4.22.2015

Buried Secrets (Men of Valor, Book 1) by Irene Hannon {Romantic Suspense Review & $25 Family Christian Certificate Giveaway}

Buried Secrets (Men of Valor, Book 1) by Irene Hannon

Book review disclosure.

Men of Valor, Book 1
Irene Hannon
Romantic Suspense

THEY BOTH WANTED QUIETER, SAFER LIVES. BUT CRIME
NEVER SLEEPS . . . AND KILLERS KEEP KILLING.

After years as a Chicago homicide detective, Lisa Grant is ready for the kinder, gentler life of a small-town police chief. But the discovery of a human skeleton by a construction crew at the edge of town taxes department resources. Enter ex-Navy SEAL Mac McGregor, the detective sent by the county to assist on the case. As they work to solve the mystery behind the unmarked grave, danger begins to shadow them. Someone doesn't want this dead person telling any tales--and will stop at nothing to make certain a life-shattering secret stays buried.

READ AN EXCERPT

My Thoughts

What could be better than a new series from a favorite author? Not much if you ask me! Irene Hannon introduces us to the first of three brothers in Buried Secrets which is book one in her new Men of Valor series. Mac McGregor is an ex-Navy SEAL that has had enough of the crazy life and just wants to settle down, find a wife and raise a family just like his good friend and fellow SEAL Mitch Morgan has. Mac makes the move to Carson, Missouri a suburb of St. Louis where Mitch lives and becomes a detective.

During a routine call Mac meets Lisa Grant. Unfortunately he doesn't realize that she is the Chief of Police and winds up sticking his foot in his mouth. Because of that their relationship gets off to a bit of a rocky start. Luckily the case that they are working on together keeps them in contact enough to let the attraction between them blossom.

The case that they are working on is a cold one. They don't have much to go on except some human bones that have been uncovered and a mysterious stone. But that doesn't stop the tenacious Chief Grant. She has the nose of a bloodhound and is determined to see this mystery solved.

One of the interesting things that I really like about this book is that you know right from the beginning how those bones got there and who aided in getting them there. The story that unfolds is fascinating as you watch the detectives unravel the mystery and the subjects scramble to cover up their deeds. Irene does a masterful job of keeping the story racing along to an exciting conclusion. 

The next book in the series is about Lance McGregor, Mac's younger brother. The teaser at the end of this book is so enticing. It is scheduled to come out in the Spring of 2016. I can hardly wait!

Connect With The Author

Irene Hannon
Photo Credit: © DeWeesePhotography.com


The Giveaway

We have partnered with Family Christian Stores to offer one of our readers a $25 Appreciation Certificate that can be used either online or in one of their stores. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents and will run through midnight on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. You must be at least 18 years old to enter. The winner will be contacted by email and will have forty-eight hours to claim the prize. If unclaimed, a new winner will be drawn. The winners’ entries will be verified. Please enter the contest using the Rafflecopter form below. All entries are optional.

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Veggie Beef Crockpot Soup ~ Recipe from Wind in the Wires by Janet Chester Bly

Veggie Beef Crockpot Soup


Reba Cahill’s Veggie Beef Crockpot Soup
Janet Chester Bly

Cowgirl Reba Mae Cahill of Wind in the Wires was so excited to learn about crockpots. She got her first one in 1989. Not one to like to fuss in the kitchen, she could start her soup or stew in the morning after chores and loved the feel of knowing it slow cooked all day. Off she went to fix fences and wrangle cows with her black horse, Johnny Poe. The veggie choices varied, but not the spices. She favored the mix of basil, dill and turmeric.

Basic Ingredients:

1-2 lb. ground beef
12 oz. mixed veggies--frozen, canned, or fresh
2 12 oz. cans tomatoes
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 Tbsp. basil or to taste
1 tsp. dill or to taste
1 pinch turmeric or to taste
Salt to taste
30 oz. beef broth
6 oz. ketchup
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 clove garlic minced
2 stalks celery, cut up
1 can corn
1 can green beans
add fresh or frozen (thawed) spinach last half hour

Crockpot or Stovetop Directions:

Add to large crockpot and cook on low for six hours or on high four hours. Or in large kettle on top stove and simmer several hours.

About The Book

Wind in the Wires by Janet Chester Bly
Wind in the Wires
CAN YOU HEAR THE WIND IN THE WIRES? 

