About Me

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I'm a librarian by day, a writer by night, and a reader and amateur photographer in between. I love to share books and other things that interest me. My own book - The Marshal Meets His Match - released January 2013. You can also find me at www.facebook.com/ClariDees

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Millie's Treasure

Calling all readers who enjoy adventuresome, historical, romantic reads -- this book is for you!

Millie's Treasure by Kathleen Y'Barbo is the second book in The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series, and it's just as enjoyable as the first book, Flora's Wish.

Back Cover Copy:
MEMPHIS 1889 -- Bookish heiress Millie Cope is as clever as she is beautiful. Unfortunately, though adept at solving puzzles and cryptograms, she doesn't realize her new fiance isn't who he claims to be, but is a charming scoundrel. The notorious Will Tucker is passing himself off as a British gentleman, Sir William Trueck, though in reality he is a crafty criminal looking for a hidden map to a secret treasure.

Pinkerton agent and part-time inventor Kyle Russell has been on Tucker's trail for years. At last Kyle believes he has Tucker cornered, but he is uncertain whether the lovely woman on the con man's arm is an unsuspecting victim or a willing accomplice. Finding reasons to spend time with Millie is easy. Keeping himself from falling in love with her is another issue entirely.

That snippet barely scratches the surface of all the fun just waiting to be discovered within this story's pages. But I don't want to spoil any of the surprises, so take my word for it, you need to read this one. From the streets of Historic Memphis to the bayous of New Orleans, from charming con men to legends of lost pirate treasure, from witty inventions to surprising family secrets, this book has it all, including a wonderful hero, a spunky heroine, and a heart-warming love story. 

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It's here!
The third book in Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series.

My copy is on it's way and I can't wait to dive in. I am really enjoying this author, and I'm thrilled the series is set to continue for several more books. Yeah!

And here's more good news. In celebration of Dani's newest release, she's hosting a Huge giveaway.
Click on the link below to find out more about the giveaway and to enter. 

Enter the ALASKAN ADVENTURES Sweepstakes from Author Dani Pettrey

Head on over and check it out! 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Best book I've listened to this summer

 I have read and enjoyed several SEAL books and had been wanting to read this one as well, but I have a tottering stack of books waiting and not as much time to read as I'd like. So, I downloaded the Amazon's Audible audio version of Rorke Denver's Damn Few as part of their Whisper Sync deal with the Kindle purchase.

It was well worth the purchase price!

Lieutenant Commander Rorke Denver is one of the active-duty SEALs that participated in the movie Act of Valor (which I have watched more than once),

and he has led 200 commando missions. As executive officer in charge of training Navy SEALs for several years, he has a very unique and fascinating perspective from the other SEAL accounts I've read. He has a delightful sense of humor that made me laugh in more than one place. I would have really enjoyed reading the book, but hearing it narrated in the author's own voice added an extra level of enjoyment. (He has an awesome voice!)

If you're looking for a fast-paced, exciting read, I highly recommend Damn Few. And if you want to get a lot of things done on your to-do list, I strongly suggest you pick up the audio version and listen to it while you work. Or drive. I could hardly stand to turn it off when it was time to go to work.

I've listened to several audio books this summer, but this one is my favorite so far. I will be listening to it again, and probably reading my Kindle copy, too. It's that good.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

God's own fireworks display

I love this time of year. 

I love the prominent display of patriotism: the flags, the red, white, and blue banners, the stars, the fireworks, the parades.

I love the weather. (Yes. Even when it's hot and sticky.)

And I love the display of wildflowers in full bloom.
It's like watching God's personal fireworks show.

The chicory launches explosions of blue and purple color skyward.

The Queen Anne's lace gets in on the action with big flares of white.

The lilies send their bright orangey-red star-bursts into the air.

Followed by the silvery-white sparklers of sweet clover and daisy fleabane,

and the bright yellow fountains of bird foot trefoil.

Happy Independence Day, America!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Stealing the Preacher

I have loved every book Karen Witemeyer has written, so I was really looking forward to her latest release, Stealing the Preacher, which continues the story of the Archer brothers who we first meet in Short-Straw Bride.

I am thrilled to report that the book has not only lived up to my expectations, it completely surpassed them.

