Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate Blog Tour

About the Book

Book: Love and Other Mistakes  
Author: Jessica Kate  
Genre: Romantic Comedy  
Release date: July 31, 2019  

There’s a fine line between love and hate . . . And for the last seven years, Natalie Groves has hated Jeremy Walters.

Natalie Groves was meant for great things. But soon after her fiancé left, Natalie’s father was diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly her grand plans evaporated . . . and God felt very far away. Fast-forward seven years, and an internship presents Natalie a chance at her destiny—but she needs a job to work around it. And the only offer available is worse than a life sentence. Her ex Jeremy, now back in town, is desperate for help with his infant son and troubled teenage niece, Lili. And Natalie may be just the one to help Jeremy . . . provided they don’t kill each other in the process. When Jeremy and Natalie join forces, sparks fly. But will either of them get burned along the way?

Get your copy here!

My Review

This book is described as romantic comedy. There is some good humor from time to time but the majority of the book deals with some very heavy issues. There are several dysfunctional people and relationships in it. I think it would be a hard novel for a reader who had a childhood where the parents argued a great deal and you hoped your good behavior would fix the situation. Issues of infidelity and pregnancy outside of marriage are also prominent in this book. The novel is not escape literature by any means as there is almost constant stress on at least one of the main characters.

Kate includes several subtle lessons in the plot such as dealing with difficult or hurtful situations. There is also a very good explanation of the gospel message in the book. While the romance aspect of the novel resolves nicely, I felt there were some issues from the dysfunctional people and relationships left hanging. Kate's writing style is good. I just found the subject matter too intense for my “romantic comedy” taste.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant. Jessica Kate brings rom-com fans a reminder that love has its own timing in her breakout novel, Love and Other Mistakes. Kate is best known in the book world as the cohost of StoryNerds, a vlog and podcast about all things books and pop culture, recorded from her home city of Toowoomba, Australia. Now, she’s carving her own place in the Christian fiction arena and helping to fill the rom-com genre gap with a novel full wit, sass, and grit.

More from Jessica

A romance that makes me laugh and snort my strawberry milkshake across the keyboard when I sneak in chapter at work – that’s just the best. My loftiest career aspiration is to create that experience for someone else. There can never be enough of those books in the universe, especially novels that include deep faith and emotion, as well. I adore love-hate romantic comedies like The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and I spend my days dreaming up plotlines that force characters who hate each other to work together as a team. But, Natalie’s journey came from a real place for me—that feeling you’re missing out on your purpose and you don’t know how to fix it. Read an excerpt at

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, July 31
Wishful Endings, August 1
Emily Yager, August 2
CarpeDiem, August 3
Livin’ Lit, August 4
Genesis 5020, August 5
Pause for Tales, August 6
Back Porch Reads, August 7
Hallie Reads, August 8
Remembrancy, August 10
Texas Book-aholic, August 11
A Reader’s Brain, August 12
janicesbookreviews, August 13

I recevied a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Jesus Who Surprises by Dee Brestin

I am impressed with this study. Brestin's premise is that Jesus is alive and acting today but we often don't recognize Him. Our problem may be that we are not looking for Him in unusual places. Brestin has written this study to help us see Jesus in the most unexpected of places, namely the Old Testament.

I think Brestin has done an excellent job of exploring an Old Testament section and then relating it to Jesus and gospel truth in really powerful ways. I've been studying the Bible for over five decades yet found new insights in this book. A good example is her encouragement to speak to our soul rather than listening to it. (P. 133) I like the stories Brestin tells to illustrate her lessons. She tells many of her own, some very touching.

I like the Bible study Brestin has included at the end of each chapter. There are questions to answer and videos one can watch. The work after each chapter is divided into five days so this study would be a great one for those who like material to work on between group meetings. I like that it is all in one book, the teaching and the questions. It means this study could be done individually too.

I highly recommend this study.

