Thursday, December 29, 2016

Phoenix's new book will stir you up

"Of Stillness and Storm" by Michele Phoenix follows a married couple Sam and Lauren on his journey to Nepal to work in God's ministry.  Notice I said "his."  Sam feels a calling to spur of the moment take his wife and son, Ryan, to Nepal and live, sacrifice, and struggle with the Nepali's, sharing God's word.  While there, Sam leaves his family alone for 3 weeks out of the month to minister to the poor in surrounding impossible to reach villages.  Meanwhile, Lauren must work to keep Sam's visa.  The job he insists she have is an hour walk away.  Why?  Because she must struggle.  She supports the family and cares for the son alone.  Somewhere along the way, Sam comes to think of himself as a god and drags Lauren along with him. When Lauren refriends an old schoolmate on Facebook and starts to reconsider her relationship with Sam and God, Same continues to spiral out of control in his obsession with the natives and the family rapidly falls part.  Though I hate Sam and most of the characters tick me off, this book stirred a lot of passion in me.  The reader will not read idly; the reader will read with fervor!  Be prepared to have this book really make you reconsider you life and your relationship with God.  I received this book in exchange for a review from litfuse Publicity.  Please see the giveaway button on the side!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Newsmakers series

"The Candidate" by Lis Wiehl is the second in the Newsmakers series that came out this fall.  Erica Sparks is the top news reporter for fictional station GNN.  She's a single mother with a "past" and has a knack for solving the unsolvable and reporting it to the masses.  In this novel, the Ortiz's are running for president, yes that was plural.  Mike Ortiz is the man officially running for office and his wife Celeste is running the show.  Nothing gets by her or in her way.  When a bomb goes off killing the competition, Sparks smells something fishy and is off to investigate.  Putting herself and child in danger while she is at it. 
Though I probably like this series the least of Wiehl's books, it is still a really good book.  I haven't read the first in the series and I highly recommend it.  At times the reader may not be able to follow "The Candidate" unless you read the first, but it isn't entirely mandatory.  There are lots of twist and turns and it is a lot of fun to try to figure it out before Sparks does.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Newest Pike novel

"Ring of Fire" is Brad Taylor's newest Pike novel.  In this one, Pike and the team are trying to stop another 9/11 terrorist attack.  The terrorist are trying to attack ports around the US to shut down the inport-outport system in the US to seize our economy.  The team is globetrotting to capture the criminals and stop the attacks. 
I really like the Pike novels.  I will certainly be going back and reading the ones that I haven't gotten to.  I would highly recommend this series if you are interested in lots of action and Intel.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mehl's new series

"Fatal Frost" is the first book in the new series "Defenders of Justice" by Nancy Mehl.  Mehl has steered off into a completely new direction.  The new series though still in St Louis, centers around Mercy, a US Marshall, and her two crime fighting friends Tally and Mark.  The plot is what if the police/black shootings were not so shall we say, black and white.  What if it were a conspiracy to appear that way to keep both the public and the authorities attention else where while another party were taking control?  Mercy and her men are about to find out. 
I like that Mehl is trying something new.  I think the new series is good.  I don't especially like Mercy.  She's a bit of a cold fish.  I do like Tally and Mark.  I received this book in exchange for a review from Bethany House. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

saffire review

"Saffire"  is the newest novel by Sigmund Brouwer.  This novel is about a Dakota cowboy, James Holt, during his time in Panama during the building of the Panama Canal.  Roosevelt has sent him there to do some investigating in exchange for the money to pay off the ranch which is close to foreclosure. 
This book is a mystery; however, instead of the usual where the reader and main character try to solve the mystery, both spend the majority of the book trying to figure out what the mystery is.  He is sent to investigate, but what?  This book is very well written, the characters are great, but the mystery within a mystery grows a little old by mid book.  The parts about the building of the canal and the culture and politics of the time are fascinating.  Good novel, but not one of my favorites by Brouwer.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

as good as dead review

"As Good As Dead" by Stephen L Moore is a nonfiction work about the POW camps in the Philippines during World War II.  Close to 400 Americans were held prisoner on the Palawan Island, being starved and tortured.  The majority of the book stays with the POWs on the island telling of the horrors the men endured while there.  Climaxing when the last 150 men still there were massacred.  With only 11 left, the men escaped and were on a mission for survival. 
This is a brilliantly written book.  Very well researched.  It is not a book that one would read for hours strait at a time.  It can be quiet difficult to read, actually.  However, it is an important book that should be read by all.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Where there's a will

"The Will of a Man and the Way of a Woman" by Robert and Pamela Crosby is a self-help book for married couples and their communication.  The book describes  not only the social differences, but the biblical, physical and psychological differences between men and women.  Though I didn't think this book was all that necessary to begin with, I soon found myself quoting from it regularly. Keep reading, cuz it is good!   It is sooo informative and the a-ha moments are frequent.  I loved this book!  I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review."


