Monday, November 29, 2021

Deadlock (FBI: Houston) by DiAnn Mills


Book Description:  Two murders have rocked the city of Houston. Are they the work of a serial killer, or is a copycat trying to get away with murder?

That is the question facing Special Agent Bethany Sanchez, who is eager for her new assignment in violent crimes but anxious about meeting her new partner. Special Agent Thatcher Graves once arrested her brother, and he has a reputation for being a maverick. Plus, their investigative styles couldn’t be more opposite: he operates on instinct, while she goes by the book.

When hot leads soon fizzle out, their differences threaten to leave them deadlocked. But an attempt on their lives turns up the heat and brings them closer together, and a third victim might yield the clue that will help them zero in on a killer. This could be the case of their careers . . . if they can survive long enough to solve it.

My Thoughts:  I've been waiting for this book!  I've read all of the FBI: Houston books.  Each book is about a different crime and different agents that work on the cases.  But  all the crimes take place in Houston, Texas.
Special Agent Bethany Sanchez and Special Agent Thatcher Graves couldn't be more different in their approaches to solving crimes.  She goes by the law and he goes by what he believes/feels.  They are placed as a team to solve two murders that have rocked Houston.
As their leads fizzle out it seems that this case becomes a deadlock...nothing is happening.
But then a third victim and an attempt on the agents lives turns up the heat on this case.
As the agents begin to rely on each other and trust each other.  They realize that their opposite ways of solving crimes can actually help them solve the crimes. 
Once again Houston FBI has some of the best agents in literary fiction!
Again, DiAnn Mills has written fantabulous story!  

  • ISBN-10: 1414389957
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414389950

Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter


Book Description: Four friends devise a plan to turn Smitten, Vermont, into the country's premier romantic getaway-and each finds her own true love along the way. 

With Smitten Lumber closing, residents wonder if their town can stay afloat. Then four friends and local business owners-Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese--decide the town is worth saving. How will they do it? They'll turn Smitten into a honeymoon destination!As Natalie, Julia, Shelby, and Reese work to save the town, each discovers romance in her own life. Meanwhile, the faith of a little child reminds the whole town what it means to have real faith in the God who is the always and forever Love.

My Review:  The lumber town of Smitten has been smitten with a case of bad luck; no lumber mill, no town?
But four friends decide the town is worth saving and come up with a plan! A honeymoon destination for those who are smitten by the love bug. 
"Natalie" by Colleen Coble is all about Natalie and Joe Smitten, the town leader.  Natalie finds that the heart of a person goes deeper than their words.  
"Julia" by Kristin Billerbeck how Julia must come to grips with Jake without letting him burn up all her plans.
"Shelby" by Diann Hunt is about Shelby and mountain man, Nick.  Shelby loves tea and Nick loves trees, ummm...quite a mix!
"Reese" by Denise Hunter finds Reese smitten by her long time friend, Griffen.  Reese's plan to get Griffen's attention is humorous and quite original.
This is a fun, light read!  A great book for sitting by the fire with a cup of hot tea or cocoa.  

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Backlash (Capital Intrigue) Book 2 by Rachel Dylan


Book Description:  CIA analyst Layla Karam is thrust into a dangerous DEA field operation against a cartel that puts a target on her back. Though Layla never wanted to be a field agent, Langley had other ideas. After one of her team members is murdered because of fallout from the op, Layla is left scrambling to find safety. At the same time, the CIA opens up an internal investigation against her. Out of options, Layla turns to ex-boyfriend and private investigator Hunter McCoy for help finding out who might want to ruin her career.Layla and Hunter soon discover a mole inside the DEA has sold out the team's identity to the cartel. She must clear her name with the Agency and protect herself and her teammates from cartel retaliation. With threats on all sides, Layla must put her trust in Hunter--the man who broke her heart--and hope they both come out of it alive. 

My Thoughts:  This is the second book in the Capital Intrigue series.  And, boy oh boy! what a read!
This story is classified as romantic suspense but it is SO much more than that.  It's a read about CIA analyst Layla, the DEA, a cartel, Layla's team members and Hunter McCoy.
It just so happens that Layla has made an enemy of a certain cartel.  And this is not a "good" cartel.  The people in this cartel want Layla know, as in dead gone.
Poor Layla!  She has unknowingly stepped into a snares trap.  Fortunately for he she realizes what is happening and calls on her team members to help her but it may too late.
And then her ex-boyfriend, Hunter, shows up to help.  Layla uint quite sure how he can help.  It seems that things are not as they seem.
This is a WOW! read with those nail biting and can't turn the pages fast enough moments.  All the criteria for a wonderful read of intrigue and suspense.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

WOW (Warm Oven Wednesday}

 WOW! Fall is here, again!  And with fall comes apples.  And we love apples!  

