Wednesday, September 2, 2015

September Morn Hodgepodge


Not sure how we got to September already, but a great way to start is with Joyce and the Wednesday Hodgepodge!


1. What's on your September calendar? Anything fun?

Yes, indeed! My boy's birthday is Friday, I'm going to the ACFW conference in two weeks, and we end the month with my husband's birthday.

2. You might be described as a natural born _____________________?

Nurse/Caregvier. I've been told it's apparently inbedded in my DNA!

3. September is National Courtesy Month...what one act of courtesy would you most like to see more of in your home, town, or the world at large?

I have to pick one?! Courteous language and tones of voice. I am so weary of strident voices and harsh/foul language.

4. Eager beaver, chicken out, clam up, or let the cat out of the bag...of the phrases listed, which one have you related to most recently?

Clam up. I'm fairly quiet, and I'm big on confidentiality, whether it's what's going on with a friend or at work. And I was that way long before HIPAA.

5. What's your movie theatre snack protocol? Do you chow down on snacks during the previews or wait until the movie begins? Do you buy snacks or refuse to pay those kind of prices? What's the last movie you saw in a theatre? How many thumbs up would you give it?

I rarely go to movies at the theater. (And notice I spell it the American way. LOL) I will occasionally buy popcorn as my "lunch". Because if I go, it's usually to a matinee with my girl. And occasionally we will splurge and go to the fancy moviehouse nearby that has the leather recliners and meal service.

6. Henry Ford is quoted as saying, "Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind." Agree or disagree? Why?

Pretty much agree. People with too much time on their hands generally have an unbalanced perspective of what is going on.

7. What's the last job you completed or task you performed where you had to 'work like a dog' until it was finished?

Sunday, when a nurse called in and I had to cover the day shift, showing up at 6:00 am after getting home at 11:00 pm the night before and getting only 4 hours of sleep.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

A sight for sore eyes. . .and taste buds!



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

ACFW New Releases - September

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.


Contemporary Romance:

Moments of Truth by Sandra D. Bricker -- Divorced blogger Regan Sloane's new book club meetings quickly morph into evenings with her friends trying out recipes and decompressing by sharing their most private thoughts, fears and ponderings. With the first writing tip she'd ever received - Write what you know! - skipping around her brain, the fodder those gatherings provide is just too delicious to resist, and Regan gravitates toward them and their various romantic challenges for blog content. (Contemporary Romance from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas)

The Birdhouse by Laura V. Hilton -- Josh Yoder wants to court Greta, but years ago, he made the mistake of rejecting her during a seemingly innocent game-which resulted in him leaving the Amish. Three years later, he's back, but Greta wants nothing to do with him. When Greta's father is injured in a farming accident, Josh steps in to help. Greta admires one of his birdhouses, and he gives it to her, hoping that it will open the door to more. But as their friendship begins to grow, a series of unfortunate events pull Greta away from the Amish, leaving her rejected by those she loves. Will Greta prove her innocence, get beyond her family's distrust and return home? (Contemporary Romance from Whitaker House)

The Bishop's Son (The Amish of Bee County) by Kelly Irvin -- Leila Lantz has been in love with Jesse Glick from the day she first saw him at his father's store, but she can't make sense of his intentions. Jesse may be the bishop's son, but his faith has been wavering of late. Is it fair to give Leila false hope for a future he doubts he can provide? Then there's Will, Jesse's cousin, who has been trying to keep his feelings for Leila a secret, but he also knows Jesse is wrestling with his faith. Would declaring his feelings for Leila be in her best interest or simply serving his own selfish desires? Leila knows Will is the "safe" choice, but when her heart speaks, it's Jesse's name she hears. Could leaving everything she knows-even her own faith-be a part of God's plan? (Contemporary Romance from Zondervan)

A Tide Worth Turning by Beth Wiseman -- Successful real estate agent Addison Burke is forced to find a caregiver for her estranged mother following a stroke. She hires an agency to fill the position, and to her surprise, they send a man for the job. Logan has to make enough money caring for Lee Ann Burke to flee the country before his world comes crashing down around him. But when Lee Ann's beautiful daughter, Addison, begins to awaken feelings in him that he thought died long ago, he begins to question whether or not fleeing from the past is worth leaving Addison forever. And why is Lee Ann selling everything she owns on EBay and Craig's List? (Contemporary Romance Novella, Independently Published)


