and Adam Campbell. Sabrina's knowledge of computer science and her skills in forensics are well known to the Dive Team and she is asked by dive team member Adam to help recover the files from a computer that was found submerged with the body of an accountant in Lake Porter. What follows is a case that may change Carrington, North Carolina forever and even affect some of Adam's own family.

I was intrigued from the very beginning with Sabrina's extensive computer skills and I enjoyed seeing her relationship with Adam develop. As they both work to uncover the secrets hidden in the encrypted computer it is apparent that Adam is head over heels in love with Sabrina but she is at first oblivious to his feelings. In fact, all of the other dive team investigators know how he feels before she does and there are several light-hearted moments when they tease Adam. I liked Sabrina and Adam and the team dynamics and I felt like I was actively involved with this group of friends. I also enjoyed that I could catch up with some of the characters from Beneath the Surface.

As the investigation continued and the proof of money laundering and the suggestion of human trafficking emerged, I found myself realizing that there are many different forms of human trafficking and I understood Sabrina and Adam's race to solve this case. The fact that they both were believers only made their efforts more realistic and their faith is often shown in their moments of reflection and of talking with God.

I am looking forward to the next book in this series but this book can certainly be read by itself. I thoroughly enjoyed In Too Deep and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys romantic suspense and Christian fiction.

I received a complimentary copy from the author and I was not required to offer a positive review. These are my honest opinions.


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Woman of CourageWoman of Courage by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1837 Amanda Pearson believed that she was about to marry the man of her dreams but instead she was faced with the shame of being jilted the night before her wedding. What follows is the story of a young Quaker woman who faces danger and near-death so that she can fulfill her dream of becoming a missionary to the Indians. She leaves New York with her father and a hired trail guide to travel to the Oregon Territory but her father dies and she is left to travel alone with a guide who is often irritated by her Quaker language and the use of thee and thou; more than once he warns her to use the English word "you" when speaking to him. Soon, a tragic accident takes his life and Amanda must become a Woman of Courage if she is ever able to reach her destination and fulfill her dream.

This young Quaker woman is strong and determined and truly believes that God intended for her to teach His Word to Native Americans. Her friendship with an Indian woman is hindered by the differences of their language and culture but Mary Yellow Bird saves Amanda's life and eventually Amanda is able to lead Mary to Christ. Her mission however, isn't as easy with Mary's husband Jim and several others who have been hurt by organized religion and want nothing to do with learning more about God. One of them especially resists Amanda's efforts. He wonders "Was it possible that she really was a Christian, who lived by the Bible and not her own selfish ways? Well, even if she was, Buck had no desire to have religion crammed down his throat". It appears doubtful that Amanda will ever change Buck McFadden's mind.

Wanda E. Brustetter is best known for writing Amish stories but this book shows that she is more than capable of writing historical fiction. She offers us a view of the hardships that were endured by the people making those westward journeys and she creates several memorable characters to enhance her story. I'm sure that some poetic license may have been take with some of the events shared but I was especially intrigued with her telling of twin baby girls born to an Indian family and their belief that only one baby deserved to live. The decision that Amanda makes concerning this child plays an important part in her life. There is also romance but the main focus of Woman of Courage is the work of the missionaries who were brave enough to offer salvation to the Nez Perce Indians. This is a heartwarming story and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction. There is also included in this Collector's edition a short sequel that is set eighteen years later. Woman of Hope is the continued story of Little Fawn, one of the characters from Woman of Courage, and it relates her own desire to be a missionary to the Nez Perce Indians.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher but my review is voluntary. These are my honest opinions.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Saying Goodbye to Bush 41

Today I spent most of my morning and early afternoon watching TV. No, I didn't watch game shows and I didn't watch movies. I watched the funeral of the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. I started watching at 11 AM and I could not walk away, I could not turn it off. Speaker after speaker spoke of this man's humor, his joy for life, and his genuine goodness. The man who was often unappreciated in life was now being honored in death.

President Bush  died at age 94 but he could have died at a much earlier age. We all know about his being shot down as a young aviator but his son George mentioned that he had almost died as a teenager and he believed that it was these two incidents that created in his father an urgency to live life to its fullest. He knew great love with his wife Barbara for 73 years and he also faced great loss when their 3 year old daughter Robin died of leukemia. He experienced the victory of being elected President of the United States and he endured not being chosen for a second term. He witnessed his oldest child and namesake achieving the title of President and yes, being re-elected for a second term. I'm sure that George W.'s political success was very satisfying to this former President but it is the image of the father reaching out to take the hand of his son at the 9-1-1 memorial service that truly defines their relationship. He was demonstrating his understanding and compassion as only someone who personally knew the immense burden of leading our country could fully comprehend but he was first of all a father offering comfort to his son!

Several speakers during today's service spoke about President Bush's achievements as a pulbic servant but he was also remembered as a loyal friend and a loving father. His funeral was a religious service filled with scripture, beautiful music and motivational thoughts. Viewers were challenged to honor President Bush by obeying the two greatest commandments Bush himself had chosen to live by. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength" and "Love thy neighbour as thyself"; near the end of the service The Apostle's Creed was read and Ronan Tynan shared a moving rendition of The Lord's Prayer. So many memorable moments in this beautiful tribute punctuated with voices cracking with emotion and tears that frequently flowed. I was especially touched when Michael W. Smith sang a song that President Bush requested. "And friends are friends forever If the Lord's the Lord of them". For after all, "a lifetime's not too long to live as friends."

Have I mentioned that I couldn't quit watching this service? This man who challenged all of us to become volunteers and servants, to become "a thousand points of light"  was today revealed as perhaps being the brightest point of all! One news commentator remarked that today, December 5, 2018, was a secular holiday with spiritual overtones. Another reporter suggested that this was perhaps a message from the Bush family to encourage a change in our political climate and this reporter questioned if the message would be remembered in the days and weeks ahead.

In his only inauguration speech as President of the United States. George H.W. Bush spoke these words. "In our hearts we know what matters. We cannot hope only to leave our children a bigger car, a bigger bank account. We must hope to give them a sense of what it means to be a loyal friend; a loving parent; a citizen who leaves his home, his neighborhood, and town better than he found it."

Today's goodbye was truly a celebration of a life well-lived! George H.W. Bush was apparently a wonderful husband, loving father and an all-around good human being. He was a man who believed in service and he encouraged others to do the same. Well done, good and faithful servant!