Friday, November 11, 2016


"Broken Crayons Still Color" by Shelley Hitz is a self help book of sorts.  It focuses on healing, forgiveness, and therapeutic activity.  Her book consists of 7 weekly chapters.  Each chapter has a message, color sheets, reflection questions, prayer, a weekly memory verse, a video, and a viewers guide.  The coloring sheets aren't too complicated; they are simple and focus on the therapeutic activity rather than the picture.  I couldn't see the videos on my laptop for some reason, but they are there.  I also didn't really  understand the format of the viewer's guide.  I mostly like the message.  Her messages focus on making oneself whole again.  I received the kindle version.  On this version, the reader goes to the websites to download the coloring pictures and videos.  They also come with scripture cards, which I really liked as well.  I received this book from

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Dutch Review

"Waves of Mercy" is a novel by Lynn Austin.  In "Waves of Mercy", Gessje is a teen living in Holland with her family in the 1840's.  In the Netherlands during this time, anyone outside of the government religion is prosecuted.  Gessje's family is one of those families.  The family decides to move to America and settle in the Michigan Lake area creating a new Holland.  They bring their protégé, Maarten with them; followed by Henrick, a soldier that Gessje has fallen in love with.  The story goes back and forth between the 1840's Gessje and the 1890's Gessje and Anna, an adopted daughter of two wealthy Chicagoans. 
The story though predictable is written in such a way that it is shocking when events happen.  I liked how the novel went back and forth in time to share the story.  Austin writes in several different mannerisms in her novels.  I like some ways better than others.  This book is one of my favorites of hers.  Her characters are well developed and she doesn't seem to loose track of her time sequence.  She tells of her faith without being preachy about it.  She teaches love of God in a loving manner.  I received this book for free from Baker Publishing. 

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Shores

"The Shores of Tripoli" by James L. Haley is a cross between historical fiction and a historical text book.  The book tells the story of Bliven Putnum, a 14 year old captain in training.  The year is 1801 and the US is dabbling in the Navy with just a few ships, one being the Enterprise.  The US is headed for battle with the pirate ship, Tripoli.  The Tripoli is a Muslim led ship in a world where Muslim ships have gutted ships and imprisoned sailors into slavery.  The story mostly sticks with the conflict of Tripoli, but does jump in time while following Bliven, ending when he is 18.  Rumor has it this could be a series. 
This is a very detailed book.  The person reading this needs to be very interested in ships and 1801 world politics.  The book is well written and Haley knows his stuff.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Sunday, October 23, 2016


"The Occupied" by Craig Parshall is the first in the Trevor Black Series.  Trevor is a former high end defense lawyer from New York who has been chosen by God to enter into battle with the demons that walk the earth.  While Trevor is riding high in NYC he looses his wife to a drug overdose and his partnership in a short period of time.  He is brought in as a consultant by a detective who believes that darker powers are at work than the usual bad guys.  The demons travel to Wisconsin to Trevor's home town to wreak havoc on the town to draw Trevor out for battle. 
This is an unusual book in that it is both paranormal/horror and Christian Fiction all at once.  The novel is well written and incredibly captivating.  It will keep you up at not first to read, then to ponder and fear.  I think this series will be a success and I look forward to reading more.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale Publishers.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Shaken Not Stirred

"Shaken:  Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life's Storms" by Tim Tebow is the author's second book.  "Shaken" exposes the ups and downs, mostly downs, that Tebow has experienced lately.  The first book he wrote, an autobiography, paled in comparison to this book.  In his first, he wrote like a college student, and he seemed immature and a tad pompous.  This Tim Tebow is a whole new man.  Tebow is all grown up.  He comes across as a more mature, secure, and wise man.  His writing is much more confidant.  I am not a football fan at all, yet I wasn't bored with this book.  There is quite a bit of football in it, but he is a football player. However, this was written before his baseball experience , so there is no mention of playing pro baseball.   There is a lot about his charitable works.  He relates everything in his life to his faith with God and that is a good thing.  I really liked this book.  By the way, it is very hard walking around with this book in your hands because people keep trying to get you to give it to them.  Everyone loves Tim, which should help when selling this book.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

X-Files in a book

"The Complete X-Files" by Chris Knowles is being re-released with the new info and pics involving Seasons 10.  The book is really a collection of summaries from each episode and movie involving the X-Files show.  Most of the summaries are brief, but some give behind the scenes information or quirky little bits of facts.  There are pictures included of both behind the scenes and stills.  This would be the perfect gift for an X-File junkie.  I know I love it, however, I wouldn't recommend it to someone who watches it here and there.  I also would recommend on spending the extra dough and getting the hardback.  I read this on my phone and the pics weren't as viewable as I would have liked.  I received this book from

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Amish Novellas

"An Amish Harvest:  Four Novellas" by Beth Wiseman, Amy Clipston, Kathleen Fuller, and Vannetta Chapman is a sweet collection of Amish Fiction revolving around the Autumn months.  Though all have a touch of romance, they each have various genres: some mystery, some action, etc.  The Chapman novella, Mischief in the Autumn Air, was my favorite.  That is the one I will summarize.  In this novel, Martha, a widowed 40 something, must move in with her aunt due to finances and live over 250 miles from home.  She soon takes a job at an auction house and discovers a mystery.  Eli, her boss, and Martha try to solve the mystery of maps on various pieces of furniture.  Is it treasure?  Is it more?  I liked some of the novellas more than others, but they were all enjoyable and easy reads.  Perfect for relaxing.  I received this book from

Sunday, October 2, 2016


"The Clancys of Queens" by Tara Clancy is a memoire of the author, a girl growing up in Queens.  Tara is the character told in the style of Scout-Ramona-Junie B.  She is every teacher's nightmare, she is adventurous, and she is "the fun one".  Tara lives with her mother in a basement apartment in her grandma's house.  Grandma is a hoot.  The story follows her growing up years spending alternate weekends between her father's one room shed that he rents and her mother's boyfriend, Mark, who is Colin Powell's neighbor in the Hamptons. 
Clancy's writing is hilarious and eloquent. I love the way she strings the words together.  It's not a heavy read, but does give pause to how one looks at other people.  Her character building is superb. 4 stars.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from First to Read. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Priceless Review

