Friday, October 20, 2017

Freebie Friday

The Christmas books are starting to come out and today I have a freebie for you from Liz Isaacson, Christmas in Three Rivers! The weather is getting colder where I'm at and this looks like the perfect anthology to curl up with!

You can get your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Isn't Christmas the best time to fall in love? The cowboys of Three Rivers Ranch think so. Join four of them as they journey toward their path to happily ever after in four, all-new stories in the Amazon #1 Bestselling Three Rivers Ranch Romance series.

THE NINTH INNING: The Christmas season has never felt like such a burden to boutique owner Andrea Larsen. But with Mama gone and the holidays upon her, Andy finds herself wishing she hadn't been so quick to judge her former boyfriend, cowboy Lawrence Collins. Well, Lawrence hasn't forgotten about Andy either, and he devises a plan to get her out to the ranch so they can reconnect. Do they have the faith and humility to patch things up and start a new relationship?

TEN DAYS IN TOWN: Sandy Keller is tired of the dating scene in Three Rivers. Though she owns the pancake house, she's looking for a fresh start, which means an escape from the town where she grew up. When her older brother's best friend, Tad Jorgensen, comes to town for the holidays, it is a balm to his weary soul. A helicopter tour guide who experienced a near-death experience, he's looking to start over too--but in Three Rivers. Can Sandy and Tad navigate their troubles to find the path God wants them to take--and discover true love--in only ten days?

ELEVEN YEAR REUNION: Pastry chef extraordinaire, Grace Lewis has moved to Three Rivers to help Heidi Ackerman open a bakery in Three Rivers. Grace relishes the idea of starting over in a town where no one knows about her failed cupcakery. She doesn't expect to run into her old high school boyfriend, Jonathan Carver. A carpenter working at Three Rivers Ranch, Jon's in town against his will. But with Grace now on the scene, Jon's thinking life in Three Rivers is suddenly looking up. But with her focus on baking and his disdain for small towns, can they make their eleven year reunion stick?

THE TWELFTH TOWN: Newscaster Taryn Tucker has had enough of life on-screen. She's bounced from town to town before arriving in Three Rivers, completely alone and completely anonymous--just the way she now likes it. She takes a job cleaning at Three Rivers Ranch, hoping for a chance to figure out who she is and where God wants her. When she meets happy-go-lucky cowhand Kenny Stockton, she doesn't expect sparks to fly. Kenny's always been "the best friend" for his female friends, but the pull between him and Taryn can't be denied. Will they have the courage and faith necessary to make their opposite worlds mesh?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Freebie Alert!

I came across a YA thriller being offered for free by author Cindy Hogan. It's called Kate, Unmasked and it looks really good, so I thought I'd pass the deal along!

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

The mysteries of her past consume her.

Seventeen-year-old Kate has never stopped searching for the secrets of her past—the secrets that began with her missing birth parents. After years of every lead drying up and every hope turning false, Kate finally lucks onto a promising lead.

Determined to find the truth once and for all, Kate travels to the gritty New Jersey shore. But what she finds is worse than she ever could have imagined. She can’t hide from who she is, and now she must face the awful consequences of finding the very people she should have been hiding from.

Some secrets should stay dead and buried.

A young adult action/adventure novel filled with mystery, suspense, romance, and lots of thrills, sure to thrill both teens and adults.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In The Non-Fiction Corner & A Giveaway!

Today in the Non-Fiction Corner, Lauren is reviewing 100 Favorite Verses From the Old Testament by Shauna Humphreys.

Be sure to scroll all the way down to enter the giveaway!

In The Non-Fiction Corner
by Lauren B.

Ok, wow, first can we just talk about the look of this book? It is beautiful! It is very well done with a nice color and stitching, definitely one that you need on your shelf. And what is inside is even better.

I have never met someone who is completely confident with his or her knowledge of the Old Testament, so I thought this was an awesome idea for a book. The author has done 100 verse books in the past, but I am glad that she chose to do one specifically for the Old Testament. Clearly, because she came up with the idea, the author is brilliant and if the title doesn’t sell you on that, her messages in the book definitely will. The Old Testament is often looked over I feel like, so focusing on some of the gems that you can find in there is golden. But that’s not all! It’s not just the Old Testament; Humphreys uses verses from every standard work as well as quotes, hymns and personal insights. It expresses lessons from the Old Testament in an extraordinary way.

I particularly liked the seventh verse the author chose, about the Mountain of the Lord. I feel like there is so much to learn about the temple in the Old Testament and sometimes it is overlooked. Like Humphreys says, going to the temple really is a mountaintop experience. We are separated from the craziness of the world, we have a path to follow, we can see more clearly, and it is a peaceful time to connect with the Lord. This is just one example of the many insights you can gain from reading this book. It was an excellent reminder for me of some of the forgotten verses and stories I had read in seminary, and has helped remind me why the Old Testament is one of my favorites.

Here's the back copy:

Studying—and truly understanding—the Old Testament can feel like an insurmountable task. But in this wonderful compilation of 100 of the most beloved Old Testament verses, author Shauna Humphreys reminds readers that this sacred book of scripture is brimming with treasures of wisdom for those prepared to seek them. Presented with complementary spiritual insights, vibrant explanations, and personal applications, each verse will motivate readers to delve into these sacred and powerful teachings as never before. Whether used in personal study or incorporated into family discussions or Church lessons, this inspiring volume is sure to enlighten the mind and stir the heart.

You can purchase your copy here

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap & Review: The Ep Where A Lot of People Get Killed

Well, this ep is marked with a lot of murder and violence, but also the return of Harry Langford, (who I wish was a recurring character). But I digress . . .

The show starts out in Waikiki with a waitress bringing drinks to a back gaming room where a heavily guarded man is arguing with someone about the best place to get a manicure. (Do crime bosses really get manicures? Like, so their shooting hand looks especially good or something?) The FBI has a surveillance van listening in, whining about how boring this assignment is, when gunfire breaks out. The FBI guys try to run in, but their back door is blocked in by another car. (Can't they go out the front? More than one exit seems like something surveillance guys would plan for, but hey, what do I know? Apparently these are smart criminals and we have bumbling FBI guys.)

