Monday, March 25, 2013

Swept Away by Mary Connealy - a review

I just became a big fan of Mary Connealy.  I have to admit I have several of her books sitting in my 'to be read' pile but until now I haven't had the pleasure of reading her lyrical prose.

When the opportunity came to read and review Ms. Connealy's newest creation I jumped at the chance and I am ecstatically happy that I did.  Swept Away is Ms. Connealy's first book in her Trouble in Texas series.  I can tell you this much, I will be reading book two, Fired Up as soon as it hits the shelves.

Swept Away is the story of Ruthy MacNeil and Luke Stone, two people on a mission meeting by accident.  Ruthy's parents died when she was very young and the family that took her in did it for selfish reasons.  While on a wagon train Ruthy was dreaming of ways of getting away from them and the good Lord provided a flash flood that stole the lives of her "adoptive" family but spared her life.

Luke Stone (swoon) is the handsome cowboy that found Ruthy floating in the river.  He didn't have time to take her to the nearest town as he had a mission of his own.  After the Civil War, he learned that his Pa had been murdered and their ranch that his Pa sent him the deed to, was stolen by Flint Greer.  He had one thing on his mind and that was to get Flint Greer off his ranch and make him pay for killing his pa.

Along the way, romance blossoms between Ruthy and Luke and they find themselves working together to recover the Stone ranch and save... well, you'll have to read the book to find out anymore.  You all know I hate to hand out spoilers.

If I had to say anything negative about the book it would be Luke's nickname for Ruthy had me confused at times.  You see he called her Rosie, much to her distaste, and there is one section in the book where it switches from his POV to her POV and well, I got all twisted up between Ruthy and Rosie and who's POV it was, but other than that this was an excellent read.

I would highly recommend Swept Away to any and all readers who enjoy good clean romantic fiction.

On a 5-Star scale - 5 Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank Litfuse Publishing and Bethany House for my copy of Swept Away.  I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

About Swept Away: 
When a cowboy focused on revenge encounters a woman determined to distract him, there's going to be trouble in Texas!

Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she's going to have to go with him.

But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love? 
Link to buy the book:         
 Meet Mary:  
Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Kincaid Brides, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and she has been a finalist for a Rita and Christy Award and a two time winner of the Carol Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Smiles & Blessings,

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Survivor by DiAnn Mills - a review

I was so excited when DiAnn Mills newest book, The Survivor arrived in my mailbox. It is the second book in the 'Crime Scene Houston' series.  You can read my review of the first book in the series, The Chase, here.

The one thing I know when I pick up a suspense book by Ms. Mills is I'm going to be in for an 'edge-of-the-seat.' journey through the pages.  Her stories are all character driven and The Survivor was no different.

For those of you who read The Chase  you'll be happy to know that Kariss Walker and Special Agent Tigo Harris are back again.  Unfortunately, somewhere between the end of The Chase and the beginning of The Survivor they have broken up.  Their break-up was due to Tigo not being a Christian and he never told Kariss he had been married before.

Kariss has been asked to tell the true story of Dr. Amy Garrett's horrific experience when she was a child.  But she wants the story told as fiction.  Amy had been assaulted and her throat was slit and she was left to die.  The killer is still out there....watching and they start sending threats to Kariss.

Tigo and his partner, Ryan Steadman, are following up on a car bombing in which a wife and daughter of a prominent businessman are killed.  Was the bomb meant for the husband instead?  That's what Tigo and Ryan try to figure out.  Along the way it appears that their case is linked with the story Kariss is working on with Dr. Garrett. Tigo and Kariss find themselves embroiled in another heart stopping battle to get the bad guys before something happens to them first.

Ms. Mills is a master storyteller who creates such believable characters they could almost walk right off the written page.  Tigo and Kariss grab you at the start,never let you go and they stay with you long after you turn that final page.

If you like good Christian Suspense, The Survivor, is a book you need to read.  I guarantee you won't be disappointed.

On a 5-Star scale = 5 BIG stars!!!!!

