Saturday, December 18, 2010

More on Lucas Daniel Boyce

I've been sharing with you the fantastic story of my high school friend, Lucas Daniel Boyce. He's an amazing man with a lot to share with the world. His upcoming book, Living Proof, is one more tool in his belt to spread his story and message of God's grace. The video below was made by a mutal friend, Jason Shaw Richards. Check it out.




For more information on Lucas Boyce click HERE. For more about Jason Shaw Photography and media, click HERE.

Monday, December 13, 2010

GRPR: The Topkapi Secret by Terry Kelhawk

Song Stuck on the Brain: Merry Christmas Baby by Christina Aguilera


Today I'm touring a book provided to me free by Glass Roads Public Relations.








by









MY TAKE:

I agreed to review this book, because the premise intrigued me. I'm not overly familiar with Islamic beliefs or history and the chance to see a different world and set of beliefs through an experts eyes sounded interesting. It was too, in some ways. The book is amazingly detailed in history and description. It really is a step away from my known life. However, despite the great detail and history, I had trouble connecting with the main characters. I wanted to be swept away by romance and an exotic tale, but it just didn't happen for me. The writing style was a little stiff for my taste and the story just wasn't as compelling as I'd hoped.

However, I know my tastes are not always the same as others. You may find this to be right up your alley. The reviews on Amazon.com were pretty positive. Overall, I would I say I can only recommend it to those who have a strong love for this style and genre of book. I don't think it's a mainstream novel for all readers.

I do appreciate GRPR allowing me to participate in the tour. I enjoy new reading and new experiences.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

On display within the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul lies the Topkapi Codex – an ancient Koranic manuscript, and part of a murder that split Shiite from Sunni. What’s the truth about the Topkapi Codex? No one knows because the Topkapi Codex is off limits.

Mohammed Atareek is obsessed with getting to the codex. His research has convinced him the Koran has been changed many times, and this famous manuscript could help prove it. But the risks of getting a hold of it increase as other scholars start turning up dead.

After traumatic life circumstances Angela, a UC Berkeley English professor, makes a career move which puts her in the Middle East and across Mohammed’s path. His unique personality – overconfident, witty, and impulsive – is both puzzling and refreshing to Angela. But when Mohammed tries to engage her in his quest, he finds she has an agenda of her own. Between their cat and mouse games, heated discussions, and sparks of romance, the historical origin of the Koran unfolds.


View the Book Trailer HERE
Visit the Facebook page HERE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Terry Kelhawk is an award-wining speaker, writer, and teacher with significant personal and professional experience with Islam and the Middle East.

In Terry’s words, “I love peoples and cultures. We have so much to learn from each other, and this makes the world a richer place. Yet when I come across a misunderstanding or deception which adversely impacts a culture or people group, for the sake of those people I believe it should be exposed.”

Terry Kelhawk holds a doctorate degree, but believes people should keep on learning through life. Her areas of interest are culture, religion, and women’s rights – especially of Middle East. She blogs on huffingtonpost.com, foxnews.com, and politicalmavens.com, and likes travel, reading, and asking questions.

Terry believes we should, as Honey Jean of Atlanta in The Topkapi Secret would say, “Make the world a better place, or y’all just taking up space!”

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Rush of Wings by Kristen Heitzmann

Song Stuck on the Brain: If I Were a Rich Girl by Gwen Stefani


Bethany House Publishers sent me a free copy of A Rush of Wings by Krisen Heitzmann to review, and I'm so glad they did. Wow, I love Kristen's work. She has such emotional and spiritual depth to her stories and characters.


In A Rush of Wings, Noelle St. Claire flees her wealthy and elite life in New York to escape her ex-fiance and a terror she doesn't fully comprehend. Running on pure instinct, chased by fragments of memory and horrifying images, she lands at the Rocky Mountain horse ranch owned and run by Rick Spencer. Noelle wants to hide and find a new life for herself. Rick and his brother, Morgan, are both willing to help in their own ways, all while falling in love with her. But Noelle's past is darker and more twisted than even she realizes, the more Morgan and Rick pick at her protective shell, the more wounds she finds. Wounds that no human love can heal.


Noelle's journey to find her independence, faith and healing is emotionally stunning. Rick and Morgan are like two sides of the same coin, just as in life and faith we must choose one of two paths, so does Noelle. Will she choose Morgan and his busy, world driven life? Or Rick and his solid faith?


I loved this novel. Every image is carefully formed to be crystal clear, where you can smell the dusty horses and see the gold aspen leaves against the clear blue sky. The characters are fully fleshed and compelling. Even Rick and Morgan's extended family. Although the Christmas spent with the Spencer family almost felt too perfect, it was a good contrast for the life Noelle used to lead; showing her just how different life could be with Jesus as your Savior. It made me wish I could celebrate with them this Christmas.


