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Book Review- In Defiance by John W Mefford


Author John W. Mefford introduces Ivy Nash in the second series of the Redemption Thriller Collection.

A volatile hostage situation at a foster home reaches a bitter end: shots are fired, some die, some live to tell a sordid tale. In the midst of the anguish and confusion is one child who will bear the scars of this unbelievable turmoil.

As a special investigator for Child Protective Services, Ivy Nash lives by one rule: she’ll do anything to fight for the well-being of children. Anything. Something that was never done for her. As a “system” kid, she spent time in seventeen foster homes. Seventeen.

Very quickly, the facts of the case are blurred…accusations of sibling abuse, connections to drugs. Nothing lines up, and authorities want it all to go away. Their target? A ten-year-old boy. Unrelenting in her pursuit to find the truth, Ivy and her new friend Cristina uncover alarming new information to pinpoint who is at the root of the crime.

But evil knows no boundaries. Shock waves of her most horrific childhood memories erupt into the present, and Ivy knows that she’s in the fight for her life.

Part of the Redemption Thriller Collection which includes the Alex Troutt Thrillers and the upcoming Ivy Nash Thrillers. While all of the novels can be read as a stand-alone, there is a connecting thread in the Redemption Thriller books that will be unveiled over time. For a more fulfilling reading experience, books should be read in order: Alex Troutt, and then Ivy Nash. More series will be added into the collection within the next year.

Available to buy from…. Barnes and Noble iBooks Kobo Paperback


“Rife with deceit and deception and characters that leap off the page, this story is told with confidence through a sure hand, engaging both the mind and the heart. A compelling treat.” — Steve Berry, New York Times Bestselling Author


Books in the Alex Troutt Thriller Series:


AT Bay
AT Large
AT Once
AT Dawn
AT Dusk
AT Last



Books in the Ivy Nash Thriller Series:


IN Defiance


Coming soon….
IN Pursuit
IN Doubt
Break IN
IN Control
IN The End


About the Author
A veteran of the corporate wars, former journalist, and true studier of human and social behavior, best-selling author John W. Mefford has been writing novels since he first entered the work force twenty-five years ago, although he never put words on paper until late 2009.

John writes novels full of intrigue, suspense, and thrills, but they also evoke an emotional connection with the characters.

When he’s not writing, he chases three kids around, slaves away in the yard, reads, takes in as many sports as time allows, watches all sorts of movies, and continues to make mental notes of people and societies across the land.

John lives in Frisco, Texas with his beautiful wife, three opinionated kids, and a feisty fat cat who rules the world.

“Pop on over to my Website, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and Amazon Author Page


Join John’s Readers’ Group and receive the first novels in both the Greed and Booker Series


I have read one book by this author previously and enjoyed it. It was part of the Alex Troutt Series. I loved the opportunity to be able to follow this section of the series from the beginning, and I also loved having the main character be a female. 

I love the way that Mefford writes, seamlessly jumping between characters and time frames with no confusion, and he is extremely descriptive of the setting . You almost feel like you are watching a movie instead of reading a book!

For those that might be sensitive, be aware that there is some violence and language in this book. It fits the story and isn’t overdone, but as I realize some people do have issues with this, I wanted to let you know. 

According to the author, he will eventually wrap the story lines of the series’ together in some way, but you definitely do not have to have read any of the Troutt books to understand this book. As far as I can tell, there is no overlap…yet. 

Grabbing your attention from the first page, Mefford takes you on a wild ride of suspense through the entire story. You will not want to put it down and you will be anxiously awaiting the next book.
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I received this book through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, I have volunteered to share my review and all the opinions are 100% my own.




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This Month in Music- January

Sometimes I will make a “This Day in Music” post and share some events that happened that particular day in the world of music. I decided to combine a whole month’s worth of happenings into one post. So here are some things that happened in January throughout the years. Of course, this is not at all an exhaustive list. Just some of the things that I found interesting and wanted to share with you. Some are fun, and some are sad, but here you go!

January 1st, 1953– Hank Williams died at age 29 of a heart attack brought on by drugs and alcohol.

January 2nd, 1979– The Sex Pistols’ bass player Sid Vicious goes on trial in New York, accused of murdering his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

January 3rd– Happy Birthday to Sir George Martin(1926), Stephen Stills (1945), and John Paul Jones(1946)!

