Saturday, December 30, 2017

Book Spotlight Giveaway! Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade

I have sooooo many 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. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy these treasures.


The book I have this week is one that I read for my book club awhile back. I happened to find a second copy on my shelves. 😏 

It really is an amazing story, inspired by real events. It was an emotional read with a character or two who I really didn't like very much. I was left wondering what the main character was going to do, what decision was she ultimately going to make? Our book club really enjoyed the book and we had a great discussion. 

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


Orphan #8

Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade
Paperback, 381 pages
Published August 4th 2015 by William Morrow Paperbacks 

In this stunning new historical novel inspired by true events, Kim van Alkemade tells the fascinating story of a woman who must choose between revenge and mercy when she encounters the doctor who subjected her to dangerous medical experiments in a New York City Jewish orphanage years before.

In 1919, Rachel Rabinowitz is a vivacious four-year-old living with her family in a crowded tenement on New York City’s Lower Eastside. When tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother Sam and sent to a Jewish orphanage where Dr. Mildred Solomon is conducting medical research. Subjected to X-ray treatments that leave her disfigured, Rachel suffers years of cruel harassment from the other orphans. But when she turns fifteen, she runs away to Colorado hoping to find the brother she lost and discovers a family she never knew she had.

Though Rachel believes she’s shut out her painful childhood memories, years later she is confronted with her dark past when she becomes a nurse at Manhattan’s Old Hebrews Home and her patient is none other than the elderly, cancer-stricken Dr. Solomon. Rachel becomes obsessed with making Dr. Solomon acknowledge, and pay for, her wrongdoing. But each passing hour Rachel spends with the old doctor reveal to Rachel the complexities of her own nature. She realizes that a person’s fate—to be one who inflicts harm or one who heals—is not always set in stone.

Lush in historical detail, rich in atmosphere and based on true events, Orphan #8 is a powerful, affecting novel of the unexpected choices we are compelled to make that can shape our destinies.

About the author

Kim van Alkemade

Kim van Alkemade was born in New York City and spent her childhood in suburban New Jersey. Her late father, an immigrant from the Netherlands, met her mother, a descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, in the Empire State Building.

She attended college in Wisconsin, earning a doctorate in English from UW-Milwaukee. She is a professor at Shippensburg University where she teaches writing, and lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Her creative nonfiction essays have been published in literary journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, So To Speak, and CutBank. Orphan #8 is her first novel.

Connect with Kim

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Friday, December 29, 2017

Scythe of Darkness by Dawn Husted ~ My Thoughts


Scythe of Darkness

Scythe of Darkness by Dawn Husted
Series: Scythe of Darkness, #1
Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Published June 13th 2017 by Amazon Digital Services

For Mia Hieskety, surviving high school meant focusing on exams and avoiding stupid parties. After breaking up with the only boyfriend she ever had, dating was off the agenda. That is, until Thanatos came along.

Inexplicably drawn to Thanatos, she's determined to find out who he is and why he insists on wearing gloves to school. Something is off about him. And it's as if she can feel him when he's near.

Without warning, she's thrust into a sinister world and discovers a truth that she never expected. When a supernatural connection puts Mia's life at risk, she doesn't know who to trust—especially Thanatos. But what if she's in love with him?

Bold, irresistible, and beautifully written, Scythe of Darkness explores a star-crossed destiny in a whole new way. Don't miss this hot YA urban fantasy!


My thoughts about Scythe of Darkness ~~

(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 lines—"The compulsion to find him made me slightly crazy. My knees shook, vibrating my full-size bed; my headboard tapped the wall like Morse code. Restlessness overtook my feet. I wished my parents would leave already."

To be honest, I have to say that this is not my usual genre but I read the short story prequel Touch of Darkness (Scythe of Darkness 0.5) and I was intrigued. I had to have more! I love it when an author takes me down a different genre path and then I end up loving it.  

