Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Online Book Club with Romance Author Jennifer Peel!

I am super excited to be offering an online book club with romance author Jennifer Peel. Usually I just do a video of them asking questions, but I am going to try and do a Facebook Live! (I'm technologically challenged, so cross your fingers for me.)

There will be prizes and laughs and I hope you'll join the party. It will start at 6:15 MST. Hope to see you there!

Click here for my Facebook author page link

Friday, April 26, 2019

Freebie Friday for Sports Romance Fans

I know a lot of people out there enjoy sports romance, so I thought I'd pass this freebie deal along. I haven't read this one, but if you do, let me know what you think!

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

A recovering superstar finds the woman who can heal him, but a tragedy might pull them apart forever.

Hyde Metcalf, wide receiver for the Georgia Patriots, is recovering from pneumonia and needs the best personal trainer in Colorado to get him in shape for the season. With his dad missing again and his mom fighting Alzheimer’s, it's crucial that he stays close to home.

Lily Udy idolizes Hyde Metcalf and the Georgia Patriots. Her dream is to one day become a team trainer. When Hyde walks into the gym where Lily works and her boss gives her the opportunity to train him, it’s more than a dream come true.

Hyde thinks he may have found the perfect trainer and maybe more with Lily, until another man stakes a claim on her. Just when Hyde thinks the situation can’t get any worse, the media, Hyde’s mom, and a horrible accident come between him and Lily.

Will Hyde and Lily be able to overcome the insurmountable obstacles, or will happily-ever-after be a pass that neither of them can jump high enough to reach?

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Getting Ready for Avengers Endgame

I just bought my tickets so I can go see Avengers Endgame. I am so excited! In order to prepare, I went to see Captain Marvel (I was literally the only person in the theater until the previews when around six or seven others came in. It was weird to be in a nearly empty theater!)

Captain Marvel was the only one I hadn't seen, so I didn't want to see Endgame before I saw that one, in case I needed to know details from that one. I enjoyed it. It was just a slow, feel-good sort of origin story for Nick Fury, really. Carol Danvers was fine as a character, but nothing really jumped out at me, you know? It was just a nice way to pass an afternoon.

I got home and after dinner, my family sat down and we watched Infinity War again. Just remembering exactly what happened and where we left off will be really important before Endgame tomorrow, I think. And with all the spoilers floating around out there now, I'm really glad I'm going to see it sooner, rather than later. I don't want to be spoiled!

I am so excited, I can't handle it. I have so many expectations for the movie, I hope the writers can do it justice. The early reviews I've seen of it have sounded good, so I'm ready for our heroes to get a win here!

Are you planning on seeing Endgame? Are you spoiler-free?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

In the Non-Fiction Corner With Lauren---and a Giveaway!

In the Non-Fiction Corner with Lauren

I have found my hero, and his name is Kacey McCallister. After finishing this book about his life, I have to keep reminding myself that I don’t know him, but I wish that I did! Kacey is a man who lost both of his legs in an accident as a child. Immediately he knew he was going to compete in sports, still serve a mission, and not let his new lack of limbs stop him from doing anything he wanted to accomplish. He seriously has one of the best attitudes I have ever heard of. And he is HILARIOUS. This book is filled with humor on every page. But more than that, Kacey wants to help people realize they can do anything they put their minds to.

Most of the book is focused on Kacey’s sports history, starting in junior high. He has accomplished so much physically, it is quite humbling to realize that he can do all of this on his HANDS when I find it hard to want to exert any effort to keep my body in shape. He has received many honors for his athletic ability. However, more importantly is who Kacey is as a person. From the book, I gathered that he loves his family more than anything. The way he spoke about his siblings, his wife and children, and especially his adopted son is awe-inspiring. Kacey also has such a positive outlook on life. One of my favorite parts of the book was when he was a kid in school and he was using the school bathroom. In walks a group of kids talking about how much they didn’t like him and how they wished Kacey would push his wheelchair off a cliff. Instead of being upset or angry, Kacey found this hilarious. He came out of the stall and just wheeled out like nothing had happened. The boys probably felt awful. Kacey let it roll off his back, and continued to be the amazing athlete he is. This is an amazing story written by an amazing man that you won’t want to miss. Now I’m just left wondering how I am going to get Kacey McCallister to speak at my school!

Be sure to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

It was a crisp winter day when six-year-old Kacey McCallister lost both of his legs, forever altering the course of his life. This unthinkable trial could have broken him, but from that day forward he chose to rise above his circumstances and learn to live without limits.

For those struggling to find hope in the depths of physical, spiritual, or emotional trials, this incredible story of one man's unbreakable courage will inspire and motivate readers to not only survive but thrive amidst life's challenges.

A true testament to the power of the human spirit, When Life Gets You Down, Rise Up! demonstrates the refining power that can be found in the midst of overwhelming odds, a power available to all who will take hold of it and rise.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Our Next Book Club Author!

I am so excited to be welcoming romance author Jennifer Peel as our next book club author! Have you read any of her books? I'm just starting one and so far it's really good!

(If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read her books for free!)

We'll be offering prizes to all our readers next week, so be thinking of questions you want to ask her!

Click here to see all her books

Here's the one I'm reading:

Loveless is more than a name, it's a curse.

I, Emma Loveless, have a destiny. It's not the greatest of destinies, but when you have a name like Loveless, what can you do? I'm cursed to always be the friend, never the girlfriend. Unless you count my love affair with Duncan Hines, Dr. Pepper, and the ever-lovable Pillsbury Doughboy. They've seen me through it all, but a girl needs more than refined sugar to curl up to every night. It doesn't help that I have a meddling, albeit wonderful, mother who can't help playing matchmaker. Thanks to her, I can say I've been on a date with a felon. Now she swears she's found the one for me, her new optometrist, Dr. Sawyer King. Meanwhile, I'm preparing for the inevitable restraining order. That is, until I meet the sexy doctor and have to admit my mother is right--love at first sight does exist.

Unfortunately, my last name means business. Not only do I find myself in the friend zone, but also the twilight zone. Only in my world would Mr. Right turn into my stepbrother. To top it off, he brings with him a wicked stepmother who will do anything to keep us apart. Despite all this my heart--or is that my mom?--keeps telling me Sawyer is the one. But what if true love isn't strong enough to interfere with my destiny? It'll be me and the Doughboy...for eternity.

