Love's Prayer by Melissa Storm – New Release

Love’s Prayer by Melissa Storm
The First Street Church Romance, Book One
Genre: Inspirational Romance
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ABOUT THE BOOK:
From acclaimed author Melissa Storm comes the first in a brand-new series of sweet and wholesome small-town love stories with the community church at its center…
Summer Smith is at a crossroads in life. Fresh out of college with no idea what comes next, she agrees to take over her aunt’s flower shop for the season. She arrives in the small, close-knit community of Sweet Grove, Texas, hoping to find some answers.
Ben Davis has lived in the shadow of his family’s mistakes for years. Forced to give up everything he ever wanted for himself, he begins to consider taking his own life in a final effort to end all the pain. A desperate plea sent to the God he isn’t even sure he believes in is soon answered by a series of miracles that bring Summer and Ben crashing into each other.
Love’s Prayer offers a dramatic story about two people who must find a way to believe in each other and in themselves in order to finally find the place where they belong. This novel of finding faith, hope, and—ultimately—love in the darkest of times is sure to tug at your heartstrings and leave you craving more from the First Street Church Romances!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
 
Melissa Storm is a mother first, and everything else second.
She used to write under a pseudonym, but finally had the confidence to come out
as herself to the world. Her fiction is highly personal and often based on true
stories. Writing is Melissa’s way of showing her daughter just how beautiful
life can be, when you pay attention to the everyday wonders that surround us.
Melissa loves books so much, she married fellow author
Falcon Storm. Between the two of them, there are always plenty of imaginative,
awe-inspiring stories to share. Melissa and Falcon also run the business Novel
Publicity together, where she works as publisher, marketer, editor, and
all-around business mogul. When she’s not reading, writing, or child-rearing,
Melissa spends time relaxing at home in the company of her two dogs, five
parrots, and rescue cat. She never misses an episode of The Bachelor or
her nightly lavender-infused soak in the tub.
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Season of Sisters by Emily March – Review

In SEASON OF SISTERS, New York Times bestselling author Emily March weaves a compelling and thoroughly charming tale of three Southern women whose chance meeting at a charity bridal gown sale will change their lives forever.

Holly Weeks loves her boyfriend, but he miscalculated when he dragged her to a wedding gown sale. Marriage isn’t one of her life goals, and a pretty dress won’t change her mind. Nothing can change it – to her secret despair.

After her husband forgets their 25th wedding anniversary, Maggie Prescott finds herself lonely and abandoned in her empty nest. So she decides to donate her wedding gown to a good cause. Why would she hold on to either the man or the dress?

Grace Hardeman, a volunteer at the sale, has only one wish – to be enveloped in the warmth of her family as she celebrates her Golden Anniversary. But soon she unwittingly adopts a new goal: survival.These three women find themselves at turning points in their lives, and their unlikely friendship forges a bond of sisterhood – the last defense against a broken heart.SEASON OF SISTERS is a full-length, contemporary women’s fiction novel, originally published by Pocket Books with the title THE PINK MAGNOLIA CLUB written by Geralyn Dawson, a pseudonym for Emily March.

 Purchase on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1N6BNyo

From Amazon –

From the Author

Every author has a “book of her heart,”  that one novel they know they were meant to write. SEASON OF SISTERS is mine.

When I attended my first charity wedding gown sale, I was struck by the symbolism of the event.  In that room filled with wedding gowns, brides with their mothers, sisters, and friends searched for the perfect thing to wear on the most special day of their lives.  They shopped racks of gowns donated by women willing to give up one of their most prized possessions to benefit another woman, one fighting the battle against the disease that every woman fears–breast cancer.  It was a circle of life, a season of life, moments that touched me deeply.  Because I am a writer and this is what writers do, I knew I wanted to explore those themes in a book, and SEASON OF SISTERS is that story.
I’ve volunteered at many gown sales since, and more than once I met a bride who had lost her mother to breast cancer.  This story is my salute to all those moms who can’t be with their daughters on her wedding day.  As mothers, daughters, and friends, we remember and we support.  It’s a sisterhood thing.

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Emily March, aka Geralyn Dawson, lives in Texas with her husband and their beloved boxer, Doc, who tolerates a revolving doggie door of rescue foster dogs who share his kingdom until they find their forever home.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeno relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Emily invites you visit her website at emilymarch.com

 

My Review –

Season of Sisters by Emily March is a book with lessons to impart and take to heart. That old adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” remind us that each event, good or bad, is there to make us stronger, ready for even bigger events, good or bad. You can either hold your head up and charge forward or you can stand there and let the wind blow you over.

