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 promote literacy by reading, and then writing reviews. I love to support authors by sharing my reviews with others!

Monday, June 29, 2020

I Am: Bible Stories, Devotions, and Prayers about the Names of God by Diane Stortz: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  I AM
Author: Diane Stortz
Genre:  Juvenile nonfiction, Bible stories
Release Date: 2016

Creator, Comforter, Healer, Friend. God’s names tell us who He is, what He is like, and what He does. This beautiful book covers 40 of the Bible’s many names and descriptive titles for God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, including Jehovah Jireh, The Lord My Shepherd, Immanuel, Rabbi, and I AM.
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. As they develop understanding of God’s character and His love for them, children will grow to know, love, and trust the great I AM more and more.

“Those who know your name put their trust in you.” –Psalm 9:10

Click here to get your copy!


This book will immediately grab the attention of children with its attractive hardback cover, beautiful ribbon bookmark, and colorful illustrations, but the content inside is what will continue to keep their attention. Author Diane Stortz shares forty stories from both the Old and New Testament and each of them mentions a different name for God. From Genesis 1-2, when God created the world and was given the name Elohim (Creator), to Revelation 17:14, when He was proclaimed Lord of lords and King of kings, Stortz reveals a new name or descriptive title. She also includes devotions, Bible scripture, and prayers, along with the stories, to further increase understanding.

Reading this beautiful book together provides adults and children the perfect opportunity to discuss God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Even though "I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God" was written for young people, I will certainly enjoy using it myself. I also recommend it as a wonderful resource for your church library.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. I was under no obligation to write a favorable review. These are my honest thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

About the Author

Diane Stortz is a multipublished author who writes to make God’s wonders known to the next generation. Her children’s releases include the best-selling Say & Pray Bible and I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God, both from Tommy Nelson. Diane’s books for women, A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year and Encountering God’s Heart for You, both from Bethany House, encourage women to get to know God through His Word, the Bible. Diane and her husband have two married daughters and five grandchildren—all boys! Visit her at www.DianeStortz.com.

More from Diane

You can often guess someone’s age by considering their name. Diane, for example, was popular in the 1950s, so . . . that tells you something about me.

But God’s personal name? Well, it’s ageless. Just like Him.

When Moses met God at the burning bush and received the task of leading the Israelites out of Egypt, he wasn’t exactly thrilled at first. He peppered God with questions, including, “When I tell the people that I met you here and you gave me this assignment, they’re going to want to know your name. What should I tell them?”

The Israelites had just about forgotten who the God of their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was.

But God hadn’t forgotten them. Not at all. God told Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. . . . Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14).

I AM WHO I AM. I always have been. I will always be. I will never change.

Choosing a book title is rarely easy, and choosing a title for this book about the names of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit took a long time. I couldn’t be more grateful to the Tommy Nelson publishing team who developed and settled on the title I AM: 40 Reasons to Trust God.

My prayer for every child who reads this book and every family that goes through the book together, and for myself: May we all grow mightily in our understanding of who God is and our relationship with Him! As Psalm 9:10 says, “Those who know your name put their trust in you.”

Blog Stops

Splashes of Joy, June 29
Artistic Nobody, July 1 (Guest Review from Donna Cine)
amandainpa, July 5
Simple Harvest Reads, July 5 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)


To celebrate her tour, Diane is giving away  the grand prize package of signed copies of all three I AM books!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

The Lopsided Christmas Cake by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Lopsided Christmas CakeABOUT THE BOOK

An Amish Charity Event Leads to a Christmas Romance
Christmas Fiction from New York Times Bestselling Author , Wanda E. Brunstetter

Join the Hochstetler twin sisters on stage as they bumble their way through baking a cake for a charity auction in front of a live audience. The take-charge Elma and the klutzy optimist Thelma manage to entertain their audience—and attract the admiration of two bachelors, an outspoken woodworker and a shy harness maker from a neighboring Amish community. As fall leads into the Christmas season, could romance be blossoming for one or more of the Hochstetler twins? Find out in this brand new romance from New York Times bestselling author Wanda E. Brunstetter, writing with her daughter-in-law Jean Brunstetter.

Don't miss The Farmers' Market Mishap, the sequel to The Lopsided Christmas Cake!

The Farmers' Market Mishap - Book 2!


This is the story of twins, alike and yet so different. Elma and Thelma Hochstetler are thirty-two year old identical twins who are both single and still living in their family home in Illinois. When they inherit their grandparents' farm in Indiana, Elma and Thelma leave their comfort zone and move there. We soon witness some of their experiences and adventures and these twin's differing personalities become very evident. Elma is very capable and likes to take control and Thelma is an outgoing, sociable person who sometimes has trouble completing everyday tasks; the word klutz might be the word to describe her! It is Thelma who decides that they should enter a baking contest together but she fails to mention that the cake will be made before a live audience! The finished product is disappointing, to say the least, but it doesn't stop two Amish gentlemen from bidding on this "lopsided" cake. They are intrigued by these young women and this baking contest is the catalyst that begins courtships for both Elma and Thelma.

