Sunday, February 16, 2020

Review and Excerpt: A Girl's Guide to the Outback by Jessica Kate

About the Book

Book:  A Girl’s Guide to the Outback
Author: Jessica Kate
Genre:  Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 28, 2020

How far will a girl go to win back a guy she can’t stand? This funny, sweet, and romantic story proves that opposites do attract—and that God has a sense of humor.

 Samuel Payton is a passionate youth pastor in Virginia, but below the surface, he’s still recovering from the blow of a failed business and insecurities he can’t shake. His coworker, start-up expert Kimberly Foster, is brilliant, fearless, and capable, but years of personal rejection have left her defensive and longing for a family. Two people have never been more at odds—or more attracted to one another. And every day at work, the sparks sure do fly.

 When Kimberly’s ambitious plans for Sam’s ministry butt up against his risk-averse nature, Sam decides that obligations to family trump his work for the church. He quits the ministry and heads home to Australia to help his sister, Jules, save her struggling farm. As Kimberly’s grand plans flounder, she is forced to face the truth: that no one can replace Sam. Together they strike up a deal: If Kimberly comes to work on Jules’s dairy farm and lends her business brains to their endeavor, then maybe—just maybe—Sam will reconsider his future with the church.

 As Kimberly tries her hand at Australian farm life, she learns more about herself than she could’ve ever expected. Meanwhile Sam is forced to re-evaluate this spunky woman he thought he already knew. As foes slowly morph into friends, they wonder if they might be something even more. But when disaster strikes the farm, will Sam find it within himself to take a risk that could lead to love? And will Kimberly trust God with her future?

Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts:

This book was so completely hilarious and absolutely swoon-worthy at the same time, it is one of the tales that genuinely deserves the title of rom-com. Of course, how can it be anything but with the four most stubborn young, single people in any kind of proximity together?

We have the lead couple, practical Kim the business woman come to get back the charismatic youth pastor, Samuel- even though they can't stand each other (despite the fact that they are both attracted to the other). Then there is Samuel's sister Jules, who takes the stubborn prize, as she tries to stay in control, and Mitch, her neighbor who once loved her... and still does, actually.

Throw all of them together onto a farm in the Australian outback where literally everything is trying to kill them and bankrupt the farm, and it was bound to get interesting. Especially as each of the characters were dealing with their own secret heart-aches: rejection, failure, surrender, and patience respectively.

It all ended just right, too. But if it hadn't ended, and just kept going- I wouldn't have minded that either. I need more rom-coms like this one in my reading list.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Reviewed by Jes

About the Author

Australian author Jessica Kate writes inspirational romances with wit, sass, and grit. Jessica is a screenwriting groupie, cohost of the StoryNerds vlog and podcasts, and her favorite place to be—apart from Mum and Dad’s back deck—is a theme park. She has traveled North America and Australia, and samples her favorite pasta wherever she goes—but the best (so far) is still the place around the corner from her corporate day job as a training developer. She loves watching sitcoms with her housemates and being a leader in a new church plant. Visit her online at; Instagram: jessicakatewriting; Facebook: jessicakatewriting; Twitter: @JessicaKate05.

Exclusive Excerpt

Click here to read an exclusive excerpt of the book!

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 3
Robin’s Nest, February 4
Genesis 5020, February 6
Wishful Endings, February 6
Texas Book-aholic, February 7
Batya’s Bits, February 8
deb’s Book Review, February 9
Inklings and notions, February 10
Inside the Wong Mind, February 10
Kat’s Corner Books, February 11
Hallie Reads, February 12
Mary Hake, February 13
Moments, February 14
Stories By Gina, February 14
Britt Reads Fiction, February 15
Pause for Tales, February 16
With a Joyful Noise, February 16

Friday, February 14, 2020

Review and Giveaway: The Nutcracker Conspiracy by Lauren Carr

"Steps up several levels into an exciting category all its own. It's thriller, cold case, mystery suspense, and police procedural, all rolled into one exciting novel. Set amidst the political drama that comes with Washington DC and the Pentagon, a current multiple murder becomes a search years in the past. With a young, hot lieutenant assigned to NCIS, and his beautiful new wife, you have all the makings of a bestseller.  Nicely done, Ms. Carr!" - Review by Merry Citarella, Mystery Suspense Reviews

The Latest Best-Selling Thorny Rose Mystery Available Now!