Rush of Wings isn't a Christmas specific story, but what better way to honor the birth of our Savior, than a story of healing, redemption, hope and the ultimate love?


A.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

CSFF: The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathan Rogers

Song Stuck on the Brain: Last Christmas by Wham





The CSFF is proudly touring:






by







Unfortunately, I wasn't able to review this book, but Jonathan's books are always so much fun, I had to share the book info with you. Let me know if you read it and what you think.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

“I only know one man who might be able to tell me where I come from, and that man is a liar and a fraud.”


As far back as he can remember, the orphan Grady has tramped from village to village in the company of a huckster named Floyd. With his adolescent accomplice, Floyd perpetrates a variety of hoaxes and flimflams on the good citizens of the Corenwald frontier, such as the Ugliest Boy in the World act.

It’s a hard way to make a living, made harder by the memory of fatter times when audiences thronged to see young Grady perform as “The Wild Man of the Feechiefen Swamp.” But what can they do? Nobody believes in feechies anymore.

When Floyd stages an elaborate plot to revive Corenwalders’ belief in the mythical swamp-dwellers known as the feechiefolk, he overshoots the mark. Floyd’s Great Feechie Scare becomes widespread panic. Eager audiences become angry mobs, and in the ensuing chaos, the Charlatan’s Boy discovers the truth that has evaded him all his life—and will change his path forever.






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jonathan Rogers is author of many well received novels, including The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King and The Way of the Wilderking (All of The Wilderking Trilogy) and Saint Patrick.



The Feechie Film Festival, 2010

What is the Feechie Film Festival? In short, the Feechie Film Festival is grass-roots cryptoanthropology: of the people, for the people, by the people. The assignment is simple: get in front of a video camera and tell the world (in a minute or less) whether or not your believe in feechies–and why. Post the video to YouTube, and send me the link (you can either send me an email in the ‘Contact Me’ box on the right, or comment on this page below).

For too long we’ve let the so-called “authorities” tell us what to believe about feechiefolk.* The Feechie Film Festival gives the people a voice.

Through this project things have been revealed that even I didn’t know about feechies. They hate banjo music. They can’t tolerate Dr. Pepper. They leave coconuts in people’s laundry baskets.

* Editor’s note: I actually am an authority on feechiefolk. It’s okay if you believe what I tell you about them.

The Feechie Film Festival kicks off with the flagship film, “What Is a Feechie?”



Visit the other tour members to find more fun information:

Sally Apokedak
Amy Bissell
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Andrea Graham
Tori Greene
Katie Hart
Bruce Hennigan
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
Donita K. Paul
SarahFlan
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dog and Cat Love Story

This is one of the best pet videos I've seen. The music selection is priceless and it only takes one look into the dog's eyes to fall head over heels in love too.



Friday, December 03, 2010

The Story of Jonah

A friend shared this video on Facebook and I fell in love with this little girls dramatic skills. She could have a real future in audio books.

The story of Jonah from Corinth Baptist Church on Vimeo.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

CFBA: Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace & Mitali Perkins

Song Stuck on the Brain: Pat-A-Pan by David Archuleta. My new fav Christmas song.









This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:


Emily of Deep Valley

Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (October 12, 2010)


by

Mitali Perkins


and






MY TAKE:


How did I miss these books growing up? I read all the great classics from the original Nancy Drew to Mary Poppins. Little House on the Prairie to Pippi Longstockings. I devoured the entire young adult and middle grade reader section in my town's library. I'm glad that I was given a second chance to meet Emily. Maud Hart Lovelace was a great writer. I enjoy her style and characters. It's not just a modern author's look at history. It's a fun peek into the past with authenticity that can't be created from our day and age's research. So much fun. I look forward to reading more.



ABOUT THE BOOK:



Often cited as Maud Hart Lovelace’s (of Betsy-Tacy fame) best novel, Emily of Deep Valley is now back in print, with a new foreword by acclaimed young adult author Mitali Perkins and new archival material about the characters’ real lives.

Emily Webster, an orphan living with her grandfather, is not like the other girls her age in Deep Valley, Minnesota. The gulf between Emily and her classmates widens even more when they graduate from Deep Valley High School in 1912. Emily longs to go off to college with everyone else, but she can’t leave her grandfather. Emily resigns herself to facing a “lost winter,” but soon decides to stop feeling sorry for herself. And with a new program of study, a growing interest in the Syrian community, and a handsome new teacher at the high school to fill her days, Emily gains more than she ever dreamed...

In addition to her beloved Betsy-Tacy books, Maud Hart Lovelace wrote three more stories set in the fictional town of Deep Valley: Winona’s Pony Cart, Carney’s House Party and Emily of Deep Valley. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be delighted to find the Deep Valley books available again for the first time in many years.

