Monday, December 17, 2012

Books, the best gift you can give!

Happy Monday, everyone. The countdown to Christmas is speeding by faster than I could have imagined. Are you ready or are you doing a little last minute shopping?

I'll admit, I'm one of those that starts shopping in July. By the time Black Friday rolls around, I'm usually done. That doesn't always keep me from doing just a little extra shopping for the fun of it. So whether you're still looking for last minute gifts or if you're shopping just for fun, don't forget that books make a fantastic gift for men and women of ALL ages.
I've reviewed a lot of fantastic new books this year, I hope some of them gave you ideas for gifts. In fact, I hope you take the time to check out the posts again for ideas.

Recently I toured Starflower, the fourth book in the Tales of the Goldstone wood Series by Anne Elisabeth Stengl for the CFBA. Now it's the CSFF's turn to tour the novel.

Never Become Involved in the Affairs of Mortals

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps lovely Lady Gleamdren, Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission . . . and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin finds his path entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her poet rescuer?
Since I've already posted my review HERE, I won't repeat myself, but visit the other tour members links to read their thoughts on this fantastic novel. Maybe you'll find it's the perfect gift for someone you love (including yourself!)

Phyllis Wheeler

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

B4B: Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic

Song Stuck on the Brain: Stupid Boy by Cassadee Pope from The Voice



I first heard Nick Vujicic's story when I watched his DVD, No Arms, No Legs, No Worries. His testimony, perseverance and faith blew me away. It touched me. Here's a man that most would say has the worst deal in the world, and yet look how he shines for Jesus. And he shines for Him because he walked through all the darkest times and chose to cling to Jesus as his savior rather than curse Him. He made me look at my life, my walk, and my testimony in a new light and examine my path with a new perspective. I shared the video with everyone I could.

With Nick's new book, Unstoppable, he's back to share more of his testimonies and experiences in life. What touched me a great deal this time around, was how open he was in sharing his darker moments when he struggled with his faith and how Jesus helped him to turn it around. Faith is tested, that's part of life. It's what makes it stronger. No one is immune to that. Even the strongest Christians find themselves questioning things at times. I loved how he used his own bad example as he puts it, to show us a way back and to be stronger when it's past. His words are inspiring, honest, heart wrenching at times; but powerful in a way that will have you taking a deeper look into your own heart. You'll be sailing through the book so that you can share it with everyone around you.


Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic.  Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships.  Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

But how does that happen?  In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including:

·         Personal crises
·         Relationship issues
·         Career and job challenges
·         Health and disability concerns
·         Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions
·         Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance
·         Balance in body, mind, heart, and spirit
·         Service to others

Through stories from his own life and the experiences of many others, Nick explains how anyone wanting a “ridiculously good life” can respond to these issues and more to become unstoppable. What’s standing in your way?  Are you ready to become unstoppable?

Visit Nick on Facebook HERE.  Read the First Chapter HERE.


Meet Nick Vujicic, pronounced ‘Vooy-cheech’. Born in 1982 in Melbourne, Australia, without any medical explanation or warning, Nicholas Vujicic came into the world with neither arms nor legs. Imagine the shock his parents felt when they saw their first-born brand new baby boy for the first time, only to find he was what the world would consider imperfect and abnormal. A limbless son was not what nurse Dushka Vujicic, and her husband Pastor Boris Vujicic had been expecting. How would their son live a normal happy life? What could he ever do or become when living with such a massive disability? Little did they or anyone else know that this beautiful limbless baby would one day be someone who would inspire and motivate people from all walks of life. God uses Nick to touch lives and bring the hope of Jesus Christ to people across the globe.

Today, this limbless young man has accomplished more than most people accomplish in a lifetime. Nick made the massive move from Brisbane, Australia to California, USA in 2007, where he is the President and CEO of a Nick with Kids in Indianon-profit organization, Life Without Limbs. Since his first speaking engagement back when he was 19, Nick has traveled around the world, sharing his story with millions of people, speaking to a range of different groups such as students, teachers, youth, businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and church congregations of all sizes.  He has also told his story and been interviewed on various televised programs worldwide. “If God can use a man without arms and legs to be His hands and feet, then He will certainly use any willing heart!”