Contemporary Women's Fiction:

When Love Returns by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- It wasn't easy to move back to the Old Order Mennonite community from which quiet, responsible Suzanne Zimmerman was shamefully sent away as a pregnant teen. Returning twenty years later to take care of her mother, Suzanne and Alexa—the daughter she raised as her own-have spent months rebuilding relationships with her family.Now with the upcoming wedding of their biological daughter, Suzanne and Paul find themselves drawn to one another once again-but with new challenges to face. They have been single parents with painful pasts. Can Paul and Suzanne find the strength to rebuild the loving relationship that was torn apart by their teen pregnancy so long ago? Suzanne must also let go of Alexa as she heads back to Indianapolis to visit friends--and as her chance to find her birth parents. Leaving the bed-and-breakfast in Suzanne's apprehensive hands, Alexa embarks on a journey that will certainly change her life completely. Can mother and daughter trust God to restore all things in His timing? (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Waterbrook/Multnomah [Random House])

The Sea Keeper's Daughters by Lisa Wingate -- Restaurant owner Whitney Monroe is desperate to save her business from a hostile takeover. The inheritance of a decaying Gilded Age hotel on North Carolina's Outer Banks may provide just the ray of hope she needs. But things at the Excelsior are more complicated than they seem. Whitney's estranged stepfather is entrenched on the third floor, and the downstairs tenants are determined to save the historic building. Searching through years of stored family heirlooms may be Whitney's only hope of quick cash, but will the discovery of an old necklace and a Depression-era love story change everything? (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)

A Texas Christmas by Ramona K. Cecil, Lena Nelson Dooley, Darlene Franklin, Pamela Griffin, Cathy Marie Hake and Kathleen Y'Barbo, -- Spend Christmas in the Old West with six unconventional women who take on Texas-sized challenges-and unexpected romance. Bridget falls for a man opposed to her teaching Indian orphans. Polly is trying to hold her family together when her childhood love returns to town. Rugged rancher Charlsey is inexplicably attracted to a tenderfoot accountant. Vivian shuns marriage until meeting a nomadic photographer. Lacey's cooking draws a quiet blacksmith out of his shell. Tracker Bessie Mae helps a ranger hunt down a villain. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Barbour Publishing)

General Fiction:

Hungry for Home by Brenda S. Anderson -- After a troubling encounter with a pregnant teen, Sheila Peterson-Brooks hurries from the crisis pregnancy center into the frigid Minnesota winter where she is mugged and left for dead. After a frantic search, Richard, her husband, finds her, and the police quickly nab the mugger…who turns out to be a hungry, homeless teen. The brother of the pregnant girl Sheila had just counseled. The girl pleads for her brother, and Sheila and Richard choose not to press charges. Instead, they open their home to the boy, a move that could cost them their possessions, and their hearts. And, in the process, teach them the true meaning of home. (General Fiction, Independently Published)

Historical General Fiction:

Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke -- In this time-split story, Hannah Sterling (1972) seeks to uncover the secrets of her estranged mother's past (WWII), only to learn that she has a grandfather still living in Germany, hiding tragic wartime secrets that stretch across the generations. (Historical General Fiction from Tyndale House)

Historical Romance:

12 Brides of Summer, Novella Collection #4 by Diana Brandmeyer, Vickie McDonough, and Davalynn Spencer -- The Columbine Bride: Lucy Powell is determined to get her neglected homestead up and running again after a winter filling in as the school marm in town. But can she keep neighboring rancher, Buck Reiter from helping her when he seems just as determined to work his way into the lives of her children as well as her heart? (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter -- Lady Miranda Hawthorne acts every inch the lady, but inside she longs to be bold and carefree. Approaching spinsterhood, she pours her innermost feelings out not in a diary but in un-mailed letters to her brother's old school friend, a duke. Meanwhile, she also finds herself intrigued by Marlow, her brother's new valet. When Marlow accidentally discovers and mails one of the letters to her unwitting confidant, Miranda is beyond mortified. And even more shocked when the duke returns her note with one of his own that initiates a courtship-by-mail. Insecurity about her lack of suitors shifts into confusion at her growing feelings for two men--one she's never met but whose words deeply resonate with her heart, and one she has come to depend on but whose behavior is more and more suspicious. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White -- When Brook Eden's friend Justin uncovers the fact that Brook is likely a missing heiress from Yorkshire, she leaves the sun of the Mediterranean to visit her supposed family. The mystery of her mother's death haunts her, and though her father is quick to accept her, the servants of Whitby Park are not. Only when Brook's life is threatened do they draw close--but their loyalty may come too late to save her from the same fate as her mother. When matters of his future dukedom force Justin far from Brook, the distance between them reveals their friendship has grown into something much more. But their loyalties are very different. And then, for a second time, the heiress of Whitby Park is stolen away because of the very rare treasure in her possession--and this time only the servants of Whitby can save her. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker] Publishing)

