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Monday, December 11, 2017

Strong to the Bone



I absolutely LOVE finding an incredible author that generates such an interest in their novels, that once you begin them, not only are you transported into the story as a bystander, but you simply can't put it down. Such is the case with my introduction to Jon Land's series of Caitlin Strong novels, with his latest, number nine by the way, Strong to the Bone. This is my first experience with this author and let me tell you, he can weave a story so compelling, you won't be able to put it down, until you know how it all plays out, and finally an author that doesn't convey the plot line too soon, so you have to stick it out.

In Strong to the Bone, the novel toggles between the Strong family, both in present day and also during 1944. The connection point between the two time frames is unforgettable in how they simply traveled together over the time passes to impact a Texas Ranger family, first the grandfather, Earl Strong and then subsequently the daughter, Caitlin Strong who originally didn't want to follow in her grandfather's footsteps. However when she was a victim of a rape, it changed her mind dramatically to take charge of her role in finding out who did it since she was drugged at the time and can't remember who handed her the drink initially. Now she is working a case that links her own crime to another rape victim and the DNA results tie it to the same perpetrator.

Once more the storyline will reach back into the past when Earl Strong's initial prisoner during WWII left behind three fatalities in a POW camp that also set the killer free. It was the one case he would never truly solve and one that kept him awake at nights. Now with a biological weapon posed to strike the US, could this have a connection from the past, and will Caitlin be able to solve the one missing piece of the puzzle her grandfather was unable to?

I received Strong to the Bone by Jon Land compliments of Partners in Crime Tours and Forge Books. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and love how I was able to jump right in without missing anything from the previous eight novels. That to me, is a sign of a truly talented writer. While this book does contain some profanity and sexual content that might be offensive to some readers, the overall story line is amazing. For that reason, I easily give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars based on my own review criteria and can't wait for more from this author.

For more information about Strong to the Bone, Jon Land or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Jon Land on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

To read more reviews on Strong to the Bone, visit Partner's in Crime Book Tour participants listed below:

12/04 Review @ The Book Divas Reads
12/05 Review @ 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too
12/06 Blog Talk Radio w/Fran Lewis
12/06 Review @ CMash Reads
12/06/18 Review @ Just reviews
12/07 Interview @ CMash Reads
12/07 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
12/08 Guest Post @ Loris Reading Corner
12/08 Showcase @ The Bookworm Lodge
12/10 Showcase @ Bound 2 Escape
12/11 Review @ Reviews From The Heart
12/11 Showcase @ Chill and read
12/12 Interview @ Quiet Fury Books
12/13 Review @ A Bookaholic Swede
12/14 Excerpt @ Suspense Magazine
12/15 Interview @ A Blue Million Books
12/16 Showcase @ Books, Dreams, Life
12/17 Review @ Mythical Books
12/18 Review @ Cheryls Book Nook
12/19 Interview @ Mythical Books
12/20 Review @ Bookishly me
12/21 Guest post @ Aurora Bs Book Blog
12/29 Review @ Rockin Book Reviews
01/04/18 Review @ Wall-to-wall books - Giveaway
01/05 Interview @ BooksChatter
01/07 Showcase @ Brooke Blogs
01/09 Review @ Lynchburg Mama - GIVEAWAY
01/10 Review @ Its All About the Book
01/11 Showcase @ The Reading Frenzy
01/22 Review @ Mystery Suspense Reviews
01/23 Guest post @ Mystery Suspense Reviews
01/26 Review @ Celticladys Reviews
01/30 Review @ A Room Wihtout Books is Empty
01/31 Review @ The Avid Book Collector

Strong to the Bone by Jon Land Banner

Strong to the Bone

by Jon Land

on Tour December 4, 2017 - January 31, 2018

Synopsis:

STRONG TO THE BONE by Jon Land
1944: Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigates a triple murder inside a Nazi POW camp in Texas.
The Present: His daughter, fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself pursuing the killer her father never caught in the most personal case of her career a conspiracy stretching from that Nazi POW camp to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang.
A sinister movement has emerged from the shadows of history, determined to undermine the American way of life. Its leader, Armand Fisker, has an army at his disposal, a deadly bio-weapon, and a reputation for being unbeatable. But he s never taken on the likes of Caitlin Strong and her outlaw lover, Cort Wesley Masters.
To prevent an unspeakable cataclysm, Caitlin and Cort Wesley must win a war the world thought was over.
"Strong to the Bone is another fine effort by Jon Land, who manages to mix character development with gripping, page-turning plots. This is his best novel yet."
StrandMagazine

