5 Simple Steps To Financial Freedom

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews 5 simple steps to financial freedom by Dan Willis

Do you want financial freedom? Then walk with Dan Willis through his book to find out how this is possible with the help of biblical truths.

My Penny’s Worth

5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom is a no-nonsense book that states the facts as they are and thankfully the book is easy to read. It won’t take you long to read it, but the benefits might just save you years of heartache as “debt puts you in bondage.”

Faith and finances are spiritually attracted to each other. Not attached to each other but attracted to each other.

A great quote

I love the quote “Don’t take financial advice from people who are broke.” It makes sense to seek out what the Greatest Financier has to say on these matters. Moreover, there are references to back this up.

If you want to be debt free then this is a good book to read, and if you have a mentality of “I want it, I’m going to get it” regardless of your finances, then perhaps it is time to fess up and say enough. Don’t have the courage? Then you are not alone as Dan Willis had to learn the hard way too.

Financial freedom and talents

However, there is more to this book than just how to find financial freedom. It also talks about our talents. Yes, those talents that are described in the Bible. Do we bury them or increase their value? Who had theirs taken away from them, are you one of those people?

Thank you, Dan, for writing 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom.

I’d like to give this book 4*

Don’t forget the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post.

*I was given this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews 5 simple steps to financial freedom by Dan Willis

Title: 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

Author: Dan Willis

Genre: Finances/Christian living

Release date: January 8, 2019

Publisher: Whitaker House

As a young and naïve pastor, Dan Willis maxed out twenty-three credit cards and ruined his credit to support his ministry. It wasn’t until massive debt caused the cards to stop working that he realized that God never asked him to do this. Through his candor and honesty, Dan reveals the five steps God showed him to get out of debt: stop spending, create a budget, develop a debt payoff plan, begin saving, and repair bad credit. This led him to becoming a thriving and financially-free ministry. Now, Dan is on a mission to teach this to the world. Using biblical principles, but not relying on miracles or “name-it-and-claim-it” theology, Dan provides easy-to-follow, practical steps that can be used by anyone to escape financial bondage. Finally, he encourages readers to use their financial freedom to help others and advance God’s kingdom, and to use their newfound fiscal wisdom to store up wealth. Without shaming those who struggle financially, 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom is the perfect combination of spiritual wisdom and practical advice for those who desperately need it.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews 5 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Dan WillisAs a young boy, Dan Willis’s dreams involved entering the medical field until that fateful day when, at age sixteen, he was called to “temporarily” take over the pastor position of a local church. More than thirty years later, Dan is still there, serving as the senior pastor of The Lighthouse Church of All Nations in Alsip, Illinois. He took the small ministry of sixteen people and nurtured it into a thriving multicultural body of more than 1,500 people. Dan’s previous books with Whitaker House were Freedom to Forget: Releasing the Pain from the Past, Embracing Hope for the Future and Praise Is My Weapon.

Guest Post from Dan

Not 23 Ways to Money Greatness or 67 Options to Financial Well Being. Just Five Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. Why complicate this? Wipe out debt and create wealth.

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, January 8

Real World Bible Study, January 9

Happily Managing a Household of Boys, January 10

Just the Write Escape, January 11

Robin is Bookish, January 11

Books, Books, and More Books, January 12

A Baker’s Perspective, January 13

Janices book reviews, January 13

Remembrancy, January 14

Texas Book-aholic, January 15

Bigreadersite, January 15

Aryn The Libraryan, January 16

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 16

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 17

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, January 18

Mary Hake, January 18

A Reader’s Brain, January 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 20

Captive Dreams Window, January 20

Carpe Diem, January 21

Giveaway

Finished

Spotlight on Victor Torres

Margaret Kazmierczak spotlights Victor Torres' book Reaching Your Addicted Loved Ones.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak spotlights Victor Torres' book Reaching Your Addicted Loved One