We see this over and over throughout the book as each of the three women share their stories and triumphs and help each other live the day-to-day with laughter and tears and support.

Although fiction, this book could be a time in each of our lives and it touched my heart deeply. Women can be petty at times, but there is nothing stronger than a woman who loves ferociously. I recommend this book to every woman and girl out there. Even a few men might enjoy it.

I am giving Season of Sisters five stars because that is the most that can be given. It is definitely a book worth reading.

 Purchase on Amazon – http://amzn.to/1N6BNyo

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee may be earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

 

ORGANIZING TIP OF THE DAY!

I was hanging my “outfit” for the next day on the edge of a shelf in my closet, and yes, it tended to get knocked off. I knew there had to be a better solution so I began digging around in a little cast-off box I have and found a few over-the-door hooks! That was all it took to make me a happy – and unwrinkled – camper!

In search of Red October…

OpenStreetMap Logo
OpenStreetMap Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, we are still on the hunt for our “perfect” boat. Actually we already know that boat does not yet exist. We are looking for a boat that we can make our own. Being DIYers, we have our own ideas about what we want in a boat and how we want it to function. It’s just a matter of finding the right hull for the right price and we may have just done that on this two and a half day driving trip we just completed!

It was a whirlwind, hit-the-road road trip through Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and back to Southern Louisiana! Now that’s logging a lot of butt miles! Out of all the boats we looked at, we think our boat is now sitting in Northeast Kansas and we live in Southern Louisiana!

This has been an educational journey if nothing else. I’ve learned about transoms and ribs and flying bridges, and sewage treatment plants, and outlaw rigging (some people do not follow codes) and bunk rooms and Volvo engines and Chrysler engines, two engines versus one and one versus two, and I could go on but you get the idea.

English: Map of the Arkansas River watershed i...
English: Map of the Arkansas River watershed in the south-central United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We think we’ve found the Affrikann Queen. Yes, that’s my Hubby’s spin on the name. You would have to read the story to understand how the name came about. After we started with the name, no other name seemed appropriate. We also knew after all the AQ name calling, if we actually named the boat something else, we’d still be calling it the African Queen. So there you have it.

In case you were wondering, we really did do 2,000 miles in two and a half days. We traveled through some beautiful country which made traveling pleasant. There were a lot of rivers and lakes and little creeks and as we passed each one, we talked about meandering up and down them in our boat.

Our little boat is sitting at a little marina located on a huge lake in Kansas. The man told us that the lake actually freezes in the winter and they use aerators to keep the water moving so it doesn’t freeze around the boats. I told you the journey has been an education. It is hard for us Southerners to understand how such a huge body of water freezes in winter. All we’ve ever seen is slush!

The man at the marina hopped in his golf cart and welcomed us aboard. Well, he welcomed Hubby aboard and looked at me as I checked out the steep hill he wanted to climb and back at him. He was patient and after another look, I decided to ride on the back seat looking backward so hopefully the view of the lake would distract me – that and I could pray without him noticing! I tried not to think of which route he would take back down to the marina. We had to traverse a pretty steep curve on the way down in the truck so I was hoping for the quick ride down over the curvy road.

The boat was on blocks and we had to climb a ladder. That was tricky, but I climbed it. Of course, Hubby was right behind me! He is quite aware of my Lucy tendencies and if I tumbled from the ladder, I would also be tumbling down the side of a very high hill. I climbed up and figured I’d worry about climbing down when the time came. (I did climb another boat and was ready to just live on it rather than climb back down. But that’s another story!)

Overall the boat is in great shape. The transom is rotten, but that’s not big deal when you know how to fix it. Hubby inspected the outside while I was busy gutting and redecorating the inside of the boat in my head. A girl’s has to have priorities! (I probably should have been taking pictures outside as well because when we got home Hubby asked to see the pictures I took of the outside – and, well, there were none.)

To cut this story short, we liked what we saw and I put the boat out on bid for shipping. Unfortunately, USPS doesn’t deliver and you have to rely on shipping companies. There are many reputable shippers out there and as soon as the bidding process is completed, we are hoping to make an offer on the boat. It is a huge expense that has to factored in when purchasing a boat far away.

Once we make the final decision, I’ll post pictures and write more about the journey.

