Book Review: Calculated Risk

Happy Monday, Everyone!!

I’m excited to bring you a new book review on Calculated Risk by Lynn Shannon. It was my first read of hers and certainly won’t be my last. Have you read it? Keep reading to find out why you should.


About the Book

He carries the burden of his mistakes.

The wounds on Jason Gonzalez’s body are nothing compared to the ones on his heart. The former Marine avoids getting close to anyone new, especially his gorgeous next-door neighbor. Until he hears a scream coming from her house in the middle of the night.

Her enemies are too numerous to count.

Addison Foster escaped an abusive marriage and has become an advocate for others. When an intruder breaks into her home and nearly kills her, Addison is rescued by an unlikely protector. But the threats against her aren’t over and she needs help.

Danger around every corner.

Jason makes it his mission to keep Addison safe, but keeping her out of his heart proves impossible. As the threats increase, there’s no room for mistakes. Will his calculated risk pay off or will it end in tragedy?

Amazon | Goodreads


My Thoughts

Y’all, this was my first Lynn Shannon read! I was so happy I picked it up. The cover is amazing, and definitely conveys the mood of the story.

Jason Gonzalez makes an epic hero. He’s strong, loyal, and protective. I loved his heart and desire to protect Addison.

And Addison is an awesome heroine! Brave, determined, and a heart for those who have been abused, what more could you ask for?

I loved seeing these two navigate through the romance aspect and I was riveted for the suspense portion of the story. I loved Lynn Shannon’s writing so much, I went and got another book of hers. I’m happily working my way through her backlist as I wait for book 2 in this series.


About the Author

Lynn Shannon writes novels that combine intriguing mysteries with heartfelt romance. Raised in Texas, she believes pecans and Blue Bell ice cream are must-haves for every household. Lynn lives with her husband, two children, and a couple of very chirpy cockatiels. You can find her online at: www.lynnshannon.com.

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Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

TBT: Troubled Heart by Tyora Moody

Happy Thursday!!

I wanted to blog about Tyora Moody’s Troubled Heart for Throwback Thursday. Maybe because I share a name with the heroine. 😉

It’s book 2 in here Reed Family series and released in 2016. If you haven’t read the book or the series, now’s the time!


About the Book

Forensic artist Toni Reed loves when her work helps the police catch criminals. Tasked with helping a traumatized woman identify her attacker, Toni is troubled when she sketches a face that resembles a man from her past. Is it the same man who brutally attacked her two years ago?

Despite longtime family friend Detective Cam Noble’s insistence that she not interfere with the case, Toni becomes obsessed with seeking justice. Will she let God lead her to come to terms with her past?

Amazon | Goodreads


About the Author

Tyora Moody is the author of Soul-Searching Suspense books which include the Reed Family Novellas, Eugeena Patterson Mysteries, Serena Manchester Series, and the Victory Gospel Series. She is also the author of the nonfiction book, The Literary Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, and the compilation editor for the Stepping Into Victory Compilations under her company, Tymm Publishing LLC.

As a literary-focused entrepreneur, she has assisted countless authors with developing an online presence via her design and marketing company, Tywebbin Creations LLC. Popular services include virtual event planning, book covers and book trailers.

To contact Tyora about book club discussions or for book marketing workshops, visit her online at TyoraMoody.com.

Links: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Top Ten Tuesday: Mardi Gras Style

Happy Fat Tuesday!!

I thought it would be fun to join The Artsy Reader Girl‘s Top Ten Tuesday prompt of Mardi Gray style covers since I have family in New Orleans.

I decided to do 12 instead of ten just so it would be even :). Click on the picture to be taken to Goodreads.

Let’s see if I can pick some interesting covers. 😉


Purple

Green

Gold


Post by contributor Toni Shiloh

Book Review: Accepting Elijah’s Heart

ABOUT THIS BOOK

He’s a former bad boy learning to forgive his past mistakes.

She’s a grieving widow struggling with motherhood.

A life-altering event offers them hope for a better future together.

Elijah Cooper grew up in church but without a relationship with God. Something he didn’t think he needed until he did. When Eli offers Reina support in a crisis, a friendship develops that could blossom to more. But with his troubled past, he is not interested in a love match or a ready-made family.

After her husband’s untimely death, Reina Blackwell can’t trust the ground she walks on not to crumble beneath her. She’s certainly no longer trusting the God who created it. Not after he shatters her world leaving her alone to mourn and raise her son. 

With scars too deep to heal on their own, can Eli and Reina find the faith they need to give and receive love?