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Kregel: The Sons of Jude by Brandt Dodson



Gritty, and a little hard boiled. The story has a feel of authenticity that you expect from an author that has walked in his characters shoes. I enjoyed it, it had a different feel and tone than the books I typically review, but it's nice to broaden my horizons. Although I read across a lot of genres, I usually only review Christian Fiction. Not to say this isn't Christian, The Sons of Jude has a strong moral  message, but the setting is honest and true to life. Be prepared for drinking, bars, strip clubs and a rougher crowd. It's handled tastefully. Nothing gratuitous or overly descriptive, nothing felt excessive or out of place for the story, but I know some would prefer to know this before reading. Overall, it put me in mind of authors like Shawn Grady, J. Mark Bertrand, maybe even a little Clive Cussler or James Patterson. If you enjoy these authors, give Brandt Dodson a try. You'll feel like you're walking the cold and windy beat of Chicago with him.


A new series of gritty, fast-paced thrillers

The body of a young woman is found in a dumpster in Chicago and detectives Andy Polanski and Frank Campello are charged with finding the killer. The two are polar opposites. Polanski is the son of a disgraced Chicago police officer and is fastidious about his reputation. He has also recently been transferred from another district having blown the whistle on some corrupt cops. Campello, however, takes a live-and-let-live approach to his life and job.

It soon becomes clear, as another young woman--a potential witness--is murdered, that a sex-trafficking operation in Chicago is preying on illegal aliens. As the ill-matched pair dig deeper, an influential alderman and his son are implicated. Then Polanski is framed for a narcotics offense, devastating the cases against the corrupt officers and the alderman. Only when Campello is challenged by a local minister, whom he meets when visiting Polanski, does he find the motivation to seek justice.

Read an excerpt her HERE


Brandt was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, which he would later choose as the setting for his Colton Parker Mystery series. Although he discovered in grade school that he wanted to be a writer, it would be another twenty-one years before he would put pen to paper.

“I knew in fifth grade that I wanted to be a writer. Our teacher had given each of us a photograph which we were to use as inspiration for a short story. The particular photo I was given was of several young men playing handball in New York City. I don’t remember all of the particulars of the story now, but I do remember the thrill that writing it gave me.”

In high school, Brandt’s English teacher uncovered his growing desire and encouraged him by saying: “If you don’t write, you’ll regret it the rest of your life.”

Friday, November 30, 2012

CFBA: A Wild Goose Chase Christmas by Jennifer AlLee

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
A Wild Goose Chase Christmas
Abingdon Press (November 2012)
Jennifer AlLee


I usually avoid books with quilts on the cover. They generally don't interest me. I want a story with a little more action and romance, and I seldom see the potential for that in a "Quilt" book. Now that's my opinion and I'm sure there are a dozen people out there or more that could give me examples to prove me wrong. But in general, that's been my experience. They're just a little boring.

I almost passed on A Wild Goose Chase Christmas simply because of the quilt on the cover. But the story was intriguing. Mystery? A Treasure Hunt? Romance and Christmas? Okay, I'll give it a try. I'm so glad I did! Here is a book to prove my theory wrong. I loved it. It was funny, sweet, romantic and intriguing. It was like watching one of the romantic Christmas movies they play on Hallmark.

I've never been so glad to be reminded that you can't judge a book by it's cover.


Upon her grandmother's death, Izzy Fontaine finds herself in possession of a Wild Goose Chase pattern quilt that supposedly leads to a great treasure.

Of course, once the rest of the family finds out about the "treasure map," they're determined to have a go at the treasure themselves. And, if that weren't enough, Max Logan, a local museum curator, contacts Izzy and says that Grandma Isabella promised him the quilt.

What is it about this quilt that makes everyone want it? Is Izzy on a wild goose chase of her own, or a journey that will lead her to the treasure her grandmother intended?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Wild Goose Chase Christmas, go HERE.


A Word from Jennifer:

As I look back on my life, it's interesting to see where God's taken me, and where I took myself that God pulled me out of. I finally got back to writing, the dream of my heart. Since 1996, I've published numerous short stories, devotions and plays. I've also been active in church drama ministries, another passion of mine. My first novel, The Love of His Brother (November 2007, Five Star Publishers), was followed by The Pastor's Wife (February 2010, Abingdon Press) and The Mother Road (April 2012). A Wild Goose Chase Christmas is book two in the new Quilts of Love series.

