Monday, August 5, 2019

Saving Meghan by D.J. Palmer

I won an advanced reader copy in a giveaway sponsored by the author.

It was several years ago now that I picked up my first medical thriller at a hotel gift shop while on a vacation with my college friends. The year was 1996 and we had all just graduated and were enjoying the beach before we all headed to new cities to start our careers. I had brought along some books to read but not enough to fill the days, so I found myself perusing the hotel gift store looking for a book. After reading the back cover of several books, the book Natural Causes by Michael Palmer was the one that I picked up that afternoon. That book began my love of Michael Palmer's books and led me to read all of his books and eventually to start reading books by his son, Daniel Palmer.
I have read most of Daniel Palmer's books but not quite all. He writes thrillers, mostly techno, but a few medical thrillers in the same style that his dad did. What I love about Daniel's books is that they are so realistic and plausible, that the thrill is real and are told in a way that really pulls you in to the story and the lives of the characters. Saving Meghan, his most recent (and a medical thriller) was no exception From the first chapter, you find yourself thrust right into the story, trying to pick up details and learn what is happening with Meghan and you find yourself on the same roller-coaster ride as the characters. The story line is filled with twists and turns and just when I thought I knew what was going on, something new would get introduced that challenged my theory and I had to come to a new one. My schedule caused it to take me a while to really get started with the book, only having time to read a chapter here and there, but once I had a little time and could read more than a chapter, I was hooked and I had to keep reading and wound up finishing the book over a period of two days.

Saving Meghan is a riveting new thriller full of secrets and lies from author D.J. Palmer.

Can you love someone to death?

Some would say Becky Gerard is a devoted mother and would do anything for her only child. Others, including her husband Carl, claim she's obsessed and can't stop the vicious circle of finding a cure at her daughter's expense.

Fifteen-year-old Meghan has been in and out of hospitals with a plague of unexplained illnesses. But when the ailments take a sharp turn, clashing medical opinions begin to raise questions about the puzzling nature of Meghan’s illness. Doctors suspect Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare behavioral disorder where the primary caretaker seeks medical help for made-up symptoms of a child. Is this what's going on? Or is there something even more sinister at hand?

As the Gerards grow more and more suspicious of each other and their medical team, Becky must race against time to prove her daughter has a deadly disease. But first, she must confront her darkest fears and family secrets that threaten to not only upend her once-ordered life...but to destroy it.

You can learn more about Daniel Palmer and his books on his website. If you are a fan of suspense and thrillers, this book is a definite must read. And, be sure to check out the other books by Daniel Palmer and Michael Palmer.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. I won an advanced reader copy in a giveaway sponsored by the author.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Baseball Uniforms - A Laundry Challenge! #whiteuniformpants #whiteagain

My son has played baseball for years. Many of those years the biggest cleaning worry was a grass stain, which was easy to treat and return the pants to their pre-game appearance. Now that he is in high school, they play hard and they really ground in the dirt from the field. Whether laying out for a catch or sliding into base, his pants are always dirty when he comes home.

Over the years, I have tried this cleaner and that, all sorts of pre-treatments and soaps. Some of them work great most of the time, but it seems that there are playing conditions that cause dirt that just won't come out of the pants no matter how many times you wash them.

Before and After with Fels-Naptha soap. It helped but there is still a lot of dirt.
Before and after with a combination of dish detergent and peroxide. Better but still not clean.

So, I finally broke down and gave a try to a trick I heard time and again, the car wash. You know worked. We tried at home with our hose and a jet spray nozzle, but that just wasn't enough. I did put a bit of prewash on it to provide a bit of soap. Use the hooks that they have for hanging mats and voila! clean pants.
Not perfect, but pretty good and much better than with soap alone. Be sure to take a bucket with you to bring the pants home in...they are pretty damp after being hosed down.