Mia is drawn to Thanatos at the same time as being totally bewildered by him. She is confused by her attraction to Thanatos as much as she is frustrated by his presence and his past. I was just as confused as she was, which spurred me to keep reading.

And then, what an ending! I want more! This is book #1 and I am excited to see what comes next!

 The enticing prequel is available for FREE! 
Check it out, I know you'll want more.

Touch of Darkness
(Scythe of Darkness 0.5)

Read my thoughts here


About the author

Dawn Husted is the author of Scythe of Darkness, a YA urban fantasy novel. She graduated with a BS from Texas A&M University. When not writing, she’s either camping or dreaming about camping. She’s a member of SCBWI, and lives in southern Texas with her husband and two kids.

Her romanticism of the supernatural is well-crafted in Scythe of Darkness. This gripping YA weaves fate and destiny in a new unsuspecting way. Find out more at

Connect with Dawn


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Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from The Book Bag!

Have a very blessed holiday! 

The Book Bag is taking a little time off to spend some time with my family. I'll be back in a few days with some more posts. 

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Book Spotlight Giveaway! Good Grief by Lolly Winston

I have sooooo many 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. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy these treasures.


The book I am featuring this week is one I got from a friend. She loved this book so I want to share it with one of you.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


Good Grief

Good Grief by Lolly Winston
Hardcover, 344 pages
Published April 13th 2004 by Grand Central Publishing

Thirty-six-year-old Sophie Stanton desperately wants to be a good widow-a graceful, composed, Jackie Kennedy kind of widow. Alas, she is more of the Jack Daniels kind. Self-medicating with ice cream for breakfast, breaking down at the supermarket, and showing up to work in her bathrobe and bunny slippers-soon she's not only lost her husband, but her job, house...and waistline. With humor and chutzpah Sophie leaves town, determined to reinvent her life. But starting over has its hurdles; soon she's involved with a thirteen-year-old who has a fascination with fire, and a handsome actor who inspires a range of feelings she can't cope with-yet.



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Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde ~ My Thoughts


The Wake Up

The Wake Up by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Paperback and e-book, 332 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Lake Union Publishing

From New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde comes a hauntingly emotional novel of how one man’s life changes forever when he rediscovers his ability to feel the pain of others.

Something has been asleep in forty-year-old cattle rancher Aiden Delacorte for a long time. It all comes back in a rush during a hunting trip, when he’s suddenly attuned to the animals around him, feeling their pain and fear as if it were his own. But the newfound sensitivity of Aiden’s “wake up” has its price. He can no longer sleepwalk through life, holding everyone at arm’s length. As he struggles to cope with a trait he’s buried since childhood, Aiden falls in love with Gwen, a single mother whose young son bears a burden of his own.

Sullen and broken from his experiences with an abusive father, Milo has turned to acting out in violent and rebellious ways. Aiden can feel the boy’s pain, as well as that of his victims. Now he and Milo must sift through their pasts to find empathy with the innocent as well as the guilty, to come to terms with their deepest fears, and to finally discover the compassionate heart of a family.


My thoughts about The Wake Up ~~

(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 lines—"The phone jangled Aiden out of sleep. His heart raced, and he knocked over a plastic drinking glass and the alarm clock while reaching for the receiver."  

I have yet to read a book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I didn't just fall in love with. The Wake Up is another wonderful story by this most wonderful storyteller. She once again put words together to create an incredible world filled with memorable characters.

Aiden finds that his gift of feeling other's emotions had been reawakened. Not knowing if this is a good thing or not, he opens his heart and his home to Gwen and her two children. But it's not as easy as it sounds. Gwen's little boy, Milo has issues of his own. As they try to heal and move on, the bonds that are created could be easily broken or they could make each other stronger.

Catherine is a must read author for me. I know each story she tells will be beautiful and emotional and that the words will flow off of the pages and into my heart.  

I received a copy of The Wake Up from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

About the author

I'm the the author of 30 published and forthcoming books.

