Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Cry from the Dust (A Gwen Marcey Novel, book 1) by Carrie Stuart Parks

Book Description:  In the shadow of the Mormon church, a 19th-century conspiracy is about to be shattered by a 21st-century forensic artist. 

In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women, and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day--but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims. 

When renowned forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn't expecting more than an interesting gig . . . and a break from her own hectic life. 

But when Gwen stumbles on the ritualized murder of a young college student, her work on the massacre takes on a terrifying new aspect, and research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror. 
As evidence of a cover-up mounts--a cover-up spanning the entire history of the Mormon church--Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling prophecy and revenging old wrongs. 
Can a forensic artist reconstruct two centuries of suppressed history . . . before it repeats itself? 
In A Cry from the Dust, Carrie Stuart Parks utilizes her own background as a celebrated, FBI-trained forensic artist to blend fact and fiction into a stunning mystery.

My Thoughts:  Oh!Wow!  This is an incredible read!!  
I was offered this book twice and declined to read it twice.  I'll be honest the cover of the book looks odd to me and then I took time to read the description and it clicked!  That's a picture of a death mask.  
Gwen Marcey has had one too many disappointments come her way and then her co-worker is murdered, her work almost obliterated...her sanity seems like a millisecond from insanity!  Poor Gwen.
Gwen is a forensic artist (what a cool job!).  She is recruited to unearth massacre victims at Mountain Meadows.  This is where it gets interesting!  
The massacre concerned the Mormon church.  Wow!  So much history/facts about the Mormons.  
The suspense in this read is off the charts!  
This is one incredible WOW read!  And I'm so glad I decided to read this debut book by Carrie!  History and fiction at its best!

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

  • Series: A Gwen Marcey Novel (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (August 12, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401690432
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401690434

Monday, January 26, 2015

COTT {Clash of the Titles) The Most Exciting December 2014 Releases

January 2015 Clash of the Titles

It's a New Year featuring some of the most romantic and intriguing releases from last month. Holiday, Western, Pirates!

She’s Mine: A Mystique of Naultag novel 
Tammy Doherty

Caitlin Harrington has a new job and a new life away from her menacing ex-boyfriend, Adam. Issues with her parents, losing her previous job and the death of her beloved grandmother leave her wondering if God has abandoned her. Two things she is sure of: she’s a lousy judge of character and men just can’t be trusted.

Plundered Christmas 
Susan Lyttek

When compelled to spend Christmas on the private island of her father’s intended bride, Jeanine must cope with pirate legends, unexpected storms, and murder. Will she and her family discover the truth about Anne Bonny’s connection to the Banet family before someone else winds up dead?

Christmas Greetings
Pat Simmons

Saige Carter loves everything about Christmas: the shopping, the food, the lights, and of course, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without family and friends to share in the traditions they’ve created together Daniel Washington is no Scrooge, but he’d rather skip the holidays altogether than spend them with his estranged family. Once God reveals to them His purpose for their lives, they will have a reason to rejoice. 

Deep Freeze Christmas
Marian Merritt

Louisiana Chef Leona Buquet agrees to cook at a Colorado mountain lodge during the Christmas holiday. When she meets the son of a movie producer, she is taken by his striking good looks and warm personality. Trouble is, with glamorous actresses clamoring for his attention, why would he even notice Leona?

The Snowbound Bride
Davalynn Spencer

Can Arabella Taube find her way out of the physical and emotional storm of a Colorado winter before the handsome horseman who rescued her also steals her heart? 

(Note: books made available the weekend of December 1 are included)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The 20/20 Diet: Turn Your Weight Loss Vision Into Reality by Phil McGraw (Author)

Book Description:  In The 20/20 Diet, Dr. Phil McGraw identifies seven reasons other diets fail people over and over again: hunger, cravings, feeling of restriction, impracticality and expense, boredom, temptations, and disappointing results or plateaus. Then, he addresses each of these roadblocks by applying the latest research and theories that have emerged since his last best seller on the same topic, The Ultimate Weight Solution. Dr. Phil and his team have created a plan that you can start following right now and continue working for the rest of your life. In this diet, readers will start by eating only 20 key ingredients, called the “20/20 Foods,” which theories indicate may help enhance your body’s thermogenesis and help you feel full. But that's just the beginning. This book explains why you haven't been able to lose the weight before, and empowers you with cognitive, behavioral, environmental, social and nutritional tools so you can finally reach your goal, and learn lifelong healthy habits to maintain those results.