Back in the Restaurant of Dreams, Steve is sanding down a counter with Kamekona looking on when Danny brings in fabric swatches for the restaurant booths. He pretends, but doesn't really want Steve's opinion on what color fabric to use, because he's already ordered garnet. Not to be outdone, Kamekona offers up T-shirts he ordered that will bring people in. It has McDanno's Bar and Grill on it, with Danny and Steve in the Lady and the Tramp pose. Danny hates it (as would most people I would imagine, yikes!) Steve tries to be diplomatic and tell him it's going to be a different kind of establishment than the one he's used to running, but Kame has already ordered 400 of the shirts. (Maybe they can use them as rags?) Steve's phone rings, thankfully, and it's Harry! He wants to hang out with them.

The audience gets a nice shot of Harry coming out of the ocean in small swim trunks that Danny compares to Daisy Dukes. (Which was a bit strange, but okay.) Harry gives him a nice wet hug, using his shirt for a towel, but Steve gets a handshake. Apparently, Harry has retired at 45 and is traveling with world with his girlfriend Veronique who meets them as they walk down the beach. When Danny sees Veronique he comments that she's so pretty, but then adds, it's painful. (I'm not sure what that means. So pretty it hurts his head? Eyes? Heart?) Anyway, she invites them to lunch, but Steve gets called to the FBI's I-Can't-Get-Out-Of-My-Van crime scene.

The murder victim was Jimmy Okada, head of the Okada crime family and nine of his terribly inept bodyguards were killed as well. Lou starts to give the boys a recap when Tani comes in to finish it off, saying that after the shooters barricaded the feds in their own van, they came in the emergency exit, shot everyone, and left without being seen. Steve looks very concerned at this news because whoever did this, just started a war. Dun, dun, dun.

Back at the Show and Tell Talking Table, Tani is showing a deposition video of Okada giving one stiff line about how this is a waste of time and then we hear an even more stiff voice from the off-camera female attorney laying out his crimes. (I mean, I know lawyers have a reputation for having no feelings, but they don't talk like robots!) Jerry runs in breathless for the "tell" part of the show and tell, because he found out that the witnesses and staff are all accounted for except the waitress, Annie Hughes, who was last seen five minutes before the shooting. The team breaks without any high fives with Lou and Tani going to talk to Okada's son, Derek, (who isn't helpful, but definitely wants some revenge) while Danny and Steve go to see a CI. But of course they have to argue more about booth colors. (Steve wants black booths, Danny still wants red.) The scene is obviously filler, but then Harry shows up in the office elevator to save it! He wants to help them out on their case because retirement can be so tedious.

Steve and Harry talk about the booth colors. Harry votes for plain colors so they can liquidate it after the restaurant fails. (No one has been positive about a restaurant. Literally no one, so why are they still doing this?) They end up at Kamekona's for lunch (he's their CI) and to see if he knows who might want to take over Okada's turf and pull off a hit like that. (Honestly, how would Kamekona know? Hasn't he been out of the game forever?)  Kame gives them the name of a gunrunner, though, and they send Harry in to see the guy, since he knows all the "cops" on the island and the boys will run backup and listen in.

Harry is the ultimate professional, and gets hit on at the restaurant by a woman who is intent on taking something of Harry's if she can't have him herself, (in this case, she takes his drink) while he waits for GunRunnerLoto. Once the gunrunners finally arrive, Harry isn't intimidated at all by Loto and his crew. (I admit, I love listening to Harry's British accent). Loto asks him to get in the back of his van to do business (no, don't do it! Never get in a creeper van with graffiti all over it!) He does, though, and surprise! Once it's moving, a fight breaks out, which escalates to gunfire and the driver is shot. When the van stops, Steve and Danny hurry over, but Harry has things under control. (Of course!)

Danny can't get Loto to talk with his "good cop" persona, so Harry and Steve convince him. (Man, I would love to see those two work together on a regular basis.) They end up in a warehouse on Pier 17 and surprise a crew who bought a massive amount of guns from Loto. After a brief gunfight (where the bad guys once again are terrible shots), Steve pops a guy running away and they take him to the Blue Room of Doom. Victor, the BloodyGunRunnerGuy, admits they were trying to take over Okada's turf, but they didn't kill him. He knows someone at the FBI (bumblers AND with a mole? The poor FBI looks terrible in this ep) and they were waiting until the feds took down Okada before they made their move. But, Victor isn't the killer, and Lou confirms that since the guns from the warehouse and the Okada murder scene aren't a match.

But, good news! They actually found a gun match---with a gun that was reported stolen three days ago. Everyone is surprised the Okada murders (ten guys!) were done by a lone gunman, but Jerry shows them how it could have been done. (And the audience gets to see all the murders happen. Ew). Once the Jerry show is over, Harry meets Tani and is impressed with her shiny badge and wedge espadrilles meant to impress (but which aren't practical for her line of work. A lot of women on cop shows wear shoes that would never work. Why is that? Remember Castle? Some of Beckett's shoes/boots had four inch heels!) Anyway, Tani got a lead on the missing waitress, so the team breaks again and Steve and Danny go to talk to her, while Lou and Tani follow up on the guy who reported his gun stolen.

In the car Danny can't stop talking about how he wants to retire. Harry used to think the same thing, but he didn't realize he'd miss the buzz of the job. (So, let Danny retire, Harry become Steve's full-time partner, and they can go eat lunch at Danny's dream restaurant every day. Everyone wins!)

The boys get to the hotel and the waitress is dead on the floor, so that lead is gone. But, all is not lost! Tani and Grover are at the piano teacher's house and he's acting suspicious from the start. He doesn't know what was stolen besides the gun, says maybe a camera, when a large expensive camera is sitting on his coffee table. There's also an expensive tea set that didn't get stolen. (Plus, the guy's got shifty eyes.) When a cell phone rings on the coffee table, Lou goes ahead and answers it (which was weird), but it's Steve on the other end. PianoTeacher was the last phone number the waitress called before she died. Lou pulls a gun on him, just as a lot of men in dark cars and suits pull up. (Have you ever noticed that a lot of Crime Family Goons dress nice for work?) Tani takes the little piano student to safety in the bathtub and then joins the gunfight with Lou---after he tells her to make sure she kills who she shoots at. (Didn't he see her last week? She picked off a ton of people. Some of them from a moving car!) Oddly, they have piano music playing as they're killing people. (Like that makes it more classy? I'm not sure.) Oh, and Grover dares PianoTeacher to try to get away during the gunfight and he does! Never trust a shifty-eyed piano teacher.