Romantic Suspense:

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry -- In World War II, fighter pilot Roger Greene wants only three things in life: fast planes to fly, a chance to serve his country, and to find the perfect girl to love. All three ambitions screech to a halt--seemingly forever--when his P-47 is shot down over Nazi Germany. Captured, Roger becomes a guinea pig in a hush-hush Nazi experiment. The war may end, but the Methuselah Project will continue. Escape is constantly on Roger's mind, but is escape possible? (Romantic Suspense from Kregel Publications)

Beyond the Cherokee Trail by Lisa Carter -- When Linden Birchfield arrives in the Snowbird Cherokee community to organize the 180th commemoration of the Trail of Tears, she runs head on-literally-into arrogant former army sniper Walker Crowe. A descendant of the Cherokee who evaded deportation by hiding in the rugged Snowbird Mountains, Walker believes no good can result from stirring up the animosity with the white Appalachian residents whose ancestors looted the tribal lands so long ago. Though at odds, Linden and Walker must unite against an unseen threat to derail the festival. (Romantic Suspense from Abingdon Press)

Expert Witness by Rachel Dylan -- Minutes after testifying in a murder trial, sketch artist Sydney Berry is almost killed in a drive-by shooting. United States Marshal Max Preston saves her life then whisks her away to safety. She's his first protected witness, and he'll do everything in his power to keep her safe. But Sydney doesn't want to hide from danger. She is determined to finish her testimony and put a killer away. With potential suspects coming from all corners, Sydney will have to trust Max with her deepest secrets-and her life. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Young Adult:

A Reluctant Assassin by JC Morrows -- Her mission is simple - get close to the Prince, and kill him. . . Kayden entered the palace under a lie, one designed to get her close to the Prince. On the outside, she may look like a princess but beneath the mask, a killer lays in wait - for the perfect moment. Dvarius is not ready to take the crown, nor is he ready for a wife. But due to his father's unexpected death and an archaic law - he must find a bride before he is allowed to take his rightful place on the throne. (Young Adult, Independently Published)



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Monday, August 31, 2015

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty


Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
A Dangerous Beauty Novel
Angela Hunt
(Bethany House)
ISBN: 978-0764216961
August 2015/384 pages/$14.99


One of Ancient Israel's Most Famous Women--
As You've Never Looked at Her Before


One of the Bible's most misunderstood and misjudged women, Bathsheba comes to life in this new biblical reimagining from Angela Hunt. Combining historical facts with detailed fiction, this is an eye-opening portrait that will have you reconsidering everything you thought you knew about her.

After receiving God's promise of a lifelong reign and an eternal dynasty, King David forces himself on Bathsheba, a loyal soldier's wife. When her resulting pregnancy forces the king to murder her husband and add her to his harem, Bathsheba struggles to protect her son while dealing with the effects of a dark prophecy and deadly curse on the king's household.

Read an excerpt.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The author of more than 100 published books and with nearly 5 million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Note, The Nativity Story, and Esther: Royal Beauty. Romantic Times Book Club presented Angela with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. In 2008, Angela completed her PhD in biblical studies in theology. She and her husband live in Florida with their mastiffs. She can be found online at www.angelahuntbooks.com.