"Priceless:  She's Worth Fighting For" is the novelization of the movie by the same name, written by Joel and Luke Smallbone.  In this book, James becomes a widower and in the process of grieving he looses his home.  In an effort to get back on his feet quick, James takes a job dealing drugs and get prison time on his first time out.  While serving he looses custody of his daughter and in an effort to get enough money to get his daughter back he takes a job driving "cargo", which is criminal for humans.  Now either James is incredibly unlucky or not real bright.  Maybe both.  He soon discovers his cargo is two women and falls for the older one.  Maria and Antonia are sisters trying to make it in America.  Somehow they get caught up with criminals with bad intentions.  And their hero, James.
This book is a quick read, a bit frustrating at times.  The bad or naive decisions get a little hard to watch.  The book is written by a couple of brothers from the band for King & Country with Nancy Rue.  Though they tell a good story it does seem that they are trying to tell too much at once.  I would recommend this for a young adult reader.  I received this book from Worthy Publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Oke Returns to West

"Where Hope Prevails" is the third novel in the Return to the Canadian West series by Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan.  This series is a companion story to the TV series "When Calls the Heart."  Though I haven't read the first two in the series of books, I do watch the show.  So while the two do not match, it is still readable without too much confusion. 
In this novel, Beth Thatcher is beginning her new school year at Coal Valley.  Much to her dismay, she is starting it with a new teacher as well.  Being a teacher, I found the back and forth between the two pertaining to educational philosophies rather interesting. The novel follows Coal Valley as it grows by leaps and bounds into a new civilized life and as Beth learns to live on her own before her wedding to Jack, the Mountie.  The novel is an easy read, perfect for relaxing without a lot of strain.  The 'book' Beth is a lot more complex that the 'TV' Beth.  She is more of a worrier and makes more mistakes.  Mistakes that she worries about, of course.  She seems more human and makes it a more enjoyable read.  I don't think what passes on television would make good reading here.  I will probably be searching out book one and two in this series.  Nice read!  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishing. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mike in Japan

"The Mask" by Taylor Stevens is the next novel in the Vanessa Michael Munroe series.  Mike is a mercenary for hire that battles injustice throughout the world, hopping from continent to continent kicking butt as she goes.  I reviewed "The Catch" last fall and when I saw Stevens had this new one out I knew I had to read it.  I love the Munroe books!  Munroe is both a woman and easily passes as a man.  She also fights like one.  The Munroe character is what makes these books so great, but the storyline is also intriguing.  In this one, she leaves Africa for Japan, following Bradford, her long-time love.  Bradford had a job in security there when he is framed for a murder in the building where he works.  Munroe has been kept in the dark about all the details pertaining to the job and has to start from scratch to prove Bradford's innocence.  Go read this book.  I give it an A.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Go Big

"Go Big or Go Home" is country star, Scotty McCreery's autobiography.  The book gives a brief account of his growing up years and then focuses on his American Idol time and career as a country singer.  Since most American Idol contestants and winners usually are eventually forgotten, McCreery's book is a little different in that he is one of the few that has maintained a successful career.  Just ask any teenage girl.  However, I am not a teen age girl, nor am I a country music listener, so I will be evaluating this book simply as an autobiography. 
McCreery is young, 22.  So this book is relatively short and doesn't have a lifetime of ups and downs.  It focuses on a regular teen kid who gets thrown into something huge and to him, wonderful.  He doesn't have any of the usual problems of the young and famous, so the book is mostly a fish out of water story.  It is written in the same style of speech that he has.  Accent, slang and all.  I would recommend this to any of his fans for sure, and even to some that are wanting to break into a music career of their own.  Not a bad book.  I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Cold War never Ends

"The Sixth Idea" by PJ Tracy is the newest novel in the Monkeywrench Series.  This novel gives a conspiracy twist about the men who created the Hydrogen bomb.  What if they had decided to create a weapon that would destroy the communication and operations of government at the time (1950s)without killing anyone and now 60 years later, in the middle of the computer age, it had more power than ever before.  The powers of the world would be killing and fighting to control it. 
This is a creative and intriguing book.  I loved it.  Tracy keeps the suspense going clear to the end with an unexpected twist in the end.  I would highly recommend this book.  I received this novel in exchange for an honest review from

Saturday, July 23, 2016

red queen review

"Red Queen" by Christina Henry is the second in the Chronicles of Alice series.  I have not read the first and clearly this is one of those books where you need to.  I only read about a third of it before I gave up.  So let me tell you what it is about.  'Queen' borrows the names of the characters from "Alice in Wonderland" and it is told in the same phsychedelic style but that is pretty much where the similarities end.  In the novel, Alice is being read to by Cheshire and is also running from an asylum with the mad Hatcher, a killer with an ax.  The book is dark and mysterious in a "what is going on?" kind of way.  I can see a lot of people liking this but, please, start at the beginning.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Samson and Delilah

"Delilah" by Angela Hunt is the  latest in the Dangerous Beauty Series.  Though Delilah has always been viewed as a sneaky, bad girl who threw Samson under a bus for the fun of it, this novel brings the question "why would she do that?" to mind.  Why?  "Delilah" takes the view of Delilah and Samson switching back and forth between each chapter.  This gives the reader a chance to see the point of view between each character.  Samson is an incredibly naive and overly-confident man while Delilah has been horrible abused and has absolutely nothing to loose and every thing to gain.
 As you know the story is the telling of a man with unnatural strength, the strength to kill a lion with his bare hands and the woman who he tells the secret as to why.  She of course gives it up to authorities who take away his strength. This is a novel though; it takes liberties that can be assumed from the bible story and adds historically accurate facts. I thought this was a great book and I highly recommend it.  I received this novel for free in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Kill Devil Review