Title: Reaching your Addicted Loved One

Author: Victor Torres

Genre: Self-help | Substance abuse & addictions | Drugs

Release date: January 8, 2019

As a teenager, Victor Torres was a gang warlord and heroin addict on New York City’s violent streets. Through the ministry of David Wilkerson and Nicky Cruz, Victor had a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ and came to realize that God had a purpose for his life. Victor has spent the last forty-five years helping tens of thousands of young men and women find freedom from drug addiction and gang life. Now, he answers your toughest questions about your addicted loved one. Without pulling punches or promising easy answers, Victor provides wisdom and expertise that can lead you toward success.
Some of the questions Victor addresses are…

  • How can I know if my loved one has a substance abuse problem?
  • How can I tell the difference between helping and enabling?
  • What if my loved one refuses to get help?
  • When should I call the police?
  • What should we look for in a treatment program?
  • What can I expect when my loved one comes out of treatment?
  • How do I prepare for relapse?

God did not create your loved one to be an addict or a loser. On the contrary, God created him or her for a better life. Although for the moment, it may seem like you are losing your loved one, they still have a God-given destiny and a purpose. No matter how bad the picture may look now, there is always hope.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak spotlights Victor Torres' book Reaching Your Addicted Loved OneVictor Torres was a junkie, drug-pusher, and warlord in Brooklyn’s meanest streets. Since his conversion, he has ministered Christ to thousands. He and his wife Carmen have traveled to over thirty nations preaching the Good News. Their chief undertaking, however, has been New Life for Youth, which began in 1971 in Richmond, Virginia. This growing work is one of the most respected and largest organizations in the country. Today, New Life for Youth has a ranch in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, which is helping an ever increasing number of hurting young men searching for hope, as well as a home for women with drug-related problems called the Mercy House. Their other resources in the Richmond, Virginia, area include House of Hope, a home for recovering men, and Mercy Moms, which serves women and their children. Victor and Carmen are also the founders and pastors of New Life Outreach International, a fast-growing dynamic church in Richmond, Virginia with over forty nationalities worshiping together. In 2017, his story was made into an award-winning major motion picture, Victor.

Guest Post from Victor

New Life Success Steps
  • Pray, pray, and then pray some more. And after that, pray.
  • Have faith enough for the both of you. Have faith enough for the whole family if necessary.
  • Keep fighting for your addicted loved one until they can do battle for themselves.
  • Choose to believe beyond what you can see.
  • Picture their future and believe the vision.
  • Celebrate your loved one’s freedom—dare to believe!
Healing

Healing is yours for the taking. Reach out, ask God for help, and then receive it. Never lose hope that your loved one will be healed. My life and the lives of so many others is proof that God can even bring the dead back to life.

Your loved one was made for more than this. Don’t give up!

Blog Stops

A Baker’s Perspective, January 1

The Power of Words, January 2

Real World Bible Study, January 3

Reading is My Superpower, January 4 (Interview)

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, January 4

Through the Lens of Scripture, January 5

Artistic Nobody, January 6 (Spotlight)

Mary Hake, January 7

Carpe Diem, January 8

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 9

Simple Harvest Reads, January 10 (Spotlight)

Janices book reviews, January 11

Bigreadersite, January 12

Margaret Kazmierczak, January 13 (Spotlight)

Texas Book-aholic, January 14

Giveaway

Finished

 

Shirley Crowder – Chat on the Couch

Margaret Kazmierczak chats to Shirley Crowder author of Prayer Warrior Confessions

Welcome, Shirley Crowder to chat on the couch. You are one half of the team that wrote Prayer Warrior Confessions. I am delighted that you were able to join me today on my island getaway.

Margaret Kazmierczak chats to Shirley Crowder author of Prayer Warrior Confessions

Shirley, you have already confessed to me that you would like a hammock as your luxury item. That sounds like a wise decision so you don’t have to sleep on the ground. Also, you would like a boat builder to be marooned with, which means you will not be hanging around on the island for long. I think you are keen to get back to your calling. Bearing this in mind I want to thank you for giving me an opportunity in your busy life to ask a few questions so that my readers can get to know you a little better.

