Friday, February 26, 2010

Book: Double Trouble

Back in May I reviewed Nothing But Trouble and now the second book in the series about PJ Sugar is out: Double Trouble. It's a great addition to the series, but I really wouldn't recommend reading it alone. Even having read the first one some months back I was having a hard time following the story sometimes. I highly recommend this book, it's funny and keeps you guessing til the end, but I'd definitely suggest reading the first one just before reading this one!

Book description: PJ Sugar has finally found something she's good at. Now she's trying not to mess it up. Her first official case as a private investigator - well, technically a PI's assistant - is house-sitting for a witness in protective custody. No danger involved, assures her boss Jeremy Kane, much to PJ's disappointment.

At least PJ can take the next ten days to figure out the rest of her life... especially whether or not she should accept Detective Boone Buckam's marriage proposal. But one break-in by a late-night prowler is enough to put Boone's request on hold and send PJ's sleuthing skills into overdrive. Clearly this witness is hiding something... and it may cost PJ her life.


I really like the PJ's character. She's real and seems to never be able to do things right. This is a Christian book, but it never seems over done to me. Just a girl making mistakes and trying to figure out how to do life right.

I always think Susan May Warren's books look interesting and these are no exception!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book: The Big 5-Oh!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Big 5-Oh!
Abingdon Press (February 2010)


Sandra D. Bricker

For more than a decade, author Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While writing in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

It was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer.

In Sandie's words: "I guess most people would see my career as a publicist as a sort of dream job. But giving it up turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me!" she declares. "Not only was I given the gift of getting to know my mother as an adult woman before she passed away, but I was also afforded the blessing of being able to focus completely on my dream of a writing career. I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost, so it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch their new Love Finds You line."

Olivia Wallace has a birthday curse . . . or so she thinks. It was a broken heart on her 16th, a car accident on her 21st, pneumonia on her 30th, and a fall down a flight of stairs on her 35th. There were Ohio blizzards on her 38th, 39th, and 40th; and six days before her 45th, she lost the love of her life to a heart attack. Numbing grief stole that birthday and a couple more to follow and, on the morning of her 48th birthday, she received the call she’d dreaded ever since losing her mom so many years ago…she was diagnosed with stage-3 ovarian cancer. The doctors didn’t hold out a lot of hope, but Liv survived and maintained her faith. Months of surgeries and chemotherapy and radiation treatments followed.

But now, as her 50th birthday creeps up the icy Ohio path toward her, her hair has grown back, her energy level is up, and she is officially cancer free. It makes her nervous. After everything she’s gone through, Liv hates the idea of driving on icy roads and returning to work as an O.R. nurse in a local Cincinnati hospital.

Her best friend Hallie knows just the thing to break Liv out of the winter doldrums, while providing a safe haven of warmth, sunshine, and a time to regroup: a holiday in the Florida sunshine!


This is the second book by Sandra Bricker I've read recently, the first being Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida. While they are both fun reads unfortunately they are very similar stories. I do think I liked this one a bit more just because the characters were more real to me.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of The Big 5-Oh!, go HERE

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Cleaning... and more Cleaning

You can't really see the belly... but this is my 7 1/2 months pregnant self sitting in the hall closet washing everything with vinegar water. Still got the musty smell though... hoping that all the friends who say it will eventually go away are right!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Book: Cowgirl at Heart

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Cowgirl at Heart

Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)


Christine Lynxwiler

Best-selling author Christine Lynxwiler lives with her husband and two precious daughters in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains. Christine has been writing toward publication since 1997. She sold her first story in 2001 to Barbour Publishing. Since then she's written and sold fourteen Christian romance novels and novellas including the four novels that were included in the best-selling book Arkansas, which has sold over 150,000 copies worldwide. Her novel, Forever Christmas, ranked number 12 on the Christian Bookseller's Association Bestseller List in January, 2009.

