Monday, May 30, 2016

THE CACTUS CREEK CHALLENGE by Erica Vetch ~ Reviewed

I can't wait for you to meet this book. :)

So I'll get right into what I love about the story after a quick look at what it's all about:

Anything he can do, I can do better. At least that was what Cassie Bucknell thought before she pinned on Ben Wilder’s badge and took to patrolling the streets of Cactus Creek, Texas. Cassie has been in love with Ben since primer school, but Ben treats her like a little sister. When they are picked to swap jobs for a month as part of the annual Cactus Creek Challenge in their Texas hometown, the schoolhouse is thrown into an uproar, the jail becomes a temporary bank vault, and Cassie and Ben square off in a battle of wills that becomes a battle for their hearts.

My review:

The whole idea of a competition involving a sheriff, a teacher, a baker, and a livery owner switching jobs for a month sounds hilarious, and it is, but there's a deep, sensitive side to this fun tale that stole the story and stole my heart.

Amanda, the baker's daughter, doesn't talk much, especially to men. When her mama switches jobs with the big livery owner, Carl, she doesn't know whether to hide from him or take pity on him since he doesn't know how to bake anything but sourdough biscuits. The dynamics of these two characters and the sweet, hesitant emotional journey between Carl and Amanda's mother makes me want to sigh just remembering. Of course, Carl's character is especially memorable to me, since for some reason I kept seeing Carl as Chris Hemsworth. ;)

The main storyline of Cassie's trying to make Ben see her as a grownup will send you rolling with laughs. This book would make a great western movie. The kind my family could watch over and over.

And I can't forget to mention the school children. Oh, my lands, those twin boys! Erica must have first hand experience, because she writes those two so lifelike, I still miss reading about those mischief-making stinkers long after the last page. :)

If you'd like to purchase your own copy, here are a few links:
Barnes & Noble
Christian Book Distributors

To find out more about Erica and her books, check out her website.

Like the review? Give it a shout out by clicking the Tweetable below! :)

Review: THE CACTUS CREEK CHALLENGE by Erica Vetsch (Click to Tweet)

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Movie Remake Wishlist

Disney's Beauty and the Beast teaser trailer releases this week. That marks off one remake I've wanted for a looong time.

Take a sec to watch the trailer if you haven't. Squee! Then read on for more movie suggestions.

Since it's been so long since I did a random post just for fun, I decided I’d compile a list of all the movies I wish I could watch in a 2016 version. Not retellings, mind you, but in the original setting. :) You’ll notice several are westerns. I think it’s high time great westerns made a comeback. They’ve been “out” for so long, and now when the rare one is made, it's all dark and full of gruesome, twisted, on-screen violence. :( How about leaving a few things to the imagination?

Now to the list! My organizational side demands I alphabetize. Hmm. That sounded weird. Like a Sesame Street song or something. “My organizational—” Okay, okay, I’ll stop. :) These'll be MOSTLY alphabetical, in categories at least.

*If you know of any remakes of these films/TV shows made in the last 10 years or so, let me know so I can check them out!


Andy Griffith
(because we need a full-length film set in Mayberry)


I sing a mean "Waitin' for My Dearie" in the shower. My sister may hold a different opinion.

The Black Swan 
(the swashbuckling one with Tyrone Powers)
"There's a split in the main brace. What main brace? Uh, there's a barnacle on the cathead. Oh, all right. I'll be right up."


Calamity Jane
The Court Jester


Daniel Boone
Can you imagine a full-length movie of this made with today's technology?




Gone With the Wind

I have mixed feelings about this one...
Who could possibly play Rhett? And then they'd have to find someone to replace Vivien Leigh.

What if they completely mess up the movie? I guess that's a risk we'll have to take.


How the West Was Won

The Harvey Girls
(And actually make the leading man handsome this time and with a backbone. You’re welcome.)


Seriously, why haven't we had a more recent award-winning adaptation of this epic story? (They're wondering, too.)




Lorna Doone
Not that this one isn't okay, but I'd like to see it with a different cast and updated costumes.


My Fair Lady
(or Pygmalion, if you want a non-musical)




The Pirates of Penzance
(and all other Gilbert and Sullivan plays, please)
Though I don't think anyone can beat Kevin Kline's portrayal of the Pirate King.



Though I appreciate the effort, I'm not a huge fan of the ultra modern 2004 version. 
We need an epic, folks!

