Boondock Ramblings

Book Review: Dark of Night, a work of suspenseful fiction with spiritual truths needed today

Dark of Night by Carrie Cotton

Genre: Supernatural Christian Fantasy

Publisher: Self Published or Indepedently Published

Available: Currently Amazon.

Description: A new life, a new love, and even a new name. For former secret agent Andromeda Stone – now Joanna Carter – a normal, boring life with her handsome husband was the happy ending. But an old enemy resurfaces, determined to leave nothing unfinished, and Andy must step back into the nightmares once again. Andy and Will each face their own worst fears in their search for answers. Will this new mission cost Andy more than she’s willing to pay?
When the journey takes her to deeper and darker places than she’s ever been before, Andy discovers it’s more than just answers she’s looking for.

Review: Dark of Night, Carrie Cotton’s second book in her Dreamwalker series, isn’t simply a work of fiction, it is a call to action, a reminder that there are forces unseen working against us in a realm beyond our comprehension.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12 KJV

This book is the visceral reminder that as people, Christians or not, we are in the midst of a spiritual battle for our soul every day. No, most of us don’t wield physical weapons in our everyday lives, (unless we are in the military or law enforcement) but there are spiritual weapons at our disposal and we can draw on them, reign them into our control with our trust that God is bigger than any evil pressing down upon us and around us.

I would compare this book to those of Frank Peretti who first opened the eyes of many Christians to the reality of spiritual warfare in books such as This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness. There are some who believed his stories, like Carrie’s, are simply that — stories, but when a person faces the actual dark tentacles sliding out of the darkest recesses of their mind, blocking out goodness with thoughts of revenge and ruin, like I have a few times in my life, they will realize what they thought was a story is actually true.

It’s scary to have to admit there is truth in Carrie’s book.

Are there people who can walk in dreams and hurt other people? Not that we know of. Are there evil forces that can influence us to the point that evil no longer seems evil and good no longer seems good? I think anyone who is living through what our nation and our world are facing these days knows that there are evil forces; there is a real father of lies whispering in the ears of many, telling them not to trust what God has implanted in them, but to instead trust what the media, society, and politicians tell them is true.

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20

This isn’t a political book. Don’t misunderstand. This isn’t picking apart issues we now consider political and telling you what to believe. Not in the least. It does not mention our modern issues. There are bigger stakes at play here – the fight for individual souls and the fight to not be overtaken by hatred and evil. This book takes issues that the main character Joanna battles within herself and brings it right down to the personal deep level, reminding the reader that Joanna isn’t the only one who has to resist evil — we all do.

Quote from book, Esther to Joanna (Andy): “That’s exactly what I’m saying,” she said passionately. “It doesn’t take brute force or physical weapons to fight these battles, it takes spiritual strength that comes from faith in a very, very powerful God. He is greater, His Word is greater than anything . . . anything . . . in this world, even the hidden things.”

If you are not ready to be spiritually challenged while mentally entertained with fast-paced action, well-written prose, and characters you will fall quickly and solidly in love with (to the point you will cry if harm comes to them), then don’t read this book. But, if you are ready to challenge your faith, your perception of reality, increase your knowledge of a spiritual realm that is in play all around us, and be entertained at the same time, then you need to pick up a copy of Dark of Night NOW. This is a must read for every Christian, but it is also a read that even someone who doesn’t consider themselves a Christian will enjoy.

Quote from book(Jacob to Andy): “You say you believe in God, that you love Him. If that’s true, then you have to trust Him to keep His promises. If we trust Him, truly trust Him, then we can remain in Him and all things will work together for our good – either now or eventually, even the terrible choices of other people.”

Book Review: ‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson

Book description:

When the man she loved years ago returns to town, one young woman’s complicated past rises again, threatening to expose her well-kept secrets.

If Maxine could put her finger on the moment when her life went into a tailspin, she would point back twenty years to the day her daddy died. She tells herself he’s the only person who ever really knew and loved her, and if he hadn’t left her behind, her future would’ve taken a different path. No absentee mother, no stepfather, no rebellious ripping and running during her teenage years. And no JD, who gave her wandering young heart a home, at least for a time.