You can watch the book trailer here.
You can read the first chapter here.

My rating: 5/5 stars.

Dee Brestin is the best-selling author of many books and Bible studies. She hosts a popular weekly Bible study on her website at Dee Brestin Ministries and is actively involved in prison ministries. She is a frequent guest on Moody Radio and Focus on the Family and speaks regularly at women's conferences. She has five grown children and lives in Wisconsin. You can find out more at .

Multnomah, 256 pages.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Those People by Louise Candlish

This was an interesting novel about community and how one can be disrupted by a new couple moving in. Candlish does a good job of describing the unrest the people on the street experience when a couple move in that are obviously unlike those already living there. There are lots of characters in this book and I suggest drawing a little map of the street with the house occupants and a little about them. Had I done that I might not have felt confused at times, not remembering which character said what to whom and why.

Reading the publisher's synopsis and promotion material, I thought this would be more in the mystery and thriller genre. It is not. There is not much mystery and really no suspense. An aspect of the novel I did find particularly interesting was the frustration existing dwellers felt when the police and other authorities did not respond to their complaints about the disruptive neighbors.

Readers who like an exploration of character reactions when life is not what it has been may like this book.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Louise Candlish is the author of the bestseller, Our House. It won the British Book Awards 2019 Book of the Year: Crime and Thriller. She lives with her husband and daughter in South London.

Berkley, 368 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

The String by Caleb Breakey

This book is a study in the actions of a sociopath. It includes a truly evil villain who manipulates and kills through that manipulation. It was a hard novel for me to read. Not only was the subject matter depressing but the intense action was repetitive. We readers are kept in the dark as to the villain's reasons for his evilness until late in the book. One of the characters says about 70 percent through the book, “What has this guy done that makes sense?” (2734/3884) Exactly. Since we did not have any clues to his motives, his actions did not make any sense. Some foreshadowing about his motives would have been helpful and might have grabbed my interest. 

Another distraction was the villain's resources. He had all kinds of technological gizmos and lots of secret information on people. Where in the world did he get the finances for all of it? That becomes an even more serious issue when the identity of the villain is revealed.

And where is the spiritual lesson in this book? There was a vague exploration of not knowing why God does what He does, such as letting people suffer. That was it. Considering the nonfiction Breakey has written, I expected a much stronger spiritual message and was disappointed there was nothing about the power of God in battle against the forces of evil.

Readers who like a psychological thriller with repetitive action that lacks any Christian message might like this novel. Breakey is a good writer and can create intense scenes. He gets points for that. But he loses points for having an unrealistic villain, unrealistically funded, and not being confronted by the spiritual power only God can provide.

You can find out more about the book, read the first three chapters, and watch the trailer here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Caleb Breakey is an ECPA Award finalist and a winner of the Genesis Contest for fiction writers. He is also the founder of Sermon To Book and Speak It To Book, the premier ghostwriting agencies for faith-filled thought leaders. He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and their mischievous dogs. You can find him on Twitter @CalebBreakey, Facebook @CalebJenningsBreakey, and Instagram @calebbreakey.

Revell, 320 pp.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Cross My Heart by Robin Lee Hatcher Blog Tour and Giveaway


About the Book

Book: Cross My Heart
Author: Robin Lee Hatcher
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 25, 2019

Can two broken paths lead toward God’s redemption?

When Ashley Showalter and Ben Henning meet on Ashley’s horse rescue farm, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Both were raised by single moms. Both want to help where they see a need. And both work with horses in the Boise valley. Ben needs Ashley’s help and expertise after starting an equine therapy barn on his great-great-grandfather’s farm—and the more time they spend together, both Ashley and Ben have the feeling that there could be something more between them.
They also carry the burden of past experiences that may drive them apart if the truth is ever revealed. Ben is a recovering alcoholic with five years of sobriety behind him, while Ashley’s brother is an opioid addict residing in court-ordered rehab. Holding fast to the belief that addicts can never be cured, Ashley has promised herself she will never walk knowingly into the chaos created by addiction. Ben knows that with God, all things are possible—but will Ashley find it within herself to give love a chance? Or will her brother’s mistakes and the pain of her past jeopardize her future with Ben?
Cross My Heart threads together a contemporary love story with the heartwarming tale of Ben’s great-great-grandfather, Andrew Henning—reminding us that God’s Word is timeless and that His promises are new every morning.

