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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Monthly Reflections (#7) ~ July


Monthly Reflections, where we take the time to reflect on the previous month.

My goals for July were...

I want to read at least 10 books in July - including:
2 eBooks
A book starting with the letter "E"
1 "Just for Fun" book
2 Non-fiction books

In July, I...

Read 11 books!
2 eBooks!
A Book starting with the letter "E" (End Game)
1 "Just for Fun book (End Game)
0 Nonfiction books. :(

Books read:


Out of the books I read this month, my favorite was Prince Incognito by Rachelle McCalla! LOVED IT! :)


Conception by Jennifer Hartz
Prism by Rachel Moschell
The Rogue's Reform by Regina Scott
The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd
Prince Incognito by Rachelle McCalla
Small Town Protector by Hope White


Ashley Townsend
Evan Angler
Keli Gwyn
Darlene Shortridge
L.N. Cronk

Special Posts:

I asked for feedback on having book discussions. Today is the last day to nominate a book that will go a poll tomorrow.

I did a "Thank you" giveaway (ends 8/18).


I signed up for the "Review Copy Cleanup" which starts tomorrow! Super excited about that! :)

I was interviewed on Sherri's blog.

Reading Challenges:

I am doing really well (in my opinion) in the challenges I signed up for!

Here is my progress so far:

100 Books In A Year Reading Challenge 2012! - 67 of 100
Christian Suspense Reading Challenge - 26 of 50
50 States Challenge - 29 of 50
Mount TBR Reading Challenge - 4 of 12
The Mini YA Reading Challenge - 7 of 12
2012 eBook Challenge - 9 of 10
Bookie Friends Favorites - 0 of 5
2012 Contentment Reading Challenge - 0 of 5
2nds Challenge - 15 of 20
Non-Fiction Non-Memoir Challenge - 5 of 15
Just for Fun Reading Challenge - 7 of 12
Reading Challenge Addict -

I've completed these challenges:

New Authors Challenges - 25 of 25
Speculative Fiction Challenge 2012 - 3 of 3
Around the Stack in How Many Ways - 10 of 10
Read Your Name Challenge - 7 of 7 (Just completed this month!)
1st in a Series Challenge - 20 of 20

There are also some Goodreads challenges I am participating in, but I'm not going to list all of those. :)

My thoughts on this month:

Even though I didn't finish any nonfiction book this month, I still think it was a great reading month for me - I read 11 books (one more than my goal!) and I finally finished the "Read Your Name" challenge (which I've been trying to do for a while)!

Looking ahead:

Here is what I hope to accomplish in August...

I am going to try and really push myself this month, so I'm hoping to read 15 books including:
Read 12 Review Books
3 eBooks
1 Just for Fun book
2 Non-fiction books

Yikes! That is a really large goal for me (I don't know if I've ever read fifteen books in one month!), but I'm hoping I'll be able to complete those goals. :)

Now it's your turn! What did you accomplish in July, what do you hope to accomplish in August?

If you want to do your own Monthly Reflections, feel free to grab the button and post about it on your blog, then leave a comment with the URL - otherwise, please share your thoughts in a comment!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Review: Small Town Protector by Hope White

Small Town Protector by Hope White

About the book:


Sending his family away years ago was the hardest thing FBI special agent Garrett Drake ever did. But it was the only way to shield them from a case turned terrifyingly personal. Now a serial killer has come to town. To safeguard his estranged son-and the entire Port Whisper community-Garrett needs help. And that means reaching out to Lana Burns, a captivating woman who cuts through his defenses. Garrett would willingly risk his life to uncover the killer. But to get a second chance at happiness, Lana has to convince the wary agent to risk his heart....
My rating:
My thoughts:

Small Town Protector is the third book in Hope White's "Port Whisper" series and the second book of hers I've read (the first being Christmas Haven back in December).

I found it very nice that some of the characters from Christmas Haven were in Small Town Protector - it was great to find out what was happening in their lives.

The suspense in Small Town Protector was really good - I especially liked how there were little segments in the story where we got to see inside the serial killer's mind, and, since it didn't reveal his/her identity, I feel that it heightened the suspense.

I liked the characters in Small Town Protector: Lana's like an open book and very trusting/kind; Garrett was very protective and it was sweet how much he cared for his son; and Steven (a.k.a. Sketch), who was one of my favorite characters from this book, had a lot to deal with - both emotionally and physically. It was really interesting to see how he reacted to certain things and I liked how computer savvy he was.

There was romance, which is to be expected with Love Inspired Suspense books, and I enjoyed that part of the story as well.