But that’s over and done with. All grown-up now, Maxine has pledged her heart and ring finger to Theodore Charles, the man she’ll promise to love, honor, and obey in front of God and everybody. At least that’s what she’s telling anybody who will listen. The only folks buying it are the dog and the readers of her column, however. Her best friend and family aren’t having it―not even Celeste, the double bass–playing thirteen-year-old the community of Mount Laurel, North Carolina, believes is Maxine’s adopted sister. And apparently, neither is the newly returned JD, who seems intent on toppling Maxine’s reconstructed life. As her wedding day marches ever closer, Maxine confronts what it means to be really known and loved by examining what’s buried in her own heart and exposing truth that has never seen the light of day.

A Christian fiction novel with a poignant story of romance, a search for truth, and a journey to redemption. For fans of Chris Fabry, Lauren Denton, and Charles Martin.

Book review:

After reading A Long Time Comin’ last year, I had been anticipating Robin’s new book and it did not disappoint. Robin is a wonderful writer who pulls you right into her character’s world. This story is a story of forgiveness, not only for others but accepting God’s forgiveness and love for ourselves.

I enjoyed the story of Maxine.

Maxine, a columnist for a small Christian magazine, is supposed to be getting married, but she has a big secret and, at first, I found it insanely naive and selfish of her to believe she was going to marry her Theodore without him one day finding out a very, very big secret from her past. If she didn’t feel comfortable sharing this with him before they were married, then I couldn’t figure out how she thought she was going to have a strong marriage. The marriage was going to be built on a foundation of lies. But, of course, that’s the point of Maxine’s journey – learning to unravel the lies and pain and face them.

Maxine works through some of her internal struggle through the columns she writes for the magazine and as a writer myself I was amazed by how Robin managed to write several columns by Maxine in addition to the story. That requires a great deal of talent, in my humble opinion. Of course, a great deal of talent is indeed what Robin possesses.

Robin wonderfully described Maxine’s predicament and her reluctance to deal with it. The fact I feel so strongly about Maxine’s faults, for lack of a better word, is probably because, again, I see so much of myself in her. Feeling so strong about a character is a testament to what a strong writer Robin is. She really pulled me into Maxine’s journey.

I think Robin wrote Maxine as stubborn for a reason and it isn’t as if Maxine doesn’t redeem herself or that her character doesn’t develop throughout the book. She does both of these things, but not in a cookie-cutter way, which is much more realistic than many books in this genre.

Her character growth is messy, complex, and doesn’t have a cute little bow on it.

That’s real life and that’s what Robin writes so well.

I definitely recommend this book for its messages of forgiveness, redemption, and healing. I can’t wait to see what else Robin writes!Thank you for your review.

Sunday Bookends: Balancing Books and Feeling like we live in Antartica

Welcome to another Sunday Bookends where I share what I’m reading, watching, writing, eating, seeing, smelling — no, wait. Only what I’m reading, watching, writing, sometimes what I’m listening to and a little about what we’ve been up to. Feel free to let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments.

What’s Been Occuring

Aparently we are never going to have warm weather again. Or that’s how it feels right now, anyhow. I know we will eventually have warm weather, of course, but this has been one long winter.

Most of the 21 inches of snow that fell on us the week before last is still here and now they are calling for several more inches on Monday and Tuesday. We just got our driveway cleared from the last storm and now more snow is coming. I can’t even wrap my head around it. While the snow can be pretty, there has been anywhere from 2 to 24 inches of snow in our backyard since the end of December and at least a foot of it there since the beginning mid-January. There is so much snow that the deer are now coming into our yards to eat our bushes and trees.

We were able to get out of the driveway last week to go to my parents for a game night and the little supermarket downtown. Saturday my husband took me out for Valentine’s Day and we were able to get out of town and explore an area about 45 minutes away from our house. We had a late lunch at a restaurant we hadn’t been to before and then we – I can’t believe I am writing this but we went to buy cat food and cat litter at Walmart.

