Monday, December 02, 2013

Merry Humbug Christmas

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Merry Humbug Christmas
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
by
Sandra D. Bricker


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

For more than a decade, Sandra D. Bricker lived in Los Angeles. While honing her chosen craft of screenwriting in every spare moment, she worked as a personal assistant and publicist to some of daytime television's hottest stars. When her mother became ill in Florida, she walked away from that segment of her life and moved across the country to take on a new role: Caregiver.

The author says that it was her 8th novel that opened the door to finding her way as a writer. "I'm a Christian woman, first and foremost," she says. "So it was a bit of a dream-come-true when Summerside Press chose me as one of two authors to launch the Love Finds You line."

Sandie's real-life role as cancer survivor has parlayed into her steadfast commitment to raising awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research. Spearheading a series of devotionals for Summerside Press (such as the popular His Grace is Sufficient...Decaf is Not), the author has stipulated that a portion of each contributor's proceeds will go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.


"Being allowed to combine my faith and my humor with raising funds for my pet projects ... and still pursue my writing dream," says Bricker, "well, that's the best of all worlds, as far as I'm concerned!"

And one of the author's pet projects is animal rescue, evidenced by the special bond she has created with one particular formerly-abandoned puppy -- a red-haired collie with "killer brown eyes and the heart of the class clown."

ABOUT THE BOOK

A Merry Humbug Christmas features two holiday romance novellas from hilarious and heartwarming author Sandra D. Bricker. -- the perfect gift to yourself or someone else at this most wonderfully stressful time of year.

In "Once Upon a Jingle Bell," A Bah! Humbug cruise to the Mexican Riviera is Joss Snow’s answer to this year’s quest to avoid the holidays completely; at least until she’s rebooked on a different kind of cruise altogether. Candy canes, holly wreaths, reindeer and ornaments seem to be stalking her on the 12 Days of Christmas holiday cruise extravaganza. An escape back to land is her only goal . . . until she meets a kindred spirit in rugged Irishman Patrick Brenneman, and then the game is on! Avoid Christmas festivities at all costs . . . except maybe for that one stop under the mistletoe.

In "It Came Upon a Midnight Deer," Reese’s guilt over abandoning best friend Joss on their holiday tradition of avoiding all things Christmas is trumped by the joy of her recent engagement. Meeting Damian’s family for the first time on idyllic Sugarloaf Mountain is about as far from that Bah! Humbug cruise as she can get, and Reese can hardly wait to get there. But from the moment they hit that deer in the road just two miles from the cabin, everything seems to go wrong. There are no drummers drumming or pipers piping this particular year! And once she sets her future in-laws’ family cabin ablaze, she’s pretty sure there won’t be even ONE golden ring in her future.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Merry Humbug Christmas, go HERE.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Aloha Rose

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Aloha Rose
Abingdon Press (November 19, 2013)
by
Lisa Carter


MY THOUGHTS:
 I love to quilt and I love books about quilts! This is NOT a book about quilting, but a beautiful baby quilt plays a key role in the story.

Laney Carrigan knows nothing about her birth family except that she was left on a doorstep wrapped in a Hawaiian quilt by a friend of her adoptive mother. She has spent her life feeling abandoned and unwanted at the core, despite the love of her adoptive family. Now, at the  prompting of her birth father, she flies hours away to Hawaii to meet the family of her heritage.

In the process she meets Kai, an adult who was a foster child in her Hawaiian family. He suffers PTSD from his time in Afghanistan and from a terrible childhood trauma. 

The story evolves as these two, who feel like 'stray cats' in the world, learn about their pasts, seek to heal their wounds, and try to fit into an 'ohana' family.

This is part of the Quilts of Love series published by Abingdon Press. The series has been well written and includes fascinating 'back stories' of quilts. Aloha Rose includes fabulous scenic descriptions of the 'big island' of Hawaii and it almost feels like a vacation with a loving Hawaiian family. It is a great, fun read.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A word from the author:

I am a wife and mother. My husband and I have two daughters and make our home in the beautiful state of North Carolina.

I am a teacher. With a Master’s degree in history, I have taught at the university, high school and middle school levels. After years of church involvement as a soloist, choir member and worship leader, I also teach music.

I am a writer. Delighted by the rhythm and musicality of words, I have been writing since childhood. In 2001, I won the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) Story Writing Contest that re-ignited a lifelong love of writing.

I am on a journey of faith. My ultimate desire through my life and my writing is to proclaim the truth of God’s Word, His redeeming love as seen in the life of Jesus Christ and to help others know for themselves this great, awesome God of all comfort and wisdom. He is enough for every need.