Get Your Copy Today!

Join us for this tour from Jan 20 to Feb 28, 2020!

Book Details:

Book TitleThe Nutcracker Conspiracy (A Thorny Rose Mystery #4) by Lauren Carr
Category:  Adult Fiction (18 +),  388 pages
Genre:  Mystery
Publisher:  Acorn Book Services
Release date:   January 30, 2020
Content Rating:  PG-13 (Lauren Carr's books are murder mysteries, so there are murders involved. Occasionally, a murder will happen on stage. There is sexual content, but always behind closed doors. Some mild swearing (a hell or a damn few and far between). No F-bombs!

Book Description:

Three years ago, the nation gasped in horror when the President of the United States barely escaped an assassination attempt that left two dead—the vice president’s wife and the attempted assassin.  Even after numerous investigations proved otherwise, conspiracy theorists argue that the assassin was acting on orders from the CIA, FBI, and every federal agency within a hundred miles of the capital.

Aspiring Author Dean Conway is the last person Lieutenant Commander Murphy Thornton wants to spend his Saturday afternoon when they end up at the same wedding reception table. While their wives tend to bridesmaid duties, Murphy is trapped listening to Dean’s latest work-in-project—completing the manuscript of an investigative journalist who’d disappeared months earlier.

“She was number twelve,” Dean says.

“Twelve?” Murphy asks.

“Twelve witnesses connected to or investigating The Nutcracker shooting have died either in an accident or suicide.”

Two days later, Dean dies suddenly―but not before sending a text message to Murphy:


My Thoughts:

In author Carr's latest, we are headed back to the Thorny Rose mansion and we get to spend some time with Murphy and Jessica Thornton. 

The beginning of the story sets up our mystery, three years previously an assassination attempt was made on the President of the United States. He was ok but the VP's wife did not make it. What really happened that fateful evening has had many conspiracy theorists only guessing. However, Murphy finds out from an annoying acquaintance that there are a lot of bodies that keep piling up or end up missing. Murphy and especially Jessica are thrown into this new mystery, or is it a cover up when Jessica's best friend's husband is killed suspiciously. Wanting to prove her friend innocent, Jessica sets out to find out what is truly going on.

Murphy on the other hand is wrapped up in another string of suspicious deaths that are made to look like suicides but upon closer examination all signs are pointing to murder. What is going on? Espionage, spying, and corruption are all being uncovered in several parts of the government.

As with all of author Carr's books, there is so much more underneath these two mysteries, and what if by some chance everything is linked? Jessica and Murphy soon find out how much danger they really are in.

To lighten the mood, Gnarly and the other canines are present to give us a much needed break from the drama of the human lives. Though Gnarly is up to no good himself. And the part of the dog's marathon of X-Files had me chuckling as that is the current show I am watching.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own. 

Check Out These Other Thorny Rose Mysteries:

"The plot was original, fresh and fast paced in spite of the "traditional elements" employed which can normally be found in any other thriller of this genre. The USP of this story would be its unpredictability. When you think you have it all guessed up, the plot would change its course keeping you hooked. There were a lot of suspense twists and turns that kept the momentum up. Needless to say, the writing was simply perfect. One thing that writer needs to be lauded for is the humor she inculcated in the book. Minus those humorous parts, the book would have been one serious read." - Reviewer: Book and Ink

Book Description:
Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

The case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to shift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

"Mysteries, murder, danger, and memories that threatens their lives keeps the action and suspense at a high level and even when the answers are found, it left me wanting more." - Review by Sherry Fundin of Fundinmental

Book Description:

After ten months of marital bliss, Jessica Faraday and Murphy Thornton are still discovering and adjusting to their life together. Settled in their new home, everything appears to be perfect … except in the middle of the night when, in the darkest shadows of her subconscious, a deep secret from Jessica’s past creeps to the surface to make her strike out at Murphy.

When investigative journalist Dallas Walker tells the couple about her latest case, known as the Pine Bridge Massacre, they realize Jessica may have witnessed the murder of a family while visiting family at the winery near-by, and suppressed the memory.

