Book Review: Mirror Image by Michelle Pariza Wacek
I love the chance to check out a book by an author that is new to me. I received a copy of the book Mirror Image by Michele Pariza Wacek in exchange for my honest review and I am going to share that with you now! Also, the author has a giveaway going on, so keep reading for that!

First, the author’s bio:

michele pw

When Michele was 3 years old, she taught herself to read because she wanted to write stories so badly.

As you can imagine, writing has been a driving passion throughout her life. She became a professional copywriter (which is writing promotional materials for businesses), which led to her founding a copywriting and marketing company that serves clients all over the world.

Along with being a copywriter, she also writes novels (in fact, she just published her first novel, a psychological thriller/suspense/mystery called “The Stolen Twin” and her second novel “Mirror Image’” is set to be published in May 2016) plus, she is also the author of the “Love-Based Copy” books, which are a part of the “Love-Based Business” series and cover both business and personal development.

She holds a double major in English and Communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she lives in the mountains of Prescott, Arizona with her husband Paul and her border collie Nick and southern squirrel hunter Cassie.

And the description of the book:


Which would be worse, knowing that your dead sister has come back to life and is now a serial killer or that someone else is the killer….and that person is you?

Six months after Linda’s sister Elizabeth killed herself, Linda has finally gotten her life back to some semblance of normalcy. Until a killer appears who is stalking men … a killer who resembles Elizabeth … a killer who seems somehow familiar to Linda.

And, to make matters worse, Steve, her old high school crush and now a detective, is assigned to this case. He’s asking Linda all sorts of questions, questions Linda couldn’t possibly have an answer to.

There’s no reason for him to be investigating Linda. She couldn’t possibly have anything to do with this.

Could she?

Ok, so I like to try to figure out the whodunit when I am reading. I was sure I knew what was happening, but I was wrong. And then I was sure a second time, but I was wrong again. I never would have guessed the outcome, so I was definitely on the edge of my seat. I always like to give a warning to sensitive readers that there is sexually explicit content in this book. So just a heads up for you. I especially liked the insight into the childhood of Linda and her family. The character development is phenomenal. This definitely added to the story and helps the reader understand the very strange family dynamic! Definitely a great psychological thriller that leaves you guessing. I would gladly read more books by this author in the future.

To pick up this book:


Oh! And not to forget that giveaway!

Michelle PW Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card & a Signed Copy of The Stolen Twin

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Book Review: Killer Pursuit by Jeff Gunhus

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Killer Pursuit is the first book I have read by Jeff Gunhus, but he is no newbie. Here is his bio:


Jeff Gunhus is the author thriller and horror novels for adults and the middle grade/YA series, The Templar Chronicles. The first book, Jack Templar Monster Hunter, was written in an effort to get his reluctant reader eleven-year old son excited about reading. It worked and a new series was born. His books for adults have reached the Top 100 on Amazon and have been Foreword Reviews Book of the Year Finalists.

After his experience with his son, he is passionate about helping parents reach young reluctant readers and is active in child literacy issues. As a father of five, he leads an active lifestyle in Maryland with his wife Nicole by trying to constantly keep up with their kids. In rare moments of quiet, he can be found in the back of the City Dock Cafe in Annapolis working on his next novel.

And here is the description of the book. Keep reading below for my thoughts!

When a secret webcam is found in the Georgetown bedroom of a murdered high-society call girl, everyone in Washington, DC wants the recording…especially the killer.  After a high-society call girl is brutally murdered in her Georgetown home, investigators find two cameras hidden in the walls of her bedroom. One has its memory erased, presumably by the murderer. The second is a webcam with an encrypted connection…and no-one knows who’s on the other end. Whoever has the recordings has embarrassing leverage against some of the most powerful men in DC, not to mention a video of the murder showing the identity of the killer.

FBI Special Agent Allison McNeil is asked by beleaguered FBI Director Clarence Mason to run an off-the-record investigation of the murder because of the murder’s similarity to a case she worked a year earlier. Allison knows the most direct path to apprehending the killer is to find the videos, but rumors that the victim’s client list may include some of Washington’s most powerful men makes her doubt the director’s motives. As she starts her investigation, she quickly discovers that she’s not the only one pursuing the recording…but that the most aggressive person racing against her might be the murderer himself.