I would like to thank BookSneeze and Zondervan for my review copy of The Survivor.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Shattered by Dani Pettrey - my review

I have to say that there is nothing more exciting for me then to discover a new 'favorite' author. Dani Pettrey falls into that category.  Shattered is her newest novel, the second in her Alaskan Courage series.  Let me tell you, Ms. Pettrey knows how to create suspense and keep you guessing right up until the very end.

Shattered is the story of Piper McKenna and Deputy Landon Grainger.  When Piper's prodigal brother returns to his hometown of Yancy, Alaska, he is found holding a dead girl and is arrested for her murder.  Piper, the youngest of the McKenna children, believes in her brother Reef's innocence and quickly embarks on a fast paced journey to prove his innocence.  Deputy Grainger, who has been like a member of the McKenna family, takes a leave of absence in order to go with Piper.  Along their journey they both discover that besides being best friends they have also fallen in love with each other.

Ms. Pettrey is a master story teller that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Snowboarding, jumping from helicopters, car bombs, killer motorcycle gangs, avalanches, hospital emergency rooms are just a few of the things you will encounter on this fast paced suspenseful novel.  Of course this is all intertwined with a sweet love story and one of the characters coming to know the Lord. I found it difficult to put down and devoured it in record time.  I now want to read her debut novel Submerged. 

I would highly recommend Shattered to anyone who is a fan of clean romantic suspense.  Ms. Pettrey doesn't overpower the story with preaching but the Christian thread is beautifully woven into this masterpiece of a story.

On a 5-Star scale - 5 BIG stars!!!

I would like to thank Litfuse Publishing and Bethany House for my review copy of Shattered.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

About Shattered
With All the Evidence Against Him, Only a Sister's Trust Can Save Him Now
When her prodigal brother Reef's return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.
Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.
When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself-and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step. 
Link to buy the book:        

Meet Dani:  
Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom, and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves--the thrill of adventure, nail biting suspense, the deepening of her characters' faith, and plenty of romance. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters. 
Visit her website at

Smiles & Blessings,

First Wild Card Tour - Strand of Deception by Robin Caroll

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

Robin Caroll

and the book:

Strand of Deception: A Justice Seekers Novel

B&H Books (March 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Laurel Teague for sending me a review copy.***


Robin Caroll has authored twelve previous books including the Holt Medallion Award of Merit winner, Deliver Us From Evil. She gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty-plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?

Visit the author's website.


When Gina Ford, the daughter of a prominent Tennessee politician, goes missing from the University of Memphis a week after another girl was murdered on the same campus, police call in the FBI. Nick Hagar, married to his job as Special Agent in Charge, is assigned to the case, and when Gina’s body is found, her father demands justice.

Maddie Baxter is the forensic expert running DNA tests from the crime scene. When they come back without a match, Nick asks her to do a familial DNA run that yields a shocking result: the prime suspect is Adam Alexander, the very same guy who broke Maddie’s heart when she was in college.

But do scientific advancements tell the whole story? Strand of Deception offers romance, suspense, and a lively debate about the impact of DNA testing, for better or worse, on the United States justice system.

Product Details:
List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433672146
ISBN-13: 978-1433672149

My Thoughts:

Strand of Deception is Robin Caroll's third book in her A Justice Seekers series.  I'm sad to say I haven't had the chance to read the first two books in the series but be assured I will be reading them soon as I fell in love with the characters of Strand of Deception.

Robin Caroll has a gift of creating believable characters that drive her plot to completion.  This book is definitely a page turner and Ms. Caroll kept me guessing until the very end of the book.  I must say I was surprised, but of course I won't reveal why I was surprised.  You'll have to read the book.

The sweet love story between Special Agent in Charge Nick Hagar and forensic expert Maddie Baxter was enjoyable.  Ms. Caroll didn't rush their relationship and it felt like the characters may have even directed Ms. Caroll on how fast they wanted to move in the relationship.  In other words, it unfolded so naturally I would almost believe the two characters were real and Ms. Caroll was just relating their story.  Loved it!

I would highly recommend Strand of Deception to anyone who enjoys reading a good clean romantic suspense.

I would like to thank First Wild Card Tours and B & H Publishing Group for my copy of Strand of Deception,  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review which I have done.