Monday, December 24, 2018

A Bodyguard for Christmas by Carol J Post

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
One of my favorite things is a book that I get pulled right into, a book that I simply don't want to put down. As in her other books, from the very first page, I was pulled into the story in the most recent release from Carol J. Post, A Bodyguard for Christmas. The pace of the story never slowed, even as she provided the details necessary to develop the characters and share the back story. I found myself unwilling to put down this entertaining, suspenseful, action-packed, fast-paced story that kept me wondering what would happen next. There were a number of twists and turns that left my heart racing and worrying about Colton and his son and then, just when you thought it was safe for the family to return to normalcy, danger was lurking on the next page.

The healing that is experienced by both Colton and Jasmine through the course of the story is wonderful. I especially liked the way in which it catches Jasmine (the bodyguard) off-guard when she realizes just how much her relationship with Colton and his son, the attachment that Colton's son has developed for her and what she learns through Colton about faith and God has helped her heal from the events in her past. The romantic tension and the Christmas season provide a nice back-drop and help serve up a dramatic conclusion at Christmas. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this book from the danger, to the mystery, to the romance, to the discovery of the power of faith.

If you enjoy suspense stories, you should definitely check out this book and the others by Carol J. Post. Bodyguard for Christmas was the third book in the Murphy series, but can be read as a stand alone from the other books in the series.

About the Book:
Someone’s after his little boy.

She has one chance to save them both.

When his young son is nearly kidnapped, assistant district attorney Colton Gale needs a Christmas refuge—and a live-in bodyguard. Though former military police officer Jasmine McNeal fights to shield them 24/7, she refuses to get attached. But growing close to the little boy and his father might be her only shot at keeping them alive—and becoming a family beyond the holidays.

About the Author:
From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol's resume reads like someone who doesn't know what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love for writing. She started as a child writing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles which actually made it into some religious and children's publications. Several years ago (more than she's willing to admit), she penned her first novel. In 2010, she decided to get serious about writing fiction for publication and joined Romance Writers of America and her local RWA chapter.

Carol lives in sunshiny Central Florida with her husband of thirty-two years, who is her own real-life hero, and writes her stories under the shade of the huge oaks in her yard. Besides writing, she works alongside her music minister husband singing and playing the piano and holds the position of church treasurer. She enjoys sailing, hiking, camping, almost anything outdoors. Her two grown daughters and grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all that nurturing into taking care of three fat and sassy cats and one highly spoiled dog.

You can learn more about the author on her blog.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

His Promise by Shelley Shepard Gray

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
It is less than two weeks to Thanksgiving, which means the holiday season is quickly approaching. This morning we even woke up to a dusting of snow. I'm a little bummed that fall seemed to be cut short, but I could be ready for cozy clothes, fires, Christmas cookies and family evenings. I recently had the opportunity to read His Promise: An Amish Christmas in Hart County, which also gave me a bit of a chance to glimpse forward to Christmas.
I have enjoyed reading the Amish of Hart County series by Shelley Shepard Gray because you get the chance to catch glimpses of characters you met in the other stories. This book, sadly, was the last book in the Amish of Hart County series. Even as such, it can be read as a stand alone book, so don't worry if you have to catch up on the rest of the series later.

The story focuses on the holiday season of Grace King. Having agreed to pet sit, she winds up being left behind while her family heads back home to see family that needs their help. As much as she was looking forward to being away from her family, while pet sitting, she wasn't really prepared for the loneliness of not having them in town. When the dog that she is watching wanders away, she learns that John Michael, a former beau of her sister lives next door. While separately at dinner in the local diner, they run into Dorma, a woman who they know from their youth whose family used to own the land where John Michael and the family Grace is pet sitting for live now.

As the story unwinds, there is a good thread of suspense, balanced with love, compassion and self-discovery. The suspense keeps the story moving quickly along, as you want to learn a little bit more about the seemingly foul play around the fires and thefts that have been happening in the community. The characters that Gray develops are very likeable and although Amish, they face similar issues and are fully relatable. The temperamental dachshund, named Snooze, that Grace was watching was a lovable, relatable pup with his own agenda whose antics added a few laughs to the story. I really enjoyed this story and watching Grace grow through the course of the story as she discovers what is really important.