A four-time winner of the prestigious American Christian Romance Writers/American Christian Fiction Writers' Book of the Year Award, Christine recently signed a new six-book contract with Barbour Publishing bringing her total of contracted books to twenty. Besides, Along Came a Cowboy, her latest novels include Promise Me Always and Forever Christmas. She also writes mysteries with two of her sisters, Sandy Gaskin and Jan Reynolds. Their book, Alibis in Arkansas, is currently available nationwide, as well as in many bookstores. The first book in Christine's new McCord Sisters series, The Reluctant Cowgirl released in April, 2009 and was a TOP PICK in Romantic Times Magazine.

When Christine isn't at her computer, you'll often find her, with her husband, co-coaching their daughters' softball team, kayaking down beautiful Spring River with her family, or getting together with friends from church.

Elyse McCord always plays it safe─a fact she blames on being the biological daughter of a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde. Even in the security of her adoptive family the McCords, the timid dog whisperer keeps her guard up with strangers. But when she discovers a dog being horribly mistreated, shy Elyse transforms into a mighty warrior and charges into a perilous situation, not only risking her life but also her heart.

Reporter Andrew Stone has been fearless since the day his wife was shot and killed three years ago. He has one mission─use his Texas Ranger upbringing to find her murderer and clear his own name of any involvement. When he sees a beautiful brunette in the hands of a pistol-welding maniac, he’s forced to abandon his covert surveillance and go to the rescue. The danger surrounding Andrew doesn’t scare him at all, but the awakening of his dormant heart terrifies him.

When painful pasts collide, the explosion is deafening. Can Andrew and Elyse pick up the pieces and go forward together? Or will they forever live with haunting memories, unable to forgive, unable to love?


This is the second in the McChord Sisters series and I think it really wouldn't work as well as a stand alone since the first sister is a prominent story thread in this book as well. That said, I enjoyed going back to this family to read about another sibling.

There is definitely an element of suspense in this book and quite a twist at the end. The romance part of the story is fairly predictable though.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Cowgirl at Heart , go HERE.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: A New Friend

This is the 5 month old Springer puppy that lives next door named Max. They run up and down together on their respective sides of the fence... Good times ahead!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Book: Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon

Summerside Press (January 1, 2010)

Miralee Ferrell

In October 2007 Kregel Publications published The Other Daughter with excellent reviews. The Romantic Times Review magazine gave it Four out of Four and a half stars, with a very strong review. Two different major motion picture studios are currently considering the book as a possible family movie, and my second book in the series (Past Shadows) is on my publishers desk being reviewed for a possible contract offer now.

In February of 2009, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California was published by Summerside Press.

Finding Jeena will release in April 2010 from Kregel Publications.

Miralee Ferrell lives in Washington with Allen, her husband of more than 37 years, ans has two grown children. She serves on staff at her local church and is actively involved in ministry to women.

Against a backdrop of thievery and murder in Bridal Veil Falls, Oregon, a historic logging community, a schoolteacher is torn between the memories of a distant love and the man who could be her future.

Sixteen-year-old Margaret Garvey had given her heart to Nathaniel Cooper the night he disappeared from town. Four years later, just as she's giving love a second chance with Andrew, a handsome logger, Nathaniel suddenly returns. He steams back into Bridal Veil on a riverboat to work at the nearby sawmill to town with a devastating secret.

While grappling with the betrayal of those she trusted most, Margaret risks her reputation and position by harboring two troubled runaways who might be involved in the murder of a local man.

When disaster strikes the town and threatens the welfare of its citizens, Margaret will be faced with the most important choice of her life.


I really enjoyed this book. With no internet to distract me I read the whole thing in one day. At first it's hard to see how all the different characters will relate, but they weave into a whole eventually. Also, living near this part of the country makes it easier for me to picture the story happening. I love that the author included an introduction and a post script explaining some history surrounding the setting and that she used some real historical figures in her story.

The story itself has enough mystery and intrigue to keep you guessing til the end. And while I originally thought I knew how it would end, I changed my mind half way through. I like forming opinions about characters and watching them change!

