Happy Birthday to You! - Michelle Medlock Adams, Illustrated by Sandra Rodriguez

4 Stars!

A fun-filled musical book that celebrates the joy of a child's birthday This musical board book includes all the ingredients that make a birthday special for a child: balloons and presents, cake and candles, and, of course, the birthday song! Follow along throughout a day of celebration, concluding with a good-night prayer, then push the button to hear the melody of Happy Birthday. The book features a photo pocket on the last page to allow for personalization.

Michelle Medlock Adams is an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, earning top honors from the Associated Press, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hoosier State Press Association. Author of over 70 books and a regular blogger for Guideposts, Michelle has written more than 1,000 articles for newspapers and magazines since graduating with a journalism degree from Indiana University.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/michellemedlock.adams
Twitter and Instagram: INwritergirl 

Sandra Rodriguez grew up in Mexico in a house with a big garden. From doodling her way through math class to playing with her dogs, her creative spirit was evident. Rodriguez’s illustrations are inspired by simple, everyday life: children playing in the park, people walking their dogs, families interacting after school. Rodriguez favors watercolor because it allows her to transmit the movement and emotion of life into her illustrations.

This is a cute gift idea for a child having a birthday!
I like that's its not just square, that it has a shape to it (I know that's a weird thing to like, but...). I love the little push button happy birthday music - every child will love this! It's not like really loud so you won't have to disconnect it as soon as they get it, LOL! There are really cute bright colorful pictures. It has a cute easy to understand rhyming birthday story.
"Wake up! Wake up!
Your birthday's here!
The very best day of the year!"

This is a nice sturdy board book at a good size for your children. I also love that it has a pocket in the back to put a photo! Super cute! And there is a nice message at the end -
"And when your birthday's
almost through,
I'll say a prayer
of thanks for you."
Thank you Worthy Publishing Group for sending me this book for my honest review!

Order your copy from Amazon - HERE


Escape To Redemption - Peter M. Parr (GIVEAWAY!)

4 Stars!

Josie only had the gun to frighten Curtis Rook, but his son disturbed her. One startled reflex and now he's dead. Josie flees to Poland leaving her boyfriend Snaz to take the rap. A reformed criminal offers her refuge from the police and the chance to begin a new life, but she cannot hide from her guilt. As the stakes rise, Josie begins to realize that only her own forgiveness can set her free. Fast-paced and original, Peter M. Parr's contemporary take on Crime and Punishment challenges traditional ideas about guilt and redemption, and the meaning of forgiveness.

Peter M. Parr works part-time as a civil servant, which gives him time to indulge his passion for writing. He lives in Hastings, East Sussex, overlooking the sea. He is a Quaker and student of 'A Course in Miracles'.
Visit his web-site - www.thingstoremember.org.uk.

Is it possible to read a murder suspense story and be rooting for the murderers? Well you do in this book. 

This story is told through the eyes of the two unlikely murderers.
One, Josie, "the mastermind" a young woman whom I did not like in the beginning but grew to like her more and more as the story unfolded. I love strong female characters and Josie is that. She is smart, makes her own decisions (good or bad) and owns up to them actually weighing out the consequences. At first I thought she was a using, conniving B****, but you do find out that she has a heart and a conscience. I also liked that she was afraid at times and was unsure what to do - she was human. I think if I had done what she did I would have reacted in much the same way.
The second is Snaz who I grew to dislike more and more as the story went on. He is a very simple man who would do anything for anyone - which gets him into trouble. I didn't like his personality. I don't like people who just blindly do whatever you tell them. (Well I should rephrase that - I don't like that trait in characters, if I met him in person I might like him, he was a very sweet guy!) To me, he was not just simple but a bumbling idiot. He made decisions without thinking just because he was mad or to get back at someone and then sometimes regretted them after.

There were a few minor characters in here that I just was not sure about. I didn't know if they should be trusted and what there intentions were. I liked this actually, it was another added layer to the story. The only thing I didn't really like were the flash backs without warning, it was a bit confusing. Other than that everything was very well done! And - good ending.

This is a fast reading, very suspenseful story with quite a few twists that keep you guessing. Definitely a page turner and well worth the read!

