Saturday, May 19, 2018

Picture a Day - My Little Friend in Brenham


Recently, we were able to travel to an area that was new to us...Brenham, Texas.  It's about an hour east of Austin.  Such beautiful countryside.  It was Bluebonnet season and I was snapping lots of photos of the flowers in bloom.  

I fell in love with the sweet little fellow.  He was curious and came closer when I took his picture.  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Lone Witness by Rachel Dylan – Fast-Paced Suspense with Likable Characters


As someone who loves a good mystery, I’m always on the lookout for a good suspense novel and I found just what I was looking for in Rachel Dylan’s newest book Lone Witness, the second book it the Atlanta Justice series. 

Lone Witness tells the story of Sophie Dawson, a prosecutor in the city of Atlanta.  After presenting closing arguments against a crooked CEO, she wanted to get started on her newest case in the white-collar crimes unit.  Though the crimes may be different from the general trial division, what drove Sophie didn’t change.  She wanted to seek justice for those who had been victimized.  After putting in a long day at work, Sophie wanted to run in to the Quick-Stop for a snack on her way home.  That one little decision would impact her in ways she couldn’t have imagined.  Instead of being the prosecutor, she would be the lone eye witness against a gang member who brutally murdered two people.

What I liked about Lone Witness, was not only the courtroom drama, suspense and mystery, but also the characters.  They had interesting careers and were decent, likable people that I came to care about.  Rachel challenges the reader not to automatically categorize a character (defense attorney) as good or bad or assume you know their motives.  This book has some surprising twists and turns and it was interesting trying to figure out who done it.  I appreciated that the character’s Christian faith was woven into the story. 

Not only did I find a good book to read in Lone Witness, but I found an author, Rachel Dylan, whose work I liked and is new to me.  I look forward to going back and reading her earlier work and future novels.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for the opportunity to read Lone Witness in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 



Saturday, April 28, 2018

Beneath the Surface by Lynn H Blackburn – Likeable Characters and Interesting Scenario Make for A Good Read


I love mysteries and suspense novels and that’s what drew me to read Lynn H Blackburn’s newest book Beneath the Surface, the first book in the Dive Team Investigations series. 

The story begins with homicide investigators, Ryan Parker and Gabe Chavez, training for underwater crime scene investigations when they discover a body.  What started out an exercise has now developed into a murder investigation.  To help with the logistics, Ryan reaches out to a neighbor and old friend, Leigh Weston, to see if the police can use her dock for a few days. 

Soon, Leigh has some troubles of her own when she’s driving from home from work and her brakes give out.  Was it mechanical failure or something more nefarious?  Ryan and Gabe’s case load just got busier as they take a closer look in to Leigh’s accident.

What I liked best about this book are the very likable characters.  They are people I would like to know, I cared about them and about what happened to them.  It’s made all the more interesting as the mystery unfolds with new developments in both cases and unexpected twists.  I found the underwater crime scene investigation fascinating and enjoyed trying to figure out “who done it.”

Something the character Ryan said in the first chapter, “No one deserves to die forgotten.”, drew me in and I knew I would like this story.

I appreciated how Lynn wove the Christian faith into the lives of some of the characters and I hope that aspect of the story continues to be developed in the next book in this series.  Lynn’s knows how to tell a good story without resorting to filthy language or sexually explicit scenes.

There were times that the story seems to drag a bit as the story unfolded.  But it didn’t bother me too much because I liked the characters and interesting storyline. 

Lynn Blackburn is an author who is new to me and she’s going on my list of authors whose work I want to read.  I look forward to reading her earlier and future novels, especially book two of this series.

I would like to thank Revell Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read Lynn H Blackburn’s new novel Beneath the Surface in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 




Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel C. Rosenberg – You Won’t Want To Put This One Down


Joel C. Rosenberg is one of my favorite authors.  If he writes a new book, I want to read it.  So glad that I had the opportunity to read his latest book, The Kremlin Conspiracy. 

What newspaper can you pick up today where you aren’t reading another article about Russia?  Do the headlines about the Russian President, Russian journalists being murdered or former Russian spies being poisoned grab your attention?  If so, you will want to read Joel’s newest book, The Kremlin Conspiracy, which seems to have been ripped from today’s headline news.

The Kremlin Conspiracy is a novel about the increasing tensions and threat of a military show down between the United States of America and Russia.  Why in the world is Russia making a bold, but irrational, overreach of power?  Though set on the world stage, Joel make this story personal by following the lives of Marcus Ryker and Oleg Kraskin through their relationships, work and the people that surround them, some of whom are powerful and influential world leaders.  When their lives intersect how will they be changed?  The reader comes to know and care about these people as their countries come closer to being on the brink of war. 

