Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CFBA: Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Over the Edge

B&H Books (May 1, 2011)


Brandilyn Collins


I know I've mentioned before that Brandilyn Collins is one of my favorite authors, is you haven't figured out why yet, (and honestly how could you miss it?) Over the Edge is a perfect example. Her tag line of Seatbelt Suspense held true here as you stumble through this story with the heroine Jannie. I say stumble, not because the writing is rough, but because it's so real, you feel as if you've inherited Jannie's body and her disease. I felt her pain and confusion and fear, as if I had been infected with Lyme myself.

And what a horrid disease. I was somewhat familiar with Lyme and the disease, but it was amazed and a little horrified to see how bad it really is and to see how big of a battle is ongoing. I'm impressed that Brandilyn was able to channel her own personal experience so well and turn something devastating into a call to arms. The novel may be fiction, but it's hard hitting and an eyeopener for a very real issue.

It's also every bit a nail biter and a fantastic suspense. One more hit on her list.


Torn from the front lines of medical debate and the author's own experience with Lyme Disease, Over the Edge is riveting fiction, full of twists and turns—and powerful truths about today's medical field.

Janessa McNeil’s husband, Dr. Brock McNeil, a researcher and professor at Stanford University's Department of Medicine, specializes in tick-borne diseases—especially Lyme. For years he has insisted that Chronic Lyme Disease doesn't exist. Even as patients across the country are getting sicker, the committee Brock chairs is about to announce its latest findings—which will further seal the door shut for Lyme treatment.

One embittered man sets out to prove Dr. McNeil wrong by giving him a close-up view of the very disease he denies. The man infects Janessa with Lyme, then states his demand: convince her husband to publicly reverse his stand on Lyme—or their young daughter will be next.

But Janessa's marriage is already rocky. She's so sick she can hardly move or think. And her husband denies she has Lyme at all.

Welcome to the Lyme wars, Janessa.

“A taut, heartbreaking thriller. Collins is a fine writer who knows how to both horrify readers and keep them turning pages.”

--Publishers Weekly

“Tense and dramatic. Holds its tension while following the protagonist in a withering battle.” –NY Journal of Books

“A frightening and all-too-real scenario. Very timely and meaningful book.” –RT Reviews

“If you know someone who suffers from Lyme, you need to read this compelling novel.” –Lydia Niederwerfer, founder of Lyme-Aware

If you would like to read the Prologue of Over the Edge, go HERE

Watch the book video:


Brandilyn Collins is an award-winning and 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 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). She is now working on her 20th book.

In addition, Brandilyn’s other latest release is Final Touch, third in The Rayne Tour series—young adult suspense co-written with her daughter, Amberly. The Rayne Tour series features Shaley O’Connor, daughter of a rock star, who just may have it all—until murder crashes her world.

Friday, May 13, 2011

CFBA: Hidden Affections by Delia Parr

Song Stuck on the Brain: Hawaii Five-O Theme music

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Hidden Affections

Bethany House (May 1, 2011)


Delia Parr


Who doesn't love a good shotgun wedding story? Seven Brides For Seven Brothers has got to be one of my favorites, but the Pontapy brother's ended their story with shotguns and very willing brides. Delia Parr has stepped up the tension and told the story in a new way.

I was surprised to find the first page marrying Annabelle and Harrison. Whoa! What happened? How did they get here? Why are they handcuffed? Although answers come quickly enough, there are always fresh questions to keep you reading. Harrison tries to be unlikable, or at least make you believe he doesn't care if he's liked, yet through Annabelle's eyes you see right past his defenses. He's wonderful hero and you quickly forgive his flaws because you know deep down, he's a real man. Annabelle is strong and independent and loving. She has her weaknesses, but she's not a helpless flower and together they make a perfect match. I loved watching what seemed to be an impossible situation become the perfect plan God intended it to be for Harrison and Annabelle.


Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Tyler wears the burden of legally being a divorcee, a difficult position for an upstanding young woman to find herself in.

While attempting to start a new life for herself, an unexpected turn of events once again has Annabelle married--this time to Harrison Graymoor, the most eligible, yet elusive, bachelor in Philadelphia. Harrison assures her that he will secure an annulment immediately, unaware that the constable has sent word of the marriage to the press in Philadelphia. And here things continue to go awry.

Harrison's past, a philanthropic cousin with his eye on Annabelle, and the appearance of Annabelle's ex-husband threaten the tentative relationship growing between Harrison and his "wife." For two individuals set against marriage, there are certainly a lot of second thoughts regarding the one forced upon them.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hidden Affections, go HERE.


