Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Shelf Control - May 29

Shelf Control is a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves sponsored by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

Want to join in? Shelf Control posts go up every Wednesday. Here's how to jump on board:

  • Write a blog post about a book that you own that you haven’t read yet.
  • Add your link in the comments!
  • Link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your own post.
  • Check out other posts, and…
Have fun!

It has been forever since I participated in this meme. I'm still featuring books I've picked up as Kindle freebies at one time or another. Hope you enjoy this week's selection.

BLURB:  Welcome to Whispering Pines, Wisconsin. A place for those who don't belong.

Sixteen years after a family feud drove her from the cozy Northwoods village of Whispering Pines, Wisconsin, former detective Jayne O'Shea returns to prepare her grandparents' lake house for sale. Once there, not only does she find that the house has been trashed, her dog discovers a dead body in the backyard.

Jayne intends to stay out of it, but when it becomes obvious the sheriff isn't interested in investigating the death, Jayne can't stop herself. Her list of suspects grows faster than the plants in the commons' pentacle garden. Could it be the local Wiccan green witch with her stash of deadly plants? The shopkeeper who slips into trances and foretells death? The visitor determined to practice black magic?

What Jayne knows for sure is that the closer she gets to solving this crime, the more the sheriff wants her to back off. And when a local fortune teller provides a crucial clue, Jayne knows it's up to her to solve this murder.


WHY I BOUGHT IT: My love for mysteries influenced this purchase, but I also like that it has other elements to it. On Amazon it is listed in the Occult Suspense and Witch & Wizard Thrillers categories. Definitely not the usual fare around here.

One downside I learned from some reviews is that it ends with a cliffhanger, so that might discourage me reading it.

Do you like cliffhanger endings? Have you ever been disappointed by a cliffhanger? Has there been one that was done really well?

Monday, May 27, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - May 27

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Memorial Day! Hope you're taking some time off while we recognize and honor the sacrifice of those who gave their all to protect freedom around the world. I've spent the last two days in the yard getting things cleaned up and ready for new mulch. It was almost 4 pm before I realized this is our wedding anniversary. Whoops!

Not a ton of reading going on, but I might have some time next week. Here is what I am reading right now.

This new one is for a review I have coming up in June.

I also need to review this one in June.

Some of these might come on vacation with me.

After that, I want to tackle some of the business books I bought recently. Not sure how much I want to drag down south with me. 

How do you decide which books to bring on vacation? Do you use vacation time to catch up on reviews or only read for pleasure?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Book Review and Giveaway: Strong As Steel by Jon Land

Caitlin Strong is back with another suspenseful adventure that brings to light secrets from a long ago case that ties into the massacre that claimed the lives of all the workers at a private intelligence company while she is helping to serve a search warrant.

In 1994, Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigated the murder of three men on a freight train where the cargo mysteriously disappeared and for which no record exists.

In present day, Texas, Caitlin finds herself serving a search warrant at a private intelligence company that ends up with everyone else dead. She and lover Cort Wesley are now drawn into this bloody tide that has been rising for centuries.

Things aren't going to well for their pal Guillermo Paz either. He has returned to Venezuela for his mother's funeral and ends up in a spot of trouble.

How will Jon Land tie this all together? You'll have to read Strong As Steel to find out.

Oh, how I have missed this series! Every time I think Land has outdone himself, he amazes me once again. While I haven't read the previous few installments--though now I really want to go back and catch up--Strong As Steel reminded me what a creative and talented author Land is.

It's hard not to like Caitlin Strong. She is a fifth generation Texas Ranger--no pressure there--and, true to her name, she proves she has earned her reputation. Filled with recurring characters and newbies, Strong As Steel ties numerous events together into a phenomenal, action-packed story that readers of this genre will enjoy. Another reviewer has said this, but I must concur the Caitlin Strong series is ripe to be turned into a TV series. Maybe Chuck Norris can have a cameo.

One of my favorite aspects of the series is the variety of quotes and article excerpts from real life Texas Rangers featured throughout the different parts of the stories.  I look forward to reading those as much as the story itself.

If you want action; if you want adventure; and if you want a female character that is strong despite her flaws, then pick up Strong As Steel and be impressed.

Series: Caitlin Strong Novels (Book 10)
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Forge Books (April 23, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765384671
ISBN-13: 978-0765384676

I received an ARC of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.


Dallas, Texas

“You want to tell me what I’m doing here again?” Caitlin Strong said to Captain Bub McNelly of the Texas Criminal Investigations Division.