Overall, Small Town Protector was a great book that I loved reading - in fact, I finished it in a day! I didn't know whether to give it 4.5 or 5 stars, but in the end I went with 5 stars. I don't know whether or not there will be another book with these characters, but I'm kinda hoping there will be. There were a few minor things that didn't seem answered in the end.

I recommend Small Town Protector if you enjoy romantic suspense books, but I suggest reading "Witness on the Run" and "Christmas Haven" first - although it probably isn't necessary in order to enjoy this book.

*I received this book for free for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*

Friday, July 27, 2012

Guess What?!

Just wanted to let you all know I was interviewed over at Sherri Wilson Johnson's blog. Sherri is generously offering an eBook copy of her book, To Dance Once More, so be sure to stop by and leave a comment to enter. I read it earlier this year and loved it (read my review here).

Weekend Report #40 (7/27-7/29)

Weekend Report is where I share what I accomplished (book-wise) the previous week! Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Report on your blog/site. If you do, please leave the URL in a comment below.

What I'm currently reading:

Corridor (A MythWorks Novel)

Rereading Corridor - LOVE that book! :) 

I also started reading Green by Ted Dekker on audio book this week.


  What I've read this week:

What I think I'll read soon: 

I am SO excited to read Over the Edge and Short-Straw Bride!! I have a feeling I'm going to love those books. :)

Reviews posted this week:

None. :(

  Current Giveaways!

Enter to win A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn! US and Canada. Here is the link to enter.

Enter to win The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd! US only. Here is the link to enter.

Enter to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card! Here is the link to enter.

Enter to win Until Forever by Darlene Shortridge! Open Internationally! Here is the link to enter.

  So that's what I accomplished (book-wise) this week, what about you? Please share in a comment below. :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

CFBA: The Kingdom by Brian M. Litfin

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Kingdom
Crossway Books (June 30, 2012)
Brian M. Litfin


Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee as well as a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is currently professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he has been since 2002. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays. Bryan has always enjoyed epic adventure stories as well as historical fiction, but most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He and his wife Carolyn are parents to two children. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains. The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.


Book Three in the Chiveis Trilogy

War and disease have destroyed the modern world. Centuries later, feudal societies have arisen across Europe. No one can remember the ancient religion of Christianity—until an army captain and a farmer’s daughter discover the Sacred Writing of the one true God.
As Teo and Ana encounter the forgotten words of the holy book, they realize its message is just what their kingdom needs. Though exiled from their homeland, they join their hearts in a quest to return. But now an ancient pact has united the enemies of the Christian faith into a dark alliance that threatens to consume the known world. Racing to stay one step ahead of their enemies, Teo and Ana must battle heinous villains, stormy seas, and the powers of the underworld itself. As armies begin to mass for a final battle, the odds favor the forces of evil. Can Teo and Ana bring divine truth to Chiveis—or will the Word of God fade from the earth forever?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Kingdom, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?

Book Blogger Hop
This week's question: 

What’s the ONE super-hyped book you’ll NEVER read?

My answer:

There are actually two books/series that come to mind: Fifty Shades of Gray by E.L. James and The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (I am NOT a vampire fan). While normally I don't like to say I'll never read a certain book (because you never know how you might feel later), I'm sure those are two I will never read.

There is my answer, what is yours? Please share in a comment below.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Interview & Giveaway! Darlene Shortridge ~ Author of Until Forever!

Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Darlene! Will you tell us a little about yourself? 

Lately I have been a bit of nomad, although we have truly settled in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. I am married to a great guy who writes a bit of non-fiction himself, so our household is always on the go. Our daughter is entering her first year of college, majoring in none other than English (who'd have thunk it?) and we homeschool our nine year old son. I absolutely love to cook and entertain. I want a big house, not to have bragging rights, but to have lots of room to hold lots of people. I have issues. I love to feed people. When I have downtime, I enjoy scrapbooking and card making. I got hooked a few years ago. It's a great way to just "not" think!

What is Until Forever about?

Until Forever is a story about forgiveness, of one’s self, of one another and from the world’s point of view, of God (not that He has done anything to need forgiveness for). Jessi, the wife of Mark, finds forgiveness hard to swallow when her husband gets into a car accident after drinking while their young son in the backseat. How do you forgive someone when they have done something “unforgivable?” As in real life, things are not always easy. Sometimes they are down right hard. This story will have you laughing and crying, and sometimes, it just might make a difference in someone’s life.

What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you?