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Laney Carrigan sets out to find her birth family, her only clue is the Hawaiian quilt—a red rose snowflake appliqu├ęd on a white background—in which she was found wrapped as an infant. Centering her search on the Big Island and battling fears of rejection, Laney begins a painstaking journey toward her true heritage. Kai Barnes, however, is determined to protect the people he’s come to regard as family. He thinks Laney is nothing more than a gold digger and blocks every move she makes toward her Hawaiian family. As their conflict escalates, it puts at risk the one thing that Kai and Laney both want most—a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Aloha Rose, go HERE.

Thanks to Abingdon Press for providing a copy of the book for this review!

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Singularity

Singularity
by
Steven James


MY THOUGHTS:
This book is the second in the Jevin Banks series. Jevin is an illusionist who does amazing stunts, and he is training others to do them, too. When one of his best students is murdered during a publicly aired event, Jevin is thrown into a search for the killer with terrifying results.

There is a lot of action and many fascinating characters (some are really pretty creepy) in this story, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. Steven James does a wonderful job of researching leading edge topics and takes current day research to a terrifying level of potential reality. I'm not overly fond of books written in first person, but I enjoy James' storytelling so much that it's worth it to work through this.

I hope there are more books in this series -- I'd especially like to see more of Fiona and her home-schooled family!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Critically acclaimed author Steven James has written three dozen books, including the Patrick Bowers and Jevin Banks thriller series. He has also penned books spanning the genres of prayer collections, dramas, monologues, a nine-book series on creative storytelling, YA fantasy, and inspirational nonfiction. He has a master’s degree in storytelling and has taught writing and creative communication around the world. When he's not writing or speaking, you'll find him trail running, rock climbing, or drinking a dark roast coffee near his home in eastern Tennessee.




ABOUT THE BOOK:
Jevin Banks is searching for a killer--and answers to terrifying questions he never even thought to ask.
·        
Cover ArtWhen his friend is murdered, illusionist Jevin Banks is determined to find out what really happened. Drawn deep into a web of conspiracy and top-secret research on human consciousness, Jevin won't stop digging until the truth is revealed. Soon he uncovers a dark secret that could change the very fabric--and future--of human life on the planet.

Based on frightening scientific realities and bristling with mystery, suspense, and intrigue, Singularity is the riveting sequel to Placebo.


"Steven James knows how to tell a story that gets under your skin and challenges the way you think as only the most talented writers can. If you're looking for a mind-bending tale, strap in and take the ride with Singularity. I can't recommend it highly enough."--Ted Dekker, New York Times bestselling author


Praise for Placebo, the first book in the Jevin Banks Experience

"James's new series explodes onto the fiction stage. . . . The writing, pacing, and plot lines are impeccable."--Publishers Weekly

"An edgy, multilayered thriller that may have you fearful every time someone says, 'Oh, I've been thinking about you.'"--RT Book Reviews, 4½ stars

"A full-frontal assault that combines unique characters, a compelling theme, and an incredible story."--Life Is Story

"The kind of action, suspense, and surprises that Steven James fans have come to expect."--CBA Retailers+Resources

"The science is amazing, well-researched, and rather unsettling."--The Christian Manifesto

"A tantalizing blend of plausible current events and speculative sci-fi."--Crosswalk.com
 

“Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Success!





'nuf said -- thanks for the motivation power of going public with a goal!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Need To Be Held Accountable

I'm feeling less than motivated today and I think I'd be happy to sit in my chair and watch the rain...ALL day! This is one of my rare days with no appointments, so I have hours to use and I don't want to waste them. SO, I'm relying on you to help keep me moving. It seemed to work on the desk in my office, so let's see how it works on my sewing room (aka Quilt Studio and corner of my bedroom).

A few weeks ago I decided to organize this room and try a different strategy for managing my fabric. As I moved stuff off the top of my fabric shelf, I noticed the ceiling was black. Over the past month or so, Lois's toilet and shower have leaked, and apparently they leaked through to my studio below. After Doug removed the drywall, we realized we needed to call in help.

Now there is good news and bad news. All the decluttering/organizing shows tell you to remove everything from a room before you start. Ok, well I have to remove everything so the contractor can come on Monday to rip the ceiling out and see what needs to be done! My sewing machine and a few tools have been moved, along with the shelf of fabric, but this remains:






Where do I even start? And where do I put all this stuff? And how will I remain somewhat organized in the meantime so I can make the seven things I want to finish by Christmas?  This is where you come in. I've decided that today is the day, and I can reward myself with a quilting video as soon as I'm done.

Ready, set, GO!

Maybe I'll eat lunch first :o)  !










How Did This Happen?

So, I worked really hard to get my desk cleaned during the month of September. Then I had two separate speaking/teaching engagements, a visit by Hurricanes Sophie (my granddaughter) and Bandit (my granddog), several migraines, and lots of people putting mail on my desk 'so I could find it'. Well, this is the result:

And to be honest, it got MUCH worse than this!