So obviously, when the premise of the story includes a call girl, you can expect that there are a few racy scenes. So if that is something that bothers you, don’t worry, it’s mostly just at the beginning of the book.

This book definitely has several twists and turns, and I will admit, I was completely surprised when I found out who the real bad guy was! The author uses alternating voices throughout the story, which builds the suspense as well as getting the reader into the mind of both the good guys and the bad guys. There are also some sweet parts, such as Allison’s relationship with her father who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. And corrupt political leaders? What?! No way that would happen in real life. I say that with sarcasm. This was a great read and I look forward to more by Mr. Gunhus.

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Book Review: Amish Sweethearts by Leslie Gould

I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Amish Sweethearts is actually the third book I’ve had the opportunity to read by Leslie Gould. Click the links below to see my previous reviews.


Becoming Bea


Amish Promises


I just saw the author’s name and agreed to read it. I didn’t even realize until I started reading it that this is actually the second book in the Neighbors of Lancaster County series. So the characters I grew to love in Amish Promises are back, and now the kids are grown up and are the main characters!


Before I forget, here is the book’s description:


Their Two Worlds Couldn’t Be Further Apart.

Can Anything Bridge the Divide Between Them?


For years Zane Beck and his Amish neighbor Lila Lehman were best of friends. But just as Zane gathered the courage to discover if their friendship could develop into something more, her controlling father arranged for her to be courted by their bishop’s son. Zane, heartbroken and frustrated, joined the Army, running away from his shattered dreams.


The passing of time and the distance between Zane and Lila haven’t been enough to halt their–now completely hidden–feelings for each other. Any hope for their love grows even more impossible though as Zane’s service takes a dangerous turn when he’s deployed to Afghanistan. Being on the frontline, confronted with the hard choices of war, has him questioning everything, including whether he can continue to serve or not. But all choices have consequences, and with Lila preparing to marry another, will these one-time sweethearts ever find the life together that they both still long for?

If you took a quick look at my Amish Promises review, you know that the Neighbors series deals with the relationships between an Amish family and their Englisch neighbors. Zane and Lila have grown up next door to each other now they are reaching adulthood, but of course, it is next to impossible for them to be together romantically, especially when Zane leaves to join the military, as his father did.

Once again, I love the use of Amish phrases. As I finished the book, I wondered if maybe the next book will feature the younger brother and sister of Zane and Lila as the main characters. I will continue to snatch up any Leslie Gould books I can when I have the chance. I have been drawn in by these characters and into the world of Amish fiction in general. If you are a fan of love stories that are against the odds, this is a book for you. Although I’m not a story spoiler, so I won’t tell you for sure if they end up beating the odds or not! You will have to read and find out!

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Book Review- The Immigrant Wife by Madhu B Wangu

As a girl on the brink of womanhood in 1960s India, Shanti Bamzai has big dreams. Rather than enter into an arranged marriage like her sister, Shanti embarks on a journey into the unknown, leaving her family home behind for an education and a chance to chart her own destiny.While India experiences an upheaval of cultural and societal changes as old-world traditions collide with the modern global era, Shanti navigates college, a marriage of her own choosing, and motherhood, fighting a constant battle between the pressures of traditional expectations and her own burning desire to be an artist and an independent woman.A move to America presents exciting new opportunities, but Shanti is disappointed to find herself still hemmed in by the restrictions of her Indian upbringing. As her children become adults and her marriage becomes a shell of what it once was, Shanti must find the courage to step out of her husband’s shadow and into the life she’s always dreamed of.

Book available from…
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“Beautiful and lush, The Immigrant Wife takes the reader on one woman’s touching, turmeric-drenched journey from naive but determined art student in India to longing-filled American wife and mother. The author Madhu B. Wangu has written a maharaja’s banquet for the senses.” – (RITA Award Winning Author) Gwyn Cready


“A winner. The Immigrant Wife: A Spiritual Journey is beautifully written. The story weaves many small strands into an intriguing tapestry, much like the paintings of our heroine, Shanti. It paints two pictures one of the beautiful valley of Kashmir and the beautiful hills of Western Pennsylvania. Shanti’s quiet determination to stay true to herself, her art, and her family is inspirational. I loved it! – Professor Laurence Glasco (University of Pittsburgh)


