Wednesday, January 23, 2013

CSFF: Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore



Angel Eyes is the first in a series of YA books, and so far they have intrigued me. Although the concept might not be new, I'm liking the cast and I'm curious to see where it goes. I know many have addressed the comparison to the Twilight series. Some reviewers claiming it's a Christianized version, others adamant it's nothing like Twilight at all.

As a fan of the Twilight series and having read the series multiple times, I will say the comparisons are vague. The initial opening set up of a teen girl moving to a small town in the northwest, the tone or style of the character's 'voice' in places. She's drawn to someone she senses could be dangerous. That's about it.

Then there is a whole separate book that stands on it's own. Personally, I don't have a problem with marketers trying to jump on the Twilight train and bill it as the next such series. It's a way to sell books in a tough market and I don't have a problem with Twilight. But that's a WHOLE other post. :) However, I haven't seen the marketers or publishing houses doing this, but other readers who see it and assume that it's just a Christianized version... As if that would be a bad thing anyway. 

So cool your jets peeps, and take an honest look at this series as it's own creature. It can stand on it's own feet (or wings?) Twilight fan or not, forget about preconceived notions and all the hullabaloo swirling around the Internet. Check it out and then let me know what you think...

Intriguing new YA series or not?


Once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .


Brielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake. Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption. Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start. A realm that only angels and demons—and Brielle—can perceive.

Shannon Dittemore has an overactive imagination and a passion for truth. Her lifelong journey to combine the two is responsible for a stint at Portland Bible College, performances with local theater companies, and a focus on youth and young adult ministry. The daughter of one preacher and the wife of another, she spends her days imagining things unseen and chasing her two children around their home in Northern California. Angel Eyes is her first novel.

Visit Shannon Dittemore on Facebook by clicking HERE.

Visit the other Tour Members:

Gillian Adams
Julie Bihn
Beckie Burnham
Theresa Dunlap
Nikole Hahn
Jeremy Harder
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Emileigh Latham
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Anna Mittower
Faye Oygard
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jessica Thomas
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

CFBA: Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Mystery of the Heart
Realms (January 8, 2013)
Jillian Kent


I was quite excited to see that Jillian Kent was listed on our tour this month. After reviewing the previous Ravensmoore Chronicle book Chameleon, I knew that Mystery of the Heart would be a winner. So glad to know I was right. :)

Lady Mercy is a modern woman in a world dominated by men. Some with good intentions, many with bad, but nevertheless it's a battle of the sexes. Isn't is always? But Lady Mercy isn't battling just to prove she's better, it's not about pride, it's about a calling and following after God's heart. Medicine and her gift for healing could lead her in so many different directions, and her choice affects not only her own reputation, but that of her family as well.

It's a great story, from the very first page where Mercy washes ashore half drowned to finding herself holding the fabled spear that pierced Christ's side. This isn't your average historical romance, this is an adventure.


Lord Eden is intrigued when he discovers Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart when he is forced to betray her?

Lady Mercy Grayson longs be a physician like her big brother, Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But then a male colleague discovers her secret, which is only the beginning of Mercy’s problems that could destroy her dreams forever.

The Prince Regent is awaiting the return of Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden, whom he sent on a secret voyage to locate and bring back a relic that some believe possesses the power to heal. St. Lyons discovers Mercy washed up on England’s shore upon his return and agrees to give her safe passage to London aboard a ship of men practicing African Vodun. Both must face treacherous circumstances, difficult decisions, and a growing attraction to one another that could forever change the course of their lives.

As the final installment in the series, the theme of this book is God’s plans for our lives. “Whatever the hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might” (Eccles. 9:10).

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mystery of the Heart, go HERE.


Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels. Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Jesus Beside Me: Meditations On Matthew by David Ramos

Today I'm reviewing a Kindle book called:



I was contacted in December of 2012 by the author and asked to review his new release, a collection of meditations on the words of Jesus in the book of Matthew. I agreed, but due to the holidays and such wasn't able to actually review it until now.

Each meditation is brief, taking only 5-10 minutes to read. David Ramos has a passion for Jesus and His word and it's obvious in his writing. His enthusiasm is clear and his insights were often unique and inspired. Although brief reading, each meditation definitely left you with something to think about, and mull over as the day progressed.