A cowgirl's search for love and family. An old man's quest to seek justice. An eerie story of lies and betrayal. Will the truth be too hard for either to bear?

It's 1991. Reba Cahill loves ranching with Grandma Pearl in north central Idaho. But there's a lot of work and only two of them. Can she find a man worthy of her attentions and strong enough to help her run the ranch? She finds few prospects in the small town of Road's End.

But Reba is also missing something else: her mother. Deserted by her at three-years-old and never knowing her dad, she feels a sense of longing and loss. And bitterness.

When elderly, quirky Road's End citizen Maidie Fortress dies, Uncle Seth presents Reba Cahill with an expensive piece of jewelry that turns Reba's world upside down. she is thrust into a journey with Seth that exposes dark family secrets and two cold case murders.

The evidence leads her down unexpected paths and towards unsuspected admirers. Will the truth also ruin all hope for romance?

Connect With The Author

Janet Chester Bly
Credit: Ridinger’s of Lewiston, ID



4.21.2015

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund {YA Historical Fiction Review}

An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund

Book review disclosure.

Jody Hedlund
YA Historical Fiction

ONE MONTH . . .
ONE DECISION

Due to her parents' promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie prepared herself to become a nun the day she turns eighteen. but a month before her birthday everything changes when a friend of her father's enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents' will left a second choice--if Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Soon, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in teh land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights--the one who appears the most guilty--had not already captured her heart.

The Prequel

The Vow by Jody Hedlund
Before I give you my thoughts on An Uncertain Choice I wanted to let you know that there is a prequel called The Vow

In this historical romance novella by Jody Hedlund, young Rosemarie finds herself drawn to Thomas, the son of the nearby baron. But just as her feelings begin to grow, a man carrying the Plague interrupts their hunting party. While in forced isolation, Rosemarie begins to contemplate her future—could it include Thomas? Could he be the perfect man to one day rule beside her and oversee her parents’ lands?

Then Rosemarie is summoned back to her castle in haste. The disease has spread, and her family is threatened. And the secret she discovers when she returns could change her future forever.


My Thoughts

Like most girls I enjoy a good fairy tale. I like the story of princesses and castles, knights in shining armor swooping in to save the day, and of course the happily-ever-after endings.  I just can't resist being swept up in the romance of it all for a few hours.

I've been a fan of Jody Hedlund's historical fiction so when she released her first young adult historical fiction I just had to give it a try. It was everything that I had envisioned and more. The beautiful princess Rosemarie has lost her parents to the Plague but she is fortunate to have what she thinks is trustworthy mentors to guide her in ruling her lands.

By the time we enter the story Rosemarie has come to terms with devoting herself to living out the rest of her life at the convent. But this is a fairy-tale so we have to have some dashing knights to woo the beautiful princess. Not one but three of the bravest and handsomest knights in the land come to Montfort Castle with the intention of winning the hand of Rosemarie.

The story that proceeds is one of intrigue and romance. What appears to be the truth is a far cry from it. I enjoyed the journey through the unfolding story. I had inklings of what was happening out of eyesight but it didn't ruin the story at all, in fact it enhanced it.

I would highly recommend this wonderful book to teens and older. There is nothing untoward in it but it does have subject matter that would be better understood by someone in their teens rather than younger. Remember that this is set in the Medieval period so torture was a very accepted form of punishment. Some of that is described in the story. As an adult I found it to be a great read. It moves along quickly and the vocabulary is rich. If you liked the current version of Cinderella that is playing in theaters I think you will be drawn to this as well. I'm looking forward to the future books in this series.

Connect With The Author

Jody Hedlund






4.19.2015

Rhubarb Apple Pie ~ Recipe from Wind in the Wires by Janet Chester Bly

Rhubarb Apple Pie

I love me some pie! In fact one of my favorite flavors is Strawberry Rhubarb. In Janet Chester Bly's newest book Wind in the Wires Pearl Cahill makes a delicous sounding Rhubarb Apple pie. I'm thinking I'm going to have to give it a try. If you'd like to give it a try too here's the recipe:

Pearl Cahill’s Rhubarb Apple Pie
Janet Chester Bly

Servings: 8 from 9” pie

Ingredients:

4 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb
1 cup peeled and chopped sweet apples
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 2/3 cups sugar or packed brown sugar or 1/2 cup honey
3/4 tsp. orange zest
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 dash ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. butter
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 pastry for double-crust 9” pie (from your own or your grandmother’s favorite recipe)