Steve and Danny arrive on scene and Lou tells him that the guys Tani and Lou killed were identified as crew from the Okada family. Everyone is surprised PianoTeacher is behind it all, but then they find his secret room with all kinds of guns and weapons, books and DVDs on weapons, topped off with surveillance pics. Jerry figures out that Okada ran over the piano teacher's kid and killed him, so the Okada murder was a revenge play. (Well, for all the training he did, he sucked as a criminal by not having his stolen gun story straight. It totally gave him away!) Oh, and the waitress, Annie Hughes, was PianoTeacher's girlfriend.

Well, Derek Okada is mad that the piano teacher got away. (How did he figure out who killed his dad? We'll never know) and he orders his men to be on guard. After the piano teacher calls to tell him he's next, he wants to get his place locked down. Yeah, good plan. (PianoTeacher has definitely lost it. I mean, an hour ago he was teaching a little girl to play a piano piece!)

Next thing we know the piano teacher is killing everyone in his way as he works up to Derek Okada. He shoots all kinds of guards and even shoots someone through the eyehole in the door! (Ew). (It's pretty violent, especially when you consider all the murders at the opening of the show, the warehouse, the van, the murders at the piano teacher's house, and even the waitress.) When PianoTeacher finally makes it to Derek, he shoots him in the leg and shoulder, before he holds a gun to his head, Steve, Danny, and Harry come in quiet and tell him not to do it, but he wants Derek to pay. You see, Derek tried to buy the piano teacher's silence, and then his dad threatened to kill the rest of his family (Who? Did he have a wife or other kids? Because their lives are screwed now with their husband/dad being a serial murderer) if he went to the cops about Okada's role in his son's death. Harry says he's lost someone he loved very much and that this won't bring his son back or change anything. The piano teacher coldly shoots Okada anyway. (They even show the blood spatter on his face. Gross.)They take him into custody, but he doesn't look sorry.

Harry says he needs to make things up to Veronique since he told her he was only going out for sun cream. Danny and Steve offer to make them dinner, but can't get anything edible on the table, so Harry takes her to Kamekona's instead. Kame lectures the boys on customer satisfaction as they awkwardly watch Harry and Veronique eat. (Did they follow them there? It was so odd that they were just standing there drinking, watching Harry and his date.)

Anyway, the best part of the ep for me was definitely Harry's appearance. The rest? Yeah. A little much.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Writing Con Is Over--And I've Got Good News & Bad News

As you all know, I went to the InD'Scribe conference over the weekend. I had some wonderful experiences!

Brenda Novak was a keynote speaker and she had some really inspiring things to say about how powerful fairytales and dreams are because they tie to our hearts. But the one thing she said that really resonated with me as an author, was to write fearlessly and create something you love. I think that's every author's dream, really. And you wouldn't think that would be hard to do, but it is, so this was a nice reminder and call to action!

Here's me and Brenda doing a booksigning years ago. 

Here we are at the conference. A little bit of a difference for both of us! LOL

I also got to sit in on a workshop with Anne Perry. She talked a lot about what makes a good story and said, "You build up tension by making the hero unafraid when the reader knows how much danger there really is." I loved that!

The first night of the conference featured a costume ball and this lady made this authentic costume herself! Isn't it amazing? If there was a prize for best costume, she would have won hands down.

Here's me in my costume. I'm a medieval commoner, in case you can't tell. (Or at least that's what I'm saying I am, no matter what anyone else thinks! Haha)

The RONE awards were the last night of the conference and my novel, The Captain, was a finalist for Best Suspense/Thriller. I didn't win, but I was thrilled to be nominated, and so excited for my friends who did win in their category.

The conference did offer a nice dessert bar for the losers. Here's what I chose, and it was yummy!

I am really glad to be home. And my cat was happy to see me as well, as you can plainly see from this picture since she lifted her head in greeting before going back to sleep.

So, the good news is that the conference was fun, I met some wonderful people, (including an audiobook narrator that may want to audition for me in the future!), but the bad news is, I didn't win the RONE. Although, I was so motivated with what I learned at the conference, I dove right back into my stories and hope to have some great new release news, soon!

In the end, I just want to thank everyone who has supported me on this writing journey. I couldn't do any of this without my readers, friends, and family. You are amazing and very appreciated!

Friday, October 13, 2017

The RONE Awards---Cross Your Fingers For Me!

I'm in California at the InD'Scribe Conference and the RONE Awards are tomorrow night. If you recall, my novel, The Captain, is up for the RONE Award for Best Suspense. Woohoo! So, I need you to cross your fingers and toes for me!
I'll be sure to post tons of pictures when I get back. (Or you'll see them on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram if you follow me there.)

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Movie Review for The Stray & A Freedom Factor Spotlight!

I was so excited to see that Mitch Davis who directed The Other Side of Heaven, a favorite movie of ours, had a new movie coming out called The Stray. We all sat down as a family to watch it.

It starts out with the Davis family in California and they're struggling. Dad is working 24/7 and their oldest son Christian is being bullied at school. Everyone is stressed and frazzled. Out of the blue, a stray dog appears to help Christian and his bullies and since Dad had suggested they get a dog and mom said they could only if God sent a stray, they decide to keep the one that was sent to them. They name him Pluto.  But things at home aren't really improving and when their two year old daughter goes missing when everyone is busy and not paying attention, the family makes some big changes. The question is, are the changes too late? Can they reconnect again, or will their chance for happiness be snatched away just when it's within their reach?

I thought this was an inspirational show about what's really important in a family and how much a dog can come to mean to their humans. There are some really touching moments and my six year old cried his eyes out at the end which made me misty-eyed! We were able to talk a lot about how much we love our pets and then we gave ours an extra love after seeing The Stray. This is a very sweet show that will pull on your heartstrings!

Get more information here

Here is the official trailer:

Here's the teaser:

The Stray tells the inspiring true story of a stray dog, "Pluto," who appears from out of nowhere just in time to save a family that is falling apart. Pluto is not only a guard dog--he's a guardian angel. Sometimes help comes in the most unlikely forms. Sometimes prayers are answered in the most unlike ways. Sometimes one dog can change everything.