MY THOUGHTS

I've often said that I normally give Biblical fiction a wide berth, but if it's written by Angela Hunt, I know it is steeped in research and Biblical truth. The first of her Dangerous Beauty novels, Esther: Royal Beauty, captivated me (my review is here), and I was intrigued by the concept of tob beauty as Angela Hunt explained it when I interviewed her last summer. This new novel is just as compelling. Much of the story of David and Bathsheba in the Bible focuses on David, and Hunt's portrayal of Bathsheba's persepective fascinated me. Bathsheba and Uriah's deep love for one another and Uriah's steadfast loyalty to the king he served make David's actions even more reprehensible. Hunt's commitment to accuracy combines with her gift of story as she depicts Bathsheba's life before and after she entered palace life. I ached for Bathsheba as she was plucked from her home in the midst of her grief and placed among the unwelcoming concubines and wives. Her strength and reliance on HaShem and his promises inspired and reminded me of God's sovereignty and ability to redeem the worst of man's sins. Angela Hunt remains firmly among the top five of my must-read author list, and I can't wait to read the final novel about Delilah, coming in 2016! Don't miss Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty.



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Enjoy this mini-interview with the author, provided by the publisher:

Q&A WITH ANGELA HUNT

1. Biblical fiction readers always want to know how much of the novel is true and how much is fiction. How much did you have to invent for Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty?
Not much. In my biblical fiction—in all my historical fiction, really—I take pains never to contradict the historical record. And since the Bible is the alpha historical record, I took great pains not to contradict anything in it. Example: I didn’t realize that Bathsheba had three other sons until my third or fourth draft, so I had to go back and write them in! It would have been easier to simply focus on David, Bathsheba, and Solomon, but that wouldn’t have been accurate.

Scripture doesn’t tell us much about Bathsheba, but it tells us a great deal about David, Solomon, Ahithophel, and all the other players, so it wasn’t difficult to put all the pieces together and then imagine what Bathsheba must have been feeling and doing in those situations. It’s a fascinating story when you consider what life in David’s palace must have been like.

2. Readers have noticed that you always include a bibliography at the end of your historical novels. Why?
Because it’s so easy for readers to assume that I simply made things up. I started my career as a nonfiction writer, so everything I write is based in reality (probably why I don’t write fantasy). Novels may not be actual, but I believe they should deal with facts and truths. The “fictional” parts that I have to create have their roots in facts, logic, and probabilities.

3. What sort of historical novels do you like to read?
All of them! I haven’t yet found a time period that didn’t interest me. The only books that don’t interest me are those in which too much is “made up.” I would never use a novel for research, but as a writer, I want to believe that other writers did the necessary homework.

4. Which do you like better, writing historicals or writing contemporary novels?
I have to say that I don’t have a preference. All of my novels have required research of some sort (I love research!), because my contemporaries are usually about something interesting—to me, anyway. The two genres require exercising different creative muscles, so I enjoy mixing them up. After a few historicals, I yearn to write contemporary; after a few contemporaries, I’m ready to go back into history again. (And when I’m tired of writing, I pick up my camera!)

5. Is there a genre you haven’t tried yet but would like to tackle?
YES! Time travel. I’m itching to write a time-travel novel or maybe a series.





Photobucket

View blog reactions

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Endearing Hodgepodge


It's always fun to join Joyce for the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Come join the fun!

1. It's hard to believe, but next week's Hodgepodge will find us in the month of September. What's one thing you want, need, or hope to do still before summer officially ends?

Well, here in Texas, summer weather certainly doesn't end when September starts! But embarrassingly enough, I still have one more high school graduation gift to pop in the mail this week.

2. When were you last at 'your wit's end'?

Oh, that happens on a regular basis at work! LOL

3. Describe a time you were figuratively thrown into 'the deep end'?

Can I answer every question with "at work"?!

4. Does the end always, ever, or never justify the means? Explain.

In terms of ethics and moral situations, no. Remember the guy in the Old Testament who died because he touched the Ark of the Covenant to keep it from falling off the cart? Some would say it was unfair that he died because keeping the holy Ark from falling justified the sin of touching it. But disobedience is disobedience, and the first sin was the Ark being on the cart in the first place. And how about Saul trying to explain away his disobedience with a sacrifice, when he usurped the role of the priest and violated the tabarnacle? God told him, "To obey is better than sacrifice."

