Monday, February 8, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles} Spotlight on "Anything for a Story" by Cynthia Hickey

Spotlight on "Anything for a Story" by Cynthia Hickey

Stormi is delightful as the accident prone and bumbling wanna be detective. What she lacks in skill she makes up for in nosiness. Add in the sexy detective and a slightly nutty family and our lead character has her hands full.
~Amazon reviewer



About the book:
Stormi Nelson, best-selling romance author, moved into her huge Victorian house in the private community of Oak Meadows Estates. When her agent tells her that her characters are becoming too cardboard and that she needs to get out and mingle with people, she comes up with the idea of a Neighborhood Watch Program. The only problem is … she’s the only member. On her first night of patrol, she stumbles over a dead body, meets a hunky detective, who happens to be her neighbor and clearly frustrated with her, and her mother, sister, niece and nephew arrive to shake up Stormi’s peaceful life. As she is immersed ever deeper into the mystery surrounding a neighbor’s murder, she decides to change writing tactics and write a romantic mystery based on her experiences. What follows is a frolicking good time as Stormi finds herself the nosiest neighbor of them all. Can she find the killer before she becomes the next victim?


PURCHASE

A note from the author, Cynthia Hickey:

"Why I Became a Writer"

Funny how this roller-coaster business can tug on someone until it’s either write or die. A bit dramatic, yes, but that’s how most writers feel.

I started reading at the young age of five and became hooked on words and stories. Being a shy child, I would make up stories to act out, but it wasn’t until Junior High when an English teacher assigned a 
writing project that I realized how much I loved putting the story to paper. I began writing short stories in which my younger brother was featured as the hero, or I’d write a romance featuring me and whatever boy I had a crush on at the time.

When I turned fifteen, I wrote my first “real story” about terrorists taking over a high school. Funny how I have now seen that very plot made into a movie. I couldn’t be stopped after that first “book.” I kept writing, keeping my stories in a notebook, which I unfortunately lost when I married and moved out of state. Then, life happened and I didn’t take up writing again until the age of forty when my children were older and I had time to devote to it.

In 2007, I published my first cozy mystery, Fudge-Laced Felonies, with Barbour Publishing and haven’t slowed down since. Forty books later, and several genres added to the mix, I have no intentions of stopping this crazy career any time soon. It’s as much a part of me as breathing.

About the author:
Multi-published and Amazon Best-Selling author Cynthia Hickey had three cozy mysteries and two novellas published through Barbour Publishing. She had several historical romances release in 2013, 2014, 2015 through Harlequin’s Heartsong Presents, and has sold half a million copies of her works. She is active on FB, twitter, and Goodreads, and is a contributor to Cozy Mystery Magazine blog and Suspense Sisters blog. She and her husband run the small press, Forget Me Not Romances, which includes some of the CBA’s well-known authors. She lives in Arizona with her husband, one of their seven children, two dogs, two cats, three box turtles, and two Sulcata tortoises. She has seven grandchildren who keep her busy and tell everyone they know that “Nana is a writer”. Visit her website at www.cynthiahickey.com

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Wounded by God's People by Anne Graham Lotz

Book Description: As the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, Lotz has lived among the faithful all her life---and knows that we are quite capable of hurting one another! Drawing wisdom from the biblical story of Abraham and Hagar, she explores the ways in which the wounded can become wounders themselves---and points us toward God's merciful healing grace. 

My Thoughts:  Reading Wounded by God's People by Anne Graham Lotz was like drinking a refreshing swig of cold water on a hot summer day.
I have often wondered why God's people, the very people who are suppose to show love, compassion and forgiveness, can be the most spiteful and mean to other christians and people?  The answer may lie in what Anne Graham Lotz calls the "wounders."  Those people, wounders,  have been wounded themselves so they want to strike out at others.
Throughout this read the story of Hagar and how she was severely wounded by Abraham and Sarah is the guideline for forgiveness and mercy.  While reading this book I saw that the "wounder" is not always or may never be the one who forgives but we must always draw closer to God for He is the healer of wounds. 
This is an easy to read not a dry philosophical book.  Anne Graham Lotz shares her hurts, sorrows and the love of Jesus.  More like a story within a story.  
I loved this book and will probably read it more than twice!  I,also, think this book would make a great gift for someone who may be going through a wounded time in his life.
*This book was provided by BookSneeze/Zondervan*

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310262895
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310262893





Wednesday, February 3, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Another GREAT Pinterest crockpot chili for those cold days!