This sweet romance will tug at your heartstrings and comfort you with joy and laughter. 

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

M. Michelle Derosier is a new to me author. I enjoyed reading Accepting Elijah’s Heart which involves a grieving widow trying to understand how a loving God could give her a wonderful husband only to take him away, Reina, the widow, doesn’t want to open herself up to love again after the death of her husband, but she has growing feelings for Elijah who came to her rescue and has fallen in love with her and her son. I am looking forward to reading more of M. Michelle Derosier’s books.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle loves Jesus and is fueled by black coffee, espresso, and freshly baked goods. Sadly, she’s not skilled at making any of the three.

She is a staunch supporter of fair and equal pay.

She is a sensitivity reader and a multi-genre writer with a focus on centering culturally diverse voices and topics.

As a freelancer, Michelle’s written for online and print publications on a myriad of subjects including nonprofit leadership equity, race, religion, and relationships. Michelle has also written early-grade literacy education books for established curriculum-based publishing brands.

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Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony

Book Review: A Future for His Twins

Happy Monday, Reader Friends!

I hope you had a great weekend. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on Susanne Dietze’s A Future for His Twins. Have you read it? If not, check it out.


About the Book

Will these children get their greatest wish?

A battle over a building

could lead to a mother for his twins.

Tomás Santos and Faith Latham both want to rent the same building in town, and neither is willing to give up the fight. But Tomás’s young twins want a new mom—and they’re sure Faith’s the perfect fit. Can these little matchmakers inspire Tomás and Faith to put their differences aside and become a family?

Amazon | B&N | CBD | Goodreads


My Thoughts

This was my first Susanne Dietze read and just as sweet as the cover. Tomás Santos and his twins are adorable and have some scene-stealing moments. I also liked the heart and kindness in the heroine Faith Latham.

Both Tom and Faith want to enhance their community but can’t see how they can do so without crushing the others dreams. And there may even be a secondary character or two who don’t want to see them together.

This book was an adorable read and a great way to pass the afternoon.


About the Author

Susanne Dietze began writing love stories in high school, casting her friends in the starring roles. Today, she’s an award-winning, RWA RITA®-nominated author who’s seen her work on the ECPA and Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller Lists for Inspirational Fiction. Married to a pastor and the mom of two, Susanne lives in California and enjoys fancy-schmancy tea parties, genealogy, the beach, and curling up on the couch with a costume drama.

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Book Review: Target For Revenge

ABOUT THIS BOOK

The North Korean regime is seeking revenge…

When Sun Lin’s old school friend Mack Remington shows up unexpectedly, she’s both surprised and suspicious. But when she learns he was attacked by members of the North Korean Regime, and the possibility they are seeking revenge against her mother for defecting years ago, Sun can’t ignore Mack’s dire warning. Unfortunately, she’s in the middle of a case, searching for a suspected North Korean nuclear bomb that has allegedly been smuggled into the city. She also doesn’t know where her mother is, to warn her. Despite her secret childhood crush on Mack, she reluctantly accepts his help.

Macklin Remington has always considered Sun a friend, they’d bonded during the years of Mensa boarding school. Seeing and working with her now, brings his protective feelings to the surface, along with an intense longing for something more. Working together, they fight assailants around every corner, while trying to track a small nuclear bomb, targeted for the upcoming presidential inauguration. The clock is ticking. Can Mack keep Sun alive, find the bomb, and convince her how much he loves her, before it’s too late?

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

I love reading suspenseful stories. Target For Revenge drew me in right from the straight as Sun encounters Mack, her friend from the boarding school they had attended, who was attacked by members of the North Korean Regime who are after Sun and her mother. Sun’s mother has secrets of her own and she does her best to try to protect her daughter. Laura Scott added a couple of surprises in Target For Revenge that kept me reading and guessing until the end.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’m often asked when I started writing and I have to be honest, I can’t remember when I wasn’t writing. I loved books as a kid and like many authors I ran out of stories that I liked to read so I began to make up my own. I wrote my first teen novel when I was thirteen and my first romance when I was seventeen. Of course neither manuscript was very good, but I never gave up and after I finished Graduate school I decided to take some time for myself and get back to my writing. I’m so glad I did!

I grew up reading faith based books by Grace Livingston Hill so writing for Love Inspired Suspense is a dream come true. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy writing them.

I currently live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with my husband of thirty-three years. My daughter Nicole is married to a wonderful man named Mike and my son Jonathan is a Registered Nurse at the same hospital where I work. I’m so blessed to have such a wonderful family. 