“In her debut novel, Madhu Bazaz Wangu, conjures a mysterious time and place. The protagonist, Shanti, begins her life as an idealistic but naive girl from the valley of Kashmir. As the story unfolds in America, she learns to heed her desires and shape her life, no longer rolling along like a stone turned in the tide. Wangu creates rich, dynamic images of India, comparable to her watercolors, evoking every sense. The indigenous sights, sounds, and smells are so vivid that I swear I could find my way to Shanti’s home. Wangu’s style is gentle and quiet like the protagonist, and deeply powerful. This tale of love and nurturing, loss and growth, and transformation will stay with readers long after they finish the novel.”  – Kathleen Shoop (IPPY Award Winner of The Last Letter)


Read an excerpt HERE

About the author
An author, artist and the founder of the Mindful Writers Group, Madhu Bazaz Wangu was a professor of arts and religions of India before becoming a full time writer. She has a doctorate in the Phenomenology of Religions from the University of Pittsburgh and a post-doctoral fellowship from the Harvard University. For twenty-five years, she taught at the University of Pittsburgh and Chatham College in Pennsylvania, Wellesley and Wheaton Colleges in Massachusetts, and Rhode Island College.

In 1997, Dr. Wangu voyaged around the world with students & faculty from various American Universities for the Semester At Sea. In 2010, she founded the Mindful Writers Group. She encourages writers of all levels and genres to delve deeper in their work by body-mind-heart meditations. Her CD, Meditations for Mindful Writers was released in 2011. She guides writers in meditation and writing marathons. Each year in September, the Mindful Writers Group organizes a weekend of Meditation and Writing.

Madhu B. Wangu has published numerous essays and four books on Hindu & Buddhist art and religions. She has also held five one-person art exhibitions in India and US.  Her debut fiction, Chance Meetings: Stories About Cross-Cultural Karmic Collisions and Compassion was published in April, 2015. And her debut novel, An Immigrant Wife has just been released. Currently she is writing her second novel, The Last Suttee.

She lives in Wexford, Pennsylvania, USA with her husband Manoj. They have two daughters — an avionics engineer and a pediatrician — and are blessed with two grandchildren.


One of my favorite aspects of this book was the fact that the author used actual Indian words, quickly followed by the English translation, so you weren’t left wondering. Also, all the descriptions of food sounded soooo yummy!

Even though the cultural is literally foreign to me, Shanti was a great character to follow. You will find yourself rooting on as she defies the expectations of women in her country at that time. You grow to love her family and friends and really feel like a part of the story.  The book is fairly long, split into 3 books within one, but I didn’t find it to be a slow read despite the length. Perhaps it could have been split into 3 smaller books, but I prefer it this way. Then I am not left wondering what happens until the next one comes out!

I enjoyed getting to know Shanti in her youth and watching her grow as a woman. A great read! Pick it up!

Find the author on the following sites…
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Photobucket I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.




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I’m Still Here!

Hi Bloggy Friends!

I have been a little under the weather and haven’t posted anything for a bit!

There are posts on the way!! I promise!

Thanks for hanging in there!

What Was In My Snakku Box?

Some of you know that I enter giveaways all the time. Well, I won another one recently and the prize was a Snakku box, which is a subscription box with snacks from Japan. I thought I would share with everyone what was in the box. The theme for February was strawberries and also Valentines Day. When I opened up the outside box, I found the box inside wrapped in some sort of fabric. CAM00061 So I had to unwrap that and this is what I found next: CAM00062CAM00063   There was a personalized note to me and also a list describing the snacks that would be inside: CAM00064CAM00069 And now  for the snacks! First, there was some Gold Okaki. These are crepe crackers baked and dipped in a ginger emulsion and then dipped in real edible gold foils. Apparently these gold foils are made by hand in the city of Kanazawa. How cool! CAM00070 These little bags below are Chocolate Arare, from a rice cracker store in Kyoto. They are basically chocolate-covered rice crackers. One pouch was bitter and the other sweet. CAM00078 My favorite in the bunch were the Chocolate Fruit Crunch. They came in strawberry and blueberry and I think they taste like Special K bars. Yum! CAM00071 These little guys are the Pururun Strawberry Mochi, made from rice and seasonal strawberries. The taste was good, but I could see that some people might not enjoy the texture or consistency of the gooey stuff. CAM00073  Inside these packages was Chocolate Senbei, heart-shaped rice crackers covered in chocolate for Valentines Day!