McNelly, who favored string ties and shiny cowboy boots, turned to the quartet of figures in equally shiny windbreakers milling behind him in the makeshift staging area, who looked more like businessmen. Caitlin had heard he was a descendant of the famed Texas Ranger captain Leander McNeely, a man who’d once told the whole of the U.S. government to go to hell, but wasn’t too keen on the freedom with which Rangers still operated today.

“Special Response Teams hang their hat on being multi-jurisdictional,” McNelly told her.

“Consider yourself the representative Ranger.”

“Since when does an SRT look more comfortable holding briefcases than firearms?”

“I need to tell you that computers are the real weapons these days?” McNelly asked her. “And those boys accompanying us are forensic experts who know how to fire back.”

“Just two guns, yours and mine, backing them up,” Caitlin noted.

“I don’t need a computer to do the math, Ranger,” McNelly said, while the four techs wearing windbreakers hovered behind them in front of the elevator. “You and I serve the warrant on the geek squad upstairs and let the experts do their thing with brains instead of bullets. How hard can it be?”

They were about to serve a search warrant on an information technology firm on the 42nd floor of the Chase Tower, the city’s tallest building. Caitlin had served plenty of more “traditional” search warrants in her time on the likes of biker gangs, drug dealers, and various other suspects. The kind of service that found her backed up by guns and plenty of them, instead of briefcases and backpacks.

A chime sounded ahead of the elevator door sliding open.

“In my experience,” Caitlin said, stepping in first to position herself so the door didn’t close again before the SRT computer forensics techs were inside, “it pays to have brains and bullets.”
McNelly smiled thinly. “That’s why you’re here, Ranger. You were specifically requested for the job.”

“By who?”

“I don’t know. Orders came from the top down.

The cab began its ascent. If this were a Ranger operation, as opposed to CID, Caitlin would have insisted on securing the space in question prior to bringing up the civilians. Because that was clearly what these personnel in ill-fitting windbreakers pulled from a rack were. Civilians.

“Get your warrant ready, Captain,” she told McNelly, as the cab whisked past the floors between “L” and “42.”

He flapped the tri-folded document I the air between them. “Got it right here.”

“What’s CTP stand for again?” Caitlin asked, referring to the acronym of the company on which they were about to serve the warrant.

“Communications Technology Providers. I thought I told you that.”

“Maybe you did, but you never told me what the company did to get on the Criminal Investigation Division’s radar. I’m guessing that’s because somebody ordered you to take me along for the ride. All well and good in this political world we live in, until something goes bad.”

McNelly flashed Caitlin a smirk, as a chime sounded to indicate the elevator had reached its desired floor. “I can tell you this much, Ranger. The suspects we’re after here don’t know a gun from their own assholes. Worst thing they can do is infect us with a computer virus.”

He led the way through the open cab door, without waiting for Caitlin to respond. She exited next, followed in a tight bunch by those four computer techs in their windbreakers which made it look like they’d stuck their arms through Hefty bags.

The doors along the hall were uniformly glass, sleek and modern, some frosted. According to the building layout Caitlin had studied, Communications Technology Providers occupied a pair of adjoining office suites adding up to nearly five thousand square feet in total. One was a corner office, meaning at least a portion of those suites would enjoy wraparound windows and plenty of natural light.

Caitlin had just reflexively shoved her jacket back behind the holster housing her SIG Sauer P-226 nine-millimeter pistol, when the glass double-door entrance to Communications Technology Providers ruptured behind a fusillade of gunfire.


This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jon Land. There will be one (1) giveaway winner. One winner will receive one (1) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on April 22, 2019 and runs through May 23, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - May 19

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Time certainly moves swiftly. We are back to Monday again. I hope you had a nice weekend. I worked part of Saturday and took most of Sunday off. The weather was beautiful both days, so it was nice not to be driving all over the place. Today it is supposed to be stormy, but warm. Perfect tornado weather is what my kids say.

Over the weekend, I reviewed two children's books at my kid's book blog.

I am almost done with Jon Land's latest Caitlin Strong novel. Look for my review tomorrow. 

Then the rest of my list looks like same.

How many books are in your TBR pile? I think mine must be close to 1,000 if I include all my Kindle freebies. Yikes! What have you been reading lately? What is a book you really enjoyed?

Monday, May 13, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - May 13

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! I hope all the moms (in their various ways) had a lovely Mother's Day. Our family got together, so we had three generations spending the day enjoying one another's company. I promised myself that I wouldn't work, so I left the phone on the nightstand except when we went out to dinner--had to take photos.

In my reading world, I reviewed this book last week. 

I started this one last night because there's a review due on May 21. 