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0765384647 (ISBN13: 9780765384645)
Series: Caitlin Strong Novels (Volume 9)
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads | Macmillan 

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Austin, Texas
What the hell?
Caitlin Strong and Cort Wesley Masters had just emerged from Esther’s Follie’s on East 6th Steet, when they saw the stream of people hurrying down the road, gazes universally cocked back behind them. Sirens blared off in the distance and a steady chorus of honking horns seemed to be coming from an adjoining block just past the street affectionately known as “Dirty Sixth,” Austin’s version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
“Couldn’t tell you,” Cort Wesley said, even as he sized up the scene. “But I got a feeling we’re gonna know before much longer.”
* * *
Caitlin was in town to speak at a national law enforcement conference focusing on homegrown terrorism, and both her sessions at the Convention Center had been jam-packed. She felt kind of guilty her presentations had lacked the audio-visual touches many of the others had featured. But the audiences hadn’t seem to mind, filling a sectioned-off ballroom to the gills to hear of her direct experiences, in contrast to theoretical dissertations by experts. Audiences comprised of cops a lot like her, looking to bring something back home they could actually use. She’d focused to a great extent on her most recent battle with ISIS right here in Texas, and an al-Qaeda cell a few years before that, stressing how much things had changed in the interim and how much more they were likely to.
Cort Wesley had driven up from San Antonio to meet her for a rare night out that had begun with dinner at Ancho’s inside the Omni Hotel and then a stop at Antone’s nightclub to see the Rats, a band headed by a Texas Ranger tech expert known as Young Roger. From there, they’d walked to Esther’s Follies to take in the famed Texas-centric improve show there, a first for both of them that was every bit as funny and entertaining as advertised, even with a gun-toting woman both Caitlin and Cort Wesley realized was based on her.
Fortunately, no one else in the audience made that connection and they managed to slip out ahead of the rest of the crowd. Once outside, though, they were greeted by a flood of pedestrians pouring up the street from an area of congestion a few blocks down, just past 8th Street.
“What you figure, Ranger?”
“That maybe we better go have ourselves a look.”