Unfortunately, we have become a society where the immediate overshadows the long-term and the many hues of gray have become the rule.

5. What makes your hair stand on end?

Fingernails on a chalkboard. Noisy chewing/smacking.

6. I read an article on the website Eat This! Health, that listed 11 foods we can eat to help end bad moods. Basically it's a feed your brain so you're less anxious, grouchy and lethargic. The foods are-mussels, swiss chard, blue potatoes, grass fed beef, dark chocolate, greek yogurt, asparagus, honey, cherry tomatoes, eggs, and coconut. Which of those do you think would most help end your own bad mood? Which do you fear, if forced to eat, would put you into a bad mood?

Please pass the dark chocolate. But the mussels, swiss chard, and blue potatoes almost made me stop reading the list. Blech!

7. What project around your home, office, or life in general feels like there is 'no end in sight'?

Organizing of the stuff.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

The end of this month is a happy, happy time. Blue Bell will be back in our stores here in Central Texas on Monday! The rest of the region who has been without it will have to wait a little longer. And for those of you who never have Blue Bell--well, maybe this is one time where whatever you have to do to get some is absolutely justified! LOL





Photobucket

View blog reactions

Thursday, August 20, 2015

For the Love


For the Love:
Fighting For Grace
In A World Of Impossible Standards

Jen Hatmaker
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718031824
August 2015/224 pages/Hardcover/$22.99

Best-selling author Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She knows how the squeeze of this life can make us competitive and judgmental, how we can lose love for others and then for ourselves. She reveals how to:

  • Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest life.
  • Learn to engage our culture’s controversial issues with a grace-first approach.
  • Be liberated to love and release the burden of always being right.
  • Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in, know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway friendships.
  • Escape our impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of “mostly good.”
  • Laugh your butt off.

In this raucous ride to freedom for modern women, Jen Hatmaker bares the refreshing wisdom, wry humor, no-nonsense faith, liberating insight, and fearless honesty that have made her beloved by women worldwide.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jen Hatmaker is a mom to five children, a pastor’s wife, sought-after speaker, best-selling author and star of the popular series "My Big Family Renovation" on HGTV. She is best known for her books 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess and Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity. For more information, visit JenHatmaker.com.

MY THOUGHTS

Maybe it's residual from my junior high days of not being part of the cool crowd, but I tend to resist jumping on bandwagons and following the latest popular speaker/blogger/author/you-name-it. I'm also very selective about the non-fiction books that I read. However, I had heard enough about Jen Hatmaker's new release to intrigue me, so I took the opportunity offered by the publisher to review it. I'm so glad I did. Yes, her writing is down-to-earth, authentic, and at times laugh-out-loud funny. But she also is absolutely spot-on about some very important and serious matters and communicates them in an engaging yet convincing manner. As the sister of a former career missionary, I wanted to cheer and highlight the entire twenty-first chapter, Poverty Tourism, about short-term missions. I also loved her "on the beam" and "off the beam" analogy for women to prevent themselves from becoming overloaded with expectations and commitments. And her thoughts on American theology--and testing a belief by asking if it is as true for a poor Christian mom in Haiti as it is for us--made me say amen! ("Theology is either true everywhere or it isn't true anywhere. This helps untangle us from the American God narrative....because sometimes my portrayal of God's ways sounds suspiciously like the American Dream and I had better check myself." ch. 3, pg. 19) For the Love is both a quick read and one to slow down, savor, and ponder. Don't miss it!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Photobucket

View blog reactions

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back to School with the Hodgepodge


School bells are ringing at Joyce's blog for this week's edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!


1. Way back when (the Hodgepodge bicentennial to be precise) several of you submitted questions as part of a giveaway I was hosting. I went back to that list for inspiration today and found a question submitted by Marla, who blogs over at Marla's Musings. Thanks Marla!

She asks-At what age did you feel like a 'grown-up'? What keeps you young now?


When I graduated from college and bought my own furniture and a washer and dryer.

2. When did you last buy a vehicle? Was this by design or because you had no other option? Was the car/truck purchased for your own personal use or was it bought for someone else to drive? On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being delightful and 1 being 'pass the Excedrin') how would you rate the experience?

We bought a car a couple of years ago for our girl to take to college. It was about an 8.