From page 1 until the very end Joel holds the reader’s attention.  One way I can tell if a novel is really good, is when I put the book down I’m still thinking about the characters and wondering what will happen next.  There are some surprises in this story and you will be kept on the edge of your seat.  I’m already looking forward to the next book in this series.  I sure hope that Joel writes it quickly!

Something I especially appreciate about Joel’s books is that he weaves the Christian faith into some of the characters.  I like that he is able to write an interesting story that doesn’t include filthy language or details about sexually immorality.

If you like suspense novels or fast-paced political thrillers that keep you up at night, you will want to read Joel C. Rosenberg’s newest novel, The Kremlin Conspiracy.  You won’t want to put this one down!

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers, Inc for the opportunity to read The Kremlin Conspiracy for free in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.

#JoelCRosenberg
#TheKremlinConspiracy
#TyndaleHousePublishers


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Picture a Day - Spring in My Little World



Spring is busting out all over in our little corner of the world.  Enjoying the beauty of our Redbud...as are the bees.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Let Trump Be Trump by Corey R Lewandowski and David N Bossie – An Interesting and Insightful Look at President Trump, His Unique Campaign and Why He Won


So why would a conservative gal who backed Ted Cruz for President want to read Let Trump Be Trump – The Inside Story of His Rise to the Presidency by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie? 

If you had told me two years ago that I would read a book about President Trump, I wouldn’t have believed you.  When Trump was the Republican Presidential candidate, I was not happy and had to decide, would I rather Hillary be President or Donald Trump.  Looking at his time in office I see the President has kept a lot of his campaign promises and has made many conservative choices.  That’s why I wanted to read this book, to have some insight into President Trump from the people who worked hard to help elect him President.

I’m glad I took the time to read Let Trump Be Trump.  It was interesting to learn how he came to toss his hat in the ring for President.  It’s hard to forget the crazy 2016 Presidential election and I found it fascinating to read about what was going during the campaign and behind the scenes with Trump and within his inner circle. 

There are times I’d like to have the ability to delete some of Trump’s tweets, unpolished comebacks and offhanded remarks.  There are times I like President Trump’s unpretentious communication.  I appreciate that he is a fighter and truthteller, albeit unpolished, and he doesn’t take the garbage that the press tries to fling at him. 

In Let Trump Be Trump, the reader will learn about episodes during the campaign and from his life that helped make this man who he is or reveal what he’s like.  Despite his volatile temper and untamed mouth, Trump has lot of people who have worked for him over the years that are very loyal.  In this book you’ll find some insight into why that is. 

I give a thumb’s up and recommend Let Trump Be Trump by Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie.  It was an interesting and insightful read.  There’s some profanity in this book related to conversations by Trump and the people who worked with him, so if that’s something that bothers you, you may want to pass on reading this book. 

I would like to thank NetGalley and Hachette Book Group, Inc for the opportunity to read Let Trump Be Trump in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin – A Real Treasure – Fascinating Historical Fiction

I absolutely love finding a good book and I found a real treasure in The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin.  Not only did I find a really good book, but an author whose novels I want to read.

I selected The Sea Before Us based on the subject matter, World War II and D-Day.  My parents and grandfather were in the military and fought in World War II.  They were part of the greatest generation who fought with great courage to defeat Hitler. 

The Sea Before Us starts out in 1941 with a young man in Texas, Wyatt Paxton, who’s in middle of circumstances that will change the trajectory of not only own his life, but his family’s as well.  Fast forward three years to London, England where readers are introduced to Dorothy Fairfax a Second Officer with the Women’s Royal Naval Service.  Wyatt and Dorothy are just two of the British and Allied forces who are working diligently to prepare maps and intelligence for the troops and their upcoming invasion of France to beat back and crush Hitler, the German forces and all those who’ve perpetrated such great evil. 

The setting of the novel during World War II and the preparation for the upcoming Allied invasion was fascinating.  The author’s research and attention to detail comes through.  The characters were well written and I appreciated how their faith and personal growth was developed during the course of the story. 

I highly recommend The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin, it’s an interesting book with likeable realistic characters you will want to get to know.  This author knows how to write historical fiction that will grab you and keep your attention.  I look forward to reading Sarah’s earlier work and future novels.

