Monday, November 18, 2019

Monday Motivation

"A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God."
— Sidney Sheldon

Have a wonderful week!

Friday, November 15, 2019

First Line Friday

Happy Friday! It's time for First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books.

It's time to grab the book nearest to you and leave a comment with the first line. Today on First Line Friday, I'm featuring a book from one of my many TBR piles, The Auschwitz Escape by Joel C. Rosenberg.

And the first line is ...

"Evil, unchecked, is the prelude to genocide."

About the book...

A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz's Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans--especially Jews like Jacob and his family--are treated like dogs. 

When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes terribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare--trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.

As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his "final solution" to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob must rely on his wits and a God he's not sure he believes in to somehow escape from Auschwitz and alert the world to the Nazi's atrocities before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.

Let me know the first line of the book closest to you and then head over to Hoarding Books to see who else is participating.

If you're a blogger or just a social media-er, we'd love for you to join us, too!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Takeover Thursday with Kathy McKinsey

Kathy has agreed to give away one electronic copy of  the book to one lucky blog reader. You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends November 21, 2019. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.) 

The story behind the story...

Millie’s Christmas was a lovely surprise to me as a writer.

I didn’t want to try yet to do NaNoWriMo, a program where writers try to write an entire novel in the month of November. But I did want to work on a project where I would make myself write every day.

It was December, so I decided to do a Christmas story.

I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but usually, I do have a basic idea in mind of how the story will unfold. This time, at first anyway, I just sat down and wrote whatever came to me.

I write women’s fiction. I enjoyed reading to my kids when they were little, and even making up stories, but I’m not a children’s story writer. For this, however, I thought I’d write a story told in the point of view of a kitten.

And before I knew it, God gave me this fun story. A kitten and her two best friends, the family dog and the six-year-old girl of the family.

In no time, God took this project of forcing myself to write daily and turned it into one of my favorite stories.

I always have to say at this point that I in no way set myself up as comparing with C. S. Lewis in talent. However, I see Millie's Christmas appealing to readers of all ages, as the Chronicles of Narnia do.

For children, there is the fun of the cats and dog, the delights of Christmas celebration, the comfort of parents, and the joy of Jesus. For adults, there is the hope of Jesus, the relationships between all members of the family, and the fun of the cats and dog.

Millie’s Christmas will be released October 22, 2019.


Ruthie says Millie will love Christmas. Ruthie is Millie’s best friend, so she’s sure Ruthie’s right, but why does Millie keep finding Ruthie and her brother Jake crying?

Millie, an orange kitten, shares about her first Christmas. Her best friend Ruthie, six years old, teaches Millie about Christmas—food, decorations, music, presents, and Jesus!

Millie’s friend Bruce, the family dog, also helps her celebrate Christmas, and sometimes gets her in trouble.

When Ruthie’s big brother Jake breaks his ankle, Millie learns about sad things, like divorce, when Jake can’t visit his mommy for Christmas. Millie watches Ruthie’s family love each other through the sadness and find joy in Christmas.
About Kathy...

Kathy McKinsey grew up on a pig farm in Missouri, and although she’s lived in cities for nearly forty years, she still considers herself a farm girl.

She’s been married to Murray for 32 years, and they have five adult children.

She’s had two careers before writing—stay-at-home-Mom and rehabilitation teacher for the blind.

She lives in Lakewood, Ohio with her husband and two of her children. Besides writing, she enjoys activities with her church, editing for other writers, braille transcribing, crocheting, knitting, and playing with the cat and dog.

Where you can find Kathy online...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

"The Sleuth's Conundrum" by Kimberly Rose Johnson ... and a GIVEAWAY! (JustRead Tours)

The Sleuth's Conundrum JustRead Blog Blitz

Welcome to the Blog Blitz and Giveaway for The Sleuth's Conundrum by Kimberly Rose Johnson, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!

The Sleuth's Conundrum 
Title: The Sleuth's Conundrum
Series: The Librarian Sleuth #3  
Author: Kimberly Rose Johnson
Publisher: Mountain Brook Ink  
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Release Date: November 1, 2019  

Adam and Tara are sucked into a police investigation that might get Tara killed. Can Adam keep her safe or will he lose her forever?

Tara James, the local librarian assistant, is afraid her past will catch up to her when an infant is abandoned outside the Tipton County Library. Will news of the abandoned baby stir up publicity and force her to go on the run again?

Librarian Nancy Daley’s world has become complicated. Carter is pushing to set a wedding date, a woman was left for dead on the side of the road, and Tara, her assistant, is acting strange. Nancy is working every angle she can think of, but the case goes from bad to bizarre. Can she find the baby’s mother, help Tara, and plan her wedding without upsetting her life’s delicate balance?