Then the rest of my list looks like same.

I treated myself to these two books, so hopefully I can squeeze these in soon.

(Since I pre-ordered this one, I saved a few pennies when the price went down.)

(Found this one on sale at our local Walmart.)

How is your reading going? Have you found something you're really excited about? Did you hit a dud? Hope you'll share some from your list. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Author Interview and Giveaway: Smoke in Her Eyes by Anna Blefrage

Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.  She has recently released Smoke in Her Eyes, the second in a new series, The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.

Amazon page,

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in South America which has left me trilingual and with a permanent fondness for spicy food and salsa rhythms.

When did you begin writing?

I have always written. Deep down in one of my various boxes I have kept the notebooks in which I wrote my first stories. From madly paced adventure stories featuring lady knights (me) to a very melodramatic love story set in the 17th century (I was sixteen…) they will never, ever see the light of the day. But I can’t throw them away, and some of the various plot lines have popped up in my recent books, albeit severely revamped.

What is this book about?

Undying love. I sort of like writing about that…Of course, I make things complicated: Smoke in Her Eyes is about two people who first met and loved 3 000 years ago. Things didn’t end well that time round, mainly due to a powerful prince who wanted the girl for himself. Since then, they have fallen through time, Jason desperately trying to find his Helle in one fruitless life after the other. And then, finally, thet end up in the same time frame. Unfortunately, that ancient prince is here as well, just as determined to ensure they never get to the Happily Ever After…

What inspired you to write it?

Not sure, really. I’ve always had a fascination with the fall of Troy, and Jason’s and Helle’s first life plays out when the fall of Troy is as yet a memory, not a legend. I also love Greek myths, hence Jason being named Jason after that most famous of Argonauts, and Helle named after the princess who fell off the golden ram just over the Hellespont, because she was so entranced by the song of the mermaids below. 

Greek myths are usually very much about fate, about the futility of attempting to avoid your destiny. I think Jason recognizes himself in that, what with all those lives he has spent looking for Helle.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

It’s available on Amazon, both in pb and as an e-book.
The paperback version is also available through other channels and can also be ordered from my publisher, Troubador.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with aspiring authors everywhere?

One piece of advice? Ha! I have a whole booklet… But right at the top of my list are three things:
1: Write the book you want to read, not the book you think the market wants.
2: Invest in a professional edit. To not do so is to short-change all your future readers/buyers and it is a MYTH that you can edit your own work, no matter how good you are at spelling and grammar
3: Invest in a professional cover. It doesn’t cost that much, but makes a lot of difference when it comes to making your book visible to potential readers.
Obviously, 2 and 3 above are mainly directed at Indie writers 😊

What is up next for you?

Well, the final instalment in my series about Jason and Helle is due out this autumn, so I need to do a final polish. I am also working on a new series set in 13th century Wales and Spain as well as like five other WIPs. I like multi-tasking, I guess 😊


During the Blog Tour, we will be giving away two copies of Smoke In Her Eyes by Anna Belfrage! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on May 31st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
Smoke in Her Eyes

Monday, May 6, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - May 6

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's a great post to organize yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date.

Happy Monday! Hope you enjoyed the first weekend in May. The Lil' Princess had a dance show all weekend, plus I had work and church, so we had some things going on. Not as hectic as it has been, which is fine by me.

Had a chance to review this book on Friday.

I recently started this one.

Then here is the rest on my list. 

After that, I might dabble in some of the leadership books I bought recently.

What's on your list this week? Anything you're excited about reading?

Interview with Geoff Armstrong, Author of Moments That Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo

Geoff Armstrong began his teaching career in 1965 after receiving a teaching diploma from McGill University’s Macdonald College. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Montreal’s Concordia University in 1967 where his major field of study was history. Armstrong credits writers such as Bruce Catton, and Thomas B. Costain, as well as the encouragement of his father who had little formal education, but a deep love of reading and of history, as the inspiration for his own life-long interest.

Throughout a 25-year teaching career he taught history at several grade levels and learned quickly that to reach the hearts of his students, history had to be made immediately and deeply relevant and accessible: that some event that took place centuries before those students were born had a direct and profound influence on every aspect their lives. He also learned that talking down or writing down to his students was a recipe for defeat. It is this awareness, shaped by a quarter century of teaching and countless questions by thousands of intelligent young people that has informed and shaped his writing.

You can visit his website at

Where did you grow up?

I was Born in Liverpool, England, but grew up in the East End of Montreal, in Canada. The East End of Montreal was and probably still is a working class area where the belief was that if you wore a suit to work you were rich. My dad wore a truck driver’s uniform and was the most intelligent man I have ever known.