I would like to thank NetGalley and Revell Publishing Group for the opportunity to read The Sea Before Us in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review. 


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad – Fascinating, Intense & It May Keep You Up Late

I love a good mystery filled with suspense and intrigue.  That’s why I wanted to read author Michele Rigby Assad’s new book Breaking Cover – My Secret Life In The CIA and What It Taught Me About What’s Worth Fighting For

Have you ever wondered how in the world someone ends up working for the CIA as spy?  It’s not like you take a class in school or get a degree in spying.  What type of person is well suited to become a spy?  As a Christian, how do you reconcile the deceptive practices that are necessary for spying with your Christian values?  Those are just a few topics that Michele talks about in her book Breaking Cover.

It was sobering to learn about what Michele and her husband Joseph experienced when they were in field.  They endured a lot, from the bureaucracy within the CIA, the transitory secretive life that being a spy necessitates and the ever-present perils that surrounded them.  Not just once and a while, but every day their lives were on the line.

Reading about what Michele endured, because she is a woman, gave me a greater respect for the work that she did and the sacrifices she and Joseph made to help protect our Country from those who sought to do us harm.  I couldn’t have done what she did, I would have quit!  There was one scene in the book that left a lasting impression on me.  Michele was driving to work in Iraq, not exactly a safe and friendly place for women.  She was at a stop light when all of a sudden some very evil men took notice of her.  Not good…not good at all.  How in the world was she going to get out this situation alive, much less unharmed?  That was just one of the many stories that gripped me and kept me up late at night to find out how things were going to turn out.

As intriguing as their ten-year careers were, it was interesting to see how they transitioned out of the CIA into regular life.  It’s not like you can fill out a resume and list your jobs and give references.  Michele shared that there is a high recidivism rate for CIA agents.  They end up coming back to work for the CIA because the transition can be too hard.

What I appreciated most about Michele and Joseph Assad’s story was how God had gone before them and was using the incredibly trying and difficult circumstances they lived in for ten years to prepare them for a greater mission.  They learned and honed their skills, talents, abilities and discernment.  One day, they would be called upon to employ all they had learned and much more to help bring to 150 Christians from war torn Iraq to safety. 

I came away from reading Breaking Cover more grateful for the Country we live in and freedoms we have.  I have a greater appreciation for the work that people in the intelligence community do to keep our Country safe. 

Breaking Cover by Michele Rigby Assad is fascinating, especially from the unique perspective of a woman being a CIA officer and a counterterrorism expert in the Middle East.  I highly recommend this book, but be forewarned, you may be staying up late at night because it’s too intense to put down.

I would like to thank Tyndale House Publishers for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of Breaking Cover in exchange for an honest review.  I was under no obligation to give a favorable review.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

This Broken World


It’s times like this Lord
I’m reminded of the brokenness of this world

It’s hard to know what to pray
Or how to pray
What can I do
Being so very far away

Let them be aware of Your nearness
Your presences guiding them through each day
Give them strength when they grow weary
In unseen ways, You help them to carry their heavy burdens

In ways, both big and small
Reveal Your tender mercies
Bring to remembrance a hymn or Scripture verse
That stokes the fires of faith within

A timely phone call from family or friends
Just to listen so they know someone cares
Bring to mind Christ Jesus the Lord
At the right hand of the Father interceding for them

When grief and sadness overwhelm them
Holy Spirit translate their groaning into prayer
Their tears are precious to You
You note each one that falls and hold them in a bottle

For the mind that is failing
Allow moments of clarity each day
Though they may forget everything else
Let them never, no never, forget their God

Their suffering is great
I can’t help but ask how long O Lord
I find assurance in knowing You have numbered our days
You know our end from the beginning

You have promised when this life is over
Your saints will be welcomed home in the loving arms of their Savior
In heaven there will be no more tears, sorrow, sickness or death
Until then Lord, bring them through this broken world


Susan Wachtel
February 11, 2018


Thursday, February 01, 2018

Picture a Day - Upside Down


Something I've been wanting to try is photography 
using a crystal ball to capture images.

Still learning to use this tool and I have lots to learn.
The crystal ball picks up the reflections of everything in range.

So far...I like it.



Thursday, January 18, 2018

Picture a Day - Peaceful Place



When staying at the Back Bay Inn you may find some peace and quiet.  Just looking at this picture brings me back to that peaceful place.

Picture a Day - My Little Friend in Brenham

Recently, we were able to travel to an area that was new to us...Brenham, Texas.  It's about an hour east of Austin.  Such beautiful...