Pocky seems to be a popular snack in Japan. They are biscuit sticks. These ones were covered in strawberry cream and in the shape of hearts.



Did you know here was such a thing as Green Tea KitKat? I had no clue. I’m not really a green tea fan but these were pretty tasty!

CAM00072Some more Senbei, rice crackers. But these weren’t covered in chocolate. They were plum and soy seaweed flavored. I have to admit that I wasn’t a huge fan of these ones.


There were a couple of Umaibo. Corn puff sticks is what they are. Cute packaging!



And to top it off, a bunch of these Ichigo Milk Candies- strawberry of course!



So that was everything! It looks like if you want to order one box, which contains nearly 2 pounds of snacks, it will cost you 38.95. The more months you sign up for, you get a bit of a discount. They also offer a tasting box, with 5-7 snacks for 15.75.

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Book Review- Step by Step by Candace Calvert

Love and the emergency room. What else could you want?

I received a complimentary copy of the book Step by Step by Candace Calvert from Tyndale House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.


As always, first I will share the book’s description with you:

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even giver her hope for the last point- “fall in love again.” At least until criss chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is back away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again… and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?


This is apparently the second book in the Crisis Team series. I haven’t read the first one, which didn’t bother me, as this seems to be a standalone book. I am not 100% sure if any of the characters were in the first book or not.

I found it very interesting to learn about the work of chaplains. You hear about them, but in this book you learn more in-depth information about the important work they do. Apparently the author was a former ER nurse and a crisis peer counselor, so it is great that she was able to draw on her personal experience.

Of course, from reading the description, you can tell that there is a struggle for Taylor’s attention from two men. It’s not really much of a competition. As a reader, you will know exactly which one you want her to end up with. You will also enjoy the relationship between Taylor and her aging dog, Hooper. This is a faith-based story of hope that is definitely an inspiring read.

I believe there is another book to come and I THINK I might know which character it will follow, so I’m curious to see that when it comes out.

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Book Review: Crushed by Deborah Coonts

Well, can you believe it? I’m actually posting two book reviews in one day, so I’m definitely still plowing through my list! Still several more to go through, but we will get there soon!

First, of course, here is the book description:


In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins. And in the pursuit of perfection, dreams and hearts can be crushed.

Sophia Stone is a widow on the brink of an empty nest, stuck in an unsatisfying job managing the vineyard for a mediocre Napa vintner. Faced with an uncertain future she wonders how do you choose between making a living and making a life? Between protecting your heart and sharing it? Five years ago, after her husband was killed in an accident, Sophia put her heart and dreams on ice to care for those around her. Now her home, her dreams, and her family’s legacy grapes are threatened by the greed of the new money moving into the Valley. Sophia has a choice-give up and let them take what is hers, or risk everything fighting a battle everyone says she can’t win.

Nico Treviani has one goal in life:make brilliant wine. A woman would be an unwanted distraction. So, while recognized as one of Napa’s premier vintners, Nico finds himself alone… until his brother’s death drops not one, but two women into his life-his thirteen-year-old twin nieces. In an instant, Nico gains a family and loses his best friend and partner in the winemaking business. Struggling to care for his nieces, Nico accepts a job as head winemaker for Avery Specter, one of the new-money crowd. And he learns the hard way that new money doesn’t stick to the old rules.

When Sophia Stone gets caught in the middle of Nico’s struggle to remain true to himself or sacrifice his convictions to make stellar wine, both Sophia and Nico are faced with a choice they never imagined. A choice that might extinguish the hope of a future neither expected.

This is the first in a four book series, as described on the author’s website: “This series follows four women (and their men) each of whom toils in her chosen vocation in the farm-to-table movement- the winemaker, the artisanal cheese maker, the baker and the restaurateur. These are feel-good stories as each woman finds the life she was meant to live- and serves up some killer wine, cheese, and chocolate.” From the description, I believe these other women were introduced to us in this first book, so it sounds like we will be able to follow up on some of other favorite characters.