Another great recipe found on Pinterest! So I'm making these . . . 
**Cherries or peaches can be substituted for apples.

1 (21 ounce) can apple pie filling
6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water

  • Spoon about one heaping quarter cup of pie filling evenly down the center of each tortilla.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon; roll up, tucking in edges; and place seam side down in prepared dish.
  • In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, white sugar, brown sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat and simmer 3 minutes.
  • Pour sauce over enchiladas and let stand 45 minutes.
  • Bake in preheated oven 20 minutes, or until golden.
  • Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Joy to the World By Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, and Erica Vetsch


Book Description:  In Heaven and Nature Sing, two music lovers, parted in youth, find their way back to one another. A woman and child cross paths with a wounded veteran and discover healing in Far As the Curse Is Found. And in The Wonders of His Love, can a portrait painter thaw a widow's heart? 

"Heaven and Nature Sing" by Carolyn Miller

When family obligations part two people in love will they ever have a chance to love again?  Edith and George take family quite seriously, almost too seriously, until per happenstance they are in each others company once again after having fallen in love years before.  Edith longs for a family and George longs for Edith.  George must once again win Edith over.

"Far as the Curse is Found" by Amanda Barratt

This was an interesting short story.  A woman with a child out of wedlock in a day and age when such things were frowned upon.  And a poor, wounded solider.  When Dwight offers Jenny a job so she can feed her child happiness begins to blossom in two hearts.

"Wonders of His Love" by Erica Vetsch
Oh, my!  This story was so toughing,  A widow with a heart frozen with hurts as wide as a glacier and a painter with a warm heart just ready to heat up a frozen tundra.  The way that Hamish melts Cilla's heart is such a sweet story.  A story full of love and grace.

These three stories are perfect to begin the holiday season.  Stories that will brighten your day and help you to get ready for warmth and happiness.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The Blended Quilt by Wanda E. Brunstetter & Jean Brunstetter


Book Description:  Sadie Kuhns has a lot happening in her life. She is creating a unique quilt by blending a traditional Amish pattern with a Hawaiian pattern as a tribute to her time spent in the islands, and she is working on a self-published book. But her relationship with Wyman Kauffman has stagnated after six months of courtship. He can’t seem to commit to a profession that would secure a future, and he is jealous of the time Sadie gives to her own pursuits. Is there really any reason to drag this courtship out? 

My Thoughts:  Ahh!  The trials of budding romance.  Except that poor Sadie seems to have a bit more of the trial then most.  Her relationship with Wyman seems to budding and thriving and then nothing!  A nothing more than 'hi' relationship.
Sadie like most Amish young women knows how to quilt and do it well.  The only thing is Sadie has been to Hawaii, remember the Hawaiian Quilt?  Now Sadie wants to make a quilt putting Hawaii and her Amish roots together.  What a grand idea!  Sadie also wants to self publish a book. But her relationship or lack or relationship with Wyman seems to keep all her projects and thoughts on the back burner.
As the story evolves so does the relationship of Sadie and Wyman evolve with all of its ups and downs.
Sadie learns to overcome and Wyman learns to be productive.  Quite a gut story.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Elinor: A Riveting Story Based on the Lost Colony of Roanoke (Daughters of the Lost Colony)

 Book Description:  In 1587, Elinor White Dare sailed from England heavy with her first child but full of hopes. Her father, a renowned artist and experienced traveler, has convinced her and her bricklayer husband Ananias to make the journey to the New World. Land, they are promised, more goodly and beautiful than they can ever imagine. But nothing goes as planned from landing at the wrong location, to facing starvation, to the endless wait for help to arrive. And, beyond her comprehension, Elinor finds herself utterly alone. . . .

The colony at Roanoke disappeared into the shadows of history. But, what if one survived to leave a lasting legacy?