Click here to grab your copy.

My Review

Hatcher gives readers a gentle story of horse ranching life intertwined with with a good romance. Her writing style makes for an easy and satisfying novel. Most of it takes place in contemporary times while there are snatches of stories from a character's ancestors during WW II. I am not sure I understand the significance of the historical sections since they did not seem to parallel the contemporary story nor contain similar issues.

Readers who like a gentle Christian romance will like this one. There is no suspense, no unexpected twists or turns. The romance aspect is done well, with a few obstacles needed to be overcome. The serious issue of alcohol and drug dependency and the radical change that can happen when a life is turned over to Jesus are included. There is also the issue of horse rescue and how some horses are terribly mistreated.

It is a heartwarming and gentle novel I enjoyed reading.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Robin Lee Hatcher is the author of over 75 novels and novellas with over five million copies of her books in print. She is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. Robin is an ACFW Carol Award winner and an eight-time finalist and has won two RITA Awards and been a finalist eleven times. Her numerous other awards include the Christy Award, the HOLT Medallion, the National Reader’s Choice Award, and the Faith, Hope & Love Reader’s Choice Award. She is also the recipient of prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards from both American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. When not writing, she enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, Bible art journaling, reading books that make her cry, watching romantic movies, and decorative planning. A mother and grandmother, Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with a demanding Papillon dog and a persnickety tuxedo cat. For more information, visit; Facebook: robinleehatcher; or Twitter: @robinleehatcher.

More from Robin


I have a wonderful home office with a large screen iMac and the perfect place to keep important papers and reminders right in front of me for easy access. There is also a bed for my dog, Boo, because no office is complete without a bed to welcome the dog. Right? I also do a lot of writing while seated in a big easy chair in the living room. It all depends upon my mood and how many reference books I might need at the time. My office usually looks neat when I begin a book. By the time I’m writing the end, the room has become a disaster—stacks of papers demanding my attention and a layer of dust are the most obvious issues.

My office also serves as my art studio (where I do decorative planning and Bible art journaling), so every inch that isn’t taken up by writing related items is filled with art related ones—paints, washi tape, stickers, pens galore, etc. An early riser naturally, I consider sleeping in to be anything after 6 AM. On a normal writing day, I try to get in half an hour on the treadmill first thing in the morning (and often return to it for ten minutes segments a couple other times during the day). Then I sit at my desk or in my easy chair to do my Bible study. And finally I begin writing. I can usually create new words for about four hours or so a day. The rest of the work day is filled with editing, revising, research, and correspondence with publisher, agent, readers, and other writers. I have an active online presence which needs attention daily, as well.

I am also a late-in-life part time college student, taking my classes online, so at least a couple of days a week, you’ll find me doing assignments and taking quizzes. For some reason, I rarely use my office for that. The kitchen table seems to suit me better. Probably because it is a large table and I can really spread out. I feel very blessed to be able to work at home. I had a full time job when I wrote my first book. In fact, I wrote nine novels over the course of nine years while still working full time. The month my ninth book released, I quit my job in order to write full time. Seventy books and almost 28 years later, I’m still at it. As I said, I am blessed.