The stack of photographs slipped to the floor, splaying across the wood planks like wildflowers over a grassy meadow. Her hands trembled as tears flowed down her cheeks.

This wasn’t real. This couldn’t be happening.

Yet the pictures proved otherwise. This was real, very real.

Her knees weakened. She slumped into the leather chair behind the desk. Even the familiar whoosh couldn’t comfort her now. The proof of his betrayal assaulted her. On the floor. On the desk. In her hand.

Photographs of him in another woman’s arms. How could he do this to them, his family?

To her? Surely he knew this would destroy them, but he cheated anyway. She didn’t understand. Did they mean so little to him?

Her heart ached in a way she never thought possible. Like someone shredded her insides. Another sob escaped her clenched lips. It bounced off the walls and rattled her ears. She never imagined betrayal like this would hurt so badly. So deeply.

She held her head in her hands, her elbows digging into the unyielding wood of the desk. Her lungs fought to push air in and out. Her legs wouldn’t stop quaking.

The morning sun beat past the curtains and flooded the loft with light. How dare such a symbol of joy invade when her entire life had just been destroyed?

Swallowing against a dry mouth, she bit her bottom lip and stared at the photographs. All of a sudden, she felt physically ill. This would destroy not only their family, but his career. His future. Was that why the pictures were taken?

Her heart slammed against her ribs as another thought raced through her mind . . . Why were the pictures here? Everything in her didn’t want to believe what stared her right in the face. But there was no other explanation. The photos were here . . . for what? Money?

A favor?


Bile burned the back of her throat. This was all wrong. Everything.

Her mind struggled to comprehend. She’d let him into the family. Trusted him. Thought she loved him and he loved her. Apparently, she was wrong.

Dead wrong.

The pictures mocked her from all sides. This was her fault. She didn’t have a choice now—she’d have to confront him and hear his excuse, not that she’d believe any lie he told. She’d destroy the photographs, all of them, and demand the negatives. Then she’d shut him out of their lives forever, even though it would kill her.

Her legs barely supported the weight of her decision as she ran for the bathroom.

Chapter One

“Adversity is sometimes hard upon a man; but for one man who can stand prosperity, there are a hundred
that will stand adversity.”
 - Elvis Presley

Two Weeks Ago

“We call Ms. Madeline Baxter to the stand.” Maddie wiped her hands on her skirt and stood. She’d testified at various trials over the years, but never one like this. Only a handful of people sat in the stuffy courtroom, the heat turned too high. She took the oath to tell the truth amid little fanfare before taking her seat in the witness stand.

She glanced over the few people sitting on the very hard, very uncomfortable pews. The judge had closed the hearing to the media, but the hounds waited just outside the oversized doors of the Shelby County Courthouse. Those allowed inside were legal figures, police, family members, and of course, the defendant.

“Ms. Baxter, will you please state your name and occupation for the court record?”

She leaned forward to the microphone. “Madeline Baxter. I’m a forensic scientist specializing in serology and DNA.”

“And you are currently employed by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, correct?”

Maddie licked her lips. “In the Forensic Services Division, yes.”

The defense attorney shuffled through pages on the legal pad he held. “Can you tell us a little about your professional back- ground and qualifications, Ms. Baxter?”

Standard questions, but for the first time in her career, she felt like she was in the hot seat. “I hold a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, as well as one in forensic science from the University of Tennessee. I graduated magna cum laude ten years ago and have been working for the TBI ever since. As such, I am a commissioned law-enforcement officer.”

“Would you be described as an expert in your field, Ms. Baxter?”

They always asked the same question, just worded in various ways. Getting it on the record. “Yes.”

“And the lab where you conduct your tests . . . is it accredited?”

“The TBI forensic lab is accredited by the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board.”

“Good.” The lawyer paused for effect, Maddie was sure, returning to the table where the defendant sat, back straight and shoulders squared. “Now, Ms. Baxter, I’d like to direct you to a recent DNA test you conducted at the request of my office, regarding the defendant, Mr. Mark Hubble.”