If you would like to browse inside Emily of Deep Valley, go HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

A word from Mitali: Who In The World Is Mitali Perkins?

That's a good question. I've been trying to figure it out myself, spending most of my life crossing borders.

I was born Mitali Bose in Kolkata (Calcutta), India, and always tried to live up to my name—which means “friendly” in the Bangla language. I had to! Because my family moved so much, it was the only way I could make new friends.

By the time I was 11, I'd lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before settling in California just in time for middle school. Yep, I was the new kid again, in seventh grade, the year everybody barely makes it through.

My biggest lifeline during those early years was story. Books were my rock, my stability, my safe place as I navigated the border between California suburbia and the Bengali culture of my traditional home.

After studying political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley, I taught in middle school, high school and college. When I began to write fiction, my protagonists were often—not surprisingly—strong female characters trying to bridge different cultures.

Mitali Perkins is the author of several books for young people, including SECRET KEEPER (Random House), MONSOON SUMMER (Random House), RICKSHAW GIRL (Charlesbridge), and the FIRST DAUGHTER books (Dutton).


Maud Hart Lovelace was born on April 25, 1892 in Mankato, Minnesota. She was the middle of three children born to Thomas and Stella (Palmer) Hart. Her sister Kathleen was three years older, and her sister Helen was six years younger. “That dear family�? was the model for the fictional Ray family.


Maud’s birthplace was a small house on a hilly residential street several blocks above Mankato’s center business district. The street, Center Street, dead-ended at one of the town’s many hills. When Maud was a few months old the Hart family moved two blocks up the street to 333 Center. Shortly before Maud’s fifth birthday a “large merry Irish family�? moved into the house directly across the street. Among its many children was a girl Maud’s age, Frances, nicknamed Bick, who was to be Maud’s best friend and the model for Tacy Kelly. Tib’s character was based on another playmate, Marjorie (Midge) Gerlach, who lived nearby in a large house designed by her architect father. Maud, Bick, and Midge became lifelong friends. Maud once stated that the three couldn’t have been closer if they’d been sisters.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

CFBA: Divine Appointments by Charlene Baumbich

Song Stuck on the Brain: Hidden Away by Josh Groban





This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Divine Appointments
WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (September 21, 2010)



by



Charlene Baumbich


MY TAKE:

Due to time constraints this month, I didn't opt to review this book, but I hope you all take time to check it out.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Josie Brooks, at the age of 47, thought she was leading an enviable single life. A successful consultant, she calls her own shots, goes where the money is, and never needs to compromise. But her precisely managed world begins to falter during a Chicago contract when an economic downturn, a bleeding heart boss, and the loyalty and kindness between endangered employees ding her coat of armor.

Throw in hot flashes, a dose of loneliness, a peculiar longing for intimacy, an
unquenchable thirst—not to mention a mysterious snow globe with a serene landscape, complete with a flowing river and lush greenery that seems to be beckoning her in—and Josie’s buttoned-up life is on the verge of coming completely undone.

Maybe her solitary existence isn’t as fulfilling as she has convinced herself to believe. It will take a few new friends, a mystical encounter, and an unexpected journey to set Josie on her own path to “right-sizing” and making the life changes that really matter. Filled with laugh-out loud moments and a gentle dash of inspiration, Divine Appointments is another heartwarming charmer from a master storyteller.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Divine Appointments, go HERE.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Charlene Ann Baumbich is the author of the previous three books in the Partonville series. A popular speaker, journalist, and author, for several years she has lectured to women’s groups and retreats. Baumbich is also an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Today’s Christian Woman, and numerous other publications. She is the author of six nonfiction books of humor and inspiration.

Charlene says: For over two decades of writing and speaking, my passionate pursuit to entertain and rejuvenate using humor (I love to laugh-especially at myself), uncommon wisdom, and passionate insights has been affirmed through countless calls, letters, and evaluation sheets. A reader recently e-mailed, "There is so much depression and sadness in this world. I applaud you for reminding all of us to treasure the moments in our lives, and for encouraging us to find joy in the little things. What you do helps so many to rise above the heaviness of life and live, and laugh, and face another day, so thanks!!!!" That is exactly why I keep doing what I do.

I am a firm believer in the power of story (short or book-length, funny or insightful, real or fiction, on stage or page) to accomplish my purpose, which is to remind you: Don't Miss Your Life! Whether you're tuning into me live or in print, fasten your seatbelt. I promise you a wild, fun, provocative, heart-warming ride.

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving




"Now my brethren, we see that God is mindful of every people, in whatsoever land they may be in; yea, he numbereth his people, and his bowels of mercy are over all the earth.

Now this is my joy, and my great thanksgiving; yea, and I will give thanks unto my God for ever. Amen."