So today I had to find the results of a recent car inspection, since our license must be renewed this month (figured it was about time...it's the 29th!). So I started going through the piles. There was the wonderful pile where piles are supposed to be -- in the pretty basket by my computer. Most items there are at least a month old. Then there was the pile on the other side of my computer, the pile at the far end of my desk, the pile in the middle of my desk...well, you get the picture.

Bottom line is that I found a bunch of expired coupons, a couple of late bills, a BUNCH of fabulous quilting magazines I have yet to read (and I'm really proud of myself for not stopping to read them), medicines that need to be renewed, and plenty of other things that need attention. But no car inspection.

Luckily the wonderful people at JC Care Care are happy to print a copy and it's on the way to the Dept of Revenue office. And now my desk is clean again! Well, at least the top and the drawers I've already cleaned.

I wonder if I'll ever make it out of my office in this cleaning/organizing fantasy of mine?

Back to neat at least! (if not quite as perfect as I want).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Unspoken

Unspoken
by
Dee Henderson


MY THOUGHTS:
We have waited so long for some new Dee Henderson books, and unfortunately this one was not worth the wait.

Dee's O'Malley series was the first set of Christian novels I ever read, and I hung on every word. The way her characters struggled with real life issues in the midst of fabulous suspense helped me learn how to turn to God in all situations.

However, her newest books seem to lack any tie to reality. I didn't review Full Disclosure because I was so disappointed with it -- I even had other Dee Henderson fans read it to see if I'd missed the mark. But with Unspoken, I see the continuation of a sad trend. The story seems to drag, and the characters live such unrealistic lives that they aren't even worthy of dreaming about. This could have been a great story if the surrounding situation (insane wealth) were even somewhat realistic. Maybe this is based on truth, but it's not a truth that anyone I know can even comprehend.

I got quickly bored with the coin talk, having no comprehension of what was valuable.

I definitely appreciated the struggle Charlotte has with God's willingness to forgive her captors. It's a struggle I hadn't considered for someone in her position, and it makes great sense. I love it when an author opens up a new way of comprehending the love God has for each of us, regardless of who we are or what we do.

So disappointed, but I'll continue to check out Dee's books because she's had such a major impact on my life.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
Charlotte Graham is at the center of the most famous kidnapping in Chicago history.

The task force of FBI and local cops found her two abductors, killed them, rescued her, but it took four very long years. The fact she was found less than three miles from her home, had been there the entire time, haunts them. She's changed her identity, found a profession she loves, and rebuilt her life.

She's never said a word--to the cops, to her doctors, to family--about those four years.
A family legacy has brought her back to Chicago where a reporter is writing a book about the kidnapping. The cops who worked the case are cooperating with him. Her options are limited: Hope the reporter doesn't find the full truth, or break her silence about what happened. And her silence is what has protected her family for years.

Bryce Bishop doesn't know her past, he only knows she has coins to sell from her grandfather's estate--and that the FBI director for the Chicago office made the introduction. The more he gets to know Charlotte, the more interested he becomes, an interest encouraged by those closest to her. But nothing else is working in his favor--she's decided she is single for life, she struggles with her faith, and she's willing to forego a huge inheritance to keep her privacy. She's not giving him much of an opening to work with.

Charlotte wants to trust him. She needs to tell him what happened. Because a crime cops thought was solved, has only opened another chapter...

"Dee Henderson is a master of Christian fiction... You will be hooked by her storytelling and will be anxiously awaiting her next novel." -- Fresh Fiction

"Minute details...plot twists galore, and a supporting cast whose capacity to fight evil and win is just this side of over-the-top make this stand-alone novel a rip-roaring good read. Old fans and new readers alike will be delighted." --Publishers Weekly

Stranded

Stranded
by
Dani Pettrey


MY THOUGHTS:
I have really enjoyed Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series, and this latest volume ranks right up there with the best! This book had me on the edge of my seat from the prologue, and I couldn't put it down.

I love the McKenna family and have really enjoyed these stories. You don't have to read the first books to understand what is going on, but it would definitely help. There are so many characters involved who show up in each book that it might be a good idea to keep a log -- it's easy to forget some of the personality quirks of each!

Pettrey's descriptions of the landscape and activities that occur make you feel the cold! She has a wonderful way of setting you into the story and making you feel like you see the landscape instead of are being told about it. I can't wait for the next book.



ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Her Friend Goes Missing,
Every Minute Counts

Darcy St. James returns to Alaska to join a journalist friend undercover on the trail of a big story. But when Darcy arrives, she finds her friend has disappeared. Troubled by the cruise ship's vague explanation, Darcy uses her cover as a travel reporter to investigate further.

The last person Gage McKenna expects to see during his summer aboard a cruise ship leading adventure excursions is Darcy. And in typical Darcy fashion, she's digging up more trouble.

He'd love to just forget her--but something won't let him. And he can't help but worry about her as they are heading into more remote regions of Alaska and eventually into foreign waters. Something sinister is going on, and the deeper they push, the more Gage fears they've only discovered the tip of the iceberg.

