October Banner

Yesterday we began a countdown. To what? The release of J. Grace Pennington’s new book, October. Yep, she named her book after the month we are in. Check out the great giveaway, and the other posts in this countdown!

About the Book

CoverFor Emily Baxter, life is simple. Her world is made up completely of school, church, and the community in the small farming town she calls home. All that changes one fateful Sunday, when a new girl shows up at Pleasanton Baptist—a girl unlike anyone Emily has ever seen. A girl with long red hair, crystal green eyes, and style and posture like royalty.

A girl named October.

The months that follow are filled with magic—the magic of ordinary things, of finding pictures in the stars, of imagination and a new sense of beauty. But as time goes by, Emily begins to sense that her enchanting new friend may have secrets that could break the spell. Is October really all she seems to be?

About the Author

Author photoGrace Pennington has been telling stories since she could talk and writing them down since age five. Now she lives in the great state of Texas, where she writes as much as adult life permits. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading good books, having adventures with her husband, and looking up at the stars.

Preorder here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076JMZCYX/

Excerpt

We laid in silence for awhile, watching the stars appear one by one, adjusting slowly to the cooling temperature of the summer air.

            “What should we do tomorrow?” I asked at last.

            “Whatever we want.”

            I giggled. “What will we want?”

            She poked my shoulder. “We can’t decide now, silly. That messes up the magic.”

            “Magic?”

            My question had been in the most teasing tone possible, but her reply was as serious as I had been silly. “Whenever a decision is made in the heat of the moment—when we allow ourselves to be carried on joy or sorrow or mere simplicity and quiet—whatever it is, a moment of magic is created. Not always good magic, of course. But magic, nonetheless.”

            From anyone else, it would have been the most absurd thing imaginable. I would have laughed. But here, under the stars, with that hint of wonder I had never heard in anyone else her age—I believed it.

            “Then let’s have a magical day tomorrow,” I said.

            It was dark, but I could feel her smile.

Giveaway

Grace has generously offered a paperback book of her new book as her giveaway prize. You can enter at this link.

Tour Schedule

October 25, 2017
Bookish Orchestrations – Introductory post
God’s Peculiar Treasure Rae – Character Spotlight
Letters from Annie Douglass Lima – Character Spotlight
Lisa Swinton – Queen of Random – Book Spotlight
Audrey Rich – Book Spotlight

October 26, 2017
Frances Hoelsema – Excerpt
Jaye L. Knight – Character Spotlight and Excerpt
Morgan Elizabeth Huneke – Review

October 27, 2017
Liv K. Fisher – Author Interview and Excerpt
Opinions, Thoughts, and General Rambling – Character Spotlight and Excerpt
Leila’s Bookshelf – Book Spotlight
Britbear’s Book Reviews – Guest Post

October 28, 2017
Rebekah Lyn Books – Excerpt
In the Bookcase – Review
Roxbury Books – Character Spotlight and Excerpt
Grace Pennington – Special author’s post

October 29, 2017
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway Winner

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Do you like going to parades?

Growing up, we usually did one parade on Memorial Day and then one on 4th of July. There were also a few years in there where we did what was called the Dandelion parade, and that was only because I was in it, playing the flute. Other than that, parades either weren’t happening, or we weren’t going.

On another note, parades always seemed to be the same. You’d have your marching bands, your fire/rescue vehicles, odds and ends, and perhaps some “important” people. Most kids would get their fair share of candy, and when all was said and done, you’d possibly walk away discussing the best part of the whole thing.

Things are different today. At least in my neck of the woods. Now that I’m an adult, I get to choose what I want to do. Before kids, I wouldn’t go to the parades. I didn’t really see the point of them, I suppose. Or perhaps didn’t think they were cool. Who knows. With kids, though, I make an effort to take them because it gets them out of the house, it exposes them to some neat things, and let’s face it, I get excited when they get excited!

Another reason we will take our kids to different parades is because they’re not all the same anymore. Yes, you still have your fair share of the same type of participants (rescue/fire vehicles, “important” people, etc.). But there are new types of parades that I never knew were around when I was a kid (and maybe they never were). One is a fire truck parade where it’s basically all fire trucks. Another is the truck parade. This year, we had tons of semi trucks and other types of trucks making their way down our city’s center. Our boys loved that! There’s also Christmas parades, pumpkin parades, and so many other types of parades! My neck of the woods has sure gotten interesting!