Lots of these!

Singing In the Rain

Show Boat

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
How I love this movie! My sister and I used to argue over which brother we thought was the handsomest. We always fought over Benjamin (orange shirt, far right). Now I lean toward Caleb (yellow shirt). It's the beard that won me over, y'all.
"Sobbin', sobbin', sobbin' fit to be tied."

Santa Fe Trail

The Scarlet Pimpernel
"Sink meh. Dashed rumpled uniform, wot?"
Sergeant York
I'm not a "war movie" person per se, but this one's a classic.



Tammy and the Bachelor

"I come from Virginie, Sir. I've been walkin' all the way alongside the wagon, ox-drawn. I've been sleepin' on the ground by night and walkin' all the day. I've come to this great house to sell fresh eggs. I'm totin' em in my bonnet."





White Christmas
I adore this version, but wouldn't it be fun to see it brought back for a modern audience?



The Yearling



-- Have any movies to add?
-- Can you think of any for the letters I missed?
-- Or maybe you want to tell me who you'd cast in a remake of your favorite older movie?

The winner of Erica Vetsch's His Prairie Sweetheart is Donna Brookmyer. Congrats! I'll be in touch with you soon! 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Book Feature: GOD'S WILL by Meghan Gorecki

Today I'm cheering on fellow author and blogger-belle Meghan Gorecki as she celebrates the second book birthday of her Depression Era novel God's Will. Check out the cover and back cover copy below, then stick around at the end of this post for a Rafflecopter giveaway!

Kathy Andrews is good at goodbyes. Her mother is sent to a sanatorium, her sister, left behind in Chicago, and her father, forced to roam looking for work. So she holds close to the only one she has left, her brother Danny. When the two go to live with the Marshalls in the sleepy town of Brighton, she doesn't let anyone past hello.

Elliott Russell frowns at his aunt and uncle's generosity--even though he and his sister are on the receiving end. He frowns, too, at the uppity city girl with a chip on her shoulder whom he can't get out of his head. When a tragedy rips apart what tenuous existence they manage to forge, will they find the sweetest place to be is in God's will--or will they turn their backs on faith that fails to protect against pain?


Meghan M. Gorecki is an author of inspirational fiction, a blogger, book reviewer and voracious reader. Taking her life a day at a time as God leads, she is pursuing a career in the publishing industry as an editor in training and as a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. A hopeless romantic, history and Marvel nut, she's also a redhead (thanks to a box), who knows way too much trivia about movie musicals and the Civil War. Find her on social media and at her blog, A Northern Belle (




Signed paperback copy of God's Will
Leather string journal
Ghiradelli dark chocolate sea salted caramel bar
Assorted tea bags
And a vintage inspired charm-locket necklace Meghan made herself.
(Open to US residents only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 9, 2016

HIS PRAIRIE SWEETHEART ~ Character Interview with Erica Vetsch

Hey, y'all! I'm so excited to have Erica Vetsch here on the blog for the very first time. Just to let you know, I plan to read every title this lady publishes. Her books are always lots of fun and speak to the heart. Stick around for a giveaway of her book His Prairie Sweetheart at the end of the post! 

Before we get into this character interview, here's a little about the book:

A Home for Her Heart 

After being jilted at the altar, Southern belle Savannah Cox seeks a fresh start out West and accepts a teaching position in Minnesota. But between her students' lack of English, the rough surroundings and sheriff Elias Parker's doubts and distrust, Savannah's unprepared for both the job and the climate. However, she's determined to prove she can handle anything her new town throws her way. 

Elias gives it a week—or less—before the pretty schoolteacher packs her dainty dresses and hightails it back home. But no matter how many mishaps he has to rescue her from, Savannah doesn't give up. Yet the real test is to come—a brutal blizzard that could finally drive her away, taking his heart with her…

Here's Erica, answering as Savannah Cox, the heroine of His Prairie Sweetheart:

Has anything significant happened in your life in the past two weeks?
People back home call it “The Humiliation.” I was jilted at the altar, all dressed in bridal array, with the flowers and music and guests…and my groom didn’t show.

Your most embarrassing moment?
For a long time, I thought “The Humiliation” would be my most embarrassing moment, but my most recent come-down was when I got sprayed by a skunk. Right in front of the man I wanted to impress. I was mortified right down to my shoe soles!