If you are looking for a good book to curl up with, I recommend checking out this latest from Shelley Shepard Gray (or any other of this series too).

About the Book:
His Promise: An Amish Christmas in Hart County by Shelley Shepard Gray

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s latest Christmas novel in her Amish of Hart County series.

It’s set to be a white Christmas in Hart County, and Grace King is pet-sitting in a beautiful home with only a difficult dachshund for company. Just as she starts to miss the bustle of her large Amish family, Grace runs into a familiar face. Living right next door is John Michael Miller. He’s a fireman now, but five years ago, he had courted her older sister, then broke her heart. Seeing him again stirs Grace’s anger, but also reminds her of deeper feelings she’s done her best to deny.

The infatuation John Michael once saw in Grace’s eyes is long gone, though his complicated attraction to her remains. He had walked away all those years ago when he realized he was falling in love with the wrong sister. Now, as suspicious fires are set in their community, that’s not an option. Grace dismisses his warnings, and John Michael vows to keep an eye on her. But he can’t help wondering if he’s reconnected with Grace, only to risk losing her again.

Now all John Michael wants for Christmas is to keep Grace safe, in the hopes that they can one day have a future together.

Learn more and purchase a copy.

About the Author:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a "New York Times" and "USA Today" bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.
Find out more about Shelley at

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

100 Things to Do in Cleveland Before You Die 2nd Edition by Deb Thompson and Tonya Prater

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.
I'm not sure why, but we generally are terrible at being tourists where we live. When we head out of town, we do research and plan for the places that we might go and the things that we might do; but when it comes to staycations and finding things on the weekend, we seem be creatures of habit and return to the tried and true, rather than explore the local area. This summer, we decided to finally visit the Mansfield Reformatory, where Shawshank Redpemption and other films were filmed. It was a neat attraction full of information about the history of the facility and information about the films that were made there. It even had 'haunted' stories to share about paranormal experiences that others have had. This gem is right off the main road and only 45 minutes from home, but it took us 16 years after we moved here to finally check it out. It's examples like this that found me jumping at the opportunity check out 100 Things to Do in Cleveland Before you Die; a guide that could help me as a local explore many activities and places that are close to home.
The book is well organized, divided into 5 themed sections: Food and Drink; Music and Entertainment; Sports and Recreation; Culture and History; and Shopping and Fashion. Within each section there are several local places or events to check out, including a brief description or story about each. Also sprinkled in are tips with some other nearby things to check out. This format is easy to thumb through and check out some great options in (and around) Cleveland. Several of the listings actually include more than one place to check out, giving you even more than 100 things to check out. The locations and activities included are both everyday and special occasion activities, like the Summer Solstice Festival and the Woollybear Festival. At the back of the book there are suggested itineraries to explore, including one for date night or a family outing; a guide to the activities by season; and an index which makes it easy to look up something specific.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a mix of some places/events that I have visited and some hidden gems that I have yet to experience. The guide would work well for both locals and out of town visitors, offering a mix of places that local residents may not have tried and places that visitors will want to check out. There are several new places that I look forward to checking out. The book is the perfect size to stash in the car so that we will be ready for the next time we are out and about in Cleveland.

About the Book:
100 Things to Do in Cleveland Before You Die, 2nd Edition by Deb Thompson, Tonya Prater

Located on the shore of Lake Erie, Cleveland is as diverse as the people that call it home and is finally being recognized as the gem that it’s always been. From family fun to romantic getaways there is something for everyone in the city that Rock and Roll built. 100 Things To Do In Cleveland Before You Die is the ultimate guide to finding the best things in the city and, for life-long residents, new ways to explore old favorites. This is THE guide for finding the best food, festivals, museums, outdoor activities, music and more. 100 Things guides you through the city like a local and shares what residents have known for years; Cleveland is the place to live or visit for a memorable experience. A melting pot of people and cultures, Cleveland is a place where you can find great food from a truck or from an award winning chef, home to some of the biggest sports fans in existence, world class museums and venues, an amazing amount of green space, and features public art around every corner. Browse the pages of 100 Things before you set out on your next trip to the city to experience something new.