Besides being a writer, I am a wife and mom. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, my family has learned how to enjoy the fabulous buffets here without severely impacting our waistlines. God is good!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

CFBA: Shattered Silence by Margaret Daley

Song Stuck on the Brain: It's Not Easy Being Green. Blame it on Cee-lo and Kermit from the Voice. :)

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Shattered Silence
Abingdon Press (September 2012)
Margaret Daley


Margaret Daley is back with an edge of your seat, totally engrossing new mystery. This is book 2 in the Men of the Texas Rangers series. I haven't read the first book yet, but Shattered Silence held up as a stand alone novel, I didn't feel like I was missing information. However, I always prefer reading them in order and if the first in the series is anywhere near as good as Shattered Silence, I'll be rushing right out to buy it.

The characters are strong, but not without their weaknesses and I appreciate that, it makes it so much easier to identify with them. No topic is taboo either, as racial prejudice, physical abuse in families, and human smuggling are just a few of the things addressed. Despite the serious nature of the story, the romance is good and the chemistry just right to keep the book aloft so it doesn't drag in the mire of humanity lost. Hope and love - great reasons to read any book.


A serial killer is targeting illegal aliens in southern Texas. Texas Ranger Cody Jackson is paired with a local police officer, Liliana Rodriguez, to investigate the murders.

While the case brings Cody and Liliana ever closer, the tension between Americans and Mexican Americans heightens. As Cody and Liliana race to discover who is behind the murders and bring peace to the area, what they uncover isn't what they expected. Will Cody and Liliana's faith and love be strong enough to survive the storm of violence?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Shattered Silence, go HERE.


Margaret Daley is an award winning, multi-published author in the romance genre. One of her romantic suspense books, Hearts on the Line, won the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Contest. Recently she has won the Golden Quill Contest, FHL’s Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest, Winter Rose Contest, Holt Medallion and the Barclay Gold Contest. She wrote for various secular publishers before the Lord led her to the Christian romance market. She currently writes inspirational romance and romantic suspense books for the Steeple Hill Love Inspired lines, romantic suspense for Abingdon Press and historical romance for Summerside Press. She has sold eighty-three books to date.

Margaret is currently the President for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization of over 2300 members. She was one of the founding members of the first ACFW local chapter, WIN in Oklahoma. She has taught numerous classes for online groups, ACFW and RWA chapters. She enjoys mentoring other authors.

Until she retired a few years ago, she was a teacher of students with special needs for twenty-seven years and volunteered with Special Olympics as a coach. She currently is on the Outreach committee at her church, working on several projects in her community as well as serving on her church’s vestry.

On a more personal note, she has been married for over forty years to Mike and has one son and four granddaughters. She treasures her time with her family and friends.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

CFBA: Starflower by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Anne Elisabeth Stengl


The Tales of Goldstone Wood has been an exciting and compelling series, a mixture of fairytale and allegory; light and dark; good vs. evil. A little fantasy and a large dose of imagination. Anne Elisabeth Stengl has brought back the fairy tale as it used to be, not afraid to be dark or challenging. The Grimm's would be proud.

I've reviewed the first 3 books and jumped at the chance to read the newest, Starflower, a prequel. It was so much fun to see characters, like Eanrin the cat, as who they were before the original tales were told. Another fantastic story.

Some might debate whether this book should be read first for those knew to the series. After reading the series, I can see benefits for reading it first even though it was published last, timelines and characters might be clearer. However, for purists who insist on reading in publish order, you'll enjoy the surprises. Either way, you won't regret reading any of the Tales.


Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she enjoys her profession as an art teacher, giving private lessons from her personal studio, and teaching group classes at the Apex Learning Center. She is married to the handsome man she met at fencing class and lives with him and a gaggle of cats. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. Heartless is her debut novel.

Anne Elisabeth is also the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, a series of fantasy adventure novels told in the classic Fairy Tale style.


The Black Dogs Are on the Hunt, But Who Is Their Prey?

When a cursed dragon-witch kidnaps fairest Lady Gleamdren, the Bard Eanrin sets boldly forth on a rescue mission...and a race against his rival for Gleamdren's favor. Intent upon his quest, the last thing the immortal Faerie needs is to become mixed up with the troubles of an insignificant mortal.