"The third book in Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series ratchets up the action and suspense. It's difficult to stop yourself from peeking ahead to the end, but the ride is worth the anxiety." --RT Book Reviews
"Dani Pettrey has delivered another incredibly compelling adventure in Alaska. STRANDED is full of suspense, beautiful rugged wilderness and white-water rapids, and a heartfelt romance. I loved catching up with the McKenna family." - Dee Henderson, New York Times bestselling author

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In real life, Dani Pettrey is a wife, homeschooling mom and author. She feels blessed to write inspirational romantic suspense because it incorporates so many things she loves–the thrill of adventure, nail-biting suspense, the deepening of one’s faith and plenty of romance. She’s a huge fan of dark chocolate, is always in search of the best iced mocha and her dream is to one day own a little cottage on a remote stretch of beach. She and her husband reside in Maryland with their two teenage daughters.
Just in case you’re curious…The real Dani does love traveling. She’s been to some amazing places (Greece, Hawaii, the Keys) and there are many more she hopes to visit in the future.
And while she’s not quite up to sky-diving, cave diving or heli-skiing (too high, too enclosed, too cold!) she and her family love hiking, canoeing, wave jumping and a ton of other outdoor adventures a little further down on the risk scale.

Learn more about Dani and her books at http://www.danipettrey.com/

Monday, October 07, 2013

Dark Justice

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dark Justice
B&H Books (October 1, 2013)
by
Brandilyn Collins


MY THOUGHTS:Brandilyn Collins is known for her 'seatbelt suspense' -- that is, you better buckle your seatbelt before you open one of her books! And this book definitely lives up to expectations.

Hannah Shire decides to go home the 'long' way, and her life is never the same. She stops to help the victim of a car accident, who tells her a cryptic secret. Next thing she knows people are trying to kill her and she's being sought as a 'person of interest' in three murders!

Brandilyn's book are such winners because she starts with a situation that could happen to any one of us, then she masterfully winds a web of intrigue and suspense that is so plausible the reader can see herself in the midst of unprecedented trouble.

If you are a Brandilyn Collins fan, you will once again be thrilled with her latest book. If you've never read one of her books, pick this one up and you'll be hooked!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."® Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn's awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.

Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing published in 2002.

When she's not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers' conferences.

ABOUT THE BOOK

If I’d had any idea what those words would mean to me, to my mother and daughter, I’d have fled California without looking back.

While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Soon people want to kill Hannah and her mother for what they “know.” Even law enforcement may be involved.

The two women must flee for their lives. But how does Hannah hide her confused mother? Carol just wants to listen to her pop music, wear her favorite purple hat, and go home. And if they turn to Hannah’s twentyseven- year-old daughter, Emily, for help, will she fall into danger as well?

Pressed on all sides, Hannah must keep all three generations of women in her family alive. Only then does she learn the threat is not just to her loved ones, but the entire country . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dark Justice, HERE.

Thanks to B&H Books for providing a book for this review.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

A Talent For Trouble

A Talent for Trouble
by
Jen Turano


MY THOUGHTS:
Wow...just wow! Jen Turano has quickly become one of my top five favorite authors! This is her third book, and I love it just as much as I enjoyed the first two! I have dubbed her the "Hysterical Historical" writer. I know that her books will include realistic details about the time period, and hilarious antics from strong characters. Plus there is a dash of downright amazing romantic relationship building -- especially where the characters don't think they are 'made' for one another.

There are wonderful characters who were in the first two books that show up again, and it is like seeing old friends! The books could definitely stand alone, but they are so fabulous you will want to read all three -- A Change of Fortune, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, and this latest one.

One of my favorite 'characters' is Thor...but you'll just have to read the book to figure out who he is!

If you like intrigue, meddling mothers, well meaning but interfering friends, cross dressers, naughty children, and the occasional run in with the police, this book is for you!

ABOUT THE BOOK
For years, Miss Felicia Murdock’s every thought and action have been in pursuit of becoming a minister’s wife. When the minister she’d set her sights on has other ideas, she decides something in her life needs to change–and soon–before she wastes any more time pretending to be someone she’s not. If that means spreading her wings and embracing a more lively way of life, who’s to say nay?
Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton, has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter an adventurous young lady with an unfortunate knack for stumbling into troublesome situations.
Just as Grayson decides he’s had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in Felicia’s life endangers her. As they work together to extricate themselves from this latest complication, will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.
She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she  fired up the computer and never looked back.
Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.
Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance

Welcome to Last Chance
by
Cathleen Armstrong


MY THOUGHTS:
Welcome to Last Chance is Cathleen Armstrong's first novel, and she has made a fabulous start to her writing career. This is an excellent contemporary romance.

Each character has wonderful depth and life. It is easy to imagine oneself living in or visiting this small town and dealing with the struggles the characters face. If this were a real town, I'd definitely find a way to visit!

