Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Song Stuck on the Brain: I Need You To Love Me by Barlow Girl

After a comment left by author Bruce Hennigan (The 13th Demon: Altar of the Spiral Eye) on my BONE HOUSE post, I had to share more of my love for the works of Stephen Lawhead.

I stumbled across Book 1 in the Song of Albion Series, The Paradise War while on my weekly browse at the bookstore. My family is proud of our Celtic heritage and I've always been intrigued by the history and culture. This book promised to tie in several of my favorite things, Celtic mythology, fantasy and adventure. After reading it I added one more thing to my list, a masterful story that left me scrambling to find the next book.

From that point on, every Stephen Lawhead book has stirred that same passion. So, if you have read The Skin Map and The Bone House and you, like me, are desperate for more great story telling, check out Stephen's other works.

Here are the books in the order I discovered them:

The Song of Albion: The Paradise War, The Silver Hand, The Endless Knot

The Pendragon Cycle: Taliesin, Merlin, Arthur, Pendragon, Grail

King Raven Trilogy: Hood, Scarlet, Tuck - My 14 year old niece found Hood and is reading it now. She says it's great.

Then, of course The Bright Empire Series: The Skin Map and The Bone House

As much as I've loved all of them, I hold a special place in my heart for The Song of Albion Trilogy. Maybe because it was my first, it left such an impression on me. But even all these years later, I can still see the images in my mind that formed while reading.

Be sure to visit Stephen Lawhead's website for more information and to read excerpts from each of these books.

If you're a fan of his work, like me, let me know. Which is your favorite book?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

CSFF: The Bone House by Stephen Lawhead

Song Stuck on the Brain: Henry the VIII - I blame my sister. She started it.... Second verse, second verse, same as the first! I'm Henry the VIII I am...

Today the CSFF is touring:



First, let me say, if you haven't read the first book in the Bright Empire Series The Skin Map - what in the multi-verse are you waiting for?! If you missed my original post on this fantastic book, click HERE for an update.

Now that you're up to speed, on to the exciting reason I'm posting today. The Bone House. I have been waiting for this book, impatiently I might add, since I closed the cover of book one a year ago. In fact, when my copy arrived by mail, I squealed so loud my sister had to come see what was wrong with me. It was like Christmas and my birthday came early together.

Stephen Lawhead is one of my favorite writers, he knows how to weave an incredibly in depth story that leaves your head spinning. I think about his books for days, even weeks after finishing them. The Bone House did exactly that. The Bright Empire Series is a little high concept with all of it's physics and multi-verse speak, but it never becomes heavy handed or overwhelming. On the contrary I feel like I'm anxiously begging for more every page I turn.

I'm fascinated by his inclusion of real historical figures from the multiple time lines, such as The Last Man on Earth to know everything. Fascinating. :)

I really can't recommend this book strongly enough, but be warned you MUST read book one first or you'll be rather lost. Don't worry though, it's worth every word invested.


One piece of the skin map has been found. Now the race to unravel the future of the future turns deadly.

An avenue of Egyptian sphinxes, an Etruscan tufa tomb, a Bohemian coffee shop, and a Stone Age landscape where universes collide …

Kit Livingstone met his great grandfather Cosimo in a rainy alley in London where he discovered the reality of alternate realities.

Now he's on the run - and on a quest, trying to understand the impossible mission he inherited from Cosimo: to restore a map that charts the hidden dimensions of the multiverse while staying one step ahead of the savage Burley Men.

The key is the Skin Map - but where it leads and what it means, Kit has no idea. The pieces have been scattered throughout this universe and beyond.

Mina, from her outpost in seventeenth-century Prague, is quickly gaining both the experience and the means to succeed in the quest. Yet so are those with evil intent, who from the shadows are manipulating great minds of history for their own malign purposes.

Across time and space, through manifest and hidden worlds, those who know how to use ley lines to travel through astral planes have left their own world behind in this, the second quest: to unlock the mystery of The Bone House.


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.

