Thursday, June 20, 2013

CFBA: Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel by Melody Carlson

Song Stuck on the Brain: O Come, O Come Emmanuel
 Mom, Angel and I are choosing music to sing for church in a few weeks. I stumbled on this hymn today. It's one of my fav's at Christmas time. As I was reading through all the verses I realized it really isn't Christmas specific. It's just a prayer for Christ to return to his people. The verses are beautiful.We decided to try and work up a 3 part a cappella version for church. It's going to take a lot of work, but I think it will be worth it. The song just inspires me and draws the Holy Spirit when it's sung. I'm really hoping it will do the same for those who hear it as well.

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing:
Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel
B&H Publishing Group (April 30, 2013)
Melody Carlson


I identify with Daphne Ballinger a little more than I expected. First of all, her Aunt Dee reminds me a a lot of my Granny Boo. Granny might have been more brash than Dee, but they were both strong willed, independent women before their time. In Dee's case she's determined to see Daphne's life go the way she sees fit, even from the other side. Her will certainly lays down some very unique requirements. Dee does it out of love and good intentions, but her determination is still speaking from the grave.

Daphne, fortunately, had a very healthy and close relationship with her Aunt Dee. Now with her guidance gone, Dee stands at a crossroad. Should she step out of her comfort zone and see where God will lead her? Or stay with what's safe and familiar even if it doesn't make her happy?

Part of her decision includes choosing who to love and for the right reasons. I don't want to give anything away, so just know that there are several single men present and available and the choice is overwhelming! Not just for Daphne, but for me too. I found myself rooting for a particular gentleman only to question my choice a couple of chapters later. Your discovery is paced with Daphne's without a hint of who her final choice will be.

The author did a great job balancing humor and sincerity with blossoming faith. Daphne's choice at the end of the book was a bit of a surprise, but that's good! I felt like I really experienced the journey with Daphne, and even if my choices or thoughts might have taken a different path personally, I understood and empathized with the character's decisions and situations.

I know this is just the first book in the series and it was a great launching pad. Daphne's story concludes in such a way that leaves you satisfied yet wanting more. Looking forward to more from Melody Carlson.


With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Lock, Stock and Over a Barrel, go HERE.


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

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