Back cover copy:
On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?

I loved the fact that Crockett Archer is a tough, gun-toting, not-afraid-to-get-his-hands-dirty preacher who knows when to let his actions speak for him and when it's time to let someone have it with both barrels. :-)
The way he lets his faith shine through his work not only made old Silas Robbins set up and take notice, it made me stop and think about how I live out my own faith. 

This story really touched my heart and without giving away any spoilers, by the time a certain climaxing scene between Silas and Crockett rolled around, I had tears in my eyes. 

Don't worry, the book didn't leave me crying. Within a few pages I was ready to smack a certain blond, interfering female. :-) But of course, by the last page, I was smiling and sighing in satisfaction. 

If you haven't read any of Karen's books yet, you're missing out on some delightful storytelling. I wholeheartedly recommend any and all of Karen's books for your own collection. Check her out today!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Talon: Combat Tracking Team

Back Cover Copy:
     Her brother is missing. And her only chance of finding him lies with a combat dog that has lost his edge.

     All Air Force veteran Aspen Courtland wants is her brother back. The US Marine Corps says he's dead, but Aspen won't believe it till she sees his body. Her only hope is her brother's tracking dog, Talon, but a brutal attack has left the dog afraid of his own shadow. 

     The truth is something Military Intelligence Operative Dane Markowski has never faced. But now it's the only thing--along with Talon's help--that can save him. But working with Talon means teaming up with Aspen as well, and Dane swore he'd never work with a woman. 

     Eventually they join forces to battle the elements and extremists. But if Talon can't rise up to his former glory for one last mission, the only outcome for all three will be game over.


Talon: Combat Tracking Team is everything I hoped it would be and more! Book one of this series, Trinity: Military War Dog (see review here), gave us a glimpse of Aspen Courtland and Talon, so I was eagerly awaiting their story. 

I. Loved. It!

Explosive missions, hair-raising danger, deadly secrets, spies, romance (it has to have a little romance to sweeten it, you know :-), Talon has it all. If you want an adrenalin rush without ever leaving your chair, you have to try Ronie's books! She writes characters that are so real to me, I find myself wondering what they're doing, long after I've closed the covers of the book.

Which is why I'm impatiently waiting for the next book in the series, Beowulf: Explosives Detection Dog, which releases in January.

Now hurry up and grab yourself a copy of Talon: Combat Tracking Team. And while you're waiting, check out the book trailer...

Monday, June 10, 2013


Shattered is the second book in the Alaskan Courage series. (See my review of book one here.)

From the Back Cover:

When her prodigal brother Reef's return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon's career in jeopardy.

When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself--and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada's rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

I absolutely loved my return visit to Alaska with the McKenna clan and had trouble putting the book down to do other things. Really?! Who needs to go to work when you can follow Deputy Logan and Piper McKenna around Alaska and Canada?! (Just watch out for the bad guys!) :-)

It's awesome to have another author to add to my list of favorite romantic suspense/adventure writers. Dani Pettrey is right alongside Dee Henderson, Ronie Kendig, and Irene Hannon. And if you haven't discovered Dani's writing yet, you're missing out. You need to head to your nearest bookstore now!

Book three, Stranded, releases September 1st. I can hardly wait!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I'm hooked on Elizabeth Camden

Last year I reviewed Elizabeth Camden's Rose of Winslow Street.
Click here to read the review.
The book was so good that I ordered her other two books. This week, I picked one of them out of my ever-growing to-be-read pile and was instantly reminded why I liked this author in the first place:

Elizabeth Camden's writing sucks you in and doesn't let you go. Not even when you've turned the last page and shelved the book.

In The Lady of Bolton Hill, we meet Clara Endicot, American-born female journalist who has made a reputation for herself by championing the poor of London. But now she's come home to find that her childhood best friend, Daniel Tremain, is no longer an impoverished factory worker. He's a powerful industry giant whose business practices are hurting the very people she's dedicated herself to help.

Sparks fly as these two reunite, but can Daniel let go of the revenge that's driving him? Or will the consequences of his vendetta destroy the very person he cherishes the most? 