They had a job to find the cafe, off the main road between a halal take-away and a laundrette. A woman in her forties stood up, gaping at Josie. Mutton dressed as lamb was the first thought that came to Snaz’s mind.
    ‘Are you Erin?’ Josie asked.
    The woman kept on staring. ‘You’re such a likeness.’
    ‘Are you going to tell me who you are?’
    ‘Won’t you sit down?’ asked Erin. ‘I have to sit – my legs have gone all like blancmange. I can’t get over it, to finally see you. I’ve been working out what I’d say. And now you’re here I don’t know how to start.’
    The waitress came over.
    ‘Have something to drink, Josie. My treat. What can I get you?’ Erin asked.
    ‘We don’t do espresso,’ said the waitress. ‘I can do you black coffee or white.’
    ‘Black,’ said Josie. ‘Actually, whatever. I’m not staying.’
    For a moment, Erin glanced at Snaz. Prior to that, she hadn’t acknowledged his existence. ‘Can I get you something too?’
    ‘I’m alright, thanks.’ He sat back from the table and wondered where to suggest to Josie they go next. The cinema? Hardly original, and he wanted to look at her and not a film. For a meal? He doubted she’d be impressed by any place he knew or could afford. Camden Market? What could interest her there? Maybe if they simply went for a walk in Finsbury Park he could see if she’d let him put his arm around her. Start slow and romantic.
    ‘I bought you a birthday present. I’m sorry it’s two weeks late.’ Erin fumbled in her tiger-skin patterned handbag, pulled out a Spice Girls CD, and left it on the table when Josie didn’t take it. Snaz stopped himself laughing. ‘You don’t like it.’ Erin’s rasping voice faltered. ‘I’m not sure what kind of music you’re into.’
    ‘How did you know it was my birthday?’ Josie asked her. ‘Who are you anyway? Why did you write to me? And why are you giving me a birthday present when I’ve never met you before?’
    ‘Josie, you don’t remember me, but we have met. Your mum and me were best mates.’
    Josie stared at her gaudy make-up, at her suit a size too small. ‘Mum and you?’
    The woman reached into her furry bag again and took out a see-through plastic wallet with a newspaper cutting folded inside it. Snaz wondered at her claw-like pink nails as she pointed to a picture on the yellowed page.
    Josie shrugged, but not before Snaz saw her flinch. ‘So you’ve got a picture of some woman who looks a bit like me,’ she said. ‘So what?’
    Snaz leaned forward to see. At first he thought it was Josie’s picture: the pout, the raised cheekbones, most of all her eyes. He found it creepy. ‘More than a bit,’ he said.
    Josie cast him a look.
    ‘Read what it says,’ Erin begged her. ‘Read the article, please.’
    Snaz watched Josie scan the cutting. Her lips parted. Then she put the paper down. ‘Why are you showing me this?’ she asked Erin. ‘What’s it got to do with me?’
    ‘Lucy was your mum, Josie. Your real mum.’
    Josie looked at the photograph. Then at Erin. Then at the photo again.
    ‘You don’t remember, do you? You were barely three when she died.’
    ‘You’re lying.’
    Snaz picked up the cutting. Girl, 3, hides as mum is stabbed… PM speaks of shock… Police were called to the prostitute’s Finchley flat by a neighbour who heard shouts… …arrived to find the victim dead… …multiple stab wounds to her body and…
    Josie snatched the article, tried to rip it up, but the plastic wouldn’t tear. ‘I’ve got a mum. She may not be much but at least she isn’t a whore.’ She spat the last word and stood up. ‘We’re going. I don’t have to listen to these lies. Are you coming?’ Then, a split second later: ‘Fine, don’t,’ she said before Snaz could reply.
    The slamming door rattled Erin’s empty cup and saucer on the table.
    Snaz studied the photo. It could have been Josie’s eyes staring back at him, and he knew Erin wasn’t lying. Murdered: Lucy Snowball, 23.
    Erin’s eye make-up had started to run. She struggled to pluck a paper napkin from the rack on the table and ended up pulling out three. ‘Are you Josie’s boyfriend?’
    The question caught Snaz off guard. ‘Sort of.’
    ‘Go after her... Wait.’ Erin touched his hand. ‘I didn’t mean to upset her. But don’t you think she has a right to know?’
Thank you Virtual Book Tours for sending me this book for my honest review.

Order your copy from Amazon - HERE 


This giveaway is for one print or ebook copy and is open to Canada, U.K, or the U.S. This giveaway ends on Aug. 31, 2016.  

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Break of Day - Mari Madison

5 Stars!!!

Asher Anderson is an amazing surfer—with a body to match—but he’s pretty much the world’s worst weatherman. He’d prefer to catch the perfect swells in the morning so he tapes his forecasts in advance—it never rains much in San Diego anyway. The suits at News 9, however, would love to fire him, but since he’s the son of the station owner, they’ll just have to get creative...

