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BOOK REVIEW: Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel

I love Christmas! For many different reasons but one reason is because of all the great Christmas novellas that my publisher (Pelican Book Group) releases during their Christmas Extravaganza. This year is no exception. Today, I’m featuring Crazy Creek Christmas by Lisa J. Lickel.

Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Besides writing inspiring fiction, she also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at LisaLickel.com.

MY BOOK REVIEW:

I love reading Lisa’s books.

They always have great characters along with an interesting plot. This one is no exception. This is not your everyday ho-hum romance. First of all, it’s set in modern-day Wyoming on the Rocking J Ranch. I mean really–how cool is that? Mountains and cowboys and Christmas!

Leah needs a job and Rocking J Ranch needs a cook. It sounds like the perfect situation….until she arrives. Things are a little different than she expected. OK, a lot different and not in a good way. It seems that not everyone’s happy she’s there. But that’s OK with her, she’s tough. Being raised in foster homes will do that. And she really needs this job.

Noel is the absent owner of the ranch but shows up with the intention of sharing his plan to sell the ranch to a development group. And that means he’s not popular with anyone, including Leah.

I’m not going to give away the plot but I will tell you that there’s lots of twists and turns. That’s the great thing about reading Lisa J. Lickel’s books. You just never know what’s going to happen. Only that something will happen. Definitely put this book on your holiday reading list.

 

 

Crazy Creek Christmas By Lisa J Lickel

 

AMAZON LINK

Crazy Creek, Wyoming saves Leah Hanes’s life. Running on fumes and bald tires, she thanks heaven for Cookie and Jeanette Wimmer who send her to the Rocking J Ranch as a winter cook. Leah arrives to discover the ranch and the people need more than a cook.

Noel Johansen, heir of the Rocking J, happily left for the big city years ago. When he loses his family in a terrible accident, the best thing for everyone is to sell the place, ditch the memories, and move on. But his brother-in-law has other plans, and the beautiful new cook they’ve hired for the season threatens Noel’s desire to remain detached.

The ranch represents Noel’s future and selling it becomes more important than ever when one more tragedy leaves him with nothing. But memories can’t be bought and sold, nor can a broken conscience heal itself. Home, heart, and future are irrevocably tied in Crazy Creek.

 

Enjoy an Excerpt from CRAZY CREEK CHRISTMAS:

 

Noel pushed through the passage into his mother’s dining area.

“Did that woman get here yet? I don’t want to have to haul someone’s…”

It was Gil’s voice Noel heard, but definitely not Gil’s face across the big table. Noel amended his language and raised his arms to brace himself against the sides of the doorway.

“Ah…vehicle…out of the ditch.”

Cupcake was a liar.

The vision before him was not some hardened woman used to ranch life and the lonely, harsh conditions of a Wyoming winter.

Jeanette and Cupcake sent a woman several years younger than himself, younger even than his sister. How could she have experience cooking? Noel stared. She was very pretty in a pinched, inexperienced way, with dark blonde hair pulled back from her face in a loose ponytail. She seemed startled, maybe even confused. The opposite of Carolyn in every way.

The folder with the contract was on the table. To one side, Marty rested on the table. To the girl’s other side, Gil huddled in his wheelchair. He’d obviously slid downhill since coming home from rehab last month. It didn’t look as if he’d done anything to keep himself or the place up in the weeks since Noel brought him home. Marty had been sick, Noel knew, but a visiting nurse was supposed to check in on them.

Mom would never have allowed this. Jeanette should have known better. What had she been thinking? The situation had clearly gotten out of control.

“I wasn’t expecting you,” Gil said.

“Clearly.” Noel snapped himself upright and walked in. “What’s going on? The place looks like it’s falling apart. I only left a few weeks ago.”

Gil gave a sideways eye-roll toward the young lady. “What are you doing here?”

“Jeanette and Cupcake sent a message.” Noel hedged. “Where’s the nurse?”

“After the first two weeks I told her she didn’t have to come back,” Gil said.