Determined to uncover the truth and find justice for the murder victims, Jessica and Murphy return to the scene of the crime with Dallas Walker, a spunky bull-headed Texan. Can this family reunion bring closure for a community touched by tragedy or will this prickly get-together bring an end to the Thorny Rose couple?
 Buy the Book:
Amazon ~ Audible
Add to Goodreads

Murder by Perfection is a wonderful read and a perfect to escape from the challenges of a busy day. Danger, intrigue, humor, and love all take their turn in this tale which will keep you reading into the wee hours." Review by Marilyn R. Wilson, Olio by Marilyn

Book Description:

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

Buy the Book:
Add to Goodreads

Meet the Author:

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

Tour Schedule:

Jan 20 – Library of Clean Reads – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 - Working Mommy Journal – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 20 - StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 - – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 20 - redpillows - book spotlight / guest post
Jan 21 - My Reading Journeys – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Jan 21 - Rockin' Book Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 22 - Jypsylynn – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Jan 22 - eBook Addicts – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 23 - Olio by Marilyn – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 23 – Leels Loves Books – book review of A Fine Year for Murder
Jan 24 - Bookmark and fork  - book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Jan 27 - Christa Reads and Writes – book review of Murder by Perfection
Jan 28 - Bound 4 Escape – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Jan 29 - 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Jan 30 - Library of Clean Reads – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 30 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of Kill and Run / giveaway
Jan 30 - 411 on Books, Authors, and Publishing News – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 31 - fundinmental – series spotlight / giveaway
Jan 31 - redpillows - series spotlight
Feb 3 - b for bookreview – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 3 - Cassidy's Bookshelves – book review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 4 - Christa Reads and Writes – book review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 4 - Blooming with Books - book spotlight / giveaway
Feb 5 - Leels Loves Books – book review of Murder by Perfection
Feb 5 - Celticlady's Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
Feb 6 - Dab of Darkness Book Reviews – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview / giveaway
Feb 7 - Rockin' Book Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 7 - Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of Murder by Perfection
Feb 10 - Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 11 - Laura`s Interests – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 11 - eBook Addicts - book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 12 – FUONLYKNEW – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 12 - Leels Loves Books – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 13 - Casia's Corner – book review of Kill and Run
Feb 13 - I'm All About Books – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 14 - Pause for Tales – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 17 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
Feb 18 - Bookmark and fork  - series spotlight / giveaway
Feb 19 - JBronder Book Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 19 - Literary Flits – book spotlight of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 20 - Svetlana's reads and views – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 21 - Divas With A Purpose – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post
Feb 24 - Laura`s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
Feb 24 - My Devotional Thoughts – series spotlight
Feb 25 - Peaceful Pastime – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 25 - Svetlana's reads and views – series spotlight
Feb 26 - Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight of the Nutcracker Conspiracy / author interview
Feb 26 - Celticlady's Reviews – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / guest post / giveaway
Feb 26 –fundinmental – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 27 - My Devotional Thoughts – book review / author interview / giveaway
Feb 27 - Read and Review - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Feb 28 - Nighttime Reading Center – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway
Feb 28 - Casia's Corner – book review of The Nutcracker Conspiracy
Feb 28 - Adventurous Jessy – book review of the Nutcracker Conspiracy / giveaway

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Review and Giveaway: Always the One by Tara Randel

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Always the One
(Meet Me at the Altar #4)
By Tara Randel
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
February 4th 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

From USA TODAY bestselling author Tara Randel

She’s the love of his life… but is he still hers?

FBI agent Derrick Matthews has finally found his childhood sweetheart and the love of his life—but she isn’t exactly happy about it! Years ago, Hannah Rawlings disappeared overnight when her family went on the run, and she blames Derrick. She tells him she’s moved on and he should, too, but Derrick fears Hannah’s still in danger. He vows to protect her—even if that means betraying her trust…again.

Affiliate link included.

My Thoughts:

What happens when you can't forget your first love? Seventeen years later FBI agent Derrick Matthews still can't move on in his love life without thinking about his high school sweetheart, Hannah Rawlings. They had made such grand plans together but something happened and Derrick has only an inkling of what it may have been.

Hannah and her family have to disappear one night and enter the witness protection program and she isn't able to let Derrick know. But in a way, she blames Derrick for her family's current problems. Derrick is shocked that her and her family is gone without a trace, that I do believe without the closure he needed with Hannah he is unable to move on. Not only that but this has also affected his and his father's relationship.