This is a great title in the Love Finds You series!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love Finds You in Bridal Veil, Oregon, goHERE.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Settling In

You would think that with two weeks of no internet I'd have accomplished all sorts of things in my new house... You'd be wrong!

I think I have cleaned more in the last two weeks than I did in the last year! Partly thanks to no sill leading under the door out to the new laundry room and contractors tracking stuff. Partly due to the nasty musty smell that's still hanging around (we've tried the vinegar and now are to replacing the baseboard heaters).

It seems like every time I do one thing 10 more pop up that need attention! I realize this comes with owning a house, but it's one of those things that you probably don't fully understand until you do it...

Not to mention that I'm over 7 months pregnant and about my son's naptime I'm just completely out of energy.

All that to say... the kitchen is organized, we can sit nicely in the living room, Cory can play in his room, and our bedroom only has a few small things that need attention. And I do still have at least a month (hopefully!) until baby arrives to get the spare room in order so he has room for the port-a-crib!

But, my sewing machine is still in it's box.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Double Trouble contest

At the end of the month I'll be reviewing Susan May Warren's book Double Trouble. However, there is a great big contest going on right now that ends on the 20th so here's the scoop:


Be sure to enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway by clicking on the ‘Double the Sass” button! Susan’s giving away an iPod prize package that is anything but troubling! Check it out!

Double Trouble, the brand new PJ Sugar novel by Susan May Warren, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re running a HUMDINGER of a contest!!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:
* A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
* A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
* A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
* A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
* A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
* A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
* AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble and Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)

We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on March 1st.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Global Food Crisis Day

Instead of a Wordless Wednesday post today I'd like to bring you a short PSA (public service announcement).

Today is Global Food Crisis Day.

What does that mean? It's a day to stop and think about those in the world who are in crisis because they don't have enough food to eat. It's a time to stop and think about what we can do to alleviate their suffering.

Because of the global economy more people than ever are suffering with not enough to eat. Compassion International is committed to helping as many of these people, especially children, as they can. Right now their Global Food Crisis Fund is being directed to help those in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.

You can be assured that Compassion will use your donation to serve as many people as possible. Over 80% (and this is high for charity organizations) of all donated money goes directly to help children and families and they have received the highest awards for charity standards. Also, because Compassion already had a presence in Haiti before the earthquake they have people there who know the area and the people of Haiti know they can be trusted.

I have been a partner with Compassion for the past 14 years and have always been impressed with the work they do. Thanks for considering those in the world who are less fortunate than we are.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Smoke... Yuck!

We discovered something about our house this week... the former owner was a smoker. It explains a lot. The fact that the carpet was replaced and the walls were all painted (that was the tip off actually that a Lowe's worker clued me in to) while the linoleum was not. The fact that the closets all smell particularly musty.

The house hadn't been lived in in a year so it had some time to "air out", but ever since moving in we've all been waking up with sore throats. At first I thought it was just stress and lack of sleep what with packing and moving. But I've been getting decent sleep this week (hello, no internet!) and still feeling just awful in the mornings.

The kicker was that on Friday afternoon I turned on the humidifier in our bedroom to see if it would help. Within a couple hours I walked into our room and it smelled just like the closets. Musty and yucky.

We don't exactly know where it's coming from so we're at a loss as to what will solve it. We will be cleaning the baseboard heaters as best we can and probably renting an air filter with ozone maker next weekend to see if that will help neutralize any leftover odors.

But for now we're just hoping that by airing out the house frequently and NOT smoking in it that it will go away over time.

Note to all potential homebuyers: Just because you don't smell it, doesn't mean the house wasn't smoked in. Ask!

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Brief Update

Here I am, stealing my best friend's internet... We just found out that we won't get our fiber internet installed for "a month or two" because they are waiting on the ground to thaw. Which is ironic because the same PUD is installing new power poles just half a mile from our house and I know they're digging deeper for that than they would have to for the fiber line!
Anyway, we'll be getting dial-up internet in the mean time so I can at least be partially connected to the world! Just don't expect too many pictures for awhile!