The young lady turned her face from their 1 exchange. Noel set his hands on his hips. “Excuse me. You’re…you’re Lady…Laney…La-something?”

The woman raised a brow at Gil, who had turned red.

“This is Leah Hanes. Leah, meet my brother-in-law.”

Noel put his hands on the table and leaned 8 forward, trying to get a look at the contract. Gil pushed the papers inside the folder and closed it. “Your car wasn’t outside,” Noel said. “As you can see, the situation isn’t going to work out. Thank you for coming.”

“I signed a contract, Mr…Mr. Brother-in-law.” Leah’s voice was not that of a young, inexperienced or nervous girl.

It was Noel’s turn to raise his brow.

Marty finally lifted his head, snuffled, and stared Noel straight on. “She got nowhere else to go. You can’t kick a body out when winter’s comin’.”

 

And there you have it! This is a fun read to get you in the mood for Christmas. Thanks,  Lisa, for being my guest today.

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

 

Tweets

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Breaking Anxiety’s Grip

Breaking Anxiety’s Grip by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

 

She’s done it again! I didn’t think Dr. Michelle Bengtson could top her first book–HOPE PREVAILS–but I was wrong. Hope Prevails is probably my favorite non-fiction book that I’ve read in the last five years. It’s premise is that depression has a spiritual component that can’t be ignored if you want to overcome the depression. When I was diagnosed with bilateral brain tumors and the consequences of them, depression reared its ugly head. This book helped me so much. If you’re facing any sort of a difficult situation, I highly recommend it.
Breaking Anxiety's Grip: How to Reclaim the Peace God Promises
Anyway, back to Dr. Bengtson’s new book–BREAKING ANXIETY’S GRIP.  In Breaking Anxiety’s Grip, Dr. Bengtson bravely shares her own struggles with worry, anxiety, and fear. And how she overcomes them through God’s Word.
God never promised that life would be easy, but He does promise to never forsake us. This book both teaches and inspires to trust God, no matter what life throws at us. Even if you don’t personally suffer from anxiety, there’s much to be learned from this book that will prepare you for when life does throw that curve ball at you.
On a personal note, I’ve come to understand just how important God’s Word is in this journey we call life. The Bible is so much more than just a book, it’s the key to accessing God’s power, developing a more intimate relationship with God, and living the life God created us for. After reading these two books from Dr. Bengtson, I believe she agrees with that philosophy as well.
I highly recommend this book.

THE STRING–CALEB BREAKEY

Welcome to the string. Let’s go over the ground rules.

Rule #1: Participation is mandatory.
Rule #2: If any one person refuses to play, the threats to all players will come to pass.

Since this is my game, allow me to introduce myself. I am the conductor. Just as musicians in a symphony must follow the conductor’s direction, the selected students and staff of Trenton University must submit to my commands . . . or risk massive chaos and deadly consequences. Even that pesky university cop, Markus Haas, who thinks he’ll find a way out of the impossible dilemma in which I’ve trapped him. Oh, the surprises I have for him.

Ready to play?

The String (Deadly Games Book 1) by [Breakey, Caleb]

Warning: Don’t start this book if you don’t have time to finish it. Each page keeps you guessing about what’s going to happen next. The String may be Caleb Breakey’s debut novel but it won’t be his last! If you like neat little stories that go from point A to point B to point C, don’t read this book. But if you love lots of action and suspense, this is the story for you. I’ve kept this review purposefully vague about the plot–I don’t want to ruin it for you.

Caleb Breakey has done a wonderful job creating a story that will not only keep you reading but keep you awake at night.

That’s how scary it is.

All Manner of Things–BOOK REVIEW

All Manner of Things

You know you’re getting old when you read “historical fiction” and it’s set in the time you grew up! And that’s all I have to say about that!

But then again, that’s why I chose to read ALL MANNER OF THINGS by Susie Finkbeiner. I grew up in the sixties and early seventies in a rural community so this book hits close to home.

