Christmas may be over, but that doesn’t mean we need to stop reading holiday novels! I find novels of this type are heartwarming, happy, and magical. There’s always time for that. And seeing as it’s winter in half the world, there’s no better time to read a book that takes place during this time of year.

The book I am about to share with you is not only about Christmas. It’s also about dogs! Well, sort of. There’s a cute golden retriever that plays a very important role in the romance part of the story. Here it is:

 

NOELLE’S GOLDEN CHRISTMAS

By: Tamie Dearen

When it comes to the Christmas season, Noelle Holiday is a real Scrooge…

December isn’t filled with the magic of Christmas for Noelle, just the looming dread she’s about to lose something else dear to her. Will she ever be rid of her Christmas curse?

When she adopts an injured shelter dog, she discovers the love of her life… a Golden Retriever named Abby. Perhaps being single is God’s plan for her, but at least she isn’t alone.

Her meddling family, however, is convinced she needs a man in her life. They introduce her to two irresistible men who couldn’t be more alike. Or more different. Both men sweep into her life, testing her faith, and stirring up desire and confusion in equal measure.

If she can just get through this humbug holiday without another heartache!

This sweet Christmas Romance tells the story of a believer, struggling to implement her faith in her everyday walk and battling fear to find the agape love that drives it away.

BONUS: Within this book you will find a link to hear an original song, a replay of the event which takes place in the story. Enjoy!

 

Noelle’s Golden Christmas is the first book in the Holiday, Inc. Christian Romance series. If you remember correctly, you’ll know that I have already read book number two, Haley’s Hangdog Holiday, which you can find the review for at HERE. As you may have guessed, you can read out of order as these can be standalone. And, before I forget, book number three, Shara’s Happy New-foundland Year, is now available!! You can find that HERE.

 

Anyway, I have to admit that I liked Haley’s Hangdog Holiday better than Noelle’s Golden Christmas. However, Noelle’s Golden Christmas was pretty good. As typical with all of Tamie Dearen’s work, the writing is phenomenal. The characters are well-developed. The scenes are written so that you really feel like you’re in the novel. I also love the dogs in these novels. I think it’s neat to add this extra story to the romance.

What I didn’t particularly like this time around was that the romance was rushed in my opinion. There’s chemistry at first, but by the end of the novel, they’re so in love and are engaged, and it’s only been like a month. I know that sometimes that works for people, but to me, that’s not typical. So, I didn’t feel a connection like I had hoped.

It is a clean novel, and one that I would totally recommend. I’ll even be reading the third book at some point. But Noelle’s Golden Christmas didn’t totally do it for me. And I hate saying that because I really love Tamie Dearen’s work. Having said all this, I am rating the book four stars instead of five.

Of note, there is some tough issues mentioned – eating disorders and harming oneself. But it is done tastefully and there is redemption!

Plus, this book comes with a song!!! Go check it out!

To read Noelle’s Golden Christmas, you can download it at:

www.amazon.com/dp/B017JPAANK

 

 

 

 

 

How about another thriller? I’ve been doing a lot of those lately, haven’t I. All for good reasons, as I’ve shared before. This one, however, isn’t quite a thriller. It’s more a suspense. There’s also a romantic element to it, which sweetens it up a bit. Would you like to know more about this book? Let me share!

 

Not What She Seems

By: Victorine E. Lieske

 

Steven Ashton, a billionaire from New York, and Emily Grant, on the run from the law…and when they meet he can’t help falling for her. What he doesn’t know is that interfering in her life will put his own life in danger.

When billionaire Steven Ashton couldn’t stand his high society social life anymore, he left the stress of New York on a vacation for his soul. The need to meet real down to earth people led him to a small Nebraska town. He didn’t want to lie about who he was, but he couldn’t exactly tell them the truth.

Emily could have easily fallen in love with Steven, under different circumstances, but her past was catching up with her and she needed a new life. If the authorities found out about her, she could lose the one thing that meant everything, her four year old son.