I loved the characters in this book so much! Elizabeth Camden creates heroes that make you fall a little bit in love and heroines who are strong enough to handle them. 

When the book ended, I was so glad I had the next one on hand, because one of the characters you meet in The Lady of Bolton Hill has his own story in Against the Tide. I grabbed it and started reading. 

Lydia Pallas finally has a job she loves, a home she loves, but most importantly, the elusive security she has searched for since losing her family at a very young age. That is, until Alexander "Bane" Banebridge walks into her life. There is nothing safe or secure about Bane, but Lydia is irresistibly attracted to the aggravating yet charming man. 

When her translating skills draw her into Bane's private war against the most dangerous criminal organization on the East Coast, will Lydia survive to find the real source of security? 

Oh. My. Goodness! I loved Bane! He's almost larger than life, but totally believable. I loved his roguish gentleness with Lydia as well as all the twists and turns and suspense in the story.

Do yourself a favor and read these two books. In the world of historical fiction, Elizabeth Camden just landed at the top of my pre-order-their-next-release list. And "Yay for me!" Her next book releases in August. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A sweet and easy treat

My sister found a new-to-us cookie at our Aldi store and included it in a special snacks-for-work basket that she gave me at Christmas. Since then, I'd been thinking that it would make a really pretty treat.

This weekend I gathered up the ingredients, put it together, and it was an immediate hit.
And oh, so, easy.

The ingredients:

The results:
They were wonderful!
The perfect light dessert for spring and Easter. In spite of the fact that it was dumping 9+ inches of snow outside.

If you like Nutella and strawberries and have an Aldi nearby (or can find an equivalent cookie), try it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Bunch of Freebies as of March 13, 2013

Free sounds good, doesn't it?

I like free books. Especially if they're good ones. And there are some free e-books available right now that are excellent. If you have an e-reader or the Kindle app on your computer or mobile device, then you need to check these out. Because after all, one can never have too many books. You never know when you might need a backup to pull out and read while you're waiting in line or sitting at the doctor's office. :-)

So without further ado...

 I've read this one and have it on my shelf. Excellent!

 If you haven't tried a Mary Connealy book yet, here's your chance! Great fun!

 I haven't read this one yet, but I just downloaded it because I really enjoy this author.

 Another author I enjoy and a good read.

I haven't read these next ones yet, but they're waiting on my Kindle for me. Heartsong titles are shorter reads, but I've always found them quality writing. So if you're looking for quicker fare, check these out.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Flora's Wish

From the minute Flora ducked behind the greenery in the ballroom and proceeded to climb out the fourth story window, she not only had Pinkerton Detective Lucas McMinn's attention, she had mine as well!
Fatal Flora, so-called because of the death of four fiances, needs to get married and she needs to get married fast. Trouble is, her latest fiance keeps disappearing. And the Pinkerton Detective thinks she has something to do with it. 

Lucas McMinn will get his man if it means clapping the lovely Flora Brimm--of the Natchez Brimms--in jail.  But if he's going to catch Will Tucker, the slippery thief/fiance, he needs Miss Brimm as bait. So for now, handcuffs will have to do.

Will Flora convince Lucas that Will Tucker isn't a thief and that she's not part of his latest scam? Will Lucas be able to convince Flora that Will Tucker is a thief and be able to keep Flora from the danger that neither one realize is lurking in the shadows?

This story is non-stop action. The pace doesn't stop or slow down from page one to page The End. And I loved the characters--Grandmama Brimm's a hoot! (But don't tell her I called her that. She won't appreciate it! ;-)--and Flora and Lucas... They are so much fun together. Handcuffs, fourth-story windows, clever inventions... You just have to read this one.  It's going on my keeper shelf to read again. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snow day

What do you do with over a foot of snow and leftover Valentine's Day candy?

I'm so glad you asked.

First you make a batch of snow ice cream...
(The batch was much larger than this before we all dug in :-)

Then you take the leftover miniature chocolate bars in their plastic, sealed wrappers...

Place the candy bar someplace warm (like on the top of the toaster oven that you've learned gets warm while in use), and once it's melted, tear off a small corner...

Squeeze gently over the snow ice cream...

And within seconds, you have a semi-hard chocolate shell/garnish over the ice cream.