I am definitely no wine expert, but it seems like the author is, as she shares plenty of technical information. Every once in awhile it seems a little much, and sometimes the conversations seem a little awkward in how technical they are, but it probably wouldn’t seem that way to those who are experts in the field.

The love story was both great and complicated and left you guessing what would happen between these two.  The characters are believably imperfect which makes you love them all the more. And a word to more sensitive readers, there is a small amount of racy stuff in this book, but not a lot. Just a heads up as I know some people are sensitive to that.

This author has written another series, the Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure Series, which I am interested in looking into, and I do want to follow up with the rest of this Napa series. And it looks like she has even more series’ on the way.

Definitely worth your time to book up any of these books. To find out more check out the author’s website:

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Book Review- Deep Fried and Pickled

Paisley Ray books are not your typical fiction. A young woman’s plan for an art history degree turns into an outrageous series of misadventures in this laugh-out-loud romp about a girl who enrolls in a southern college during the height of the crazy era that was the 1980’s. This collection crosses genres of chick lit, mystery, romance, humor, and action with the possibility of a corpse or two. To date there are 8 novels in this humorous romantic misadventure mystery series with book #9 due to release spring of 2016.

It’s ’86, the era of Pop Rocks, Jelly shoes, and big hair rock bands. Rachael O’Brien’s freshman plan seems simple: Attend a southern college, earn a degree, party, and meet cute guys—hopefully acing the latter two.

But being threatened by a jealous She-Devil, avoiding the advances of a thirty-something redneck, and discovering an art fraud scheme thwart her “to do” list. On top of her troubles at school, Rachael finds herself forging a new relationship with her emotionally shaken father after Mom abandons the family to pursue a psychic calling.

Bad decision-making, law-bending behavior, and surprise romances make freshman year memorable in Paisley Ray’s DEEP FRIED AND PICKLED.

“I often get asked by readers what order THE RACHAEL O’BRIEN CHRONICLES books should be read in. Each book can be read without any prior knowledge of any of the others. That said, some readers do want to follow a chronological list of events in Rachael’s southern fried, 80’s college life antics so here it is”…..


HOT TAMALE — New Release

Available to buy at….   Audible
See the full series on Amazon HERE


“Being a Southern girl and child of the 80s myself, I enjoyed the characters, the setting and the period references. Good plot without being too serious or watered down.”


“This fun and quirky mystery was very nostalgic for me as I got to relive the eighties through Rachael.”


“An entertaining read. Fresh new characters and some zany plot twists kept me reading late into the night.”
Above reviews from Amazon


Also available in the series



What a fun read! Poor Rachael, just trying to enjoy her freshman year of college and getting involved in all these hi-jinks! This book is fun, but also includes suspense, mystery, romance. Basically anything you might want. Now, I have to admit that since I was younger during the time that this book is set in, I had questions such as, “Were jelly shoes really already out of style by 1986?” Guess what? The author included some notes at the very end that answers to a few questions, including this one! There were a few times when I felt that there was too much emphasis on Rachael’s goals of partying and men. That wasn’t what I was focused on in college, but I suppose it could be very true for others. I thought the “Note to Self” at the end of every chapter was a cute addition. I plan to check into the rest of the books in this series and see what Rachael gets herself into next.

About the Author 
Born and raised in rural Pennsylvania, Paisley Ray, a steelworker’s daughter spent summer breaks with relatives on the Carolina shores. It didn’t take long for a love of southern to become rooted in her veins, and years later, yield the setting for her novels. Most days, Paisley can be found crafting the antics for the newest book in THE RACHAEL O’BRIEN CHRONICLES.

Find the author on the following sites…
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.




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Book Review- Always Watching by Lynette Eason

Hey hey hey! Another book review! I’m getting caught up on my list!


So this time I received a copy of the book Always Watching by Lynette Eason. I received the book for free in exchange for my honest review. This is the first book in a new series by this author, called Elite Guardians. Many times when I am reviewing, I end up jumping somewhere into the middle of an existing series, so it was nice to be able to read the first one!



So, here is the book’s description and stay tuned after that for a few thoughts from me!

The bodyguards of Elite Guardians Agency have more than just skill and prowess in common–they’re also all women. When it becomes clear that popular psychiatrist and radio personality Wade Savage has a stalker, his father secretly hires Elite Guardians in order to protect his son.