January 4th, 1986– Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy died of heart failure and pneumonia after being in a coma for eight days following a drug overdose.

January 6th– Happy Birthday to Syd Barrett (1946) and Malcolm Young (1953)!

January 7th, 1994– Oasis starts recording their debut album Definitely Maybe at Monrow Studios in South Wales.

January 8th- Happy Birthday to Elvis Presley (1935) and David Bowie (1947)!

Also on this date in 1979, Rush was named Canada’s Official Ambassadors of Music.

January 9th, 1944– Jimmy Page was born.

January 10, 1990– Bon Jovi played the first of seven sold out nights at the Hammersmith Odeon, London on the New Jersey Syndicate Tour.

January 13th, 1968– Johnny Cash played a show at Folsom Prison.

January 14th– Happy Birthday Zakk Wylde (1967) and Dave Grohl (1969).

January 15th, 1967– The Rolling Stones were forced to change the lyrics of “Let’s Spend the Night Together” to “let’s spend some time together” when appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

January 18th, 1971– Jonathan Davis of Korn was born.

January 19th, 1943– Happy Birthday Janis Joplin!

January 20th, 1982- Ozzy Osbourne had his “biting the head off a bat” incident in Des Moines, Iowa.

January 22nd- Lots of birthdays, including Steve Perry (1953), Michael Hutchence (1962), and Steven Adler (1965).

January 26th, 1957– Eddie Van Halen was born.

January 27, 1977- The Clash signed to CBS Records in the UK.

January 28th, 1985– “We are the World” was recorded.

January 29, 1969– The Beatles played on the the rooftop of the Apple building.

And there you have it! A few things that happened in the music world in the month of January.

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Book Review: On The Ropes by Hallee Bridgeman

A great fully-formed story in a small package!

Hey Hey Hey! Another book review for you today! On The Ropes by Hallee Bridgeman!


First up, as always, the description:

Blow after blow, she hides her face and fights for her life.

Doctor Ruth Burnette has everything she has ever dreamed possible: the perfect job, a twin sister who is her best friend, and a fiance who is retiring from professional boxing as the middleweight champion of the world.

Then came that fateful night when she witnessed a mafia execution. When her sister is murdered she knows she’ll battle to the last round and never, ever throw in the towel. Now she’s down for the count, in witness protection, anxious, alone except for the faithful company of her German Shepherd at her side.

As the time draws near to when she has to leave her safe little corner she stays on her toes. She has to testify against one of the darkest criminals in New York, she shores up the courage to face the accused from the witness stand. Unexpectedly, he’s not the one who worries her. She wonders what coming face-to-face with his son, Victor Kovalev… her former fiance… will bring. Will Ruth have a fighting chance against the Kovalev family, or will Victor keep her pinned ON THE ROPES?


My Thoughts:


This is a quick read, as it is technically a novella. However, even though it is short, it is full of intensity, suspense, and, of course, love. As the time comes closer for Ruth to testify, it becomes a constant worry if she will make it there alive, as the Russian Mob has not given up on finding her and silencing her for good. Also in the midst of the crime and intrigue, there is a Christian backdrop of redemption. The story does contain some seedy elements, if you couldn’t guess, so I would say that this book is for adults specifically.  

The story does hop around between the present and the past, but it certainly isn’t difficult to follow along, as the transitions are extremely smooth. The love story is sweet, if you can ignore the murder and other crimes. Not that you want to ignore that. Just saying that it is a cute story of how the two meet and fall in love. Especially when her pick-up line is inviting him to church. I also found it interesting when Ruth is in the witness protection program, she has to be careful to not be tagged on social media or anything like that. With the technology people have today, with facial recognition programs and the like, it is not as easy to hide out as you might think.

Despite the length, I found that the story didn’t seem rushed at all and was still an entire, well-developed story. I will have to look for more of Ms. Bridgeman’s books in the near future!

I was provided a complimentary copy this book through BookCrash, in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Courageous by Dina Sleiman

Well, once again, just trying to get caught up on some book reviews. I had a period of time where I agreed to review too many books at the same time, but even though it is late, I am going to keep my commitment and get the reviews out there.

So, next up is Courageous by Dina Sleiman. It is the third book in a series called Valiant Hearts. I have not read any of the other books in the series, but had no trouble following along.