I love to treasure hunt at Goodwill and garage/rummage sales. My nine year old will point out the signs to me to make sure I don’t miss one if we are out and about. I’ve created a monster! He gets mad if we miss one.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was in college I absolutely loved my writing classes. I had this epiphany. Why was I majoring in voice performance when I hated my voice classes? I ended up leaving college and I started writing, although my first novel, Until Forever, didn’t come until much later.

How many books have you written/published and do you have a favorite? 

I am currently working on book two in the Women of Prayer Series, Forever Blessed. I’m thinking it must be true what they say that a writer’s favorite work is the one they are working on. It’s a tough write as it deals with domestic violence. Not a pretty subject and one most people would like to sweep under the rug.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I’m not sure you would call this a quirk, but I have a steadfast rule. We don’t interrupt mom when she is
writing unless we are bleeding and/or dying. My husband had to be taught that rule when he was home for an extended period of time. Just sayin’.

Where do you like to write? 

I prefer writing on a balcony overlooking the ocean. But, since that has never actually happened, I’ll write wherever I can obtain some peace and quiet. I have also been known to write with a blaring video game in the background. My ability to tune things out has really come in handy for this vocation. Although I must admit my son has watched a few programs that he wouldn’t have otherwise been permitted to see.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I love spending time with my family. Just today we were driving down the road after a trip to Goodwill and the kids were arguing in the backseat and I just smiled. Having us all together, regardless of where we are, gives me the greatest joy.

Is there a place you’d like to visit, but haven’t yet? 

There are so many places that I want to visit. I would have to say Ireland and Israel are at the top of the wish list. To walk where Christ walked will be a very emotional trip for me. I’m looking forward to it. And Ireland because it is where mine and my husband’s family is from.

Do you have a favorite song and/or movie? 

At the moment, my favorite song is How He Loves by David Crowder Band and my top movie of many years is and probably always will be A Good Year, with Russell Crowe. The movie has a bit of a language issue, (some are English swear words and those just don’t count!) but the message of the overall movie is what gets me. I love that movie. I watch it anytime I need reminding of what is truly important.

What is your favorite dessert? 

Hands down Crème Brulee. Of course, if that isn’t available then hand me anything chocolate and we’re good to go.

Do you have a favorite Bible verse? 

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4) It seems as if the last few years of my life have been defined by these verses. What a joy to know that God thought of me when He wrote them.

Here are a few this-or-that questions:

Snowstorms or Thunderstorms? I lived in Wisconsin for many years and when I lived in the country, there was nothing more beautiful than a snowstorm. The snow glistening on tree branches, shining in the moonlight was amazing.

Tea or Coffee? Tea. Of course, a white chocolate mocha with three pumps of toffee nut, stirred from Starbucks would take first place, but that is a treat, not a regular occurrence.

Print or eBook? Print. Unless I am traveling and don’t have enough room for all the books I want to take. Then, my Nook.

Early-bird or Night-owl? This one is super easy. Night owl. Not a single “but” for this one.

Cats or Dogs? Oh dogs all the way. I have a saying about cats I think would make a great bumper sticker but I will refrain as I’d probably make some cat lovers hate me.

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?

I mentioned above that I am working on book two in the Women of Prayer Series. It is also an issue driven story. Laney is on the run with her three children from an abusive husband. Paul is bound and determined to find his insolent wife, no matter what it takes, and he will make her pay when he does. How can a woman trust a father figure God when all she’s known her whole life is abuse at the hand the men in her life? Forgiveness, grace and mercy seem to be the predominant themes running through my stories, at least for this series. Forever Blessed should be available later this summer.

Thanks so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and
where can we find you on the web?

I love to hear from my readers.  It really makes my day.  You can friend me on facebook at:  https://www.facebook.com/darlene.shortridge or https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDarleneShortridge

You can also find me on twitter at:  https://twitter.com/#!/ShortridgeD

You can also follow my blog if your so inclined at:  http://www.darleneshortridge.blogspot.com/ And my website is:  http://www.darleneshortridge.com/

It’s been great Melanie, thank you for having me! I look forward to hearing from your readers.

Book giveaway!

Here is how this giveaway works. If the winner lives in the US they have the choice between a print or eBook copy of Until Forever, but if the winner lives outside of the US, they'll receive an eBook copy. Open Internationally!

Enter via the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Some of the links in my blog posts, tweets, social media posts, etc. contain “affiliate links.” This means if you click on a link with my affiliate code and purchase an item(s), I will receive an affiliate commission. You won't be charged extra, I'll just receive a small percentage of the purchase price. See my disclosure page here.
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