The Freedom Factor

Have you heard of the Freedom Factor? Stan Ellsworth, best known for his work on American Ride, is helping to spread the message of better understanding the U.S. Constitution. As an inspired document, it is important to know what it protects and what its purpose is. Especially in an increasingly high tension political climate, every effort should be made to unite Americans on the three things the Constitution was designed to protect: peace, prosperity and freedom. The Freedom Factor is trying to give out 100 million pocket Constitutions to give everyone the chance to learn more. You can help!

You can find more information here

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Book Review And A Giveaway!

I started reading Traci Hunter Abramson's Saint Squad series years ago and I'm always happy to see another book comes out that features them. It's nice to catch up on previous characters. Her new book, Safe House, has the Saint Squad in it, but several new characters as well from the guardians as their stories intertwine.

This one highlights Renee Niezen, a CIA operative who gets pulled into an investigation of who is killing off the guardians support people. She's an analyst, not a field agent, but can't resist her friend's Charlotte's pleas for help. Unfortunately, Kade, one of the last guardians around, has taken matters into his own hands and gone to the Saint Squad for help--in a very odd way. (If I were the Saint Squad, I don't know if I'd help him after their initial introduction!) But of course, they do. Anyone associated with the guardians is quickly finding themselves dead and it's a race against time to find out who is powerful enough to coordinate such a feat. Danger and mistrust is definitely the theme of the day.

Not surprisingly, the enemy always seems to be one step ahead of them and Renee quickly becomes a target from the moment she agrees to meet and help the guardians. Kade becomes obligated to protect her, another complication he is not happy about, but he quickly develops a grudging respect for Renee. But the closer they get to the truth, the easier it is to see that they could lose everything---including the feelings developing between them.

I really enjoyed the taut pacing of the story and the way the author draws the reader in. The plot is unique, but plausible, and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep anyone up at night reading. There are a lot of characters and several points of view offered which can make it hard to keep everyone straight, but it also allows the reader to get into the head of all the main characters. This is a fast-paced, suspenseful read, and fans of Ms. Abramson's will enjoy spending time with the Saint Squad again.

Be sure to scroll all the way down and enter the giveaway!

You can download your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

The guardians, the shadowy heroes of the top-secret program designed to protect members of the most elite government organizations, are being hunted down one by one. There is a single explanation: a traitor must be embedded somewhere in their midst. But if they themselves are the target, who will protect them?

CIA operative Renee Niezen has heard tales of the guardians, though she’s never really believed in their existence—until she is approached by Charlotte, an old friend who desperately needs her help to stop the systematic destruction of the guardian program. Renee accepts the plea for assistance, but not everyone is thrilled to have her on the team. Kade—one of the last guardians standing—is unimpressed with Renee’s qualifications and turns instead to the legendary Saint Squad for help. But when Renee is caught in the crosshairs, Kade must set aside his antagonism for the woman in order to protect her. Their grudging alliance soon develops into much more—but before the pair can examine their feelings, their investigation takes a dramatic twist. With lives on the line, Renee and Kade must use their spy training at every turn as they draw dangerously close to the shocking truth.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Recap & Review: When The Team Gets A Dog

Well, our task force is growing.

We start out with a sweet dog going on a mission with his DEA agent handler. Unfortunately, the mission goes south, his handler is murdered and the dog is shot pursuing the killer. He gets a good bite in, though, but it's still pretty sad to see the bond between the dog and handler and then have the guy die.

Cut to Steve's house. (Is it me, or does it look smaller these days?) Steve is making coffee when he gets a visitor knocking on his door. Surprise! It's Chin's replacement! He doesn't say he's a poor man's Chin Ho Kelly, though, but instead says his name is Junior Reigns. (He literally looks like he's fifteen years old and has an adorable baby face.) Babyface says Steve's diving buddy Dave talked about Steve and his task force and Babyface wants to work there! Steve says no, so he walks away with sort of a sad smile.

Steve's phone is constantly ringing this ep and he gets a call and heads out. He ends up in the car with Danny discussing why Danny wants to ship Jersey water to Hawaii for the Italian restaurant. (It has minerals from old pipes that make it red and perfect for pizza-making. Ew.) Steve vetoes the idea because Danny didn't consider his feelings. Danny says Steve's a sensitive flower, but when Kono and Chin get brought up, Danny has a sad face and Steve points out that Danny is the sensitive flower now. (At least this was more of a discussion/argument instead of a one-sided whinefest, so that was good.)

They end up at the port where the DEA agent was killed. All the shooters got away (really? It looked like the DEA guy shot at least one, but maybe his drug smuggling buddies carried him away) two DEA agents were killed, and there's one service dog unaccounted for. (What? They can't find the dog? The place is crawling with HPD and DEA) Of course, Steve goes to look and immediately sees a blood trail and finds the wounded animal. Good thing HPD called him in! They might have never found that dog.

Duke and a head DEA guy, Agent Reed, (who looks like he should have retired about ten years ago. My grandpa looks younger than him!) update Steve and Danny on all the cocaine on the island recently and Agent Lazio's work trying to break open a smuggling ring. Lazio got the tip, and the team got ambushed. Steve tells AgentGrandpa he wants to talk to Lazio's CI. Meanwhile, Danny and Tani stay behind to check the containers at the port for drugs, but there's so many, it's going to take awhile. Steve asks Jerry to look for any repeat shipments that match up to the spike in drug activity that the island has seen every six weeks. Oh, and to check on Eddie the dog who is in surgery.

Eddie gets the bullet taken out while Jerry looks on. (Do they really have observation areas to watch surgeries from?) He leaves his name for the nurse to call when she knows something. While Jerry is at the vet, Steve and Grover are watching some kids on the soccer field with a cute soccer mom on the sidelines. Turns out the CI is the soccer mom. They sit her down and shes's overwhelmed. She got addicted to prescription meds and went to the street stuff. When she got popped the third time and was facing mandatory jailtime and losing her kids, Lazio stepped in and helped her get rehab and keep custody, so she became his informant. Her dealer, Manny, told her a shipment was about to come in. McGrover want to talk to Manny, and it turns out when he's not dealing drugs, he's a dishwasher! (Gotta keep an eye on those dishwashers.)