Slow news days become a thing of the past for local reporter Adam Stacy when a dead body is discovered on the side of the road. Was the woman murdered or was it an accident? Adam’s feelings are growing for Tara, but she appears to have secrets she’s hiding. Is she somehow connected to the abandoned infant?

When things go from bad to worse Adam does everything in his power to protect Tara, but will it be enough?  

PURCHASE LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


Thunder boomed and rattled the windows. Tara jumped—she hated storms. “I don’t
remember the last time we had thunder like that.” She crossed her arms. “Who would abandon a helpless baby on a day like today?” Tara looked down at the infant and her heart melted. She squatted and unhooked the safety restraint. “How long was the power out?”

“Thirty minutes tops. Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Nancy moved around her desk and powered on her computer. “I’ll pull up the security footage while I get my mom on the phone.”

Nancy’s mother was the local sheriff, so it made sense that she would call her directly rather than 911. “And I’ll see if she needs a diaper change. Do you think she’s hungry?”

Nancy shrugged. She had her phone to her ear.

Tara lifted the light-as-a-feather baby from the carrier and cradled her. “Shh. It’s going to be okay.” 

The baby quieted and snuggled against her. Her heart melted. Sudden tears burned her eyes. She blinked them away.

Tara knew little about babies, but how hard could changing a diaper be? She peaked inside the diaper bag and spotted an envelope. “What do we have here?” She reached for it then drew out the single sheet of paper.

“This is Amelia. She’s a week old. I wish I could keep her but my circumstances won’t allow it. Please love her for me and take good care of her.” Clearly her mom cared deeply for her so why leave her baby at the library?

Kimberly Rose Johnson

Award winning author Kimberly Rose Johnson married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing. She especially loves romance and writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can sign up for Kimberly's newsletter via her website at:  

CONNECT WITH KIMBERLY: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | BookBub


(1) winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card!

The Sleuth's Conundrum JustRead Giveaway

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 11, 2019 and last through 11:59 pm November 18, 2019. Open internationally as long as winner can accept gift card from US Amazon. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Tuesday Tip: Three general resource websites (Part 1)

Are you feeling stuck in your writing? If you're looking for some general resource websites, here are a few sites to  check out: 

1. Behind the Name: Creating names for your characters can be challenging. This search engine can help find various names based on history, location, or meaning.

2. Publishing ... And Other Forms of Insanity: Author Erica Verrillo collects and reports on opportunities for writers, including which publishers are accepting unagented submissions, hot markets, free writing contests, and more.

3. U.S. Copyright Office: This site can answer your questions about copyright law. You can also learn how to register your work, what's protected, and more. There's a helpful FAQ section.

Monday, November 11, 2019

"A Silver Willow by the Shore" by Kelli Stuart (Prism Book Group blog tour)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A Silver Willow by the Shore
By Kelli Stuart
Adult Historical, Contemporary, Time-Slip
Paperback & ebook, 380 Pages
October 15th 2019 by Fine Print Writing Press

How do you face the future if you don’t know your own past?

When an unexpected pregnancy changes her dreams, seventeen-year-old Annie tries to keep it from her mother and her grandmother. But secrets have a way of coming out. In a household of strong women, the arrival of a new life sets off a spiral of truth that reveals a past full of whispers and lies—a past that existed in another world under the heavy hand of Soviet oppression. This history has dictated the circumstances of the present, but hope, redemption, and forgiveness will grow in the rocky places of these generational differences.

A Silver Willow by the Shore is the story of the unshakeable love between mothers and daughters and of the impact that past decisions can have on present day circumstances. This novel weaves together the stories of generations of women, from the gulags of 1930’s Siberia, to the quiet oppression of 1980’s Soviet Moscow, to present day Tennessee. It is an unforgettable narrative of the treachery of secrets, and of the light that unites the heart of a family.

(Affiliate links included.)
Goodreads Amazon Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

My review...

As the year draws to a close, I can honestly say Silver Willow by the Shore is one of my favorite reads from 2019. I’ve read other books by Stuart, and she’s become one of my go-to authors.

This book was quite unique, as it’s an engaging multi-generational tale told via three POVs: Annie, her mother Nina, and her grandmother Elizaveta. They’re equally well-developed, and easy to root for and invest in. Their resiliency is inspiring. Each woman has a distinct voice, story, and secrets that are tearing each of them apart inside, though they are keeping them from each other. “Keep it hidden. Share as little as possible.”