- Alma 14:127-128 RLDS 1908 Book of Mormon

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CFBA: The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble

Song Stuck on the Brain: Keep A Knocking by the Everly Brothers








This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



The Lightkeeper's Bride
Thomas Nelson (October 19, 2010)



by



Colleen Coble






MY TAKE:

I love Colleen's work and she definitely delivers here. A great story with just the right balance of mystery, romance, and history. Her descriptions and dialogue are spot on and it's easy to get lost between the pages. The description below really says it all. Anything more, and I might give something away. Good Christmas gift idea for the book lover(s) on your list.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

A thrilling romantic mystery set in the lush Victorian age.

Central Operator Katie Russell's inquisitive ways have just uncovered her parents' plan for her marriage to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster. Her heart is unmoved, but she knows the match will bring her family status and respectability.

Then Katie overhears a phone conversation that makes her uneasy and asks authorities to investigate. But the caller is nowhere to be found. Mysterious connections arise between the caller and a ship lost at sea.

Against propriety, Katie questions the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson. Then a smallpox epidemic forces their quarantine in his lighthouse. Though of low social status, Will's bravery and kindness remove Katie's suspicion and win her love. Katie and Will together work to solve the mystery of the missing girl and the lost ship as God gives the couple the desire of their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Lightkeeper's Bride, go HERE.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Author Colleen Coble’s thirty-five novels and novellas have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, the Booksellers Best, and the 2009 Best Books of Indiana-Fiction award. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

A word from Colleen: God has been faithful, though the path has not been easy. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. God wouldn’t let me give up, and I like to think the struggle made me stronger. God has given me so much in my life, most importantly my great family, a loving church family at New Life Baptist Church, and my wonderful publishing family at Nelson Books.

Friday, November 19, 2010

CFBA: The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
The Silent Order
Summerside Press (November 1, 2010)
by
Melanie Dobson



MY TAKE:

Another great tale from Melanie Dobson. A unique twist on the mob life and story. I loved the characters, especially Katie's son. He's adorable. I don't want to give anything away by discussing the twists and secrets, just take my word for it that this one is worth your time. :)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Melanie Dobson is the award-winning author of The Black Cloister; Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana; and Together for Good.

Prior to launching Dobson Media Group in 1999, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family where she was responsible for the publicity of events, products, films, and TV specials. Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. She has worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for fifteen years including two years as a publicist for The Family Channel.

Melanie and her husband, Jon, met in Colorado Springs in 1997 at Vanguard Church. Jon works in the field of computer animation. Since they've been married, the Dobsons have relocated numerous times including stints in Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Colorado, Berlin, and Southern California. These days they are enjoying their new home in the Pacific Northwest.

Jon and Melanie have adopted their two daughters —Karly (6) and Kinzel (5). When Melanie isn't writing or entertaining their girls, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, traveling, hiking, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.





ABOUT THE BOOK:

Rural America - 1928. After the murder of his partner, Detective Rollin Wells hides away in an Amish home near Sugarcreek, Ohio, to find out who in the police force is

collaborating with Cleveland’s notorious mob. While Rollin searches for answers to his partner’s death, he befriends an elusive young Amish woman named Katie and her young son. As Rollin learns about Katie’s past, he’s shocked at the secret Katie is hiding - a secret that has haunted Rollin for eight years.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Silent Order, go HERE.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

CFBA: Long Time Coming by Vanessa Miller

Song Stuck on the Brain: Hawai'i '78 by Israel "IZ" Kamakawiwo╩╗ole









This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:


Long Time Coming
Abingdon Press (November 1, 2010)


by


Vanessa Miller




MY TAKE:

I didn't opt in on this book this month. Unfortunately, it was only available as an e-book for reviewers and at the moment, I don't have an e-reader. I'm posting the info anyway, because it did look interesting and I wanted to share it with all of you. I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've read the book.



ABOUT THE BOOK:


Two women from different worlds find hope together.

Faithful Christian Deidre Clark-Morris is a professional career-minded woman with a loving husband, but no children. Kenisha Smalls has lived in poverty all her life. She has three children by three different men and has just been diagnosed with inoperable cervical cancer.

While the meeting between these two women appears accidental, it becomes their catalyst of hope. Neither woman expects the blessing that God has in store for her. While Deidre will guide Kenisha on the path to eternal life with Jesus Christ, Kenisha will teach Deidre how to stand strong against the hard-knocks of life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Long Time Coming, go HERE



Watch the book video:







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Vanessa Miller of Dayton, Ohio, is a best-selling author, playwright, and motivational speaker. Her stage productions include: Get You Some Business, Don’t Turn Your Back on God, and Can’t You Hear Them Crying. Vanessa is currently in the process of turning the novels in the Rain Series into stage productions.