Let’s start with books..

During your time on the desert island what book would you crave to read (you already have the bible, so please pick another book)?

Shirley – It would be a series rather than just one book… The Chronicles of Narnia … my favorite is Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

They are great books Shirley with wonderful characters and meaning. A good choice.

From Prayer Warrior Confessions..

What favourite sentence do you like from your most recent published book?

Shirley – “When someone comes to mind, or the thought you need to call or check on someone comes to mind, act upon it quickly.”

That is so true. So often this has happened to me and I am always glad that I do act upon it quickly. God has a wonderful way of prompting us if we listen to Him.

Just imagine..

You find a piece of paper with a pencil left behind from the previous Author who was shipwrecked here, what encouraging message would you leave for the next cast away?

Shirley – Regardless how horrible things are or appear to be, God is your refuge and strength.

Oh, again another piece of good advice Shirley.

I love to hear why people write..

On the island you have time to think, can you tell me why you decided to become a writer?

I have journaled and recorded my thoughts on paper since I was about 10 years old. A challenge by a counselee of mine led to my posting thoughts point to Jesus each day between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Those were the seed thoughts that turned into the first devotional my co-author Harriet E. Michael and I wrote. The expanded second edition of Glimpses of the Savior: 50 Meditations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year was released in September 2018.

I love your wording “seed thoughts” it gives me the image of seeds flowering in your mind and producing a landscape of inspiration. God will no doubt water the seeds of those reading your devotions.

Producing spiritual food is one thing..

You are allowed one favourite meal on the island what would it be?

Shirley – Spinach salad with strawberries, real bacon bits, goat cheese, and strawberry vinaigrette dressing. Southern fried chicken, steamed asparagus, baked sweet potato (butter only), and a Sister Schubert’s rolls, Southern sweet tea. Crème brûlée with dark roast coffee, black.

This would be a feast to tickle your taste buds, Shirley. My mouth is watering.

Well there you have it, thank you, Shirley Crowder, for sharing your thoughts with us today. I hope your tour with CelebrateLit is a success.

Don’t forget readers to enter the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post.

This interview was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak chats to Shirley Crowder co-author of Prayer Warrior ConfessionsBook: Prayer Warrior Confessions

Author: Harriet E. Michael & Shirley Crowder

Genre: Non-Fiction, Christian Living, Inspirational

Release Date:  November, 2018

Publisher: Write Integrity Press

Come along with other prayer warriors and read their stories. Some of the stories will make you cry while others will make you laugh. Each story ends with a confession from the writer in which he or she shares an insight about prayer or something new they learned through their experience.

Readers of Prayer Warrior Confessions will learn more about prayer as they enjoy the true and candid stories of other people’s experiences with prayer. They see the stories through the writers’ eyes and glean the insights the writers learned.

True stories of prayer in action that will make you cry, laugh, sigh, smile, and stand amazed.

About the Authors

The authors, Shirley Crowder and Harriet E. Michael are lifelong friends whose parents served as missionaries in Nigeria, West Africa. Their friendship has spanned across two continents, numerous states, and many, many years. Learn more about them at www.WriteIntegrity.com/authors.

Harriet E Michael co-author of Prayer Warrior Confessions

Harriet E. Michael

Margaret Kazmierczak chats to Shirley Crowder author of Prayer Warrior Confessions

Shirley Crowder

Guest Post from Shirley & Harriet

God writes the best stories … and sometimes we get the privilege of recording them.
Co-writers Harriet E. Michael and Shirley Crowder have a common interest in all things Biblical. Over the past few years, they have worked together on a series of books on the topic of prayer. “Prayer Warrior Confessions” is the fourth & final book in that series. It is a book filled with true stories of experiences with and lessons learned about prayer. This collection of true stories was written by various contributors who retell a story from their lives about a time they saw prayers answered, and/or learned a new lesson about prayer. These stories are heartwarming, exciting, sad, funny, and will touch your heart in so many ways while also sharing deeper insights into prayer.
Yes, God creates the best stories & He writes them on the parchment of our lives, teaching us lessons through them.

