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.

Blog Tour Schedule:

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?

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Little Lamb From Bethlehem Review: Parents Will Love This One!

So many of us have heard of the Elf on the Shelf. That can be a fun family tradition, but for those of us who want a more spiritual or service-oriented tradition, The Little Lamb From Bethlehem is perfect!

I was privileged to meet the authors and hear how the little lamb idea came about. This mother/daughter duo really wanted the kids to have something to look forward to that would make Christmas more meaningful, and Chris Mower (the grandma) came up with the lamb. She sent it to her grandchildren's doorstep with a little letter about where he'd come from and what he was there for--to share the story of that first Christmas night and learn about service, kindness, and love. This sweet spirit of love and the true meaning of Christmas transferred to the little stuffed lamb and Chris Mower's grandchildren and The Little Lamb From Bethlehem was born.

The package comes with the softest little lamb you'll ever feel, a beautifully illustrated storybook, and ideas on how the lamb can be customized to fit into your family's traditions.  I liked hearing all the ideas for all the ways the lamb can be used and how the children were so excited for the feelings they had after giving service to others and drawing closer as a family.

I am so excited to try it in my own family this Christmas season!

To get your own little lamb, you can click here

Here's the back copy:

I have come to your home from a land far away to tell you a true story. It's a story of something that happened in my little town many years ago..."

The Little Lamb from Bethlehem tells the story of Jesus's miraculous birth from the perspective of one of the lambs in the stable on that sacred night. The lamb loved baby Jesus, and as they both grew, the lamb promised to share Christ's story with everyone. Now the Little Lamb can teach your family about the Savior's life and share ways to follow His example and serve others throughout the Christmas season. Make Christmas more meaningful as you use this little plush lamb to learn of the Savior, serve others, and celebrate the true spirit of the season with this new Christ-centered tradition!

Bring your lamb home today to begin a Christmas tradition that your children will remember for years to come!

Ideas to get started:
  • Once a week leading up to Christmas, invite a new friend to dinner with your family, and share Little Lamb's story of the Savior with them.
  • Include the lamb in the nativity scene you act out with your family.
  • Create a photo album with the Little Lamb as you take it to do service at a nursing home.
  • Read Luke 2:13-14.
Designed to fit your family's needs!
  • Weekly or daily activity options available (ideas enclosed)
  • Or choose to use the lamb as a simple reminder of the season
More ideas:
  • Give the Little Lamb a note every day expressing love for a family member, and leave hi for that family member to find.
  • Each Sunday during December, give the Little Lamb a favorite scripture to hold during the day and then read it with your family that night.
  • Read John 13:15 and talk about the ways to be the kind of person Jesus would be.
  • Hang a stocking for Jesus and fill it with notes for Him.

For more ideas, and to share how the Little Lamb has brought the light of Christmas into your home, check out #littlelamb on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.         

Friday, September 29, 2017

Freebie Friday for Romance Fans

Today's Freebie Friday is a romance by Liz Isaacson called Before the Leap. I've read some of Liz's books and enjoyed them, so I'm excited to try her new series!

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Can Jace find a way to forgive before it's too late?

Jace Lovell only has one thing left after his fiancé abandons him at the altar: his job at Horseshoe Home Ranch. He throws himself into becoming the best foreman the ranch has ever had—and that includes hiring an interior designer to make the ranch owner's wife happy.

Belle Edmunds is back in Gold Valley after she lost her job at a prestigious design firm in California. She's working for a conglomerate, but she's desperate to build a portfolio that she can use to start her own firm in Montana. She applies for the job at Horseshoe Home, and though Jace and Belle grew up together, they've never seen eye to eye on much more than the sky is blue.

The spark between them now that they're adults can't be denied, and as Jace and Belle attempt to work together, they also fight their growing attraction to each other. But Jace isn't anywhere near forgiving his fiancé, and he's not sure he's ready for a new relationship with someone as fiery and beautiful as Belle. Can she employ her patience while he figures out how to forgive so they can find their own brand of happily-ever-after?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

My Grandma Passed Away

My grandmother, former Canadian senator Dr. Thelma J. Chalifoux, was laid to rest today. She was a force to be reckoned with, a fierce defender of First Nations and women's rights, and she worked tirelessly to serve others and help them wherever she could. She was the first indigenous woman ever appointed to the senate in the Canadian federal government. She won a lot of awards, including the National Aboriginal Achievement award, and I am so proud of all her accomplishments.

So, while my grandma wasn't a traditional grandma and she was a very busy woman, she was still devoted to her family. Whatever cause she was involved in, she brought the family along with her. She taught us about strength and perseverance, and she loved us all. Some of my best memories of her are just laughing together over old stories and when it was time to go, her arm would slip around my shoulders and she would say, "Love you, my girl." I will miss that laugh. I'll miss her smile. I'll miss her.

