Monday, May 31, 2021

Memorial Day Remembrance


The Book Connection will take a break from participating in Monday memes to remember those who have died while serving our country. I would also like to share this prayer from Chris Ray of The Prepared Christian:

On this Memorial Day, I am thankful for the sacrifice so many throughout our history have made, for the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and for their families who had to carry on without them. It is a sacrifice that is easy to forget. For those who have it, freedom is like oxygen. It’s something we just have. Many will not understand just how precious either is until they are at risk of being taken away. There are encroachments being made on our freedoms right now by those who think they know better. This is a conversation for another time. Today I remember a sacrifice made and a debt I cannot repay. Today I pray for the God of heaven to bless the families of those who have lost loved ones while serving our great nation. I pray for Him to bless and comfort the walking wounded who are still with us, and bless their families as well. It is also my prayer that we remember their sacrifice and the precious gift of freedom every day, not just once a year or when they are in danger of being taken away.

God bless all our servicemen and women who are willing to put their lives on the line. May God keep them and their families safe. 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - May 24

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


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.

Welcome back to Monday. The month of May is flying by. My professional world is so busy right now. I missed posting last week because I had too much going on. I hope you read a lot of great books. 

As you can imagine, I haven't been reading as much as I would like. 

My review of this one appeared on Wednesday. 

I am almost done with this one.

I am in the middle of these three as well.

After this, I'm not sure. I want to give some thought to this year's vacation reads. Our annual visit to North Carolina can't come soon enough. 

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Nothing in my mailbox this week, but I still have plenty to read. Hope you have a great week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Book Review: Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers By M. G. Rorai


If you enjoy reading about the antics of our feline friends, then you will want to pick up Catnip, Toilet Paper, and Lasers by M. G. Rorai. 

Throughout this adorable collection cat lovers will smile, chuckle, and shake their heads as they read about the antics of a variety of cats. From Socks and his love of the laser pointer to Elsa and her dislike for the automated litter box, from the cute "presents" cats love to leave us to bathroom visits interrupted by furry friends, from dancing and active cats to the quiet and cuddly ones, and so much more this book is a lot of fun.

Rorai opted to stick with one style of poetry throughout this collection, which created a sense of consistency. It would have been nice if the different voices of each cat were more well-defined. They clearly have different personalities, so varied word choices or form may have helped those personalities shine through in their own unique ways. 

I truly loved this little collection and am so glad I had the chance to read it. I might read it again this summer for some light reading on the beach.

Publication date : March 14, 2021
Language : English
File size : 3434 KB

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

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Book Review: Passiflora by Kathy Davis


If you enjoy poetry collections that weave natural elements through the day-to-day struggles we face or poetry that you truly want to sit back and consider, then Passiflora by Kathy Davis is a superb choice.

Drawn to this collection by its gorgeous cover, I found Passiflora to be a moving, emotional collection that enthralled me. Beautiful imagery and various forms bring the reader through this collection about life, loss, relationships, illness, and more. 

Eloquently written, Davis' passion is woven throughout this wonderful collection. I look forward to more of her work.

Publisher : Cider Press Review (February 15, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 80 pages
ISBN-10 : 193078158X
ISBN-13 : 978-1930781580

Kathy Davis is a poet and nonfiction writer from Richmond, VA. She is also the author of the chapbook Holding for the Farrier (Finishing Line Press). Her work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Barrow Street, Blackbird, The Hudson Review, Nashville Review, Oxford American, The Southern Review, storySouth and other journals. Davis holds a BA and MBA from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in creative writing from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and been a finalist for Best of the Net and the Conger Beasley Jr. Award for Nonfiction.

I received a free copy from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

Monday, May 10, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - May 10

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


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.

Welcome back! I hope all you moms out there had a nice Mother's Day. This year, I joined my husband and picked out the flowers I wanted for the deck and yard. He usually does a good job, but it gave us a chance to spend some time together. His birthday was Friday, so I took the whole weekend off. 

My stress test came back normal, which is a weight off my mind. I still think something isn't quite right, though. Saturday wasn't a good day. I have a telehealth appointment with my doctor this morning. 

May is always a busy month for us since my husband's and son's birthdays plus both of our anniversaries happen in May. My in-laws' anniversary was May 13. This will be the second anniversary since his passing. She seems to be coping well, which is a blessing.