But when Wade’s bodyguard is attacked and nearly killed, agency owner Olivia Edwards must step in and fill the gap. Olivia’s skills are about to be tested to the limit as Wade’s stalker moves from leaving innocent gifts at his door to threatening those closest to him. Olivia has the feeling that she’s next on the list. And to complicate things even further, she realizes that her heart may be in as much danger as her client.

Bestselling author and fan favorite Lynette Eason drops readers right into the action in this fast-paced new series with a unique twist. Readers will love these strong female characters who put it all on the line to save lives.



This is definitely a fast-paced thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Also, I believe in this book we are introduced to characters that will have larger roles in subsequent books in this series, so it was nice to have the heads-up! And while it is jam-packed with action, this is also a faith-based book, which is a nice change of pace from some of the doom and gloom action stories. I will admit that about halfway through the book, I thought that I knew who the culprit was, and found out that I was completely wrong!

I have two “complaints”, however. There were several instances where the narrative changed to another person’s point of view with no pause or transition, causing me to have to track back some and make sure I knew where I was and whose eyes I was viewing the story through. Also, there were a few times when there was some repetitious dialogue. One character would say something, and then the other character would say basically the same thing right back to them.

But for the most part, I enjoyed this book and do sincerely look forward to the next in the series. I’m hoping that some of the relationships that developed in this book will continue and at least have a mention in subsequent stories.

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Book Review- Hannah’s Choice by Jan Drexler

Well, I’m trying to plow through my backlog of book reviews, and I’m making some good progress!

This time I was given the opportunity to review Hannah’s Choice by Jan Drexler. I was provided a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

hannahs choice


Hannah Yoder loves her quiet life on the banks of the Conestoga Creek. In 1842, this corner of Lancaster County is settled and peaceful–yet problems lurk beneath the placid façade. Hannah’s father worries about the spread of liberal ideas from their Mennonite and Brethren neighbors. And Hannah blames herself for a tragedy that struck their home nine years ago. She strives to be the one person who can bind the threads of her family together in spite of her mother’s ongoing depression and her sister’s rejection of their family. But her world is threatening to unravel.

When two young men seek her hand in marriage–one offering the home she craves and the other promising the adventure of following God’s call west–Hannah must make a choice. Faithfully perform her duties to her family? Or defy her father and abandon her community?

With a tender hand, Jan Drexler teases out the threads of a romance that will captivate readers in this brand-new Amish historical series.



For some reason, I love to read Amish fiction books, so I was excited to pick this one, and was not disappointed! The characters are great and I enjoyed learning more about how the Amish did/did not interact with Mennonite and others in their area. Well, from reading the description, you know that there are two men that are vying for Hannah’s hand in marriage, so I’m not giving away the plot when I say that I was rooting for the one that doesn’t win in the end, but oh well!

I also found it interesting that the author’s ancestors were actually among the first Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren immigrants to Pennsylvania in the 1700s. I believe this is the beginning of a book series, and I definitely would love to read more from this author. Her understanding of the historical context and her research into her ancestry makes her a great source of information, and her ability to create characters that you fall in love with is amazing.

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Book Review- Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz

Another book that has been on my list for awhile, but it took me awhile to get to it is Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz.



Here is the description:


From #1 bestselling author Dean Koontz—the must-read thriller of the year, for readers of dark psychological suspense and modern classics of mystery and adventure.


The girl who said no to death.

Bibi Blair is a fierce, funny, dauntless young woman—whose doctor says she has one year to live.

She replies, “We’ll see.”

Her sudden recovery astonishes medical science.

An enigmatic woman convinces Bibi that she escaped death so that she can save someone else. Someone named Ashley Bell.

But save her from what, from whom? And who is Ashley Bell? Where is she?

Bibi’s obsession with finding Ashley sends her on the run from threats both mystical and worldly, including a rich and charismatic cult leader with terrifying ambitions.

Here is an eloquent, riveting, brilliantly paced story with an exhilarating heroine and a twisting, ingenious plot filled with staggering surprises. Ashley Bell is a new milestone in literary suspense from the long-acclaimed master.