"Kill Devil" by Mike Dellosso is an action/conspiracy style novel blending high adrenaline with solid faith.  This book reads like part of a series, however, reading the other books (if there are any) is not necessary.  Jed Patrick is a soldier that unwittingly became a part of an underground experiment run by our government, Centralia.  Centralia is the torture of soldiers and even children in order to make the perfect soldier.  Kill begins with Patrick's child, Lilly being kidnapped and held to obtain a flash drive with all the proof anyone would need of the evil lurking.  However, the project goes all the way to the top.  The tippy top.  Jed and his family must rely on God and their wits to endure the project. 
This book is a lot more violent then your average Christian fiction.  I was rather surprised really.  The book is written very well, however the God parts seemed a little forced.  It's a very quick read.  It holds the reader's attention and really gets into the Jed character.  I liked this book and will be looking into the series.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale Publishing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Dream of Miracles review

"A Dream of Miracles" by Ruth Ried is her newest novel in the Amish Wonder series.  In this novel, Mattie, a young Amish widow with two children, age 3 and 18 months, who has been turned in to Child Protection by her substitute doctor.  Bo Lambright is the case worker that has been assigned to her. 
Though I usually don't like Amish novels, I normally truly love Ruth Ried novels.  However, I didn't really like this one.  The reasoning for turning Mattie in didn't make much sense.  Though she is a little weird and definitely obsessed with her children, she wasn't someone who would be turned in.  Which I guess is the point, that the reader wouldn't want her to lose her children, but to me it just made for a lot of tension that didn't need to be there.  That being said, though I didn't like this particular novel, the other reviewers put up many stars and seemed to love it.  So my advice would be to give this book a try.  Ried is an excellent writer, this one just rubbed me the wrong way.
  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Dream of Miracles review

"A Dream of Miracles" by Ruth Ried is her newest novel in the Amish Wonder series.  In this novel, Mattie, a young Amish widow with two children, age 3 and 18 months, who has been turned in to Child Protection by her substitute doctor.  Bo Lambright is the case worker that has been assigned to her. 
Though I usually don't like Amish novels, I normally truly love Ruth Ried novels.  However, I didn't really like this one.  The reasoning for turning Mattie in didn't make much sense.  Though she is a little weird and definitely obsessed with her children, she wasn't someone who would be turned in.  Which I guess is the point, that the reader wouldn't want her to lose her children, but to me it just made for a lot of tension that didn't need to be there.  That being said, though I didn't like this particular novel, the other reviewers put up many stars and seemed to love it.  So my advice would be to give this book a try.  Ried is an excellent writer, this one just rubbed me the wrong way.
  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Dream of Miracles review

"A Dream of Miracles" by Ruth Ried is her newest novel in the Amish Wonder series.  In this novel, Mattie, a young Amish widow with two children, age 3 and 18 months, who has been turned in to Child Protection by her substitute doctor.  Bo Lambright is the case worker that has been assigned to her. 
Though I usually don't like Amish novels, I normally truly love Ruth Ried novels.  However, I didn't really like this one.  The reasoning for turning Mattie in didn't make much sense.  Though she is a little weird and definitely obsessed with her children, she wasn't someone who would be turned in.  Which I guess is the point, that the reader wouldn't want her to lose her children, but to me it just made for a lot of tension that didn't need to be there.  That being said, though I didn't like this particular novel, the other reviewers put up many stars and seemed to love it.  So my advice would be to give this book a try.  Ried is an excellent writer, this one just rubbed me the wrong way.
  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ghosts of war review

"Ghosts of War" by Brad Taylor is a Pike Logan thriller.  In this novel, Pike's team has been laid off leaving some of the members to take on other opportunities.  For instance, locating and obtaining an ancient Torah that was stolen by Nazi's and recently discovered in Poland.  While on their mission, The president of the US has been killed in a conspiracy involving Russians and Israelis that are trying to dethrone Putin, leader of Russia.
This book is full of action.  Not the running around trying to unlock secrets and find clues, though they are doing that, but the dirty bombs, heads exploding, torturing while saving the world and stopping WWIII type.  It is nonstop adrenaline from start to finish.  I would say this is primarily a "guy" book, though I'm not a guy and I enjoyed it as well.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Friday, June 10, 2016

Miram review

"Miriam" by Mesu Andrews is the part 2 to "Pharaoh's Daughter".  Personally, I like this one best.  The story follows Miriam's wait and return of her brother Moses.  Miriam lives in slavery with the rest of the Hebrews under the Egyptians.  Early in the novel, Miriam takes in a distant relative who has been tossed out of the harem of Pharaoh.  The novel follows the families in slavery and the way of life of the Hebrews during this time.
This was kind of a hard book to get into, however, the history and educational aspect was wonderful.  Andrews gives a lot of research to the exploring of the time period.   She also explores man's tendency to cling to the familiar instead of reaching out for the better.  The way the slaves feared Moses' message and fought against change.  I liked this book even though it was long and took a bit to grow on me.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Thursday, June 9, 2016

HLHS and ronald mcdonald

My daughter has Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.  She only has half of her heart.  On Tuesday she participated in a study at Children's Mercy Hospital for single ventricle kids.  She did extremely well and I am so proud of her.  She normally has a flair for the dramatic, but this time she reigned it all in and performed to the best of her athletic ability.  For a kid in her condition she is very healthy.  She can do almost everything she wants, it just so happens she hates sports.  Usually we go to a smaller hospital closer to home that is a branch from the main children's mercy, but this time we had to go to the main hospital.  The same hospital that she had her first three open heart surgeries done.  I have PTSD.  Just trying to remember the route in which to travel to get there put me into a tail spin.  Remembering the sights and the turns.  The land marks.  I really, really, did not want to go back there.  I hated every second of it.  While in the research lab, all was fine.  I had never been there before, my daughter did well and so did I.  But the parking, getting into the stupid Yellow Submarine elevator, seeing the tree the homeless man slept in, all made me a bit on the crazy side.  I cried the night before.  I just couldn't seem to deal with the anxiety.  I have a friend that has triplets and had similar experiences with their births.  Not heart related, but still serious health issues.  She has similar problems with dealing with her memories.  I know I am not alone in all this.  It just feels like it.