Sound good? You can get your copy here

Monday, April 22, 2019

I'm Presenting at a Writer's Conference!

I am thrilled to announce that I will be presenting two classes at the 2019 Kanab Writers Conference! I'll be spilling all the secrets to successful self-editing AND how to write great back cover copy. I'm so excited to be in this beautiful part of the world and the conference also includes a hike through red rock country with plenty of time to write in this beautiful setting.

If you'd like to learn more or register for the conference, you can see more information here

Friday, April 19, 2019

Freebie for Regency Fans!

Regency romance fans will enjoy The Rise of Miss Notley by Rachael Anderson and it's free today!

Download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

When Miss Coralynn Notley’s father barters her off to the first titled gentleman to come along, she realizes she must flee her home or be forced to wed a despicable man. Driven by desperation, she applies for the position of housekeeper at Tanglewood Manor, the home of the handsome Mr. Jonathan Ludlow.

The moment Jonathan sees Miss Notley, he is intrigued. She is far too young and inexperienced, yet there is something about her that that inspires a certain hope within him. Does he dare offer her the position of housekeeper or will doing so result in catastrophe?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Book Review: A Hawaiian Love Story!

Since I spent a week and a half in Hawaii and was very near the Captain Cook monument, I visited several historical sites and learned about him and the history surrounding him and the Hawaiian people. This book was like an added bonus---a glorious bookend to my trip. I loved every minute of it.

A Song for the Stars
by Ilima Todd is based on a true story from Ilima's ancestry, which makes it all the more interesting to me. We begin with John Harbottle's journal and how anxious he feels. He is a translator for Captain Cook, and they have been interacting with the Hawaiian natives who believe Cook is a god. The sailors leave, only to need a ship repaired and return a few days later. Unfortunately, their return signals to the Hawaiians that Captain Cook really isn't the god they thought he was. A series of events leads to a devastating battle on the beach where Captain Cook is killed. (I could see that monument and bay where he was killed near my vacation house each morning!)

Maile, the daughter of the royal chief and a witness to the battle, ends up secretly nursing John back to health. Their relationship, while rocky at first, starts to become one of understanding and friendship. I loved how the author showed their very different cultures and the curiosity John and Maile had about each other and their customs. There were so many beautifully described scenes that will make you feel like you are right there with the characters. The scenes with the whales was incredible! There is still a pod of dolphins that comes into that bay every morning, which made me think of Maile and John. I thought the author did an exceptional job of bringing in Hawaiian history so naturally and really presenting a different way of looking at people who are different than us, nature itself, and even observation in human behavior. Her research and style of writing to incorporate it was amazing! I loved how John's perspective was brought in through his journal and that Maile was so strong and yet, so vulnerable. This book is definitely going on my keeper shelf and will always remind me of my first experience in Hawaii.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Inspired by a true story

Hawaiian Islands, 1779

As the second daughter of a royal chief, Maile will be permitted to marry for love. Her fiancé is the best navigator in Hawaii, and he taught her everything he knows how to feel the ocean, observe the winds, read the stars, and how to love.

But when sailors from a strange place called England arrive on her island, a misunderstanding ends in battle, and Maile is suddenly widowed before she is wed.

Finding herself in the middle of the battle and fearing for her life, Maile takes John Harbottle, the wounded man who killed her fiancé, prisoner, and though originally intending to let him die, she reluctantly heals him. And in the process, she discovers the man she thought was her enemy might be her ally instead.

John has been Captain James Cook's translator for three voyages across the Pacific. He is kind and clearly fascinated with her homeland and her people and Maile herself. But guilt continues to drive a wedge between them: John's guilt over the death he caused, and Maile's guilt over the truth about what triggered the deadly battle a secret she's kept hidden from everyone on the island.

When Maile is tasked with teaching John how to navigate using the stars so he can sail back to England, they must also navigate the challenges of being from very different cultures. In doing so, they might also find the peace that comes when two hearts become one.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Book Review & Giveaway!

I had Gregg Luke as my guest author at my book club in February and he gave us a sneak peek of Plague then. (I wish you all could touch the cover of the book. It is easily one of the prettiest I've seen and it has a texture to it that is difficult to describe, but sets it apart from any others. If you can, go into the bookstore just to touch it. So cool!) But ever since book club, it has been SO HARD to wait for this one to come out. It sounded so good! And it does not disappoint.

Dr. Mitch Pine has figured out some new information about plagues and outbreaks and he's on his way to the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta so they can help him figure out what to do next. Before he can reach them, however, he's held hostage by someone who doesn't want him telling anyone what he's found. In order to make sure he does what he's told, Dr. Pine's research assistant is held captive and will suffer if Mitch tries to reach out for help. This starts a world-wide adventure that will keep you glued to your seat!

Gregg Luke has always delivered a well-plotted and detailed thriller, but this might be his best one yet. He mentioned at book club that all of the science he uses is real and he does document the theories in the back of the book. I learned so much about plagues, outbreaks, and what might have caused them, but since it was woven so neatly into the story, it never felt like a textbook. It does scare me a little, though, that there is a chance this fiction story could become reality!

I thought Mitch Pine was believable in his actions and I have to say, some of his mannerisms reminded me of Gregg Luke himself! The secondary cast rounds out the plot and adds a layer of emotion and depth to the story that I really enjoyed. The tension was kept high as the man behind all the madness demands a high price from both Dr. Pine and his assistant. (I truly wondered if the assistant would make it out of there alive!) There was a nice twist at the end as well and readers will shut this book with a sigh of relief at having survived the wild ride of reading Plague. Another winner for Gregg Luke, and a must-have if you love scientific thrillers!

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Centuries ago, the Black Death shadowed the world, claiming the lives of tens of millions. Now the world is on the brink of another scourge—and this time, it will be an extinction-level event. . . .