I’m a dog lover and had to put my Westie named Mac down a year or so ago. I still miss him but now have a chance to dog sit for my sisters and brother. I try to incorporate pets in my my stories as much as possible

In May of 2017 I was the humble recipient of the Wisconsin Romance Writers Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m blessed to be a member of such an amazing group!

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Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony

Throwback Thursday — The Angel Tree

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing a middle-grade contemporary holiday novel with a mystery element which highlights friendship, community service, and kindness.

 

About the Book

A heartwarming Christmas mystery and friendship story! 

Every Christmas in the small town of Pine River, a tree appears in the town square–the Angel Tree. Some people tie wishes to the tree, while others make those wishes come true. Nobody’s ever known where the tree comes from, but the mystery has always been part of the tradition’s charm.

This year, however, four kids who have been helped–Lucy, Joe, Max, and Cami–are determined to solve the mystery and find out the true identity of the town’s guardian angel, so that Pine River can finally thank the person who brought the Angel Tree to their town.


This is a heartwarming Christmas mystery, full of friendship, discovery, and loads of holiday cheer!

‘PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY’ REVIEW:
“Full of the type of warmth and good cheer found in favorite holiday movies, author and PW reviewer Benedis-Grab’s lively tale spotlights the time-honored tradition—and can-do citizens—that make a small town great, even in the face of financial struggle. Nobody is certain who is behind the stately Angel Tree that appears in the Pine River town square each year, but everyone knows that when people tie notes containing their Christmas wishes to the tree, the wishes are granted. This year, middle-schoolers Cami, Max, Lucy, and Joe (all of whom have benefitted from the Angel Tree’s bounty) try to uncover the tree’s benefactor and thank him or her. As the kids puzzle through clues, they discover things that bring them closer to their families, neighbors, and each other—all in time for a satisfying, celebratory reveal. Ages 8–12.”

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

I saw this book on the fiction shelf in the children’s section of the local public library a couple of weeks after Christmas last year. Since I love to read holiday fiction and non-fiction year round, I grabbed it, checked it out, and took it home.

This is a heartwarming story about four diverse middle-schoolers who make it their common goal to discover who the beneficent organizer and underwriter of the town’s Angel Tree and annual charitable holiday acts is. The person’s identity has been a mystery for over three decades, and these children want to do something wonderful to celebrate this person’s generosity.

The group of four–five if you count Lucy’s guide dog, Valentine, who is helpful in discovering some important clues–is made up of Cami, an talented African-American musician who is being raised by her grandmother because she is an orphan; Lucy, a blind Chinese girl adopted by her American parents when she was a baby; Valentine, Lucy’s guide dog that is facing a serious health challenge of her own; Joe, the new kid in town who has a bad attitude and a secret; and Max, the class clown who has some serious family problems on his plate. Of note, Joe and Max are living in poverty due to familial circumstances; their relationship did not get off to a good start when Joe came to town.

Despite their differences, under the leadership of Cami the four of them work through their issues with each other and pull together to solve the mystery of the Angel Tree.

The story includes several instances where each character is facing an individual challenge. This was one of the things I liked the most about this book — it wasn’t a fairy tale with a happily ever after ending. The main characters dealt with realistic problems and obstacles on the pathway of life in order to improve their lives and the lives of their family members and the community. The group’s dynamics were also believable and enjoyable.

Oh, did I mention the cover? The magical Christmas tree with the silhouetted main characters on the cover perfectly portrays the inner beauty revealed throughout this story.

I look forward to reading more of this author’s work in the future.

Highly-recommended as a family, classroom, and youth group/church group read-aloud book.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.


About the Author

AUTHOR PHOTO

Daphne is the author of middle grade books Army Brats, (nominated for the Louisiana Reader’s Choice Award) Clementine for Christmas, The Chocolate Challenge and The Angel Tree (nominated for the Triple Crown Children’s Book Award), and the young adult books The Girl in the Wall (an ALA Quick Pick) and Alive and Well in Prague, New York (a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of 2008).  Her short stories have appeared in American Girl Magazine.  She earned an MFA at The New School and is an adjunct professor at The New School and McDaniel College, as well as a former high school history teacher. She lives in New York City with her husband, kids and cat, and is currently studying at to become a librarian.

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First Line Friday: Forever In My Heart

Happy Friday everyone! You know what that means…it’s time for First Line Friday, hosted by Hoarding Books. Grab the book nearest to you and share the first line!

Today we are featuring the first line of Forever In My Heart by Dionne Grace. And the first line is…

Sherry Palmer listened to the gentle rustle of the trees and green foliage in the distance.