Blog Stops

Real World Bible Study, December 18

A Diva’s Heart, December 19

Just the Write Escape, December 19

Lights in a Dark WorldDecember 20

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 21

Bibliophile Reviews, December 22

Mary Hake, December 23

Texas Book-aholic, December 23

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

Janices book reviews, December 25

Carpe Diem, December 26

A Baker’s Perspective, December 27

Bigreadersite, December 28

the midnight bookaholic, December 29

margaret kazmierczak, December 29 (Interview)

Truth and a Grace Homeschool Academy, December 30

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, December 31

Reading is my Super Power, December 31 (Interview)

Giveaway

Finished

Spotlight on The Three Faces of Nellie

Spotlight on The Three Faces of Nellie by Margaret Kazmierczak

The Three Faces of Nellie

In order to bring you a spotlight taster on The Three Faces of Nellie, as I have not read this book, I headed to Amazon for some reviews. I found a mixed bag. Die-hard lovers of the series “Little House on the Prarie” seemed to enjoy it, on the other hand, some found it frustrating. Some enjoyed the labour intensive research while others felt it was something you could pick up from the internet. I find that a little harsh as many people are not always adept at finding information that way. But I wanted to provide you dear friends with both sides so that you, who are thinking of reading The Three Faces of Nellie, could decide for yourselves as you are intelligent readers.

When I read two or one-star reviews, which I haven’t included here, I often want to read the book just to see what the fuss is about!

Here are three random reviews – I hope they are helpful.

Review One

Detailed and well researched account of how the unforgettable Nellie Olsen came to be based on three real girls. I hope the author does a book on the double cousins of Laura (from all the marriages between the Quiners & Ingalls) and all their descendants as these would be the closest living relatives to Laura! Amazon reviewer 5*

Review Two

An interesting and well-researched outline of the three women who made up Wilder’s composite character Nellie Oleson. Any devout Little House fan knows the story behind Nellie, and most of us have wanted to hear more about the three women who made up the character. While this doesn’t give great detail about their lives and characters, it does satisfy curiosity on the basic facts of each woman’s life and is worth adding to any collection of Little House material. Amazon reviewer 4*

Review Three

This book is not a story, instead, it is facts and is not written for entertaining the reader. Instead, it is meant to provide the reader knowledge and information about the three individuals who actually resulted in the character of Nellie Olsen: Nellie Owens, Genevieve Masters, and Estella Gilbert. This book provides family information and other facts about these characters. The author does an excellent job of illustrating the true human attributes of these three individuals. She also does a masterful job of portraying the real human nature of Laura Ingalls Wilder as well. Amazon reviewer 3*

This Spotlight was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

Oh and please don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY at the bottom of this post.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Book

Spotlight on The Three Faces of Nellie by Margaret Kazmierczak

Book: The Three Faces of Nellie

Author: Robynne Elizabeth Miller

Genre: Non-fiction, Historical

Release Date: November 2016

Publisher: Practical Pioneer Press

Nellie Oleson

Whether you love her, hate her, or love to hate her, Nellie Oleson is one of the most recognizable literary figures of the 20th century.  But Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House on the Prairie series in which Nellie appears, had a secret. . .Nellie wasn’t a real person! Instead, she was a composite character created from three girls Laura knew in childhood:  Nellie Owens, Genevieve Masters, and Estella Gilbert.

The Little House character of Nellie Oleson is one-dimensional: snobbish, selfish, and thoroughly unpleasant. But what about the real women behind Laura’s creation? They were an intriguing mix of the not-so-nice and the unexpectedly redeemable. In short, they were human.