Yes, that was part of our Valentine’s Day date. This shopping trip for necessities was promptly mocked by The Boy who texted to me (after I told him where we were):

“Ah yes Walmart the most romantic place in the world. It’s the only place where you can find scented candles right next to the guns. Waiter: here are your Walmart specials pulls out Twinkie’s and a half warmed up frozen pizza.”

He’s quite funny and we’re hoping that he’ll be a famous comedian one day and puts us in a nice nursing community. You know, if the world allows us all to have humor again.

What I’m Reading

I’m almost finished with ‘Til I Want No More by Robin W. Pearson, which I am really enjoying, even though Maxine (the main character) was really driving me nuts in the first part of the book. When you read it, you’ll know what I mean. This story of redemption is very complex and a little heavy at times, but Robin is such a wonderful writer, it makes it all easier. Plus, we get to see Evelyn again from Robin’s first book A Long Time Comin’. The two books are not connected, other than Evelyn and Maxine being friends and both facing difficult secrets in their lives they needed to address.

I will probably finish Harriet Beamer Takes A Bus in the next couple of days as well. This book is so charming and sweet, I don’t want it to end, but luckily I have discovered that there is a sequel.

Little Miss and I just finished Misty of Chincoteague by Margaurite Henry last week and have moved on to Stormy, Misty’s Foal.

The Boy and I continue to suffer through The Lord of the Flies (good book, but a bit depressing with all the craziness going on in today’s world). It’s taking us a while because he has chapter questions and quizes every two chapters and I am really not in any rush to read it since I know how it ends.

What I’m Watching

I’ve been watching McLeod’s Daughters, an old Australian show on Amazon. It’s essentially a soap opera set out in the bush of Australia but without graphic sex or violence.

My husband and I are also watching Lovejoy, an older British show about an antique dealer who often gets wrapped up in some sort of criminal situation when trying to sell or buy antiques. It is much more interesting than I just made it sound. I promise.

We continue to watch Wanda Vision (a Marvel show on Disney), which is getting better each week.

What I’m Writing

Last week I wrote about censorship and freedom of speech;

Some random thoughts

And, the second part of chapter 1 for The Farmer’s Son.

I’m also finishing up edits on The Farmer’s Daughter and it will go live on Kindle on February 23rd.

What I’m Listening To

I am try to listen to more sermons and will continue that this week. I listened to a good sermon by Holly Furtick from Elevation Church, which I missed Sunday because I watched Robert Morris from Gateway Church. Here are links to those sermons in case you need some spiritual guidance or Biblical thoughts to chew on this week.

I’m also trying to make more time for podcasts and this week I hope to listen to more of Relatable by Allie B. Stuckey and The Babylon Bee podcast.

So that was my week in review. How about you? What have you been reading, watching, listening to, or doing? Let me know in the comments.

Favorite Books Read in 2020

I thought about sharing a list of the books I read this year, but I share an Amazon and Goodreads account with my mom (it makes it easier for me to add books to her Kindle for her) and she read a lot more books than me so sifting through what she read and what I read was a little overwhelming. My Kindle list also includes books from my husband’s account and he’s also read a lot more books than I have this year (as he always does.)

I’ve been lesson planning for when school starts for the kids next week so I didn’t have time to sit and figure out what I read, what she read, and what he read. I do know she read around 200 this year (some of them short, some of them awful Kindle books, poor lady) on her Kindle and he read 80 on his Kindle. They both also read a few hard copies of books.

Since I didn’t want to try to make a list of all the books I read, which would have been short (maybe 20), I thought I’d list some of my favorites of what I read this year instead.

My favorite reads this year were:

A Long Time Comin’ by Robin W. Pearson

Lead Me Home by Amy K. Sorrells

Falling Home by Karen White

About Your Father And Other Celebrities I Have Known by Peggy Rowe (the only non-fiction book I read all the way through.)