About the Book

Sherry’s God-given gift allows her to see far beyond the naked eye, just not what He has planned for her.

Throughout Sherry’s life, there was only ever one man. Adrian Chase. She fell deeply, and when they made plans to marry, she thought her life was set.
Strong in the Lord, she has a gift to see into the spiritual realm. But when unforeseeable, uncontrollable circumstances change the course of their lives, the only man she has ever loved ends up with someone else.
Years on, plagued with memories of their past, she is left in limbo and has given up the possibility of ever seeing Adrian again.
All it takes is one fateful weekend and one look into his soulful brown eyes to undo the years of work it has taken to bury the pain that now threatens to tear her apart all over again.

Plagued by her past and the love in her heart, can she move forward with her life?

Amazon | Goodreads


What’s the first line of the book you’re reading?

Post by Contributor Toni Shiloh

Throwback Thursday — Indian No More

Welcome to Throwback Thursday! Today I am sharing a middle-grade historical novel based on the life of the late Author Charlene Willing McManis, a member of the Umpqua Nation in Central Oregon.

 

About the Book

Winner of the 2020 American Indian Youth Literature Award for Best Middle-Grade Book!


Regina Petit’s family has always been Umpqua, and living on the Grand Ronde reservation is all ten-year-old Regina has ever known. Her biggest worry is that Sasquatch may actually exist out in the forest. But when the federal government signs a bill into law that says Regina’s tribe no longer exists, Regina becomes “Indian no more” overnight–even though she was given a number by the Bureau of Indian Affairs that counted her as Indian, even though she lives with her tribe and practices tribal customs, and even though her ancestors were Indian for countless generations.

With no good jobs available in Oregon, Regina’s father signs the family up for the Indian Relocation program and moves them to Los Angeles. Regina finds a whole new world in her neighborhood on 58th Place. She’s never met kids of other races, and they’ve never met a real Indian. For the first time in her life, Regina comes face to face with the viciousness of racism, personally and toward her new friends.

Meanwhile, her father believes that if he works hard, their family will be treated just like white Americans. But it’s not that easy. It’s 1957 during the Civil Rights Era. The family struggles without their tribal community and land. At least Regina has her grandmother, Chich, and her stories. At least they are all together.

In this moving middle-grade novel drawing upon Umpqua author Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history, Regina must find out: Who is Regina Petit? Is she Indian? Is she American? And will she and her family ever be okay?

Amazon



My Thoughts About This Book:

This moving story, based upon Author Charlene Willing McManis’s childhood, reminded me of how I felt after reading Author Lauren Wolk’s ‘Wolf Hollow’ and Author Kirby Larson’s ‘Dash’. These stories all remained on my mind for a long time after I finished reading them because they are so powerful . . .

‘Indian No More’ describes, in great detail, events in American history which I knew nothing about prior to picking up this book.

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed Public Law 588. “The law said the government didn’t need to provide for our education, health care, of anything else as promised in the treaties. The government declared us only Americans now instead of our own nation. We didn’t need a reservation anymore.” (page 20)

In 1956, Congress passed the Indian Relocation Act. “This removed many more Native people from their reservation homelands and relocated them to big cities like Chicago, Minneapolos, Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. The government promised moving costs, jobs, higher education, and housing.” (page 180)

The Petit family in the story moved to Los Angeles. They moved into a diverse neighborhood with black and Cuban families. I shed tears at the many ways in which these diverse groups were treated unfairly and unkindly in the community, in the schools, and in society, in general.

One of the uplifting scenes in the book that I could personally relate to was when Regina’s grandmother taught her to sew. They worked together from start to finish on remaking a man’s jacket into a jacket for one of the neighbor boys. Regina’s grandmother taught her how to draft patterns, cut out the fabric pieces, sew the garment together using their Singer sewing machine, and then handsew the finishing touches.

This brought back so many happy memories of my Grandma McCrary and I sewing together in the summer before I began sixth grade. Grandma shared all of her knowledge and expertise with me, but I know I enjoyed the love and time she shared with me even more.

The Back Matter is excellent — Definitions; Author’s Note; Photographs of the author’s family and significant locations mentioned in the book; Co-Author’s Note, Editor’s Note; and the text of an Umpqua story mentioned in the novel, ‘The Beaver and the Coyote’, are included.

There are so many layers to this book. There is the historical perspective of what the government did and effect it had upon these native peoples. There are the feelings of prejudice experienced by these diverse groups. Most importantly, since the story is told by an eight-year-old girl, we are given the insight of the magnitude of these two laws and the ensuing events they caused from the perspective of an innocent child.