About the Authors:

Deb Thompson is a freelance travel writer whose work takes her across the country to find the most unique attractions that destinations have to offer. An avid fan of the strange and bizarre, she enjoys nothing more than exploring the hallways of haunted locales, searching for Bigfoot in the great outdoors, finding aliens in Roswell and mixing it up with a great cocktail. You can follow her endeavors at Tonya Prater is a travel writer with the heart of a nomad. Once a full-time RVer who dreams of reliving the experience, she is on a mission to find the fun, quirky stops scattered across the U.S. that most people drive past. Tonya shares her experiences at, which offers travel inspiration for the budget-minded.

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Summer Plans and Other Disasters by Karin Beery

A complimentary review copy was provided to me.

Fall has definitely struck. The days are crisp and blustery, the nights are cold. All the more reason to curl up with a blanket and a good book. This week I had the opportunity to read of another season...Summer Plans and other disasters by Karin Beery. This is the debut book by Karin Beery (and thus the first one that I have read).

Told from multiple points of view, the book focuses on Callie's summer in Michigan at the light house. She is a teacher off for the summer who heads home to work and live with her brother and hopes to rekindle an old romance (in an attempt to answer some what-if questions that she has encountered). I love that Callie is a planner but as you know (or might have guessed from the title), plans don’t always work out the way we want. Sometimes things turn out better than your plans would have, but other times they don’t. Between the challenges of her plans, the need for her to manage outside of a plan and her perpetual klutziness (and perhaps a bit of ditziness), the book provides a lighthearted story that also provides for some great lessons for the characters.

The author brought the characters to life through their own thoughts and the eyes of the other characters as she shifted telling the story from each of their views. I enjoyed getting to know Callie, a talented musician and teacher; Jack, her protective and loving brother; Ryan, her brother's best friend; and Stacey, a friend of Jack's that Callie becomes friends with. Through the course of the story, there were challenges, inner turmoil and reflection, long-standing and newly developing friendships, family, faith and humor. I wish I could have been on the beach reading this, but snuggled on my couch under a blanket, the author was able to transport me to the summer scene of the shore of Michigan. This was an enjoyable and fun book to read. I look to future books by this author, especially a sequel (please), so I can be part of the next chapter of this group's lives.

About the book

Elementary school music teacher Callie Stevens thinks she’s finally figured out God’s plan for her life—she even made a list to keep her on track.

Moving in with her brother and reconnecting with her ex-boyfriend are at the top of the list. What’s not on the list is running into her childhood crush, Ryan. God wanted her to connect with Kyle, right?

Trying to figure out God’s plan is hard enough. But a dating-averse older brother, the young blonde who adores him, a pregnant best friend, and Callie’s continual mishaps make her wonder whether her best laid plans were truly God-inspired.

Now available from Elk Lake Publishing!

About the author

Karin wrote her first novel in 2007 to cope with her husband’s cancer diagnosis (no worries – he’s cancer free now!). With the support and encouragement of her family, she submitted that manuscript. That particular manuscript has not been published yet, but Summer Plans and Other Disasters, her first published book, releases in September 2018.

Karin writes contemporary and speculative fiction stories with a healthy dose of romance, but she’s also expanded her repertoire: she writes feature stories for the local paper, copy material for businesses, and blog posts for herself and others. She even edits (offering copy editing, fiction editing, and critiques through Write Now Editing Services) and teaches (she’s the Substantive Fiction Editing instructor for the PEN Institute and can be found around the country teaching writing and editing courses at conferences and at her local college).

When Karin’s not reading, writing, or editing, she enjoys cooking and baking. She plays the piano and sings (the key of E, please). She kayaks with her husband in the summer, watches football in the fall (Go Blue!), and enjoys Christmas lights all winter long. Shy but extroverted, Karin adores her nieces and nephew and loves spending time with her family. Learn more about Karin at:

You can also follow her on:

Facebook -

Twitter -

Instagram -

No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family. A complimentary review copy was provided to me.