Grover recaps in the car what they know about the case so far until Danny calls and says they found a container with a cut lock and are checking it out. McGarrett tells him to log all the people coming in or out because if the drug haul is as big as they think it is, someone is coming back for it. Dun, dun, dun. (This, my friends, is called foreshadowing.)

McGrover make it to the restaurant where Manny works, but he didn't come into work today. The boss, Roger Niles, has his address in his office, though, and they walk back to get it, admiring the restaurant along the way. Grover tells Roger that Steve wants to open a restaurant and Roger tells him it's stressful, lots of risk, and his old partner died after eighteen months of it and he was only forty-two. Steve is forty-one. Uh oh. He does give Steve restaurant tip, though. The food is the loss leader. A wine list is the key to turning a healthy profit. Has Steve applied for a liquor license? From the look on Steve's face, it doesn't look like it. (Don't worry, the Restaurant of Dreams will have lots of Jersey water instead!)

McGrover head over to Manny's house and find him twitching on the floor, a needle in his arm. Steve starts CPR, but he gives up after a while and says Manny didn't make it. (Where's the ambulance? Sheesh. I never want to have an emergency in that part of town.) They both stare at Manny, noticing the needle was in left arm, but since his watch is on his right hand, he's probably left handed. Who shoots up with their non-dominant hand and doesn't have any tracks in his arms? He was set up. Poor DishwasherDrugDealerManny. Noelani comes along finally to confirm their theory. Manny had a massive heroin toxicity and a head wound and was definitely killed by someone else. They probably just missed his killer! Late to the party again.

Steve's phone saves the day again when Jerry calls with some good news and better news.  Eddie the dog is out of surgery and eating, so that's a good sign. Also, even better, some foreign blood out of Eddie's mouth (ew) matched a druggie named Jesse Burman. Jerry sends the picture to Danny and Tani says she saw that guy! (I'm sure she meant to say, she logged that guy in just like Steve said!) He left in a truck full of cargo not ten minutes ago. Uh oh. The team has been bamboozled! Those sneaky drug smugglers opened a random container to throw them off.

Tani and Danny race off and track Jessie and his truck. Unfortunately for Jessie and his crew, they are terrible shots and Tani pretty much picks them all off while hanging out of a swerving car. (I guess she wasn't just a pretty face in a bikini after all. She can take people out like nobody's business!) The truck goes off the road after the driver is killed, but a wounded Jessie flees on foot. Danny leads the chase into the woods, but when everyone goes their separate ways (now that song is in my head!) he doesn't see Jessie at all and instead hears four shots fired. Jessie is dead and guess who killed him? AgentGrandpa says he had to do it, Jessie was going to shoot him. (Hmmm... )

After all the shooting is over, they find a huge shipment of wine in the back of the truck, and guess what? Cocaine can be transported inside and then turned back into powder form. Danny takes out the bill of lading and it's a familiar name. Steve goes back to Roger's  restaurant, guns drawn. (That Roger, acting all nice before. That just goes to show that you should never trust a guy trying to sell you a $500 bottle of wine.) Well, now he's gone and taken all the stuff in his safe with him. (Oddly, Roger has a picture of a cow and a pig on his office wall, with different cuts of meat on it. I mean, I know he owns a restaurant, but his office was sort of nice. Too nice for a meat cut picture of bovines and swine, in my opinion.)

Time for high fives all around! With the amount of cocaine in the wine bottles, the task force has busted the biggest Hawaiian drug haul worth 24 million dollars. Tani is all yeah, but I wish we had the guy behind it all. (If wishes were dollars, my friend . . .) But, RestaurantRoger is nowhere to be found, and his wine shipments coincide with the spiked drug activity, so he's probably the guy Tani's looking for. Everyone at the Talking Table contemplates that for a moment until Grover has Steve come outside. Babyface is there washing Steve's truck. He feels bad for the guy and says that Babyface should meet him there at noon sharp the next day and to put his car washing stuff away. *coughsuckupcough*

Steve's phone rings again with another exciting lead on the case. (Seriously, without all his phone leads, this case would have gone nowhere.) Noelani did the fastest autopsy ever on Jessie the druggie and you'll never guess. He was executed by AgentGrandpa with a close range shot to the heart. Uh oh. Cue to a grisly scene of AgentGrandpa shooting more two more agents to get his hands on the impounded wine filled with cocaine. (Why is it always the ones who are close to retirement? I guess pensions must be worse than I thought.) (Also, why does he kill everyone else, but leave the soccer mom alive? Weird.) HPD is on top of it all though, and fairly quick-like find the empty van.

Steve's phone is on FIRE with leads and saves the day again when Jerry calls to say he found some undeveloped property of RestaurantRoger's and it's in a remote location. So, you know, they could be processing the wine for the cocaine there. Since it's such a large location (five city blocks) the team heads there with SWAT and HPD. Oh, and Eddie apparently came out of major surgery and the anesthesia wore off, so he could come along, too! Back in the field already. That's dedication. Before they go in, Steve gives everyone instructions for the search, then tell them to pat Eddie's head for luck. (It was a DEA thing.) Grover isn't too excited, since he's not a dog person, but he does it. Steve kisses Eddie and says go get them. Awww.

Eddie gets sent in with a camera on his back and his wound doesn't seem to hurt him at all or slow him down. The team follows and they find the drug operation. RestaurantRoger is there and AgentGrandpa! The team moves in and a gunfight ensues. The bad guys are generally terrible shots, but Eddie does end up saving Grover from a shooter he didn't see. AgentGrandpa runs from Eddie, wounded, but still trying to escape. When Eddie's done with him, he's taken out on a stretcher really bloody. (Double ew.) Grover is talking baby talk to Eddie, telling him he's a good doggie and he'll get a steak from Uncle Lou. Awww. He's not a dog person, but he's a "thisdog" person now.

At the pat on the back news conference Duke says that this was a sophisticated drug operation and were put out of business by brave law enforcement and Five-O, seizing millions of dollars in cocaine. (They don't mention that Head DEA AgentGrandpa was part of that operation, though.) And we cut to a sad scene of the flag being folded over Agent Lazio's coffin while Steve and Eddie look on. (Steve is wearing his blue shirt in that shot, though, probably to help us feel better. Thank you wardrobe people.)