One new thing this May is junior prom. The Lil' Princess' school has been mostly in person this year. They cut their March vacation short, so that last day of classes is the 14th. Then the next day is prom followed by commencement for the seniors on Sunday. This year has really flown by. 

Here are a few family photos from this weekend. 

Lil' Princess trying on her prom gown

Dwight getting wrapped up in the tissue paper from hubby's gift

Theo relaxing in bed with me

Travis likes to help with laundry

In my reading world, I finished this poetry collection. My review will appear here tomorrow. 

I wrote a first chapter review of this book on Thursday. Look for my full review soon.

I am in the middle of these two as well.

These are next.

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Nothing in my physical mailbox this week, but I grabbed this Kindle freebie.

When ten-year-old Derek and eight-year-old Sam move with their family to Virginia, they have no idea what adventures the summer will bring. As the brothers explore their creaky old house and the deep surrounding woods, they uncover a sixty-year-old mystery of a valuable coin collection stolen from the local museum. Join the boys as they spend their summer running from danger and searching the woods, secret caves, rushing waters, and hidden passageways for treasure and the rare 1877 Indian Head cent coin!

That's it for me this week. Hope you share what you're reading. 

Book Blast: Reel to Reel by Isla Grey


Lights, Camera, Action! From the very beginning, the world of cinema has captivated us. We have found ourselves laughing at our favorite comedies, crying when love finally comes to fruition, being beamed to other worlds or battling in the midst of action sequences. While movies might be the perfect entertainment, most have slight imperfections, mistakes, which go unseen, until they’re released and caught by the movie audience. These mistakes don’t detract from the film, and finding them are just as fun as watching the movie.

For the past several years, Isla Grey has written a “Movie Mistakes” column for Bellaonline. “Reel to Reel” is a collection of some of those columns, spotlighting the fun goofs found in some of our favorite movies. Can you spot them? Grab the popcorn, sit back, and happy movie watching!


Amazon →

Meet the Author

Isla Grey is from Central Virginia and at an early age developed a love of movies.  She shared many Sunday afternoons watching old favorites with her grandmother that included everything from “Gone with the Wind” and “Rio Bravo” to “Titanic” and “The Mummy”.

Working as Bellaonline’s Movie Mistakes editor since 2012 has given Isla the opportunity to indulge in two of her passions—movies and writing.

When Isla isn’t writing or watching movies, most of her time is spent with her ever active daughter and her band of cats.  She also enjoys good music, reading biographies and ghost stories and taking quiet strolls.





Thursday, May 6, 2021

First Chapter Review: Death on Ocean Boulevard by Caitlin Rother


Investigative reporter Caitlin Rother sent me a copy of Death on Ocean Boulevard to review. I have fallen behind in my reading due to unexpected health issues, but wanted to be sure I posted something about this book as soon as I could.

BLURB: "I got a girl, hung herself in the guest house."

The call came on the morning of July 13, 2011, from the historic Spreckels Mansion, a lavish beachfront property in Coronado, California, owned by pharmaceutical tycoon and multimillionaire Jonah Shacknai. When authorities arrived, they found the naked body of Jonah's girlfriend, Rebecca Zahau, gagged, her ankles tied and her wrists bound behind her. Jonah's brother, Adam, claimed to have found Rebecca hanging by a rope from the second-floor balcony. On a bedroom door in black paint were the cryptic words: SHE SAVED HIM CAN YOU SAVE HER. 

Was this scrawled message a suicide note or a killer's taunt? Rebecca's death came two days after Jonah's six-year-old son, Max, took a devastating fall while in Rebecca's care. Authorities deemed Rebecca's death a suicide resulting from her guilt. But who would stage either a suicide or a murder in such a bizarre, elaborate way?

Award-winning investigative journalist Caitlin Rother weaves stunning new details into a personal yet objective examination of the sensational case. She explores its many layers-including the civil suit in which a jury found Adam Shacknai responsible for Rebecca's death, and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department bombshell decision to reconfirm its original findings. As compelling as it is troubling, this controversial real-life mystery is a classic American tragedy that evokes the same haunting fascination as the JonBenet Ramsey and O.J. Simpson cases.

COVER: Love this cover. Picture of the mansion with the orange font and dark colors is perfect for the genre. 