 

I have read other books by Victorine E. Lieske before. I figured this one would be a good one to try. After all, she’s great with her romance novels! So how does she do with suspense? Let’s find out. I’ll first share what I liked.

Not What She Seems is very well-written. I thought the storyline was enjoyable and easy to follow. I love that it’s a clean novel. Many books in this genre tend to be even just a slightly bit dirty. This one wasn’t whatsoever. So that’s a huge plus. Especially for those younger people who like to read suspense. Another huge plus was that you never find out the culprit until the very end. I have to admit that it wasn’t someone I had suspected so kudos to Victorine for keeping it a mystery!

Was there anything I didn’t like? There were a couple of things. The first was that toward the end, I had to reread some parts just to make sure I was following right. Overall, the book is very easy to follow and makes tons of sense. There was just a few parts at the end where I had to recheck. Another downfall is that much of the story was predictable. Not so much the biggest part of the book, but much of the rest was. Lastly, I wasn’t feeling the romance aspect of the story at all. It was cute, but didn’t do anything for me.

All in all, I rated this four stars! If you go to the Amazon page for this novel, which I have the link just below, you’ll see that it has tons of reviews all in favor of this story. It’s also a New York Times Bestseller so that says something, right? Okay. Now that I said my piece, go check it out!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003HS5LRO

I’m in the process of writing my first thriller novel, which I’m totally excited about. To do so, I want to prepare myself the best way possible. How do I do that? By reading thriller novels, of course! My sister recommended one, and upon reading the book’s blurb, I was hooked, and wanted to get my hands on a copy pronto. Thank goodness for libraries! (I say that because a book by a best-selling author costs more than I’m willing to spend right now.)

Let me first share with you a little bit about the book, including the cover and blurb, and then I’ll go into what my thoughts are.

Velocity

By Dean Koontz

If you don’t take this note to the police . . . I will kill a lovely blond schoolteacher. . . . If you do . . . I will instead kill an elderly woman active in charity work. You have six hours to decide. The choice is yours.
 
The typewritten note under his windshield seems like just a sick joke. But in less than twenty-four hours, Billy Wiles, an ordinary, hardworking guy, is about to see his life take on the speed of a nightmare. Because a young blond schoolteacher is murdered—and now Billy has another note. And another deadline. This time he knows it’s no joke. He’s racing a killer faster than evil itself. And Billy must accept his terrifying challenge: The choice is yours.
 
Think fast. Fear never slows down. . . .

 

Sound goods, right? It did to me! And after reading it, I thought that it was amazing. That’s why I rated it four stars! Let me elaborate.

Dean Koontz did a wonderful job describing the story. There was never a dull moment. I thought it all came together rather nicely. Throughout, I was left wondering who could be the culprit. I also think that the whole premise is crazy! With these hard choices, there’s no way I could make a decision. What a creative thinker Mr. Koontz is. I applaud him for that.

If I liked it so much, why just four stars? Why not a perfect five? There are three reasons why I took this book off from the perfect throne:

  1. Some descriptions were too many, in my opinion. I thought there was information we just didn’t need.
  2. I felt the ending was too easy. Once we figure out things and the victim works his way to victory, it all just goes too quickly. There was barely a fight.
  3. I also didn’t like how the character was too “at ease” with everything. There is no way a person, going through what this character did, would handle it the way he did.

But overall, I liked the book. I’m glad my sister recommended it. I would recommend it as well. To warn you, though, it isn’t clean. But that shouldn’t really come as a surprise, seeing as it’s Dean Koontz and all.

Here is the link to the book’s Amazon page for you to check it out some more:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0345533461

 

I know that Thanksgiving hasn’t even come yet, but what I am going to share with you today needs to be put out there well in advance. I’d like to introduce to you a different kind of devotional that the whole family can do, and it’s something geared toward Christmas. Without further ado, have a look at this:

 

The 25 Days of Christmas Family Devotional: Making Christmas More Meaningful

Many of us get caught up in the commercialization of Christmas. One way to prevent that is to focus on the reason for the season. Taking a few minutes each day with this different kind of devotional book will help your family think of others. Each day focuses on one word and includes a story from Daniel and Holly’s family, a Scripture reading with the devotional, the YouTube link to a Christmas Carol, and an activity that the entire family can be involved in.