Babyface comes into Five-O headquarters and is pretty impressed. Steve introduces him to Duke and says he needs to join the Academy to become a cop before he can join Five-O. Babyface isn't pleased and says he doesn't want to be a cop, he wants to work for Steve. No dice. Steve says he has to graduate from the academy and then they'll bring him on. Promise. (Maybe Babyface could do like Tani did and get kicked out of the Academy, and then they'll want him. Or maybe they want him to look like he shaves before they bring him on. Seriously, he looks so young!)

Danny is sitting on Steve's cupboards talking about Eddie and how Steve likes him since he's chopping free range chicken for him and putting it in favorite cereal bowl. Isn't Steve a cat guy? Yeah, cats are still a far superior animal, sophisticated and cunning, more agile, and self-sufficient, but Eddie has grown on him and he's a sweet dog. (Awww again.) But Steve called Danny over to tell him that Adam came to visit. Kono's case went federal and she's not coming back anytime soon so he's flying out to be with her. Sad faces. Things are changing. (But hey, they have SassyTani, Babyface, and Eddie now! Who needs Kono and Chin!) Steve calls the dog to dinner, but he's gone and they can't find him. Steve figures out where he is and heads to the cemetery where he's lying on Lazio's grave. (*sniffle* I'm not crying. You're crying!)

Eddie made it a sweet episode with tender and sensitive flower feelings. Did you watch? What did you think?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Today is Canadian Thanksgiving and I am celebrating with my family. The turkey is in the oven (and my house smells amazing right now!) And the pies are waiting to bake.

As I have been thinking about what I am thankful for, there are so many things. I have been blessed with a loving and supportive family. I have children and grandchildren that I love with all my heart. A home, plenty of food, and a passion for writing books that I've been able to use in a way that brings me so much happiness. I've met so many incredible people through my writing and I count many of them friends, including you. So, today, when you sit down to your dinner, I hope you'll count a few of your blessings and maybe, when you get to your friends, you'll include me. Thank you all!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Freebie Friday for Romance Fans!

Today's Freebie Friday is A Fortune Cafe. I have read and loved this whole unique series! I'm excited to go back and reread this one.

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Welcome to Tangerine Street

Tangerine Street is a must-see tourist stop with a colorful mix of one-of-a-kind boutiques, unique restaurants, eclectic museums, quaint bookstores, and exclusive bed-and-breakfasts. The Fortune Café, situated in the middle of this charming collection of shops and cafés on Tangerine Street, is a Chinese restaurant unlike any other because, well, to be honest, the fortunes found in the cookies all come true…

MIS-FORTUNE: Emma, a waitress at The Fortune Café will do anything to avoid opening a fortune cookie. Each fortune is rumored to somehow magically come true. Being a girl grounded in reality, she doesn’t have time for that kind of nonsense. But when trying to prevent a food fight at the café, Emma accidentally cracks open a fortune cookie: “Look around, love is trying to catch you.” If there is one thing that Harrison, her former best friend in high school is good at, it’s catching her unaware.

LOVE, NOT LUCK: Lucy has always been lucky . . . until her parents meet her fiancé’s parents at a disastrous lunch at The Fortune Café, and she breaks her lucky jade necklace. Even worse, her fortune cookie reveals that “True love is for the brave, not the lucky.” How is she supposed to read that? She’s always considered it lucky how she met her fiancé. But after breaking her necklace, Lucy’s luck takes a dive. And when her fiancé dumps her, the only person she can turn to is Carter, the unluckiest guy she knows.

TAKEOUT: Stella is content in her new life of taking over her mom’s jewelry shop. No more boyfriend to worry about, and as long as she stays busy, she doesn’t have to dwell on her non-existent love life. When Evan comes into the shop with his young daughter, Stella is charmed. But she is reluctant to complicate her straightforward life, so when she reads her fortune after ordering takeout from The Fortune Café, she completely ignores it. After all, how can a fortune as vague as “Do the thing you fear and love is certain,” apply to her?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Forgotten Carols Tickets Are Now On Sale!

I am so excited to see The Forgotten Carols again this year. Last year was my first time seeing it, and I really loved it. There was just such a great spirit of Christmas around the entire show, with the story, the music, and the characters. We definitely want to make this a family Christmas tradition.

Here's a little more information:

The Forgotten Carols stage performance tells the story of Connie Lou, a nurse whose empty life is changed when Uncle John, a new patient she is attending, recounts the story of Christ’s birth as told by little known characters in the nativity story. The accounts from the Innkeeper, the Shepherd and others help the nurse discover what the world has forgotten about Christmas, ultimately encouraging her to open her heart to the joy of this special season.

Message from Michael McLean:

THE FORGOTTEN CAROLS has been a gift I first received back in 1991 when the book and accompanying music was written and released to the public. As with all good gifts, particularly one like The Forgotten Carols, comes a desire to share it with others…with the hope that they will “receive” the gift as I did; Feeling the message and the love of the season in the context of the story and songs. When I first started “performing” the story I thought it was my gift to the audience, but then I discovered that the more I tried to give it away the more it came back to me…a hundred fold. 

Being able to bring the story to life with a team of talented people that truly have become “family” is another part of the gift that has profoundly blessed my life. But WHAT MOST SURPRISES ME is how the presentation of this story with songs has grown, evolved and taught me things in the language that resonates so deeply with me. Story & Song. A couple of days ago, quite out of the blue, A NEW SONG, maybe we could call it a New Carol, just arrived. I sat at the piano and it just poured out of me. It really touched me because it captures what I think Uncle John would want most for Connie Lou (and the entire world, for that matter). Just this morning I envisioned how this new carol could be presented during this year’s TOUR and I got goosebumps. I can’t wait to share this gift I just received. So, if you ask what The Forgotten Carols means to me, it means RECEIVING then SHARING then DISCOVERING the meaning of the gift, and then RECEIVING MORE, then SHARING MORE and then DISCOVERING more.

Ticket Information:

You can purchase your tickets here if you live in Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Washington, Texas, and New Mexico!


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review and a Giveaway!

I could not have been more excited to see that Sarah Eden had another Jonquil book coming out. It feels like I've been waiting forever for Stanley's story and I read For Love or Honor nearly in one sitting it was so good.