And here we go. Maddie licked her lips again. “Yes.” “You recall performing this test?”


“Can you give the court a brief overview for the record?”

“Our lab was supplied a saliva sample taken nine years ago from a crime scene involving a sexual assault. The sample was well preserved. I initially made tests, presumptive tests, for the presence of blood, which is orthotolidine. I utilized hydrogen peroxide as the tests reagents. I conducted testing for acid phosphatase, testing for P30 protein and for amylase, which is an enzyme found in saliva in high concentrations.”

“Go on.” The attorney nodded, as if he understood every- thing she said. He didn’t. Most people didn’t. All they wanted to know was what she would testify to next.

“We were also supplied, by the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, a saliva sample of the defendant.”

“And you ran these same tests on that sample?”

“I did.”

The lawyer paced slowly in front of the courtroom, paused, then moved beside her. “And you compared the two results?”


“And what was your conclusion?”

Maddie sat up straighter. “That Mr. Hubble is excluded as a match for the saliva sample.”

The attorney smiled as he faced her. “So, in your expert opinion, Ms. Baxter, the tests you ran on the samples concluded the samples were from a different person, right?”

She nodded, then remembered she was in court. “Yes.”

“Are you positive?”
“Yes. Science doesn’t lie.”

The defense attorney smiled broadly. “Thank you, Ms. Baxter.” He grinned at the judge. “I have no further questions, Your Honor.”

The judge glanced at the opposing table. The prosecutor jumped to his feet. “We have no questions, Your Honor.”

“You may step down.” The judge excused her.

She marched from the witness stand, catching the defendant’s stare as she did. His eyes were dark, lifeless as he stared through her. A chill settled over her as she rushed past him.

The victim had stood in court, faced the man, and testified that Mark Hubble had sexually assaulted her. He’d been found guilty and sentenced to fifteen years. He’d served six already when his appellant lawyer discovered the saliva sample sitting in evidence and the order for DNA testing came through.

Looking at him now, Maddie’s stomach knotted. He gave her the creeps, but DNA didn’t lie. She had run the tests twice and gone over the results multiple times, twice with the head of the crime lab. The samples weren’t from the same person—she was 100 percent positive of that fact. She stood behind the science over eyewitness testimony. How had the victim identified the wrong man?

Within moments, the judge had overturned the conviction and set Mr. Mark Hubble free with the court’s humble apology. Right . . . Maddie could see the defense attorney’s eyes shining with visions of dollar signs as he would prepare a civil suit for wrongful incarceration and try to get rich off sensationalizing this case. The media would grab hold of the details like pit bulls, locking their jaws on the story and not letting loose until the next big one surfaced.

Maddie shoved open the courtroom door and ducked behind the marshal as he held up his hands to ward off the vultures waiting in the hall. Flashes snapped.

She rushed down the hall, trying to ignore the reporters tailing her. Turning, she let the music soothe her as it had for years. “If you’re looking for trouble—”

“Ms. Baxter, is it true Hubble’s DNA wasn’t a match to the saliva sample?” Yes. She kept walking at a fast clip. Daa-da-da- da-da.

“Is it possible your lab contaminated the samples?” No. “You came to the right place.”

Gritting her teeth to stop the retort on the tip of her tongue, Maddie stomped toward the exit. While most of the media stayed behind at the courtroom to hound Mark Hubble, a few industrious reporters dogged her heels.

“Ms. Baxter, a statement, please?”

No way. Daa-da-da-da-da.

“How do you feel about your results freeing a man?”

If only the man didn’t give her the creeps . . . if only she could believe he was innocent.

“What would you say to Mark Hubble’s victim right now?” Maddie stumbled at the last question. How did she feel toward the victim? The woman had to have mistakenly identified Hubble, right? But how would she feel when she heard the news that Hubble was free?

Dear God, please be with that poor woman. Wrap her in Your arms and comfort her in the way only You can.

Maddie regained her footing and broke free out the doors. She paused, gulping in the cool February air. The midday sun shot through the sky but didn’t offer much heat against the breeze. She rushed down the stairs to the street corner, then turned back to the courthouse.