My newest releases are Ask Him Why, Worthy, The Language of Hoofbeats, Take Me With You , Where We Belong, Walk Me Home, Subway Dancer and Other Stories, When You Were Older, Don’t Let Me Go, When I Found You, Second Hand Heart, The Long, Steep Path: Everyday Inspiration From the Author of Pay It Forward, Always Chloe and Other Stories, and 365 Days of Gratitude: Photos from a Beautiful World.

Pay It Forward: Young Readers Edition, an age-appropriate edited edition of the original novel, was released by Simon & Schuster in August of ‘14. It is suitable for children as young as eight.

I have two forthcoming new novels due out in 2016 from Lake Union/Amazon Publishing, Leaving Blythe River and Say Goodbye For Now.

Other novels include Jumpstart the World, Becoming Chloe, Love in the Present Tense, The Year of My Miraculous Reappearance, Chasing Windmills, The Day I Killed James, and Diary of a Witness.

I am co-author, with publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of How to be a Writer in the E-Age: a Self-Help Guide.—from Goodreads

Connect with Catherine


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Monday, December 18, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? December 18, 2017

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!


How can it be only a week before Christmas? It snuck up so fast and the weather has been so nice, it just doesn't feel like Christmas yet. Don't get me wrong, I don't really want snow right now. We will be traveling over the weekend so the snow can stay away for awhile.

I wish everyone a joyous holiday, however you celebrate the season.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you all have a good week. Happy reading!

What I'm currently reading

Scythe of Darkness (Scythe of Darkness #1)
by Dawn Husted
I read Scythe of Darkness #0.5 and really enjoyed it (you can read my thoughts here). Thought I would continue on with the series. 

Foretold (Ghost Gifts #2)
by Laura Spinella
Loved book #1 and am loving this one too. 

What I recently finished

Between Me and You
by Allison Winn Scotch
My thoughts will be posted soon.

The Wake Up
by Catherine Ryan Hyde
Amazing! My thoughts will be posted soon.

The Good Daughter
by Karin Slaughter
Another awesome book from Slaughter!

What I am going to read next

Not sure ~ maybe this one?

by Galt Niederhoffer

I really love my reading life!

What are you reading this week?


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Sunday, December 17, 2017

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz ~ My Thoughts


The Whispering Room

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz
Series: Jane Hawk, Book #2
Print and e-book, 512 pages
Published November 21st 2017 by Bantam

Jane Hawk--fiction's most relentless, resourceful, stunning new heroine--continues her battle against a murderous conspiracy in the riveting sequel to The Silent Corner.

"No time to delay. Do what you were born to do. Fame will be yours when you do this."

These are the words that ring in the mind of mild-mannered, beloved schoolteacher Cora Gundersun--just before she takes her own life, and many others', in a shocking act of carnage. When the disturbing contents of her secret journal are discovered, it seems certain that she must have been insane. But Jane Hawk knows better.

In the wake of her husband's inexplicable suicide--and the equally mysterious deaths of scores of other exemplary individuals--Jane picks up the trail of a secret cabal of powerful players who think themselves above the law and beyond punishment. But these ruthless people bent on hijacking America's future for their own monstrous ends never banked on a highly trained FBI agent willing to go rogue--and become the nation's most wanted fugitive--in order to derail their insidious plans to gain absolute power with a terrifying technological breakthrough.

Driven by love for her lost husband and by fear for the five-year-old son she has sent into hiding, Jane Hawk has become an unstoppable predator. Those she is hunting will have nowhere to run when her shadow falls across them.


My thoughts about The Whispering Room ~~

(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 lines—"Cora Gunderson walked through seething fire without being burned, nor did her white dress burst into flames. She was not afraid, but instead exhilarated, and the many admiring people witnessing this spectacle gaped in amazement, their expressions of astonishment flickering with reflections of the flames."

I haven't read a Koontz book in a while and this one reminded me why I love his stories so much. This one grabbed me from the first chapter, with interesting characters, wonderful descriptions, and plenty of action.