I did find, that despite his enthusiasam and insightful ideas, on a rare occasion, the presentation of an idea or thought wasn't as clear as I'm sure the author intended it to be and sometimes I had to re-read portions to try and get a clearer picture of the intent behind the message. I think that was due to the effort to keep the meditations brief and focused. I don't think this drew away from the over all effort of the message though. And that message, to me, was clear enough - Jesus is the Word and His word feeds your soul and brings joy to your life.


Jesus Beside Me is a collection of 30 meditations on the words of Jesus in Matthew (Volume 1 covers chapters 4 through 7 of Matthew). Each one captures a different aspect of Jesus' mission, character and power.

A meditation expresses "considered thought on a subject." Jesus Beside Me approaches Matthew passage by passage and gives each phrase of Jesus' speech "considered thought." The result includes both devotional and mindful reading that will engage the readers heart, mind and soul.

The book also serves as a reminder of the constant presence of our Savior. "We do not serve a Lord far off. We do not pray to an inattentive Master. Our Jesus is ever near, always close, right beside us."


David Ramos was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He has spent the last four years working in children, teen, and college-aged ministries. David's passion for the Word of God has led him to pursue a Masters of Divinity at Ashland Theological Seminary.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Texas Wildflowers by Anita Higman


"A romance assortment of petits fours, and as dreamy sweet."  - Harold Wolf


Novellas aren't my usually my first choice to read, no matter how good they look, simply because I always feel like there's not enough there to make the story feel complete. When Texas Wildflowers was offered for review, I decided to give it a try because I liked the idea that it followed sisters. It was a good choice. Each of the four stories focuses on one of the sisters and their path to true love and marriage. Although each story is complete on it's own, the combined tales make it feel as if together they make a full novel.

The romances are sweet and funny, and other than Rosie's story, the other 3 sisters find their true loves by the strangest encounters of chance. Some might say too strange of a chance encounter, but life is like that. You could spend all your energy looking for Mr. Right, in all the 'right' places, and never find him. Then, out of the blue one day, God sets your path to cross someone in a place you would never expect and wham! sparks fly. It brings the romance and hope back to the sometimes chore of finding your true love. And although it's not pounded out in the book, the whispered message that I picked up was, "Don't forget that it's in God's hands and His timing. Be patient, don't rush into marriage because you're feeling lonely or desperate."

I flew threw the stories, laughing and smiling, closing the final page with that happy buzz you get after a really good romantic tale. These novellas definitely stand high above any others I've read.


The four McBride sisters risk their hearts for love in the islands, canyons, mountains and bayous of Texas.

Deserted at the altar, a devastated Rosy McBride heads back to Galveston Island and begins working at her mother’s scrapbooking business. Will spending time with Larson Brookfield help mend her broken heart, or will she merely wind up pasting away?
Christian counselor Lily McBride relies on her quirky common sense and God’s wisdom to help her clients. Will she be successful at her new career or break the most solemn of counselor/patient vows by falling for the handsome, eccentric, and impossibly irresistible Rubin McCall while hiking the Palo Dura Canyon?
In the mountain town of Alpine, Violet McBride owns Romantic Images, a business that teaches people how to live romantically. Will Morgan Jones, a geek she meets online, show her the real meaning of romance and the art of love?
Heather McBride’s picture-perfect life has unraveled in the bayou. Will the free-spirited Evan Finch not only reawaken her artistic passion but also give her the courage to fall in love—without her day-planner?
Will God help give these women the pluck to love the least likely of soul mates?
Read Chapter One HERE.


Tell us a bit about Texas Wildflowers. Texas Wildflowers is a 4-in-1 novella collection through Barbour Publishing. Each novella is set in an exotic location in Texas. They are lighthearted romances, and they’re all tied together with the four McBride sisters.

Which of the four novellas was the most fun to write? They were each fun to write in their own way, but my favorite character was Lily, the counselor, in Forget Me Not Lily. She was quirky and fun, relatable and loveable. At least that’s what I hope readers will feel.

All these novellas are set in Texas. Are the towns and parks real? Yes, in fact one of the novellas is set in Big Bend National Park, where my husband and I went on vacation. So, when you read about the characters on certain trails, they’re real, and we hiked them!
Did you have a favorite book when you were a child?I loved fairytales. Cinderella was my favorite.
Do you have a vacation spot you’d love to visit?I’m dreaming of Ireland. My husband and I plan to travel there next summer. Can’t wait! Then I’m going to use the emerald isle as a setting in one of my novels.