Take for instance this year’s 4th of July. We typically stay more local, but we heard there were going to be some pretty “top dog” type of people at a different parade so we traveled there. It was a hot day, and the parade didn’t get down to our part of the route until an hour-and-a-half after it started. The locals said it is usually forty minutes, and that it was longer due to those “important” people. Other than a few minutes of these flying overhead, we had nothing to do but sit and sweat, waiting.

Normally I would complain or think this would be disastrous because what kids would want to sit around forever in the heat?!? However, I’m so glad to report my kids handled it well. AMAZINGLY well! Who would have thought my kids could do that?!?! LOL! They have their moments.

Anyway, alas, the parade got to us, and, yes, we got to see some “cool” people. The first is a picture of our Governor, Rick Snyder. The second is of our Vice President, Mike Pence.

It’s kind of cool that, in both pictures, it looks like they’re waving at me. At me!!!! And I know both these men aren’t the most popular, but I thought it was still neat to see them, seeing as it’s not a common thing for me or my family. Just the thought that my boys got to see these governmental figures at such a young age amazes me.

So, parades. I’ve come to sort of enjoy them. They’ve grown on me, so to speak. So much has evolved over the years surrounding the idea of parades that they’re just great experiences. The only downfall is that not as much candy gets passed out anymore. Good for the kids because they don’t need the candy, but boo for me because I don’t get it either, lol!

 

When most people say the phrase “water under the bridge,” it’s to mean events or situations that are in the past, and therefore, are no longer important or needed to be concerned about. I’m not about to rehash any water under any of my bridges, but I do want to fill you in on a book that goes by this phrase. I’m talking about Water Under the Bridge by Britney King. Take a look:

 

As a woman who feels her clock ticking every single moment of the day, former bad girl Kate Anderson is desperate to reinvent herself. So when she sees a handsome stranger walking toward her, she feels it in her bones, there’s no time like the present. He’s the one.

 
Kate vows to do whatever it takes to have what she wants, even if that something is becoming someone else. Now, ten pounds thinner, armed with a new name, and a plan, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s created in her mind.

But Kate has secrets. 

And too bad for her, that handsome stranger has a few of his own.
With twists and turns you won’t see coming, Water Under The Bridge examines the pressure that many women feel to “have it all” and introduces a protagonist whose hard edges and cutthroat ambition will leave you questioning your judgment and straddling the line between what’s right and wrong.

 

First off, I want to warn you that this is a slightly dark fiction. Having said that, it’s not clean. As with many thrillers, there is some language. There is also very brief talk of sex, but nothing too graphic mentioned in that department. And there is quite a bit of violence. After all, the two main characters are murders for various reasons.

What I found fascinating about this novel is that it was laid out different than I have ever seen before. Each chapter went back and forth between the female’s point of view and the male’s. You’d think that would make for some possible confusion, but the author did a great job keeping things straight, having the stories match up, and keeping the dialogue flowing nicely so that the reader doesn’t miss out on anything.

I believe the author also did a fantastic job with details. How the characters connected, the chemistry and commitment they had for one another, was well woven in, and made for a great domestic/psychological thriller.

Although I enjoyed the book, I rated it one star shy of perfect…in other words, just four stars. I don’t think there are twists and turns as the book’s blurb indicated, at least nothing that caught me off guard. I also didn’t think there was a lot of depth. It was more following along with how the characters met, got married, and moved on from a possible divorce.

Before I go, I want to mention that this book is FREE. It’s also the first in the Water Trilogy series so there is even more to the story than just this book. To find out more, please visit here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M98YZWL

 

It’s that time of year again where, in Michigan, we start feeling the effects of changing into a new season. The hot days of summer are slowly making their way to the cool (frigid, if I’m honest) days of winter. Whether you call it fall or autumn or whatever name there may be out there for this season, it’s hands down my favorite. Here’s why:

  1. As mentioned above, the temperatures are dropping! Typical weather in Michigan during the autumn months are mid-50s to 70 degrees. To me, that’s perfect! Add in the days where you have full sun and you’ve got a teeny weeny taste of heaven!
  2. The leaves are changing! I do like it in Spring where things comes to life and the leaves start appearing, but something I like even more so is when these leaves show us just how creative and brilliant and gorgeous our Creator is! I don’t even have a favorite color. I like them all! From dull browns, to sunny yellows, to fire oranges, to burnt reds, the trees display a vibrant work of art. Having said that, it brings me to another reason I like fall.
  3. Fall color tours! I absolutely love waking up on a crisp morning, getting some coffee or hot chocolate (whatever mood I’m in) and a donut, and then driving the day away on scenic roads, admiring our view. Michigan has so many routes to explore!
  4. Apple picking! Hands down a must do during the fall with the family. My kids love picking apples with us. We have an orchard just a tad south of us that offers unique varieties of apples, all of which are tasty.
  5. Fall-like desserts! With all of the apples that my family and I pick, we have to do something with them! My favorite has to be apple crisp! A couple of years ago I found this recipe that is just to die for. Anytime I make apple crisp, that’s the recipe I run to. It’s also a fan favorite of many family members. More than one person begs me to make it every year. It’s that tasty! But don’t stop there. I love pumpkin rolls, apple fritters and other apple/pumpkin donuts, and so many other things that it’s just not healthy, lol!
  6. While we are talking about food, let’s add in a drink. APPLE CIDER! Oh man, this stuff is delish! It’s sort of a staple at our house from September until about mid-November.
  7. The holidays are approaching! That’s right, I actually look forward to the holidays! I love Halloween, Thanksgiving, and most of all, Christmas. It’s just the time of year that gets exciting. Busy at times, but so worth it!

While for some it’s a reminder of busy-ness or snow or even the time when school is mandatory, autumn is by far the best time of the year for me. There’s just something about it that makes me come alive! What’s your favorite season? Why?

There is a new release I would like to share with you all! It’s the final book in the Secret Keeper series by Angela Carling! Take a look at this…

 

It all started with one little secret….

New to the series? To celebrate the release of Under The Broken Sky, you can pick up the first book, The Secret Keeper, for FREE!  Yep, you can discover the series, risk free.
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
I-books

Here’s the condensed version of the reviews:)
 

If you are already a fan of the Secret Keeper Series, you’ve been waiting for the final installment in the series!  

Wait no more! Under The Broken Sky is here! Winter, Liam, and Belakane’s story is complete! Binge away my reader friends, but know this….

Winter and Liam’s story takes some unimaginable turns. Belakane (the creator of the curse) takes center stage, and new characters bring more depth, joy, and pain into the lives of the characters we already love! 

Here are the cover and blurb for Under The Broken Sky:

 

 

Here’s where you can pick it up:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
I-books
Kobo

So check it out, grab your free copy of The Secret Keeper, or get that final book you’ve been waiting for. I know I’m excited to share the last chapter in Winter, Liam, and Belakane’s story. Love to you all, and may you never need a Secret Keeper!

************************************************
Come and find me!

 

Angela Carling was raised in Palm Springs California, but lives in Arizona with her husband, three kids and five felines.  After years of denial, she finally admitted that she is a hopeless romantic, which led her to write her first Young Adult book, Unbreakable Love. Since then she’s published Shackled, Becoming Bryn and The complete Secret Keeper series. Shackled won the silver IBPA award in 2012 and has been optioned as a screenplay and the Secret Keeper series picked up first place in the paranormal romance reviewers choice awards! Angela always eats the frosting off her cake first, and can be caught singing pretty much anywhere.  When she’s not writing YA novels, she’s mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order.
 
Links to connect with Angela:

This book is a thriller you won’t want to miss out on! The author did an amazing job, and I would definitely recommend. Let me share more with you…

Serial killer or avenging angel?

Lucy tracks down killers to deliver vigilante justice. But a missing child will pull her into a case that’s darker and more complicated than anything she’s ever faced.
Lucy quickly discovers the link to a predator she’s faced before–a man the state of Pennsylvania decided to turn loose on the streets. Determined to find the little girl and put a criminal behind bars for good, Lucy forces her way onto the case.
As the search pulls Lucy into a web of evil beyond her darkest imagination, she’ll have to face her own dark truths to save the little girl–and herself.

Not only did the premise of the story sound good, but boy did the author deliver big time. From page one until the very end, Stacy Green kept me on my toes, trying to figure out who is the culprit behind the missing child case. Just when I thought I knew who it was, I was quickly proven wrong. It’s not until the final chapter that the real answer is given. I love it when a story can do that!

There are a lot of positives to this book. First being that it’s FREE! Other positives include that it’s well-written, characters are well-developed, there’s never a dull moment, it’s hard to put down, and the fact that Stacy Green incorporated all the characters so well that anyone (and I mean anyone!) could be the ‘bad guy’. All of this together means that I gave it 5 stars!! I highly recommend!

Two things to note, however. It’s not a clean novel due to occasional language. Also, it does deal with a tough subject so it’s not for the faint of heart. If these things don’t bother you then please get your copy now! You can do so here:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MUZMDYY

One more thing before I go. This novel brought up an interesting question for me. I’d like to know what you think. If someone kills the ‘bad guys’, do you think that makes them good? Or are they evil themselves because they’re killing?