Professor Mitch Pine knows all too well the history of epidemics, so the startling new information he's discovered has him racing to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. Mitch has uncovered a startling pattern: dramatic environmental changes always occurred prior to devastating outbreaks, and current climate change may be such a catalyst. But before his plane lands, Mitch's journey takes a terrifying turn. He is intercepted by a woman who represents a dangerous faction whose interest in Mitch's research opposes his mission to save lives. To secure Mitch's cooperation, his research assistant is being held hostage. With so many lives on the line, Mitch embarks on a turbulent trip around the world, uncovering pieces of the puzzle until he ultimately holds the key to prevent—or precipitate—global devastation. Unless he can find a way to stop the lunatics behind his abduction, a plague the likes of which the world has never known will be unleashed.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Regency Romance Book Review: Seeing Miss Heartstone

I just finished a regency romance by Nichole Van, a new to me author, called Seeing Miss Heartstone. I really enjoyed a fresh take on a secret love!

Belle Heartstone has used her brilliant financial mind to add to the fortune her father left for her. Unfortunately, she is a woman in regency times, and expected to wed. Under pressure from her mother to marry someone she cannot abide, Belle decides to take matters into her own hands and propose to someone of her choosing---only he turns her down flat. Colin Radcliffe, the Marquess of Blake, needs money, but isn't desperate enough for a marriage of convenience. However, when a mysterious benefactor finances his trip to India to seek a fortune, he accepts, and begins writing letters to the man he believes is helping him dig out the financial burdens he is under. But when he returns home to England to seek out the identity of his partner, he sets in motion events that will change his life forever.

I loved the character of Belle and how she was presented as a unique woman of Regency times who was financially independent, but still cared about society's rules. She was so unaware of her own charms it made her relatable as she tried to figure out the best way to handle the consequences of her actions. At times, it was a little too drawn out as she vacillated between what she had to do and how badly she didn't want to do it, but with the depth of emotion drawn between her and Colin, I could see why she did what she did. I was really invested in Colin and Belle getting their happily-ever-after, but their love story had a lot of twists and turns! The ending was definitely swoon-worthy, though, and worth the read. I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Miss Belle Heartstone—heiress and savvy businesswoman—needs a husband. Immediately. As in, yesterday would not have been soon enough. Her mother’s attempts at matchmaking have been disastrous. So Belle decides to solve the problem her way—survey the market and purchase the best groom available.

Colin Radcliffe, Marquess of Blake—debt-ridden and penniless—needs a large infusion of cash. Desperately. Preferably cash that does not come with a wife attached. It is no surprise, then, when he receives Miss Heartstone’s brazen proposal—her cash, his title, their marriage—that he politely declines.

But before he leaves her, Blake suggests something truly radical: Maybe before finding a husband, Belle should find herself.

His simple words send them both on an unexpected journey, spanning continents and years, entwining their lives in ways neither could have foreseen. Can two lonely souls move past societal expectations and forge a unique life together?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Hawaii Five-0 Recap & Review: The One With Mr. Pickles

We start with previouslies of when Steve & Danny were using a little old lady's house for a stakeout five years ago and she had a cat named Mr. Pickles and a neighbor named Ricky who took care of the cat while Agnes was out of town. I loved that episode because it showed that Steve is a cat person! (All right, he turned dog person, but in the first Mr. Pickles ep he clearly loved cats.)

Then we cut to a guy coming home. He grabs a drink and goes into the living room when he sees a window broken. Before he can do much, he's hit in the back of the head, then wakes up in a crematorium where he is burned alive. (So. Much. Ew.)

Danny and Steve are walking into a law office because they've been included in Agnes' will! Even though they don't know her and never met her, Danny is hoping for a cash reward. RickytheNeighbor is also there and hugs Steve, but gets a fist bump from Danny. They catch up a bit and Ricky says they scared him straight five years ago, so he's staying out of trouble. Also, Steve is wearing his best blue shirt (thank you wardrobe people). Danny is really hoping for cash and tells Steve that he should look for a new partner if they get $250,000. The lawyer comes in and tells them that Agnes left $842,671 to the Humane Society, Steve and Danny get her cat figurine collection, and Ricky gets guardianship of Mr. Pickles. Danny looks disappointed and Steve takes a pic of the exact moment Danny's dreams crumbled. LOL Unfortunately, Ricky is in a halfway house right now and can't keep the cat, so Danny and Steve step up. They'll take Ricky and Mr. Pickles to the office to hopefully find the cat a new home. Steve still has some cat love, though, and says he would take him except that Eddie doesn't do well with small animals. Awww. Danny says he can't take him because he doesn't like cats, and Steve comments that cats are Danny's spirit animal---solitary, moody, aloof, don't socialize well, and spend an inordinate amount of time grooming themselves. Ha!

We get a little more light-heartedness with Lou taking Adam to breakfast to check up on him. Adam refuses a shrimp taco because he watched a documentary of how shrimp are the vacuum cleaners of the ocean. Lou doesn't care about that, though. He has the stomach of a billy goat and nothing will keep him from the delicious vacuum cleaners of the sea. Adam tries to tell Lou that he doesn't have to take care of him or anything, but Lou says he just want to make sure Adam is good after his eventful year, that tough guys sometimes bottle things up and take on guilt and shame, working it around until the whole thing is their fault. Adam says he's doing okay. He's getting through it. (Dang Kono.) The only thing that got Lou through his dark period was his wife and kids and family and friends and he says that Adam has the same support system available to him with Lou and all of them. Adam admits that there were times he didn't know if he would make it through the day, but he has his job and friends and is optimistic about the future. (A nice moment for them). Lou gets a call from Noelani. She has the ashes of an unknown victim. Workers at the crematorium found evidence of a break in and the fresh human remains. Of course there are no prints or DNA or cameras and all signs point to murder, but they need to ID the victim.