Now years later, Derrick is just about to move on when a mysterious package arrives at his office that leads him straight to Hannah. Just who sent the package and who is Hannah so afraid of are major questions that beg to be answered in this sweet second chance love story with a bit of suspense.

Also will Hannah ever see her dreams come true and what is Derrick going to do when he finds out Hannah is engaged to another man? 

Both of these characters went through a lot of drama in their lives and it was no fault of their own. I enjoyed this story and watching Derrick pursue Hannah after all this time, to love her and want the best for her even if it meant it might not be him. That was a great sign of true love.

I received a copy of this novel from the author. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling Author Tara Randel has enjoyed a lifelong love of books, especially romance and mystery genres, so it didn't come as a surprise when she began writing with the dream of becoming published. Family values, mystery and, of course, love and romance are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Tara lives on the West Coast of Florida, where gorgeous sunsets inspire the creation of heartwarming stories, filled with love, laughter and the occasional mystery.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

Prize #1: Signed print copies of The Bridal Bouquet, The Lawman’s Secret Vow, tote bag and a $25 Amazon Gift Card. (Open to US only)

Prize #2: $25 Amazon e-Gift Card (Open Internationally)

Ends February 19, 2020

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

Review and Excerpt: Promised Land by Robert Whitlow

About the Book

Book:  Promise Land
Author: Robert Whitlow
Genre: Christian Fiction, Suspense, Legal Drama
Release Date: January 14, 2020

With historical mysteries, religious intrigue, and political danger, Promised Land asks one momentous question: what if your calling puts you—and your family—in the crosshairs?

Despite their Israeli citizenship, Hana and Daud cannot safely return to their homeland because a dangerous terrorist ring is threatening Daud. Hana is perfectly fine remaining in the United States, working for a law firm in Atlanta, especially when she learns she’s pregnant. But Daud can’t shake the draw to return home to Israel, even if it makes him a walking target.

Hana is helping her boss plan a huge Middle East summit in Atlanta when Jakob Brodsky, her old friend and former co-litigator, asks for her help with a current case. His client is attempting to recover ancient artifacts stolen from his Jewish great-grandfather by a Soviet colonel at the end of World War II. Because the case crosses several national borders, he knows he needs Hana’s knowledge and skill to get to the bottom of what happened to these precious artifacts.

Meanwhile, Daud is called in to help a US intelligence agency extract a Ukrainian doctor from a dangerous situation in Egypt. While overseas, he can’t resist the call of Jerusalem and thus sets off a series of events that puts thousands of people in danger, including his wife and unborn child.

Bestselling author Robert Whitlow explores the meaning of family and home—and how faith forms the identity of both—in this breathtaking follow-up to Chosen People.

Click here to get your copy.

My Thoughts:

This was a very interesting book about a newly married couple trying to start a life together, with stressful jobs, living in a foreign country without family, and to top it off lets just throw in some espionage and danger. 

Hana and her husband Daud find themselves living in Atlanta, Georgie as it is much too dangerous for Daud to live in Israel at this time. Hana is a lawyer and Daud has been working as a contractor with the CIA. When the book opened, Daud is on a mission while Hana is keeping everything going at home. I liked how the author was giving us a back and forth story about what was going on with both. The danger and the home and everyday work life.

I do wish I had read the first in the series, not because this can't be read as a stand-alone, just because I wanted to delve more into Hana and Daud's relationship. All in all, this was a very good read with just the right amount of relationship drama (marital and with family friends) and the added tension of danger lurking and preying on Daud and his wife.

I also liked the detailed look seen from a different culture and seeing through another's eyes at America and how we look at life and situations. 

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own.

About the Author

Robert Whitlow is the bestselling author of legal novels set in the South and winner of the Christy Award for Contemporary Fiction. He received his JD with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law where he served on the staff of the Georgia Law Review. Website:; Twitter: @whitlowwriter; Facebook: robertwhitlowbooks

Read an Excerpt

Click here to read an excerpt of the book.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, January 27
deb’s Book Review, January 28
Texas Book-aholic, January 29
CarpeDiem, January 30
Mary Hake, January 31
Blogging With Carol, February 2
Daysong Reflections, February 3
Betti Mace, February 5
Hallie Reads, February 5
By The Book, February 6
SPLASHES of Joy, February 7
Bigreadersite, February 7
Pause for Tales, February 8
Emily Yager, February 8