We got our new stove installed on Friday/Saturday and in the process discovered that 2 layers down on the linoleum was this fabulous 70's green layer that had a ton of texturing. Why anyone thought that would be a good idea in the kitchen... I'm just glad I didn't have to keep it clean!

And, after moving all day Saturday we were unpacking and decided to stop at midnight. Then couldn't find the sheets for our bed! After opening literally every single box in the house we found them in the bedroom behind some large pictures stacked against the wall. Of course, right where they should have been!

So far the trains aren't bothering me too bad at night although they do whistle quite loudly. However, they wake Cory up quite a bit and then he calls out, "Mama, train!" which always wakes me up! Between that and the neighbor's heating unit that makes an ungodly squawk every time it kicks on I will be so thankful when we get our new windows this spring/summer!

Let the adventures continue!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Book: Never Say Never

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Never Say Never

Bethany House (February 1, 2010)


Lisa Wingate


Lisa lives in central Texas were she is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books. Her novel, Tending Roses, received dozens of five-star reviews, sold out thirteen printings for New York publisher, Penguin Putnam, and went on to become a national bestselling book. Tending Roses was a selection of the Readers Club of America, and is currently in its fourteenth printing.

The Tending Roses series continued with Good Hope Road, the Language of Sycamores, Drenched in Light, and A Thousand Voices. In 2003, Lisa's Texas Hill Country series began with Texas Cooking, and continued with Lone Star Cafe', which was awarded a gold metal by RT Bookclub magazine and was hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "A charmingly nostalgic treat." The series concluded with Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner.

Lisa is now working on a new set of small-town Texas novels for Bethany House Publishers. The series debuted with Talk of the Town and continued with Word Gets Around and Never Say Never. A new series is also underway for Penguin Group NAL, beginning with A Month of Summer (July 2008), and continuing with The Summer Kitchen (July 2009) and Beyond Summer (July 2010). Lisa's works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Pics, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for the LORIES best Published Fiction Award. In 2009, A Month of Summer was nominated for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award.


Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence.

And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the winds blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.


Well, considering we've just moved I've only gotten a few chapters into this one. I did read the book that came before it and it was a fun, but mostly light read. I would say this is probably a stand alone book as Kai is an entirely new character, but it uses the same supporting cast as previous books about Daily, Texas.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Kai and Donetta. She figures more prominently than the book description shows.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Never Say Never, go HERE

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Before

These pictures were taken 2 weeks ago, right in the middle of getting the new vinyl on the floor (which wasn't actually necessary as all the repairs were under the sink, but hey, we didn't have to pay for it and I got to pick it out, score!).

No, the curtains are not mine and yes, they are going away ASAP!

At the far ends of each counter top are going the fridge (left) and on the right is where the washer/dryer hookups were. We are building a laundry room out the door in the garage. Hooray! Then eventually we will get a dishwasher next to the sink and a whole bunch more counter space!!!

Oh, and did you notice the old old stove? That's going away too, especially with knobs on the front at kid height. And one burner that doesn't ever turn off except by the breaker... fun times!

Living room is to the left where you see my black and white purse. 3 bedrooms and a bathroom are "behind" me.

Monday, February 01, 2010

31 Weeks

Please excuse the fact that this picture was taken 2 days before 31 weeks... horror, I know! But considering I'll be living without internet for who knows how long I wanted to get this up!

Definitely sticking out a lot more this month although it doesn't seem to be slowing me down too much. The only problem now is that it seems every time I go to bend over I get a Braxton Hicks contraction and my stomach gets so hard I literally can't bend at all. Kind of annoying!
I'm still sleeping decently and with only one extra pillow. This time last round I think I was up to about 4 pillows and poor Brian was sleeping on the couch a LOT. I suppose that could still happen...

The little guy is still kicking up a storm although I think he's a bit more confined now. The midwife said he was head down at the last appointment so let's hope he stays that way!

2 months to go and I'll be plenty busy getting our new house in order!