Back at HQ we get the highlight of the show when Steve is cuddling Mr. Pickles against his chest. So cute! Then everyone chimes in with why they can't take him. Junior is in a monogamous relationship with Eddie, Jerry is afraid of toxoplasmosis and Tani thinks she'll become a crazy cat lady. Since they're no help, Danny sends them back to work. Ricky makes an adopt-a-cat profile, but uses a picture that makes Mr. Pickles look satanic. Danny tells him to change the pic and don't mention the cat's age since no one wants an old cat. Lou calls them to the Chatting Table and on the way there, Danny says Steve can keep all the figurines. (He seems to have some serious cat issues.) The Chatting Table convo is that the victim was wearing a pacemaker with a serial number so they ID'd him as Dale Sampson, a freelance PI and former detective who got kicked off the force for taking bribes and evidence tampering. (Lou can't take Mr. Pickles because he has enough mouths to feed and Adam is allergic.) Steve sends Tunior to check out Mr. Sampson's house and on the ride over Tani awkwardly asks Junior to be her date to a friend's wedding and he agrees. (I know some people are shipping them, but they just seem so awkward and forced to me.) Tani immediately makes sure that Junior knows she just wants to take a friend, but tells him it's an open bar, so that helps him be more excited about it. They finally get to Dale's house. The front door is unlocked and the house has been trashed, with a laptop and TV taken. Tani notices a missing rug on the floor and Junior sees bloody drag marks. They conclude that this was the primary crime scene where he was murdered and then dragged out in the rug. (Excellent deduction skills!)

Jerry finds a few of Mr. Sampson's things in pawn shops and they get an ID on the seller. Michael Manoa. He has a few priors and when Tunior goes to his house, he sees them and runs away. Junior tackles him and they arrest him. Before they can haul him off, they hear moaning coming from the house and find a guy duct-taped and beaten in there. Michael gets put in the Blue Room of Doom where he explains that he thought his wife was cheating on him so he hired Sampson to get proof, but Sampson strung him along and billed him for hours until Michael asked for his money back, then he stopped returning Michael's calls. Steve talks to him about murdering Sampson and Michael is all, slow your roll bro. (The look on Steve's face! Haha) Michael admits that Sampson's door was unlocked so he took some stuff from the house, but didn't see Sampson. Oh, and he has an alibi for the murder, he was in bed with his girlfriend. (Classy.)  The alibi checks out, too. No one knows where Sampson's laptop is since Michael didn't steal it, but Sampson used an online backup service. The team also figures out that the pacemaker transmitted data and then ends, so the exact time of death is 1:57 a.m. They all kind of look sad that Sampson was probably alive when he was burned.

Danny goes into Steve's office to put pressure on Ricky to find a match for Mr. Pickles since Ricky is being kind of picky, asking potential new owners for annual household income numbers. Danny takes the phone from him and says if you want the cat come and get it, then tells Ricky the cat has to be gone by 5:30 or he's going to the pound. Danny does give Mr. Pickles a scratch behind the ears and talk in baby talk, which Ricky notices and accuses Danny of being a closet cat lover, that his problem isn't that he hates cats, he really loves them too much. Danny confides that he had a cat once, but doesn't want one ever again. (Hmmm...)

Steve goes to Jerry who found some messages sent from Sampson's computer two hours after the guy died. It tells Mr. Nettles in Texas that he's made a breakthrough in the case and he needs to get to Hawaii. Nettles messages back with his flight info and, uh oh, the guy touched down thirty minutes ago and a bearded guy picked him up. That's not going to end well. The team finds out that Mr. Nettles was paying Sampson to investigate his eighteen-month-old daughter's disappearance over twenty years ago. It seems that for the last twenty-four years, Nettles has been going state by state, hiring PIs to find his daughter and Hawaii was one of the last ones he had left. (So sad!) So whoever killed him must have had something to do with the kidnapping back in the day.

BeardedGuy takes Nettles to a deserted looking cabin, and Nettles gets suspicious. BeardedGuy pulls a gun and Nettles tackles him. They fight and Nettles almost wins, but BeardedGuy pistol whips him. Back at the Chatting Table they've pulled addresses from the GPS of Sampson's car, but none of them lived in Texas at time of Jennifer's disappearance. Steve is starting to look at things differently and asks what if Sampson was getting close to finding the girl and tipped the kidnapper off in the process? It's hard to believe that Jennifer might be still alive and on the island with kidnapper, but they run all the GPS addresses against DMV records to find women close to Jennifer's current age and up pops a picture of an Emily Henderson who was also in Sampson's computer. Compared against an FBI released age-progression pic, it's a match. And guess who else lives at that address? BeardedGuy! But he gave a false ID. His real name isn't Wade Henderson! Facial rec says he's Jesse Stolz who was arrested in Laredo, Texas. And BeardedGuy is currently pouring water over a beaten Nettles and yelling at him, asking who else knew he'd hired Sampson and was looking for his daughter in Hawaii? Nettles isn't cooperating and gets punched a few more times, pitifully asking how BeardedGuy could have taken her from him. (It's so sad!) BeardedGuy hears a car and it's HPD, so he quickly makes it a hostage standoff.

Steve arrives on scene, and BeardedGuy isn't talking or answering his phone. They end up calling the daughter to the scene to talk to her "dad." She is having a hard time comprehending what BeardedGuy did, since he raised her as his own daughter. Regardless, she tries to coax BeardedGuy out, but he says he can't, he's sorry. Then they hear a gunshot and they all move in to find that BeardedGuy has killed himself. (That daughter is going to have nightmares and guilt for years! Why call her in instead of a trained negotiator? Sigh. I guess it's just TV) The team does rescue the real dad and when Emily sees him, we flash back to the news conference where Nettles and his wife begged for info on their kidnapped daughter. There is crying and smiling. And probably lots of future counseling.

Back at HQ Tunior is talking about how BeardedGuy's wife and kid died in a car accident, so he kidnapped Emily to deal with his grief. They also talk about their "date" to the wedding, that Junior isn't offended she asked him as a friend and is looking forward to it. She offers not to make him dance since he probably wouldn't like it or be good at it and he says she's half right. Steve is walking around with the box of cat figurines, which he's found out is worth $10,000 since they're collectible. Of course, now Danny wants in. Steve reminds him that he gave them all to Steve and if they're worth that now, what would they be worth in fifteen or twenty years when he's ready to retire? Ricky has not found a home for Mr. Pickles and since Ricky gets out of the halfway house in four months, Steve suggests that Danny put him up until then with Steve paying for food and litter. Danny says no, because Rachel is allergic to cats. (Ohhhhh!) Steve gives him a look. (I love that Danchel seem to be getting back together.) Apparently Danny had a cat as a kid and in college, but he had to get rid of the college one because of Rachel's allergies. Ricky is all, you're thinking she's not going to stay your ex (which is what we're all thinking!) They end up taking Mr. Pickles to Steve's house where he and Eddie have a staredown. Danny throws it out there that if he's a cat, then Steve is a dog, friendly, loyal, loud, kind of dirty and stupid. Also that Steve once said that cats were superior animals. (Sigh. I wish they didn't have Danny say things like that.) Steve says he no longer has that philosophy, and that Danny as a cat is inflexible and set in his ways, yet they manage to get along. Mr. Pickles pauses the discussion by getting in Eddie's bowl. There's a fight and the last thing we hear is Steve yell for Eddie to put the cat down. (I wish Mr. Pickles and Eddie could get along. I wouldn't mind seeing Steve snuggling one of them every episode!) 