Discovering the truth behind Nellie

Discovering the true stories behind Nellie, Genevieve, and Estella has been a fascinating journey. All three ended up on the West Coast at one point. . .true westward movement! One was widowed twice, one ended up divorced, and one died way too young. Two only had one child, and one had three, though she outlived her youngest by a very long time. There’s even some “Nellie-like” drama in there: Embezzlement. Lying on censuses. Shady land deals.

But there are some beautiful things, too. . .like the enduring love of a husband after his young wife died. Or the rare closeness of a mother and daughter who shared their lives as adults. Or the strength of a young widowed mother who not only cared for her son, but headed out west, in true pioneer fashion, while she did so.

Laura Ingalls Wilder did a masterful job of creating the character of Nellie Oleson. But the three real-life women behind that iconic character are, in my opinion, infinitely more intriguing.

About the Author

Spotlight on The Three Faces of Nellie by Margaret KazmierczakRobynne Elizabeth Miller is a speaker, writing coach, and author of multiple books, articles, and essays. Her larger projects include From the Mouth of MaPioneer MixologyThe Three Faces of Nellie, and Nonfiction, Memoir, or Fiction? Dissecting the Works of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Robynne speaks nationally at writing and historical venues and teaches at writer’s workshops and conferences. She also serves as the Board President of Inspire Christian Writers. Furthermore, she is their Director of Leadership and leads two Northern California critique groups.

Ms. Miller holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature from Westmont College.  She also has a  Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction and Fiction from Ashland University.

She lives with her wonderful British husband and the youngest of their four cheeky children in the snowy woods of the Sierra Nevada mountains. When not writing, Robynne loves singing, felling trees, and making bacon from scratch.

Guest Post from Robynne

Nasty Nellie Oleson.

One of the most iconic literary characters in literature. Whether you loved her … or hated her … or loved to hate her, she probably left a lasting impression on you. At least if you were a fan of the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder like I was growing up!

As a young girl, I loved Wilder’s tales of wagons, prairies, and grand westward adventures. Strangely, growing up didn’t change my love for all things Little House one tiny bit. But I did become deeply curious about the real life people behind some of the more fascinating Little House characters.

Namely, Nellie Oleson.

My Research

As I began to research Nellie, I learned a ton of interesting things. She wasn’t one person, for example. Laura Ingalls Wilder wove three girls she knew in childhood into one composite character for her books. One of the first “Nellie’s,” Nellie Owens, did have a brother named Willy, but did you know that he went blind from two separate incidents, one in childhood and one in adulthood? And did you know that all three of the “Nellies” ended up on the west coast at one point? Talk about true westward movement! One married a man who eventually went to prison for embezzlement, one did some shady land deals, and one shouldn’t have been a “Nellie” at all.

I suppose I was hoping for a good, old-fashioned redemption story. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful if the mean girl in Wilder’s stories grew up to work with orphans or rescue unwanted animals? Alas, that’s not exactly what happened. But the stories of these three women were fascinating all the same.

I hope you have as much fun discovering the real stories behind the famous Nellie Oleson as I did!

Blog Stops

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 6

Blogging With CarolDecember 6

multifarious, December 7

Carpe Diem, December 7

Bibliophile Reviews, December 8

The Morning Chapter, December 8

Just the Write Escape, December 9

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 9

A Reader’s BrainDecember 10

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, December 10

Maureen’s Musings, December 11

A Baker’s Perspective, December 11

Girls in White Dresses, December 12

Artistic Nobody, December 13

Connie;s HIstory Classroom,  December 14

Jeanette’s Thoughts, December 14

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 15

Pause for Tales, December 15

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, December 16

Texas Book-aholic, December 16

Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, December 17

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsDecember 17

Janices book reviews, December 18

margaret kazmierczak, December 18

Lots of Helpers, December 19

Bigreadersite, December 19

Giveaway

Finished

Powerful Mind Games is it a killer read?