Visit the other blog tour members:

Noah Arsenault
Red Bissell
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
CSFF Blog Tour
Jeff Chapman
Carol Bruce Collett
Karri Compton
D. G. D. Davidson
Theresa Dunlap
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Katie McCurdy
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

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

Monday, October 24, 2011

CFBA: Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills

Song Stuck on the Brain: Someone Like You by Adelle

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Attracted to Fire

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (October 1, 2011)


DiAnn Mills


I've always enjoyed DiAnn Mills novels, but I think Attracted to Fire has just made the top of the list. Agent Ash Zinders may come across as piggish in the begining, but you quickly find his heart and past explain his anti-female agent notions. I love that Meghan isn't afraid to stand up to him, nor is she afraid to let her emotions work with her logic and skill. She's not a cold, stern agent, but she's not a softie either. The romance angle worked very well. The real meat of the story though, is the race to discover who is after the president's daughter. The suspense was tight, the plot well played and just overall a great read. I could tell she'd done her research and I appreciate that kind of detail, it takes talent to know just how much detail to share without boring the reader. DiAnn Mills definitely has talent.


Special Agent Meghan Connors’ dream of one day protecting the president of the United States is about to come true. Only one assignment stands in her way. After the vice president’s rebellious daughter is threatened, Meghan is assigned to her protective detail on a secluded ranch in West Texas. Unfortunately, working with Special Agent in Charge Ash Zinders may be as tough as controlling her charge. Ash has a reputation for being critical and exacting, and he’s also after the same promotion as Meghan. But when the threats escalate and security on the ranch is breached, it becomes clear this isn’t the work of a single suspect—it’s part of a sophisticated plan that reaches deeper and higher than anyone imagined. And only Ash and Meghan can put the pieces together before it’s too late.

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Attracted to Fire, go HERE.


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010. DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops. DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website at: or find her on Facebook at

Friday, October 21, 2011

CFBA: Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

Song Stuck on the Brain: Jingle Bells. I watched The Time Traveler's Wife again (GREAT movie) and now the song is stuck.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Wonderland Creek

Bethany House (October 1, 2011)


Lynn Austin


Unfortunately, my review copy never arrived. I'm disapointed, but in hopes that it may still show up. If it does, I'll gladly post my review later.


Alice Grace Ripley lives in a dream world, her nose stuck in a book. But happily-ever-after life she's planned on suddenly falls apart when her boyfriend, Gordon, breaks up with her, accusing her of living in a world of fiction instead of the real world. Then to top it off, Alice loses her beloved job at the library because of cutbacks due to the Great Depression.

Fleeing small-town gossip, Alice heads to the mountains of eastern Kentucky to deliver five boxes of donated books to the library in the tiny coal-mining village of Acorn. Dropped off by her relatives, Alice volunteers to stay for two weeks to help the librarian, Leslie McDougal.

But the librarian turns out to be far different than she anticipated--not to mention the four lady librarians who travel to the remote homes to deliver the much-desired books. While Alice is trapped in Acorn against her will, she soon finds that real-life adventure and myster--and especially romance--are far better than her humble dreams could have imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wonderland Creek, go HERE.


For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

Extended family is also very important to Austin, and it was a lively discussion between Lynn, her mother, grandmother (age 98), and daughter concerning the change in women's roles through the generations that sparked the inspiration for her novel Eve's Daughters.

Along with reading, two of Lynn's lifelong passions are history and archaeology. While researching her Biblical fiction series, Chronicles of the Kings, these two interests led her to pursue graduate studies in Biblical Backgrounds and Archaeology through Southwestern Theological Seminary. She and her son traveled to Israel during the summer of 1989 to take part in an archaeological dig at the ancient city of Timnah. This experience contributed to the inspiration for her novel Wings of Refuge.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. And two of her inspirational fiction books were chosen by Library Journal for their top picks in 2003, and 2005. One of Lynn's novels has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

CFBA: Love on the Line by Deeanne Gist

Song Stuck on the Brain: Footloose by Blake Shelton.