But when he stumbles upon a maiden trapped in an enchanted sleep, he cannot leave her alone in the dangerous Wood Between. One waking kiss later, Eanrin suddenly finds his story entangled with that of young Starflower. A strange link exists between this mortal girl and the dragon-witch. Will Starflower prove the key to Lady Gleamdren's rescue? Or will the dark power from which she flees destroy both her and her rescuer?

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

CFBA: A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

Song Stuck on the Brain: Three Generations from John Tesh's Winter Song album. I listen to it at night while sleeping. It's the first track on the cd and I find myself humming it all day.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
A Change of Fortune
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Jen Turano


Jen Turano has a smash hit on her hands. I love the humor and spunk that personifies Eliza and her friends. My sister, Angel, caught me laughing out loud every time she walked past me reading.

Both Lady Eliza and Hamilton come with their own emotional baggage and are determined not to fall for each other. That, of course, is bound to fail and misunderstandings are imminent. Of course love can't truly prevail until they open their hearts to love - God's love and each others. Their journey to forgiveness and love winds it's way through a quick paced mystery. Imagine Agatha Christie and Jane Austin had a book baby, this would be it.

Hamilton's children, Piper and Ben are precocious and adorable. Half the fun came from their antics. So cute.

Jen seemingly has left it open for a sequel, and I'm already wondering which of the other characters we'll see fall in love next. Can't wait! I highly recommend it.


Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiance, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.

Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone.

Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence.

When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

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


Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.

She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she fired up the computer and never looked back.

Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.

Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Buy a Book and Help Salvation Army for Christmas

Song Stuck on the Brain: A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

Hey guys, Author KC Sprayberry just shared some awesome new with me:

"If you haven’t picked up your copy of Softly Say Goodbye yet, now might be a good time. I’m participating in a “Give Back” program on my publishers new imprint. We give 10% of all sales from November 11 through December 20, 2012. What I collect will go to the Salvation Army.

Christmas is just around the corner, and this is a very inexpensive gift. Also, the Salvation Army gives 90% of every dollar collected to their causes, which is why I’m supporting them. This is the PDF version, which can be emailed to the recipient!" - KC Sprayberry

How awesome is that? Christmas gift the book to yourself or buy it and email it as a gift to someone you love - and help out those struggling at the same time. Can't get better than that.

I reviewed Softly Say Goodbye recently, click HERE FOR MY REVIEW

Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake – decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade.

To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extra curricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fuelled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this…

But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

CFBA: The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

Song Stuck on the Brain: You're Nobody 'Till Somebody Loves You by Dean Martin

I'm not sure what got this one stuck in my head. It's catchy, but I don't really buy it totally, not from a romantic point of view. However, Jesus loves me and that does make me somebody. That alone changes the world and makes me want to share that with someone else. If you haven't heard it yet. Jesus loves you too.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
The Breath of Dawn
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Kristen Heitzmann


How did I miss book 2?! I loved A Rush of Wings (book 1), Rick and Noelle's story captivated me. I should have read The Still of Night next, but somehow I missed it. Thankfully, Heitzmann's latest, The Breath of Dawn is very good to clearly explain what came before and the story is easily read despite my faux pas. Not just easy to read - but engrossing. I hated to set it down for any reason.

Morgan is like a powerful magnet, no matter how much you try to resist, your drawn to him with a power you can't really explain. In fact, you don't want to explain it, you just want to enjoy it. He's good looking, powerful, wealthy, and yet all he lives for is to help others. Everything in his life is just a by product of that. He enjoys it, but shares it freely. He's a fantastic father, but wounded and sensitive. You want to step into Quinn's shoes and be the one to lead him to healing. I also wouldn't mind looking like Quinn, but that's a whole other post. :)

Kristen Heitzmann has a gift with storytelling that puts many to shame. The emotion, romance, suspense, faith, it's all there. And it's REAL. It feels real to life - not just a story. When I put the book down, I feel like I could head to the mountains and really visit the ranch. She's not afraid to confront the touchy subjects and she doesn't shy away from the uncomfortable things in life. She just weaves a beautiful love story out of the mess that reality is every day.

I highly recommend her books. You can read my reviews of other books by Kristen Heitzmann at the following links: Indelible and The Edge of Recall


Kristen Heitzmann Delivers Powerful New Romantic Suspense

Morgan Spencer has had just about all he can take of life. Following the tragic death of his wife, Jill, he retreats to his brother's Rocky Mountain ranch to heal and focus on the care of his infant daughter, Olivia. Two years later, Morgan begins to make plans to return to his home in Santa Barbara to pick up the pieces of his life and career.