My Thoughts:  One day after school I "just happened" to turn the TV on and Dr. Phil was talking about this book (new this year) on the Doctor's Show.
I listened to Dr. Phil because I know that in the past he had a huge weight problem (pun intended).  He has struggled with his weight so I was interested in reading his book. 
I like the approach.  It's nothing new, really.  But, yet, Dr. Phil simplifies the "hard" part.
There are three phases: 
These 3 phases are two 5 day and then followed up by a 20 day.
**Phase 1 (days 1-5): "Boost" - You eat every 4 hours, increasing metabolism, with basic foods.
**Phase 2 (days 6-10): "Sustain" - Somewhat the same as 1 but now adding in more diversity of foods.
**Phase 3 (days 11-30): "Attain" - Somewhat the same as 2 but by now all foods have been added in.

It's a doable "diet".... it needs to become a way of life.  Eating to maintain energy, never going hungry.  Hungry becomes the problem that leads to overeating and weight gain.  There are a lot of fish and veggie recipes, fruit added too. Eating a lot of vegetables is the key to weight loss.
A well thought out plan.
I'm trying it and doing well.  Down 7 pounds....

*This book was provided for review by NetGalley*
  • Hardcover: 338 pages
  • Publisher: Bird Street Books (January 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1939457319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1939457318

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sister Eve, Private Eye (A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery) by Lynne Hinton

Book Description:  Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.
Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She’s seen her fair share of crime—and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.
But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.
A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he’s been running around with isn’t talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine’s case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve’s crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.
Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?

My Thoughts: I know a lot of people didn't care for this read but I found it interesting and quite good.  
Sister Eve (Evangeline Devine is her real name. . . oh!my!) is quite humorous to me.  She doesn't fit the nun mold nor does she try too.  She is who she is.
When a police officer shows up at the monastery with a message from Sister Eve's father...Captain Jack Divine (just love the play on names!)
Sister Eve goes home to help her dad as he recovers from surgery and she helps with his current case.  Sister Eve knows a thing or two about solving a crime/mystery!  After all, she grew up with a dad who is police captain.
The Hollywood director, Chaz Cheston, turns up dead and the starlet/mistress who has been running around with him isn't talking but Sister Eve is on the case!  Look out criminals!
As she goes about solving this case Sister Eve rethinks her own choice of life decisions.  Interesting!  
I'm hoping that there is more about Sister Eve and her life in the future.  I love a mystery solving nun (but I loved Father Dowling, too!).

*This book was provided for review by BookLook*

Series: A Divine Private Detective Agency Mystery (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401691455
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401691455

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday}

Another great soup recipe from Pinterest!
12 ounces apple smoked bacon, chopped into small pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion, small dice
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
4 cloves garlic, pressed through garlic press
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
• Pinch or two sea salt
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
6 (15 ounce) cans small white beans (or navy beans), drained and rinsed
4 cups chicken stock, hot
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preparation:  Place a large Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pot, over medium-high heat; once the pot is hot, add in a small drizzle of olive oil, and the chopped bacon; crisp the bacon completely until nice and brown, then remove with a slotted spoon, drain it on some paper towel, and set it aside for a moment; reserve about 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat, and set that aside for a moment, as well; wipe out the pot, and return it to medium-high heat.
Next, add back into the pot the bacon fat, along with the olive oil and the butter, and allow them to melt together; once melted and hot, add in the diced onion, carrots and celery, and allow them to soften and saute for about 5 minutes; next, add in the garlic, and once it becomes aromatic, add in about 2/3 of the reserved, crisped bacon, as well as the Italian seasoning, the sea salt and the pepper, along with the white beans, and stir to combine; next, add in the hot chicken stock, stir, and allow the stew to gently simmer for about 40-45 minutes, partially covered with lid; about half way through the cooking process, mash the beans a little bit with the  back of your spoon, or with a potato masher, to break up the beans a little bit and release their natural starch to thicken the stew; after about 40 minutes, turn the heat off and finish the stew by adding in the chopped parsley, the lemon zest and the lemon juice; serve the stew with some nice, crusty bread to dip, and garnish with some of the remaining crisped bacon.
(Serves about 6)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

About Patricia Bradley { A former COTT winner}

Former Clash Contestant Patricia Bradley is in the spotlight today! A popular romantic suspense author from Mississippi, her latest book "A Promise to Protect" released this fall and garnered high praise from readers. It's the second book in her Logan Point series, with the third releasing next summer.