FIRST CHAPTER: Details the 911 call that lead the police to the Coronado Mansion in July 2011.

KEEP READING: Definitely. Rother has a talent for drawing the reader in. After a moving prologue, the reader is captivated by the details of the 911 call placed to the Coronado Police Department at 6:48 that summer morning, and ends with numerous questions officers must have had upon the discovery of Rebecca Zahau's body.

Publisher : Citadel (April 27, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 0806540893
ISBN-13 : 978-0806540894

This first chapter review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way. Look for my full review coming soon. 

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Interview with M.B. Lewis, Author of The Pilate Scroll

M.B. Lewis is an Amazon #1 International Bestselling Author, and his books have also been on the Bestseller lists on Barnes and Noble Nook and Kobo platforms. The author of the award-winning Jason Conrad Thriller series has been on numerous author panels at writer’s conferences such as Thrillerfest, The Louisiana Book Festival, The Pensacola Book and Writers Festival, and Killer Nashville.

A 25-year Air Force pilot, he has flown special operations combat missions in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan in the AC-130U Spooky Gunship. Michael is currently a pilot for a major U.S. airline.

A proud Christian active in his community, Michael has mentored college students on leadership development and team-building and is a facilitator for an international leadership training program. He has participated as a buddy for the Tim Tebow Foundation’s “Night to Shine” and in his church’s Military Ministry program. Michael has also teamed with the Air Commando Foundation, which supports Air Commando’s and their families’ unmet needs during critical times.

While his adventures have led to travels all around the world, Michael lives in Florida with his wife Kim.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself? 

I come from a military background. I was a service brat, growing up in the US Air Force. We moved around a little, only five times, which isn’t much by military standards, but it helped me learn to adapt as I grew up. It also sparked the creative outlet in me as a child. I grew up and joined the Air Force to be a pilot.  The creativeness in me never went away, as I started writing early in my Air Force career. Now, I’m a pilot for a major US airline. 

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Ohio, then moved to Washington DC for a few months, then to Fort Walton Beach, Florida. My father was a pilot assigned to Hurlburt Field as part of the Air Force’s new special operations program and was sent to Vietnam. He was killed in combat in 1965. Mother remarried another Air Force member several years later and we moved to Maxwell AFB, Alabama and then to Hickam AFB, Hawaii. My stepfather retired from there and we moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I finished High School and attended Louisiana State University. I joined the Air Force a couple of years after graduating college. Ironically, after three years in the Air Force, I also joined Air Force Special Operations and returned to Hurlburt Field in 1995 flying the AC-130U gunship until I retired. 

When did you begin writing?

Like I said, I was always creative, Art, photography, storytelling, things like that. Somehow, after I finished pilot training in the Air Force, I got the idea in my head I wanted to write a book about the experience, because it was fascinating that they could take a pedestrian off the street, and in one year, turn them into a supersonic jet-pilot. This was back in 1992. So, I mulled it around in my head and on paper for about a week, then finally realized this was boring, no one would want to read it. But then I said, “What if I wrapped a spy story around this?” and that was how my first novel, Surly Bonds, was written. A very unique tale with a protagonist who is a student pilot. 

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

In a perfect world, I like to write in the morning, while everyone is sleeping and I’m alone in my thoughts. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world, so I learned I needed to learn to write whenever and wherever I could. Fortunately, technology allows authors to do that in a very productive manner these days. I write in a lot of hotel rooms when I’m traveling on the road, on an airplane, in the terminal, on a bus . . . you name it, I’ve probably written there. 

What is this book about?

The Pilate Scroll is about a young woman, Kadie Jenkins, who is part of a team of academics and scientists, who are banded together to find a cure for a bioweapon that is planned to be used against the West. She soon learns that the cure is not their true objective. And what they’re actually searching for, can change the course of human history. Along the way, Kadie’s journey includes learning about herself and the Christian virtues of forgiveness, redemption, transformation, and healing. This, of course, is wrapped around an adventure that transports you to exotic locations in the Middle East and Europe in a pulse-pounding non-stop thrill ride. Trust me, there’s nothing else out there like it. 