Anywaaaay,  the pictures posted is her donating pop tabs to the Ronald McDonald House.  The box is full of tabs.  We thank everyone soooo much, but hey!  Not so much pop ya'll!

Monday, May 30, 2016


"Stars Over Sunset Boulevard" by Susan Meissner is a must read.  I love her books.  I love how she incorporates the past with the present; how the past effects the future and everything matters somewhere to someone.  In "Stars," a 2012 woman who runs a vintage store comes across a hat that was not supposed to be donated.  And when she looked at the label in that hat, I knew this was going to be a good book.  And it is. 
Violet and Audrey are two single gals living in Hollywood during the late 1930's and as luck would have it, they are working as secretaries during the making of "Gone With the Wind".  The novel follows the girls through their lives following the sharp turn of events after they came into possession of the hat, later found at the vintage store.  The novel goes back and forth between the two time periods.  I love this book and you simply must read it.  I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review via Twitter. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Gilded Age Tour


Born to a society and a life of privilege, Bertha Honoré married Potter Palmer, a wealthy entrepreneur who called her Cissy. Neither dreamed the direction the other’s life would take. He built the Palmer House Hotel, still famed today, and become one of the major robber barons of the city, giving generously to causes of which he approved. She put philanthropy into deeds, going into shanty neighborhoods, inviting factory girls to her home, working at Jane Addams’ settlement Hull House, supporting women’s causes.
It was a time of tremendous change and conflict in Chicago as the city struggled to put its swamp-water beginnings behind it and become a leading urban center. A time of the Great Fire of 1871, the Haymarket Riots, and the triumph of the Columbian Exposition. Potter and Cissy handled these events in diverse ways. Fascinating characters people these pages along with Potter and Cissy—Carter Harrison, frequent mayor of the city; Harry Collins, determined to be a loser; Henry Honoré, torn between loyalties to the South and North; Daniel Burnham, architect of the new Chicago—and many others.
The Gilded Cage is a fictional exploration of the lives of these people and of the Gilded Age in Chicago history.
The Gilded Cage is a wonderful recreation of early Chicago and the people who made it what it is. Central character Cissy Palmer is a three-dimensional, real, vibrant person. The Gilded Cage is fiction, but firmly based on fact—the Chicago Fire, the prisoners from the War Between the States interred in Chicago, the newcomer Potter Palmer, the explosive growth of wealth in a prairie town, deep poverty adjacent to great riches—the American experience laid bare. You don’t have to be a Chicagoan to love this book.” -Barbara D’Amato, author of Other Eyes

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About the Author

Judy Alter is the award winning author of fiction for adults and young adults. Other historical fiction includes Libbie, the story of Elizabeth Bacon (Mrs. George Armstrong) Custer; Jessie, the story of Jessie Benton Frémont and her explorer / miner / entrepreneur / soldier / politician husband; Cherokee Rose, a novel loosely based on the life of the first cowgirl roper to ride in Wild West shows; and Sundance, Butch and Me, the adventures of Etta Place and the Hole in the Wall Gang.
For more information visit Judy Alter’s website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, May 23
Excerpt & Giveaway A Holland Reads
Tuesday, May 24
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, May 25
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Friday, May 27
Review at In a Minute
Monday, May 30
Review at Book Nerd
Tuesday, May 31
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Wednesday, June 1
Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Thursday, June 2
Interview at Author Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Monday, June 6
Review at Eclectic Ramblings of Author Heather Osborne
Tuesday, June 7
Guest Post at The True Book Addict
Wednesday, June 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at It’s a Mad Mad World
Thursday, June 9
Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway at The Book Junkie Reads
Monday, June 13
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation
Wednesday, June 15
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, June 16
Review at The Lit Bitch
Friday, June 17
Review at New Horizon Reviews
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The After Party review

"The After Party" by Anton DiSciafani is the captivating novel about 1950's Houston, the Haves, if you will.  Cece and Joan are the best of friends all through their childhood until Joan changes without warning.  Cece is more than just friends with Joan; she is obsessed to the point where she is asked repeatedly if she is in love with Joan.  But she is more than that; worships would be a better word.  Joan is a life long obsession that Cece can not stop worshiping. 
The book is indeed captivating and well written, however, there seems to be little plot other than the obsession of Cece with Joan.  About half way through it I wondered if this would be it.  Eventually the novel takes a sharp turn and reveals the tragedy behind Joan's erratic alcoholic behavior.  I received this book in exchange for a review from

Friday, May 6, 2016

the atonement review

"The Atonement" by Beverly Lewis is a stand alone novel about an Amish woman who has yet to forgive herself for her past.  Lucy devotes large amounts of time to several different charities and even takes on some of the charitable personally.  She has ceased to attend church activities and dating of any kind.  Though Tobe, her admirer, hasn't completely abandoned the idea of courting her and Dale, a non-Amish man who is in her grief group, has taken a liking to her as well, she is keeping both of them at arms length convinced that she is no good for either of them.
This is a good book.  The characters are well written and the plot is good.  Lewis doesn't do anything spectacular or different here than in any of her others.  If you liked them, you'll like this one just as well.  I received this book in exchange for a review from Bethany House Publishers. 