CHAPTER 2

Austin, Texas
Caitlin practically collided with a young man holding a wad of napkins against his bleeding nose at the intersection with East 7th Street.
“What’s going on?” she asked him, pulling back her blazer to show her Texas Ranger badge.
The young man looked from it back to her, swallowing some blood and hacking it up onto the street. “University of Texas graduation party took over all of Stubb’s Barbecue,” he said, pointing in the restaurant’s direction. “Guess you could say it got out of hand. Bunch of fraternities going at it.” He looked at the badge pinned to her chest again. “Are you really a Texas Ranger?”
“You need to get to an emergency room,” Caitlin told him, and pressed on with Cort Wesley by her side.
“Kid was no older than Dylan,” he noted, mentioning his oldest son who was still on a yearlong leave from Brown University.
“How many fraternities does the University of Texas at Austin have anyway, Cort Wesley?”
“A whole bunch.”
“Yeah,” she nodded, continuing on toward the swell of bodies and flashing lights, “it sure looks that way.”
Stubb’s was well known for its barbecue offerings and, just as much, its status as a concert venue. The interior was modest in size, as Caitlin recalled, two floors with the bottom level normally reserved for private parties and the upstairs generally packed with patrons both old and new. The rear of the main building, and several adjoining ones, featured a flattened dirt lot fronted by several performance stages where upwards of two thousand people could enjoy live music in the company of three sprawling outdoor bars.
That meant this graduation party gone bad may have featured at least a comparable number of students and probably even more, many of whom remained in the street, milling about as altercations continued to flare, while first responders struggled futilely to disperse the crowd. Young men and women still swigging bottles of beer, while pushing and shoving each other. The sound of glass breaking rose over the loudening din of the approaching sirens, the whole scene glowing amid the colors splashed from the revolving lights of the Austin police cars already on the scene.
A fire engine leading a rescue wagon screeched to a halt just ahead of Cort Wesley and Caitlin, at the intersection with 7th Street, beyond which had become impassable.
“Dylan could even be here, for all I know,” Cort Wesley said, picking up his earlier train of thought.
“He doesn’t go to UT.”
“But there’s girls and trouble, two things he excels at the most.”
This as fights continued breaking out one after another, splinters of violence on the verge of erupting into an all-out brawl going on under the spill of the LED streetlights rising over Stubb’s.
Caitlin pictured swirling lines of already drunk patrons being refused admittance due to capacity issues. Standing in line full of alcohol on a steamy night, expectations of a celebratory evening dashed, was a recipe for just what she was viewing now. In her mind, she saw fights breaking out between rival UT fraternities mostly in the outdoor performance area, before spilling out into the street, fueled by simmering tempers now on high heat.
“You see any good we can be here?” Cort Wesley asked her.
Caitlin was about to say no, when she spotted an anxious Austin patrol cop doing his best to break up fights that had spread as far as 7th Street. She and Cort Wesley sifted through the crowd and made their way toward him, Caitlin advancing alone when they drew close.
“Anything I can do to help,” she said, reading the Austin policeman’s nametag, “Officer Hilton?”
Hilton leaned up against an ornate light pole that looked like gnarled wrought iron for support. He was breathing hard, his face scraped and bruised. He noted the Texas Ranger badge and seemed to match her face to whatever media reports he’d remembered her from.
“Not unless you got enough Moses in you to part the Red Sea out there, Ranger.”
“What brought you boys out here? Detail work?” Caitlin asked, trying to account for his presence on scene so quickly, ahead of the sirens screaming through the night.
Hilton shook his head. “An anonymous nine-one-one call about a sexual assault taking place inside the club, the downstairs lounge.”
“And you didn’t go inside?”
Hilton turned his gaze on the street, his breathing picking up again. “Through that? My partner tried and ended up getting his skull cracked open by a bottle. I damn near got killed fighting to reach him. Managed to get him in the back of our squad car and called for a rescue,” he said, casting his gaze toward the fire engine and ambulance that were going nowhere. “Think maybe I better carry him to the hospital myself.”
“What about the girl?”
“What girl?”
“Sexual assault victim inside the club.”
Hilton frowned. “Most of them turn out to be false alarms anyway.”
“Do they now?”
Caitlin’s tone left him sneering at her. “Look, Ranger, you want to shoot up the street to get inside that shithole, be my guest. I’m not leaving my partner.”
“Thanks for giving me permission,” she said, and steered back for Cort Wesley.
“That looked like it went well,” he noted, pushing a frat boy who’d ventured too close out of the way, after stripping the empty beer bottle he was holding by the neck from his grasp.
“Sexual assault victim might still be inside, Cort Wesley.”
“Shit.”
“Yeah.”
“Got any ideas, Ranger?”
Caitlin eyed the fire engine stranded where East 7th Street met Red River Avenue. “Just one.”