Jane is a loving wife and mom but her FBI badass personality comes out big time when her family is threatened.She goes rogue to try to stop the murderous people who took her husband's life and are wreaking havoc using mind control on unsuspecting people.

The Whispering Room is book #2 in this series. I haven't had a chance to read books #1, The Silent Corner, yet but I am definitely going to be. I fell right into book #2 without feeling like I missed anything by not reading the first book. Now I just want to go back and learn the backstory.  

I received a copy of The Whispering Room from BookishFirst in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Silent Corner (Jane Hawk, #1)
Book #1 The Silent Room

Book #3 The Crooked Staircase ~ coming May 8, 2018

About the author

Acknowledged as "America's most popular suspense novelist" (Rolling Stone) and as one of today's most celebrated and successful writers, Dean Ray Koontz has earned the devotion of millions of readers around the world and the praise of critics everywhere for tales of character, mystery, and adventure that strike to the core of what it means to be human.

Dean R. Koontz has also published under the names Leigh Nichols, Brian Coffey, David Axton, Owen West, Deanna Dwyer and Aaron Wolfe.

Dean, the author of many #1 New York Times bestsellers, lives in Southern California with his wife, Gerda, their golden retriever, Elsa, and the enduring spirit of their goldens, Trixie and Anna. ~ Goodreads

Connect with Dean


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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Book Spotlight Giveaway! Growing Up Colt by Colt McCoy & Brad McCoy

I have sooooo many 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. This feature is a way for my to cull my collection and to give someone else the opportunity to enjoy these treasures.


Okay, the book I have this week is not going to appeal to everyone. It's a biography of a football player and I am sure that there are several of you who don't care about football. Sorry ~ bear with me this week. I'll be posting some that might be more appealing to you soon. If you follow football, you may remember this player and will enjoy learning more about him.

Good luck and be sure to stop back next week!


Growing Up Colt

Growing Up Colt: A Father, a Son, a Life in Football
by Colt McCoy, Brad McCoy
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Barbour Books

You watched him vie for the Heisman and national championship, and earn a third-round NFL draft spot. Now meet Colt McCoy up-close and personal! Growing Up Colt—A Father, a Son, a Life in Football is a unique biography by both the Cleveland Browns quarterback and his father, Brad, a highly-respected football coach in his native Texas.

Get a behind-the-scenes view of the formative events of Colt’s football experience and the foundational principles of his family and faith life. Growing Up Colt promises an inspiring read for football fans of all ages—and don’t miss the exciting full-color photo section!



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12 Days of Clean Romance ~ Day 12: How to Kiss a Billionaire by Cami Checketts, an Excerpt, and a Giveaway!


How to Kiss a Billionaire by Cami Checketts 

Sassy meets swoon-worthy in this fast-paced contemporary romance. 

Miriam Salisbury escapes to Oregon to avoid a boyfriend who won't take no for an answer, killing her beloved cat to prove it. When her father sends Clay Browning to protect her, she's certain he's lost his mind. As far as she's concerned Clay's experience is limited to posing for the camera, charming women, and making fun of her. He's been teasing her since they were children and she's never gotten over the way he threw crawdads at her at church picnics. 

Clay retired from the military and entered the world of private security. When he gets the call to protect Miriam he's excited to be around his lifelong crush. As expected, he teases her nonstop and the only thing he takes seriously is her security. He knows she'd never give him a chance and he can't help but give her a hard time. After Miriam is dumped in the freezing ocean on a crabbing expedition and Clay saves her from drowning and freezing to death, she takes a second look at her hired gun. But opening up to him is more terrifying than facing her stalker. As events escalate to a frenzied climax, Miriam and Clay must put aside past grudges in the hope of finding a lasting love for their future.