A Longmire Mystery: The Cold Dish by Craig Johnson

Hadley Beckett’s Next Dish by Bethany Turner.

The Dead Don’t Dance by Charles Martin


Honorable Mentions:

Borders of the Heart Chris Fabry

Whose Waves These Are by Amanda Dykes

Silas Marner by George Elliot

The Knife Slipped by Earl Stanley Gardner

A Cord of Three Strands by Christy Distler

I know a lot of readers announce a reading goal for the new year, but I find goals like that distract me from simply enjoying reading. I guess I could set my goal at 20 and see what happens, but . . . that just sounds so organized, so I don’t think I’ll really set that as my goal. Pretend I did, though, so I fit in with all the book bloggers of the world.

So how about you? What were some of your favorite reads of 2020? Let me know in the comments.

Victorian Reading Challenge

I am going to try this next year. We will see how it goes. . . I don’t often follow through on these things.

To read the entire reading challenge guidelines: Becky’s Book Reviews

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky’s Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January 2021 – December 2021
Goal: Read between 4 to 6 Books (4 minimum)

Choose to participate in the basic challenge (quarterly) or the advanced challenge (themed months). All books must fall into the “Victorian” category being either a) books originally published between 1837 and 1901 b) books originally written (but not published) between 1837 and 1901 c) general nonfiction about the Victorian era (the times, the culture, the people, the events) d) biographies of Victorians.

Sign up by leaving a comment @ Becky’s Book Reviews post for the reading challenge.
The above information is copy/pasted from Becky’s post. 

I am signing up to read the quarterly challenge which is 4 Victorian books (one per quarter). 

1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin

2. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

4. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle’s (husband’s suggestion)

5. Middlemarch by George Elliott

Tea-ology Reading Challenge

I think I’m going to try this reading challenge this next year so I wanted to share it here. I copied this from the person hosting the challenge.

Tea-ology Reading Challenge (formerly Share-a-Tea)
Host: Operation Actually Read Bible (formerly Becky’s Book Reviews) (sign up here)
Duration: Perpetual but starting anew each January
# of books: Readers Decide

This challenge is all about celebrating SLOWING DOWN and SAVORING the moments. This challenge is about QUALITY and not quantity. This is an anti-rush reading challenge. Enjoy where you are in a book, and, engage fully in it. Live in the book.

Love drinking tea? Love reading books? Love reading a book while drinking tea? Have I got a reading challenge for you!

Who can join? Anyone who enjoys reading. You don’t need to have a blog. You don’t need to have a twitter account. Are coffee drinkers welcome? Well. You can still join in, I suppose. But you might be outnumbered by tea drinkers.

Which books count?

  • The Bible (any translation)
  • Devotionals
  • Sermons
  • Christian Biography/Autobiography
  • Christian Living
  • Christian Nonfiction
  • Christian Theology
  • Christian Bible Studies
  • Letters, Journals, Diaries, etc.

Does anything else count?

  • Watching or listening to sermons; just be sure to make note of what you’re watching and perhaps jot down a note or two to remind you what it was about.
  • Listening to audio bibles (again just keep track of what you’re listening to)
  • Listening to audio books (again just keep track…)
  • Listening to praise/worship albums (again just keep track…)

1) When you sign up in a comment below, share one favorite tea and one favorite book. And if you’ve got one handy: a favorite quote.
2) If you write a post on your blog announcing the challenge (and making a place to keep track of what you’ve read), consider sharing a bit about yourself–your reading and drinking habits. You might consider a longer list of recommendations!
3) If you’re on twitter, tweet me as often as you like @operationbible Tweet about favorite teas, favorite books, favorite authors, favorite quotes, what you’re currently reading, what you’ve just finished reading, etc.

I will be sharing my progress throughout the year. I haven’t decided if it will be every week, every other week, every month. If you have a preference, let me know when you sign up. You are more than welcome to share your progress in the comments of my progress posts.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

Sunday Bookends is my week in review, so to speak. It’s where I share what I’ve been up to, what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been watching, what I’ve been listening to and what I’ve been writing. Feel free to share a link or comment about your week in review in the comments.