CHAPTER 3

Austin, Texas
Four firemen were gathered behind the truck in a tight cluster, speaking with the two paramedics from the rescue wagon.
“I’m a Texas Ranger,” Caitlin announced, approaching them with jacket peeled back to reveal her badge, “and I’m commandeering your truck.”
“You’re what?” one of the fireman managed. “No, absolutely not!”
The siren began blaring and lights started flashing, courtesy of Cort Wesley who’d climbed up behind the wheel.
“Sorry,” Caitlin said, raising her voice above the din, “can’t hear you!”
* * *
The crowd that filled the street in front of Stubb’s Barbecue saw and heard the fire truck coming and began pelting it with bottles, as it edged forward through the congested street that smelled of sweat and beer. What looked like steam hung in the stagnant air overhead, either an illusion or the actual product of so many superheated bodies congealed in such tight quarters. The sound of glass braking crackled through Caitlin’s ears, as bottle after bottle smashed against the truck’s frame.
The crowd clustered tighter around the fire engine, cutting off Cort Wesley’s way backward or on toward Stubb’s. The students, their fervor and aggression bred by alcohol, never noticed Caitlin’s presence atop the truck until she finally figured out the workings of the truck’s deck gun and squeezed the nozzle.
The force of the water bursting out of the barrel nearly knocked her backward off the truck. But she managed to right and then repositioned herself, as she doused the tight cluster of students between the truck and the restaurant entrance with the gun’s powerful stream.
A wave of people tried to fight the flow and ended up getting blown off their feet, thrown into other students who then scrambled to avoid the fire engine’s surge forward ahead of its deafening horn. Caitlin continued to clear a path for Cort Wesley, sweeping the deck gun in light motions from side to side, the five hundred gallon tank still plenty full when the club entrance drew within clear view.
She felt the fire engine’s front wheels mount the sidewalk and twist heavily to the right. The front fender grazed the building and took out a plate glass window the rioting had somehow spared. Caitlin saw a gap in the crowd open all the way to the entrance and leaped down from the truck to take advantage of it, before it closed up again.
She purposely didn’t draw her gun and entered Stubb’s to the sight of bloodied bouncers and staff herding the last of the patrons out of the restaurant. Outside, the steady blare of sirens told her the Austin police had arrived in force. Little they could do to disperse a crowd this large and unruly in rapid fashion, though, much less reach the entrance to lend their efforts to Caitlin’s in locating the sexual assault victim.
She threaded her way through the ground floor of Stubb’s to the stairs leading down to the private lounge area. The air felt like it was being blasted out of a steam oven, roiled with coagulated body heat untouched by the restaurant’s air conditioning that left Caitlin with the sense she was descending to hell.
Reaching the windowless sub-level floor, she swept her eyes about and thought she heard a whimpering come from a nest of couches, where a male figure hovered over the frame of a woman, lying half on and half off a sectional couch.
“Sir, put your hands in the air and turn around slowly!” Caitlin ordered, drawing her SIG-Sauer nine-millimeter pistol. “Don’t make me tell you twice!”
He started to turn, without raising his hands, and Caitlin fired when she glimpsed something shiny in his grasp. Impact to the shoulder twisted the man around and spilled him over the sectional couch, Caitlin holding her SIG at the ready as she approached his victim.
She heard the whimpering again, making her think more of the sound a dog makes, and followed it toward a tight cluster of connected couch sections, their cushions all stained wet and smelling thickly of beer. Drawing closer while still keeping a sharp eye on the man she’d shot, Caitlin spotted a big smart phone lying just out of his grasp, recognizing it as the object she’d wrongly taken for a gun. Then Caitlin spied a young woman of college age pinned between a pair of couch sections, covering her exposed breasts with her arms, her torn blouse hanging off her and jeans unbuttoned and unzipped just short of her hips.
Drawing closer, Caitlin saw the young woman’s assailant, the man she’d just shot in all likelihood, must’ve yanked them down so violently that he’d split the zipper and torn off the snap or button.
“Ma’am?” she called softly.
The young woman tightened herself into a ball and retreated deeper into the darkness between the couch sections, not seeming to hear her.
“Ma’am,” Caitlin said louder, hovering over the coed while continuing to check on the man she’d shot, his eyes drifting in and out of consciousness, his shirt wet with blood in the shoulder area from the gunshot wound.
Caitlin only wished it was her own attacker lying there, from all those years before when she’d been a coed herself at the Lone Star College campus in West Houston. Some memories suppressed easily, others were like a toothache that came and went. That one was more like a cavity that had been filled, forgotten until the filling broke off and raw nerve pain flared.
Caitlin pushed the couch sections aside and knelt by the young woman, pistol tucked low by her hip so as not to frighten her further.
“I’m a Texas Ranger, ma’am,” she said, in as soothing a voice as she could manage. “I need to get you out of here, and I need you to help me. I need to know if you can walk.”
The young woman finally looked at her, nodded. Her left cheek was swollen badly and one of her arms hung limply from its socket. Caitlin looked back at the downed form of the man she’d already shot once, half hoping he gave her a reason to shoot him again.
“What’s your name? Mine’s Caitlin.”
“Kelly Ann,” the young woman said, her voice dry and cracking.
Caitlin helped her to her feet. “Well, Kelly Ann, I know things feel real bad right now, but trust me when I tell you this is bad as they’re going to get.”
Kelly Ann’s features perked up slightly, her eyes flashing back to life. She tried to take a deep breath, but stopped halfway though.
Caitlin held her around the shoulders in one arm, SIG clutched in her free hand while her eyes stayed peeled on the downed man’s stirring form. “I’m going to stay with you the whole way until we get you some help,” she promised.
The building suddenly felt like a Fun House Hall of Mirrors. Everything distorted, perspective and sense of place lost. Even the stairs climbing back to the ground floor felt different, only the musty smell of sweat mixed with stale perfume and body spray telling her they were the same.
Caitlin wanted to tell Kelly Ann it would be all right, that it would get better, that it would all go away in time. But that would be a lie, so she said nothing at all. Almost to the door, she gazed toward a loose assemblages of frat boys wearing hoodies displaying their letters as they chugged from liquor bottles stripped from the shelves behind the main bar on the first floor. How different were they from the one who’d hurt her, hurt Kelly Ann?
Caitlin wanted to shoot the bottles out of their hands, but kept leading Kelly Ann on instead, out into the night and the vapor spray from the deck gun now being wielded by Cort Wesley to keep their route clear.
“’Bout time!” he shouted down, scampering across the truck’s top to retake his place behind the wheel.
Caitlin was already inside the cab, Kelly Ann clinging tight to her.
“Where to, Ranger?”
“Seton Medical Center, Cort Wesley.”
Before he got going, Caitlin noticed Officer Hilton and several other Austin cops pushing their way through the crowd toward the entrance to Stubb’s.
“Don’t worry, Officer, I got the victim out safe and sound,” she yelled down to him, only half-sarcastically. “But I left a man with a bullet in his shoulder down there for you to take care of.”
“Come again?”
“I’d hurry, if I were you. He’s losing blood.”
***
Excerpt from Strong to the Bone by Jon Land. Copyright © 2017 by Jon Land. Reproduced with permission from Jon Land. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Jon Land
Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 43 books, including eight titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller, and Strong Light of Day which won the 2016 International Book Award for Best Thriller-Adventure, the 2015 Books and Author Award for Best Mystery Thriller, and the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Mystery. Strong Cold Dead became the fourth title in the series in a row to win the International Book Award in 2017 and about which Booklist said, “Thrillers don’t get any better than this,” in a starred review. Land has also teamed with multiple New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham on a new sci-fi series, the first of which, The Rising, was published by Forge in January of 2017. He is a 1979 graduate of Brown University and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !

 

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!  

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com gift Card AND 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Strong To The Bone by Jon Land. The giveaway begins on December 4 and runs through February 2, 2018.
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Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas, Present



If you're looking for a Christmas book filled with good cheer and happy tidings, Christmas, Present by Jacquelyn Mitchard is NOT for you. Reading the premise from the back cover promises that" a family comes together during the holiday season as they learn a powerful lesson about love and how to live each day of their lives as if it were their last." This is NOT a happy story, while there might be a message tucked inside that tomorrows are never a guarantee and that we should embrace the present as if is the only day we will ever have.

As Elliot and Laura Banner make plans for their fourteenth wedding anniversary by attending a very wonderful play that Laura has been wanting to see performed by Cirque du Soleil only to have their car break down on their way home. Laura has been dealing with a horrible headache that she feels is a migraine, although she has never had one. She begs Elliot to take her to the hospital or at least call for an ambulance because she feels something isn't quite right. After considerable stalling, Laura begs a policeman to call the ambulance for her. Elliot can sense at this point that she doesn't look right and agrees.

When they arrive at the hospital, Laura is whisked away while Elliot deals with the paperwork only to learn that despite all his efforts, Laura has had a rupture of a major artery in her brain and has only hours left to live. Even if he had called for an ambulance when she experienced her headache, it would have been too late to do anything. While the doctor believes some internet searching and calling some colleagues might yield a different result, he tells Elliot that she will continue to have seizures until she lapses into a coma and dies.

I received Christmas, Present by Jacquelyn Mitchard, compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. I guess the intent in the writing this novel is to embrace our days even more than we do now, because we always believe there will be a tomorrow. But like the Bible reminds us, life is merely a vapor. It is gone much too soon, and then we are faced with dealing with regrets for things we never did, believing we could always do it later. I would advise, NOT reading this during Christmas as the holidays are difficult to get through without reading something not so cheerful. I had hoped it would turn out differently but it doesn't. This is not a book with a happily ever after ending, unless it is a that the family will eventually move on, dealing with their losses in their own way. For me, I'd rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

For more information about Christmas, Present, Jacquelyn Mitchard, or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Jacquelyn Mitchard on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Christmas, Present, please visit Harper Collins Publisher's website.