2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin 
1 t chili powder 
1 t onion powder 
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese

 Put the chicken in the crock pot. Top with the corn, drained and rinsed beans, ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders, stir to combine then top with the cream cheese. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Newsmakers Hardcover by Lis Wiehl (Author), Sebastian Stuart (Contributor)

Book Description:  TV reporter Erica Sparks has become a superstar overnight. Is it due to her hard work and talent, or is she at the center of a spiraling conspiracy?
Erica Sparks is a beautiful and ambitious reporter who has just landed her dream job at Global News Network in New York. And while it was hard to leave Jenny, her cherished eight-year-old daughter, in the custody of her ex-husband, Erica is determined to succeed in the cutthroat world of big-time broadcasting. She can only hope her troubled past won’t come back to sabotage her dreams.
Although the wounds from her divorce are still fresh, Erica can’t deny the chemistry between her and her new producer, the handsome and empathic Greg Underwood. But a relationship is the last thing she wants right now.
On her very first assignment, Erica inadvertently witnesses—and films—a horrific tragedy, scooping all the other networks. Mere weeks later, another tragedy strikes—again, right in front of Erica and her cameras. Her career skyrockets overnight, but Erica is troubled. Deeply. This can’t just be coincidence. But what is it?
Erica will stop at nothing to uncover the truth. But she has to make sure disaster—and her troubled past—don’t catch up with her first.

My Thoughts:  I was excited to see that Lis Wiehl wrote another story but this time her co-author/contributor is Sebastian Stuart.  And this story doesn't leave off where Lis' other stories ended, this is a whole new "look."
Erica Sparks is not only beautiful but she is feisty.  She has just landed her dream job at Global News in New York.  She feels this is a major "up" for her career.  And she is good at her job.
Now, Erica is divorced with an eight year old daughter, Jenny. She doesn't like leaving Jenny with her ex but in the cut throat business of reporting, Erica fees that she must do what she HAS to do.  
And she seems be "falling" for the producer.  
Erica, on her first reporting job, accidentally witnesses and films a horrific tragedy.  And then a few weeks later she, again, captures a hair raising tragedy.  Her career blooms!
But "it" just doesn't seem right to Erica and she is worried about the coincidences.  
This is where the suspense and the mystery come in.  
Just a word . . . this is not a christian read.  Even though at one point Erica thinks about God.  This is a clean well written thoroughly enjoyable suspense read! 
As only Lis Wiehl can . . . lots and lots of suspense.  And an ending that was a bit of surprise.

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*



  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (January 19, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0718037677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0718037673

Monday, February 1, 2016

{Kregel Blog Tour} Ashes to Ashes (The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon) by Mel Starr

Book Description:  The morning after the festivities of Midsummer's Eve, the villagers of Bampton make a grisly discovery

Master Hugh, Kate, and their children attend the Midsummer’s Eve fire. The next morning Hugh hears the passing bell ring from the Church of St. Beornwald, and moments later is summoned. Tenants collecting the ashes to spread upon their fields have found burned bones.
Master Hugh learns of several men of Bampton and nearby villages who have gone missing recently. Most are soon found, some alive, some dead. Master Hugh eventually learns that the bones are those of a bailiff from a nearby manor. Someone has slain him and placed his body in the fire to destroy evidence of murder.
Bailiffs are not popular men; they dictate labor service, collect rents, and enforce other obligations. Has this bailiff died at the hand of some angry tenant? Hugh soon discovers this is not the case. There is quite another reason for murder . . .

My Thoughts:  I've had the pleasure of reading all The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton by Mel Starr.  

These reads are outside my usual readings even though they are mysteries.

There isn't a lot of fast action and the books are very historical.  Mel Starr has done a lot of research in the early days of medical practices.

By now, Master Hugh is married to Kate and they have children.  So, as most families would Master Hugh and Kate take their family to the Midsummer's Eve fire.  A celebration in the community.  Then, the next morning as the people are spreading the ashes in the fields bones are found. (Hence the title Ashes To Ashes).

One must remember that Master Hugh is not only in the medical field but he is a detective of sorts.  When there is mystery the people come to him for answers.  And so, once again, the community comes to Master Hugh for answers to why are several men missing...most of them are found dead.  Why the murders?

Master Hugh is on the case!  

I must admit I couldn't figure this case out very quickly but I enjoyed the clues and working alongside Master Hugh. {Yes, an armchair detective!}

A great read for those who enjoy a slower pace, lots of history mixed with a mystery!