Armstrong has written a masterful book that demonstrates how God's grace, as shown through his people, can overcome all the struggles we face.

ABOUT THE BOOK:
The red warning light on her car dashboard may have driven Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last hance, New Mexico, but as she meets the people who make this one-horse town their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodatig, and too interested in her personal life -- especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie is increasingly drawn into the small-town dramas and to a handsome local guy with a secret of his own. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cathleen Armstrong lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico, where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. Her debut novel, Welcome to Last Chance, has already won the 2009 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for Women's Fiction.














Thank you to Revell Publishing for providing a copy of this book for review. The gift in no way influenced my opinion of this book.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Christmas Gift for Rose

A Christmas Gift for Rose
by
Tricia Goyer

MY THOUGHTS:
Tricia Goyer has wrapped up another wonderful historic Amish fiction book in A Christmas Gift for Rose. This is a short novel based on a true story of a young Amish woman who discovers she was adopted from and Englisch family. This information, on top of the reality of her betrothed joining the Army as a WWII medic, puts a new level of stress on Rose in what is supposed to be a peaceful world.

Should she marry a man who went against all that she believes in to join the Army (even though he didn't fight)? What will the Bishop and others think of her when they realize she isn't really Amish? And who is she really -- Amish, Englisch, or something in between?

Goyer does a fabulous job of portraying the agony such issues can bring to a person who thinks she knows who she is and what she wants from life. This book would make a great stocking gift for your favorite reader, and I highly recommend reading it yourself to help you get into the true spirit of Christmas!

You can buy a copy of the book here.

This book inspired me to start a pinterest board! Check it out here.


ABOUT THE BOOK:
Rose turned her back on the man she loves after he assisted the Englisch during World War II -- only to discover she's an Englischer herself. Inspired by a true story, A Christmas Gift for Rose is a heartwarming story of sacrifice, deep love, and discovering one's true identity.













ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
ricia Goyer has written more than thirty-five books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and non- fiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.
Goyer’s fiction and non-fiction books have won awards from the American Christian Fiction Writers and Mt. Hermon Writers’ Conference. She is also a two-time Carol Award winner, as well as a Christy and ECPA Award Nominee.
Tricia has authored several books on family and parenting, as well as co-written with Max Lucado and Robin Jones Gunn. She collaborated with Ken Blanchard and Phil Hodges for Lead Your Family Like Jesus, published by Focus on the Family/Tyndale.
Tricia’s contemporary and historical novels feature strong women overcoming great challenges. She recreates historic wartime eras with precise detail through perseverant and comprehensive research. Tricia speaks to groups interested in these eras, with the intention of preserving and honoring the memory of the men and women who served.
She is a beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, writing the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors Series. Tricia is currently working on The One Year Book of Amish Peace: Hearing God’s Voice in the Simple Things and a true Amish story co-written with Ora Jay and Irene Eash (contracted to release in 2013 and 2014 respectively).
Tricia is also the visionary force behind the new website, Not Quite Amish. Inspired by the writing process of her Amish releases, she wanted to create a community where Amish and simple living experts can become contributors. Launched in the fall of 2012, the Not Quite Amish lifestyle blog features daily posts about recipes, repurposing, simple style, beautifying your home, sewing Amish proverbs, and more. In addition to having more than fifteen regular contributors, readers are also encouraged to submit ideas, questions, and posts for topics they’d like to see written about.
In addition to Not Quite Amish, Tricia also posts regularly at her personal blog and is a contributor to other family and homeschooling blogs, such as The Home Educating Family, The Better Mom, Allume and MomLife Today. In 2010, she was selected as one of the Top 20 Moms to Follow on Twitter by SheKnows.com.
Throughout the past ten years, Tricia has been interviewed by numerous national TV and radio programs and magazines.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Zondervan Books for providing a copy of this book for review.  This gift in no way influenced my opinion of the book.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fired Up

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fired Up
(Bethany House March 1,
by
Mary Connealy


MY THOUGHTS:
 This is a fun romp in the west with all the romantic tension Mary Connealy is famous for. This book is the second in a series, but there is plenty of background to give you all the information you need to understand the plot. This one is full of humor, loyalty, intrigue, action, and sparks of all kinds to keep you guessing until the end.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Rollicking Wild West Adventure and Romance from Bestselling Author Mary Connealy

Dare Riker is a doctor who saves lives, but someone seems determined to end his. It may have something to do with the traitors he dealt with during the Civil War, or it might be related to the recent incident with Flint Greer and the ranch. Whoever the culprit is, he or she seems really fired up, and Dare can't let his guard down for a moment, which is a challenge, since right now he's trying to win the heart of the recently widowed Glynna.