Thursday, December 7, 2017

T-H-B



When you look at the state of the world around us, it can sometimes be difficult to imagine a future. Even more so is to imagine a future with religion in it. For as long as we can read throughout history there has been religion in it. Some might even argue that if religion were removed from every social and racial group, the world might just be a better place, since so many wars seemed to have been founded on religious interests. Move the world forward to the year 2089 and imagine a world without religion. That is the setting for Randy C. Dockens novel T-H-B. It is the first in the Coded Message Trilogy and it all begins when a confetti-size piece of paper falls at the feet of astrophysicist, Luke Loughton. All it contains on it is the letters T-H-B. Another man quickly appears as if looking for that same paper and as Luke intends to offer it to him, as if he lost it, the man quickly vanishes.

Thinking nothing of it, he places it in his pocket and continues to head on it to work at the Houston Aerospace Engineering Center working on tasks for an upcoming Mars mission via his holo-computer which removes the screen as a feature and instead projects a 3-D hologram to work from. He anticipates a way to date a fellow co-worker Sarah, a physician and fellow neighbor out to dinner. The date is set for after work but before he can get a chance to follow through on his intentions, two federal agents show up to arrest Luke, based on the evidence they find on him containing the T-H-B message. Despite his arguments of just randomly finding it on his was into work, he is physically detained and tossed into a holding cell.

A woman enters, that Luke refers to as the Ice Lady, who questions him about what he knows about T-H-B, which is essentially nothing. A man enters to room to provide him with a purple fluid to be injected into him and promises that they will know everything momentarily. When Luke wakes up, he still vaguely remembers why he is still in a holding cell, but can't remember what he told the investigators. Sarah shows up to bail him out and take him home, where his entire apartment has been ransacked. Further more, when he arrives at work, no one can remember anything except that Luke was taken from the facility by two EMT's and they are all concerned about his apparent illness. It seems that Sarah and Luke are the only ones not affected by the circumstances because these people truly believe what they saw. This only leads to the investigation now that Sarah and Luke will begin to discover what exactly T-H-B means, and what is someone hiding that can affect an entire population.

I received T-H-B by Randy C. Dockens compliments of Clovercroft Publishing. This is a unique blend of Science Fiction and Mystery as you find yourself like me, wondering just what is T-H-B and what does it mean? Why are so many working to prevent others from discovering its secret? Join our characters along for the ride as a silent observer and get prepared for the sequel slated to be launched in early 2018. When you look into the authors' background, you get a clear sense that he is writing from experience and that is what makes this novel believable. I  would give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in this readers opinion.

For more information about Randy C. Dockens, T-H-B, or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Randy C. Dockens on Facebook to stay up to date on all his latest novels.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas at Grey Sage



For a loving couple who have had to deal with the loss of a child, it can be more than they can bear. Often times, marriages aren't simply strong enough to deal with two people dealing with it in a way that is helpful for themselves. For the New Mexico Inn, The Grey Sage Inn, owners Maude and Silas have found a workable solution. They simply step out of their normal lives, leave Christmas far behind and loss themselves in some unknown location and simply forget about the past. Only this year will be unlike any other they have known and despite all the best intended plans, it will not go as years past.

When an unexpected snowstorm strands those Inn guests forcing them to stay long past any previous Christmas plans they had, Maude and Silas will need to keep the Inn open. Where else do they expect all their guests to stay if they follow through on their yearly plans. This time, however, they will get to know those who have been divinely appointed to make a safe haven within the walls of the Inn. They will get to know them more than their name signed in the guest registry, or their credit card payments for their room rate. In fact, for those staying during this unexpected time, perhaps maybe kindred spirits will find a way to share how they have moved past their own horrors and find a solace that Christmas can only provide.

The one thing that will unite them is there is no way to escape. No where to go. No where to hide. All will be forced to come to terms with sharing their own personal stories of heartache, loss, pain, and forgiveness to find proof that hope, peace, love and even joy in the darkest of times can be found, if one only remembers to turn on the light. The light that can be found only in the gift of life that was so unselfishly given one Christmas night when Christ was born.