As you may have guessed, the best part of the show for me was Steve cuddling the cat. And maybe the suggestion that Rachel and Danny are getting closer. Close enough that he can't have a cat, anyway. Did you watch? What did you think?   

Friday, April 12, 2019

Freebie Friday for Romance Fans

I noticed that Laurie Lewis' heartwarming book, Love on a Limb is free today. This one will tug on your emotions!

You can get your free copy here

Here's the back copy:

Matthew Grayken is young, successful, and dying, which is why he’s about to propose to a total stranger. He isn’t interested in love. He needs a caregiver, a companion, and someone to be his legal voice when he can no longer speak for himself.

Lonely, compassionate nurse Mikaela Compton is intrigued by Matt Grayken’s tender request, but when their friendly marriage turns into love, she rejects the inevitability of Matt’s death and prays for a miracle instead.

Mikaela succeeds in reigniting Matt’s will to fight, but his body is losing the battle, and her determination to save him causes her to betray the fundamental promise she made him--to help him die.

Their last hope at saving Matt's life will require a sacrifice from each of them, and force them to decide how far out on a limb they're willing to go for love.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Second Look Was Reviewed in InD'Tale Magazine!

I was so thrilled to see a great review for Second Look in InD'Tale Magazine! My favorite part was:

"An edgy page-turner . . . the brisk pace, the likeable characters, and the intensity of the plot makes this story a quick, highly suspenseful thrill ride and will leave romantic suspense fans begging for more!"

Yay! Isn't that great? You can see the entire review here

Second Look is also a Whitney Award finalist for Best Suspense, and we'll find out if it wins on May 10th. I'll definitely keep you updated!

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

In The Non-Fiction Corner: I Can Choose Joy (And A Giveaway!)

In the Non-Fiction Corner With Lauren

I feel like joy is something that is on everyone’s minds as they go through life. I know that it has been on mine. We are constantly told to be joyful, but it is difficult with all the things life throws at us. This book, compiled by Ganel-Lyn Condie, features many popular authors being honest and vulnerable as they talk about their life struggles and the joy they were still able to find. The book is split into five different subtopics, two stories featured in each. Every reader can relate to something said in the book, whether that is health challenges, marriage struggles, being single, or even just being completely unsure about what the future holds. Even though I sometimes find it hard to read about others' challenges, this book is so perfect because every story has a happy ending, even if the ending was that the person saw the Lord’s hand. There is a common thread in every story: trust. Every single person was able to trust in the Lord’s timing, and things worked out, even if it wasn’t how they originally thought it would.

My favorite story was a love story, told from both the husband’s and wife’s perspective. Betsy had never before been married, but she was improving herself, building a life and a career that she could be proud of, and bringing herself closer to the Savior. Darin, who seemed to have a picture perfect marriage and family, lost his marriage and didn’t know what to do with himself or his five children. A mutual friend of the two followed a prompting and they were set up. Because of their own personal preparation and through the help of the Lord, the couple saw many things they admired about each other and knew that they were a good match. They have built a wonderful life through uncertain circumstances.

This book is a remarkable read for anyone looking for a boost or good examples on how anyone can find joy.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

When the trials of life seem too much to bear, joy can feel beyond reach. However, with words of encouragement and hope, author Ganel-Lyn Condie reassures readers that joy is not only possible but also well within our grasp as we choose to turn to the Lord with our burdens. The next in the popular With God series, I Can Choose Joy with God is a powerful compilation of essays written by women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that offers a compelling look at the struggles they faced and how they found joy even in their darkest hours. From parental concerns to financial hardships to debilitating anxiety, these personal accounts demonstrate the incomparable strength that can be harnessed through faith in a loving Heavenly Father. Though no one can avoid being tossed by the tempestuous sea of mortality, everyone can find true joy as they hold tight to the lifeline of salvation Jesus Christ provides.

Blog Tour Schedule:

*April 8th: http://mybookaday.com/, https://www.rockinbookreviews.com/

*April 9th: http://lifeiswhatitscalled.blogspot.com/

*April 10th: http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/

*April 11th: https://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/, https://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/

*April 12th: http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, https://www.lovebugsandpostcards.com/

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Book Review: Romance Fans Will Love This One!

This past week I picked up a book, Love at Lakewood Med, by an author I'd never read before, TJ Amberson. The first chapter was a bit hard for me to get into, but I kept with it and I'm so glad I did! I loved this story. It's about a fourth year medical student, Savannah Drake, who gets paired with her attending, Wes Kent for her emergency medicine rotation. Dr. Kent has been trying for years to get funding for a better emergency department wing, but his pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Savannah is sure she's going to specialize in pediatrics, but while on her emergency department rotation, things start to change for her personally and professionally. But when lines are crossed and Wes might lose everything he's worked for, Savannah has to decide if she can risk her own career or lose a chance at love.

There were so many things to love about this book. There's a medical aspect where Savannah is learning and she makes some mistakes. I loved that she wasn't a perfect heroine and it made it easy to relate to her. I also love that she cares so much about her patients and there was a wide variety of cases in the ER (which made it feel very realistic.) Most of all, I loved Dr. Wes Kent. He's so believable and protective and sweet. Everything I want in a hero. The slow romance build was well-done and I admit I stayed up late to finish the book and went back and read my favorite parts the next day. That doesn't happen very often for me! I will definitely be looking for more by this author. (I really hope she does a sequel with the best friend and we can find out more about what happens with Wes and Savannah!)