Glynna Greer came west as a mail-order bride and ended up in a bad situation. Now her husband, Flint, is dead, and she's determined to care for her son and daughter on her own. She wants to believe Dare Riker is as decent as he seems, but she's terrified to lock herself into another marriage. She plans to support her small family by opening a diner--never mind that cooking is not her greatest talent. The men in Broken Wheel, Texas, are so desperate for home cooking that they seem willing to overlook dried-out beef and blackened biscuits.

Glynna can't help but notice that danger follows Dare wherever he goes. There's the avalanche. And then the fire. But things really get out of hand when someone plunges a knife from Glynna's diner into Dare's back. Are Flint's cronies still plotting revenge? Is Glynna's son engaged in a misguided attempt to protect his mother? Is a shadowy outsider still enraged over past injustices? And can Dare survive long enough to convince Glynna to take another chance on love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fired Up, go HERE.

Friday, September 13, 2013

TRAPPED

Trapped
by
Irene Hannon

MY THOUGHTS:
I have enjoyed every Irene Hannon book I've read, and this one is no exception. This is book two in the Guardians of Justice series, however you definitely don't need to read book one to know what is going on. Irene does a great job of bringing you up to date on the lives of characters from the other book (thank you!!!!), and she keeps the story line of the new book 'clean' so it doesn't rely on the prior story.

This book is particularly intriguing because it deals with the serious issue of teen runaways and shows just how easy it is for someone to be caught up in the dangers of this world. Each character is well developed and I got caught up in their lives.

I love that she sets this series in the St. Louis area, too! If you like suspense, intrigue, and a touch of romance, then I highly recommend this book!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

When librarian Laura Griffith's sixteen-year-old sister disappears on a frigid February day, leaving only a brief note behind, Laura resolves to do whatever it takes to track down the runaway teen. That includes recruiting ATF agent turned PI James "Dev" Devlin to help. But the deeper he digs, the more he begins to suspect that something sinister is at work in the girl's disappearance. And the closer he gets to uncovering the truth, the clearer it becomes that the situation isn't just dangerous--it's deadly.

Chilling and at times terrifying, Trapped is the latest thrilling read from Irene Hannon, the queen of romantic suspense. Hannon outdoes herself with this fast-paced tale of fear, deception, and just the right dose of romance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.
Okay…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!
Since then, she has written more than 40 romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have been honored with two RITA awards—the “Oscar” of romantic fiction—and she is a six-time finalist for that prestigious honor. Her books have also won a Daphne du Maurier award, a Carol award, a HOLT Medallion, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. One of her novels was also named by Booklist as one of the top 10 inspirational fiction books of 2011.
Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full-time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  A trained vocalist, she has sung the leading role in numerous musicals, including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma” “The King and I” and “Anything Goes.” She is also a soloist at her church.
When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

Thank you to Baker Publishing Group for providing a copy of this book for review.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Threads of Change

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Threads of Change
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2013)
by
Jodi Barrows

MY THOUGHTS:
I've taken a quilting class from Jodi in the past and I was excited to see that she is branching out to write about the deep relationships that quilters form.

This book has an interesting story line with some predictable twists. I was disappointed with the flow of the writing -- it was difficult for me to get beyond the words and lose myself in the story.

If you are interested in historical romances set during the Civil War, you may find this an interesting read.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Over the past twenty years, Jodi has remarkably touched thousands of quilters throughout the world with her unique method called Square in a Square®. Her point of view provides the quilter with the freedom to create most any quilt design with speed and accuracy.

Jodi has spoken to quilting audiences throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, Italy and S. Africa. She has appeared as a guest on several quilting shows, including TNN’s Aleene’s Creative Living, TNN’s Your Home Studio, Perfecting Patchwork on Family Net TV and a pbs series with Kaye Wood.

Jodi was raised in southwest Kansas, has two grown sons, and is married to Steve, her high school sweetheart.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Conflict develops in the South,

Four granddaughters travel into uncertainty,

And Grandfather sells their precious home.

In the first book of A Quilting Story series, the four cousins-with social graces, charm, and a love for quilting-will face the anguish of life on the frontier in 1856 with every turn along the wagon trail. Raging storms and adversities hit the small band of travelers. Relieved to finally arrive at the abandoned military post at Fort Worth, Texas, they begin the hard work of establishing a new home. When trials follow them, they must decide to become true warriors of their hearts, minds, and souls or fall to the sufferings of prairie life.

Join the four women on a passage of friendship, love, and self-discovery as lives are mended around the quilting frame.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Threads of Change, go HERE.

Monday, August 26, 2013

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Pattern for Romance
Abingdon Press (August 20, 2013)
by
Carla Gade


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carla Olson Gade has been imaging stories most of her life. Her love for writing and eras gone by turned her attention to writing Inspirational Historical Romance. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Writers, and the Maine Fellowship of Christian Writers. She is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary.