3. Corn bread, corn chips, corn pudding, corn on the cob, cornflakes, corn chowder-your favorite of the corn-y foods listed? What needs to be served alongside your selection?

In winter, it's corn bread (with chili or stew) but in summer, it's roasted corn on the cob with plenty of butter and salt! I love to roast it on the grill with burgers.

4. What's something in your life that regularly requires you to 'put your thinking cap on'?

Work--putting the orders in the computer and paying attention to all of the medications.

5. Share a favorite movie set in a school or classroom, or whose theme relates to school days in some way.

Grease!

6. Reading, writing, and 'rithmetic' are commonly referred to as the three R's. What are the three R's in your life right now?

Rehab (my job), recovery (from work!), and reading!

7. What's something you've learned or tried recently you can say was as 'easy as ABC'?

Hypodermoclysis, which is subcutaneous IV's.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

My girl left for college on Monday, 36 hours after my boy got home from his summer intern job. We had one wonderful day together as a family on Sunday. Ah, the kids-in-college years, when your house is a hotel! LOL



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Expert Witness


Expert Witness
Rachel Dylan
(Harlequin/Love Inspired Suspense)
ISBN: 978-0373446957
September 2015/224 pages/$5.99


DANGEROUS TESTIMONY

Minutes after testifying in a murder trial, sketch artist Sydney Berry is almost killed in a drive-by shooting. United States Marshal Max Preston saves her life then whisks her away to safety. She's his first protected witness, and he'll do everything in his power to keep her safe. But Sydney doesn't want to hide from danger. She is determined to finish her testimony and put a killer away. With potential suspects coming from all corners, Sydney will have to trust Max with her deepest secrets—and her life.


Read an excerpt.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Dylan writes inspirational romantic suspense. She loves animals and is active in animal rescue. She enjoys adding adorable pets to her stories. She lives in Georgia with her husband and five furkids—two dogs and three cats. Learn more at her website, www.racheldylan.com.

MY THOUGHTS

I have enjoyed a number of books in Harlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line as a quick read, so when I was asked to review this one, I was intrigued, even though I wasn't familiar with this fairly new author. Expert Witness ranks as one of the best in its class. Rachel Dylan plunges the reader into the drama of the story almost immediately, and doesn't let up until the final pages. I read with my heart in my throat and couldn't put it down as the danger and suspense escalate with each chapter. This is a solid offering from an author to watch. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Rachel Dylan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




Photobucket

View blog reactions

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Heart's Home - and Conversations with Colleen Coble Giveaway!


A Heart's Home
(A Journey of the Heart, Book 6)
Colleen Coble
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-0718031695
August 2015/112 pages/$6.99

Emmie’s hope for a life with Isaac is overshadowed by a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny.

Isaac Liddle is keen to marry Emmie, and she knows she shouldn’t hide her pregnancy from him any longer. But before she can tell him her secret, a widower friend asks the impossible of Emmie: Will she honor her promise to his dead wife by marrying him to care for the orphaned baby?

With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Find out more about Colleen at her website.



MY THOUGHTS

Colleen Coble brings her six-book novella series to a satisfying conclusion with A Heart's Home. While I enjoyed all the books, the second half of this series was my favorite, and Emmie's situation touched my heart. Coble skillfully portrays the many difficulties and dangers of life on the fort amidst the constant threat from the Sioux, and the constant shadow of death is a sobering reminder of the harsh lives the early settlers experienced, when desperate situations threaten life and love. Don't miss this book and this series.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Click the titles for my reviews of the previous novellas in this serial:

A Heart's Disguise (Book 1)
A Heart's Obsession (Book 2)
A Heart's Danger (Book 3)
A Heart's Betrayal (Book 4)
A Heart's Promise (Book 5)



A hidden pregnancy, a promise sure to break hearts, and a tragic loss at Fort Phil Kearny: Don't miss the gripping conclusion in book six, A Heart's Home, of Colleen Coble's A Journey of the Heart series. With the Sioux Wars threatening outside the fort, Emmie’s solemn vow threatens her happiness from within. Will she honor a promise sure to break her heart—and Isaac’s? Or is there another way to find a home for her heart?