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

  • Series: The Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction (November 27, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782641335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782641339



Thursday, January 28, 2016

COTT {Clash of the Titles} January Winner

The Winner of the January Clash


Thanks to all of January’s wonderful authors! 

Here’s what readers had to say: 

All of these books look like so much fun! When I first saw The Volk Advent by Kristen Wilks, I was intrigued by the combination of a teen trying to escape murder charges and a pack of wolves, and I like to read historical fiction because I can experience other cultures.

Cynthia Hickey is a wonderful author. Engaging characters with twists you don’t expect. I love her books!

Andrea Boeshars’ Seasons of Love—Love reading them

Beth Wiseman just happens to be the best of the best! Her novels are outstanding at character and plot development
Runaways is a book you start and can’t put down

Am so looking forward to reading Runaways by Brenda Poulos!!!

Congratulations Brenda Poulos on your new hit, Runaways: The Long Journey Home

Excellent reading. Great job, Brenda
 
Introducing Our Winner
Congratulations Brenda Poulos!



No Mama. An abusive father. A hound dog for a best friend.

A victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hand of his father, Jake runs away following the most severe beating he’s ever endured. Leaving the only home he’s ever known in the backwoods of the Appalachian Mountains, he escapes into unknown territory with only his dog beside him. Jake and Hound face bitter cold and near starvation as they seek a new life--one free from fear, loneliness, and pain. And Father hunts Jake down with the very rifle he used to kill Sam and Mama.

Led by unseen forces. Protected by his dog. Jake experiences acceptance and unconditional love when he is befriended by a kindly older couple.

But, will he be able to put his past problems behind him and embrace a future made possible through the power of forgiveness?

Will he find a new life filled with hope for the future and learn to trust?

And when he is confronted with the biggest decision of his life, will he choose to run away, again, or face his father?

Runaways: The Long Journey Home is available on Amazon

From Brenda

For years, I had a recurring dream...a boy leaving a wilderness cabin on a cold winter’s night. No coat. No shoes. Totally unprepared for life on his own. And yet, I knew he was desperate to get away.
I was compelled to find out who the boy was, what circumstances he was running away from, where he would go, and if he would survive...

At this point, the dream left off, and the story—Jake’s story—began to take shape.

I sat at my computer day after day for almost two years. Eyes closed, I wrote as I experienced the journey along with this determined and resilient ten-year-old boy.

Reviews for Runaways: The Long Journey Home
Brenda Poulos should be a best-selling author! She is a masterful writer. Her ability to develop characters within the context of a compelling and spell-binding story is captivating. If you are looking for a fun read that will leave you wanting more, Runaways is a great selection. You’ll read this and find yourself recommending it to your friends. by J. Akerson on Amazon
 

Runaways is a book you won't be able to put down. The writing style of Brenda Poulos will pull you in as if you're a main part of the story. You will be on the edge of your seat in anticipation of what's coming next. And I'd bet the emotions of the characters will be felt throughout and will touch your heart. Wow! Perhaps a top-rated movie in the future? A+ by Jon Peterson on Amazon
 

Brenda does a wonderful job developing characters you care about while driving a story that is compelling and inspirational. This is a must read for all people who are looking for a story for the soul. by an Amazon customer
 

I couldn’t put this book down! Engagingly written, authentic characters, pain, and grace all intermingle in a believable way. Poulos lit up my mind’s eye with her vivid imagery. I will definitely read more from this author. by Kirsten Samuel on Amazon
 
 
 


Bio: Formerly an elementary school teacher and counselor, Brenda Poulos has now embarked on a new career as an author of Christian fiction. Her concern for families suffering abuse and her passion to reveal the power of forgiveness in creating lives with hope for the future were the catalysts for writing her first novel, Runaways: The Long Journey Home.

 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}



Making this delicious and easy Soapapilla Cheesecake for Valentine's Day . . . 

Sopapilla Cheesecake

*2 cans Pillsbury Crescent rolls
*2-8oz Cream Cheese (room temperature)
*1 1/2 cups Sugar
*1 tsp. Vanilla extract
*1 tsp Cinnamon
*1 stick butter (1/2 cup real butter not margarine)


Spray a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray. Unroll and press 1 can crescent rolls into the bottom of your baking dish press the seams together. In a separate bowl blend the cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla  spread over top of dough. Unroll the second can of crescent rolls and place on top of the cream cheese mixture pressing seams together again. Melt butter and pour over top layer of crescents. Mix the reaming 1/2 cup of sugar & cinnamon together. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture generously over the top.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and bottom crust is slightly brown. So easy and delicious! Cool, slice and enjoy!