Her publishing credits also include a variety of newspaper articles, newsletters, and web content. She also enjoys developing discipleship materials for women. She has been a book judge for the Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest (RWA), and ACFW's Genesis Contest.

In addition to writing, Carla is a freelance website designer and webhost and an advocate for adult literacy. An experienced event and program planner/promoter, Carla designs marketing materials for her writing group, women's ministry, and other functions. Carla has also spoken at several women's events and facilitated many workshops and classes through the years.

An autodidact, creative thinker, and avid reader, Carla also enjoys genealogy, web design, and photography. A native New Englander, she lives in beautiful rural Maine with her "hero" husband and two young adult sons, and a new grandson.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Honour Metcalf’s quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager’s niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan—a design for love.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Pattern for Romance, go HERE.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Into The Whirlwind

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Whirlwind
Baker Publishing Group (August 15, 2013)
by
Elizabeth Camden


MY THOUGHTS:
 I really enjoyed this book! There is a great story that places you right in the middle of history. While other books on the great Chicago fire seem to mention it in passing, Into the Whirlwind lets you feel the pain and hope of those whose homes and businesses were lost. So many things that we take for granted were suddenly swept away, and no one was truly safe for a long period of time after the fire.

As usual, Camden has created characters with depth and courage. I'm happy to recommend this book to those who love history, small business struggles, and romance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.




ABOUT THE BOOK

After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Whirlwind, go HERE.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Cost of Clutter

I didn't get any cleaning of my office done yesterday because I was basically gone from 8:45 a.m. until 9:30 p.m. I know -- excuses, excuses. But it is what it is! At least it didn't leave any piles on my desk, which is what usually happens on days like that -- I run in, dump the things in my arms, grab another stack and go. After a couple of busy days I'm right back where I started. So at least I feel like I maintained the status quo!

Today I worked on my portable file cabinet. Yes, I said file cabinet. Remember how proud I was a day or so ago when I cleaned out my portable file BOXES? I justified the boxes because my desk doesn't have any place to put files. Well, guess why I bought a portable file cabinet several years ago! Well, DUH!


The top drawer was full of envelopes, stamps, and other mail paraphenalia. I pretty much just organized this so it was easier to manage.

In the bottom drawer I discovered a big pile of stuff that had obviously been placed there during a wild cleaning spree. You know the kind...people are coming to visit in 10 minutes and you have to make sure they don't call family services! That cleaning spree must have been in 2011! Among other useless things, I found a Visa rebate card worth $50....that expired 4/13. UGH...what a waste. At least I  know the three Bed Bath and Beyond coupons will still be good -- regardless of when they expired!

So I filled a trash can with the stuff and discovered that I have room for all my files AND filing supplies! Oh glorious day...I can now fit my trash can under my desk.
  I need to organize all those cords, but no one will see them except when they are on the floor, which had best not happen often!



So I didn't get the whole office clean, but I've made great progress! I'm not going to do any more for almost two weeks coz I get to go to Florida on Sunday to see my granddaughter! I'll jump back in when I get home. Hope I've motivated someone else to organize, too! Let me know.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

FAILURE...not?

I didn't do a single thing to improve the organization of my desk yesterday. I could do what I usually do -- beat myself up because I don't seem to be able to finish a project (just ask my husband...he'll confirm both the beating and the seeming inability to finish).

I had set reasonable goals. In reality, I had plenty of time. Yes, my day got revised a bit yesterday as always happens, but I also spent some 'quality' time visiting friends on Facebook.And I accomplished almost everything else on my to do list. But for whatever reason I didn't clean out a drawer.

Guess what! Today is a new day, and God's mercies are new. I DIDN'T mess my desk up in any way...it looks just like it did yesterday morning when I got up, and that in itself is a big accomplishment, given the number of things I was tempted to pile on it.

Today is busy, too, but I'm sure I can find 15 minutes to make some headway.

What are you tempted to beat yourself up for this morning? What didn't you accomplish yesterday that you intended to? It's a brand new day -- let yesterday go and make today count!



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Two Days in a Row!

I've discovered I really have a problem with empty spaces. After clearing off the majority of the desk, I find I'm distracted by all that space. I have to get over this!

I decided to place my pretty tea pot and cup on a nice tray to set in the middle of the area. Then maybe I won't be so likely to pile things there. A tea pot might not be a typical office accoutrement, but it is a vital part of my life -- my granddaughter Sophie and I have regular tea parties over skype! That is also why I'll keep the hat and boa on my wall by my computer.
I finished clearing the top of my computer table and fought the urge to think I was done. I decided to work my way back around the underside of my desk top -- floors and drawers.

It is obvious to me that I need to redesign my organization strategy, because this one obviously doesn't work! So I took about an hour to restructure my 'active' filing (which will still go in a portable file box under my desk -- this desk doesn't have any file drawer). I created categories that work for me related to the organizations or major projects I work regularly and made those  hanging folders. Within each category, I created a file folders for subtopics or categories, so the idea is to just take out one folder when I work on a project, and then PUT IT BACK!