Piper Strong thinks she’s scored her dream job when she’s promoted to weather producer. Glorified babysitter is more like it—she’s now responsible for bringing Asher back to shore. The problem is she’s afraid of the water, and she wasn’t counting on her growing attraction to Asher. But if Piper can just weather this storm, she'll be able to carve out a career to be proud of—and maybe even a place in her heart for love....

Mari Madison is a former multiple Emmy Award-winning television producer and author of novels for adults and teens. She’s worked at television news stations in Boston, San Diego, and Orlando and helped launch the nationally syndicated morning show Better in New York City. Under the name Mari Mancusi, she writes young adult books, including the Blood Coven Vampire novels, most recently Soul Bound and Bad Blood. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and young daughter and their dog Mesquite.

It was LOVE at first chapter!
My second book by Mari and I loved it even more than the first! So far she is 2 for 2. In the spring I reviewed Just This Night and loved it. I was wondering if I would be disappointed in the second one - so glad that did not happen! I know this is a "romance" but... really it is so much more. It is not just a shallow all about the love and sex type book. This book touches on subjects like - substance abuse, poverty, a home for children, feeling responsible for the death of your sibling, and wanting to better yourself and break away from your family. Wow, a romance with depth! That's a "novel" idea.

Loved the characters in this one! I absolutely loved both Piper and Asher. The character development was excellent. This was one story where you were really rooting for them to get together. I thought Asher was so sweet to her. I could understand why she was hesitant and afraid, but I just wanted her to give him a chance.

This story was so sweet, interesting, and fun. I think this is going to be one of  my favorite romance series. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series "At First Light" coming out in spring of 2017.

I have an in-ground swimming pool and we all know you can not see a reg. kindle or iPad in the sunlight. I requested the actual book so I would have something to read at my pool. So this was my summer pool book -

Thank you "Berkley Romance" for sending me this book for my honest review!

Order your copy from Amazon - HERE


Eternal Mercury - Elaine Pinter (SHOWCASE)

Can true love survive the boundaries of death? Chelsee Taylor has been in love with her boyfriend, Max, since they started kindergarten together. She has no idea that high school graduation will be the last perfect day of her life. After a tragic car accident, she refuses to accept Max's death because she can still feel his presence. No one believes her and she is completely alone. But all of that changes the moment she meets Blake Andersen. It's not just that he believes her . . . or even just that he's so understanding . . . but why is Max's presence so strong when she's with Blake? Eternal Mercury is two intertwined books in one. Book one follows Chelsee’s bittersweet journey and book two uncovers Blake’s story of redemption. In the end, it is Max who will inspire them both to trust fate, live life, and finish well.

Elaine Pinter lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband and son. When she’s not hanging out with them, she’s jotting down ideas for her next novel in the tattered notebook she carries everywhere.

Her writing journey began in June of 2012 when a reading spree set off an unexpected chain of events. After poring over the pages, her own ideas began to appear and she found herself glued to her laptop after her family went to bed every evening. In January of 2013, her first young adult romance, Eternal Mercury, was published. The late nights continued and Between the Starlight was published almost three years after that very first keystroke.

She’s one of those hopeless romantics who believes love always wins and that the best stories are the ones that drag you through the tears and reward you with a smile when all the pieces fit together perfectly in the end.

I will be reading and reviewing this book on Nov. 22, so please come back and check it out! I am very excited about this one! It sounds great, can't wait to start. And - gorgeous cover, isn't it?? 

Visit the author - HERE
Order your copy from Amazon - HERE


Beneath the Apple Blossom - Kate Frost

4.5 Stars!

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.

All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two. 
Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage. 
As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised? 

Kate Frost has wanted to be an author ever since she wrote her first novel during the long months she spent off school following open heart surgery when she was seven. The novel was called London's Burning and was a time travel story set during the Great Fire of London. Over the years Kate has worked in a cinema, a bookshop, a factory and at NHS Direct. She's also worked as ground staff at Edgebaston Tennis Tournament, as a Virgin Vie consultant and as a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess. Kate has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and has also taught lifewriting to Creative Writing undergraduates there. She has had articles and short stories published in The London Magazine, New Welsh Review and QWF. Kate's debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013. Kate lives in the UK with her husband, her young son and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. 