Stanley has been away at war and his family is worried. They've not heard from him and neither has Marjie, the woman in love with him. Then, suddenly, he appears on the family's doorstep, thin, wounded, and dispirited. They quickly rally around him, but he holds them all at arms-length. He's seen and done things in the war that haunt him, and he's sure he'll taint everyone he comes in contact with if he ever lets his guard down. But is Marjie the one who can heal his heart and soul?

Stanley is a changed person when he comes home and I thought the author did an excellent job of showing the whys. There isn't anyone who enters a battlefield and comes back unscathed. But Stanley also has a sliver of hope around him, it's not all dark and sad, which is why the love story works so well. Marjie is such a strong heroine, with just the right amount of vulnerability and I love that she can draw the light from Stanley as they find their way back to each other. Some of their scenes, especially in the conservatory, are so beautiful it will make you want to reread it so you don't miss a thing.

The other Jonquil family members find their way into the story, and it was like a reunion of all my favorite characters and I loved catching up with them. As always the setting and research into the time period is impeccable and so well done the reader can imagine themselves there. Ms. Eden is one of my favorite authors because she delivers an emotionally poignant story, with people that feel real and ones that you want to see have a happy ending. I have all of her books on my rainy day shelf and this one will be there as well. The difficulties on the road to love and the sweet ending make this romance one worth reading again and again.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter to win!

You can download your Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

From the moment they met, Marjie’s heart has belonged to handsome Captain Stanley Jonquil, younger brother of the Earl of Lampton. But six long months ago, when Stanley’s sense of honor required that he do as he had sworn and return to the Continent to fight in defense of King and country, neither Stanley nor Marjie could have dreamed what the cost of his service would be. It has been ages since Stanley last wrote, and Marjie and the Jonquil family are plagued by his unknown fate—until the day he unexpectedly reappears. Marjie’s joy, however, is quickly shadowed by confusion—the aloof, battle-worn soldier before her is not the man he once was. In the wake of Stanley’s blatant disinterest in renewing their acquaintance, Marjie’s devastation turns to determination as she vows to help him find peace. But his scars run far deeper than anyone realizes.

Despite his feelings for her, Stanley believes Marjie deserves a man whose hands are not stained with the violence of battlefields and whose mind and heart are not haunted by the horrors he has seen. Honor requires Stanley to return once more to the life he has grown to despise, one he knows will destroy him in the end, even as his heart beckons him to stay with Marjie, the only woman he could ever love, and the promise, at last, of redemption.

Blog Tour Schedule:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Hawaii Five-O Season 8 Premiere Recap & Review

My show is back! I've been looking forward to this all summer!

We start out with some beautiful shots of Hawaii that remind me of why I want to go there someday. Sigh. Someday, Hawaii, I will be there to see all of that myself!

Cut to a hotel pool where an exasperated lifeguard is chasing some bratty kids around telling them not to run and jump. (Most of the hotels I stay in have big signs that say No Lifeguard On Duty. Parental Supervision Required. This must be a nice hotel.) Unfortunately, that lifeguard doesn't even have a good teacher voice and not shockingly, those kids don't listen. Thankfully, Steve and Danny interrupt her day and ask if she is Tani Rey and can they have a minute? Apparently, she has no qualms about leaving her post (did she get a lifeguard sub? Or was she just grateful to leave them all unattended?) and they go sit at a table to look at a picture of a murder victim.

The murder victim is Benny Lung who was strangled to death last week and the only clue they have is a hacker that goes by the name Mizchief, like a rapper name. (Don't worry, though, it's just a plot point, we never hear about poor Benny again). They want LifeguardTani to go undercover at Aloha State to ID Mizchief. She turns them down, says she's busy, and Danny says, busy doing what? Getting harassed by eight year olds? (Haha. I hope we see a lighter Danny this year with more one-liners than groaning and griping.) Steve tells her that her boss isn't expecting her back to work today and he gets down to business. Five-O needs someone who doesn't think like a cop and isn't afraid to break the rules, or someone's nose. Apparently, she punched out her training officer, and cheated on her written exam. Steve doesn't care. Says he knows her dad died (surprise! All the tortured heroes on this show have dead fathers) and she was a great cadet who reminds him of Chin who's running his own task force in San Francisco now. (Oddly, he asks her if she knows who Chin is and she acts like she doesn't. Five-O routinely busts into places and shouts Five-O like everyone on the island knows who they are. Since there's only six of them, wouldn't everyone know who they are?) (Also, since LifeguardTani is replacing Chin/Kono, it isn't surprising that she reminds me of Kono who, at her meet and greet, had Danny crushing on her and she punched someone.) LifeguardTani says no to going undercover and walks away.

Cut to Aloha State where Mizchief hacker is on the quad, letting convicted arsonists out of prison. Jason DuClair literally walks out of Halawa prison when Mizchief opens his door, locks the guard in and there's just one other doorway between him and freedom with no other checkpoints to stop him from escaping. Someone needs to give that prison lessons on better security.

LifeguardTani is headed home where her gamer brother is playing on a system that he can't account for. He leaves and tells her to get a life. Meanwhile, Danny is showing Steve a space where he could put his Italian restaurant in Chinatown. Steve isn't exactly thrilled, thinking Danny said he was going to do a restaurant when he retired. He asks Steve to be his partner and Steve is suspicious that it's about his radiation poisoning and Danny is worried he'll get the big C, but Danny says it's all about having fun. Steve tells him the restaurant is Danny's dream. (Yeah. Stay with that Steve. For all of our sakes.) Before they can talk further, the phone rings and they head back to HQ to talk about Duclair's escape around the Talking Table. Eric tracked the hacker to Aloha State and supposedly the other students picked him out of the footage and said he wasn't registered there. (Really? How small is this university? Ten people? I couldn't tell you who was registered and who wasn't at my university.) Anyway, Mizchief's real name is Aaron Wright, brother to Ian Wright who kidnapped Grover's daughter four years ago. Aaron hacks into Five-O to tell them how happy he is about Duclair getting out. Everyone stares helplessly at the screen.