Her sword at her side, the statue of Lady Justice with her blindfold permanently in place stared back at Maddie. The marble she was carved from as cold as Maddie’s heart.

Science didn’t lie.

Present Day, Friday

“Sir, is it possible your daughter might have stayed the night at a friend’s and just overslept today?” Special Agent in Charge Nick Hagar peered into the man’s face, gauging even the slightest nuance for possible deception.

“No, it’s not.” The man’s stance tightened, his Adam’s apple bobbing.

Nick sighed. Missing children were the worst cases—parents distraught, scared, and rightly so, no matter the child’s age. The enormous emotional toll on parents when they didn’t know what happened to their child . . . he knew all too well what that looked like. Memphis kept her secrets—always had, always would.

“Gina is well aware of the immediate consequences if she misses a check-in.” Les Ford’s public expression usually hid well his fifty-nine years. Today, every year weighted the lines of his ebony face. His tensed shoulders seemed out of place against the smooth lines in the formal living room. “Especially in light of that girl last week.”

“I understand that, sir, and I mean no disrespect. I must ask these hard questions to find your daughter. If there’s even a remote chance she’s merely out of touch . . .”

Despite her father’s prominent position, Gina Ford was a college student. One who could’ve stayed at a party and crashed with a friend. Or stayed somewhere she didn’t want her father to know about. Several other reasons she was just out of touch. So far, nothing indicated she’d been taken hostage to manipulate her father or she was a victim of foul play. Nick made brief eye contact with Darren, motioning him over to the couch.

The distraught father ran a trembling hand over the top of his head. The ends of his closely cropped black hair were tipped with white. “I apologize, Agent Hagar.” He let out a long, slow breath. “Call it a gut feeling or father’s intuition, whatever, but my daughter’s in trouble.”

“Okay, let’s back up. I know you’ve already told the police everything, but I’m going to ask you to tell me so I have all the details.” Nick sat forward on the high-back chair, taking in every movement, nuance, and gesture Les Ford made. “This is Agent Timmons, who’ll be taking notes for our investigation.”

Nodding at Darren, Ford flexed, then relaxed his fingers dangling in front of him. “Last night, Gina had study group and didn’t plan to get home until after midnight.”

“Do you know the names of those in her study group?” Darren asked, pen poised over his notebook.

“Rebecca Dragon, Cynthia Mantle, Lisa Trainer, and Rachel Boxer. But Rachel wasn’t feeling well last night so she called to tell them she wouldn’t be able to join them.” Gina’s father shot Darren a look that indicated he knew everything about his daughter’s life. Or thought he did. He turned his piercing black eyes to Nick. “The group usually meets every Thursday evening in the McWherter Library from eight until eleven, then they go out for pizza at Garibaldi’s.”

Darren scribbled while Ford continued. “Last night, Gina returned to her room early. She told me she didn’t feel like pizza and had some stuff to do before her workout in the morning. So she planned on going to bed as soon as we hung up. That was at eleven fifteen last night. I haven’t heard from her since.” His voice cracked.

Nick waited, understanding the father needed a moment to recompose. Nick cleared his throat. “What time did you realize she was out of contact?”

“Ten thirty this morning. She always calls when she arrives at the university’s fitness center, and we walk half an hour on the treadmill together every weekday.”

Nick glanced at his watch—closer to one than noon. The silent ticking of every second falling off the clock skidded down his spine. “And when she didn’t call?”

“I called her cell. It went straight to voice mail. I called her room. No answer. I went to her apartment. She wasn’t there, but I saw evidence that she’d slept there last night.”

“You have a key to your daughter’s place?” Darren asked.

Ford shot him a look full of disdain. “I’m her father. Of course I have a key to her apartment.” He pushed to his feet and dug out a key ring from his front pocket. His hands trembled as he pulled a single key off the ring and passed it to Nick. “Here’s her key. Her car wasn’t there.”

This was feeling less and less like a kidnapping and more and more like . . . what? Nick swallowed the sigh and stood, staring out the expansive window overlooking a private garden. “And your wife? Is it safe to assume she has no idea where your daughter could be?”