Delia Parr, pen name for Mary Lechleidner, is the author of 10 historical novels and the winner of several awards, including the Laurel Wreath Award for Historical Romance and the Aspen Gold Award for Best Inspirational Book. She is a full-time high school teacher who spends her summer vacations writing and kayaking. The mother of three grown children, she lives in Collingswood, New Jersey.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

CFBA: An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser

Song Stuck on the Brain: The Last Goodbye by David Cook

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

An Unlikely Suitor

Bethany House (May 1, 2011)


Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser gave us three great love stories all for the price of one fantastic read. The main story begins with the devoted and practical Lucy and her self-sacrificing ways. She walks away from a chance at a life of her own to take care of her widowed mother and selfish little sister. You can't help but both root for Lucy to break free and find love, and feel a little frustrated by her stubbornness to take the opportunities she's given. But it's a good kind of frustration, the kind that has you flipping pages as fast as you can and talking out loud to the characters in the book. Lucy's story is compelling and intriguing all on it's own. Then...

You have the rich and heroic, but disabled Rowena. A true sister in spirit to Lucy. Friends despite their social barriers. Rowena isn't just a nice secondary character that helps to propagate the story, she has a whole complex story of love and sacrifice of her own to pull you in.

And of course there's baby sister, Sofia, the selfish young girl struggling to move from childhood to womanhood. I saw my own teenage niece in her so many times, that I empathized with Lucy and their mother, Lea, over Sofia's frustrating behavior. But Sofia does grow, and in a lovely story line of her own, you see her mature and become the caring woman that changes those around her for the better.

A nice touch, was the snippets of wisdom that Lucy's father Dante spoke when he was still alive. Throughout the story, his proverbs were repeated with love and fond memories, always giving needed help. A wise and loving father speaking softly through memory and beyond time. A lovely illustration for our own Heavenly Father that speaks through the voice of the Holy Spirit to encourage us and bring us wisdom when needed.

The setting is beautiful and I loved the great details, such as the famous home of the Astor's, the gossipy tid-bits of the rich and famous of the time, and the beauty of the costumes that were daily life. If you enjoy the genre even a little, you'll love this book.


New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she's designing her 1895 summer wardrobe. Grateful for Lucy's skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship.

One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry an Italian dressmaker working to support her family?

Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn't love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better?

And Lucy's teenage sister, Sofia, falls for a man well above her social class--but is he willing to give up everything to marry a woman below his station?

As the lives of three young woman--and their unlikely suitors--become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness?

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Unlikely Suitor, go HERE.


Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery a Christy Award winner, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novels are Masquerade and An Unlikely Suitor. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the

Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and and her historical blog:

Friday, May 06, 2011

CFBA: To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer

Song Stuck on the Brain: Rolling in the Deep by Adele

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

To Win Her Heart

Bethany House (May 1, 2011)


Karen Witemeyer


Karen Witemeyer is quickly becoming a favorite author. She's quick to tickle my funny bone as well as touch the soft spot in my heart that makes me want to melt. It's not easy to create characters that are strong, unique, likable and identifiable. A character doesn't have to be a clone of myself for me to connect or identify with them, but Karen made me connect with a mountain of an ex-con and prizefighter turned blacksmith. That's about as opposite of me as you could go. Yet Levi is a kindred spirit in a lot of ways.

I love getting all tangled up in the characters emotions and hopes and destinies. I love the rollercoaster ride that is the growth of a relationship, or blossoming faith and purpose. It's better than the real rollercoaster rides by far (those make me ill.) Levi and Eden's ride was fantastic. I felt like I was taking turns walking in their skins, seeing life from a different perspective and it was great. The ride ended with the perfect rush of endorphins and satisfaction.


After completing his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past.

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs in the town her father founded. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she's reluctant to trust him. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Eden believes she's finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when the truth about Levi's prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?

If you would like to read the first chapter of To Win Her Heart, go HERE.


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 late1800s.

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, click here to listen to a podcast of that interview.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

CFBA: The Alarmists by Don Hoesel

Song Stuck on the Brain: This is the Stuff by Francesca Battistelli

Today, I'm touring for Bethany House Publishers. They were kind enough to send me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Alarmists
Bethany House (April 1, 2011)


Don Hoesel


This was an interesting take on the Mayan calendar end of the world theory. Although the author makes it clear that the theory is not valid in the opinion of the characters, it does play a strong roll in the high octane plot. A plot that was intricate, fast paced and very creative. The idea that there are multi-millionaires with power hungry desires isn't all that new, but the creative way they chose to use that power and funnell it into a massive plan to change the global economy and life as we know it, well that was just well planned. In fact it made me a little nervous, because as far fetched as it may seem, well, on second thought in this day and age maybe it's not so far fetched.