The book’s description:


Inspired by the vision of the Young Lady Sapphira, Rosalind of Ipsworth joins a group of men, women, and children as a defender of the cross, seeking to free captives from prisons near Tripoli. She gladly gives herself to the cause, as she’s haunted by a tragic mistake and no longer deserves such joys of marriage and family might bring.


Sir Randel Penigree was reared to serve in the church, but dreams of protecting the innocent as a knight. Joining a crusade to escape humiliation at home, he finds himself drawn to Rosalind as they partner to train and protect a group of young adolescents. When they face political machinations, danger, and an unknown enemy bent on their destruction, they are forced to reconsider their priorities and the very nature of the God they serve.


My Thoughts:


I believe this book is geared more towards a young adult audience, that doesn’t bother me any. Even though I’m way past that age range, I can still enjoy it. From what I understand, the characters in this book were mentioned as secondary characters in the previous books in the series, which is why you can jump in and read this story without having read the rest.


The characters were likable and of course, you are rooting for them to get together in the end. There is both romance and action in this period story. I also enjoyed Rosalind and Randel’s relationships with the children under their care. And if you couldn’t tell from the description of the book, this is Christian fiction, with a theme of redemption and forgiveness.There were some parts of the characters’ back stories that I was surprised by, but not bothered by. But of course I don’t want to give away what those were. There were also elements to the story behind the Crusades that are clearly still relevant today.

From reading some other reviews, I believe that the previous books in the series might even be better, so I look forward to reading those eventually too.

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Instant Pot Recipe Ideas

Hey guys! I do several programs where I answer surveys and things like that and earn points that can be redeemed for gift cards. Recently I earned some Amazon gift codes and I already knew what I was going to use them on:

So while it doesn’t have the name “instant pot”, it seems to have about the same functionality and was cheaper, so I went for it. I also have other Bella products that I like, so I trust the brand.


I also purchased the Kindle version of this book:


So my question is, who has an instant pot and do you have any fun suggestions/ recipe ideas? I haven’t received mine yet, so I haven’t tried it at all. But I am excited to give it a try. If I find any fun new ideas, I will be sure to post them here when I get the chance.

Let me know in the comments any suggestions you might have?

Book Review- Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin

Ok, I’m not going to lie. I was supposed to review this book a LOOOONG time ago, but I decided “better late than never.” And as I usually say, I did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. The book is called Waves of Mercy by Lynn Austin.


Here is the description:

Geesje de Jonge crossed the ocean at age seventeen with her parents and a small group of immigrants from the Netherlands to settle in the Michigan wilderness. Fifty years later, in 1897, she’s asked to write a memoir of her early experiences as the town celebrates its anniversary. Reluctant at first, she soon uncovers memories and emotions hidden all these years, including the story of her one true love.

At the nearby Hotel Ottawa Resort on the shore of Lake Michigan, twenty-three-year-old Anna Nicholson is trying to ease the pain of a broken engagement to a wealthy Chicago banker. But her time of introspection is disturbed after a violent storm aboard a steamship stirs up memories of a childhood nightmare. As more memories and dreams surface, Anna begins to question who she is and whether she wants to return to her wealthy life in Chicago. When she befriends a young seminary student who is working at the hotel for the summer, she finds herself asking him all the questions that have been troubling her.

Neither Geesje nor Anna, who are different in every possible way, can foresee the life-altering surprises awaiting them before the summer ends.

And from the Back Cover, which I think describes a little more:

Haunted by the unknowns of their pasts, two women search for answers along the shores of Lake Michigan.

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiance. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial Anniversary of the town’s settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.



I very much enjoyed the storyline in this book. The characters were great and engaging as well. It seemed as if the author made a concerted effort to be as historically accurate as possible. What was interesting to me was that the book was set during two separate time periods, and yet both of those eras are in the past, making it a “double” period piece.

The narration changes from character to character and between past and present, but it was never difficult to follow along. The story was great, BUT…… oh my goodness, I didn’t think the ending was an actual ending. There needs to be a sequel. As soon as I finished it, I was scouring the internet to find out if there was on in the works, and sadly I didn’t find one. So…… good up until the end…..and I would be very pleased if I found a sequel. Please, Lynn Austin?

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What Did I Win?

As a lot of you know, I enter giveaways pretty often, and I have won several.

