Saturday, July 30, 2016

Book Spotlight Giveaway! The Blue Jay by Michelle Schlicher

I have sooooo many books! I have a ton of print books and probably even more e-books. The Book Spotlight Giveaway feature that I post every Saturday is a way for me to clear my shelves and to share some of the many books I have. There are a lot of different reasons that I might be letting some of my books go, the biggest one is that when we moved a little over 2 years ago I discovered how many books I really do have. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy them.


I love the author that I am featuring this week. She has published two amazing novels and I have loved them both. I have a Kindle copy of her debut book, The Blue Jay to give away. Read my thoughts here and then enter the giveaway to win yourself a copy. You're gonna love it like I did!

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


The Blue Jay

The Blue Jay by Michelle Schlicher
Print and e-book, 207 pages
Published: September 20, 2015 by Michelle Schlicher

A debut novel about a young woman and a young boy scarred by abandonment who find they share an unlikely bond.

Josie McCray was eight years old when her mother left. Now a young teacher, she guards her heart carefully but finds herself pulled to mentor a child in need.

Payton Runnells was 12 when his mother left. Now in foster care, he’s slow to trust anyone but senses that Josie might somehow understand the grief that grips him.

As Josie and Payton lower their walls and forge a friendship, they begin to open themselves up to all life has to offer.


About the author 

Michelle Schlicher is the author of the novels The Blue Jay and Gracie's Song. A graduate of Iowa State University, she subsequently worked for six years in communications and marketing.

She lives in a suburb of Des Moines with her husband and two children.

Connect with Michelle

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. It's an opportunity to visit other blogs and to comment on their reads. And ... you can add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!


As this post goes live, I should be enjoying the Black Hills. I hope it's not too hot -- we are tent camping. We'll see how that goes. I am really not much of a camper but hubby loves it so I figure he's gonna owe me big time!

I probably won't be posting much of anything this week. I'm not taking my laptop and I'm not sure what the wi-fi will be like there anyway. I decided I'm just not going to worry about it. I'll concentrate on reading and having a good time. Everyone have a good week and happy reading! 

What I'm currently reading/listening to

Lucky Stiff (Lucky O'Toole #2)
by Deborah Coonts
Book #1 was a hoot. I know I am going to love going back to Lucky's world.

An Ex to Grind in Deadwood (Deadwood #5)
by Ann Charles
I can't think of a better book to listen to while on vacation right outside Deadwood, SD. I love this series!

What I recently finished

Watching Edie
by Camilla Way

The Tumbling Turner Sisters
by Juliette Fay

In Twenty Years: A Novel
by Allison Winn Scotch

What I am going to read next

The Nut Hut
by Kathleen Taylor
This is a South Dakota author who wrote a fun mystery series in the past, which I loved. She's coming to our local library in August to discuss The Nut Hut.

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Vacation Reading, Here I Come!!

I'm heading for the hills (The Black Hills) and some quality reading time!!

Okay, so maybe I am being a tad bit optimistic about how much reading I am going to get done on my vacation but aren't we all like that? And I don't know about you but.... horrors if I would ever run out of reading material!

That's why I love my Kindle -- hundreds of books at my fingertips. I just need to make sure I have enough downloaded. Oh, and I have to make sure to take a few print books too, just in case technology fails me.

Here is my vacation TBR list. Two of them I am currently reading/listening to so I should be done with them soon.

How many books do you take on vacation?

Be sure to check out my 

super mega giveaway! 

And check the sidebar for my other giveaways!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Christmas in July! Book Spotlight Giveaway ~ Caroline Mickelson

Welcome to The Book Bag's 
Christmas in July 
Book Spotlight Giveaway! 

Today, I am super excited to welcome Caroline Mickelson to The Book Bag! I read one of her Christmas stories a couple of years ago and just recently reconnected with her. She generously offered a whole bunch of her books for you all, my fabulous followers! 

I thought it would be fun to do 'Christmas in July' since what I have to offer today are Caroline's Christmas novellas and short stories. 

Doesn't that sound cool?? Get it? 
Cool? Christmas? Snow? Cold? 
Okay, I'll stop!  