Wow, this book got into my head! I have to be honest, I wasn't so sure at first. It started real slow for me and I didn't think I was going to like it. Then 1/3 of the way through it did a full 180. I think I read the whole last half without stopping. I didn't think it would be possible to base a whole book only on pregnancy - but Kate Frost not only did it but successfully kept it interesting.

You have three women (well 4 really). One disparately wanting to have a baby and going through IVF (several times) along with another woman she meets online. Another so desperately trying not to have a baby or relationship. And yet another who gets pregnant after giving up on her marriage and is now unsure who the father is. So much stress and drama! To me this was like a season of Mistresses! The good news - I love Mistresses!

Excellent character development. I really liked all the women. There wasn't one that I didn't like and yet they were all so different. And I could really understand what they were going through. I sympathized with one. They were all trying to do what was right for them. Wanting a baby or not wanting one isn't right or wrong - it is different for everyone.

This story was very heartfelt. I loved  sharing in these women's stories. I'm glad I got to know them.
This is a very emotion driven story. It did focus a lot on pregnancy but also was about marriage, love, friendships, and just finding out who you are and what you want in life.

I do hope I get to read the next book in the series!
Thank you Kate for sending me a copy of your book for my honest review!

Get your copy from amazon - HERE


Benjamin’s Field Trilogy, By: J.J. Knights (Guest Post)

Finding Inspiration -

    The inspiration for the Benjamin’s Field Trilogy grew from my background as a pilot and my long association with Shriners Hospitals for Children.  Over the course of my flying career, I’ve owned several small aircraft. I kept two these - first a 1948 Taylorcraft BC12D and later a 1973 Beechcraft Sport - at Lakehill Airport, in Mars, Pennsylvania, about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh. 
    Airfields don’t get much more basic than Lakehill; it’s simply a rough grass strip about 3000’ long and 75’ wide with two old Quonset hut-style hangars.  There’s no fuel, no lights, and no instrument approaches.  If you’re not home when the sun sets, you have to land somewhere else. 
    I based Benjamin’s field in the trilogy on Lakehill Airport.    
    Especially in the case of the fabric-covered Taylorcraft, which had no electrical system, hence no starter - I had to ‘hand prop’ the airplane to start it - it was very easy to imagine myself flying a century earlier when all airplanes were like the Taylorcraft, This is why the trilogy opens on the day President Wilson declared war on Germany.     
    During this time I was very active helping to publicize the services of Shriners Hospitals for Children.  As time passed and my association with Lakehill Airport/Benjamin’s field and Shriners Hospitals deepened, an idea was born. That idea became the premise for Benjamin’s Field: What if a child born with a physical disability used his love of aviation to persevere and ultimately save himself from being marginalized by prejudice and intolerance?  The years following WWI, were, after all, the “Golden Age of Aviation.”  The setting was perfect.  I lived with the idea for a book for 15 years during my working career. I knew the beginning and the end. I had to sit down and write the trilogy to find out what happened in between!  
        As Benjamin Franklin once said,
          ‘If you would not be  forgotten as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write something worth reading or do things worth the writing.’
        In my case, that means writing something that has socially redeeming value. Something that can help the reader adapt, overcome, improve, or understand.
        Authors write for different reasons, of course.  Richard Bach, author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, once said that he doesn’t feel the need to write constantly, but only when an idea insists on     getting out of his head and onto paper. 
        That’s the way I felt about Benjamin’s Field.  The story was in my head begging to get out.
        I didn’t write it merely for the sake of putting words on a computer screen. I certainly didn’t write it for the money!  I wrote the story because I truly believed it has socially redeeming value. I wrote it because I think the themes and lessons presented in the story can be helpful to young people, especially those who may feel marginalized for whatever reason. 

  ~  J.J. Knights

Book One: Rescue

Forward by retired NASA astronaut Jay Apt, PhD, veteran of four space shuttle missions.

Benjamin’s Field: Rescue’ has been awarded a five-star review by the literary site ‘Reader’s Favorite’ (readersfavorite.com).

Benjamin’s Field follows a rural farm family over the course of sixty years from the viewpoint of the youngest member, Jeremy Kyner. Beginning with America’s entry into World War I, Jeremy and his family are followed through war, peace, triumph, tragedy, heartbreak, and final happiness as the reader examines the role of family loyalty versus individual need, personal liberty and how it relates to society’s demands, religious prejudice, racism, intolerance, the role of charity, and the overwhelming need for humans to forgive one another.