The Christmas Lopsided Cake gave me a different viewpoint of Amish life. I always think of Amish women as being very capable and having their own large families at an early age; they are extremely capable and they always have "perfect" baked goods! This collaboration by Wanda Brunstetter and her daughter-in-law Jean is both humorous and heartfelt. It has laugh-out-loud moments and I recommend this entertaining read!

I received a copy of this book from the author and Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All expressed opinions are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, Wanda E. Brunstetter is one of the founders of the Amish fiction genre. She has written close to 90 books translated in four languages. With over 10 million copies sold, Wanda's stories consistently earn spots on the nations most prestigious bestseller lists and have received numerous awards.

To learn more about Wanda, her website  

View all my reviews

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Stories That Bind Us by Susie Finkbeiner

Stories That Bind UsABOUT THE BOOK

Betty Sweet never expected to be a widow at forty. With so much life still in front of her, she tries to figure out what's next, never imagining what God had in mind.

When her estranged sister returns to town, Betty finds herself taking on the care of a five-year-old nephew she never knew she had. In 1960s small-town Michigan, they make an odd pair. Betty with her pink button nose and bouffant hair. Hugo with his light brown skin and large brown eyes. But more powerful than what makes them different is what they share: the heartache of an empty space in their lives. Slowly, they will learn to trust one another as they discover common ground and healing through the magic of storytelling.


Betty Sweet suddenly becomes a widow at age 40 and author Susie Finkbeiner eloquently shares her journey in Stories That Bind Us. I was especially moved by the description of Betty's early days of mourning, when she stayed hidden in her house for almost a month because "I was grieving and I didn't want to talk to anyone about it." (p. 48) It is when her sister is placed into a mental institution that she experiences another life-changing event. Betty, who never had children, becomes the caregiver for her five-year-old nephew, Hugo. He is as needy as she is and it's obvious that a special bond is about to be created between a grieving widow and a sweet little boy with light brown skin and big brown eyes. As Hugo struggles with the absence of his mother, it is his Aunt Betty who chooses to comfort him with the stories that she shares. Some are true and some are made up but they become the stories that bind them together.

Stories That Bind Us is a realistic portrayal of widowhood, depression, mental illness, and the racial climate of our country in the early 1960s. It is historically accurate because I myself experienced the shock and grief of President Kennedy's assassination and felt the despair over the four little girls who were killed in a Birmingham church bombing. I lived during those events and Finkbeiner vividly depicts every emotion! She also captures the racism that existed and there is a moving moment when Betty takes Hugo to see a castle and notices how the caretaker keeps looking at them. She realizes that "the man didn't think we went together. We didn't match. Me with my light skin and Hugo with his dark." (p. 157)

I highly recommend this beautiful story that is both heartbreaking and heartwarming and I won't soon forget Stories That Bind Us. There are moments of both tears and laughter sprinkled throughout but isn't this true of life? Finkbeiner reminds us that love can heal us and that the events that threaten to break us are often preparing us for a happiness that we didn't know was waiting! "Love hurts sometimes. But it was always worth it." (p. 311)

I received a copy of this book from Revell. There was no obligation for a positive review. These are my honest thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Susie Finkbeiner is a novelist from West Michigan. She is the award winning, bestselling author of All Manner of Things, a 2020 Michigan Notable Book.
She is also the author of Stories That Bind Us and The Pearl Spence Series.
Susie is a wife, mother of three, and avid reader. She enjoys time with her family, coffee dates with her good friends, and quiet moments to read and write.
Learn more by checking out her Website     Facebook     Twitter     Instagram

View all my reviews

Friday, June 26, 2020

Texas Twin Abduction by Virginia Vaughan: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Texas Twin Abduction
Author: Virginia Vaughan
Genre:  Inspirational Romantic Suspense
Release Date: June 2, 2020

This twin’s past is a blank…

And she might not have a future.

Waking up in a bullet-ridden car with a bag of cash and a deputy insisting she’s his ex-fiancée, Ashlee Taylor has no memory of what happened—or of Lawson Avery. But with her twin missing and someone hunting her down, she must trust him with her life. Can Lawson save her and her sister—even as Ashlee’s forgotten secrets become an inescapable trap?

Click here to get your copy!


What happens when a young woman is found slumped over the steering wheel of a car that looks like a shooting target and she doesn't know who she is? What if the Deputy that finds her is the man that she deserted right before their wedding? Will he be willing to forget his deep hurt so that he can protect her as he helps her remember her past?