“Mrs. Ford hasn’t heard from Gina. Of course, she is extremely upset at the moment. I ordered her to take a sedative to calm her nerves and to lie down for a bit.” He gave a slight shrug. “She had a minor medical procedure performed a few days ago and needs her rest.”

Oh, yeah, Nick understood all right. He’d seen video clips of Jennifer Ford on the news recently, leaving the dermatologist’s office. Rumors floated around that she’d had some lightening done. Without intent, his gaze settled on the framed photos adorning the marble mantle. Jennifer’s skin looked like smooth mocha as she smiled at the camera.

Nick stopped at the photograph of Gina. “May I?” He pointed at the frame and raised a single brow to Ford.

“Certainly.” Ford nodded. “That was taken a few months ago.”

The girl was beautiful, there was no doubt about that. Her skin was even lighter than her mother’s, her chocolate eyes wide, but not as wide as her smile showing off perfectly straight and white teeth. There was a freshness to her face . . . a reflection of genuine passion for life. Nick’s chest tightened at the mere word—passion. How long had it been since he’d felt passionate about much of anything?

He shook off his thoughts and directed his attention to Gina’s father. “Did she mention what stuff she needed to do this morning before her workout?”

Ford shook his head. “I assumed it had to do with schoolwork.”

Nick sat back on the chair. “We’ll get her schedule later. Right now, tell me about Gina. What are her interests? Hobbies? Special people in her life?”

Ford’s eyes glistened as his voice warbled uncharacteristically.

“Gina is kind and loving, a wonderful daughter and person.” He cleared his throat, staring off into space. “She loves the ballet and art. Takes after her mother that way.” A gentle smile was affixed on his face and he swallowed hard. For a moment, Nick forgot who the man was and saw only a scared father.

The Tennessee afternoon sun settled over the garden just on the other side of the wall. Various flowers extended and poised toward the warmth of the rays against the February chill. A gust shoved against stems, swaying them.

“Gina is an excellent student. Takes pride in her work. All of her professors tout how much they enjoy her being in their class.”

Which could just be lip service to an important man, who happens to sit on the University of Memphis’s board.

“She’s active in various community-volunteer positions, mainly through my office. My assistant can give you a list of them.”

Nick nodded. “What about the people she spends the most time with?”

“Gina’s best friend is Cynthia Mantle. They’ve been close since high school. They were on the dance squad together back then.”

They’re also in the same study group. Nick would definitely speak with Ms. Mantle.

Darren tapped against the notebook. “What about a boyfriend?”

The senator frowned. “Gina understands it’s not prudent to become serious with anyone while she’s so young.”

Surely Ford didn’t believe his daughter didn’t date.

“She has, however, begun seeing a young man. A David Tiddle.”

Nick leaned forward again. “I mean no disrespect, sir, but I’m sure you’ve had him checked out, so I’d like to see your report, if I might.”

Ford stared down his nose. “She’s not serious about him. He’s only been to the house a couple of times for dinner.” He shrugged. “Seems like a nice enough young man.”

And Nick would just bet Ford had a nice, fat dossier on Tiddle. “Sir, I’m not judging you or your family, but anything you can provide will help us to find your daughter.”

Ford stood and moved to the desk in the corner of the room. He opened a drawer and withdrew a thin manila envelope he passed to Nick. “That’s all the initial query gathered. I haven’t authorized more digging. Hadn’t planned on it unless Gina felt like the relationship was turning exclusive.”

Nick slipped the file under his arm and stood. “Thank you. One last thing . . . can you think of anyone who would want to harm your daughter?”

“Considering my position? I have many enemies, Agent.” “Anybody in particular recently?”

“Let me get you a list of those on our current threat-watch.”

Interesting they had to keep a current list. Nick paused at the door while Ford returned to the desk. Nick turned to Darren.

“I’m going to question Ms. Mantle. You check out the other members of the study group. And pull Gina’s phone records.”

Darren nodded as Ford returned and passed a piece of paper to Darren.

Nick moved to the hallway and addressed the senator. “Is there anything else you can think of? Even if it’s remote and seems unimportant at the moment?”