But seriously folks, Caroline is going to gift 20 of her audio books and the winners can select from any of her 5 Christmas stories. 

Did you see that? 20!! 

Keep scrolling to see what you could win! 


This is the one that I have already read and I loved it! It was such a fun read and got me in the mood for more Christmas stories. Read my thoughts hereAnd Caroline stopped by to talk about her 'voices' too. Check it out!

I plan to listen to quite a few more of these while on vacation ~ lots of time in the car. 

With Christmas only three days away, Carol Claus agrees to her father’s request that she leave the North Pole on a mission to help save Christmas. Joining single father Ben Hanson and his children for the holidays seems an easy enough task until Santa informs her that Ben is the man behind the disturbing new book ‘Beyond Bah Humbug: Why Lying to Your Children about Santa Claus is a Bad Idea’. 

Posing as Miss Kane, the children’s new nanny, Carol pulls out all the stops to show Ben how fun Christmas can be, all the while struggling to understand how one man could hate the holidays so much. How could she, Santa’s only daughter, be so attracted to a man who refuses to believe her father exists? 

When Santa offers efficiency expert Holly Jamison a job at the North Pole, she’s delighted to accept. It’s not that she loves the Christmas holidays. Far from it. Everywhere she looks, from the piles of presents to the thousands of cheery elves hard at work, Holly sees ways to improve the whole operation. 

Even Nick Claus, Santa's charming son, fails to draw Holly into the holiday spirit. Holly has to admit that Nick’s charismatic and handsome, but his fun-loving side doesn’t mask his lack of a work ethic. It’s only when Holly cancels Nick’s pet project, and jeopardizes Christmas for thousands of children, that she realizes that the man she discounts as a total slacker might be the only one who can teach her about the joy of Christmas.


North Pole engineer Garrett McCree values his peace and quiet above all else, and his life runs according to a carefully crafted master plan. Until, that is, Santa Claus asks Garrett to play chaperone to the winner of the North Pole Prize essay contest. Out of loyalty to Santa, Garrett reluctantly agrees. 

After all, how much trouble can one woman possibly be? But when beautiful and vivacious Angelique Devereaux, a Christmas-loving, serial gift giver arrives at Christmas Central, Garrett soon realizes the answer to that question. Predictable is out, spontaneous is in, and Garrett’s heart will never be the same.


After years away from the North Pole, Kris Kringle happily accepts her Uncle Santa’s offer to move back to Christmas Central as head chef. With her young daughter in tow, Kris returns home with two objectives in mind. Goal number one, bring her love of healthy eating and nutritious fare to the North Pole dining service. Goal number two, recover from heartbreak and forget Kyle Masterson, the man who broke her heart. 

But when Santa hires Kyle as a new co-chef for the holiday season, Kris suddenly realizes that replacing the elves’ beloved sugar cookies with carrots is going to be a piece of cake compared to working alongside her ex-fiancé. 


With the countdown to Christmas underway, interior designer Jackie Frost is surprised to receive an urgent phone call from Santa Claus requesting her help. Once at the North Pole, Jackie gets swept up into Santa's crazy plan to makeover Christmas Central as a surprise for Mrs. Claus.

Several things test Jackie's devotion to the Claus family as the renovations get underway, not the least of which is having to work alongside master craftsman Dean Bradshaw. Dean is handsome, smart, funny, and he has an absolute gift for building things. But what worries Jackie is what he's taking apart, namely the walls she's built up around her heart.

Because Caroline is so awesome, she is also throwing in 20
(yep, that's right 20!!) e-book copies of her delightful story.......

The North Pole Prize


Isn't that just amazing?!!


...if you visit Caroline's website and sign up for her VIP list, you can get a FREE download of her novella, The Return of Kris Kringle.

So really, everyone's a winner!! 

And since Caroline is so generous to all of us, how about each and every one of you leave a little review on Amazon after you read or listen to one of her books! It doesn't have to be long or deep, just leave your thoughts about the book. That helps authors more than you know!

You could even start with The Return of Kris Kringle after you sign up on her website!


About the author

The idea of writing 70 words about myself is far more daunting than the idea of writing 70,000 words made up out of thin air about characters I’ve never met. It’s funny how that works, isn’t it? I won’t bombard you with details about my life, suffice it to say that it’s been full of blessings with much laughter along the way. 