I recently won another one and have several items on the way to me. I haven’t received any of them yet, but I thought I would give you more detail on what is coming and when they come in, I will let you know how they work.

The first thing is a Capresso Froth Max. Now I’m honestly not sure how much I will use this, because I’ve never really needed frothy milk. But apparently I can make hot chocolate and other things in it as well.

The Capresso froth MAX automatic milk frother produces professional quality results with a quick touch of a button. Three temperature settings – hot, warm and cold, open up a variety of options for delicious beverages including decadent hot chocolate.

Next up is a Kyocera Outdoor Ceramic Camp Kitchen Knife and Sheath Set. Now this should come in handy, as we do go camping quite a bit.

Introducing Kyocera’s new Outdoor Ceramic Camp Kitchen Knife with a heavy duty nylon sheath! This ultimate cutting tool is designed for outdoor food prep. The knife is perfect for slicing fruits, vegetables, boneless meats and boneless fish. It’s ideal for camping, fishing, hiking, picnics, tailgating and more. The ergonomic soft textured handle provides for a comfortable and highly controlled grip. The knife is ultra-sharp, light weight, very easy to clean and will never rust making it perfect for outdoor use. The knife sheath is made of heavy nylon built to withstand the elements. It features a Velcro strap to safely secure the knife in place as well as a belt loop for quick and easy access at your side.

This next one will come in handy when I get on a baking spurt. It’s the Frieling Stainless Steel Layer Cake Slicer.

Makes slicing uniform layers a “piece of cake”! Slices up to 8 layers. Kit includes adjustable slicing mold, 12″ baker’s knife and 11″ cake lifter. Pair it with one of the extra deep springforms for up to 8 layers or a standard one for up to 4 layers.

Another item I won is the CDN floating thermometer. Apparently this useful for cooking when you need to keep liquids a specific temperature. It can also be used for brewing beer!

Multi-purpose: sous-vide, custards, brewing beer,
sauces, soups and stews
•Waterproof (IPX6)
•Dishwasher safe
•Polycarbonate lens
•304 stainless steel housing
•Removable buoy
OK, the next one might not be all that USEFUL, but it certainly seems fun- Koji Jewel Pop Molds. Why would I not want to make my own ring pops?
Sparkle, shine, and dine with these wearable ice pop molds. Whether you want to pop the question or just enjoy a pop, this is the collection for you. Each set includes eight tasty jewels in your favorite flavors, including traditional gem and heart-shaped jewels. BPA and phthalate free.
Here is another one that will come in handy when I get in the right mood. It’s a Kuhn Rikon Frosting Filler Deco Set.

Easily fill decorating bottle directly from store bought frosting containers. Our clever filler set saves time and no baking skills required!

    • Squeeze bottle easily fills from standard frosting containers.
    • Includes 3 XL and 5 standard decorating tips to create many designs.
    • Tip storage covers keep frosting fresh for the next use.
    • BPA free
    • Set includes:

1 Squeeze Bottle
1 Handled Plunger
1 Bottle Base Cap
1 Scraper
2 Flower Tip Bases with Couplers
2 Tip Covers
3 XL Decorating Tips
5 Standard Decorating Tips

  • Create professional patterns in frosting using the 3 XL and 5 Standard decorating Tips included in the set.
  • Explore your creativity and add personality with the variety of decorating Tips included in the set.

I am also receiving a Zoku Travel Tumbler. Not sure what color. I guess it will be a surprise!

Sip without spills with the Zoku 16oz. Travel Tumbler. The double-walled design keeps drinks insulated and your hands warm and dry on the outside. Sealing is a snap with the press-fit lid. And the silicone holder keeps your straw in place no matter where you take it.

AND this one sounds super fun. It’s a Zoku Ice Cream Maker. Apparently I can make individual portions of ice cream with it! So cute!

Make individual portions of ice cream, custard, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, or sherbet in as little as 10 minutes with the Zoku Ice Cream Maker! Whether you prefer classic flavors like vanilla bean, mint chocolate chip, fresh strawberry, or dark fudge, or you like to create your own flavors, fresh ice cream can now be a spur-of-the-moment decision. Top your creation with fruit, candy pieces, nuts, or brownie chunks, and for a classic flourish, add a bright red cherry on top.

And that’s it! I will keep you updated when they come in and let you know how they work!