Author Virginia Vaughan tackles the subject of amnesia in this new book but she also throws identical twins into the mix and suddenly, Deputy Lawson Avery and his family are uncertain who is really staying at their ranch. Are they protecting Ashlee Taylor or could it be her twin Bree? And if it's Bree, then where in the world is Ashlee?

This is the first book in the Cowboy Lawmen series and Vaughan has written a fast-paced story filled with twists and turns, memorable characters, and a reminder that we all deserve forgiveness and a second chance. I recommend Texas Twin Abduction to all who enjoy Christian romantic suspense and I look forward to the next book in the series!

I received a copy of this book from the author and Celebrate Lit. There was no obligation for a favorable review. These are my own opinions.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Author

Virginia Vaughan is a multi-published author of inspirational romantic suspense. Blessed to come from a large, southern family, her fondest memories include listening to stories recounted by family and friends around the large dinner table. She was a lover of books even from a young age, devouring gothic romance novels and stories of romance, danger, and love. She soon started writing them herself. A former investigator for the State of Mississippi, Virginia utilizes her criminal justice background with her love of writing to transform words into powerful stories of romance and danger.

More from Virginia

Thanks for joining me for a brand new adventure. TEXAS TWIN ABDUCTION is the first book in my new Cowboy Lawmen series and it’s a departure from what I normally write. I love writing about cops and serial killers so when my editor first suggested the cowboy/western theme, I was hesitant. I’m a city girl at heart so this was so far out of my comfort zone! But I couldn’t resist for long. After all, who doesn’t love a cowboy? Thankfully, I found a way to merge what I loved—law enforcement, FBI, US Marshals—with the cowboy/family themed books my editor wanted to see by making my group of hero brothers a family of law enforcement types with ties to the family ranch. The best of both words. Score!

Book one in this new series, TEXAS TWIN ABDUCTION, begins with my hero, little brother Lawson Avery, in a quandary. All he ever wanted out of life was to run his family’s Texas ranch, but his ex-fiancée Ashlee’s final words to him as she skipped out on their wedding was that his desire for the simple life made him unambitious and unworthy of her love. Her words broke him, sending him searching for something more meaningful to do with his life, eventually winding up as a deputy in the sheriff’s office. But, despite law enforcement being in his blood, Lawson finally realized that life wasn’t for him and made plans to return to the ranch. However, his plans are sidetracked when he finds Ashlee unconscious on the side of the road in a bullet-ridden car with no memory of him or their past together. When it becomes clear that someone wants her dead, Lawson steps in to act as her protector. But will digging into the mysteries of her past cost him the future he still longs to have with her?

I hope you enjoy this book and this brand new series! Look for the next book—older brother US Marshal Miles Avery’s story—coming in TEXAS HOLIDAY HIDEOUT this October.

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, June 24
Bigreadersite, June 24
Simple Harvest Reads, June 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Betti Mace, June 29
Genesis 5020, June 29
Emily Yager, July 3
Hookmeinabook, July 4
EmpowerMoms, July 5
Mary Hake, July 5
Hallie Reads, July 6


To celebrate her tour, Virginia is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card and a copy of Texas Twin Abduction!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Dead Silence by Robin Caroll: Review & Giveaway with Celebrate Lit

About the Book

Book:  Dead Silence
Author: Robin Caroll
Genre: Christian Suspense
Release Date: June 2020

Political games can be deadly…

Elise Carmichael is a court sign language interpreter who reads lips all the time. As a widow with a young son who is deaf, lip reading is simply second nature, until the day she reads the lips of someone on the phone discussing an attempt to be made on a senator’s life—a senator who just happens to be her mother-in-law. Before she can decide what she needs to do, she receives the information that her son is rushed to the ER and she must leave. Then she later sees the news report that her mother-in-law has been shot and killed. But when she comes forward, her life, as well as her son’s life, may now be in the crosshairs of the assassin.

Click here to get your copy!


Dead Silence is a Christian suspense novel that has a strong faith element but Elise Carmichael doesn't display it at first. She is the widowed mother of a seven-year-old deaf son and she has experienced great heartache, leaving her with a faith that has been diminished by troubles and loss. It is her sister-in-law Mary Ellen who becomes Elise's strong support system and creates the change in Elise's thinking, leaving me with a strong admiration for Mary Ellen's unwavering belief and her Christian witness. As Elise frantically searches to find who has kidnapped her son her prayer life is revived and she finally begins to believe and trust in God once again. But will she find her son and will he be safe?

"Elise nodded, but she knew if anything happened to her son, she wouldn't make it. She'd have no reason to live, and just thinking that scared her."