I received Christmas at Grey Sage by Phyllis Clark Nichols compliments of Gilead Publishing and Litfuse Publicity. I love that this takes the Christmas story of sorts and puts a unique twist to it. Unlike Mary and Joseph that were turned away when there was no room found for them at any of the Inns, this time guests will find that even though this is the most difficult time of the year, Maude and Silas are willing to step out in faith and open their Inn and their hearts to their grateful guests. There are also some tasty recipes that can be found at the conclusion of this novel and one that perhaps will remind us all that the greatest gift that can be found this Christmas season can't be bought, but freely given! I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars in this reader's opinion.

For more information about Christmas at Grey Sage, Phyllis Clark Nichols or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:


You can find Phyllis Clark Nichols on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest books.

To read more reviews on Christmas at Grey Sage, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour Page.

Mrs. Miracle



"Some marriages are made in heaven, but they all have to be maintained on earth." ~ Mrs. Miracle.

For Seth Webster, his life might be defined as the perfect picture for chaos. Left alone after his wife died in a tragic car accident with two twin boys and a busy job, he was completely at odds with what to do. Now four years later he can't seem to figure out a way to move forward and even manage the life of two overly-active boys who need him as much as he needs help. He was given a four year reprieve when his parents Sharon and Jerry offered to step in and move the twins in with them. Only in four years, he still had no better clue in how to handle them then he did when his wife was still alive. How could he when he could barely take care of himself. Ever single housekeeper/nanny had been exhausted and the longest any one of them could stay was 6-weeks after dealing with the Webster household. What he needed was a true miracle. And that is just what showed up at the front door.

Mrs. Emily Merkle claimed to have been sent by the agency that employed every other housekeeper/nanny ever sent but there was something oddly comforting about her, think Mary Poppins but quite a bit older. She possessed a quiet sense of order, yet offered a sense of peace and comfort that was sadly missing in their chaotic lives. The boys instantly adapted to her quite quickly and soon Seth learned that she could sense what was needed before it was ever asked for. She got the family back to church and much like Mary Poppins began to shape their lives into one that had been missing for so long as if she had been heaven sent. It's funny that the twins being unable to pronounce her name, called her Mrs Miracle instead.

Reba Maxwell needed to find her faith again. She simply attended church because it was something she knew she needed but unable to find forgiveness for her sister that stole the only man she had hoped to love and marry. She didn't even end up marrying him either, she simply wanted to ensure that her sister, Reba didn't either. For years, they remained at a distance even though Reba's sister wanted to end the ongoing feud that kept the family apart. She just didn't know how to let go of the anger and pain that now came up immediately whenever her parents brought it up, especially at Christmas time, when they wanted the family all together again. But Reba wasn't ready nor did she think she ever would be. All she knows is that for some reason, she is attracted to a man that comes by the grocery store and looks about as lost in his life as she is in hers. How can she find a way to make a connection so they can talk? The miracles are about to begin.

I received Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. This has so many wonderful surprises tucked inside this novel, like all the comfort foods that Emily makes the family. I simply can't wait to try them all. This is a Hallmark Channel movie as well, but for me, you can't fit all the wonderfulness of a novel in a simple movie. I would encourage you all to pick up a copy of this novel. I absolutely LOVE all the quotes at the beginning of each chapter like the one that opens this review. What a wonderful gift to someone who might be needing their own Christmas miracle. Perhaps that is just the point. I easily give this book a 5 out of 5 stars in my personal opinion.

For more information about Mrs. Miracle, Debbie Macomber or where you can pick up a copy of this book today.


You can find Debbie Macomber on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on Mrs. Miracle, please visit Harper Collins Publisher's website. 




Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Family Honor Plate



In this day in age, with technology looming always nearby, it is sad to see that many families are spending more time online than with those in the present time. In fact, I see a trend that will continue to widen the gap unless family gather together and work on keeping things face to face and keeping traditions alive within the family, even if separated by the miles. Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussion Questions are just the perfect thing to begin around the dinner table whether on that Sunday dinner, a special holiday, or simply whenever you can get together to enjoy a technology free moment.