However, there is one thing I’d really like you to know about me…I sincerely appreciate each and every reader who has chosen to spend time reading one of my books. Readers, like books, make the world a wonderful place to live in!

Have a question or comment? Drop me a line at

And if you haven’t yet done so, please consider joining my VIP Reader Newsletter list here to receive a FREE Christmas novella as well as updates on new releases.

Connect with Caroline

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Giveaway Teaser! "Christmas in July" is Coming to The Book Bag

I have something HUGE planned for Saturday!

My normal Book Spotlight Giveaway post is going to be a SUPER-MEGA giveaway celebrating Christmas in July.

Doesn't that sound like a nice, cool idea for these hot summer days?

Be sure and stop by!

There are going to be lots of winners! 

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Gitchie Girl by Sandy Hamman and Phil Hamman


Gitchie Girl

Gitchie Girl: The Survivor's Inside Story of the Mass Murders that Shocked the Heartland by Sandy Hamman and Phil Hamman
Print and e-book, 165 pages
Published January 11th 2016 by eLectio Publishing

A terrified voice cried out in the night.

"Who are you? What do you want?"

The sound of snapping twigs closed in on the five teenagers enjoying an evening around a glowing campfire at Gitchie Manitou State Park. The night of music and laughter had taken a dark turn. Evil loomed just beyond the tree line, and before the night was over, one of the Midwest’s most horrific mass murders had left its bloodstains spewed across the campsite.

One managed to survive and would come to be known as the “Gitchie Girl.” Harrowing memories of the terrifying crime sent her spiraling out of control, and she grasped at every avenue to rebuild her life. Can one man, a rescue dog, and a glimmer of faith salvage a broken soul? This true story will touch your heart and leave you cheering that good can prevail over the depravity of mankind.

Through extensive research, interviews, and personal insight, the authors bring a riveting look at the heinous crime that shook the Midwest in the early 1970s. Written from rare, inside interviews with the lone survivor, who broke nearly four decades of silence, this shocking yet moving story will not soon be forgotten.

A percentage of profits from Gitchie Girl go to the lone survivor of the murders as well as the Council on Sexual Assault & Domestic Abuse.

My thoughts about Gitchie Girl ~~

(I love to note the first lines of the books I'm reading. First lines can really grab a reader's attention and I love seeing where the author takes the reader after their first line.)

First line—'Had it been a movie, dark notes from a lone violin would have begun playing as soon as the man glanced away from the road to watch his wife, who was applying her frosted lipstick while gazing into the visor mirror.' 

The events in Gitchie Girl took place in 1973, only about an hour from where I live now. I didn't live here back then and I was not at all familiar with this brutal story. Reading this account of what took place back then was shocking to me. It is heartbreaking to think that there were people who would do this kind of thing to innocent young people. They were just a group of five friends, out having a good time. The three brothers committed such cold-blooded, senseless acts, basically just for the fun of it.

Gitchie Girl is a very well written book by the husband and wife team of Phil and Sandy Harmann. As I was reading it, I couldn't help thinking about the strength and maturity of this thirteen year old girl, whose life was utterly changed on that one fateful night. One part that struck me and showed her maturity, was the accuracy of the composite drawings of the three men and how closely they matched their actual pictures. Sandra's life could not have been easy after living through this and I cannot even imagine what it would have been like. What a strong, brave person she was and still is.

On a side note, the day after I started reading this, I found out that the authors will be holding a talk at my local library. The event will be later this week and I plan to be there to hear more about this fascinating story.

About the Author

Phil Hamman

Phil Hamman is the author of three nationally published books: Under the Influence, disOrder, and Gitchie Girl (co-authored with his wife, Sandy.) These fast-paced, true stories have proven popular with teens and adults.

As a high school teacher for 30 years, Phil has been committed to working with teenagers with difficult behaviors such as conduct disorders and oppositional defiance. He has spoken extensively on the topics of anti-bullying, positive peer choices, setting goals, and reaching out to others.

Connect with Phil and Sandy

Be sure to check the sidebar for my current giveaways!

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