Intrigue, deceit, and murder are all a part of Dead Silence and I was touched by Elise's strong determination to find her son alive. She is even able to teach the FBI agents a thing or two as they race to find Sawyer! If you are looking for strong female characters and heart-racing adventure, you will want to read this book.

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Author

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year. You can find out more about Robin by visiting www.robincaroll.com.

More from Robin

Hi, there. . .Robin here. I’m getting so excited for the release of my thirty-fourth novel, DEAD SILENCE. I have to say, I love this book. The heroine is strong, yet flawed. Her love for her son—willing to do anything to protect him is a mother’s instinct I relate to so well, having three daughters and two grandsons. The love of a mother for her child is so ingrained in me that I wanted to share that in a story.

I’ve been asked why I opted for a heroine who is an ASL translator and who has a deaf son. Many years ago, I became friends with someone who is deaf. She shared with me some of her frustrations, but also how her way of life is in comparison to mine. It got me to thinking that being deaf could be thought of as a disability but could also be used as an advantage…it was all in how you looked at it. My friend shared many stories of how she “eavesdropped” by reading lips and learned much about people and how they reacted to issues, enough that it led her into her career field today—a counselor, specializing in providing therapy for the hearing impaired as they live in a hearing world. I hope that I portrayed my characters in this positive light.

While I’m a Louisiana girl at heart, I reside in Little Rock, the capitol city for Arkansas. Since Bill and Hilary Clinton lived here and claimed it home before Bill was President, we have many political plans and posturing here. I saw it as a perfect backdrop for this particular story with the political undercurrents running rampant throughout the story.

I hope that you enjoy reading DEAD SILENCE as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Blog Stops

Emily Yager, June 20
Rebecca Tews, June 21
By The Book, June 22
Genesis 5020, June 22
KarenSueHadley, June 23
Betti Mace, June 24
Remembrancy, June 24
Splashes of Joy, June 26
HookMeInABook, June 26
Mary Hake, June 27
Simple Harvest Reads, June 28 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
amandainpa, June 28
Worthy2Read, June 29
Pause for Tales, June 29
Hallie Reads, June 30
Quiet Quilter, July 2


To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away the grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen, #1) by Karen Witemeyer

At Love's Command (Hanger's Horsemen, #1)ABOUT THE BOOK

Haunted by the horrors of war, ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries known as Hanger's Horsemen who have become legends in 1890s Texas. They defend the innocent and obtain justice for the oppressed. But when a rustler's bullet leaves one of them at death's door, they're the ones in need of saving.

Dr. Josephine Burkett is used to men taking one look at her skirts and discounting her medical skills. What she's not used to is having a man change his mind in a heartbeat and offer to assist her in surgery. Matthew Hanger's dedication to his friend during recovery earns Josephine's respect, and when she hears of her brother's abduction, he becomes her only hope for rescue.

Matt has stared down ruthless outlaws, betrayal, and injury, but when a bossy lady doctor crawls under his skin, his heart is tempted to surrender. And when she is caught in the crossfire, he may have to sacrifice everything--even his team--to save her.


This is a wonderful story filled with rip-roarin' action and lots of gunfire but its real strength is the wonderful romance between Dr. Josephine Burkett and Matthew Hanger. Yes, the new Doc in Purgatory Springs, Texas is a woman who has to constantly fight for respect so she is both shocked and grateful when a handsome ex-Calvary man accepts her skills so readily after bringing an injured friend into her office for treatment. From then on, you just know that there's great promise for this strong, independent career woman and a man who had chosen to live a solitary life after losing his family at a young age. Will Matthew Hanger recognize his budding feelings for Josie? Is there a future for a man who often runs toward death and a woman who works to prevent it?

Josie and Matthew are fascinating individual characters but together.....well, in today's culture, they would be known as a super couple. A female who is dedicated to treating illnesses and saving lives and a cowboy/soldier/mercenary who wants to help those unable to help themselves. And then there is the chemistry between these two. This is Christian fiction so author Karen Witemeyer allows us to imagine what might happen but there are some kissing scenes that left me breathless, as in "kisses that heated her blood and curled her toes".

I truly loved this first book of the Hanger's Horsemen series and I'm anxious to learn what Witemeyer plans for the future books. Corporal Luke Davenport, also known as Preach, is a man very knowledgeable of the Bible and I am hoping that he will have his own story in the near future. The Horsemen are supposedly "keeping their pistols holstered" but is this possible for Hanger's Horsemen?

If you are looking for Western adventure, Christian romance, and a story filled with faith, you will certainly want to read At Love's Command.

I received a copy of this book from the author and Bethany House. I wasn't required to write a positive review. These are my own thoughts.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Winner of the HOLT Medallion and the Carol Award and a finalist for the RITA and Christy Award, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance to give the world more happily-ever-afters. Karen makes her home in Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com. Facebook

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