What inspired you to write it?                                              

Back in 2018, my wife Kim and I were on a tour of the Holy Land with Mike Huckabee’s Blue Diamond Travel Group. It was an amazing, life-changing experience, touring the Holy Land and experiencing the Bible in 3-D, to actually visit and walk in the places we’d heard and read about our entire lives. I said to Kim, “There’s a book in here somewhere.” Well, as I like to say, I never found it. It found me. It was the fastest book I’d ever written, and the most passionate. As a Christian, it’s hard sometimes to find that epic story that resonates with a large audience that has a positive message throughout the book. This is that book. It has a mass appeal that will please believers and non-believers alike and doesn’t come across as a ‘preachy’ book. 

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

No, but I have a small group of trusted agents I bounce ideas and manuscripts off. I don’t write in a vacuum. There is a small group of authors in my community who tried to get together on a monthly basis, but with my schedule, I couldn’t guarantee I’d be there every month, so we struggled to get it off the ground. But we stay in touch on social media. The author community is a very friendly community. We tend to help each other out, because no matter where you are at in that creative process, we’ve all been there. 

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

If “then” means when I wrote my first book, I would have gotten an editor early and a proofreader often. It’s the one area new authors tend to skip, mainly because it can cost you a lot of money. But, depending on your objectives, it will be money well spent. Publishing Surly Bonds was almost an accident, so it was an area that I skipped initially. I went back after the book was published and had it edited. Yeah, I did it backwards, I know. But that book still won three different Book contests and climbed to the #1 spot of three different Amazon Bestseller charts. 

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

The Pilate Scroll is available at all the major online retailers where books are sold. It’s available in hardback, paperback, and e-book format on all the standard platforms. 

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My website is and also contains retail links for all my books: The Pilate Scroll as well as my military aviation novels in the Jason Conrad Thriller series. There’s also a media page, with different articles and interviews in print, video, and audio. 

Do you have a video trailer to promote your book?  If yes, where can readers find it?

I do! It can be found on my website here or on YouTube! 

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

You can do this. Anyone can write a book. Just like anything else in the world, some people are better at it than others. And some people get the lucky break that more talented people didn’t. Don’t let that discourage you. Writing a book can be done by anyone. You can write at your own pace, get as much or as little help as you want or need, and you can simply let your imagination wander. But don’t let anyone tell you it’s something you can’t do. 

What is up next for you?

I’ve got a draft completed and ready to start writing the next book in the Jason Conrad Thriller series and I’m working on the outline of the sequel to The Pilate Scroll. My writing was momentarily pre-empted last year with a couple of surgeries, and then training for a new airplane at work has occupied all of my time the past few months, but I’m looking forward and getting back behind the keyboard. 

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for having me! I hope your readers and followers check out The Pilate Scroll. I’m sure they will love it.

A quest to save the world . . . a secret that could change it. Forever.

Kadie Jenkins is a survivor. Now part of an elite group of scholars and scientists, their mission is to stop an impending global terrorist threat. But when a colleague is murdered in Egypt, Kadie finds herself pitted against a foe more terrifying than the one they were trying to stop. Teaming up with a renegade pilot and her younger brother, they find themselves in a race against time, greed, and certain death. Can they uncover a 2000-year-old legend to save themselves and possibly the rest of the world?


“WARNING: Sleep deprivation likely. This Christian thriller is a page-turner; more like a page burner. Think Indiana Jones meets God’s Not Dead! M.B. Lewis decided to “take a risk” and write a Christian thriller and he has hit a walk-off homerun with The Pilate Scroll. From the opening page, you’re captivated by the action, intensity and intrigue, and especially the emotional connections, good and bad, among the characters. Along the way, the gospel of Jesus Christ is wonderfully-woven into the story, without being preachy but also theologically-sound. The “fictional historical” and the factual references throughout the book are so well presented it’s hard to determine which is which. It’ll have you doing extra research! Mike has written a gem. I can’t wait to see this on the big screen; it is worthy of being made into a movie. “

– David Jeffers is the Amazon Best-Selling Author of Man Up! What the Bible Says About Being A Man, Losing Evangelicals: How Christians Are Leaving Jesusland, and the Eavesdropping on God devotional series. David has appeared on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, Christian Television Network’s Homekeepers with Arthelene Rippy, and numerous radio interviews.

“If you took The Da Vinci Code and tossed it toward Raiders of the Lost Ark, you’d have this book! The Pilate Scroll is an exciting adventure from the very first page. It has everything—a strong heroine, a sweet younger brother, a true hero, and pesky villains who show up and wreak havoc. But it also has a strong faith thread that brings it all together. Katie, Brian and Duke are forced to search for a possible declaration from Pontius Pilate that could change history. I won’t give away the details, but it sure touched me! I highly recommend this book!”