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Drew Farthering Review

"Dressed for Death" by Julianna Deering is the fourth book in the Drew Farthering Mystery series.  In this novel Drew and Madeline have been invited to a Regency party at the Cummings'.  The Regency party is where the 1930's upper crust crowd spend a week dressing, dancing and playing as if they were in Austen era 1830s.  When the party begins to wind down and the final ball is being had, Tal Cummings fiancé overdoses on cocaine.  Swearing that she would never take it herself and that she must have been murdered, Tal asks Drew, a known amateur sleuth to take on the case and find the real killer.  Soon the murder is tied to a major cocaine smuggling ring and the bodies keep adding up. 

Since I don't normally read books of this style it usually takes me a little while to get used to the mannerisms of the characters.  But once I do, the story keeps my interest.  It has a quick pace and the characters are well developed.  The only fault I had was that I solved the mystery before Drew.  I received this book for free from the publishers, Bethany House.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

feathered bone review

"The Feathered Bone" by Julie Cantrell is the telling of one tragedy after another.  Amanda and her daughter Ellie, are on a field trip with the 6th grade class when one of the girls, Sarah, is kidnapped.  The novel then follows Amanda through the years following "the day".  Sarah is taken into sex trafficking while Amanda and Ellie are left to deal with the guilt.  Amanda also has an abusive, cheating husband to deal with.  This book keeps the tragedies happening.  From kidnapping, rape, abuse, divorce, suicide, Hurricane Katrina, etc., if you aren't clinically depressed by the end of this book you have a heart of stone.  Though all of the tragedies are well told, the suicide especially, putting them all in one book was a little much.  However, reading the suicide in a public place, as I did, is highly not recommended.  It was written beautifully.  I received this e-book in exchange for an honest review from   

Clean, blech

"31 Days to Clean: Having a Martha Home the Mary Way" by Sarah Mae is a daily devotional about getting the house in order.  Each day is given a quote, a devotional story, a scripture, and a Mary Challenge and Martha Challenge.  The author is a self described non-housecleaner.  The ideas she comes up with for cleaning are not the scrub and dust type, but the getting things in order, taking out the chaos.  She also incorporates the children.  They made the mess; why shouldn't they be helping clean it up.  I did the days in order.  Some of the days I didn't want to do the challenge and so I didn't.  Some days I was like "you know, I do need to clean the bathroom cabinet."  I liked the book.  I received a copy of this paperback from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

Breathe Prayers

"Whispers:  Being with God in Breathe Prayers" by Jeanie Wise is a small book that makes praying as easy as breathing.  If you are familiar with yoga than you are familiar with using your breath to move or chant.  Wise takes a similar approach to praying.  The praying will use his or her breath to focus on the words that the person is to concentrate on. 
I liked this idea.  I have begun to use it frequently in daily life.  If you have ever tried Christoga, a form of yoga and worship for Christians, the two are very similar.  You will receive all of the physical benefit from yoga as well as the spiritual.  A twofer.  The book is very short, but the benefits are long.  I received this book in exchange for a review from the author. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Zelda the Flapper

"Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald" by Therese Anne Fowler is the fictionalized biography of Mrs. Fitzgerald.  Though Fowler sticks with the truth for the most part, where the holes in the story lie, she fills them and where the views differ, she picks one.  I have read two other books where Zelda was a major player and she varies from book to book.  In one she was openly a bitch, in another she was out of her mind, and in this one she is a rather pleasant party girl.  So the only people who would know the real Zelda would be the ones who were there.  In this novel, Zelda loves a good time and F. Scott Fitzgerald is the perfect partner.  The two took the literary world and party scene by storm.  However, as time goes on and the partying doesn't stop, the literary world takes notice.  The end result becomes sad.  The label 'artist' becomes just as excuse for an unemployed alcoholic.  This book is the brilliant look at the rise and fall of a literary giant.  When Zelda  becomes mentally ill, rather than actually treat her, the men around her, doctors and husband, instead use her illness against her to their benefit, be it financially or for authoritive control.    The poor woman didn't have a chance.  Though sad, this is a well written book and reading about Zelda's wilder days is greatly entertaining.  BTW, Amazon is making a series based this book, if you are interested.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Louisa Adams biography

"Louisa" by Louisa Thomas is the biography of Louisa Adams, First Lady and wife of president John Quincy Adams.  The book gives some background to her family then begins with her childhood in England.  She lived the life of the privileged, though her family was in debt most of the time.  She met and married John Quincy in England shortly before he began his prime ministry in Russia.  They moved to the United States shortly after she gave birth to their first child.  She then supported him as much as he would allow through his public service, including his presidency and his fight to end slavery while serving in the House.  John Quincy was an odd, cold man.  He gave little consideration to his wife and children.  They spent as much time apart as they did together. 
The book is a historical book told not in fictional format, but as if a fiction writer were to write a historical book.  The book, though well written, is rather long.  Over 500 pages.  I would recommend this not only to history buffs, but also as a fascinating peek into the life of a woman in the late 1700s, early 1800s.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Who doesn't love Jack Reacher?  I ask you!  Well, maybe the bad guys.  In Lee Child's novel, "Never Go Back, "  Reacher has finally gotten to that "voice on the phone" and met Turner.  The new commander of the 110th.  Reacher's old stompin' grounds.  Upon arrival, both he and Turner become the targets of an underhanded scheme to keep secrets buried.  Turner finds herself arrested for taking a bribe and Reacher for both murder and failure to support a child.  Yep.  Reacher just might have a little Reacher out there.  The battle to prove their innocence covers from one coast to another.  There are bad guys everywhere and no is telling the truth.  Who is who and what is what? 
As usual, I love Lee Child's Reacher.  Very rarely do I think, "Eh, it was ok."  This was one of those mysteries where you lie in bed and night and try to figure it out.  I loved it.  Go read it.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Highland review