Ford’s fear flickered across his face. “Please, find my daughter.”

Chest tightening, Nick nodded. “I’ll do my best, Senator.”

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, March 11, 2013

Wishing on Willows by Katie Ganshert - a review

I became a fan of Katie Ganshert after reading her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter (read my review here).  So when I was given the opportunity to read her sophomore novel, Wishing on Willows,  I jumped at the chance. I wasn't disappointed.

Wishing on Willows is a sequel to Wildflowers from Winter but it can also be read as a stand-alone book.  It is a sweet novel of healing, second chances and renewed hope.

Robin Price is a widow and single parent of Caleb, an energetic 3-year-old. She owns and operates Willow Tree, a local cafe in the small Iowa town of Peaks.  Willow Tree was a dream she and her deceased husband, Micah had for their lives.  Unfortunately, Micah dies before Caleb is born and before the cafe comes to life.

Enter Ian McKay, a project manager for his father's firm, McKay Development and Construction.  It is there plan to buy out the owners of the property on the south side of Peaks in order to build condominiums.  A new factory is being erected in Peaks, and the Mayor and Town Council want to gain as much tax revenue as they can by having the condos built before the factory is completed so the new factory workers will choose to live in Peaks and not in a neighboring town.  The problem is, Willow Tree is on the land that Ian McKay chooses to buy.  Fireworks fill the air as these two wonderful characters interact with each other.

Ian and Robin have both suffered great loss and these losses are revealed slowly throughout the book.  Ms. Ganshert has a phenomenal way of creating believable characters that pull you in and won't let go.  I laughed with them and cried with them and I wanted to fight for them as well.

I could go on and tell you all the wonderful gems that were revealed in this book but that would be releasing a spoiler and I will never do that intentionally.

If you like to read good clean romantic fiction this is definitely a book you need to pick up.  I read it in one day, it is just that good.

On a 5-Star Scale = 5 BIG Stars!!!!!

I would like to thank WaterBrook Multnomah and Blogging for Books for my Advanced Reader Copy.  I received my copy for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.

Smiles & Blessings,

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Dani Pettrey is celebrating the release of Shattered with a Nook HD giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party {3/14}. 

Shattered Pettrey

One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Nook HD

  • Submerged and Shattered by Dani Pettrey {Be caught up in this riveting series.}

  • Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 13th. Winner will be announced at the "Shattered" Author Chat Party on 3/14. Connect with Dani for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

    So grab your copy of Shattered and join Dani on the evening of the March 14th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

    Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 14th!

    Smiles & Blessings,

    An Update on Peppi

    Just an update on our little guy.  Peppi has a complete ACL tear.  This means it will never heal properly so on the morning of March 27th he will be undergoing surgery to have it repaired.  I just would like to ask that you will continue to pray for our little guy.  He is on pain medication right now but he cries from time to time so we know he has pain.

    Thank you for your prayers.

    Smiles & Blessings,

    Saturday, March 2, 2013

    Please Pray for Peppi

    This is a picture of our baby, Peppi.  He will be 12 years old in May so he has slowed down a little bit.  Along with age he has developed cataracts on both eyes so he doesn't see quite as well.  He was trying to jump up on the ottoman earlier this week and didn't quite make it.  I was in the back room so I didn't know what happened until my husband came in and told me Peppi had fallen and let out a yelp.  Well, that fall was serious.  The vet believes he either tore a ligament or a muscle.

    The vet said they could do surgery (quite costly) but that would be really rough on him.  He gave us some pain pills for Peppi.  He said that in a couple of weeks the pain should subside and eventually he will heal but he will never be 100%, maybe 50-65%.  Well, my husband and I are believing in God's healing touch on our little guy.  He is already starting to walk on it again (he's been limping on 3 legs). Praise God.

    My husband and I were married in April 2001 and we adopted Peppi in July 2001.  He is our little boy.  We both married later in life so we don't have children.  It hurts me so much watching Peppi hobble around.  I would like to ask you all to send up prayers for Peppi to heal quickly.  Thank you.

    Smiles & Blessings,