Friday, January 18, 2019

Dear Abby - Dog Songs -- A New Blog Series!

Dear Friends,

Welcome back!  I'm excited this week because I have a fun new series coming up.  I'm going to write about dog songs here!  Each week a different song will be featured.  (Of course I will include videos of the songs as well, if I can find them.)   Momma plays music all the time here, so I like music too.  And of course, there is no better topic for songs than man's (and woman's!) best friend.



I would love YOUR ideas.   What are some songs you can think of that are about dogs, or that contain the word DOG in the title?   Please leave a message in the comments below.

Thank you!

Love,

Abby xoxoxo


Book Review and Giveaway - Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher

Book Synopsis

For these two broken hearts, the first step toward love will be a huge leap of faith.


Jessica Mason isn’t looking for love when she meets Ridley Chesterfield. Instead she is still reeling from the tragic, unexpected loss of her husband and daughter—and awaiting the arrival of her unborn child. Harboring the secret of her husband’s betrayal, her pain is deeper than anyone knows.

Ridley Chesterfield is hiding out in Hope Springs, Idaho, avoiding a political scandal and the barrage of false media headlines that have tarnished his good name. The last thing Ridley wants is a relationship—but when fate leads Ridley to form a friendship with his reclusive and pregnant neighbor, he wonders if this small-town hideout might be more of a long-term destination. 

When Jessica begins to read her great-grandfather’s Bible, she finds a connection with a man she never knew. Somehow the verses he marked and the words he wrote in the margins open her heart to healing. And as Ridley and Jessica help each other forgive the people who have broken their hearts, they must decide if the past will define them or if they will choose to love again. 

Who I Am with You weaves together a modern-day romance with Jessica’s great-grandfather’s story from the 1930s, reminding us that some truths can cross generations and that faith has the power to transform families forever. 

Who I Am with You is the first book in Robin’s new “A Legacy of Faith” series.

Click here to read an excerpt!

My Review
Who I Am With You tells the story of Jessica Mason and Ridley Chesterfield in the small town of Hope Springs, Idaho.  Jessica is pregnant and alone;  her husband and young daughter were killed in a tragic car accident.  Ridley is enjoying time alone after he is implicated in a political scandal that could effect his career.  They end up as neighbors and unlikely friends ... with a budding romantic interest.

This is such a lovely read.  I really cared about Jessica and Ridley.  They were both sad and lonely people, and I really wanted them to find happiness and peace.  I found it very uplifting to watch them heal separately - and together.

I loved the dual timelines of this novel.  There are Jessica and Ridley, but there is also the story of Jessica's great-great grandfather in 1930.  Legacy of Faith is a perfect name for the series that begins with this book.  Jessica found great strength from her grandfather's faith and from his old family Bible.

The small town setting was wonderful, and I loved the sweet, leisurely pace of this novel.  There were several aspects of the book I particularly liked and related to, like Ridley's rescue of Kris the Sheltie dog, and Jessica's work selling her art online.  

I am already looking forward to reading the rest of this series.  I recommend Who I Am With You for fans of Christian fiction and small town, sweet romances.


Author Bio
Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. 

When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat.

For more information, visit www.robinleehatcher.com, Facebook: robinleehatcher, Twitter: @robinleehatcher and Instagram @robinleehatcher.

Giveaway

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I received a copy of this book from Audra Jennings PR. 

Book Review and Giveaway - Botched 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery) by J.C. Eaton

Book Synopsis

Bowled over . . .

Sophie “Phee” Kimball is getting dragged into the drama again at her mom’s Arizona retirement community. A new board member wants to get rid of two golf courses and replace them with eco-friendly parks, and some of the residents are pretty teed off about it. On top of that, her mother’s book club friend Myrna is being pushed out of the bocce league. These seniors are serious about winning, and Myrna’s dragging them down. She’s so bad at bocce, in fact, that when a community mem.ber’s dead body is discovered while Myrna’s practicing for a tournament, she assumes it was one of her own errant balls that killed the woman.

But before Myrna can be tossed off the bocce court and into criminal court, the police find an arrow in the victim’s neck. It looks like this was no accident—and Phee and her investigator boyfriend Marshall will have to team up to bounce a killer into the slammer . . .

My Review
Botched 4 Murder is a cozy mystery set in Arizona.  Phee (Sophie) Kimball is an accountant for a detective agency.  When an aquaintance of her retired mother is killed by an arrow, Phee works to solve the mystery.

This is my first read in the Sophie Kimball Mystery series.  I was intrigued by the Chiweenie (Dachshund - Chihuahua mix dog) on the cover.  I had some catching up to do -- lots of new names and characters to learn -- but it was a fun read.  I do think this book would work best read in order with the other books in the Sophie Kimball Mystery series.   And for dog lovers -- I enjoyed the stories about Streetman, the dog, in the book and only wish there had been more of them!