My Thoughts:  This is such uninteresting story.  A part of history that I hadn't thought about. A woman and her child in a new country.  A colony that disappears or does it.  The riveting story of Roanoke.
In history we've all studied about the lost colony of Roanoke.  We're told it just up and disappeared.  no survivors to be found.  But here's another level to the history side and an interesting one it is.
What amazed me is that a young woman "heavy" with child would sail to a new land an other country.  No hospitals, maybe no doctors.  No fast food.  No one in the new land to help her with a newborn babe.
If you're a history buff then this is a definite read for you.  
Not only is this an interesting story but the author brings about a new idea...Did everyone really disappear from Roanoke OR was there a survivor?
Loved this story!
*This book was provided for review by Barbour*

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

  love fall and I absolutely LOVE pumpkin spiced latte.  However, I don't live near a Starbucks or any coffee place so when I found this recipe on Pinterest I was so happy!  

recipe image

I love this recipe!  However, I simply add 1/4 cup water and 1 cup milk (2%), then I warm in the microwave for 2 minutes in a glass measuring cup.  I use all the listed ingredients and mix well with a spoon.  Don't skimp on the whipped topping (smile).  You may want to follow this recipe exactly.  It is so good and it's so much cheaper to make your own.
3 cups hot whole milk
4 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 ounces double-strength brewed coffee
3 tablespoons sweetened whipped
3 pinches pumpkin pie spice
1.Combine the hot milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice in a blender; blend until frothy. Pour the mixture into 3 coffee mugs to about 2/3 full. Pour 2 ounces coffee into each mug. Garnish each mug with whipped topping and pumpkin pie spice.

Monday, November 15, 2021

An Amish Winter (Love Inspired) by Vannetta Chapman (Author), Carrie Lighte (Author)


Book Description:  Snowstorms and babies bring couples together.  In Vannetta Chapman’s Stranded in the Snow, widowed single mother Faith Yoder and her baby find temporary refuge from a snowstorm with Elijah King’s generous help. And in Caring for the Amish Baby by Carrie Lighte, after her trip south for the winter is delayed, Amish spinster Leah Zehr must work with Jonathan Rocke to care for her sick friend’s baby.

My Thoughts:  The first thing that caught my attention is the cover of this book.  A sweet chubby baby!  Probably because of all the bad news and the pandemic reading has become a sweet way for me to escape from the doldrums of society.                                                                                   Stranded in the Snow by Vannetta Chapman is about bachelor Elijah King.  Elijah is likable fellow and he is determined to find a the next 12 months!                                                                                                             This is a down to earth short story of a bachelor and a widow.  A widow with a baby.                                                                                                      What a great story of love and giggles!

The next short story, Caring for the Amish Baby is from a new to me author...Carrie Lighte.  This fun story caught my heart strings as Leah Zehr and Jonathan Rocke try to help a sick friend.  Leah seems to know more about babies than Jonathan but Jonathan comes through at the best of times. Such a fun story!

Two stories in one book!  Novellas at their best and not to be missed!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

The First Noelle by Deia Latham


 About The First Noelle

Noelle Joy stopped celebrating Christmas ten years ago, when Trevor Holden skipped out on their long-planned Christmas Eve wedding. He destroyed her trust in men, crushed her belief in God, and left her cynical about love. Gone is the bright, cheery spirit of the girl she thinks of now as “the first Noelle.” Stronger and savvier, the new Noelle would never be found waiting at the altar for a groom who didn’t show.
When a famous-but-mysterious architect commissions her to decorate his mansion for a holiday event, Noelle finally returns to her hometown. Even as she finds an unexpected peace in facing ghosts from the past, her fiercely private client disturbs her. Michael Holliday is kind and considerate, but far too handsome…and hauntingly familiar.
Holliday didn’t choose Noelle to make his home a Christmas wonderland by accident. She’s the only one who can do the job he has in mind—and once she’s in his mansion, he never wants to let her go. But he’s hiding a secret that could destroy any chance of a relationship with the beautiful decorator.