What is your first reaction when you meet a handsome gentleman? Blush? Stutter? Run? Flirt? Engage him in intelligent or witty conversation? Start an argument to see him flustered? Offer a helping hand? Ask a friend about him?
My sisters tell me that I put on my “Queen Face.” I sort of freeze up and fall back upon being ultra-polite. On the surface I look calm, but beneath, I’m in a bit of a dither.

Are there any children or pets in your life? What do you love about them?
I am a school teacher, and though I suppose I am biased, I think I have the most wonderful class in the world. As to pets, I wasn’t used to dogs, but there is a collie in my life now. He belongs to the local sheriff, and for a dog, he’s got quite a lot of character.

What happened the last time you spoke to a large group of people?
I’m not certain what you would consider large, but I have a class of eleven that I speak to every day. The challenge is that they only speak Norwegian, and I only speak English.

What are your hobbies?
I play the harp. Sometimes I play in church, but often I play for my students. Music seems to bridge the gap in our languages.

Do you have any grandparent figures in your life? How have they influenced you?
I don’t have any living grandparents, but my aunts, Carolina and Georgette, have had a big influence on me. Carolina is all starch and vinegar, and Georgette is all flutters and femininity. They had the raising of me and my sisters when our mother passed away.

Siblings? How many? Do you get along?
I have two younger sisters, and I love them very much.

Any current romantic interests?
I have sworn off men after being left at the altar, but I find myself strangely drawn to Sheriff Elias Parker. Though my head knows better, my heart doesn’t always listen.

When’s the last time you had a really good meal? Courtesy of whom?
Elias Parker’s mother is an amazing cook. She’s Norwegian, and she’s introduced me to the cuisine from that country. I love rommegrot and krumkake and lefse, but I do NOT like lutefisk at all.

Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and romance, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical romances. Whenever she’s not immersed in fictional worlds, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.

Erica Vetsch - Faith, Love, & History-Ever-After

Erica is generously giving away a copy of His Prairie Sweetheart. Choice of e-book or paperback for US residents, e-book for non-US entrants. To enter, leave a comment with your email address (email AT server DOT com). Ends May 23, 2016.


1. Let me know in your comment that you've subscribed to:
  • Erica's e-newsletter
  • My e-newsletter 
  • My blog by email 
  • Erica's blog by email 
2. Paste a link from where you've shared the giveaway on social media
3. Let me know where you learned about the giveaway.***

***If you learned about this giveaway on a Facebook page, please let me know which page (I post on several). That way I'll know which page better reaches you for future giveaways!

Comment Fodder:
-- Do you have a memorable experience teaching children school or Sunday School?
-- Have you ever had to communicate with someone who didn't know your language? Tell us about the experience.
-- Do you have a dog or a pet you love? What kind of pet? What is its name?
Giveaway: HIS PRAIRIE SWEETHEART by Erica Vetsch (Click to Tweet)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Surprise Book Giveaway!

Heads up, ya'll! 
I'm giving away a "surprise" Christian historical romance on Savanna Kaiser's blog, The Engrafted Word. Click on the photo and enter with the Rafflecopter gadget on her blog!

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2016 New Fiction Releases from #ACFW

Oops! I'm late posting this one. I turned my ankle last week (my failed attempt to be athletic and exercise) and in all the commotion I've let my emails and blog duties slide. Here is a fresh batch of fiction goodies for you from the Fiction Finder website. If you haven't checked out the place, it's pretty amazing for staying up to date on "Who's writing what next?"

P.S. I haven't drawn the winning names from Patty Hall's giveaway, but I will do so and contact the winners sometime today. Thanks!

May 2016 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Amish Romance:

Amish Firefighter by Laura Hilton -- Banished from home and blamed for a barn fire at her new residence, Abigail Stutzman is desperate to prove her innocence. But God doesn't seem willing to help. Volunteer firefighter Sam Miller is determined to atone for his past. When local barn fires escalate, everyone suspects arson. And since the Miller family are among the victims, Sam means to see the perpetrators are brought to justice. When Abigail and Sam meet at the site of a barn burning, the emotional intensity rivals the warmth of the flames. Soon, they must decide whether this fire is one they should feed or extinguish. And they'll discover that the truth can prove more dangerous than a blazing inferno. (Amish Romance from Whitaker House)

Biblical Fiction:

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar -- Before Christ called her daughter . . .Before she stole healing by touching the hem of his garment . . .Elianna is a young girl crushed by guilt. After her only brother is killed while in her care, Elianna tries to earn forgiveness by working for her father's textile trade and caring for her family. When another tragedy places Elianna in sole charge of the business, her talent for design brings enormous success, but never the absolution she longs for. As her world unravels, she breaks off her betrothal to the only man she will ever love. Then illness strikes, isolating Elianna from everyone, stripping everything she has left. No physician can cure her. No end is in sight. Until she hears whispers of a man whose mere touch can heal. After so many years of suffering and disappointment, is it possible that one man could redeem the wounds of body . . . and soul? (Biblical from Tyndale House)

Contemporary Romance:

Kiss the Bride Novella Collection by Robin Lee Hatcher, Melissa McClone, and Kathryn Springer -- Picture Perfect Love by Melissa McClone: Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away, but he wrongly blamed wedding photographer Jenna Harrison for ruining his political aspirations. Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love? I Hope You Dance by Robin Lee Hatcher: Groomsman Grant Nichols and former rodeo queen Skye Foster are no match on paper. But when the male kitchen genius and the rodeo queen-turned-dance-tutor step onto the dance floor, they create a melody all their own. Love on a Deadline by Kathryn Springer MacKenzie: Newspaper social events writer "Mac" Davis is charged with covering the celebrity wedding of her high school nemesis. The only highlight of the job is spending time with Ethan Channing, the bride's older brother—and Mac's first crush. (Contemporary Romance from Zondervan)

An Informal Introduction by Heather Gray -- An ICU nurse and a state trooper find their lives crossing paths professionally and personally. (Contemporary Romance, Independently Published)

The Cowboy's Twins by Deb Kastner -- Hardened cowboy Jax McKenna finds twin girls on his doorstep, and only new-to-the-area Faith Duggan, who needs horse-whispering Jax's assistance with her new mustang rescue, can help make Jax the daddy he longs to be. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Rescue Me by Sandy Nadeau -- First Responder Ronnie Spencer has a no-dating-firefighters rule. She lost her father to a fire, and won't risk the heartbreak of losing someone else. But when Steve McNeal returns, Ronnie's heart is tested. How can she swear off dating a firefighter when she has to work with the one man she used to love? When the unthinkable happens, Ronnie has doubts. How can a loving God allow tragedy to stalk her life again? As her faith wavers, Ronnie must decide. Will their blossoming relationship be quickly extinguished by the very thing she feared, or will Ronnie trust God and allow her heart to be rescued--even if that means giving it to a firefighter? (Contemporary Romance from Harbourlight Books [Pelican])

Falling for the Hometown Hero by Mindy Obenhaus -- After returning home wounded from an IED attack, former soldier Kaleb Palmer is hailed as a hero. But survivor's guilt makes him feel like a fraud. He hopes setting up a business in Ouray, Colorado, will give him a purpose and help him forget. But his new office manager has her own plans. Grace McAllen brings light and hope wherever she goes, and she's getting Kaleb to open up. As she helps him make Mountain View Jeep Tours a success, Kaleb realizes a happy ending is in reach, if he can convince Grace to stay in town--and his life--forever. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Her One and Only by Becky Wade -- When NFL super star Gray Fowler is threatened by a stalker, his team hires a professional bodyguard to ensure his safety. But when Gray's "protection" turns out to be a woman half his size, he's indignant. Will Dru Porter--a former Marine and expert markswoman--prove herself worthy of the job? And meanwhile, who's going to guard Gray's heart? (Contemporary Romance from Bethany House [Baker])

Historical Romance:

Sofi's Bridge by Christine Lindsay -- Can Sofi trust Neil, whose gentle manner brings such peace to her traumatized sister and such tumult to her own emotions, and can Neil, the gardener, continue to hide from Sofi that he is really Dr. Neil Galloway, a man wanted for murder? (Historical Romance from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin -- For plucky Lillian Avery, America's entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. She loves the wartime challenges of her new job but spurns the attention of society boy Ens. Archer Vandenberg. As Arch's destroyer battles U-boats along the East Coast, Lillian uncovers a black market drug ring. Arch and Lillian work together on the investigation, but can he ever earn her trust and affection? (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker])