And what’s a road trip without a trip to DQ! Chocolate X-treme. I highly recommend it.

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Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina by Lisa Karlin – Review

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Below the Water Line 2

Below the Water Line provides a gripping account of a family’s hurricane evacuation experiences and all that followed in the decade after Hurricane Katrina. The story begins in August 2005, when author Lisa Karlin, her husband, thirteen-year-old daughter, eleven-year-old son, and two dogs evacuated New Orleans for what they thought would be a two-day “hurrication.” The day-by-day account of the weeks that follow vividly chronicles the unprecedented displacement of thousands of Americans, and on a personal level, describes how her family makes the trifecta of major life decisions: where to live, where to work, and where to enroll their children in school. Below the Water Line provides a first-hand commentary on how everyday life has been impacted by Katrina’s aftermath and how, a decade later, there are still lingering effects of one of the most devastating events in American history.

For More Information

  • Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina is available at Amazon Kindle and Amazon Paperback
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Lisa KarlinLisa Karlin is the author of Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina. She is an oncology nurse who, unlike weather chasers who look for storms to track, has had the weather chase her, and these experiences are described in her memoir. Lisa lives in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband, daughter, son, and Yellow Lab named Buddy.

For More Information


Book Excerpt – 

The pool water is bathtub-warm, and the sky is postcard-perfect, clear and blue. Thirteen-year-old Samantha floats on a raft near me. My daughter has carefully positioned herself with her arms extended by her sides and her chin tilted up toward the sun. Since school started last week, her tan has faded and she is determined to preserve it. She lies perfectly still; her only movement is the subtle rise and fall of her chest as she breathes.

A major hurricane named Katrina lurks just a few hundred miles away, out in the Gulf of Mexico, but we are not concerned. Landfall predictions are still uncertain, and I’m expecting that this hurricane will turn to the east or west and spare New Orleans, just like all of the hurricanes in the past forty years have done.

I take notice when I come in from the pool, turn on the television, and see the satellite image showing that Katrina has increased in intensity, and is now bigger than the state of Texas. Even so, the hurricane watch area extends all the way from western Louisiana to the eastern edge of the Florida panhandle. Anything can happen with this hurricane at this point.

Late in the afternoon, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin calls for a voluntary evacuation. He says he’s adhering to the state’s evacuation plan, and will not order a mandatory evacuation until thirty hours before Katrina’s expected landfall so that people living in low-lying surrounding areas can leave first and avoid gridlocked escape routes.

My eleven-year-old son calls and tells me he’s ready to be picked up from his friend Colin’s house. On the stoop outside their house, Colin’s father asks if we are evacuating, and I tell him my plan is to watch the news and The Weather Channel and then decide. If Jim Cantore shows up in New Orleans, then we’re going to skedaddle, since he always seems to broadcast from the bulls-eye of a storm. Colin’s father says he plans to see how things look in the morning. And I have jury duty on Tuesday, I tell him. Can’t miss that!

My son John and I make a quick stop at Breaux Mart on the way home. Cars circle the parking lot, competing for the few open spaces. The store is clogged with people, and many shelves already are bare. I dispatch John to see if there are any hamburger buns still on the shelf. He reports back that just a few packages remain and like a fisherman, proudly holds up his catch. I see a few scattered packages of ground beef lying in a refrigerator case, and speed up to get there before anyone else does.

There’s nervous chatter in the long checkout line as people debate hunkering down or getting on the road. Older folks recall evacuating in ’92 after Hurricane Andrew blasted across southern Florida, and then entered the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward Louisiana. Andrew made landfall as a category 3 hurricane a couple of hours west of New Orleans, so we dodged that bullet. Hurricane Alberto in ’94 looked like it was headed for New Orleans, but veered off to the Florida Panhandle. And no one could forget evacuating for Hurricane Ivan last year and the arduous, tortuous process that was.

With ample time in the checkout line, many evacuation stories are told, eliciting nods of recognition from the people standing in the adjacent lines. We know all too well what it was like to batten-down the house, creep north along the interstates, spend a sleepless night out, and return a day or two later to sunny, intact New Orleans to start reversing the process. “Here we go again,” another “hurrication,” seems to be the sentiment of many in line. A number of people say they’re waiting to see how things look in the morning.

It’s inconceivable that a major hurricane is headed this way. The sky is clear, the air is still, and the sunset is spectacular. Buddy, our 80-pound yellow Lab, takes a leisurely swim in our pool while we eat dinner on the patio. It’s just another ordinary day.