Vanessa has been writing since she was a young child. When she wasn’t writing poetry, short stories, stage plays and novels, reading great books consumed her free time. However, it wasn’t until she committed her life to the Lord in 1994 that she realized all gifts and anointing come from God. She then set out to write redemption stories that glorify God.

To date, Vanessa has completed the Rain and Storm Series. She is currently working on the Forsaken series, Second Chance at Love series and a single title, Long Time Coming. Vanessa believes that each book will touch readers across the country in a special way. It is, after all, her God-given destiny to write and produce plays and novels that bring deliverance to God’s people. These books have received rave reviews, winning Best Christian Fiction Awards and topping numerous Bestseller’s lists.

Friday, November 12, 2010

CFBA: Amy Inspired by Bethany Pierce

Song Stuck on the Brain: Oh, Where Is My Hairbrush by Veggie Tales



This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:


Amy Inspired
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)


by


Bethany Pierce

MY TAKE:

Bethany Pierce, you took my breath and a little of my sanity away. Amy was so relate-able to me, despite the many differences between us. I actually felt melancholy every time I had to put the book down to go to work or bed. And that's a good thing! I was so emotionally involved in her journey, that it just stuck with me in the between times.

Bethany's style has a very literary feel to it, without being pretentious. She has some really beautiful phrasing and her plot is so well formed. Her characters are complete individuals too. I wanted to know Eli's whole story, and while she shares a great deal of it, he was fascinating enough, I wanted more. The same holds true for Amy's best friend and roommate. I loved the quirkiness. Unique with purpose, not just quirky as a gimmick.

I really loved this book, and I'm recommending it to everyone. My mom has it now and it will make it's way around my circle.



ABOUT THE BOOK:


With rejections piling up, she could use just a little inspiration...

Amy Gallagher is an aspiring writer who, after countless rejections, has settled for a career as an English professor in small-town Ohio just to pay the bills. All her dreams suddenly start to unravel as rejections pile up--both from publishers and her boyfriend.

But just as Amy fears her life is stuck in a holding pattern, she meets the mysterious, attractive, and unavailable Eli. She struggles to walk the fine line between friendship and something more with Eli, even as staying true to her faith becomes unexpectedly complicated.

When secrets, tragedy, and poor decisions cause rifts in Amy's relationships, she must come to terms with who she's become, her unrealized aspirations for her life, and the state of her faith. Can she dare to hope that she will find love and fulfillment despite it all?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Amy Inspired, go HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


After completing a master's in Creative Writing and working as a visiting instructor at Miami University in Ohio, Bethany Pierce now lives with her husband in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is a member of the McGuffey Art Center and continues to write. Her first book, Feeling for Bones, was one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2007.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CFBA: Hatteras Girl by Alice Wisler

Song Stuck on the Brain: Hurricane by Angela Hope Taylor

Angela is one of my very best friends. I'm so proud of her. Here is her latest song. Enjoy!









This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:



Hatteras Girl
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)



by



Alice Wisler



MY TAKE:

Hatteras Girl took me by surprise with it's unique and memorable characters and new look at romance and finding the One. I really enjoyed the humor and setting. Jackie's relatives crack me up, I think in a lot of ways we all have family members like this, it's just seldom that we see them through someone else's eyes. Jackie's journey to find love and fulfill her dreams was fun and eye-opening.

Alice Wisler did a great job of presenting the true feelings we experience when we want something so bad, we forget to ask God if it's really good for us or if He wants us to have it. Or the way we struggle with accepting the truth when we see it. Hatteras Girl is funny, quirky and compelling. A very good read.

ABOUT THE BOOK:


There are two things twenty-nine-year-old Jackie Donovan asks God for: an honest, wonderful man to marry, and to own a bed-and-breakfast in the Outer Banks region. In the meantime, Jackie works for Lighthouse Views magazine, writing articles about other local business owners, and intrepidly goes on the blind dates set up by her well-meaning but oh-so-clueless relatives.

There's one specific property Jackie dreams of purchasing: the Bailey Place, a fabulous old home where Jackie spent many happy childhood afternoons, a place that has now fallen into disrepair because of its outrageous price tag.
When Jackie meets handsome Davis Erickson, who holds the key to the Bailey Place, Jackie is sure God has answered both her prayers. But as Jackie learns some disturbing details about Davis's past, she begins to question her own motivation. Will she risk her long-held dreams to find out the truth?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hatteras Girl, go HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Alice J. Wisler is an author, public speaker, advocate, and fundraiser. She has been a guest on several radio and TV programs to promote her self-published cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle. She graduated from Eastern Mennonite University and has traveled the country in jobs that minister to people. Alice was raised in Japan and currently resides in Durham, North Carolina.