At Alewa Heights Duclair is there with a serious looking dude and his two sons licking the wood, looking at burned items, and trying to "investigate" a fire to figure out who did it. Back at Jerry's laptop, Grover says Aaron came to the island two months ago and the passenger manifest has one name that doesn't check out--Mick St. John (shout out to a character AOL used to play). There's a hotel room booked under that name, but when they break in, Aaron is there to mock them from a laptop while he is at another undisclosed location. (He calls them Crockett and "white Tubbs" referencing Miami Vice, LOL). (He taunts them some more, but I'm sitting there thinking, why is this hacker so invested in annoying Five-O and releasing Duclair? They didn't kill his bro and he knows that. He doesn't seem to have any motivation at all. Money, I guess?) He knows Steve is about to get a call (he's still plugged into Five-O's Talking Table, apparently), and Steve and Danny rush off to an arson fire with one casualty.

There's a burned out corpse being examined and Noelani tells them he was shot in the kneecaps before he died. The charred body was graphic and gross and we get several close-ups. The team ties the murder victim to a fire that burned out Randy Tao's drug lab where he lost a lot of product and a lieutenant, but they also figure out that Tao used Duclair as a fire investigator. (You would think drug lords could afford to hire legit people instead of going to all the trouble of breaking people out of prison. I guess I just don't think like a drug lord.)

The team heads to Tao's house where they find three smoking corpses. (Duclair was obviously showing his own brand of appreciation for Tao getting him out.) Jerry finds a money trail from Tao to Wright (what a newbie mistake for a hacker! Never leave a money trail) and we see Duclair dousing Aaron with accelerant while Aaron begs him to stop. LifeguardTani randomly shows up at his door (is she telepathic? Hacked into the Talking Table, too?) and goes hand to hand with Duclair who is double her size. He tells her she'll look good on fire (ew) and she calls him a psycho before he throws her around and subdues her. He's choking her when the team busts in to save her. Duclair runs into a room, while Danny tries to unsuccessfully kick in a door. (It's harder than it looks!) Duclair gets away and carjacks someone (why don't they lock their doors or keep driving when a bleeding psychopath confronts them?) Tani is chasing him along with the team and refuses to obey Steve's order to go back to the house. Danny thinks that's funny and says she's stubborn, unpredictable, and crazy like Steve. (Um, maybe they could have caught Duclair if she hadn't slowed them down? And obeying orders from the boss should be a thing for a task force, but hey, LifeguardTani is sassy! And a kickbutt female! Don't forget that.)

They track the car to the woods and Duclair runs into the trees while the team changes into tac gear (Steve puts on a t-shirt because who wants to wear a vest with a shirt collar?) They don't give Tani any gear, but do give her a gun, even though Danny and Grover seem to be balking at that. Steve asks her the first rule of carrying a firearm and she says don't shoot the good guys. That's good enough for him. They track Duclair in the woods, going by broken branches instead of the large fire he's started (does the guy carry matches on him?) They finally see the inferno, though and Tani says, "he started a fire." (Ya think? Haha. I don't know what it was, but that was so funny to me.) The fire quickly spreads and Kamekona comes to feed the firefighters. Aww.

They separate and of course McG finds Duclair first. He whacks McG with a torch and McG loses his gun so they go hand to hand. It's nearly identical to the Tani fight where McG gets thrown around a lot, lands a few punches, and ends up on the ground with Duclair choking him. The team comes in to save him and Tani shoots Duclair in the leg. She's SassyTani and tired of dealing with a weenie roast. Danny likes that and asks to keep her. Like a pet?

Fire is everywhere and Grover asks Duclair, a criminal, what they should do. He says die. (Yeah, don't ask criminals for advice.) SassyTani even punches Duclair, which Grover approves of. They find a cabin in the woods and decide to wait there. Well, Steve is going to go find help while the rest of them roast inside the cabin. It's fully furnished however, with water and sewer so at least they're comfortable. Steve goes out into the middle of the fire, but can't seem to flag down a helo. Cut to people being evacuated from their homes since the fire looks like it's on their front lawns and Kame is there helping with food, literally handing it out with the fire just feet away. Now that's dedication!

Back to the cabin where Tani douses herself in water and Danny apologizes for getting her into this. (Hmmm...these two seem pretty chummy, I'm just sayin') Duclair is tied to a chair and waxing philosophical about how you die from fire, that McG won't make it, fire is an elegant weapon, blah blah. Grover whacks him with a bowl and says no one likes a chatty kathy.

Duclair gets free of his bonds and even with a bullet wound to the leg, runs away. Oh, and he gets another bullet wound to the shoulder, but keeps going, like Terminator! How many bullets will it take to take him down? Steve, Tani, and Grover are on the floor, trying to breathe, fist bumping and saying goodbye. Then they hear the helo and go outside where Steve is up there, piloting a rescue helicopter. He drops four straps down which they brace under the cabin in a few minutes, (who knew it was so easy?!) then go back in and Steve pulls up the house from the fire and they fly away in it. A fully furnished cabin.  Like in the Wizard of Oz only with a helicopter and not a tornado! I wonder if he dropped it on anyone. (Why not just pull the three of them up into the helo? Or was that too easy?) Duclair apparently dies in the forest fire and Danny goes to talk to Tani. He says she has a nice place and that he's working on being more positive. (I hope that's true!) Tani is all smiley. Steve called her and she's thinking about joining the task force. Danny tries to tip the scales and says that Five-O is never boring and Steve is awesome to have watching your back. Tani is an Army brat and knows how hard it is to find someone to count on, a good friend, and Danny assures her that Steve will be there for her no matter what. And guess what? Tani reminds him of Kono! She's gone working with a task force to shut down sex traffickers so Tani is the next best thing. And things are changing so they want her to be a part of that. She nods happily.

Then the oddest scene of the whole episode was Grover bringing his traumatized daughter to the Blue Room of Doom to see Aaron bound and gagged inside. She gets a glimpse then Grover tells her to wait outside. He says he wanted her to see there's real live monsters in the world and it's his job as her father to protect her. What? That's why he brought her down there? Isn't that why she's having nightmares? Because she knows that already? I don't get it. There's a father daughter hug at the end, though.

Steve calls Danny down to the Restaurant of Dreams and he's bought a commercial lease so they can be partners on it. Danny wore him down. (Why? Stay strong Steve! This will not end well or be pretty.) Oh and Tani is coming to work tomorrow. But the restaurant will be fun. Right? Fun. I guess we'll see.

Did you watch? What did you think?