Blog Stops

Cultivating Us, July 30
EmpowerMoms, August 2
Moments, August 3
Cultivating Us, August 3
Remembrancy, August 4
Hallie Reads, August 6
Wishful Endings, August 8
A Reader's Brain, August 9


To celebrate her tour, Robin is giving away a grand prize of a copy of her book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Fragments of Fear by Carrie Stuart Parks Blog Tour and Giveaway

About the Book

Book: Fragments of Fear
Author: Carrie Stuart Parks
Genre: Suspense
Release date: July 23, 2019

From award-winning author Carrie Stuart Parks comes a new novel with danger that reaches from a New Mexico Anasazi archaeological dig to micro- and nano-chip technology.

Evelyn Yvonne McTavish-Tavish to her friends-had her almost perfect world in Albuquerque, New Mexico, come to a crashing end with the suicide of her fiancé. As she struggles to put her life back together and make a living from her art, she’s given the news that her dog is about to be destroyed at the dog pound. Except she doesn’t own a dog. The shelter is adamant that the microchip embedded in the canine-with her name and address-makes it hers. Tavish recognizes the dog as one owned by an archaeologist named Pat Caron because she did a commissioned drawing of the two of them months earlier. The simple solution is to return the dog to his owner, but she arrives only to discover Caron’s murdered body. After meeting undercover FBI agent Sawyer Price the mystery deepens as more people start disappearing and Tavish becomes a target as well. Her only solution is to find the links between microchip technology, an Anasazi site in the desert, her fiancé’s death, a late-night radio show, and the dog. And the clock is ticking.

Click here to purchase your copy.

My Review

It took me a while to get to the point of liking this novel. Parks goes in a new direction, away from the series featuring the forensic artist I thoroughly enjoyed. The heroine in this novel is also an artist but that is where the similarity ends.

Tavish is insecure and has anxiety attacks. She is so different from Parks' previous heroine it took me quite a while to get caught up in the plot. The plot is complex but everything comes together in the end. I like that Parks uses her knowledge of art in her novels. I learned about negative space in this one and how it can be used in art.

The spiritual message included is subtle but I liked how it was presented. I ultimately came to like Tavish and how the book ended. I really like Parks' writing style and will be looking for her next novel, whoever the main character might be.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author

Carrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol Award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law-enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

More from Carrie

Using Art to Solve Crime: Techniques Used by Forensic Artists   Since 1981, I’ve been a forensic artist—an amazing feat since I’m only . . .um. . . well, younger than that. In those years, I’ve seen some shifts and trends, but some things have never changed. Despite the overwhelming prevalence of computers in almost every other field, they have never been able to replace a trained forensic artist. Artists have an amazing toolbox of techniques we use to gather the information we need to help solve crime.
  1. The pencil. Any forensic artist worth her weight in graphite knows the power of the lowly pencil and a sketchpad. Law enforcement would love a photographic image of the suspect, but all we have to work with is memory…and memory is faulty. The more the image looks perfect, the more imperfect it is for helping to identify a suspect. We want the drawing to just suggest a likeness and eliminate those not similar.
  2. Now that we brought up the subject of memory, a forensic artist needs to understand how memory works. The average witness will remember between four and five facial features. When they describe the person they saw, they will do so from their strongest memory to their weakest memory, from most important to least important. We listen carefully to the order of facial features.
  3. Whole vs Parts. We don’t look at faces as individual parts, although a particularly outstanding nose or Marty Feldman eyes might catch our attention. We will remember the face as a whole, with the proportions of the face an unacknowledged part of that. Forensic artist prefer to use reference photographs where the whole face is viewed.
Want more? Check out the rest of my article at The Strand Magazine


Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, July 24
CarpeDiem, July 24
Livin’ Lit, July 26
The Becca Files, July 26
Cathe Swanson, July 27
Bigreadersite, July 29
Simple Harvest Reads, July 29 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Mary Hake, July 29
EmpowerMoms, July 30
By The Book, August 1
Remembrancy, August 2
amandainpa, August 2
Pause for Tales, August 3
Hallie Reads, August 4


To celebrate her tour, Carrie is giving away a grand prize of her book!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Celebrate Lit. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by Celebrate Lit.