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Praise for the series 

"Cami Checketts is an expert at sending a flurry of butterflies straight to the heart! If you love the beach, a dash of suspense, and some toe-curling, swoony romance, then the Billionaire Beach Romance series is definitely for you.”  ~ Katie Watkins, Book Reviewer, Katie’s Clean Book Collection 

"I LOVE these sweet romances! I love that each of them is a mini escape. You almost feel as though you've traveled to a warm destination even though it's cold and snowy where you live. I love that I can pass them to either my daughter or my grandma and never have any concern about the content. And the characters in these are amazing! I love them all!” ~ Cathy Jeppsen, Book Reviewer, My Book a Day

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Miriam closed her eyes as Clay’s arms came around her and held her tight.

“Whoa, darling, if I would’ve known I’d get this reception, I would’ve broken into your house years ago.”

Miriam pushed away from him, stumbling from the realization that he hadn’t changed. Clay was a vicious flirt and never took anything seriously. She shoved at his chest, but he didn’t budge. He was real and he was here, and unfortunately for her unsteady nerves, it didn’t look like he was going away. “What are you doing here?” she demanded.

“Your daddy hired me.”

“My daddy … hired you?” She glared at him. “For what? A pinup model?”

He smiled and tilted his head to the side. “I know I look good, but I actually have a few skills in protection too.”

“You do not. All you’ve ever been good at is spending your billions of dollars and getting women to simper at your feet.” She knew he’d been in the military for four years after high school, but after that, he appeared to be the ultimate player. At least, it looked that way in the online photos she’d seen, when she’d googled him. Okay, it was pathetic that she’d googled him, but he was Clay Browning, a.k.a. Miriam’s dream man.

He spread his arms, and she couldn’t help but notice the definition from his forearms and biceps up through his shoulders and chest. Maybe he should find a shirt that wasn’t so … form-fitting. “Hey, I’ve got lots of talents. What can I say?”

Miriam pushed out a huffy breath. “You are not here. This is all some kind of crazy fantasy.”

“I know I’m the stuff fantasies are made of, but I really am here.” He sauntered a step closer, and that spicy cologne made her stomach heat up. “You want to enact some of those fantasies you’ve been having about me?”

She put a hand on his chest to keep him from coming any closer. Those muscles were real. Yikes. She dropped her hand and stepped back. “For one second, just for one, be serious. Why are you here, and how did you get in my house?” Clay rolled his eyes and folded his arms across his chest. Sheesh. What did he do with biceps that defined? Wrestle bulls? Focus, Miriam!

“Your daddy called me, said Greg was threatening and stalking you and I had to find you. So I found you, and now I’m here to watch over you.”

Watch over you? She would not survive with this man in the same town, let alone the same house. Her throat was dry and all those daydreams she used to have about him rotated through her mind. “How did you get in?” she demanded.

“I told you: I have skills.” He smiled and finally admitted, “I was special ops in the Army and I’ve worked in private security since then.”

“You’re being serious now? This isn’t some bull crap line that Clay Browning is giving me?”

He smirked. “You can believe whatever you want, sweetheart.” He took a step closer, and her legs betrayed her by not backing up. “But do believe that I’m here and you I and are going to get real cozy.”

Miriam looked over his gorgeous face. She clenched her trembling hands together and swallowed hard. “I’m not one of your flavors of the week, Clay.”

He leaned in and sniffed her. “Ah. Yeah, I think you are. Vanilla with a hint of chocolate. My favorite flavor this week.”

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Author Cami Checketts 

Cami Checketts is married and the proud mother of four future WWF champions. Sometimes between being a human horse, cleaning up magic potions, and reading Bernstein Bears, she gets the chance to write fiction. Cami graduated from Utah State University with a degree in Exercise Science. She and her family live in the beautiful Cache Valley of Northern Utah. During the two months of the year it isn't snowing, she enjoys swimming, biking, running, and water-skiing.

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Also by Cami Checketts

Don't miss the rest of the Billionaire Beach Romances: Shadows in the Curtain, Caribbean Rescue, Cozumel Escape, Cancun Getaway, Trusting the Billionaire, and Onboard for Love

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Giveaway Details

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

Ends 12/31/17

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 


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