His Prairie Sweetheart by Erica Vetsch -- After being jilted at the altar, Southern belle Savannah Cox seeks a fresh start out West and accepts a teaching position in Minnesota. But between her students' lack of English, the rough surroundings and sheriff Elias Parker's doubts and distrust, Savannah's unprepared for both the job and the climate. However, she's determined to prove she can handle anything her new town throws her way. Elias gives it a week--or less--before the pretty schoolteacher packs her dainty dresses and hightails it back home. But no matter how many mishaps he has to rescue her from, Savannah doesn't give up. Yet the real test is to come--a brutal blizzard that could finally drive her away, taking his heart with her… (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])


Murder Comes by Mail by A. H. Gabhart -- Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane must desperately try to protect those he loves when a serial killer threatens all he holds dear in Hidden Springs. (Cozy Mystery from Revell [Baker])

The Progeny by Tosca Lee -- Emily Jacobs is the descendant of a killer. Now, she's become the hunted in a 400-year-old war between the offspring of "Blood Countess" Elizabeth Bathory, the most prolific female serial killer of all time, and a secret society dedicated to erasing every one of her posterity. She's on a quest that will take her to the secret underground of Europe and the inner circles of three ancient orders--one determined to kill her, one devoted to keeping her alive, and one she must ultimately save. (Supernatural Thriller from Howard [Simon & Schuster])

Medical Judgment by Richard L Mabry, MD -- Someone is after Dr. Sarah Gordon. They've stalked her, then set a fire at her home, and she has no idea what will come next. Her late husband's best friend and a recovering alcoholic detective are trying to solve the mystery before it's too late, but both appear to be vying for her affection as well. Sarah finds herself in constant fear as the process plays out. The questions keep mounting. Who is doing this? Why are they after her? What will they do to her? Will it mean her death? And, meanwhile, whom can she trust? (Medical Thriller from Abingdon Press)

Romantic Suspense:

Sins of the Past by Lynette Eason, Dee Henderson, and Dani Pettrey -- In Dee Henderson's "Missing," a Wyoming sheriff is called to Chicago when his elderly mother goes missing. Paired with a savvy Chicago cop, the two realize her disappearance is no accident and begin a race against the clock. In Dani Pettrey's "Shadowed," adventure, romance, and danger collide when a young fisherman nets the body of an open-water swimming competitor who may actually be a possible Russian defector. Lynette Eason's "Blackout" delivers the story of a woman once implicated in a robbery gone wrong. The loot has never been found--but her memory of that night has always been unreliable. Can she remember enough to find her way to safety when the true culprit comes after her? (Romantic Suspense from Bethany House [Baker])

Medusa's Hands by Monica Mynk -- When Megan's friend goes missing, she has to team up with her alcoholic stepbrother to save her from a human trafficking scheme. (Romantic Suspense from Mantle Rock Publishing)

Women's Fiction:

Home to Chapel Springs by Ane Mulligan -- Trouble comes to Chapel Springs in the form of a homeless author, a heartbroken daughter, and a theatre ghost. (Women's Fiction from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

All About Mercie by Sharon Srock -- Scottlyn Rich is sixty-seven days from her wedding to Grant Weber, but she feels more orphaned and adrift than ever. Until her mother walks through the door. Grant Weber has spent two years earning Scottlyn's trust and can't believe how easily she accepts her mom's excuses. There's something off about Jocelyn Rich and he's determined to find answers even if it costs him everything. Will Scottlyn allow deception to derail her future, or will she take hold of wisdom and realize that her life truly is all about Mercie? (Women's Fiction from A Blonde and a Prayer Books)

The Mercie Collection by Sharon Srock -- The Mercie Collection is three novellas in one. For Mercie's Sake: A teenage victim of rape is disowned by her family when she refuses to abort the child she carries. Determined to raise her baby, she finds refuge with a widowed school teacher harboring sorrows of her own. Begging for Mercie: College student Scottlyn Rich is about to celebrate her daughter's first birthday when she receives news that the young man who raped her has died in prison. His grieving mother wants custody of Scottlyn's child. Can God find a way to bring peace to both women, or will someone end up begging for Mercie? All About Mercie: Scottlyn Rich is weeks away from her wedding to Grant Weber, but she feels more orphaned and adrift than ever. Until her mother walks through the door. Grant Weber has spent two years earning Scottlyn's trust and can't believe how easily she accepts her mom's excuses. He's determined to find answers even if it costs him everything. Will Scottlyn allow deception to derail her future, or will she take hold of wisdom and realize that her life truly is all about Mercie? (Women's Fiction from A Blonde and a Prayer Books)