"A Refuge at Highland Hall" by Carrie Turansky is the third novel in the Highland series.  In this book, Penny Ramsey is living with her sister Kate and her brother-in-law and their 7 foster children.  She soon meets Alex, a pilot fighting in World War I. The couple begins a letter writing courtship.  When bombs get too close to home for the London family, they move to Highland Hall, the childhood home of Penny and Kate.  Highland is an estate home with servants and tenants.  The house is overflowing with the pregnant (two women), the elderly, the orphans and the wounded.  Personally, I thought there might be too many characters.  They seemed to trip over each other and sometimes had to remind myself of which person I was reading about.  The storyline moves at a quick pace.  It is a war/love story so there is a lot going on.  Though I have not read the first two novels in the series, I had no trouble following.  The author does a good job of weaving the back story into the present for easy flow.  This is definitely a women's novel and a good sweet romance.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from . 

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Oliver and Jack

"Oliver & Jack:  In Axminster Workhouse" by Christina E Pilz is the 3rd volume in the Oliver & jack series.  Oliver as in Oliver Twist.  The series takes place several years after the original Twist and introduces the reader to the late teen-aged  Oliver.  Oliver and his boyfriend Jack have been framed for stealing books and arrested.  While they await punishment they have been placed into the Axminster Workhouse.  Here Oliver begins to spiral down into a depression and his worst nightmare reliving his past.  The couple then begins to endure the harshest treatments and abuse. 
I'm not sure this would be called fan fiction, but to bring to life a classic character like Twist takes a lotta guts.  I, myself, haven't read Oliver Twist, so I can't tell you how close to the original character Pilz remained. I also haven't read the previous two books in the series.  So pretending there are no other books, I'll just say this book is written very well.  Though reading the first books would be beneficial, they are not necessary to this novel.  The characters are well developed and the relationship between the two main characters is a very sweet and deeply loving ship.  The abuse can be a bit hard to take at times, but seems to build the relationship between the two to a deeper level for the reader.  I give it 4.5 stars.  I received this book from HF Virtual Book Tour.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

the apple doesn't fall far from the tree

"The Promise of Forgiveness" by Marin Thomas is the story of Ruby Baxter and her heritage.  Ruby's family is what some might say is white trash; others would say working poor with an incredibly colorful streak.  Ruby discovers she has been adopted at the age of 31 when her biological father send a letter to her lawyer about an inheritance.  Her father's days are numbered and he wants to leave her with his ranch.  Ruby and her daughter Mia, a chip off the ol' block, hop on a bus and head for Oklahoma leaving behind old boyfriends of the both of them.  Ruby has trust issues and she is teaching them to Mia.  Upon arrival in Oklahoma, she begins to learn about her parents and grandparents, both biological and adopted and not only discovers more about them, but also about herself. 
Ruby's character is not a charmer, she has issues to spare, but the reader wants to keep reading, to learn more about her.  Thomas doesn't cut any corners with her characters; they are deeply flawed and realistic.  This was a really good book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from First to Read. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

Painter's Daughter Review

"The Painter's Daughter" by Julie Klassen follows Sophie Dupont, a painter's daughter and a painter in her own right who is swayed from her own better judgment to comply with the whims of Wesley Overtree.  Wesley is a fellow painter and rich gentleman with suiting himself and his own desires playing first on his mind.  Eventually Sophie finds herself pregnant and abandoned.  When Wesley's brother, Stephen, comes looking for him and finds Sophie in dire straits, he offers to marry her and make her child legitimate. 
The story is kind of predictable.  You know exactly how it will end up.  However, it is told well, the characters are amusing and it is a great read to pass the time.  I would recommend this novel to women who are busy and wanting to read, but not be to into it; still able to pay attention to her surroundings.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The truth may or may not be out there

In celebration of the Season 10 finale on television, I am giving a review of "X-Files: Season 11, Volume 1,"  a graphic novella based on the show written by Joe Harris.  The comic and novel series are not hand in hand books with the show.  What happens in one does not necessarily pertain to the other.  More of a parallel universe thing.  In Season 11, Mulder is once again on the loose with the government on his tail while Scully is chasing after him, saving his butt.  A satellite has been shot down/fallen and being searched for.  The Peacock family, remember the family that inbred for generations and lived separated from the world, makes an appearance.  Gibson, kid with glasses that reads minds, also makes a come back.  He is all grown up and somehow involved with the FBI and/or talking animals.  Maybe he is the animals, I'm not sure.  As per usual when it comes to the X-Files, the reader/viewer is usually confused and yet intrigued.  Writing part of the story in their own head to fill in the blanks.  The novel is a little hard to follow since it jumps around in storyline and in time, but once the reader becomes accustomed to the flow, it becomes more comfortable.  I received this e-graphic novel from