The characters were well drawn and I enjoyed the softer side represented in Colonel Richards, he wasn't just a tough as nails army leader, he had depth of character. Amy Maddigan was an easy fit as the love interest. The romance is mild and more of a flirtation toward a deeper relationship. I did find that Professor Michaels spiritual change was a little sudden and could have used a teensy bit more context at the end, but I also appreciated that the author didn't overwhelm the story with a heavy handed conversion experience. Some stories are better suited to that than others and I can see that a lighter touch was needed to balance the story and keep the pace. It's a tough line to walk for an author and although I'd have appreciated a little more detail, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, it was a definite hit for military suspense and action readers.

The 2012 phenomenon that's going viral around the globe has led sociology professor Jameson Richards to study the impact on society when, like the Y2K scare, 12/21/12 comes and goes with hardly a wrinkle.

This is the date that, according to the Mayan calendar, the doomsayers predict the world will end. Richards teams up with General Michaels, a scientist stationed at the Pentagon whose job it is to monitor the world's fanatics, keeping an eye out for potential terrorists. Together they uncover something sinister going on beneath the surface, linked to billionaire and media mogul Jeremy Maxwell, who also happens to be a huge manufacturer of weapons systems.

The 2012 date has captured Maxwell's attention too, and he's looking to cash in on the public's fear and paranoia. And what he instigates--along with his corrupt partners--nearly starts another war in the Middle East, while also bringing the world to its knees economically. It's up to the professor/general team to blow the whistle on Maxwell, hopefully in time to avert a major catastrophe.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Alarmists, go HERE


Don Hoesel is a Web site designer for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He was born and raised in Buffalo, NY but calls Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. The Alarmists is his third novel.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

CFBA: The Gift by Bryan Litfin

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

The Gift

Crossway Books (April 30, 2011)


Bryan Litfin


The Gift was a long awaited sequel for me. I was hooked by Bryan's first book in the series, The Sword and couldn't wait to find out what happened after Ana and Teo's exile.

Bryan has a gift of his own for story telling. He's woven a brilliant story with the perfect balance of faith, adventure and romance. I think the flash forward 500 years into the future to see a post apocalyptic world as a medieval land is genius. His descriptions are so clear, I know exactly where Teo and Ana are, even if the names of the locations are different.

The best part of the story though by far, is the story of faith and trial, the journey that Ana and Teo make both personally and spiritually. It makes me look at the gift we have of scripture in a more appreciative light. I'll admit to taking for granted at times how good we have it, to have all of God's word readily at hand and have the ability to read it in almost any language. To think of how life would be to lose that gift, that is heartbreaking. Of course, the true gift, was discovering Jesus Christ, and learning the both the Suffering Servant and the Promised King were one and the same. Those scenes were very powerful.

This series is masterful, here's a hearty Well Done to the author. I can't wait for book 3.


The Chiveis Trilogy takes readers hundreds of years into the future. War and disease have destroyed civilization as we know it. Much technology has been discarded and history is largely forgotten. Slowly, the few survivors have begun to build new communities, and kingdoms now prosper in a kind of feudal order. But the Word of God has been lost for centuries.

After the finding of an Old Testament in book one of the trilogy, The Gift picks up the story of Teo and Ana. Exiled from their homeland and trying to survive in unknown and dangerous lands, they search for any record of the missing Testament.

Their journeys lead them into the region we know as Italy. An elite society welcomes Ana, who finds she must choose between her new life and her dream of returning to Chiveis. Will Teo and Ana’s relationship withstand the circumstances and new enemies pulling them apart? And can Teo keep ahead of a powerful and mysterious force opposing his search for the New Testament?

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

Watch the book trailer:

The Gift Trailer from Crossway on Vimeo.


Bryan earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the University of Tennessee as well as a master’s degree in historical theology at Dallas Theological Seminary. From there he went to the University of Virginia, taking a PhD in the field of ancient church history. He is currently professor of theology at Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago, where he has been since 2002. He teaches courses in theology, church history, and Western civilization from the ancient and medieval periods. He is the author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction (Brazos, 2007), as well as several scholarly articles and essays. Bryan has always enjoyed epic adventure stories as well as historical fiction, but most of his reading these days is taken up by academia.

Today Bryan lives in downtown Wheaton in a Victorian house built in 1887. He and his wife Carolyn are parents to two children. For recreation Bryan enjoys basketball, traveling, and hiking anywhere there are mountains. The Litfins attend College Church in Wheaton, where Bryan has served on the Board of Missions and as a deacon. He also helped start Clapham School, a Christian primary school in Wheaton using the classical model of education.