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Mind games by Nancy Mehl

In the past, I have played those mind games online that say they help your brain function. You know those that tap into your neuroplasticity? Well if they work on rodents then perhaps they could be beneficial to me! However, all that I appeared to achieve by concentrating on those mind games was a plethora of frustration. There’s a knack to them no doubt. Fortunately, Kaely Quinn, the main character in Mind Games is not like me. She thrives on impossible tasks that tickle the mind.

My Penny’s Worth

Mind Games – The beginning makes sense when you have read the end!

Oh now I understand – that eureka moment when you go back to the beginning and re-read something that you thought made sense but know it wasn’t what you thought it was? Confused, yes there were times that the book confused me, but now I get it. Those mind games started right from the beginning, or at least from my first highlighted bookmark.

“Something’s coming, Kaely. I don’t know what it is, but I feel it. Don’t you?”

And sure enough, something did come.

A great read.

Kaely Quinn

Kaely, a complicated young lady, spiritual and broken heads up the cast in Mind Games. She is a one lady whirlwind, adamant to right the wrongs of her father by using her gifts to capture in her mind, dangerous criminals. It is a lonely quest, and one wonders how she copes with the horrors of such a job. She keeps everyone at arm’s length as she can’t trust anyone. Even she is wearing a mask.

“She couldn’t take the chance of turning out like her mother. Believing in a man who didn’t really exist, who was someone else behind a mask. It was too big a risk. One she wasn’t ready to accept now – or maybe ever. At this point in her life, all she wanted to do was rid the world of men like her father. It was the reason she got up in the morning. The reason she breathed. There wasn’t room for anything else. “

Kaely’s methods are odd, but I get them – especially the asking for guidance from God. And, this theme is active throughout the book.

Profiles are just educated guesses, I'm not always right. No one is. Mind Games by @NancyMehl #book #free #giveaway #amreading @Celebrate_Lit Click To Tweet

What about the other characters

The supporting cast of characters are strong and the killer well wrapped up in deceit although I did guess who. Some twists and turns will get you thinking, reading and turning the pages.  Noah is a bit stereotypical for an agent and left me wondering who he was; hopefully, more will be revealed in a future book. There are going to be more books….? I liked Solomon, grounded and well-rounded but also struggling with issues. Alex, you have to have a spanner in the works, and he stepped in over the mark.

There are definite themes

Themes such as forgiveness are strong as well as healing, letting go and learning to love again.

Would I recommend Mind Games?

I think you ought to check it out. Mind Games is a great read, and I would like to give it 4 stars.

Thank you, Nancy, for writing this book.

Don’t forget the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post.

*I was given this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Mind games by Nancy Mehl

Book: Mind Games

Author: Nancy Mehl

Genre: Suspense

Release Date: December 2018

Publisher: Bethany House

FBI Behavioral Analyst Kaely Quinn’s methods may be highly unorthodox, but her talent is undeniable. She’s done her best to establish a new life for herself after being demoted and transferred to St. Louis when a reporter revealed she’s the daughter of an infamous serial killer. But when that same reporter claims to have received an anonymous poem predicting a string of murders, ending with Kaely’s, it seems her old life has followed her.

When a body is found that fits the poem’s morbid predictions, Kaely and her new partner, Special Agent Noah Hunter, are forced to move past his skepticism of her approach and work together to unravel the deadly riddle.

With a brazen serial killer who breaks all the normal patterns on the loose, Noah and Kaely are tested to their limits to catch the murderer before anyone else, including Kaely, is killed.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Mind games by Nancy Mehl

Nancy Mehl (www.nancymehl.com)  is the author of more than thirty books, including the Road to Kingdom, Finding Sanctuary, and Defenders of Justice series. Previously Nancy received the ACFW Mystery Book of the Year Award in 2009. Nancy has a background in social work and is a member of ACFW and RWA. She writes from her home in Missouri, where she lives with her husband, Norman, and their Puggle, Watson. Furthermore, Nancy is part of The Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com, along with several other popular suspense authors. She is also very active on Facebook

Guest Post from Nancy

Writing Mind Games is a dream come true. I’ve been interested in FBI profiling for years. I’ve read about it, studied it, and watched every TV special I could find on the subject. So when the chance finally came to write the book I’ve always wanted to write, I jumped at it. Thankfully, through the help of another writer, I was hooked up with a retired FBI profiler. I was so excited. Until I found out I had almost everything wrong. Yes, I had some understanding about profiling, but I knew nothing about the FBI and how it works.