What I’m Reading

I’m savoring A Long Time Comin’ By Robin W. Pearson. The story takes place in North Carolina, which I am familiar with since my mom is originally from there. I’ve been reading from it all week but I have had to pause and have a good cry during part of it, not because it is depressing, but because much of it is touching.

I have mentioned this book before but I thought I’d share the description again:

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To hear Beatrice Agnew tell it, she entered the world with her mouth tightly shut. Just because she finds out she’s dying doesn’t mean she can’t keep it that way. If any of her children have questions about their daddy and the choices she made after he abandoned them, they’d best take it up with Jesus. There’s no room in Granny B’s house for regrets or hand-holding. Or so she thinks.

Her granddaughter, Evelyn Lester, shows up on Beatrice’s doorstep anyway, burdened with her own secret baggage. Determined to help her Granny B mend fences with her far-flung brood, Evelyn turns her grandmother’s heart and home inside out. Evelyn’s meddling uncovers a tucked-away box of old letters, forcing the two women to wrestle with their past and present pain as they confront the truth Beatrice has worked a lifetime to hide.

So far I can absolutely relate to Evelyn and somewhat to Granny B. Granny B can be a difficult character to like, in some ways, but I do like her and I am enjoying slowly learning about her, savoring a chapter or two a day. I’m also learning about her seven children, the husband who left the family, and the frayed ties that hold them all together.

Robin’s next book is due in February 2021 and it’s already on the hot new releases for Amazon. I guess that tells you a little about how much people like her first book.

Up next on my list to read:

Above the Fold by Rachel Scott McDaniel and for a complete opposite of Rachel’s book, I’m going to try a Longmire book, The Dark Horse by Craig Johnson, since I’ve watched a few episodes of the show.



What I’m Watching

I’m still watching Father Brown and I’ve also been watching reruns of Benson (the old show with Robert Guillaume), which actually holds up pretty well (other than the keep call black people “the blacks.”). Benson is available on the Roku app on the . . . well, Roku.

What’s Been Happening:

The new kitten is fitting in fairly well, though our resident adult cat still hates her. Pixel, our adult cat, is spending a lot of time outside still, but did let me start petting her again. For the first few days she wanted nothing to do with me, glaring at me from under the table most days. She still glares some, but it’s better and her tail flares less now when she sees the kitten, but she still hisses and growls at her if the kitten dares to get within a few feet of her. We did finally choose Scout for the kittens name and I guess Little Miss has accepted that the kitten will not be called Mittens.

Scout climbs on my chest anytime she wants comfort or sleep which can be very inconvenient at times, like when I need to make dinner or type or well, do anything at all. It was cute at first and it’s sweet she sees me as her comfort but the other night I had to switch her to my husband so I could finish dinner.

This past week was also stock up on stock photography week. I took a bunch of new stock photos to submit to my stock agencies, including Lightstock, a Christian-based stock agency. During that upload I had to ask a question on their chat and Scout ran across the keyboard which led to a humorous exchange with the gentleman I was chatting with, mainly me apologizing for all the extra letters on the keyboard.

You will see some of the photos for stock in my photos of the week. The photos of my son doing school work were set up that way; we haven’t started school yet. We probably won’t start until after Labor Day.

I visited my Dad’s garden this week to grab some kale (he has tons and now I have tons waiting to be cooked) and not only took some photos of the garden, but the sun pouring through the clouds overlooking the property and some of the purple cone flowers at the front of the house.

I don’t know if I will be taking too many photos this upcoming week, at least the first half of it, because it is supposed to be very hot and I hate the heat, or my body does at least. Temps are supposed to decrease later in the week so maybe I will venture out then.

What I’m Listening To

Zach Williams and Toby Mac have been on my playlist lately. For Zach I have been listening to his Chain Breaker album and for Toby I’m listening to his Lost Demos album, which is what it sounds like – demos that he wrote but then never actually made the albums. The songs are very good and of course hold some memories for Toby since a couple were written about his son, who died last year.