Quinn Riley has been avoiding her past for four years. Standing up for the truth has forced her into a life of fear and isolation. After a "chance" first meeting and a Thanksgiving snowstorm, Quinn is drawn into the Spencer family's warm and loving world, and she begins to believe she might find freedom in their friendship.

The man Quinn helped put behind bars has recently been released, however, and she fears her past will endanger the entire Spencer family. As the danger heightens, she determines to leave town for the sake of the people who have come to mean so much to her.

Fixing problems is what Morgan Spencer does best, and he is not willing to let Quinn run away, possibly into the clutches of a man bent on revenge. But Morgan's solution sends him and Quinn on an unexpected path, with repercussions neither could have anticipated.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Breath of Dawn, go HERE.


From the time my dad taught me to read at sit-on-the-floor school when I was four—launching me past kindergarten into 1st grade—I have loved learning and expressing what I know through art, music, and especially writing. Education came easily, and I grew accustomed to having my work read and displayed. But breaking out of the family mold, I left college to marry my husband Jim (celebrating our 29th this year.) Since then, life and all kinds of research have provided the grist for my stories. We have three awesome adult kids, and one incredible teenager. (You might think I’m biased, but ask anyone who knows them.)

While home schooling my four kids, I wrote my first novel. I pitched it for publication, and it became the first of a five book historical series. Since then, I have written three more historical novels and nine contemporaries. The Still of Night was nominated for the Colorado Book Award. The Tender Vine was a Christy Award finalist and Secrets won a Christy in 2005.

People often ask why I started writing, and I say to get the stories out of my head. Some say they’d like to write a book, but I say if you’re not wracked with labor pains, there are easier ways to express yourself. Being a writer is a solitary, eccentric, and often compulsive path. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Softly Say Goodbye by KC Sprayberry

Song Stuck on the Brain: White Sandy Beach of Hawai'i by Brother Iz

Today I'm reviewing my friend and critique partners newly published teen novel:



KC Sprayberry has done a great job of allowing the reader to see through younger eyes with a new perspective. Too many of todays YA books fail to represent the youth that are responsible, moral and driven to help others.

Erin and her crew aren't your typical selfish teens. They see what underage drinking does to their friends and their families and they want to make a difference. Taking a stand costs them all a great deal, but they have families that support them and help them stay strong. What a fantastic example to other teens that they aren't alone in their decisions to stay sober and clean.

The story had me be both chuckling and shedding tears. Very touching and empowering. I recommend it to the young reader and the young at heart.


Erin Sellers, an eighteen-year-old high school senior, hates teen drinking. She and her three friends – Bill, her guy, Shari and Jake - decide to use Twitter to stop a group, the Kewl Krew, from using their high school as the local bar. But the members of this group are just as determined to stop anyone from messing up their fun. Despite veiled threats to her safety, Erin continues her crusade.

To make matters worse for her, the stress of school and extra curricular work mounts and suddenly, shockingly, booze-fuelled tragedy strikes. Erin is now under greater pressure as she spends all hours to produce a mural and other work to commemorate the death of a teen friend. Bill, Jake and Shari support her in all this...

But more tragedy lurks nearby… until it’s time to softly say goodbye.

KC Sprayberry loves reading, but not as much as she loves writing stories for young adults and middle-graders. Her interest in telling her stories goes back to her high school years, where she excelled in any and all writing classes. After a move to the northwest area of Georgia, she dove into this pursuit full-time while raising her children. While she spends many days researching areas of interest, she also loves photography and often uses it as a way to integrate scenery into her work. (Twitter: @kcsowriter.)

KC Sprayberry has written and published many short stories as well. Be sure to check her site for links.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

CSFF: Spirit Well by Stephen R. Lawhead

Song Stuck on the Brain: Phantom of the Opera - In surfing youtube I found this version sung by Sarah Brightman and Antonio Banderas. I didn't know Antonio Banderas sang. I thought it was a cool rendering for the Phantom's voice.

Spirit Well
Bright Empires Series
Stephen R. Lawhead

First let me apologize for the late post. This should have gone live yesterday, but my internet crashed and it just came back this morning.