The Family Honor Plate is a ceramic honor plate based on the Fruits of the Spirit found in the Bible under Galatians 5:22. To take those reminders a step further, the entire family can join in and create an honor plate. You simply paint it with the paints provided in the kit and bake it, and finding ways to incorporate it into your family dinners. It might be to place special emphasis on something a child or family member received, great grades, a special recognition at school or work, perhaps a dance recital or role in a school play. Your family decides how they want to incorporate the family Honor Plate. My family and I are so scattered throughout the country, we can agree that Christmas is the time when we all get together. So we designed our plate around that time, since my family now has their own families they are beginning.



We decided on Christmas dinner, that the recipient that receives the honor plate doesn't have to clean up after dinner, and they get a $15.00 gift card of their choice. The person doesn't know that they are the special guest until they look underneath their plate and see that they have been selected to be the guest of honor at our family dinner table. We have found a way to use the discussion questions included with the Table Thyme Discussion Questions. When we are on the phone with one another, we simply select a topic or question at random to generate more than the simple, how are you doing call. It allows to connect on much deeper levels in communication. We have also decided that throughout the year, the Family Honor Plate will be mailed out to the next family member to use until they bring it back at Christmas time allowing them to begin to expand the tradition in their own homes with family and friends.



I received the Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussion Questions compliments of FlyBy Promotions and Honor Plate. This is just a reminder of how traditions are created and implemented within our families. It begins with an idea of finding ways to keep the family close and I can't think of a better way to do just that. The company is even offering you a 20% discount on your order, so why not find a way to put technology down and keep the family close and focused on what is really important and that is what is right in front of you. I easily give this a 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information about Family Honor Plate and Table Thyme Discussions Questions, please click on the links below:


You can find Family Honor Plate on Facebook to see how others are using these tools to help keep their families close and sharing the gifts of the Spirit.

To receive your 20% discount on your Family Honor Plate order, please use promo code: BlogFOS

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past



I'm sure all of us can remember our first loves. Those times when we believed we were invincible based on the belief that love would and could conquer any challenges that we faced. Then it seems as if somewhere along the way our fairy tale bubble burst. We were faced with dealing with picking up the pieces of our broken hearts and no longer did we want to believe in love again. That is the very underlying theme facing Hadley when faced with moving from foster home to foster home and dealing with the emotions one might when you feel your life slipping away. Now trying to work through anger management issues and facing the threat of possible jail time for a crime she didn't intentionally commit.

She was now facing having to find somewhere else to live after her current foster parents were asking her to leave. They couldn't deal with her lies and not being able to trust her, when they had tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. But Hadley knew that if she could just find a way to reach Monroe, the love of her life, she might convince him to marry her quickly and the two of them could runaway together and find a new life and future. After he gladly proposes, he tells her that he will meet her later once he is able to go home, talk to his parents and get the money he has saved up, which will be just what they need to start over. Only like most parents, they refused to let Monroe leave. Once they knew that Hadley was facing jail time, his wealthy parents, offered to pay for the best lawyer and provide a financial scholarship for her to continue to pursue her dream as a speech therapist without knowing his family provided it. It was the only reasonable option that would benefit Hadley the most, and with it came the exception that he could not reveal any of it to Hadley and he would break off any future contact with her.

Now ten years later, the two have moved on respectively in their own futures but like all divine appointments, God will once again intervene like a wonderful Hallmark movie and cause them to reconnect not only to find out if they have feelings for one another, but more importantly to heal the brokenness they each have carried since carrying the secrets into their futures. Will there be a true Christmas miracle in store for them both and will love really conquer their tainted pasts to give them a future neither could imagine? Pick this one up to find out.

I received The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy and Erin Woodsmall compliments of Woodsmall Press and Litfuse Publicity. While you might be thinking this is something predictable, there is a bigger lesson at work between the cover of this novel. It is showing that forgiveness can be found, even if despite all the evidence facing you that points to someone's guilt, resolution is possible. It shows how carrying secrets that could lead to restoration have caused additional pain and hurt that were not needed, but most of all it does show that love really is the greatest gift one could possess. I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars and it does include discussion guide questions at the conclusion which is perfect for book clubs.

For more information about The Gift of Christmas Past, Cindy and Erin Woodsmall or where you can pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:


You can find Cindy Woodsmall on Facebook to stay up to date on all her latest novels.

For more reviews on The Gift of Christmas Past, please visit Litfuse Publicity's Book Tour page.