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.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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?
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!
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.
ABOUT THE 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?
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.
MY TAKE: 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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.
ABOUT THE BOOK
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?
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.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
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.
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.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.