Throughout the day I realized that I have to clean my desk every time I walk in my office. I am always leaving something out once I'm finished with it, and it's going to take a while to fix that bad habit.

Since I know I'm a 'piler', and hiding a folder called 'action' is a good way to forget that something needs work, I gave myself permission to have one pile, but I contained it in a pretty in-box. This contains my calendar, the current book I'm researching or reading, and those things that have to get done soon. My goal is to review this box at least once each week (Monday morning works for me right now), and again whenever I have time. My phone is there, too, so MAYBE I won't lose it so often! I also got rid of a very large old printer that I keep for printing large things (it will print 12" wide!), especially since it hasn't worked for two years!That cleared up the space for this inbox. 

At the moment, the best place to keep a box of copier paper is under my computer table. I'm ok with it being there -- it's hidden and very convenient. However I also tend to stick a bunch of other stuff there. I decided for the moment to keep my portable file box there, but got rid of the things that didn't need to be there -- photo paper, tons of old files, etc.
Before:
                   After:
 And, not wanting to waste time, I cleaned out a drawer while I was talking on the phone:

So, for the most part, the computer desk area is done. I need to work on a rolling cart I have underneath and some file containers hanging on the wall. That will be my goal for today. Hopefully I'll be able to turn the corner and work on the wonderful space that was designed to hold a printer:
It might be nice to put my printer there, but I imagine the rest of the family might resist, since I have the printer that everyone uses. It could be a good place to put my file box, though, and maybe even that printer paper. We'll see how it goes.

I have to admit that committing to post these photos on a daily basis is really helping -- I was tempted to stop yesterday because things looked so much better from the outside, but, whether anyone is reading this or not, I want to post every day. And heaven forbid I post that I didn't do anything!

On a side note, my mother-in-law was thrilled with my efforts, and was shocked to hear that I still had work to do. She suggested that my husband work on his office, too (which is on the other side of our entryway). I laughed and suggested that maybe she wasn't one to speak -- her desk has as many piles as mine did!


The Lost Medallion

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Lost Medallion
B&H Kids; Mti edition (June 1, 2013)
by
Bill Muir and Alex Kendrick


MY THOUGHTS:
 Since this book is written for 'tweens', I shared it with my favorite 5th grader, Wyatt. This review is his perspective.

Wyatt loves action/adventure books, so he was anxious to get into this one. He may have been a bit hesitant when I first presented the book because he thought the cover made it look like an 'old' book, perhaps something that was a favorite of prior generations. He was a trooper, though, and agreed to read it for me.

He really enjoyed the story line, and how he never knew what was going to happen next. The writing made him feel like he was one of the background characters following Billy Stone and his friends around as they participated in this search. Wyatt finished the book with a sense that he should never give up, but always persevere.

He especially liked the photos in the middle of the book (from the movie). He and his mom discovered that the movie is at our local library, and they have reserved it (and were number 10 on the list).

The only thing Wyatt didn't care for was the ending...I don't want to share why, though, because it might give it away!

He recommends this book to anyone who likes adventure/action books, and he's looking forward to reading more Billy Stone adventures.



ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Bill Muir is a popular speaker, an international award winning film maker and a sought-after consultant.

Having completed his new novels The Lost Medallion and A Hidden Treasure, Bill has turned his creativity to his new Children’s novel, Howdy Neighbors.

When Bill isn’t writing a novel, he’s busy directing and producing movies. He recently spent four months in Thailand filming, The Lost Medallion: the adventures of Billy Stone. The movie will be in theaters this fall. When he isn’t working on movies, he’s having fun with his family working their farm.

Alex Kendrick is associate pastor of movie outreach for Sherwood Baptist Church. He is also an actor, writer, and director whose film credits include Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous. He and his wife, Christina, have six children.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Archaeologist Dr. Michael Stone looked for the lost medallion his entire life, and now his son Billy has taken up the search. Amazingly, the medallion ends up in Billy's hands and a spontaneous wish in a precarious situation takes Billy and his best friend Allie, back 200 years to what they realize is a very different Aumakua Island. When Billy and his friends are not jumping off waterfalls, avoiding animal traps, crossing the ocean, sneaking through caves or escaping a prison they're facing their nemesis Cobra, who wants nothing more than for them all to disappear. With no other way to get home, and the well being of the entire island resting on his shoulders, Billy must discover the key to reclaiming the medallion and its tremendous power. One way or another, this adventure will change Billy, and life on the island, forever. Best-selling author and film director Alex Kendrick (The Love Dare, Courageous) and Youth for Christ veteran Bill Muir bring us this exciting novelization of The Lost Medallion movie.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lost Medallion, go HERE.

Thank you to  B&H Kids for a copy of this book to review. The in no way influenced my perspective of the book.