Love you, Grandma Kookum. Always.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Giveaway & Book Review: You Are Loved

 In the Non-Fiction Corner
by Lauren B.

I have read a few books by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon and I always love them, so I jumped at the chance to read this one. And it didn’t hurt that it is a topic that I think is constantly on many people’s minds, does the Lord really care about me? Am I loved? Gordon used quotes and scriptures to answer these questions in an absolutely beautiful way.

While the whole book focuses on the love God has for us, each chapter touches on a point that proves his love. He relieves us from adversity, He listens, He sent His son, He forgives, He blesses, and He lifts when we are afraid. I particularly enjoyed the chapter where she talked about that the Lord will never leave us. She cites quotes that talk about how we worship a fourth watch God, one that always comes in the darkest and hardest times. And because He helps us, we are able to help others.

This was a well written and thought out book that makes you feel like you can anything and makes you want to improve yourself. The Lord really does care about every one of us! And the perfect person to write about that was Gordon. She only talked a little about her trials, but you can tell that she has experience in this topic. She found some great quotes, some that were very common and some that I had never heard, and tied it perfectly together with her own thoughts. I was expecting more stories, either personal or otherwise, but I was pleasantly surprised about how much I still liked the book without them. Reading this was the perfect start to start conference weekend, and I will always be a Kathryn Jenkins Gordon fan.

You can purchase your copy here

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

Here's the back copy:

As you are tossed about by the challenges you face, it is easy to feel sad. Alone. Forgotten. Unloved. Those feelings are real. But they are not reality, for you are not—and never can be—forgotten. In the tumultuous journey of mortality, trials can seem both overwhelming and isolating. But it is in the darkest of moments that the light of Christ shines brightest, beckoning you to turn to Him. With words of reassurance, author Kathryn Jenkins Gordon acknowledges that tough times will surely come—but as you walk through hardships hand in hand with the Lord, there is hope for the future, and opportunity for personal growth. Through discussion of sacred scripture and the inspired words of church leaders, this volume addresses topics ranging from embracing the atonement, to believing your prayers will be answered, to applying the miracle of forgiveness in your life. It is impossible to foresee what storms will come, but amid the uncertainty, some things are sure: you are known, you are loved, and you are never alone.

Blog Tour Schedule:

*Sept. 25th:,

*Sept. 26th:

*Sept. 27th:,

*Sept. 28th:,

*Sept. 29th:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Free Book For Thriller Fans!

As you all know, I am a huge fan of H.B. Moore's Omar Zagouri thrillers and she is offering her new one, The Killing Curse, for free! They can all be read standalone, but really, if you haven't started reading the series, you should!

You can download your free Kindle copy here

Here's the back copy:

Omar Zagouri should have known that the hunt for an ordinary art thief in London would end up being far from ordinary. Abducted and carted across several countries until he’s locked up in the middle of Jordan’s desert, Omar becomes the target of an underground crime organization that dates back to the Crusaders era. As Omar works to uncover the deadly secrets that connect centuries of deceit, he finds himself trying to prevent an honor killing from turning into another tragedy, while exposing the ancient crime organization for generations of lethal corruption.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Book Review: All That Makes Life Bright

Josi Kilpack has written a fictionalized version of Harriet Beecher Stowe's life as a newly married woman in her new book, All That Makes Life Bright. Though the book begins in the early 1800s, some of the issues Harriet faces regarding her writing, her call to the social issues of her day, and juggling that with being a wife and mother are so poignant and pertinent to modern-day women.

The story opens with Harriet preparing for her wedding to Calvin Stowe. He's been widowed and Harriet felt like she wouldn't have the opportunity to marry, but when they connect, she feels strongly that she should marry him. Her sister, Catharine, voices her concern that Harriet will lose herself and all the good she can do with her God-given talents, if she marries and becomes a mother. Harriet assures her that Calvin supports her writing and she will be able to continue developing herself and rearing a family.

From there on, that conversation rings in the reader's head as Harriet struggles in her marriage, and she tries to to put that assertion to the test. Calvin still misses his first wife, he's away when Harriet first discovers she's pregnant, and their expectations of the other don't seem to align in very many ways. And that's just the beginning! Everything is compounded when her views on slavery and social issues start to become more pointed. Because the author did such a wonderful job of making Harriet so relatable, readers will care about her and her marriage and wonder how she will ever make this work. The setting and time period is very well done and though I had read a biography of Harriet years ago, this book really makes her come alive and what led her to write, Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Compared to the other books in the Proper Romance line, this isn't a romance of first love, or even second chance love in a familiar sense, this is more of finding a way to keep the romance alive in marriage while facing unexpected and hard realities in life. It was real and sometimes raw and absolutely riveting.