Deciding to write a Vietnam era book is a brave thing, even now. That time still evokes strong emotions in those of us who lived it. Susie Finkbeiner has done a wonderful job recreating the innocence of the era as well as the conflict that marked the time.

I’m not going to give away the plot, but this is a book worth reading—whether you’re old enough to remember it or not. I’d definitely recommend it!

God Bless & Good Reading!

 

 

Review: Rise of the Mystics by Ted Dekker

RISE OF THE MYSTICS is the second novel in Ted Dekker’s Beyond The Circle series, supposedly a two-book series but he does leave the door open for more stories in his note to his readers at the end of the story. I read the first book last year and he tells you that you should read the first story before reading this one. A very good idea. I think you’d be completely lost in the story if you haven’t read THE 49TH MYSTIC.

And this is actually my second time reading both books. These are definitely books that can be read and enjoyed more than once.

The stories feature a young girl (17) named Rachelle. Rachelle finds herself caught between two worlds–Earth and Other Earth. When she sleeps in one of the worlds, she awakes to find herself in the other world. Are they merely dreams or two different realities?

When Rachelle wakes up in Other Earth, she discovers she’s more than just a girl–she’s The 49th Mystic. Thus begins her spiritual journey that will cross over between both her worlds–Earth and Other Earth. Her actions in one world has consequences in both worlds. As with any spiritual journey it’s not an easy thing. She has enemies in both worlds who want her to fail. And they are willing to do anything to make sure she fails–even if they have to kill her.

If you’re looking for an exciting book to read without the spiritual message, that’s OK. These books are great reads, with or without the spiritual message. I definitely recommend both books, but just as Mr. Dekker said, read The 49th Mystic before Rise of the Mystics.

 

God Bless & Good Reading!

REVIEW: The 49th Mystic by Ted Dekker

The story feature a young girl (17) named Rachelle. Rachelle finds herself caught between two worlds–Earth and Other Earth. When she sleeps in one of the worlds, she awakes to find herself in the other world. Are they merely dreams or two different realities?

When Rachelle wakes up in Other Earth, (a place she’s never been before) she discovers she’s more than just a girl–she’s The 49th Mystic. Thus begins her spiritual journey that will cross over between both her worlds–Earth and Other Earth. Her actions in one world has consequences in both worlds. As with any spiritual journey it’s not an easy thing. She has enemies in both worlds who want her to fail. And they are willing to do anything to make sure she fails–even if they have to kill her.

This book is definitely what I call a modern-day parable. What’s a parable? An earthly story with a heavenly message. There are many spiritual truths that are demonstrated in this book. However, if you just want an exciting story that will keep you turning the pages, this book fits the bill for that as well. Dekker had done a wonderful job crafting a story that can be enjoyed by all. Whether you choose to embrace the spiritual message or only enjoy the earthly story, this book is definitely worth your time.

The 49th Mystic is on my short list to read again!

ENCLAVE by Thomas Locke

Enclave

Enclave by Thomas Locke is the first book I’ve read by the author, but it won’t be the last.

I found the book to be a slower pace than many books these days–and that’s a good thing. It gave me time to get to know the characters in a way that fast-paced books can’t.  It reminded me of the classic cowboy novels of times past. and yet it’s set in the future.  A future that is rather dismal but certainly possible. Fifty years before there was a Great Crash that left America not just fractured but broken.

This story will keep you reading but it will also make you wonder–could this happen to America?

Definitely worth reading!

 

Here’s the back cover blurb:

It’s been 50 years since the Great Crash and what was once America is now a collection of enclaves, governed on the local level and only loosely tied together by the farce of a federal government. Catawba, one of the largest and most affluent enclaves in the southern states, is relatively stable and maintains a successful business of trade with nearby enclaves, including the one at Charlotte Township. But when a new vein of gold is found beneath the feet of those in Catawba, it’s only a matter of time before trouble finds them.

Now the future of Catawba may be in the hands of an untried 21-year-old trader named Caleb. And Caleb knows that if his secret were ever to come out, he would never see another dawn.

 

God Bless & Good Reading!