The multiple POVs allow the reader to see all angles of the story. James was a wonderful supporting character. He is the perfect definition of a true friend, and I love how his story line unfolds. And that ending? You’ll have to read it for yourself, but trust me when I say it’s beautiful.

A couple of my favorite quotes include:

“No silence is quite so profound as that of unspoken words.”

“Hard doesn’t mean wrong. In fact, doing the right thing will rarely be easy. It will always be hard.”

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the Prism Book Group blog tour, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

About the Author

Kelli is a wife, mother, novelist, and the driver of a smoking' hot minivan. When she isn't wrangling her five children, she can be found tapping away at the keyboard. Kelli is the award winning author of Like a River From Its Course, her debut novel which won the ACFW Carol Award for Best Historical and was nominated for two Christy Awards. Kelli is also the co-author of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today's Renaissance Mom with Wendy Speake. You can find more information on her life and writings at

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a Kindle Fire Tablet with Alexa Hands Free + $50 Amazon Gift Card
US only
Ends November 20, 2019

Grab Our Button!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

"Serious Writers Never Quit: They Find The Way" by Bryan Hutchinson

My review...

It's hard to be a successful author. Do you ever feel like quitting? I know I have, and I'm sure many other authors have as well. Hutchinson understand that feeling. It's natural to have doubts. In this book, he encourages writers to keep on writing. He shares suggestions that will help, as well as answers questions such as how much you should be writing each day. Inspirational quotes are included throughout the book, which is a nice addition to keep the reader (writer) motivated.

Hutchinson explores topics such as the secrets to writing (and if there are some), what readers want, and many more that you've likely wondered at some point in your career. He reminds readers that consistency is important and that it's okay to not be perfect.

If you're looking for a bit of encouragement, this book is a quick read that could fit the bill and get you motivated to start writing again. (Actually, there are tips here that could apply to other careers, as well.)

"The End of the Magi" by Patrick W. Carr

My review...

Most of the Biblical fiction I’ve read is from Mesu Andrews, Jill Eileen Smith, or Tessa Afshar. I’ve enjoyed those books, so I was interested in checking this one out.

Carr gives the reader a glimpse into the world of the wise men (known to many from the Nativity story). The author goes further than what many are familiar with, as he shows what happened before Jesus was born, all the way back to Daniel.

It was a bit harder for me to stay engaged with this book, as there were a number of lulls in the story, as well as quite a bit of predictability, so there wasn’t that “pull” to keep reading. Carr’s writing is solid, and the characters and setting are nicely developed. However, the book didn’t hook me as much as some other Biblical stories have done. That said, if you’re looking for a Biblical story to read this holiday season, this is one to consider.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

"Murder in the Family" by Ramona Richards ... and a GIVEAWAY! (@JustRead Tours)

Murder in the Family JustRead Blog Tour 

Welcome to the Blog + Review Tour & Giveaway for Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards
Title: Murder in the Family
Author: Ramona Richards  
Publisher: Firefly Southern Fiction  
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Release Date: September 17, 2019  

Greed Poisons Even The Sweetest Well

Storm chaser Molly McClelland must return to her small Alabama hometown when she unexpectedly inherits her hoarder aunt's house . . . and all of its contents.

Despite her suspicions that her aunt was murdered, Molly wants nothing more than to sell everything and get back to the life she loves. Especially once her homecoming reignites the decades-old family conflict that drove her away in the first place. But when Molly uncovers caches of cash, journals revealing secrets-and a body-amongst the stockpiles, she finds herself locked in a cat-and-mouse dance with a deadly endgame.

Molly teams with local sheriff, Greg Olson, to find the truth. But will her determination and his skills be enough, or will the killer-or killers-put an end to their efforts once and for all?

 PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christianbook


A Doubt or Two

“You said you were both in church.” Molly said. “Did it ever make you doubt? At all? That God would put you through something like this?”
Russell shook his head. “Why should I doubt God?”
“You’ve met my family. They’d make Jesus doubt faith was worth it.”
He scowled. “No. God may allow evil to exist, but he doesn’t condone it. He helps you get through it, deal with it.”
“I’m not so sure.”
He hesitated, looking at the house with a deep sadness in his eyes. “I do sometimes wonder why he doesn’t always give us enough strength.”
Molly put a hand on his arm, her voice softening. “It’s not about strength. You couldn’t have stopped it.”
His eyes narrowed in puzzlement as he studied her again.
“You couldn’t have stopped her from being a hoarder.”
His voice dropped almost an octave. “I’m not so sure.”
“You know my family. You knew Liz. She spent most of her life trying to be the peacemaker. Taking in everyone’s stuff is a logical outcome.”
He shrugged, as though unconvinced. Molly squeezed his arm, then released it. “Will you be here in the morning?”
He nodded. “As soon as I can. Wouldn’t miss it. What are you going to do tonight?”
“Get a motel room. Get some sleep. Check on my partners.”
Russell frowned. “Your partners?”
She crossed her arms. “I work with two partners, Jimmy and Sarah. The day you called, Sarah had gotten hurt while we were shooting a supercell that produced two funnel clouds. She’s in the hospital.”
“Wow. I’m sorry.”
Molly shrugged. “Lousy timing. But Jimmy convinced me I’d be of more use here. Get this out of the way. When Sarah’s well, we can get back to work right away.”
“Reasonable. But are you sure you’ll be safe to stay alone?”
Molly hesitated. “Probably for now. Bird’s mean and definitely capable of coming after me physically. But my guess is they’ll try to get around me another way first. Twenty years ago, it got ugly only after they ran out of options.”
“That’s when Mickey got hurt.”
“You knew?”
“Liz told me. Just remember that I have a condo with a guest room, if you need it.” He gestured at the Explorer, curiosity on his face. “Is that really all you own?”
“Pretty much. I own the equipment for chasing. Why?”
“When Liz told me you were a storm chaser, I had this image of you traveling around with all this high tech gizmo gear and a slick team of experts to help you, talking in a jargon no one else could understand.”
She grinned. “If you won’t believe everything you saw in Twister, I won’t think all Southern lawyers are Matlock.”
He laughed. “Deal.”


Ramona Richards  

Ramona Richards is the associate publisher for Iron Stream Media, the parent company of New Hope Publishers, Iron Stream Kidz, and Ascender Books. She has been an in-house editor for Abingdon Press, Thomas Nelson, Rutledge Hill Press, and Ideals magazine, and has freelanced for a dozen other publishers. The author of nine novels, three books of devotions, and numerous magazine articles, she is a frequent speaker for women’s and writers’ groups, and has presented at numerous conferences across the country. Her latest book, Murder in the Family, released in October from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.  

CONNECT WITH RAMONA: Website | Facebook | Twitter


(1) winner will receive two signed copies of Murder in the Family by Ramona Richards (it's Christmas!), a $15 Visa gift card, and a signed copy of one of the author's older books!

Murder in the Family JustRead Blog Tour Giveaway

Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight November 7, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on November 14, 2019. Open internationally except where prohibited by law or logistics. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.
Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Friday, November 8, 2019

"The Dating Charade" by Melissa Ferguson

The story behind the story...

This story is a twist on The Brady Bunch, where two people individually have three children dropped in their laps unexpectedly. As a mother of young twins and an even younger daughter, many of my humorous mothering misadventures played a direct role in the comedic parts of my story! I guess some people scrapbook, and some people turn their embarrassing parenting stories into books. Whatever works, right?

My heart in this book was to also share about foster care and the reality of hardship for those in foster care or a part of foster care--whether biological parents, foster parents, children, or staff--and this book came out of that God-breathed desire. This book changed my heart and my family's heart, and I hope it will help change other people's hearts, too.


Just when you think you've met your match ... the charade begins.

Cassis Everson is an expert at escaping bad first dates. And, after years of meeting, greeting, and running from the men who try to woo her, Cassie is almost ready to retire her hopes for a husband--and children--altogether.

But, fate has other plans, and Cassie's online dating profile catches the eye of firefighter Jett Bentley. In Jett's memory, Cassie Everson is the unreachable girl-of-legend from their high school days. Nervously, he messages her, setting off a chain of events that forces a reluctant Cassie back into the dating game. 

No one is more surprised than Cassie when her first date with Jett is a knockout. But when they both go home and find three children dropped in their laps--each--they independently decide to do the right and mature thing: hide the kids from each other while sorting it all out. What could go wrong?

Melissa Ferguson's hilarious and warmhearted debut reminds us that love can come in very small packages--and that sometimes our best-laid plans aren't nearly as rewarding and fun as the surprises that come our way.

Purchase links...

About Melissa...

Melissa Ferguson lives in Bristol, Tennessee, where she is an assistant professor at King University and pens books that make her laugh and grow. She used to have hobbies like running and backpacking the Appalachian Trail outside her door. Now she and her husband are outnumbered, and her hobbies include diaper changes, chasing toddlers in parking lots, and admiring the Appalachian Trail out her minivan window while singing "Winnie the Pooh." She survives by Jesus, rom coms, and roughly two espresso shots a day. The Dating Charade is her debut novel.