You can get your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Savannah Drake would be thrilled about starting her final year of medical school if it weren’t for one thing: she has to spend a month working in the emergency room with cold, aloof Dr. Wesley Kent as her mentor. When her first day in the ER proves to be a humiliating disaster, Savannah is ready to swear off emergency medicine forever. Gradually, though, she finds that the unpredictable, emotional experience of caring for patients in the emergency room is affecting her far differently than she expected—and Dr. Kent turns out to be anything but the arrogant attending physician that she assumed him to be. But just when Savannah finally admits to herself that she is falling for Dr. Kent, she learns that things at the hospital are not all what they seem. Faced with a seemingly impossible choice, Savannah must decide between her future career and everything that she has come to care so much about.

Monday, April 8, 2019

My Lifelong Dream . . . And It Came True!

It has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember to go to Hawaii, so we finally did! This past week has been so amazing, filled with beaches every day, shave ice and dole whip, and fun memories I will never forget. (But it was really, really hard to be enjoying the sunshine with my shorts, t-shirt, and sandals, and come home to snow! Brrr...)

I also got to watch my favorite show, Hawaii Five-0 while I was in Hawaii! Silly, I know, but it seemed more authentic somehow and I could understand some of the cultural mentions on the show better because I'd experienced it. Definitely a trip I will be thinking about for a long time to come!

Friday, April 5, 2019

One Of My Favorite Couples Is Returning To Television!

Image courtesy of Wikipedia. No copyright infringement intended. 

Now, don't judge me, but back in the day, I never missed an episode of JAG. I loved that show! Harm and Mac were one of the couples that I really shipped, and wanted to see get their happily-ever-after. If you watched the show, you know the series ended with Harm and Mac finally together, but flipping a coin to see who would stay in the military and who would leave. We were all left hanging and I was SO disappointed that the series ended so open-ended after we'd waited for so long!

But, I just found out that Harm will be making some guest appearances on NCIS and rumor has it that Mac will be there as well! We can finally get some closure! I really can't wait. Though I haven't watched NCIS before, I'm definitely going to tune in for them! (Here's the article about it. Woohoo!)

Do you have a couple you shipped that you always wished had a happy ending?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Fighting Preacher Spotlight and $50 Giveaway!

There's a new film coming out called, The Fighting Preacher, that looks really good! It's based on the real-life story of Willard and Rebecca Bean. In 1905, Willard became the world middleweight boxing champion, but when Joseph F. Smith asked him to step away from the limelight and serve a 5-year mission to upstate New York, the Beans immediately packed their bags and traveled to the east coast. Once there, they find the hatred that existed 90 years prior is still alive and very present.

Utah’s own award-winning producer/director, and master story-teller, T.C. Christensen, once again weaves a tale of action, romance, comedy, and drama in this heartwarming story of a couple that overcomes all odds. It is truly a David versus Goliath story, as two people take on an entire town filled with hatred. After 24 years in the community, they eventually become loved and respected by one and all.

In the tradition of Christensen and Remember Films, who brought you 17 Miracles, Ephraim’s Rescue, Love Kennedy, and Cokeville Miracle; this new film brings elements that make the audience laugh, cry, and most importantly, cheer the underdog. It is scheduled for a theatrical release in mid-spring, 2019.

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the movie trailer

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Book Review and a Giveaway!


Joanna Barker is quickly becoming a favorite author of mine. I've loved her books so far, and this one was no exception!

Miss Adeline Hayes is a lady's companion to Charity, who has suddenly and inexplicably broken off her engagement. To weather the scandal, Charity's father sends both women to his sister's country home where she is throwing a house party, and that's where things get interesting. Adeline is under orders to find a match for Charity or her family will suffer the consequences. She makes some decisions that aren't great and the reader will suffer right along with Adeline as things start to fall apart. But there is a silver lining! There is a mysterious man named Evan who Adeline is drawn to, and he is the type of hero that would make any woman look twice. But as in any good romance, there are some twists on the journey to love that will have you wondering if a happily-ever-after will ever happen. This book has all the feels with some unexpected story threads that remind us how important family truly is. I really enjoyed this one!

You can get your copy here

Don't forget to scroll down and enter the giveaway!

Here's the back copy:

Miss Adeline Hayes is the perfect lady’s companion: pleasant, conversational, and unceasingly proper. But when her closest friend, Charity Edgeworth, breaks off her arranged marriage without explanation, even Adeline’s superior skills are put to the test. Charity’s father banishes the two young women to the country, sending Adeline with a charge to find Charity a husband—or suffer dire consequences.

As Adeline takes on the role of reluctant matchmaker, she discovers more than one obstacle in her path. Not only does Charity prefer escaping in books to socializing, but Adeline soon finds her own attentions distracted by the standoffish—and irritatingly handsome—Mr. Evan Whitfield. Amidst an eventful foxhunt and the unexpected arrival of Charity’s former betrothed, Adeline simply doesn’t have time for a battle of wits with Evan. But the two are continually drawn together until Adeline begins to question her tightly guarded convictions about love and marriage.

However, when secrets are revealed and truths made known, Adeline must face her most fearsome obstacle yet: herself.

Book Tour Schedule:

*April 1st: http://mybookaday.blogspot.com/, https://brightlystreet.com/, https://www.rockinbookreviews.com/,

*April 2nd: http://empowermoms.net/, http://lifeiswhatitscalled.blogspot.com/, https://www.lovebugsandpostcards.com/

*April 3rd: http://ldswritermom.blogspot.com/, http://booksaresanity.blogspot.com/, http://melsshelves.blogspot.com/

*April 4th: http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com/, http://lisaisabookworm.blogspot.com/, https://ldsandlovinit.blogspot.com/ , https://www.singinglibrarianbooks.com/ , http://katiescleanbookcollection.blogspot.com/

*April 5th: https://www.wishfulendings.com/, http://www.kindleandme.com/, http://bonnieharris.blogspot.com/, http://sweetlymadejustforyou.com/ , http://minreadsandreviews.blogspot.com/, http://literarytimeout.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Another Great Review For Second Look!

I got a really great review for Second Look from Reviews Only By Grace. This one was such a pleasant surprise, I couldn't help but share it!