Just saw the new Footloose. Loved it, great dancing and I enjoyed the new music. I came home and downloaded the soundtrak. Check out the remake of "I Need a Hero". Love it.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

Love on the Line

Bethany House (October 1, 2011)


Deeanne Gist


Yay! Another Deeanne Gist novel! I look forward to these coming up for review and anxiously await their arrival in the mail. In addition to always having incredible historical detail (which I love), Deeanne has a gift for sassy, smart women who know how to be strong and soft at the same time. I identify with her characters and so does my sister, Angel.

In fact, about 2 chapters in I was thinking to myself, "Ooo, this man is going to drive Angel right up the wall - and not in a good way." The arrogance, the comments about 'women's work', the attitude. Luke is just the type to get under your skin and make every hair bristle. But I knew that with a little taming, both Luke and Georgie were going to make a beautiful couple. A romance worth reading because it has sparks. :)

I loved the book and I gave it to Angel to read. Next day she said, "I don't know if I can handle this one. I just want to strangle Luke!" I laughed. Told you so. She loved the book too.


Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man's world ... which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.

Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He's a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Love on the Line, go HERE.


After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, three RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her latest releases, Beguiled, Maid To Match, and Love on the Line are now available.

Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-eight years and their border collie. They have four grown children. Click here to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rachel's Voice: 180

Rachel's Voice: 180: Yesterday, I watched an incredible movie. "180" is a movie that has the potential to make you do a 180 turn in your thinking. Please, please watch it...

I took Rachel's advice and watched the video. It's powerful and so well put together. It needs to spread like wildfire, so please take the time to watch it as well and then spread the word.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ghosts of the Forest

A friend sent me a captivating video clip of a newscast out of Wisconsin about the White Deer population. I thought it was fascinating, so I wanted to share it with all of you.

Monday, October 10, 2011

CFBA: A Wedding Invitation by Alice Wisler

Song Stuck on the Brain: Little Wild One by the Wonders (From the movie That Thing You Do)

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:

A Wedding Invitation

Bethany House (October 1, 2011)


Alice Wisler


Unfortunately, I haven't received my review copy yet, but when I do, I will be back to post a review. In the meantime, take a peak at this weeks book.


After returning home from teaching English at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother's clothing boutique in Falls Church, Virginia. When she receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart, and a young Amerasian refugee named Lien who needs Samantha and Carson's help to find her mother before Lien's own wedding. When the search for Lien's mother reveals surprising secrets from the past, Samantha must reevaluate her own memories and decide whether to continue to play it safe or take a risk that could change her life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Wedding Invitation, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:


Alice was born in Osaka, Japan in the sixties. Her parents were Presbyterian career missionaries. As a young child, Alice loved to walk down to the local stationer's store to buy notebooks, pencils and scented erasers. In her room, she created stories. The desire to be a published famous author has never left her. Well, two out of three isn't bad. She's the author of Rain Song, How Sweet It Is, Hatteras Girl and A Wedding Invitation (all published by Bethany House).

Alice went to Eastern Mennonite University after graduating from Canadian Academy, an international high school in Kobe, Japan. She majored in social work and has worked across the U.S. in that field. She taught ESL (English as a Second Language) in Japan and at a refugee camp in the Philippines. She also studied Spanish at a language institute in San Jose, Costa Rica.

She has four children--Rachel, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth. Daniel died on 2/2/97 from cancer treatments at the age of four. Since then, Alice founded Daniel's House Publications in her son's memory. This organization reaches out to others who have also lost a child to death. In 2000 and 2003, Alice compiled recipes and memories of children across the world to publish two memorial cookbooks, Slices of Sunlight and Down the Cereal Aisle.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The other me's are dwindling...

Some of you may have noticed a little white and blue box in the side bar that says there are 23 April Erwins in the USA. I thought that was a fun little fact a couple of years back when I posted it.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if any New April Erwins had been added to the list, so I searched again. Here's what I found.

LogoThere are
people with my name in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

I'm so sad! Our numbers are dwindling. Does this mean that 3 of us have passed on to a better place in that great beyond? Or just a different country?

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Search Stories

Author Kaye Dacus posted a fun video on her facebook page today using a new app through called search stories.

I thought it would be fun to do one of my own. So here is my little masterpiece. :)