All evening long, we wear down the television remote jumping from station to station. We, too, have decided to see how things look in the morning, knowing that a lot can happen in twelve hours. I’m still predicting that fateful turn that hurricanes take at the last minute, the turn that produces a collective sigh of relief from the people in their initial path.

We watch evacuation footage and see that even with the contraflow on the interstate this year, it’s no better than last September when about half of the people in New Orleans evacuated for Hurricane Ivan. Despite six lanes of traffic all heading westward, the traffic on Interstate 10 does not move at all. People are standing beside their cars, an impromptu and odd social gathering of sorts. Good thing we didn’t leave tonight, I tell my husband, Rich. We’d be stuck out there on the highway in the dark. I can’t imagine our family—two adults, two kids, and two dogs—inching along the interstate all night.

John plops down on the couch and announces that it would be fun (fun?) to evacuate at night. He tells us he would bed-down in our car, tell the dogs goodnight, and go to sleep. Rich raises his eyebrows. He knows our two kids would be squabbling before we back out of the driveway. And there’s no telling how Buddy and John’s 12-pound Jack Russell Terrier, which he named Jack, would handle a long car ride. We have trouble driving around the neighborhood with our dogs, and with our kids for that matter.

A news announcer casually mentions that Pat Sajak and Vanna White, who are in town taping New Orleans-themed episodes of Wheel of Fortune, have cut production short and are leaving. The “Wheelmobile” and eight tractor trailers of equipment are being readied for departure. It is the first time in its thirty-year history that the long-running game show cancels taping.

I silently pray that Katrina weakens and changes course, but the latest information indicates that this hurricane is strengthening and coming our way. Local weatherman Bob Breck pronounces that “the water will be so high that you’ll be on the roof with the cockroaches!”

Around 10 p.m., we are surprised to see Mayor Ray Nagin back on TV. He looks just as surprised to be on TV; earlier today, he said he would issue his next statement in the morning. The mayor says he received a phone call from Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, who in turn had received a call from the National Hurricane Center Director. The news is not good. As Nagin puts it, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is not a test. This is the real deal.”

Purchase  at Amazon Kindle and Amazon Paperback

My Review –

Just reading the excerpt brought back many memories. We that live in the Southern states have seen and participated in our fair share of hurricane evacs (evacuations), only to return as the hurricane scurried off to another state. The decision whether to evacuate or not weighs heavily on the individual mind, especially when children or elderly are involved.

Growing up, we never evacuated. My dad was a Louisiana State Trooper and as we all know, they are the last to leave the highways. They are busy until the last evacuee has made his way to a safe distance. Something to actually remember. It’s not only your safety you should worry about when deciding when to evacuate. After you are long gone, it is those same law enforcement officers and emergency personnel who are still trying to make their way back to a safe harbor after making sure YOU are safely on your way. Don’t be selfish. I thought those times were over for me until as an adult, I married a Louisiana State Trooper.

Before Katrina hit, we were all glued to our television sets, as the author said, wearing out the remote to see which channel would give the latest and greatest and hope against hope, that one of them would say, “You’re good. Stay put.” But that didn’t happen and when so many did not heed the advice to leave, a disaster was imminent.

It was the hurricane I spent on an offshore supply boat weighted down with pipe and sunk to sit on the bottom of the bayou alongside two more offshore supply boats. They were tied together and sat side by side across Bayou Lafourche. It became a community shelter. From the wheelhouse, safely tucked behind hurricane proof glass (we hoped) we watched transformers blow and our world go black. We watched the trees blow, illuminated by the giant spotlights on the boats. That is where I sat and watched and waited and prayed for hours before I saw the lone headlights coming down Louisiana Highway 1, battling the wind and rain of a hurricane already making landfall. I was watching for my husband to make his way back to me after being turned loose by the Troop and told to find safe shelter.

Lisa Karlin has managed to capture exactly what it was like to be a refugee, a survivor of Hurricane Katrina. She takes you along on her family’s evacuation journey and then their journey to regroup and rebuild a new normal. Having seen some of the devastation first hand, her descriptions of the storm ravaged area brought those memories back that lay forgotten in the recesses of my mind.