A few facts

First of all, the FBI doesn’t call the men and women who profile criminals, profilers. They’re called Behavioral Analysts. The plot for Mind Games had my analyst running around the country solving crimes while she was stationed in St. Louis. Uh, no. Behavioral analysts do travel, but they all work out of Quantico in Virginia. So…I rewrote.

There were ways around my conundrum, but one solution led to more and more problems. We finally worked through them. Then I spent the next few months learning acronyms. CIRG, CJIS, NCAVC, HRT, UNSUB, CNU, THU, ViCap, CODIS, SWAT, ERTU, OPU, THRU, ERT… Well, the list goes on and on. The FBI is made up of many specialized units. And a plethora of acronyms, it seems.

The trials of a writer

I rewrote Mind Games three times before my source said we were good to go.

If you assume I’m out of the woods now, you’d be wrong. I haven’t had the nerve to open up the manuscript I sent her for book two in my Kaely Quinn Profiler series. I figured I had Fire Storm right but… Well, I can tell from her email comments I’ll be doing more rewriting. Sigh.

So is it worth it? A resounding yes! I love learning, and as long as my analyst friend hangs in with me (she has the patience of Job), I’ll keep at it.

I hope you enjoy Mind Games. It’s edgy but fun. Kaely Quinn is a quirky character. She was thrown out of Quantico because her version of profiling is… Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out!

Blog Stops

Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, December 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, December 11

The Lit Addict, December 11

amandainpaDecember 11

A Reader’s BrainDecember 12

Daysong ReflectionsDecember 12

Livin’ Lit, December 12

Reading Is My SuperPower, December 13

By The Book, December 13

Lighthouse Academy, December 13

Multifarious, December 14

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis and Christ Collide, December 14

Splashes of JoyDecember 14

Back Porch ReadsDecember 15

Real World Bible Study, December 15

Robin is Bookish, December 15

Janices book reviews, December 15

C Jane Read, December 16

Ashley’s BookshelfDecember 16

The Becca Files, December 16

Bigreadersite, December 16

Quiet Quilter, December 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, December 17

Godly Book Reviews, December 17

All-of-a-kind Mom, December 18

Just the Write Escape, December 18

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, December 18

Simple Harvest Reads, December 19 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Mary Hake, December 19

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, December 19

For the Love of Literature, December 20

Remembrancy, December 20

Inklings and notionsDecember 20

Carpe Diem, December 20

Tell Tale Book Reviews, December 21

Locks, Hooks and BooksDecember 21

Pause for Tales, December 21

A Baker’s Perspective, December 21

Have A Wonderful DayDecember 22

Book by Book, December 22

A Good Book and Cup of Tea, December 22

Bibliophile Reviews, December 23

To Everything a Season, December 23

Southern Gal Loves to Read, December 23

Cafinated Reads, December 24

Texas Book-aholic, December 24

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, December 24

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A fatal game – who is the murderer?

Life is a game, or it can feel like that. I prefer to think of it as a challenge with stepping-stones to understand who I am and what my purpose is. Like Anna Belle in Stratagem, I came from humble beginnings which meant my ladder appeared to stretch into the clouds of overcoming. I couldn’t see the end of the ladder, but even today having climbed more than half of it I still can’t see the final rungs. It appears God has a lot of work ahead for me! However, I am glad that I do not have to compete in a game to prove if I am worthy to be chosen for my job.