Thursday, February 11, 2016

A different girl that rides a train

"The Girl from the Train" (not to be confused with the other train/girl novel) was written by Irma Joubert and is about a young girl who escapes from a train headed for Auschwitz in Nazi governed Poland.  Gretl Schmidt has been living in the ghetto when she is moved by train to Auschwitz.  Her grandmother helps her and her sister to escape and Gretl is later found by Jakob, a Polish resistance fighter who takes her in with his family.  He comes to learn of a movement getting pure Aryan children of Protestant faith out of Europe and into South Africa.  The only problem being Gretl is 1/4 Jewish and being brought up in the Catholic faith with Jakob's family. 
The book reads like two novels.  The first half takes place in Europe during the war with Jakob fighting for Poland and Gretl being a child.  The second half takes place in South Africa during the 1950s with Jakob being an engineer and Gretl being a 20 year old college student.  It is a rather long book, however, the writing is done well.  Joubert deals with the Post traumatic stress of Gretl and the weaving of different cultures well.  Gretl's world is very interesting with all of the languages and cultures mixing and relating.  Especially how the races can see the difference in each other, when they are all the same color.  In America the colors are rather vague.  White is white, black is black.  The Europe that Joubert describes has so much detail in the people's race.  They are white, but this one is white like this and this one is white like that, making them very different.  Which is kinda baffling.  I give this book 4 stars.  Very good.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Beatitudes Study

"Blessings From Above:  A Deeper Look at the Beatitudes"  by Heather Hart is a study-devotional.  Hart picks apart the Beatitudes from the New Testament and defines them, making them easier to understand and relate to.  She brings to modern day.  Each day covers a beatitude and then gives a "in other words" section.  The "In other words" section involved a little further scripture reading and questions.  I felt the book gave a good place for a group study to start, but without the discussion left the reader feeling a little unfinished.  I would recommend this in a group setting.  There were a few editorial mistakes that interrupted the reading, such as piece for peace and there for their.  Little things that the editor should have caught, but a spell check would not have.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from 

Monday, January 18, 2016


"Shylock is My Name" by Howard Jacobson follows two men, both Jews and both with daughters who have turned away from their Jewish upbringing.    Shylock is the widower who is raising a teenage daughter who has stolen a family treasure to buy a monkey.  Stulovitch's wife had a stroke and has left the primary upbringing of their teen daughter to her father.  Both men are at a loss as to what to do with these girls.  Beatrice Stulovitch has ran away with a football (soccer) player who is in the habit of making the Nazi hand gesture while on the field.  She has been swept away with the art world, celebrities, and the glamour of reality television. 
The book is written in a 1920's Fitzgerald style of writing.  I was surprised when they talked of Tony Blair and realized that we were in modern day.  It is very European and very wordy.  The storyline is good, intriguing and full of drama.  However, the style is so different from the American usual, that it may take a little getting used to before the reader can truly get involved.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from 

Monday, January 11, 2016

I'm getting a vision

"The Witch of Lime Street:  Séance, Seduction, and Houdini in the Spirit World" by David Jaher tells the true story of how Houdini and his gang of scientist  exposed the scam artists otherwise known as Spiritualist.  Scientific American, a magazine during the 1920's, had arranged to have a contest for the medium that could pass all of their tests to be claimed "genuine".  During the 20's, America was going through a paranormal phase.  It was all the vogue.  Everyone wanted to believe it was true, though probably no one really did.  But it was fun to believe.  Much like our present day essential oils.  Houdini, however, was a skeptic, mostly because at one time he had been a fake mind reader/ medium.  His job in the contest was to figure out how the medium was faking.  He always got his ghost.  The medium that came the closest was Margery, the wife of a surgeon who deeply believed in spiritualism, even when he was faking it.  Margery was more charming then convincing and sometimes, that is all it takes.
This is a long, detailed book.  It is extremely well researched and beautifully written.  However, it is not a light read.  If you know little about this era or Houdini, I recommend watching the biography movie, Houdini, the one with Adrien Brody first.  It will help with catch up and visualization.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Sunday, January 3, 2016


"Street God" by Dimas Salaberrios with Dr. Angela Hunt, is the autobiography of Salaberrios, street name, Daylight, a drug dealing boss from Queens.  Dimas began dealing at the age of 11 and transferred it to a regular career by the age of 14.  Though he wasn't raised to that lifestyle, his mother a principal and father a Community corrections officer, Dimas had big dreams of being a street god.  It was a life he chose.  He had other choices, he wasn't hungry, he knew right from wrong.  He wanted to be a dealer.  After many tangles with both the law and other dealers, Dimas comes to know Jesus.  He goes to Him in a naive state and learns his way around the church world.  Which isn't always better than the drug world.  He eventually learns what God has in mind for him and begins his own church and ministry, taking it to the very streets he that he began.
This book is an incredible story.  He never takes on a bragging atmosphere whether talking about the dealing or the preaching.  I am unsure how much is Salaberrios and how much is Hunt, but the writing is quiet charismatic.  I would highly recommend t his book.  I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale Blog Network.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Methuselah Project review

"The Methuselah Project" by Rick Barry follows Roger Greene, a WWII fighter pilot who was shot down in Germany.  He was taken prisoner by the Reich and used in the Methuselah Project, which was experiments to achieve a super soldier.  A soldier that healed miraculously quick and didn't age.  Roger was held prisoner until 2015 when he finally escaped and came to the United States.  Katherine is an American woman in her early twenties who works for the modern day Nazi Party called the Heritage Order.  However, she doesn't have any knowledge of the what the Order actually does.  She is assigned to watch Roger and bring him in until her uncle, a high level member, returns from a hunting trip in Africa.  The story idea is great, however, the middle tends to drag.  That would be the only negative I could give.  The end reads similar to a Bourne novel. Lots of excitement and drama.   I really like the beginning and the end.  I received this book in exchange for a review from The Book Club Network. 

Why do bad things happen.......

In Shelley Hitz's "Trusting God When Bad Things Happen", Hitz asks the age old question:  Why do bad things happen to good people?  She never really answers, but she does give the tools to learning to trust God when the bad things do happen.  This is a small book; I used it like a devotional, but it really isn't.  She draws from her own life experiences and encourages the reader to journal.  I received this book from