My favorite part of the review was this:

This is the first book that I've read by Julie Coulter Bellon and I am more than a little impressed.  I've never been interested in book on war or terrorism before but I am a sucker for a good suspense and Second Look delivers!  Julie has an incredible ability to put you right there in the action, and you find yourself anxiously turning from page to page to find out what will happen next . . . If you're in the mood for suspense and violence that isn't too graphic, then Second Look is a must read! 

Isn't that great?! It made my whole day. You can read the full review here

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hawaii Five-0 Recap & Review: The One With Joan Collins

So, since I missed my review of this episode that aired a few weeks ago, I'm catching up here. This was a fun one and my author heart really enjoyed seeing situations that I know about firsthand! And  I've definitely met authors like Amanda Savage! haha

We start out with a woman driving and texting. (tsk tsk) She drops her phone and drifts while trying to get it and when she looks up again, a shirtless and very aggressive man is in the middle of the road. Luckily, she swerves and misses him, but a semi-truck hits him instead. Ew.

Steve and Danny pull up to the Hilton dressed in suits. Steve is hanging out with Danny and helping him be a bodyguard to his ex-mother in law for the day. In exchange, Danny will never mention the liver donation again. (Yay!) Steve is surprised he'd actually go for that deal, but Danny is being all tense and edgy, sure that Steve will understand once he's met the woman. Steve is pretty chill, telling Danny he's being overdramatic and that babysitting a novelist will be a cakewalk. (Haha, As a novelist myself, it might not be a cakewalk, but it would never be boring.) Steve is supposed to stand there silently the whole time and just look handsome because Danny thinks Steve will offend his ex-mother-in-law if he is himself. (What the . . .?) Joan answers the door with an "oh, no, the airline has lost my luggage," before she invites them in.

Noelani is giving the rundown on the victim hit by the semi. He was Brad Chen and only 24 years old and the semi hit him going 70 MPH. Yikes. The poor guy was on a cocktail of HGH and testosterone, but there was also some Pyrovelerone and that's what guaranteed his death. He was feeling invincible, but his heart wouldn't have been able to take that drug much longer. But who put the Pyrovelerone in with his steroids? Dun, dun, dun.

AmandaJoan is opening champagne, bemoaning that she had to fly commercial while she serves Steve a glass with nothing for PoorSadDanny who is assuring AmandaJoan that they'll find out what happened to her seven suitcases. (Someday, when I go to Hawaii, I think I might need seven suitcases, too, because all my friends will want to hide in the luggage.) AmandaJoan is mostly upset because now she has nothing to wear and what she's wearing isn't good enough. But does Hawaii have anything suitable? Steve is quietly drinking his champagne when Joan calls him out for not saying much. Danny gives him the nod that he can speak and he tells her that he works with Danny. She smiles and says he can call her Mandy. (Meow.)  She quizzes Steve on his qualifications and Steve assures her he can handle himself. (I'll bet.) Danny throws in that he's an ex-Navy SEAL (can you be an ex-Navy SEAL? Maybe former?) and head of Five-0, so he can handle some crazy fans. (You'd be surprised at the level of crazy some authors get for real) Joan is impressed he was a Navy SEAL, but needs to get going on the shopping trip. Oh, and since Danny's car isn't suitable, she needs a limo. This hurts Danny's feelings and as soon as she leaves the room he asks Steve's opinion of her. Steve thinks she's great and loves her. PoorSadDanny is pouting that he's known her twenty years and doesn't get to call her Mandy and he didn't get any of the expensive champagne. Steve tells him to relax and gets up when Amanda comes back in. He even offers to hold Mandy's purse and throws out some Italian phrase that completely charms her (and us.)

Grover is out interviewing FlatBrad's dad. He's sad, says that his son loved baseball, had a scholarship, and was on his way to the majors when he tore his rotator cuff and rehab wasn't getting him back to one hundred percent. Dad didn't know son was doing steroids, but doesn't seem surprised. Baseball was everything. He's also surprised that they're treating it like a homicide since he can't think of anyone who would want to target his son. Tunior is at the guy's apartment and find some empty vials labeled with days of the week and some bags of blood in the fridge. Ew.

Steve is relaxed, carrying all of Mandy's bags, saying that he thought shop til you drop was an expression but he may collapse. (Haha I guess Cath wasn't a shop 'til you drop kind of girl.) Danny is still pretty tense, pouting that Mandy took Steve's fashion advice. Steve is all, well after four glasses of champagne I'm enjoying the ride. (LOL Have we ever seen this side of Steve?) They all get in the limo and Mandy pulls out a pair of cufflinks she bought for Steve as a gift since he came of his own volition and Danny came out of obligation. Steve is surprised and thankful and asks her where she gets her book ideas. (Honestly that is the one question every author gets asked.). She tells him they just come to her and she just had one about a handsome police detective who risks everything for the love of an older woman. One who's not that old actually. (Haha, she's so smitten.) Steve assures her he would read that. Danny throws in that Steve can't read anything but a cereal box. (He really sounds jealous here and I sort of feel bad for him.) Mandy tells the story of the high hopes she had for Rachel, who once dated a minor member of the royal family, but instead, poor Mandy ended up in Hackensack in a white limo with a fish tank, instead of in an English cathedral with a horse-drawn carriage for her daughter's wedding. Danny finally smiles at that. When they finally make it to the book signing, she's introduced and walks down the line of people waiting to meet her, acting happy to be there, but in reality she wants Steve and Danny to keep the mouth breathers away from her and don't them paw her since she hates being touched. Oh and when she says the code word to get her out of there. Steve asks her what's the code word? Well, it's get me out of here. (For some reason the look on Steve's face was so hilarious to me, like he was totally looking for a cool code word.)

The lab results on FlatBrad came back and the blood in the fridge is his, but since there wasn't any increased blood oxygenation in it, he wasn't reinjecting his own plasma. So what was he doing with it? Jerry throws in that he could be a part of the vampire community and isn't joking. Yikes. They did find that the silver-topped vials of steroids were the mix of steroids and testosterone. The gold-topped ones had the Prevolabadstuff in it. And hey, if the gold-topped vials are circulating, there could be a bad batch of bad product out there. What if this turns into a full blow public health crisis? Everyone is all amped up to find the source of the drugs before more people die.