This was definitely a great read that took a turn I wasn’t expecting at all! I always love when writers write about writers and Bibi is a writer in this story.. I love the descriptions of Bibi as a young girl. The character draw you in and leaves you hoping for possibly more stories involving her, though the story doesn’t necessarily leave room for a sequel. Unfortunately, I can’t explain too much of the story, because I would give away that surprising plot twist that happens later in the book.


Of course you can expect thrills and a little bit of the mystical from Koontz, but as I stated, there is no way you will predict what is going to happen in this one! All the characters are great and the surf-lingo was fun to read as well, even though I know nothing about surfing.

This is definitely a page-turner, and you might find yourself turning the pages back to make sure you fully grasped what just happened.


Welcome to the US Beatles

This was the day in 1964 that the boys from Liverpool, the Beatles, arrived in New York. I know we’ve all seen the pictures, but, hey, here you go again.

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The Birth of Rickrolling, or Rick Astley

On this day in 1966, Rick Astley  was born. Who knew that his 1980’s hit would become such an internet sensation years later?

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The Boy Who Would Be a Beatle- Ringo Starr

This is the day that in 1962, Ringo Starr first played with the Beatles. However, he was just filling in for Pete Best, who was ill. A few more months passed before Ringo was officially a band member.  Sorry Pete, sounds like this was the beginning of the end for you!

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Happy Birthday, Alice Cooper!

It’s Mr. Alice Cooper (Vincent Furnier)’s birthday today! If I did the math right, I believe he is turning 68.

What is your favorite tune by Alice?

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The Day the Music Died

Yes it was on February 3rd, 1959 that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash. The pilot Roger Peterson passed away as well. And being from Iowa, it happened in my own state. I’ve driven past the site before. So, today might be a good day to rock out to American Pie by Don McLean or watch The Buddy Holly Story or La Bamba.





Book Review: So, Anyway…. by John Cleese

So, when you pick up an autobiography by John Cleese, of Monty Python fame, you might expect to read quite a bit about Python. Well, let me tell you now, that most definitely is not what you will find in this book. So, if that is the one and only thing you wanted to hear about, well, maybe this is the book for you. However, for those of you with a sense of adventure, I would encourage you to pick it up and give it a read anyway.

This would basically be the story of Pre-Python Cleese, which is still quite an interesting story. Just pretend you are reading about someone that wasn’t a part of the Monty Python cast and then maybe you will find the great bits and pieces.


Here is the book’s description:

John Cleese’s  huge comedic influence has stretched across generations; his sharp irreverent eye and the unique brand of physical comedy he perfected with Monty Python, on Fawlty Towers, and beyond now seem written into comedy’s DNA. In this rollicking memoir, So, Anyway…, Cleese takes readers on a Grand Tour of his ascent in the entertainment world, from his humble beginnings in a sleepy English town and his early comedic days at Cambridge University (with future Python partner Graham Chapman), to the founding of the landmark comedy troupe that would propel him to worldwide renown.

Cleese was just days away from graduating Cambridge and setting off on a law career when he was visited by two BBC executives, who offered him a job writing comedy for radio. That fateful moment—and a near-simultaneous offer to take his university humor revue to London’s famed West End—propelled him down a different path, cutting his teeth writing for stars like David Frost and Peter Sellers, and eventually joining the five other Pythons to pioneer a new kind of comedy that prized invention, silliness, and absurdity. Along the way, he found his first true love with the actress Connie Booth and transformed himself from a reluctant performer to a world class actor and back again.

Twisting and turning through surprising stories and hilarious digressions—with some brief pauses along the way that comprise a fascinating primer on what’s funny and why—this story of a young man’s journey to the pinnacle of comedy is a masterly performance by a master performer.


The book starts, well, at the beginning, with Cleese’s early life and schooling. There are lots of pictures, which I always enjoy in a biography. The story follows how Cleese got his start in comedy and writing and there are lots of great stories involved. You can definitely “hear” Cleese’s voice as you are reading the book. It was interesting to learn about all the British TV shows that Cleese was a part of and also his stint on Broadway. I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of most of the shows he mentioned, but that is probably due to the fact that, a) I wasn’t alive and b) I’m from America. And while the book does not focus on the Python years, we do learn how some of the sketches got their start, and of Cleese’s writing partnership with Graham Chapman.