Reviews

“We love it! You posted it just the right time. God’s providence!”

“My kids love it! Especially the song and the activity.”

“The kids like to read the verses during the devotional part. It has been a good way to get the whole family involved.”

Excerpt

Advent

Story

“I have a surprise for you kids,” Mom said as soon as Daniel and Holly walked in the door after school.

“What?” They both wanted to know.

“Follow me,” Mom requested as she walked toward the family room.

Two-year-old Evie followed along behind, clapping her hands and giggling.

“She must know what the secret is,” Daniel commented to Holly.

Holly laughed when Evie shouted, “Sec-et! Sec-et!”

Mom smiled as well. “That’s her new word for the day.”

Then Mom Continue reading “A Christmas Devotional”

Reluctantly Married is the second installment of the Married Series by best-selling author Victorine E. Lieske. This is also the second book from this series that I have read. You can find my post about Mistakenly Married HERE.

Because these are all standalone novels, you can read them in any order. That explains why I have yet to read the first, lol! Someday, though!

Anyway, back to the review. Let me share with you the cover to this book, as well as its blurb, before filling you in on what I liked, didn’t like, and my overall rating.

 

Megan Holloway can’t stand her local morning show co-host, Adam Warner, even though he’s a total hunk. He goads her on-air until she says things she regrets. But since ratings increase each time they have an on-air fight, the producer encourages his behavior.

When a relationship specialist comes onto the show purporting that Adam has hidden feelings for her, she reluctantly agrees to go out with him—on camera. What starts out as one date turns into a viral dating show with Megan and Adam alternating between locking lips and knocking heads.

As Megan fights her growing attraction to Adam, their popularity increases and ABC takes notice, offering them their own program. Not a morning show like Megan is hoping, but a dating show in which she and Adam must marry at the end. With the promise of a hundred thousand dollars and the possibility of scoring what she really wants, her own national program, she signs on.

What she doesn’t know is that Adam has fallen in love with her, and his objective is to get her to do the same.

 

MY REVIEW

This book reminded me of two TV shows. One was Full House. There is an episode where Danny Tanner and Vicki Larson bicker on set. Maybe not exactly bicker, but you can tell there’s tension. Later in the season you see they end up dating and so forth. This is exactly the type of atmosphere you’ll find in Reluctantly Married. The two main characters are co-hosts. You can tell there’s tension. At first it’s for ratings, but things eventually get real.

Another show it reminded me of was The Bachelorette. The climax of this story is the two main characters doing a show pretty much exactly the way The Bachelorette goes. There’s more than one man trying to win the female’s heart. In the end they get engaged.

So having said that, I thought it was kind of cool to relate to some things I have seen before.

The storyline is clean and well written, and started out fun at first. I liked having the “war” between the two characters. There’s even this one date night activity I’d like to try with my husband. If I do, I’ll blog it so you can all know!

There were a couple of things I didn’t like. I didn’t think this was a comedy, even though that’s what the book’s page on Amazon stated. However, that’s just my opinion. I also thought that the storyline got old. Like I said, started out fun at first. After that, though, I just wanted them to move on with it. The whole dating dragged on.

One final thing was how it ended. For most of the book, we see the female’s view. She’s falling for the male. Occasionally you get a small idea that the male is falling for the female, but not enough to warrant the ending. Basically, at the end, it’s the male character declaring his “love”, but I just didn’t feel it. I would have thought the female would have.

All that said, the ending was still great. I always like happy endings!

I have rated this book 4 stars! If you’d like to read for yourself, please go to:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00QEE7MHA

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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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

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?

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