Stratagem FB Banner copy

My Penny’s Worth

I believe the author did a great of job of creating Anna Belle, who I disliked and liked at the same time. A driven lady who was going to overcome and win using any means possible. That meant she had strength, propelled by a desire to rise above her humble beginnings. Sadly, Anna Belle used her own strength to hurt others, yes even those who loved her dearly. Therefore, I disliked the manner in which Anna Belle used to climb the ladder but liked the author’s skill to make me at odds with this character.

A game of who-dun-it Stratagem @RobinCaroll on tour with @Celebrate_Lit with #free #giveaway #amreading #books #bookreview Click To Tweet

A game of who-dun-it

The book as a whole felt more of a holiday who-dun-it as it was a quick read. I enjoyed Grayson’s character but wondered if there are many men who would have acted as he did. One police officer’s determination to only focus on him as the main suspect called into question the “presumed innocent until proved guilty” theory. This is a dangerous game to play.

“The man’s faith wasn’t just a card he carried – it was the life he lived.”

The same goes for Anna Belle’s mother. She is lovely and deep.

“If God, the perfect Father, has disobedient children, why are we mere humans so arrogant to think that our children ought to believe as they should?”

Did I enjoy Stratagem?

I enjoyed this mystery book, the pace was even, and there were enough suspects to keep you interested. However, the repetitive bringing out the notebook did niggle me a little. I get it the police use notebooks to write things down. To counteract that there are gems like this in the pages:

“She’d been wearing stress and strain on her like a favourite sweater.”

Who would like this book?

If you appreciate mysteries in the modern day world, then you may like this book. It’s a good book on a train journey to work. It also offers questions at the back of the book to ponder on.

A heads up…

There is mention of adultery and abortion in this book.

What am I happy about?

I am happy that I don’t have to do a psychological game to further my job prospects – it appears too dangerous!

I would like to give Stratagem 3.75 *** Why? Because I guessed who did it.

Thank you, Robin Caroll, for writing Stratagem.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Click here to purchase your copy!

This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

About the Book

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Stratagem by Robin CarollBook: Stratagem

Author: Robin Caroll

Genre: Christian Suspense

Release Date: November 2018

A High-Stakes Simulation Adventure Leaves Grayson Thibodeaux the Prime Suspect. . .for Murder

Deep in the gritty underbelly of New Orleans, psychologist Grayson Thibodeaux loses everything when his wife leaves him to climb her company’s corporate ladder. He buries himself in his job of creating mind-bending adventure games for businesses as team-building explorations. When his ex-wife’s company hires Grayson’s to create an elaborate game, he doesn’t see how things can get worse. Until she dies during the course of the game he created…making him the prime suspect for murder.

About the Author

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews Stratagem by Robin Caroll“I love boxing, I love Hallmark movies, I love fishing and I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better. Robin’s passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others and come alongside them on their faith journey—aspects Robin weaves into each of her twenty-five-plus published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends quality time with her husband of nearly three decades, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home. Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as executive director/conference director for ACFW. Her books have been recognized in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

You can find out more about Robin by visiting www.robincaroll.com.

Guest post from Robin

Behind the Scenes

Robin Caroll Shares Her Inspiration for Writing Stratagem

Dear Reader,

Thank you for journeying to New Orleans in a web of deceit and confusion with me. Sharing a place that has such connection for me was a pure joy. South Louisiana offers such a laid-back attitude that I often miss “home.” I hope you’ll enjoy sampling a taste of the flavor of Louisiana.

Years ago I watched the movie The Game with Michael Douglas and Sean Penn and was enthralled. There’s just something grabbing about messing with a person’s mind and life by using their own feelings and instincts against them. When this story of Stratagem first began forming, I wanted to use all that intrigue to mess up the game master’s life. The end result is quite the ride!

As the characters came alive to me, I found the theme of forgiveness and acceptance coming out in the story. Some of the emotions within this story are very personal to me, and I’m honored I was able to share them with you. It is my wish that you may be touched by Grayson’s faith journey as well.

Until next time. . .

-Robin

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