September is kind of a crazy month for us Hoelsemas. We have a couple of birthdays, a week-long summer vacation, and I usually start school with the kiddos at some point in the month. This year I happened to realize something that got my mind spinning in many directions.

Back in 2007 (well, technically very end of 2006), my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were delighted as we really didn’t know if it would happen for us. (I’ve shared parts of my story here, as well as on Facebook. I’ve even written a book on infertility because we faced that disease head on. You can find it HERE!)

Unfortunately, however, that child wasn’t meant to be. God called that angel home in February 2007. My due date was in September 2007, though. Another reason September is just a tad *crazier* around here.

So this is what I realized this year. If my husband and I had never miscarried that child, we would have a 10 year old!! That makes my jaw drop, people! I mean, it’s already hard enough that my oldest is going to be seven in November, and my baby is already four, but a 10 year old!!?!?!? I’m not that old, am I? It’s just really hard to believe.

Time really does fly the older you get. I feel like every time I blink my children are just that much older. So then I got to thinking about parenting. I pray almost every day that my children will grow up making wise choices, having the right people surrounding them, and turning out to be successful, smart, hard-working, honest, loving, et cetera.

I believe heavily that Proverbs 22:6 holds true. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Thus, I try to train my boys in the way of the Lord. I don’t always do what’s right, but I hope I’m doing good enough. I hope I’m a good mom.

Then I came across something that spoke volumes to me. The following post is from 21st Century SAHM on Facebook. You can see their page HERE!

Girlfriends, I got to get something off my chest.

My house is never clean. Like ever. I have friends (with kids) whose houses are spotless. Are they better mothers than me? Nope. Am I a better mother than them? Nope.

I work out every day. I have mom friends who don’t exercise. (I mean other than running around like crazy people after their kids). Does that make either of us a better mom? Nope.

I have a friend who gave birth in a pool in her living room. I pushed mine out in a hospital bed after receiving a gift from the epidural fairy. Both of us are good moms.

I drink a beer or glass of wine (sometimes in front of my kids!) on occasion. I’m a good mom. My neighbor and good friend doesn’t drink. Also a good mom.

I’m a yeller. I have a good friend who is quiet and extremely patient. I envy her. But we are both good moms.

I have friends who are super organic, chemical free, and dye free. My kids sometimes eat popsicles for breakfast. The cheap kind that are 50 for $2.00. Are either of us better than the other? Nope.

I swear, but not in front of my kids. Are you a bad mom if you do? Hell no.

I’m involved with my kids’ school but I don’t volunteer and live there every day. Are the moms who volunteer daily any better than those who never do? No. Am I incredibly grateful for the moms who volunteer every day and help the teachers? YES.

Are stay-at-home moms better than working moms? NO.

Are working moms better than stay-at-home moms? NO.

Are married moms better than single moms? NO.

Are you a better mom if you take your kids on exotic vacations? NO.

Can you be a good mom if you the closest thing you get to a vacation is the park? YES.

Can you be a good mom and have a super scheduled summer with lots of planned activities? Yep.

What about if your summer is lazy with no plans? Yep.

Do good moms let their kids watch TV? Yes.

Play video games? Yes.

What about if you say no? Also fine. Your choice. You’re the mom. And a good one.

I’m a Christian. My friend and neighbor is Muslim. Another friend practices no religion at all. WE ARE ALL GOOD MOTHERS.

My other friend is gay. Her kids have TWO mothers. They are both good moms.

I breastfed. My kids barely had any formula. Am I better than moms who give their kids formula? NO.

So how about this? Can we all climb down off judgmental mountain for a second? And just support one another? And just say, Hey, motherhood is hard. You’re doing a good job. Raising kids can knock the wind out of a person. You got this.

How awesome would that be? Just a thought.

There is a lot of judgment going around, and I know at times it seems easy to think we’re doing better than or worse than other parents just based on situations, appearances, provisions, et cetera. But really I think we’re all just doing the best we can.

So in a day and age where there are a lot of paths to take (vaccines, schooling, foods, technology, chemicals, and the list goes on), the best we can do is research and decide what’s best for our family and/or just choose what fits our budget, morals, conscience, lifestyle, et cetera.

And then pray. Pray it all goes well. Pray our children grow up right. Just pray. Let God take care of the rest.

And, finally, don’t worry about what others think (yes, easier said then done). Just rest in the knowledge that you’re doing the best you can do, and that no one will love your kids better than you do.