You all know what a huge fan I am of Stephen Lawhead's work, so if you're a follower of my blog, you're already familiar with the first 2 books in the Bright Empires series - The Skin Map and The Bone House. I was on pins and needles waiting for what I thought was the last book in the series. Imagine my surprise (and excitement!!) when I discovered there are 2 more books to come.

The Spirit Well picks up right where it left you suspended with the last book. Kit wakes up in the bone house and remembers the journey to the spirit well. From there, the story continues at break neck speed across multiple realities and time. Kit and Mina find each other again, we  discover how the skin map came to be, and even get a taste of a translation for the symbols on the map.

There is so much that happens - too much to even try to explain. And why would you want me to give away all the spectacular secrets? It's all those juicy little secrets, twisty plot turns and outright surprises that continue to make this series unforgettable. It's one more hit for Mr. Lawhead and one more tasty treat for his readers who know that's what we should expect.

If you have not read The Skin Map or The Bone House, those are must reads first, the story won't make sense otherwise. If you're a fan of great fiction with science and faith woven into the foundation, then you won't want to miss this series.


The search for the map—and the secret behind its cryptic code—intensifies in a quest across time, space, and multiple realities.

But what if the true treasure isn’t the map at all . . . what if the map marks something far greater?  Something one world cannot contain? Those who desire to unlock that mystery are in a race to possess the secret—for good or evil.

Kit Livingstone is mastering the ability to travel across realities using ley lines and has forged a link from the Bone House, a sacred lodge made of animal bones, to the fabled Spirit Well, a place of profound power.

His friend Mina is undercover in a Spanish monastery high in the Pyrenees, learning all she can from a monk named Brother Lazarus. Still determined to find Kit, she is beginning to experience a greater destiny than she can fathom.

Cassandra Clarke is overseeing an archaeological dig in Arizona when a chance encounter transports her to 1950s Damascus. There, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to the Seekers—the last living remnants of the Zetetic Society who need her help to track down the missing Cosimo Livingstone and his grandson Kit.

But there are darker forces at work in the universe whose agents always seem to be one step ahead of the rest—and they’re all desperate to gain the ultimate prize in this treasure hunt where the stakes increase at every turn. At the heart of the mystery lies the Spirit Well.


Stephen R. Lawhead
 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 Author on Facebook:

Check out the other tour sites:
Jim Armstrong
Julie Bihn
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Beckie Burnham
Brenda Castro
Jeff Chapman
Karri Compton
Theresa Dunlap
Emmalyn Edwards
Victor Gentile
Jeremy Harder
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Janeen Ippolito
Becca Johnson
Jason Joyner
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Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Anna Mittower
Joan Nienhuis
Lyn Perry
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Phyllis Wheeler

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

CFBA: No Safe Harbor by Elizabeth Ludwig

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
No Safe Harbor
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Elizabeth Ludwig


A fantastic and suspenseful journey. I love the premise of mysterious words on an old letter leading to a journey of your lifetime. It's the kind of thing I day dreamed of as a kid. Elizabeth Ludwig must have had a few of her own, because she nailed the story.


The Thrill of Romantic Suspense Meets the Romance of 1800s America

Lured by a handful of scribbled words across a faded letter, Cara Hamilton sets off from 1896 Ireland on a quest to find the brother she'd thought dead. Her search lands her in America, amidst a houseful of strangers and one man who claims to be a friend--Rourke Walsh.

Despite her brother's warning, Cara decides to trust Rourke and reveals the truth about her purpose in America. But he is not who he claims to be, and as rumors begin to circulate about an underground group of dangerous revolutionaries, Cara's desperation grows. Her questions lead her ever closer to her brother, but they also bring her closer to destruction as Rourke's true intentions come to light.

If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Harbor, go HERE.


Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight (Spyglass Lane), respectively, released in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CFBA: Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Song Stuck on the Brain: In My Life/A Heart Full of Love from Les Mis

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Against the Tide
Bethany House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Elizabeth Camden


Elizabeth Camden has done it again, she swept me up in intrigue, romance, and a passion for justice that is uniquely hers. Against the Tide may follow the romance and struggle between Lydia and Bane, but it also takes a look at a grittier part of life - addiction. Bane's fight to stop the Professor, his evil former boss, is just the beginning. Bane is determined to spend his life bringing down the opium dealer and make up for his past in the Professor's service. But opium is a sinister drug not yet controlled by the government and it's being used in all kinds of remedies, including teething liquid for children, causing death and addiction without the user even being aware of the danger. Bane's fight draws Lydia to fight with him, but she soon finds that the fight may be more personal than she could ever have imagined.