The mystery was well plotted and it kept me guessing.  I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot. I did not guess the murderer before Sophie did.

I enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Sophie, Marshall (her detective boyfriend), Nate and Augusta from the detective agency, her mother, and her eccentric aunt.  The authors did an exceptional job of creating lots of well defined characters. 

The book also has some humor and light moments that were enjoyable.  It was a fast read that moved quickly.

I recommend Botched 4 Murder for other fans of cozy mysteries.  It would make a fun weekend read.

Author Bios
Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com
 
James E. Clapp When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.
 
Visit their website at www.jceatonauthor.com and Like and Follow on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JCEatonauthor/
 
Purchase Links
Amazon   B&N   Kobo   GooglePlay    IndieBound 


Giveaway
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I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Book Tours and Netgalley.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway - Brunch at Bittersweet Cafe by Carla Laureano

Book Synopsis
From the RITA Award–winning author of Five Days in Skye comes a sweet, romantic treat that will leave you hungry for more.

Baker and pastry chef Melody Johansson has always believed in finding the positive in every situation, but seven years after she moved to Denver, she can’t deny that she’s stuck in a rut. One relationship after another has ended in disaster, and her classical French training is being wasted on her night job in a mediocre chain bakery. Then the charming and handsome private pilot Justin Keller lands on the doorstep of her workplace in a snowstorm, and Melody feels like it’s a sign that her luck is finally turning around.

Justin is intrigued by the lively bohemian baker, but the last thing he’s looking for is a relationship. His own romantic failures have proven that the demands of his job are incompatible with meaningful connections, and he’s already pledged his life savings to a new business venture across the country?an island air charter in Florida with his sister and brother-in-law.

Against their better judgment, Melody and Justin find themselves drawn together by their unconventional career choices and shared love of adventure. But when an unexpected windfall provides Melody with the chance to open her dream bakery-cafĂ© in Denver with her best friend, chef Rachel Bishop, she’s faced with an impossible choice: stay and put down roots with the people and place she’s come to call home . . . or give it all up for the man she loves.



 

Purchase Links


TyndaleAmazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

 

My Review

Breakfast at Bittersweet Cafe tells the story of Melody Johansson and Justin Keller.  Melody is a pastry chef working late at night when a stranded motorist comes to the door of the restaurant.  He is Justin Keller, a handsome pilot, and there is an immediate connection between the two.  As they get to know each other they both also plan to pursue their dreams.  Melody wants to own a restaurant in her hometown in Colorado, while Justin wants to work as a pilot in Florida.  Is it possible for them to make a relationship work?

 

This is the second book in the Supper Club Series.  I have not read the first book, but this novel worked well as a standalone read.  (Of course, having enjoyed this book, I want to go back and read the first as well!)

 

I really liked both Melody and Justin.  Justin was one of my favorite romantic protagonists in recent reads.  I loved the description in the book:  "He was funny, intelligent, perceptive.  Surprisingly humble, which was not a trait she'd have associated with a guy who was practically the template for a romance novel hero" (p. 97).   I loved the scene where Melody and Justin met at the restaurant after hours, and enjoyed their repartee and combination friendship-attraction.

 

I am a foodie and one of my not-so-secret dream jobs would be owning a little bakery.  I loved the baking details in this book!  They were just perfect (even though they sometimes made me hungry  -- i.e. for Butterscotch Bars!).

 

This was such a satisfying read about likable, decent people that I really cared about.  It just flew for me as a read, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys contemporary romance and Christian fiction ... and especially for other foodie readers!

 

Author Bio

Carla Laureano is the RITA Award-winning author of contemporary inspirational romance and Celtic fantasy (as C.E. Laureano). A graduate of Pepperdine University, she worked as a sales and marketing executive for nearly a decade before leaving corporate life behind to write fiction full-time. She currently lives in Denver with her husband and two sons, where she writes during the day and cooks things at night.

 

Connect with Carla


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

Giveaway

One lucky reader will win a copy of this book!  Enter through the Rafflecopter form below.   Giveaway ends midnight on Friday, November 18.  Winner will be notified by email and needs to respond within 48 hours or another name will be drawn.  Good luck!

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Book Spotlight and Giveaway - A Murder by Any Name by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Book Synopsis
When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters | IndieBound | Kobo

Author Bio

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

For more information, please visit Suzanne M. Wolfe’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Giveaway
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 3 hardcover copies of A Murder By Any Name! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.  

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on January 17th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
A Murder By Any Name