So what do we do first? Adam finds out FlatBrad is a gym rat which is also where he probably got his supply. For some unknown reason they can't go in flashing their badges so they send Tunior in undercover. (*shakes head* they need a lot more practice being undercover) Junior immediately goes around telling everyone he's in the market for juice, but no one will tell him where they get theirs. (Sheesh.) Tani is supposedly an instructor, but when she's asked to fill in for a booty boost class can only produce some cringe-worthy moves. (I guess we needed some comic relief.) Tani does find out that Derek is deep in the roid scene and Junior approaches him to ask straight out for product. Derek says meet me out back. (This isn't going to end well.)

Steve and Danny are standing behind Amanda while she signs books and PoorSadDanny is brooding over how harshly Amanda remembers the wedding. Steve tries to tell him that it's an English thing, since they're notoriously stuck up with a cutting humor. Danny doesn't think that it's a cultural difference, she just doesn't like him. He tells the story how he flew all the way to England to get her blessing before he proposed to Rachel and Amanda refused to give it and told him that she would tell Rachel the same thing she tells her agent, "never take the first offer." Rachel told him to blow it off and they got married anyways, but when things got rocky, Rachel had someone in her ear telling her he wasn't good enough and then he started to believe that. Steve stops him there and points out that he's wallowing in some self-pity and reassures him that he's more than adequate. (I was surprised that more than adequate was the best Steve could do, but okay.)

Junior meets three guys out in the parking lot who are mad that he came into the gym asking for product on the first day. He's going to ruin the sweet situation they have! They try to give him a beatdown, but he takes them all down. (Yay for Junior!) Then he arrests them and asks for the name of the dealer. Meanwhile, Jerry has gotten the club's camera footage and they see FlatBrad stealing a master key and going into the locker room. He only had a short window of time to steal the steroids, so he just grabbed the gold top vials and the silver and dosed himself by accident. So whoever he stole the drugs from was the target or he's the one peddling this new poisoned steroid. Junior gets the name of the dealer and it's Moses! They get an address, but when they go there, his house is surrounded by police and he's dead in the yard that is strewn with household items. Apparently he was in an extremely agitated state when police got there, threw any cop that got near him to the ground, through a window, and on a car. The police tased him and then shot him, but he didn't die from that, his heart collapsed from massive cardiac arrest. They go into his house and find a similar batch of gold topped toxic steroids as FlatBrad, but since Moses is dead, they're no closer to finding out who's behind all this.

The team finds Moses' fridge full of blood, but it's other people's who don't have the same blood type, so what is all this blood for? Well, Matt Zinner, a steroid user from the gym, has the answers. Moses gave him cash to bring in the blood of healthy, fit guys between 18-25 and he got cash and steroids in return. He brought FlatBrad in a few months ago, but Moses just barely cut him off a few weeks ago and told him his platelet count was off. That's why Brad had to steal out of Moses' locker. But the silver topped vials were the normal steroids and the gold were the toxic ones, which only Moses was supposed to have, so poor Moses was obviously the intended target and FlatBrad got dosed by accident.

Amanda's book signing is over and she's done smiling for the month (your cheeks really do hurt after a while!) and she's hungry. Danny has made reservations at three of the most expensive restaurants on the island, but Amanda asks Steve where he would take a woman hungry to explore the local flavors. Haha. (Great double entendre delivery here, too) Steve takes her to the shrimp truck and while Danny is making sure that everything is fresh, Steve is telling Amanda that Danny is the best of the best. Amanda doesn't want to talk about Danny, though and asks Steve to tell her about himself. Flippa reveals to Danny that he knows who Amanda Savage is and loves her books. Danny is surprised that he reads romance novels, but offers to get him an autograph. (Awww. You'd be surprised at how many people read romance novels, even some you'd never guess! I could tell you stories . . .) Danny brings the food to the table and Amanda thanks Steve for bringing her. PoorSadDanny is upset that if he had brought her here, she would have said it was no good and cheap, that he can't win with her. She tells him he's being oversensitive and he tells her and Steve to enjoy and he walks off. (Wow. I'm just sad he's so insecure about himself and showing it here.)

Back at the Chatting Table Jerry tells everyone that Moses was a high school dropout, but suddenly started making thousands of dollars a month trading plasma for steroids and cash. He's trying to figure out who was supplying it, but Tunior found out the biomedical carrier making pickups at Moses' house and it leads them to Dr. Warner, who promises his clients cutting edge life enhancement with bio regenerative therapies. He injects the blood of young men into rich clients seeking the elixir of life. Ew. But if Dr. Warner was supplying the steroids and getting the blood, why would he kill his best supplier? Well, from his financials, Moses was starting to demand higher payment and Warner couldn't go to the cops, so he murdered Moses. They go to the clinic and the doctor runs away with Tani in pursuit. He catches her from behind, though, and injects her with something. She loses consciousness and Junior and Adam find her as she starts having seizures. Junior starts CPR (not even close to how it should be done in real life) and Adam gets a portable AED defibrillator to bring her back since she is flatlining. For good measure they shoot her with adrenaline and she wakes up! Whew. Grover goes after the doctor and shoots him in the leg, like he doesn't have time for any more shenanigans. Case solved!

Danny is in a bar, waiting for Steve, but Amanda appears instead and sits down. She stole Steve's phone and acted like him so Danny would agree to meet her, since she knew he would say no if she asked. He seems surprised, and she goes on to tell him that it's true, she didn't like him, but not because he was a poor American, it was because he reminded her of where she came from. She grew up with three siblings in a two bedroom house. Dad was honest and hard-working and told his kids he loved them every day, which Danny does as well, but it wasn't enough for her, she wanted something more. She got married so many times trying to find a man as good as her father, but never could and was jealous when Rachel found that with Danny. But the real bombshell is that she really only came to Hawaii to ask him if he cares about Rachel and if he does, don't toy with her affections. Apparently, Rachel and Danny have been seeing each other a lot and she's talking about him all the time, but Amanda doesn't want to see her daughter hurt again. So will Danny do right by her? He says he will. So they toast to that with champagne. (I have so many questions about this, but my Danchel heart is happy. I love the chemistry they've always had and I'm glad they're repairing their relationship. So cute!)

Did you watch? What did you think?