It's deliciously decadent!

(No pets or small children were harmed in this experiment. Snowflakes on the other hand...it was a massacree!)  


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

To Whisper Her Name

If you haven't grabbed this book yet, you're missing out on a a wonderful read. I thoroughly enjoy it when a writer incorporates our rich history into a story, and Tamera Alexander makes this time period come alive. I loved learning about this plantation in Nashville. But even if you're not a big fan of history, I know you'll enjoy this story. The characters come alive and walk off the pages, and before too many chapters have passed, they feel like old friends.

Ridley Cooper is a hero to fall in love with. His gentle persistence in storming the defenses Olivia has surrounding her heart is beautiful to watch. And the secondary characters... I wanted to sit down in the kitchen for beaten biscuits with them, ride the horses with them, go to church with them... 

This is a book well worth your time and hard-earned dollars. But you don't have to take my word for it. Even my senior-in-college brother loved it. :-)
And to whet your appetite, here are some more videos from Belle Meade Plantation; the location for To Whisper Her Name.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

El Rachum - God is Merciful

I don't know about you, but I don't like trouble. I don't like pain. I don't like uncertainty. Unfortunately, my opinion doesn't change the fact that "man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward." (Job 5:7) And around my house lately, the troubles keep piling up. I'll spare you the details, because as troubles go, I'm sure you have plenty of your own. However, these troubles have robbed me of peace and joy and twisted my stomach into knots of worry.

I find myself getting frustrated at God and saying things like "Father, we're trying to follow your leading and do what you would have us to do, so why are you allowing us to be knocked down again and again? Why aren't you providing for these things that keep hitting us?"

Yes. I'm whining. I sound like the Israelites I've been studying about in Exodus through Deuteronomy as God led them through the wilderness.

God proved over and over again that where He led them, He would provide what they needed. Whether it was water and food for over two million people and their animals, a path cleared through seas and rivers, walled cities destroyed without firing a shot, giants removed... God took care of them.

Yet each time another obstacle arrived, what did they do? They whined, they complained, they threatened to stone Moses and Aaron, they wished for their old life back. The old life of slavery and bondage to a sadistic ruler.

Instead of resting on the promises of God to provide, instead of resting on remembrances of past deliverance,  instead of saying, "Cool! Another opportunity for God to show Himself strong," they worked themselves into a lather of worry and sin.

(Sigh) Sounds like me lately. Instead of trusting, I've been fainting. Instead of hoping, I've been despairing.

But God is so good. Because those verses that shine a light on my own failings also shine The Light of hope into my dark despair.

"But if from thence though shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. 

When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice, 
(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) 
he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them." 
Deuteronomy 4:29-31 (emphasis is mine)

For the LORD thy God is a merciful God.

Or in the Hebrew, El Rachum or El Rechem.
(According to one commentator, the word rechem means womb which suggests the compassion a mother has for her child.)

El Rachum - God is Merciful. He has compassion on me, His child. He hasn't changed. He's still the merciful God who provided for His children throughout all the Bible, throughout all of history. And he will provide for me, too.

It's so easy to focus on the storm around me. So easy to take my eyes off The One who can calm the storm with one word, and suddenly, I'm drowning in panic and worry. But God, with great compassion and mercy, stretches out His hand, lifts me up, and gently reminds me that He has never failed to care for my needs in the past.

When I refocus my eyes on Him, the storm doesn't seem so strong. The winds and waves are still raging, but the promises of God - He will not forsake me, He will not destroy me - whisper peace through the storm in my heart.

"Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. 

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. 
The LORD preserveth the simple; I was brought low, and he helped me. Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the LORD hath dealt bountifully with thee. 
For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." Psalm 116:4-8

There it is again. El Rachum. God is merciful.

So, I'll keep holding His hand and strive to keep my eyes on Him. I choose to focus on His promises, His attributes, as He walks with me through the hard things. And I'll thank Him for His mercy. For not giving up on me when I wallow in sin of worry and self-pity. 

I will trust in the God who is merciful. He takes care of me.

I Can Trust Jesus - The Collingsworth Family

Friday, January 4, 2013

It's here!

After a year of waiting, 
It's here. 
On my local store shelf.