There were many times throughout the book that I found myself looking up and glancing outside to make sure we weren’t back there, in that time. I found myself thinking that I had to check our staples and did we have extra water on hand, dog food, fuel; was the generator in working condition. The book brought back memories of seeing the houses with the markings on television. I watched as the helicopters dropping sandbag after sandbag into the gap of the breached levee in order to plug the holes, the people stranded on the interstate and the bridges. This was how real and authentic the author’s accounting of the last ten years is in the book.

Below the Water Line made me laugh and made me cry. It is a wonderful and heartfelt story of the author’s journey through a turbulent time and moving forward. It is well written and I am giving it five stars. For those of you who have forgotten Katrina or are interested in an accounting of what it was like to be “one of those people from Louisiana” this would be a good book for you to read.

-From the author: Donna, Just wanted to thank you for your review of Below the Water Line, and thank you for your tweets as well! I see that you too had a Katrina experience and appreciate how you mentioned that in your review–I don’t think people truly understand what our experiences were like back then. I’m hoping for a quiet and uneventful hurricane season and wish you the best, Thank you again! Lisa

Purchase  at Amazon Kindle and Amazon Paperback

For additional pictures of New Orleans after the hurricane – http://interactives.krqe.com/photomojo/gallery/37167/632877/hurricane-katrina-destruction/new-orleans-east/

and

http://interactives.krqe.com/photomojo/gallery/37237/1/new-orleans-10-years-after-katrina/downtown-new-orleans-then-and-now/

My Life. One Story at a Time. is an Amazon advertising affiliate; a small fee may be earned when purchases are made at Amazon through the link above. A free book may have been provided by the source in exchange for an honest review. Views expressed by authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of My Life. One Story at a Time. My opinions are my own. This provided in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 55. 

Beauty and the Bull Rider by Victoria Vane – Cover Reveal

 Title: Beauty

and the Bull Rider

Author: Victoria Vane

Publisher: Lyrical Shine

Genre: Western Romance

Format: Kindle 

WHEN BEAUTY WANTS A BABY

Championship bull breeder and former Texas beauty queen Delaney McCall was
having a heck of a time finding a daddy for the baby she craved. A failed
marriage left her with no desire for another husband, but finding the right
stud to satisfy her needs presents a bigger problem that she could have
imagined.

AND THE
BULLRIDER WANTS BEAUTY
After hanging up his spurs, bull rider Zac McDaniel wants nothing more than to
fulfill Delaney’s dream of having a family. After all, his best friend’s ex has
been his fantasy for years. Zac, however, has no desire to be seen as just a
means to an end. And when Zac insists on doing things the “old fashioned” way,
their passion explodes like a bull out of the chute…
SOME
BUCKING IS BOUND TO HAPPEN 
While insisting it’s all just a passing fancy, the more Delaney sees the softer
side of the rough and tumble cowboy, the harder it is to keep her emotions
corraled. Zac, meanwhile, is more determined than ever to prove he’s what she
really needs, and will do whatever it takes to tear down the mile high fence
around her heart…
PRE-ORDER
INFORMATION
Beauty and
the Bull Rider is available for pre-order at  
Pre-Order on Amazon
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Victoria Vane is an award-winning author of smart and sexy romance. Her work includes everything from wild comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Her historical romances have received more than twenty awards and nominations to include the 2014 RONE Award for Treacherous Temptations and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 for The Devil DeVere series. She is now making waves in contemporary romance with her critically acclaimed Hot Cowboy Nights series from Sourcebooks (Slow Hand, Rough Rider, Sharp Shooter, Silver Tongue).
Look for her scorching hot Hotel Rodeo series coming from Kensington early 2016.

For More Information

Visit
Victoria’s website
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And ya gotta go up if ya wanna go down…

Living on the bayou is not always easy. Who am I kidding? It’s rarely easy. When you need something, it’s either up the bayou or down the bayou and far away!

IMG_4118Take this morning for instance. Hubby decided to start screening in the porch. You would know that he needed more screen and it was me who had to go and pick up another role so he and his helper could continue working. As you will frequently find, a bridge will be closed leaving you with no choice but to continue heading either up or down the bayou for the next open bridge.

That happened this morning. So, instead of a quick trip to the farm market, it was an extended trip to the farm market – many miles out of the way. Then, on the way back, the bridge I needed to cross was open so I had to sit in the turning lane on a narrow road as 18-wheelers and cars zoomed past me on both sides. It was nerve-wracking to say the least. The one good thing is that the employees at the store know my hubby and my merchandise was waiting for me once I arrived. IMG_4117IMG_4116IMG_4113IMG_4112IMG_4111IMG_4110