She pulled to a stop at a pair of imposing gates fronted by a guard shack. To her surprise, her heart pounded with expectation. Her mind wouldn’t be quiet either, tossing out a horde of unanswered questions.
Was Holliday an older man, or was he young for his accomplishments? Was he handsome? Maybe he was hideous, like the fairy tale beast, and that’s why he maintained such a fiercely private existence. Was he kind, as seemed to be indicated by the media-inspired title? Or was that all hype? Perhaps the whole Phantom Philanthropist thing was a ruse to hide his real personality, which might be anything from a mouse to a monster.
A man’s voice crackled across the air. “Identification, please.”
Holliday should be expecting her. Why all the cloak-and-dagger? Well, his house, his rules. She dug out her driver’s license and the guard took it, his alert gaze darting back and forth, side to side, as if expecting an attack.
Noelle bit back a giggle when he broke from his fastidious survey of the surrounding countryside to peruse her license, seemingly line by line. What did he expect to find there?
At last, he returned her ID and gave a single, terse nod. “When I open the gates, follow the drive and park by the front steps. A valet will take your car.”
Sure enough, a uniformed valet met her at the base of a series of steps leading to massive oak doors that would have served well in any medieval castle. The man actually smiled as he took her keys. Having passed the intense scrutiny of the portly guard, it seemed she’d earned a bit more friendliness.
“Mr. Holliday will meet you at the door, Miss Joy.”
Potted plants lined each side of the wide steps— gorgeous bursts of azalea, bonsai-shaped miniature wisteria, hoya, plumeria, fuchsia, and a number of plants Noelle didn’t recognize and was almost certain shouldn’t survive the cold of the Northern California mountains. Holliday must have a sizeable greenhouse.
The door opened as she reached the top step. A man stepped outside but seemed reluctant to venture beyond the shade of the overhang. He towered well over Noelle’s five feet, nine inches. Muscles strained at the cloth of his sleeves and across his chest.
“Good afternoon, Miss Joy.”
Something caught in Noelle’s heart, and she swallowed repeatedly. Had she heard that voice before? Why did it make her want to cry…or maybe scream and throw rocks through the beautiful stained glass windows that fronted the huge estate?
She allowed her gaze to travel beyond the broad chest to a firm, square chin, and upward. Nicely shaped lips curved into a smile that seemed a little shaky around the edges and revealed perfect white teeth. A straight nose, not too long, or too short. High cheekbones.
For some reason, she avoided his eyes, instead moving on to take in slightly longish, golden-brown hair with a smidgen of gray at the temples.
“Miss Joy?” A hint of concern tinged the oddly familiar voice.
Noelle swallowed again and forced her cowardly gaze to his, only to be caught in a dizzying vortex of confusion and familiarity. I know this man. I’ve met him before. Where? She stood up straighter, hiked her chin, and mentally donned the ice cloak that had stood her in good stead over the course of her career. Holliday wasn’t the only one with a media-dubbed moniker. She had one of her own, and the Ice Princess of Design wouldn’t be put off by a furrowed brow and a tense expression. “Mr. Holliday. I’d like to get started right away, if you don’t mind.”
Forced to meet his gaze—his eyes were hazel, but somehow she’d known they would be—she saw a flicker of something that made her breath a little shallow. She was way off her game. Was it because those eyes held a strange familiarity?
“Of course. Come in, please.”
He indicated she should precede him into the house…no, the mansion. “House” didn’t even begin to describe the residence. Noelle had seen a great number of multi-million-dollar homes in her line of work but nothing that compared to the one in which she now stood.
“This is…quite lovely.” She was careful to maintain the chill in her tone. “Professional distance at all times” was the mantra by which she’d lived for the past decade. It had served her well. No need to change it now, just because something about Michael Holliday made her skin tingle and sky-rocketed her heartbeat. “If anything needs improvement, it’s well hidden.”
His low laughter sent something almost unbearably electric skittering up her spine. “It isn’t improvement I’m looking for, Miss Joy. It’s a mood, a certain look…an ambiance, if you will. And since my event will be held on Christmas Eve, it must be themed very specifically around that holiday.”
She nodded, despite the rock of dread that landed in her stomach with a thump. Up until now, the only Christmas event she’d ever created had been her doomed wedding a decade earlier. After that, she never again celebrated the holiday she’d once loved most. She refused to have a tree in her home and never sent a Merry Christmas card to a single soul. Stockings, mistletoe, and hot apple cider—things she’d once loved—were now just unavoidable traditions she muddled through every year while counting down the hours until the bells stopped jingling, the carolers’ songs died away, and her favorite radio station started playing real music again.
Joy Designs absolutely never, ever, ever accepted a design job with a Christmas theme. She opened her mouth to tell Michael exactly that but remembered just in time that she’d already signed the contract, without checking into the specifics of what Holliday needed or for what occasion. She uttered a pathetic inner moan. Christmas. She’d signed a legal contract saying she and her team would create a holiday environment somewhere in this castle-sized home.
Noelle steeled her spine and pasted on a smile she was certain didn’t fool the handsome architect for even a split second. Well, the contract had not included a clause that said her smiles had to be genuine. Then again, she hadn’t realized it mentioned anything about a Christmas event either, because she barely noticed anything other than Holliday’s name. She knew better than that. Now she had no choice but to design a winter wonderland in this massive mansion.