I highly-recommend this book to children and adults. This book would make a great classroom or family read-aloud. Many events in the story will require open discussion about sensitive topics. There are a lot of emotions and issues to digest, but I felt richly-rewarded by having read this book.

I borrowed this book from the local public library.


About the Authors

— The late Charlene Willing McManis (1953-2018) was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Los Angeles. She was of Umpqua tribal heritage and enrolled in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. Charlene served in the U.S. Navy and later received her Bachelor’s degree in Native American Education. She lived with her family in Vermont and served on that state’s Commission on Native American Affairs. In 2016, Charlene received a mentorship with award-winning poet and author Margarita Engle through We Need Diverse Books. That manuscript became the novel Indian No More, which is based on her family’s experiences after their tribe was terminated in 1954. She passed away in 2018, knowing that her friend Traci Sorell would complete the revisions Charlene was unable to finish.

Traci Sorell writes poems as well as fiction and nonfiction works for children and teens featuring contemporary characters and compelling biographies—the type of books she sought out in her school and public libraries as a child.

Traci’s debut nonfiction picture book, We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga, was awarded a 2019 Sibert Honor, a 2019 Boston Globe-Horn Book Picture Book Honor and a 2019 Orbis Picture Honor. Illustrated by Frané Lessac and published by Charlesbridge Publishing, it also received four starred reviews (Kirkus, School Library Journal, The Horn Book and Shelf Awareness). An audio book is available from Live Oak Media.

Her debut fiction picture book, At the Mountain’s Base, is illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre and published by Kokila/Penguin.

Traci is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation. She grew up in northeastern Oklahoma, where her tribe is located and her relatives still live. Find out more about Traci at www.tracisorell.com.

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Book Review: Undefeated

Happy Wednesday, friends! Today’s book review is Undefeated, book 1 in the Against All Odds series, by C.D. Gill. Undefeated released today. Happy Release Day!


ABOUT THE BOOK

You’re innocent, but you just spent 5 years in prison. Would you be okay with never learning the truth?

Former soccer coach Xander Reinerman barely made it out of prison alive with scars and panic attacks as souvenirs. Five years ago, someone framed him for steroid sales and drugging his university soccer players. Now he’s out to show the world especially his family that he isn’t the monster the media made him out to be. Doing that in a new town with no money, no friends, and a felony record will take every weapon in his arsenal and what’s left of his shredded hope.

After Golden’s philanthropist Gia Carter offers shelter to the mysterious dark-haired stranger in town, her life begins to unravel at breakneck speed. Someone’s out to ruin her and they won’t stop until she’s headed back to her parents in a body bag.

Can Xander and Gia keep shambles of their lives together long enough to name their enemies, get justice, and learn to trust along the way?

Buy your next adventure today! Readers of Nora Roberts, Charles Martin, and Khaled Hosseini will enjoy C.D. Gill’s latest suspense novel!

AMAZON | GOODREADS


MY THOUGHTS

C.D. Gill is a new-to-me author. I truly enjoyed reading Undefeated, which has suspense in it. Gia has some skeletons in her closet but also knows how to protect herself and is determined to make her own way into the world, even though she comes from a wealthy family. Xander, without his family’s support, has been released from prison and is looking for answers to prove his innocence. I adore their growing relationship with each other as they work together to find the answers to whoever framed Xander and who is trying to destroy Gia’s new life she is building. I’m looking forward to reading more of C.D. Gill’s books. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As most authors, I have been writing since I was a little girl. Stories and ideas were written on any type of scrap paper that made its way into my clutches.  Aside from the folders filled with such papers, spiral-bound notebooks could be found strewn about the house with a range of stories from fanciful fiction to autobiography. I had written the first chapter of a fanciful fiction story about the adventures of pants and pantyhose long before Pixar came out with “Toy Story” and “Cars.” My story was similar to “Homeward Bound,” just with a textile twist. What can I say? My overactive imagination was ahead of the curve.

My imagination has matured, and I now have the attention span to sit down and flesh out a story idea before starting another one. My inspiration comes in many forms, but Jesus, travel, cultures, languages, and justice are passions of mine that I love to study and pursue.

There’s a big wide world out there beyond what I have seen. There are stories that deserve a spotlight and lessons we can learn, if not through experience then through fiction. Join me in exploring places, hearing stories, and meeting people that will change our path forever!

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Post by Contributor Allyson Anthony