What are 5 things that your readers might not know about you?
  1. While I was in college I tried working in a pillow factory. I was terrible at it. I got so weary with the repetition I started yakking with the woman next to me. We got reprimanded over and over until I quit. I discovered one thing from that college job—talking is something I excel at.
  2. I once won a hog-calling contest at a banquet. I was not embarrassed, but I should have been.
  3. I have a bird phobia, and yet I love birds! (That is, from a distance.) My house is filled with the fake kind—prints on the walls, statues, and general bird doodads. Go figure.
  4. I keep some interesting treasures near me when I write—a wooden jewelry box my son made me when he was in school, a candle from the 1960s, a hat once owned by a famous mystery writer, the inner parts of a music box, a birthday card that plays The Twilight Zone theme song, and an old family toy helicopter that says, “Going up.”
  5. Thirty-four years ago I rappelled off a cliff alongside the man I was dating. We kissed in mid-air while dangling off that cliff. I ended up marrying that man, and we've celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary!
What awards have you won?I’ve won two book awards. One of my co-authored books entitled,A Tribute to Early Texas, won a San Antonio Conservation Society Citation as well as a Westerners International Book Award. Also, I was given three honors by readers: I was a Favorite New Author in the 15th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards, and my co-authored novel, Castles in the Air, was a Favorite Contemporary Romance in the 16th Annual Heartsong Presents Awards. My most recent award is a 2011 RWA Readers Choice Award (first place) for my novella, Once Upon a Christmas Eve.

When readers finish the last page of Texas Wildflowers, what do you want them to come away with?I would love for them to be inspired, challenged, and entertained. If I accomplished even one of those things I would feel my writing time wasn’t wasted.

Where can your readers connect with you online? Please drop by my website at, or visit my Reader Page on Facebook and chat with me there at


Bestselling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has thirty-two books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

CFBA: Doctor to the Rescue by Cheryl Wyatt

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Doctor To The Rescue
Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
Cheryl Wyatt

Cheryl Wyatt is back with another tale from the Eagle Point Trauma Center and it's just as engaging. Previously I reviewed Doctor's Devotion, the first in the series. When I saw Doctor to the Rescue I knew I had to review it too.

Ian and Bri are like the modern day version Beauty and the Beast, who doesn't love a fairy tale come to life? The comparison goes beyond the surface though, and the author has given the character's a past, a reason for their behavior and that makes it much easier to connect with them.

It was a great quick read. Sweet, fun and romantic all grounded by faith. Don't miss it.


Combat doctor Ian Shupe returns home from overseas with his most important mission: to raise his little girl. But Ian's a single dad, and working at Eagle Point's trauma center means having to find child care. When bighearted, struggling lodge owner Bri Landis offers babysitting in exchange for construction work, Ian accepts. He vows to keep his emotional distance from Bri, yet can't deny that his daughter is blossoming under her tender care. But is he ready to believe that his heart's deepest prayer may finally be answered? If you would like to read the first chapter of Doctor To The Rescue, go HERE.

Born Valentine’s Day on a Navy base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. Cheryl loves interacting with her readers and can be found almost daily on Facebook.

Word from the Author:
I do regular giveaways including a Kindle for every 250 people who join (aka "Like) my Facebook author page: and I'd LOVE for word to spread about that. We have a lot of fun there as I ask for frequent reader input on current books, with helpers being mentioned in the acknowledgements and fun stuff like that.

Friday, January 04, 2013

CFBA: Flight of the Earls by Michael Reynolds

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Flight of the Earls
B&H Books (January 1, 2013)
Michael Reynolds


Some writers make you laugh, some make you cry, some make you want to strangle a character in frustration. Sometimes though, if you're lucky, you find a writer gifted with words that can make you do all of the above and more.

Flight of the Earls starts in a field as fog rolls over the potato crops carrying a smell that hovers in the air and niggles in the back of your mind. You know, even though you can't smell it, that it's bad news. When the farmer finally revealed the black rotting potato root under the dirt, the smell literally jumped out of the book and smacked me in the face. Anyone who's ever smelled a rotten potato knows how distinct and horrible the smell is. The author managed to draw that out as a matter of suspense.

That's just an example of the kind of descriptive writing that fills the pages, the emotions run strong and it's hard not to be caught up in the moment as the small community participates in the "American Wake", mourning those they send off to America knowing they may never see them again. The world then was do different and yet it's not hard to find ways to connect with the characters.

Flight of the Earls isn't a light hearted read, but one worth experiencing.


It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America. Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes. Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Flight of the Earls, go HERE


Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.