While still in manuscript form, Benjamin’s Field, Book One, Rescue, was advanced to the “Best Sellers Chart” of the peer review website YouWriteOn.com. In Book One, “Rescue,” a widowed farmer suffers an unspeakable loss during World War I. Burdened with grief, he learns from his nemesis, a dogmatic Catholic priest, that his son’s fiance has given birth to their crippled child. Unable to cope with the child’s deformity and confounded by his illegitimate birth, the farmer is battered by those closest to him with accusations of cruelty and intolerance until he finally reveals his true feelings and the reasons underlying his apparent bigotry. Set in a historical context, Benjamin’s Field is a compelling story about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving tale will take the reader on an emotional and sometimes humorous journey.”

Book Two: Ascent

In Book Two, “Ascent,” Jeremy Kyner, now a teenaged boy, becomes the focus of his teacher’s animosity because of his infirmity. With the help of two dedicated school friends and an unconventional Jewish blacksmith, he takes to the sky, defeating his teacher’s plans to institutionalize him and forcing her to divulge her own, dark, secret.

Benjamin’s Field is a historical novel about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving story will take the reader on a journey of inner exploration.

Book Three: Emancipation

Book Three, “Emancipation,” opens as America is on the cusp of World War II. Jeremy Kyner, now a man, is barred from military service at a time when America is almost defenseless against marauding German submarines. Finally joining a group of volunteer civilian pilots that represents the country’s best hope to counter the Germans, Jeremy confronts a deadly enemy from an unexpected quarter and is offered a chance of achieving final emancipation.   Benjamin’s Field is a historical novel about human dignity overcoming adversity, prejudice, and hatred. Interwoven with lighter moments, this dramatic and moving novel will take the reader on a journey of inner exploration.  

jjJ.J. Knights is a retired FBI Special Agent. His assignments included violent crimes and fugitives, property crimes, civil rights investigations, and foreign counterintelligence. He was a surveillance pilot, SWAT sniper, media representative, and worked in the FBI's technical investigations program. Knights also volunteered as a Civil Air Patrol pilot, squadron commander and public information officer. He is an emeritus member of the Imperial Public Relations Committee of Shriners International and Shriners Hospitals for Children. A native of New England, Knights resides in southwestern Pennsylvania with his wife and honeybees. He has authored several published articles on law enforcement recruiting. Benjamin's Field is his first novel.    

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New Beginnings (Growing Pains - Book 2) - KP Smith

4 Stars

"Kendra’s in high school! New Beginnings abound at home, school and in her relationships. Things are changing at lightning speed.
She’s saying hello and embracing new relationships while at the same time coping with heart breaking good-byes of others.
Patrice convinces her to give an “old friend” another chance. This coupled with an unplanned chain of events catapults Kendra from a place of obscurity to center stage at school. Center stage has her wedged in a long standing school rivalry which will divide and test her loyalties. And threaten her new relationships.
Kendra isn’t the only one embarking on new beginnings.  A health scare creates a new family dynamic but even with a new dynamic it’s the same family drama.  The family tension escalates and bubbles over and with Meme gone Papa is left trying to keep the family intact.
High school brings about “A New Katrina” and Avery and Jamie don’t escape the winds of change blistering through either.
New Beginnings is the next chapter in the Growing Pains Series. Kendra’s journey continues. In Book Two she finds her own place her own voice in her own way.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Xavier University Louisiana and a Masters of Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Loyola University Chicago.

I have a wonderful family life including two wonderful sons. I live in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) home of Mardi Gras, Jazz, great food and Southern Hospitality. 
Visit her website - HERE 

Started out good - ended great! This one took a little longer for me to get into. There was a lot going on and a lot of new characters to get to know (and I did keep getting a few of them confused). About half way through I really started liking it. 

I think what did it for me was all the talk about football! LOL
I am a huge football fan - Go Steelers! But that kind of worries me, what I loved about it - others might not. I loved all the talk about football , it was very exciting for me. As a teenager I used to go to all the games. But others might not like all the football talk - I do hope they do give this one a chance because it is definitely worth it (and its not all about football! LOL).

There is a lot of teenage/high school drama and it was all very well done. It seemed very real. It brought back a lot of memories - thanks! Memories of my H.S. days and my daughters - going through myself and as a mom.

I still really liked Kendra - she was real - great personality! She is a "good girl" but I liked that she was not perfect, nobody is. I also liked that she dated a few guys, and didn't fall in "fairytale love" with the first one.

And... great ending! Talk about edge of your seat! Now I can't wait for book three! I like growing up with Kendra.

Thanks to the author, KP Smith for sending me this book for my honest review.

Order your copy from Amazon - HERE