Some might remember Bane from Elizabeth Camden's earlier book, The Lady of Bolton Hill. I love that she chose a "bad guy" and shared his redemption story with us - there is a good word for her novels, stories of redemption. If you haven't read The Lady of Bolton Hill, don't worry, it's not a matter of sequels, each book can be read independently. However, once you sail through Against the Tide, I dare you not to eagerly reach for her other books.

Read my review of The Lady of Bolton Hill HERE.


Love and Lives are Threatened in Camden's Latest Offering

As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Against the Tide, go HERE.


A Word from Elizabeth:
I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.

I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it. Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.

As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

CFBA: Full Disclosure

Song Stuck on the Brain: Do You Want to Dance by Del Shannon

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Full Disclosure
Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2012)
Dee Henderson
Dee is back, YAY! I actually squealed when I saw this book offer. I've been a fan of Dee's for years and I’ve missed her fantastic storytelling. Full Disclosure may be her first book in 5 years, but it feels like coming home.
Ann Silver – is she fiction or not? It didn’t take long before Ann’s character seemed really familiar, in fact she reminded me a LOT of her author Dee based on what I’ve read on her website and in interviews. Then there were Ann’s friends. Those familiar with Dee’s O’Malley series will find a lot of familiar characters between the pages. In fact as you learn more about Ann you begin to wonder where reality stops and fiction begins between the author and her heroine.  It’s enticing, to say the least, to discover all the connections between Full Disclosure and the many books in Dee’s resume.
That of course is only part of the intrigue. New readers can take that for what it is, but don’t worry about feeling lost in the story if you haven’t read her entire back list. There’s plenty of mystery to unravel.
I’ve seen a few reviewers comment that they felt the story had a slow start and wasn’t up to her earlier standards. I have to disagree. The story does have a little different feel, it seems more character driven in the beginning, but that’s a little deceptive, because the author is actually rolling out a really involved plot and tying so many threads together it’s impressive when you see the final picture. It’s like a pot of water heating, the temperature rising to boiling in a blink with little warning.
In the midst of all the mystery is a love story that faces opposition in an unusual way. Ann and Paul are a little older, more mature, past their wild early career days and past their first heartbreaks. They know what family means and what they want, but they aren’t so anxious to be married that they are willing to settle for less than what God has in mind. They’re comfortable in their own skin and okay with being alone. I appreciate the intentional way that Paul pursues Ann, always careful to listen for God’s leading and considering Ann first. It’s a beautiful example of what real love should be; full of passion and temperance, selfless courage, faith and honesty.
In the book Ann shares how she writes all of her friends love stories, and Full Disclosure feels very much like the author’s nod toward writing a version of her own love story, or what she would imagine it being. It's fiction, but it rings with true to life intimacy and heart.
Fantastic job, Dee. You had a well-deserved hiatus, but welcome back to the top. Can’t wait to see what comes next.
*** NOTE: Dee’s website announced that there is a new O’Malley story coming in 2013. Jennifer and Tom’s story is finally being published. Check out herwebsite for more details.


Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

Paul Falcon is the FBI's top murder cop in the Midwest. If the victim carried a federal badge or had a security clearance, odds are good Paul and his team see the case file or work the murder.

Their lives intersect when Ann arrives to pass a case off her desk and onto his. A car wreck and a suspicious death offer a lead on a hired shooter he is tracking. Paul isn't expecting to meet someone, the kind that goes on the personal side of the ledger, but Ann Silver has his attention.

The better he gets to know her, the more Paul realizes her job barely scratches the surface of who she is. She knows spies and soldiers and U.S. Marshals, and has written books about them. She is friends with the former Vice President. People with good reason to be cautious about who they let into their lives deeply trust her. Paul wonders just what secrets Ann is keeping, until she shows him the John Doe Killer case file, and he starts to realize just who this lady he is falling in love with really is…

Watch the book trailer:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Full Disclosure, go HERE.


Dee Henderson is the bestselling, award-winning author of 15 previous novels, including the acclaimed O'MALLEY series and UNCOMMON HEROES series. She is a lifelong resident of Illinois.