When did you begin writing?

I was fortunate to have a mother who read stories to me and my brother even before I could fully understand my own English language. She and my father also told us stories. With that example, by the time I was in first grade I began making up stories to tell my brother. My parents suggested that I write my stories down. Neither spelling nor grammar stood in my way. I suspect the stories were comprehensible only to me.

What is this book about?

Moments That Made America, as the name suggests is the story of the United States that tells that amazing story by focusing on those pivotal turning points or tipping points that have defined and shaped America. These are events that had they not happened or had the transpired differently, the United States would not exist or if it did manage to come in to being, would be unrecognizable. Too many Americans fail to understand that except for a extraordinary set of circumstances, some of them bordering on the miraculous, their nation shouldn’t exist at all: that in the entire five billion year history of this planet, their nation is unique. It is a lack of understanding and self-imposed ignorance that endangers the very survival of the United States.The first book in the series, Moments that Made America: From the Ice Age to the Alamo is available now, the second book, Moments that Made America: From Civil War to Superpower will be out in June this year. The final volume Moments that Made America: The American Century will be out in the new year.

What inspired you to write it?

For many years I have felt that too many Americans have little no understanding of the miracle of their country. Its entire existence was balanced on a knife edge of termination. Had any one of hundreds of events not transpired at all or not happened the way it did, America wouldn’t be here. I came to that realization many years ago. As I got older, I realized I had to try to explain. Therefore, I wrote what has turned out to be the first of three books on the subject. Book two is now on its way to the publisher with a June 2019 publication date planned.

How is it similar to other books in its genre? How is it different?

There is no shortage of excellent books on American history. Some of the best focus on the American Civil War. Works by authors such as Bruce Catton, Shelby Foote and James McPherson are outstanding examples. It was my reading of books by such writers that inspired my interest in history. What makes my book different is that I have focused on and detailed those specific events that, for better or worse, have made America the nation it is today. One excellent book that comes closest to the concept of Moments That Made America is The American Miracle: Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved. As the title suggests, Mr. Medved focuses on the role divine guidance and intervention played in the fortunes of the United States. He makes a strong case to support the theme noted by George Washington: "No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the affairs of men, more than the people of the United States. Every step by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency".

Moments That Made America covers some of the same events, of course, but where Medved goes into great detail in his successful search to reveal the workings of Divine Providence, I range farther afield and cover more history, not all of which reveals evidence of supernatural direction.

The idea that Divine Providence has a taken a personal and guiding interest in the unfolding of the American story is a popular and recurring theme. In Miracles of the American Revolution: Divine Intervention and the Birth of the Republic, author Larkin Spivey states categorically that the hand of God was indeed at work during that pivotal moment in American history. Spivey, a professor of military history and former Marine Corp officer presents evidence that supports the widely held belief that the success of the American revolution was the direct result of that Divine Intervention. Whether one believes Spivey or not, the book is compelling in its provocative account of the unusual events surrounding the Revolution and is well worth reading.

What is the most important thing readers can learn from your book?

That every American has the responsibility to treasure their country and to learn about how it was created.

Where can readers purchase a copy?

Amazon, Barnes and Noble, any online book seller. I’m not sure about brick and mortar bookstores

What is up next for you?

Finishing book three: Moments That Made America: The American Century

Is there anything you would like to add?

If you buy the book, pass it on to someone who doesn’t appreciate this amazing, impossible country.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Book Review: Does Your Vision Need an Engineer? by Rufus Chambers III

Many of us have visions and dreams. We don't, however, always have a practical plan to follow and make them a reality.

In Does Your Vision Need an Engineer? author Rufus Chambers III helps teach readers how to attach a plan of action to their divinely inspired vision.

This resource uses the story of Nehemiah's vision to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, to inspire you to create a strategic plan to execute your vision. Listing a series of "vision characteristics," you learn about the need for accountability, how to realize your vision is bigger than you, that a vision requires resources and protection, and more traits that are important before moving forward.

After these vision characteristics, the author shares a series of steps to follow to advance your vision, like the importance of identifying resources, knowing your strengths and weaknesses, assembling your team and creating a timeline, followed by implementation, evaluation, and expansion and more.

This faith-based resource challenges as of us to become Vision Engineers™. It's a unique way of looking at strat planning and accepting God's vision for your life. It's a quick read, but you'll want to refer back to it often.

File Size: 2736 KB
Print Length: 125 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1795624744
Publication Date: March 24, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English

I received a digital copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinion, which I have not been compensated for in any way.