Photos from the week:

Book reviews won’t necessarily be a regular feature here but I’ve read a couple I’ve liked lately and wanted to share in case others are looking for a good distraction. Plus I “met” this author online and thought it would be cool to help her promote her first book. I mean she’s from Pennsylvania and the book takes place in Pennsylvania so she must be cool, right?

First, the Goodreads description of the book:

As 1756 dawns, Isaac Lukens leaves the Pennsylvania wilderness after two years with the Lenape people. He’s failed to find the families of his birth parents, a French trader and a Lenape woman. Worse, the tribe he’s lived with, having rejected his peacemaking efforts, now ravages frontier settlements in retaliation. When he arrives in the Quaker community where he was reared, questions taunt him: Who is he—white man or Lenape? And where does he belong?

Elisabeth Alden, Isaac’s dearest childhood friend, is left to tend her young siblings alone upon her father’s death. Despite Isaac’s promise to care for her and the children, she battles resentment toward him for having left, while an unspeakable tragedy and her discordant courtship with a prominent Philadelphian weigh on her as well.

Elisabeth must marry or lose guardianship of her siblings, and her options threaten the life with her and the children that Isaac has come to love. Faced with Elisabeth’s hesitancy to marry, the prospect of finding his family at last, and the opportunity to assist in the peace process between Pennsylvania and its Indian tribes, Isaac must determine where—and to whom—the Almighty has called him

My review:

To be honest, the prologue to this book made me think I might not enjoy it because the language seemed a little old fashioned. The important words in the previous sentence? Seemed and at first. Because by chapter 1 I realized the use of older language was a way to bring me closer to understanding the characters and their way of life. It wasn’t long before beginning it that I was hooked on the book and having a hard time putting it down. I was on the edge of my seat throughout, wondering what trial or triumph might face the main characters, Isaac and Elisabeth, next.

 This book is a romance in some ways, yes, but it is such a sweet, gradual romance that the reader isn’t overwhelmed with sappiness and drama. Much of the romantic nature of the story is over shadowed by the compelling story of the Lenape people through the eyes of Isaac and the story of the Quakers through both Isaac and Elisabeth’s eyes. This isn’t one of those romantic stories where romance is the main focus. Yes, love is the main thread that holds the characters and the story together but it is a love that is deeper than a physical and romantic attraction. It is a spiritual love and an emotional one.

From the beginning of this book I fell in love with the characters,  my heart broke for their trials, and my eyes were opened to the struggles faced by this nation’s early settlers and the natives who lived on the land before the settlers ever arrived. I literally wanted to crawl inside the book at times and hug Elisabeth close and then take her away from a world that could be so cruel in the early years of our nation’s founding.

I was never sure what adventure was coming next for Isaac and Elisabeth and I loved that. It kept me turning pages (and kept me up too late at some nights). As a Christian I don’t believe in fate so in this case I believe it was divine guidance that led me to discover Christy’s book. In the first few pages Christy mentioned a town near where I grew up and now live, which hooked me on the book even more.

I later discovered the author lives in the same state and holds the same love for this state’s local and Native American history in the same way I do. This is Christy’s first book, but I expect to see many more from her in the future and I’m really looking forward to them.

If you’re not already a fan of historical fiction, this book will make you one. She could use some reviews for the book to get it some more attention so if you read it and like it, please leave her a review on Amazon.

Christy is also an editor (copy editing, content editing, line editing, proofreading, manuscript review) and you can find more information about that part of her life HERE.



I guess I hit a high level of boredom because I published A New Beginning on Amazon and Barnes&Noble this weekend.

If you’re not familiar with the story, I have put up the first two chapters on this page and there is also a link to all of the chapters (if you want to click to each one) HERE for another week.

This is the sequel to A Story To Tell, which you can also find on Kindle and B&N.

Here on the blog you can red my short story Quarantined or follow along with The Farmer’s Daughter, which I am updating each Friday, or Fully Alive, which I’m updating, well, whenever at this point (but usually on Thursdays).