– Lenora Worth, New York Times Best-Selling Author

“World-altering stakes meet sacrificial love in a story that lifts both the soul and the heart rate. M.B. Lewis handles a tough subject with sensitivity and grace while keeping the pages flying with realism only a been-there-done-that combat veteran can offer.” 

– James R. Hannibal, Award-Winning Author of The Gryphon Heist

“The many years that the author, Michael Lewis, has spent as a military and civilian pilot, flying internationally into fascinating cities and cultures all over the world, properly prepared him to write such an action-packed novel as The Pilate Scroll. If you love drama, mystery, and surprise, you will love this new book.  Amid all of the normal things that you would anticipate from this excellent author who is continuing to grow in popularity, Lewis adds a new spiritual dimension to this book. In sharing the drama of a team on a passionate mission, Lewis weaves into the story a spiritual dimension that is filled with the author’s excellent knowledge of the Bible, his deep understandings of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the virtues of Christianity found in forgiveness, redemption, transformation, and healing. He also exhibits a deep knowledge of the sacred sites so familiar in the life of Jesus, as well as keen insights regarding the teachings of church fathers through the centuries.”   

– Dr. Karl K. Stegall, Pastor Emeritus
First United Methodist Church
Montgomery, Alabama

“Lewis courageously steps away from the mainstream to answer a higher call to deliver this epic Christian thriller. Well done!”

– Gary Westfal, Life Coach and Best-Selling Author, Goal Mind

“The Pilate Scroll is an emotional rollercoaster that includes everything; from good guys with hyper-spiritual awareness and faith to bad guys with questionable ethics or lack thereof… and the perfect combination of action and moments that pull at your heartstrings. Indiana Jonesmeets Ted Dekker in this fun, realistic portrayal of a tale that, if it were true – the world might be better off not knowing it ever happened. But the best part is, the author leaves that for the reader to decide. Without ruining the ending, let me just say there haven’t been many action novels that moved me to tears. This one did. God bless those that read it. And the author that wrote it. A highly recommended novel for believers and nonbelievers alike.”

– Jason E. Fort is the creator and author of Fortress Books 

“M.B. Lewis has created a heart-stopping suspense novel with faith at the heart of its main character, Kadie. The plot is original and genuinely intriguing, and so are the characters, especially Kadie, who is strong yet vulnerable. I like the way Lewis has crafted this character to be flawed and relatable, not a super-Christian without problems. This woman hasn’t felt her faith in a long time, but the events that occur in her life shake her. As you read, you feel for her vulnerable position, and really become invested in the mystery and intrigue crafted by the author. I also like the relationship between Kadie and her special-needs younger brother, Brian. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy this story of forgiveness and healing, but it is brimming with biblical themes and knee-deep in history and culture. The Pilate Scroll by M.B. Lewis is a must-read for those craving a top-tier faith-based suspense novel. Fans of Dan Brown will love this book.”

-Tammy Ruggles – Readers’ Favorite

Amazon →

iBooks →

B&N →

Kobo →



Sunday, May 2, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday - May 3

Welcome to It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Mailbox Monday.


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.

Welcome to May! Hard to believe we are already five months into the new year. Massachusetts continues to make progress toward reopening. Soon our stadiums, arenas, and ballparks will be allowed 25% capacity, and by the end of the month we expect more loosening of restrictions on other industries. I received my first vaccine last week and will get my second shot by the middle of the month. 

This past Sunday we celebrated Orthodox Easter. Since my father-in-law died last year on Easter Monday, it's still tough, but we were blessed to spend the day with family. 

We are expecting a warm, but somewhat wet week. It will be nice to have temperatures no lower than 40. I am ready for nice weather and more time outdoors.

In my reading world, my review of this book appeared at The Children's and Teens' Book Connection on April 30. 

I also reviewed this one here.

I need to finish this one next. 

I am reading these three. 

This one is next.

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Not much in the mailbox lately, but this little gem arrived. I will be reviewing it in July.

This collection focuses on how things come together - and how they fall apart to come together.

That's all for me. Hope you have a great week. I look forward to visiting your blogs.