Facts about Alice

* Born in Osaka, Japan and lived in Japan for 18 years

* Went to Kyoto International School and Canadian Academy

* Majored in Social Work and graduated in 1983 from Eastern Mennonite University

* Worked at a group home for disadvantaged kids outside of Philadelphia

* Taught English and Culture Orientation at a refugee camp in the Philippines

* Taught English as a Second Language in Japan

* Speaks and teaches on Writing the Heartache

* Has three kids on earth, and one in Heaven

* Recently got married to Carl on 2/7/09

Monday, November 08, 2010

CFBA: Grace by Shelley Shepard Gray

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Could Not Ask For More by Edwin McCain







This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Grace
Avon Inspire; Original edition (October 26, 2010)

by

Shelley Shepard Gray




MY TAKE:

A sweet, romantic Christmas romance sums it up nicely, although there is a lot more than romance flowing between the characters. There's grief and guilt and worry, all things that creep in to steal away our peace and joy. The journey each character makes to find real peace is especially poignant for the time of year.

The multiple family units that join to make the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast what it is, are familiar and fast friends to the reader. Both from their own previous tales and because their genuine warmth and character make them feel like they belong. The multiple story lines tie together nicely and bring back the importance of Christmas and what makes it really special. Family and Love, but most importantly how those two are best featured in the life of Jesus Christ.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.







ABOUT THE BOOK:


It's Christmastime at the Brenneman Bed & Breakfast, and everyone is excited about closing down for the holiday.

Anna and Henry will be celebrating their first Christmas as a married couple, and for Katie and Jonathan Lundy, it's their first Christmas with baby Stefan. Winnie and Samuel Miller plan to stop by as well for a wonderful two weeks of family and rest.

But when two unexpected visitors show up, hoping to stay for Christmas, the family must test their commitment to hospitality. Levi is a widower who lost his wife four years ago and can't bear the thought of another Christmas alone. And Melody is a young pregnant woman who won't open up about how she ended up on her own at Christmas at almost nine months pregnant.

Anna, who knows a thing or two about keeping secrets, doesn't trust her, and strives to find out the truth about these two strangers who have disrupted their holiday. But as the Christmas spirit descends on them all, as well as snow that traps them in the inn, a healing and hopefulness takes over, allowing new relationships to be built, and the boundaries of family to be extended.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Grace, go HERE.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

CFBA: Head In the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer

Song Stuck on the Brain: New Divide Gavin Mikhail



This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:


Head in the Clouds
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)


by


Karen Witemeyer



MY TAKE:

The minute my sister saw the cover of this book she burst into laughter and said, "Oh, my goodness, That's you!" Now, I'd love to say that had everything to do with the charming model good looks, but in pure truth it was all about her impending fall from her nose being buried in a book. That is me. Klutzy and guilty of too often being distracted by a good story to pay any attention to where I am. To this day, I still struggle with giving directions to long standing locations in my hometown, because I spent every moment in a car reading and not watching landmarks or roadsigns.

That is one of the things that endeared me to Adelaide, but it was certainly not the last. I connected with her spunk and determination and loyalty. Adelaide may have been enthralled by the idea of a fairy tale romance, but she also had common sense. She was open to learning from her mistakes and turning her life over to God so He could lead her to a better plan. That is such a great example for all of us.

Of course in the midst of all her growth, Adelaide finds plenty of time to stumble her way right into the heart of her employer. There were several laugh out loud moments and plenty of romantic sighs to weave the story into a fantastic read.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind.

When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate.

When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Head in the Clouds, go HERE.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.

After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid-to-late 1800s.

Karen is living her dream by writing Christian historical romance novels for Bethany House. When she visited her publisher back in January of 2010, she was interviewed by the staff. If you'd like a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how she develops her story ideas and a description of her bumpy journey to publication, go to her website to listen to a podcast of that interview.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

CFBA: The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

Song Stuck on the Brain: I've got a brand new pair of rollerskates....

Thanks to the commercial with the baby in a walker speeding down the freeway, I sing this about every other day now.



This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

The Preacher's Bride
Bethany House; Original edition (October 1, 2010)

by

Jody Hedlund




MY TAKE:

I didn't realize when I began The Preacher's Bride, that it was based on John Bunyan's life and what it would have been like to be the wife of such a great spiritual leader.

Jody did an amazing job in re-creating the world of the Puritans. She brought many of Bunyan's real life contemporaries to life, both those political and well known and his communitiy church members and friends. Her depth of research is remarkable. What I loved the most though, was her portrayal of Elizabeth, John's soon to be wife. Elizabeth is so fully fleshed in character. She has an incredibly strong dedication to serving God and a great deal of faith, and yet she's still so human. Suceptible to self-doubt, fear and heartbreak just as easily as everyone else.

This is a real page turner. I read it in one day and couldn't put it down. I definitely recommend this to all readers, not just those that read historical. It will have an impact on your view of faith and what it means to stay strong in that faith.