A Promise to Protect:
In a steamy small town riddled with broken promises, one woman’s secret could change everything.

Acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her—or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago—out of his head. When she calls out of the blue, it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But all too soon, Ben is charged with a different task—protecting Leigh from the people after her brother. With Leigh doing everything in her power to avoid Ben, it’s no easy task. And the secret she is keeping just may change their lives forever.

The Christian Manifesto says this about A Promise to Protect:
“Patricia Bradley definitely has a knack for creating mysteries that are tough to get to the bottom of. A Promise to Protect proves once again that Patricia Bradley has a knack for writing intriguing, complex mysteries that are difficult to solve. Fans of her first novel won’t be disappointed, and hopefully this book will endear some new readers to her as well.”

JoJo Sutis on Goodreads says:Wow! Wow! Wow! Once again Patricia Bradley has written another hit! I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one from the minute I finished the first Logan Point book. I was so excited to get to read more about Ben (a character from book 1). The interaction between the two main characters was awesome…I love when main characters have a past together. This is definitely an edge of your seat thriller, full of secrets and intrigue. I’m thrilled to have found a new fave suspense author…fans of Lynette Eason, Terri Blackstock, and Irene Hannon don’t miss Patricia Bradley!!!”

About Patricia:

Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum. But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series—Shadows of the Past and A Promise to Protect—and Matthew’s Choice a Heartwarming romance. Her workshops on writing include an online course with American Christian Fiction Writers and workshops at the Midsouth Christian Writer’s Conference in Collierville, TN. When she’s not writing, she likes to throw mud on a wheel and see what happens.

Coming in July--the third book in the Logan Point series features Livy Reynolds and Robyn Martin’s story:

It's been more than two years since homicide detective Livy Reynolds's cousin disappeared from Logan Point. Unlike most people in her hometown, Livy has never believed that Robyn left voluntarily. When Dallas private investigator Alex Jennings contacts Livy concerning a missing senator's daughter who was last seen in Logan Point, she notices eerie similarities between the two disappearances. But with self-doubt plaguing her and an almost instant dislike of Jennings, Livy is finding this investigation an uphill battle. With her future in law enforcement on the line, can she find a way to work with a man who is her polar opposite?

Monday, January 19, 2015

{Kregel Blog Tour} A Saintly Killing (A Faith Morgan Mystery, #3) by Martha Ockley

Book Description:  A local artist is found dead at her easel, and Faith discovers that several of her flock may be implicated

It is late July and preparations are underway for the one thousandth anniversary of the church at Little Worthy. As Vicar, Faith Morgan has planned a whole range of celebrations--a music festival, a photographic booklet of recent history, a planting of new trees in the graveyard and vicarage garden, bell ringing, and a visit from the bishop.

A new painting of the church has been commissioned from distinguished local artist Sal Hankley. Sal, who has recently returned from Australia, is not a universally popular choice. She is outspoken and opinionated, and she has made her share of enemies.

Before the painting can be completed, Sal is found dead at her easel on a hillock overlooking the church. A respectable member of the community--a member of the Parochial Church Council--is under suspicion. Faith, now trying to hold the church and the village together, once again finds herself teamed with her former boyfriend, Detective Inspector Ben Shorter, as they seek to discover the murderer.

My Thoughts:  I've had the pleasure of reading all three of the Faith Morgan Mysteries and out of all three I like this mystery the best.            Each mystery is a stand alone read but all three have one common factor...Faith Morgan, vicar of Little Worthy.  (Faith is a woman minister).
Innocently enough, Faith is once again caught up in a mystery.  This time the death of Sal, who was commissioned by Faith, to make a painting of the church for its 900th anniversary.  But this celebration soon turns deadly and now many of the church parishioners and townspeople are under suspicion.  
Sal was highly opinionated and quite outspoken (on every subject) but somehow Sal chose the wrong subject to speak about.  
Faith finds that her "old flame" Detective Inspector Ben Shorter is heading up the investigation.  
Faith and Ben are thrown together as they both investigate (on different levels) the murder of Sal.  
I found the romance between Faith and Ben humorous and clean.  Poor Ben!  He just won't won this one. {wink!}
This is a quaint and somewhat "British" (over the pond British).  
A grand read for mystery readers!

*This book was provided for review by Kregel Publications*

  • Series: Faith Morgan Mystery
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction; 1st New edition edition (November 27, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782640916
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782640912

          (Book One)                                                                   (Book Two)