Since there was only slight mention of Python, A Fish Called Wanda, and Fawlty Towers, MAYBE we can expect a second book? It wasn’t hinted at, but one can hope, can’t one? Cleese’s first wife Connie was mentioned, and he does mention having other wives in the future, but there is no discussion of them, and it would be nice to hear more about that aspect of his life.

I didn’t realize when I started reading that there would be lack of Python info, and was surprised the further I got that we hadn’t gotten there yet. The very last chapter does have a little info, but is actually more about the recent reunion. So that aspect is a little disappointing, but, as I said, it’s still an interesting and humorous read.

For more information, check out Cleese’s Author Page  and the book page at Penguin Random House, which includes an excerpt and some interviews.

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review- The Upside of Iris by Helen Rose

The Upside of Iris by Helen Rose and illustrated by Lisa Falzon has been on my list of books to review for awhile now. I got a little too book-happy and agreed to review several all at the same time. I never forgot about this one, but I’m sad that I didn’t take a look at it sooner!

iris cover


First, here is the book’s description:

What does love look like to you?

For young Iris,the whole world looks upside down, and the only person who truly understands and appreciates her perspective is her new friend Charlie, who has his own unique trait:he cannot speak. His silence, her precociousness, and their  acceptance of each other make the two a perfect match.

But happiness is fleeting,as Iris’s new stepsisters, skeptical and jealous (as conventional folks often are of those who dare to swim against the tide), manage to drive the two apart. Iris and Charlie are separated for the remainder of childhood.

Grown-up Iris never forgets about Charlie, though, and her love for him influences the charming art gallery she now owns. But despite the visually magical environment she inhabits, Iris finds herself doubting Charlie once again, thanks in no small part to those pesky stepsisters of hers.

Still, before she decides to give up hope altogether, she decides to do one small thing for the other lonely souls around her…with wonderful consequences.

The Upside of Iris is an illustrated love story for all ages, and for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood. It is a whimsical, touching reminder that perspective is truly everything, and that a change in perspective can make all the difference in the world.

The illustrations in this book are just amazing! And I believe the pictures themselves could probably tell the story, even without words. I think it would make a great animated short film. It is definitely a quick read, but one you could definitely read over and over.


Though it is illustrated, I would not say that this story is solely for children. In fact, the story might go over the heads of some younger children. Though I could see myself as a child enjoying it, but I was a bit of a strange kid. The love story is adorable, and the book also focuses on how children that are little different than others can feel out of place but eventually find their true self.

Just an FYI, due to the amazing illustrations, the file size on this book is a little large, but definitely worth the space.

I was provided an e-book copy of this by Kate Tilton Book Bloggers and author Helen Rose in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Find it on Amazon here.

DVD Review: Captive #CaptiveMovie #FlyBy

You may remember that back in September I reviewed the book Captive by Ashley Smith. If you don’t remember, you can certainly click the link to take a look.

Well, at the time, the movie was about to be released in the theaters and now it is available on DVD and I had the chance to check it out recently.



For a quick rundown:

Based on a miraculous story about the power of faith, Captive is an “amazing, inspiring” drama about the spiritual collision of two lost souls, Brian Nichols (Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo), on the run from police and desperate to make contact with his newborn son, takes recently widowed mother Ashley Smith (Kata Mara) hostage in her own apartment.  Fearing for her life and desperately hoping to see her daughter again, she turns to Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life for guidance.  Ashley and her captor face a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair in the moving film that Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation hailed as “powerful.”


DVD Release Date: January 5, 2016

Runtime: 96 minutes

Rating: PG-13 (for mature thematic elements involving violence and substance abuse)

After I having read the book, I thought the movie was great and could also be a great movie even for those without a Christian background. I did think that the movie skipped over the story of what happened to Ashley’s husband. Of course, I’m sure this was for time, but I felt that it was an important element of her story that could have been elaborated on more. However, if you haven’t read the book, you wouldn’t notice that was missing.

The DVD also includes 30 minutes of bonus content, including Journey Through Darkness:Filming Captive, and Faith and The Purpose Driven Life. You also have access to a Digital HD copy that can be downloaded/streamed. Let me tell you, that comes in handy when your DVD player is not hooked up!

Find out more at the links below:




ALSO!!!!!!! If you comment on this post, you will be entered to win your own copy of the DVD, so drop me a line!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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