Bah Humbug.

Monday, November 8, 2021

NIV, Artisan Collection Bible, Cloth over Board, Pink Floral, Designed Edges under Gilding, Red Letter Edition Publisher: Zondervan



Book Description:  Features:
  • Stunning, hand-painted cover design printed on soft, durable cloth
  • Hidden page edge design is fully revealed when pages are fanned open
  • Sparkling foil edge gilding when closed
  • Lined, wide margins for journals, notes, and art
  • Complete text of the accurate, readable, and clear New International Version (NIV)
  • Words of Jesus in red
  • Two ribbon markers
  • Exclusive Zondervan NIV Comfort Print® typeface
  • 9.9-point print size
My Thoughts:  I love Bibles that allow one to either write her own thoughts or to draw something as a reminder of the verse(s) she has read.
This Bible is BEAUTIFUL on the outside.  AN absolutely beautiful cover---kind of a hard back cloth.
The inside was a bit of a disappoint to me.  For some, unknown, reason, I had a thought that there would be bigger spaces and places to write or draw and I thought there would be preprinted drawings throughout the Bible to color.  But,alas, I was incorrect.
Oh, well.  It is still a wonderful Bible.
The features of this Bible are listed above in the Book Description if you are interested in more features. And there are 1600 pages of God's Word.

  • Publisher: Zondervan 
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031045333X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310453338

Sunday, November 7, 2021

The Escape by Revell Reads by Lisa Harris


Book Description:  US Marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn are thrust into a high-profile case when they are called on to transport two prisoners across the country on a private plane. But when the plane experiences engine trouble en route from the Pacific Northwest to Colorado, the pilots crash-land the aircraft deep in the heart of the sprawling Salmon-Challis National Forest. 

When Madison and Jonas regain consciousness, they find both pilots and one prisoner dead--and one fugitive on the run. They'll have to negotiate the rugged and remote backcountry through Idaho, Wyoming, and Colorado while tracking a murderer who is desperate to disappear--and will do anything to stop them. 

My Thoughts:  The action, the suspense, the characters....oolalala!  What a read!

This is one of those gotta reads if you love action and suspense.  Of course, Lisa Harris never disappoints with adding a bit about having faith.

It seems simple enough for US marshals Madison James and Jonas Quinn to transport two prisoners on a private plane.  Not much can happen while one is in the air.  Or can it?!?!  

First, the plane has engine trouble, the pilot has to make a crash landing in a forest, one prisoner dies and the pilot dies in the crash.  then when Madison and Jonas regain consciousness they realize the other prisoner has escaped.  how did a simple trip become so very complicated?  And that's just the beginning of the story!

It's interesting to find out how US marshals rally work and the way they put themselves in danger for the sake of the the good.!  I loved this read!  Fantastic writing with enough action, suspense and little romance to make me wish I could become an US marshal.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Crosshairs (Natchez Trace Park Rangers) by Patricia Bradley

 Book Description:  Investigative Services Branch (ISB) ranger Ainsley Beaumont arrives in her hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, to investigate the murder of a three-month-pregnant teenager. While she wishes the visit was under better circumstances, she never imagined that she would become the killer's next target--nor that she'd have to work alongside an old flame.

After he almost killed a child, former FBI sniper Lincoln Steele couldn't bring himself to fire a gun, which had deadly and unforeseen consequences for his best friend. Crushed beneath a load of guilt, Linc is working at Melrose Estate as an interpretive ranger. But as danger closes in on Ainsley during her murder investigation, Linc will have to find the courage to protect her. The only question is, will it be too little, too late?

My Thoughts: I always eagerly await a new story from Ms. Bradley.  I was waiting for this third book in the Natchez Trace Park Rangers and this book didn't disappoint .

Of course since this is the third book it is a stand alone.  So don't be afraid that you missed too much.

When Ainsley Beaumont arrives in her hometown to investigate a terrible murder she unknowingly becomes the target of the killer.

But Lincoln Steele, even though he going through his own personal crisis, crosses paths with Ainsley.  This is where the story becomes engaging.

To be honest as a pretty good armchair detective I didn't see who the killer was until he was named.  

I love it when a story has me so engrossed I forget to look for clues and just read trying to follow the author's lovely description of the town and relationships.  Small town charm with a killer on the loose.

A lot of danger and excitement mixed with sweet romance.  A!

*This book was provided for review by Revell Reads*