Directions:

1.     Preheat oven 400° F.
2.     For the filling: in large saucepan combine rhubarb, apple, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, butter and nuts.
3.     Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
4.     Add butter. Cool.
5.     Prepare pastry shell for double crust pie. On lightly floured surface, roll 1/2 dough from center out to form 12” circle. Place in 9” pie dish. Trim to 1/2” beyond pie dish edge.
6.     Pile filling into shell.
7.     Roll remaining dough and form into 12” circle. Lay over filling. Press ends into crust edge. Fold bottom over. Crimp edges together.
8.     Egg wash on top: 1 egg and 1 Tbsp. water. Brush top of crust. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
9.     To prevent edges from burning, cover with 1” strips of foil.
10.   Place on baking sheet.
11.   Bake 25 minutes. Remove foil. Bake additional 25 minutes until center is bubbly and crust golden.
12.   Cool on rack.


About The Book

Wind in the Wires by Janet Chester Bly
Wind in the Wires
CAN YOU HEAR THE WIND IN THE WIRES? 

A cowgirl's search for love and family. An old man's quest to seek justice. An eerie story of lies and betrayal. Will the truth be too hard for either to bear?

It's 1991. Reba Cahill loves ranching with Grandma Pearl in north central Idaho. But there's a lot of work and only two of them. Can she find a man worthy of her attentions and strong enough to help her run the ranch? She finds few prospects in the small town of Road's End.

But Reba is also missing something else: her mother. Deserted by her at three-years-old and never knowing her dad, she feels a sense of longing and loss. And bitterness.

When elderly, quirky Road's End citizen Maidie Fortress dies, Uncle Seth presents Reba Cahill with an expensive piece of jewelry that turns Reba's world upside down. she is thrust into a journey with Seth that exposes dark family secrets and two cold case murders.

The evidence leads her down unexpected paths and towards unsuspected admirers. Will the truth also ruin all hope for romance?

Connect With The Author

Janet Chester Bly
Credit: Ridinger’s of Lewiston, ID


4.16.2015

The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis {Contemporary Fiction/Amish Review}

The Love Letters by Beverly Lewis

Book review disclosure.

Beverly Lewis
Contemporary Fiction/Amish

Marlena needed time to let things sink in. It was beyond her how all this could possibly work out--adding the care of an infant to her daily routine. Fortunately, it would just be until Luella returned home from the hospital and was stronger.
No more than a couple weeks, surely.

MARLENA WENGER'S life takes an unexpected turn on the day she learns she must care for her estranged sister's baby. Spending the summer in Brownstown, Pennsylvania, to assist her Mennonite grandmother, and miles from Marlena's Old Order Amish beau, she feels out of her element in nearly every respect. Yet Marlena determines to do her best and stay focused on her future, even as those hopes become drastically altered.

READ AN EXCERPT

My Thoughts

One of my favorite things about a Beverly Lewis novel is the multiple story lines that all intersect to make a simple tale into a complex narrative. In The Love Letters the main character is Marlena Wenger. She is a sweet girl that willingly goes to help her recently widowed grandmother over the summer. Her plan is to marry her beau once she returns home. Then she'll simply spend the rest of her life being a wife and mother.

Shortly after Marlena arrives at her grandmother's house her carefully crafted plans begin to shift and change. Marlena is asked to care for her estranged sister's baby and before she knows it she is completely attached to this sweet little girl. How in the world will she ever be able to give her up? How can she choose between what she feels like God is leading her to do and what others expect her to do?

Another theme that runs through this novel is Alzheimer's disease. The neighbor boy, Little Jay, discovers a homeless man and befriends him much to the dismay of his family. Where in the world did this person come from and how can a young boy help him to get back to where he belongs?

Marlena and Little Jay are wonderful examples of what each of us should aspire to be. I enjoyed reading their journey through some difficult trials where they really had to choose between obeying God or man. At times it felt like it would be much easier to follow the course that others thought that they should take, but it was so inspiring to see them trust God even when they didn't understand His reasoning.

Another great read to add to the growing list of intriguing stories from this talented author. I'd recommend it to anyone that enjoys Amish fiction with a contemporary flare.



Connect With The Author

Beverly Lewis
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Gene Photography




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