Book Review: Sidelined, Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance, by Chuck Pagano, with Bruce A. Tollner

Sidelined; Overcoming Odds through Unity, Passion, and Perseverance

by Chuck Pagano, with Bruce A. Tollner

Publisher: Zondervan (2014)

What’s it like to win your dream job, and then receive the news that you have cancer? Ask Chuck Pagano. The message is clear. Even on the darkest of days, those who remain faithful remain strong.

Shortly after reaching a lifelong goal of becoming a head coach in the National Football League, Pagano was given more life changing news. Diagnosed with leukemia during his first year with the Indianapolis Colts, Coach Pagano had to rely on his family and new team to help him overcome the potentially life threatening disease.

Unsure of the team’s reaction, he continued to coach from his hospital bed through phone calls, text messages, and emails. Chuck’s determination and drive were nothing new to the players on his team. As the effects of chemotherapy took their toll, Pagano’s team kept reminding him of his own words, “Trust, Loyalty, and Respect” – they would mean so much more by the end of the season.

While reading Sidelined, I was continually inspired by the “pep talks” of Pagano’s trusted friend, Kevin Elko. These nuggets of wisdom are expertly woven among the game day recaps and the updates on Pagano’s physical status during the course of the disease and the effects of its treatment. Elko’s (Elks as Pagano refers to him) ability to use scripture to inspire determination is essential in Pagano’s defensive lineup against leukemia.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a football fan, going through a rough patch in everyday life, or facing the unknown through illness. It’s a helpful reminder that one must not give in to one’s condition, and to use your faith as a guide for living.


I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: “A” is for Alibi, by Sue Grafton

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “A”.

For years, I’ve been thinking about reading all the Sue Grafton books, in order, from A – Z (as soon as X, Y, and Z become available). And now, I have finally started that series. These novels began in 1982. One thing that stands out immediately is the use of technology. In this first installment, the word “cell phone” never came up. There were trips to the pay phone, and messages retrieved from the front desk of hotels and answering services, but no cell phones, or email for that matter. I can’t wait to read about the evolution of technology through the words of Sue Grafton… {hugs herself} so, on with the show.

A is for Alibi

“A” is for Alibi

by Sue Grafton

Random House Publishing (c) 1982

Private investigator Kinsey Millhone is hired to find out who really killed prominate divorce lawyer, Lawrence Fife. Not a problem, except that the trail is 8 years old, and someone has already been tried and convicted of the crime: his beautiful young wife, Nikki.

Nikki has claimed her innocense all along, yet no one will listen. Now, out of prison on paroll, Nikki looks to Kinsey to help her find out who set her up.

The suspense begins as soon as Kinsey re-opens the investigation, with the blessing of homicide detective, Con Dolan. His interest in the case has more to do with an unsolved murder that happened around the same time of the Fife murder; he’s hoping Millhone can turn up new evidence to help solve the murder of 24 year-old, accountant Libby Glass. There’s a connection, but the District Attorney could never find enough evidence to pin this one on Nikki Fife, so the case has gone cold while they prosecuted what they deemed “a sure thing”.

“Alibi” is a fantastic read. The characters are well developed and believable. There are just enough twists to keep the reader guessing, but not so many that one loses sight of the main plot. Grafton starts this series out with a bang, and I’m looking forward to going through this alphabetical adventure.

Score 5 STARS for this one Ms. Grafton


Book Review: Jupiter Winds, by C.J. Darlington


Jupiter Winds, by C.J. Darlington

Mountainview Books

Seventeen year-old Grey Alexander and her younger sister, Orinda, learn to survive after the loss of their parents in this fast-passed sci-fi thriller. In 2160, North America is under the control of a dictatorship that uses technology to its advantage for controlling humans and their actions. Before their mysterious disappearance, Grey’s revolutionary parents take their children into hiding to avoid having them become electronically “connected”. Only Mrs. March, a trusted, elderly, family friend, knows the girls’ secret, and she will stop at nothing to protect them.

While reading Jupiter Winds, I couldn’t help but compare it to The Hunger Games. You have two sisters who draw on their courage and determination to survive through the loss of a parent; the government of the futuristic country has fallen into the hands of a dictatorship known as Mazdaar; and the girls are forced to smuggle and trade contraband in order to survive; however, that’s where the comparison stops.

Travel from Earth to Jupiter has been reduced to a few days journey. But who would want to go to Jupiter in the first place? Certainly not Grey and Rin, that is until Grey is abducted for questioning by Mazdaar’s General Evangeline Yurkutz. The General is determined to uncover the truth concerning the whereabouts of Grey’s parents.

Jupiter Winds is an excellent read. With each turn of a page, our heroines encounter life threatening situations that seem realistic and impossible to escape. The transitions in this novel keep the action flowing, and I especially liked the way the point of view switches from Grey to Rin throughout the story.

This is the first novel I’ve read from this author, but I will be looking to read her other novels and any in the future.

Rating: 5 Stars

I received this book for free from C.J. Darlington in exchange for my honest review.



Book Review: Gunpowder Tea, by Margaret Brownley

Gunpowder Tea

By Margaret Brownley

Thomas Nelson Publishing

Miranda Hunt is following in her father’s footsteps as an operative at the Pinkerton Detective Agency, and now she is about to get a chance to truly prove the value of her skills. Her latest assignment requires her to assume the identity of Annie Beckman, a young woman answering an ad for an heiress to the renowned Last Chance Ranch, owned by spirited, eccentric cattlewoman, Eleanor Walker.

While undercover, Annie must identify the person, responsible for a recent string of robberies, known as The Phantom. Before she can even step foot off the train in Cactus Patch, she learns first hand how the Phantom operates. The train is robbed just outside of town.

Annie’s orders are clear, “While learning the ranching business, keep an eye open for the Phantom. Once identified, notify the local law enforcement.” Sounds easy enough, but nothing is ever as easy as it seems, especially when Annie starts experiencing feelings for mysterious and handsome ranch hand, David Branch. Could he be the one to steal her heart? Or, is he a part of the Phantom gang?

Gunpowder Tea is the third book of The Last Chance Ranch series. Although I haven’t had the chance to read the first two stories, I had no trouble picking up the action and learning the identity of key characters. This story is entertaining and suspenseful with twists that are unexpected. I plan to check out more books written by Brownley.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Book Review: Anomaly, by Krista McGee

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