ABOUT THE BOOK:

In 1650s England, a young Puritan maiden is on a mission to save the baby of her newly widowed preacher--whether her assistance is wanted or not. Always ready to help those in need, Elizabeth ignores John's protests of her aid. She's even willing to risk her lone marriage prospect to help the little family. Yet Elizabeth's new role as nanny takes a dangerous turn when John's boldness from the pulpit makes him a target of political and religious leaders. As the preacher's enemies become desperate to silence him, they draw Elizabeth into a deadly web of deception. Finding herself in more danger than she ever bargained for, she's more determined than ever to save the child--and man--she's come to love.



If you would like to read the first chapter of The Preacher's Bride, go HERE.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jody has written novels for the last 16 years (with a hiatus when her children were young. In May of 2009 she double-finaled in the Genesis contest, a national fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.Shortly after the final, Jody acquired an agent, Rachelle Gardner of Word Serve Literary. Her agent spent the summer of 2009 working on selling her books. In September of that year, Jody signed a three-book deal with Bethany House Publishers. Jody’s debut novel, The Preacher’s Bride, releases in Oct. 2010. Her next book will release in 2011 and a third in 2012.

Monday, November 01, 2010

CSFF: The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Just Haven't Met You Yet by Michael Buble

This month the CSFF is touring:








I am a HUGE Lawhead fan. I was hooked with The Songs of Albion series and haven't stopped reading him since. He's an extremely gifted writer, weaving in detail like an artisan lace maker.

His latest release, The Skin Map, just blew me away. It's such an awesome concept. Ley lines are fascinating to me, and something that I've toy researched over the years. I understand what they are and some of the theories surrounding them, but Mr. Lawhead raised it to a whole new level. His depth of research into quantum physics is impressive and world(s) he created for Kit and Mina to explore are amazingly detailed and researched as well.

What makes this even more exciting in my mind, is that this book is a little of a genre bender. It's a little fantasy, a little sci-fi, Adventure/Thriller and historical. It has something for everyone, and yet is balanced is such a way, that if you are intimidated by the words 'quantum physics', you don't have to be. It's only part of the overall whole of the plot and laid out so well for the reader it's easy to understand.

The Skin Map of course is the first in a five book series, with book two releasing next fall. I'm thrilled to know there are four more books coming, I devoured The Skin Map in about 30 hours. (I'm kind of an all in reader when I have the time.) I nearly cried when I saw how long I'd have to wait for the next book. I would happily lock myself away for a solid week in order to read the whole series straight through.

My recommendation: Read it now - share it - then read it again next fall in prep for book 2...



ABOUT THE BOOK:

Londoner Kit Livingstone misses his train and then gets lost on his way to his girlfriend Wilhelmina's house. While taking a shortcut through a narrow alley, a life changing event occurs. A wild storm breaks out and his great grandfather, Cosimo, supposedly dead over a hundred years, calls out to him. His grandfather tells him he has a gift and shows him a whole new world. One minute in a stormy London alley, the next on a seaside dock in 17th century England. Kit isn't sure if it's real or he's just dreaming. Cosimo reveals secretive time travelers are racing the evil Lord Archelaeus Burleigh to locate a map holding an earthshaking secret.

Back in London, Kit tries to explain to Wilhelmina what happened, but she won't believe him. Determined to convince her, he takes her back to the alley to jump with him, but Mina doesn't appear on the seaside docks with him. She's been lost to another timeline. Now Cosimo and Kit must find her and stop the ripple of effect her untrained jumping may have on all the time lines.

Wilhelmina has arrived in Prague. Grateful for her Grandmother's German lessons, she's able to communicate, but the culture is a shock. A kind baker named Etzel befriends her and she finds life in Prague may be different, but she's finding a way to make it a home for now.

Kit and Cosimo join forces with local 17th century friend Lord Fayth, a fellow jumper and scientist, and set out to find Mina. As the threesome attempt their first jump together, Lord Burleigh's men attack, following Lord Fayth and Cosimo through the jump and leaving Kit alone. Stranded Kit falls in with the beautiful Lady Fayth, niece and conspirator to the Lord, and they attempt their own search to save everyone.

Check out the book trailers below:

Book Trailer:




Author trailer:









ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen Lawhead is an internationally acclaimed author of mythic history and imaginative fiction. He was born in 1950, in Nebraska in the USA. His early life was lived in America where he earned a university degree in Fine Arts and attended theological seminary for two years.

His first professional writing was done at Campus Life magazine in Chicago, where he was an editor and staff writer. During his five years at Campus Life he wrote hundreds of articles and several non-fiction books.

After a brief and unsuccessful foray into the music business—as president of his own record company—he launched his free-lance career in 1981. In the Hall of the Dragon King was his first novel.