Here's the back copy:

When Harriet Beecher marries Calvin Stowe on January 6, 1836, she is sure her future will be filled romance, eventually a family, and continued opportunities to develop as a writer. Her husband Calvin is completely supportive and said she must be a literary woman. Harriet’s sister, Catharine, worries she will lose her identity in marriage, but she is determined to preserve her independent spirit. Deeply religious, she strongly believes God has called her to fulfill the roles of wife and writer and will help her accomplish everything she was born to do.

Two months after her wedding Harriet discovers she is pregnant just as Calvin prepares to leave for a European business trip. Alone, Harriet is overwhelmed—being a wife has been harder than she thought and being an expectant mother feels like living another woman’s life. Knowing that part of Calvin still cherishes the memory of his first wife, Harriet begins to question her place in her husband’s heart and yearns for his return; his letters are no substitute for having him home. When Calvin returns, however, nothing seems to have turned out as planned.

Struggling to balance the demands of motherhood with her passion for writing and her desire to be a part of the social change in Ohio, Harriet works to build a life with her beloved Calvin despite differing temperaments and expectations.

Can their love endure, especially after “I do”? Can she recapture the first blush of new love and find the true beauty in her marriage?

You can download your copy here

Friday, September 22, 2017

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday is a YA Paranormal by Sherry D. Ficklin called Queen of Someday. I haven't read this one, but it has a lot of great reviews and sounds riveting!

You can download your copy here

Here's the back copy:

Before she can become the greatest empress in history, fifteen-year-old Sophie will have to survive her social-climbing mother's quest to put her on the throne of Russia--at any cost.

Imperial Court holds dangers like nothing Sophie has ever faced before. In the heart of St. Petersburg, surviving means navigating the political, romantic, and religious demands of the bitter Empress
Elizabeth and her handsome, but sadistic nephew, Peter. Determined to save her impoverished family--and herself--Sophie vows to do whatever is necessary to thrive in her new surroundings. But an attempt on her life and an unexpected attraction threatens to derail her plans.

Alone in a new and dangerous world, learning who to trust and who to charm may mean the difference between becoming queen and being sent home in shame to marry her lecherous uncle. With traitors and murderers lurking around every corner, her very life hangs in the balance. Betrothed to one man but falling in love with another, Sophie will need to decide how much she's willing to sacrifice in order to become the empress she is destined to be.

In a battle for the soul of a nation, will love or destiny reign supreme?

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Review--Even This by Emily Belle Freeman

In the Non-Fiction Corner
by Lauren B.

First things first, Emily Freeman knows how to throw quite the party! To release her book, she invited quite a few bloggers over to her home where she provided desserts, live music from Mercy River, and she had a Q&A where she was able to tell more about her idea for the book. I was even more excited to read it after learning more about the background and meeting the author! I knew I was going to love the book.

And Freeman did not disappoint. Her writing style is absolutely on point. The book is fast paced, the stories are never dragged out and she makes you want to keep reading. She has a great way of telling stories, you can hear her voice and you feel like she is talking to you. Her stories about her family and her life are told in such a way that you feel like you were there. You feel like you’re sitting right there in the hospital room when her husband is having surgery on his tumors, when she is chatting with God through her hard pregnancies, and even around her family dinner table as they have a good laugh about a hole-poking washer. Her experiences are so relevant to the point she is trying to get across in the book, its like the Lord is in control and prepared her for it or something. ;)

The message of the book is phenomenal. It talks about the idea that we put limitations on God, but He is exactly what we need him to be. He is kind, loving, abundant, all knowing and a miracle worker. He is everything for everyone because we are all His children, and He can succor us perfectly. This book made me really ponder on the fact that even our trials are perfect for us. The Lord knows what we can handle. He knows what he needs us to be not only in the next life, but in this one as well and our experiences will prepare us to become. But that doesn’t mean we are left alone! He is there every step of the way. He won’t leave us comfortless. Freeman picked well-known, meaningful scriptures, but also stories that I had never pondered before. We have all heard the story of Moses, but thinking about the faith it took to step out of the ordinary and the familiar into something difficult but better was an eye-opener for me. I loved this book. I can’t wait to use the journal, to evaluate who God is to me, and to trust him with anything.

You can purchase your copy here

Here's the back copy:

In Even This, Emily Belle Freeman shares her own deeply personal experiences of feeling forgotten by God—from the fear of abandonment in a dark hospital room to the desperation that followed months of unanswered prayers. In a moment of honesty, she found herself asking the question she had been afraid to consider: “Where is God in this?”

Through biblical insight, genuine realness, and beautiful prose, Emily will help you discover how to:
  • Diminish the power of doubt by coming to understand why the place of deepest asking is where the believing begins.
  • Stop letting fear dictate the depth of your belief through simple daily reflections that will restore your confidence in God.
  • Let go of your need to control by discovering what is holding you back from being completely vulnerable in your relationship with God.

Trust that God may have something different in mind than you–something better.