So this September, I will take all these words to heart, and continue to be the best mom I can to these two precious boys (and one angel in heaven).

I bring to you a FREE psychological suspense novella! Introducing…

 

 

For those who may not know, novella means short novel. In other words, this is not a full-length novel. That doesn’t mean it won’t pack a good punch, though! With around 26,000 words, this makes the perfect book to read for those short on time. And with a lot of storyline and plot twists, it’s perfect for those still wanting depth. Plus, you can’t beat FREE!

Before going into my review, let me share with you the book’s blurb:

Matthew Stanyer fears the worst when he reports his parents missing.  His father, Joseph Stanyer, has been struggling to cope with his wife Evie, whose dementia is rapidly worsening. When their bodies are found close to Blackwater Lake, a local beauty spot, the inquest rules the deaths as a murder-suicide. A conclusion that’s supported by the note Joseph leaves for his son.

Grief-stricken, Matthew begins to clear his parents’ house of decades of compulsive hoarding, only to discover the dark enigmas hidden within its walls. Ones that lead Matthew to ask: why did his father choose Blackwater Lake to end his life? What other secrets do its waters conceal?

A short (26,000 words) novella, Blackwater Lake examines one man’s determination to uncover his family’s troubled past.

In my opinion, this was a very intriguing psychological suspense. It held my attention from the first page through to the end. The characters and scenes were well-written, and the storyline was amazing! What I think I loved most about this short book is that there were a few twists and turns that I didn’t expect! And on top of that, the author did a fabulous job piecing all loose ends together towards the end without giving away too much information throughout the middle.

There were two things that I didn’t like. The first thing was that one of the twists the author wove into this novella was not something I appreciated. It was an interesting take on what the author was trying to get across, but it wasn’t something I enjoyed. I will not share what it is because I don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers, but let’s just say it’s an iffy topic. The book as a whole isn’t clean, either, so tread lightly.

The second thing was that some of the scenes were not needed. They don’t throw you off, it’s just they really didn’t need to be added. And some of those moments were a tiny confusing so I had to reread some parts just to be sure I knew what was being said.

Overall, I really liked the novella. I like psychological storylines, and this one fit the mold quite well. Because of the couple issues, I am only rating this one four stars!

If you’d like to read this for FREE yourself, check it out here:

 

www.amazon.com/dp/B015WYIQ4K

 

Introducing my newest release…

 

 

I am so excited to share this with you! In this collection of short stories, you’ll get a mixture of just about every genre out there. Plus, it’s a clean read! I like to think of this as our worst fears realized or perhaps even worst case scenarios because each story has a little bit of creepiness to it. This is NOT horror, though! Just entertaining 🙂

Let me share with you the book’s blurb…

Life is often unpredictable. Many times, bad things happen that no one would ever see coming, not even ourselves. And such is the case for the people in each of these stories. Some will be attacked by vicious animals, while others navigate through wild weather. The rest will find themselves in freak accidents, coming face to face with the supernatural, being a part of something out of this world, and many other situations that can only be described as unfortunate.

With traces of romance, adventure, humor, thrill, and mystery woven in, there is a story for anyone looking for an entertaining read while being short on time. And with just the right blend of horror and tragedy, this collection will leave you dreading the possible.

Unfortunate Events: 31 Short Stories is available in paperback and eBook format. Paperback can be found on Amazon or CreateSpace for just $9.99. The eBook can be found on Amazon for just $1.99 by clicking HERE! It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited for FREE!

Great news, though!! To celebrate this release, it will be FREE for ALL for two days next week! Can’t beat FREE, right!?!? All you have to do is click HERE between Monday, September 11, and Tuesday, September 12!

Enjoy! Now on to my next novel….

Today is #ReadABookDay and I can think of no other way to celebrate than to get a bunch of free reads! I have something that can do just that. It’s an event called September eBook Extravaganza!

What is this event about? Well, I’m glad you asked! This event is going on from September 1 through September 20. It is where you can download 50 FREE reads, learn more about the authors who wrote these reads, and enter to win a $50 gift card!

One thing that makes this event even sweeter is that each book/author that is participating is rated so that you know what you can expect. If it’s something you wouldn’t want to read, you can pass. With 50 FREE options, there’s definitely something for everyone, though!

A sample of my third novel, Long Lost Neighbors, is included! So what are you waiting for!?!?! All you have to do is click on this link! All the details and books are found here. You can also enter to win at this link! Have fun!

 

https://mybookcave.com/g/c2c78e59/