In 1986 the Lawhead family moved to Britain so that Stephen could conduct research for the PENDRAGON CYCLE books. They settled there permanently in 1990, with some years spent living in Austria and a sabbatical in the United States.

In addition to his twenty-four novels, he has written nine children's books, many of them originally offered to his two sons, Drake and Ross. He is married to Alice Slaikeu Lawhead, with whom he has collaborated on books and articles. They make their home in Oxford, England.

Stephen's non-fiction, fiction and children's titles have variously been published in twenty-four foreign languages. He has won numerous industry awards, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Nebraska.

His middle name is ‘Ray’.
Be sure to visit the other tour members sites as well:


Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Keanan Brand
Grace Bridges
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Christian Fiction Book Reviews
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
Amy Cruson
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
George Duncan
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Becky Jesse
Cris Jesse
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Julie
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Allen McGraw
Matt Mikalatos
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Nissa
John W. Otte
Gavin Patchett
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Rachel Starr Thomson
Donna Swanson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Elizabeth Williams
Dave Wilson

Thursday, October 28, 2010

CFBA: A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:


A Season of Miracles
Kregel Publications; Reprint edition (August 3, 2010)


by


Rusty Whitener



Due to time constraints I chose not to review this book.


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Looking back on the 1971 Little League season, Zack Ross relives the summer that changed his life…

Gunning for the championship is all that matters until twelve-year-old Zack meets Rafer, a boy whose differences make him an outcast but whose abilities on the baseball field make him the key to victory.

Admired for his contribution to the team, Rafer turns everyone’s expectations upside down, bestowing a gift to Zack and his teammates that forces them to think—is there more to life than winning or losing? And what is this thing called grace?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Season of Miracles, go HERE.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Rusty Whitener is a novelist, screenwriter, and actor. His first screenplay, Touched, won second place at the 2009 Kairos Prize at the Los Angeles Movieguide Awards and first place at the Gideon film festival. That screenplay soon became A Season of Miracles. The movie version of this book is now in production with Elevating Entertainment. Find out more at http://www.rustywhitener.com/ and http://www.blogger.com/www.aseasonofmiraclesmovie.com. Videos and book club discussion questions are also available at http://www.blogger.com/www.aseasonofmiraclesbook.com.





Endorsements:



“A Season of Miracles is a must read for anyone who has ever played youth baseball. I read the book, and was reacquainted with my childhood. In the midst of an enjoyable read that took me down memory lane was a touching, challenging and beautiful story about how God can use the unlikeliest among us to draw us to Him.”—Matt Diaz, outfielder, Atlanta Braves
“Baseball, inspiration and childhood memories—a great combination. I couldn’t put it down!”—Richard Sterban, bass singer for The Oak Ridge Boys
“Rusty Whitener weaves a deft tale of young friendship and the curve balls of faith, the whole story seasoned with sunshine and the leathery scent of baseball gloves!”—Ray Blackston, author of Flabbergasted
A Season of Miracles is a heartwarming all American story of small town boys and Little League baseball. You’ll be cheering this captivating bunch of characters all the way home both in their game of baseball and the bigger game of life.”—Ann Gabhart, award-winning author of The Outsider

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

CFBA: Lydia's Charm by Wanda E. Brunstetter




This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:


Lydia's Charm
Barbour Books (September 1, 2010)


by


Wanda E. Brunstetter



Due to time restraints this month, I was unable to review this book.


ABOUT THE BOOK:


Widowed and jobless, Lydia King moves her son and herself to Charm, Ohio, to be close to her mother and help with her grandfather. Menno Troyer, a furniture store owner, is also recently widowed and the father of four energetic boys.

Levi Stutzman, another newcomer to the area, is the only one in his family not handicapped by dwarfism and has dedicated his life to caring for them. As fall colors the countryside, will anonymous gifts left for Lydia bring her hope for a new life and romance, or will another tragedy flood her with infinite despair?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lydia's Charm, go HERE.



Watch the book trailer:






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


A Note From Wanda:

Ever since I was a child, I wanted to be a writer. When I was in the second grade, I wrote my first poem about a moth. Luckily, I received encouragement from my teacher. During my teen years, I wrote skits that my church teen group performed during special holidays.

It wasn’t until 1980, that I took a course on writing for children and teenagers. I became serious about a career as an author. Soon after that, I began to write stories, articles, poems, and devotionals, which appeared in a variety of Christian publications. Later, I had 5 books of puppet/ventriloquist scripts published. *These books are currently available by contacting me. (wanda@wandabrunstetter.com)

My first novel was released by Barbour Publishing’s book club, Heartsong Presents, in Dec. 1997. I have now written nearly fifty books, with over 4 million books in print. Many of the novels I've written are Amish-themed.