Colleen is celebrating the final book release of her A Journey of the Heart series by giving away the entire series and the chance to host Colleen virtually at your book club, local library, or women's group to talk about the series.

heartshome-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • Books 1–6 of A Journey of the Heart series
  • A chat with Colleen via Skype or Google Hangout
  • A custom book-club kit PDF, featuring Colleen's favorite recipes and group discussion questions
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 31st. Winner will be announced September 1st on Colleen's website.

heartshome-enterbanner



Photobucket

View blog reactions

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Not By Sight


Not by Sight
Kate Breslin
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764211614
July 2015/384 pages/$14.99

"Downton Abbey meets The Scarlet Pimpernel in Kate Breslin's wonderful historical novel set amidst the drama of England's World War I home front."--award-winning author Elizabeth Camden

In the spring of 1917, all of Britain's attention is on the WWI war front and the thousands of young men serving their country on the front lines. Jack Benningham, dashing heir to the Earl of Stonebrooke, is young and able-bodied but refuses to enlist despite the contempt of his peers.

A wealthy young suffragette, Grace Mabry will do anything to assist her country's cause. Men like Jack infuriate her when she thinks of her own brother fighting in the trenches of France, so she has no reservations about handing him a white feather of cowardice at a posh masquerade ball.

But Grace could not anticipate the danger and betrayal set into motion by her actions, and soon she and Jack are forced to learn the true meaning of courage when the war raging overseas suddenly strikes much closer to home and their fervent beliefs become a matter of life and death.

Read an excerpt


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

A Florida girl who migrated to the Pacific Northwest, Kate Breslin was a bookseller for many years. She is the author of For Such a Time and lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington. Find her online at www.katebreslin.com.


MY THOUGHTS

I missed Kate Breslin's first novel, but after reading Not by Sight, she is now on my list of authors to watch. Plenty of drama fills this book set in England during World War I, and I was drawn into the story from the opening pages. Wealthy and privileged Grace Mabry and Jack Benningham learn that their backgrounds do not shield them from the realities they face during this tumultuous time. Breslin has created multi-dimensional characters who leap off the page, in addition to brilliant dialogue, as Grace and Jack are each thrust into new and challenging circumstances. Intrigue and the threat of espionage add to this page-turner that kept me up into the wee hours. Don't miss Not by Sight; highly recommended!



Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a digital copy of this book free from Bethany House Publishing/Baker Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Q & A with KATE BRESLIN

1. Your first novel, For Such a Time, takes place during WWII. What made you turn the clock backward to WWI when writing Not by Sight?
Can I just say that I love Downton Abbey? I was watching Season 3 at the time I got the story idea for Not by Sight. After I did a bit of research, I realized there was much going on during that war and I was ready to visit new horizons. I also happen to love just about any historical fiction novel set in England.

2. How was writing your second novel distinctly different from writing the first?
For Such a Time was a biblical retelling of the book of Esther and I had prompts in the form of verses from that book to guide me, more or less, in setting up the scenes for the story. With Not by Sight, I was entirely dependent on my imagination. I also had the luxury of time with my debut novel, whereas I had a deadline for the second. I learned how to do research in a hurry! Luckily, the Internet has come a long way since my first book, and finding the facts I needed wasn’t as time-consuming as it had been previously.

3. What do you want readers to come away with after reading Not by Sight?
Aside from simply enjoying the story, it’s my wish they find hope in the pages, a reminder that redemption is always within reach, and that we can’t let what’s happening in the world affect our relationship with God. The earth is full of good people and random acts of kindness; it’s only that the media doesn’t always deem it newsworthy, so we don’t often hear about it. Today, especially, we are all globally connected and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of information being tossed at us. We must remember to live by our faith and our hearts, and not necessarily by what we see (or hear).

I also find it amusing that when I choose a topic to write about, like Grace’s habit of prejudging others, I become acutely aware of my own shortcomings. I would just say that it never hurts to imagine walking in someone else’s shoes before making a decision about them.

4. What does your writing day look like?
I’m usually upstairs in my library loft by 9:30 a.m. After checking email, I resume from whatever point I left off with my story—researching, plotting, or writing pages. Mornings are best for me, when I’m freshest, and I work several hours each day, Monday through Friday, with weekends off unless I’m on deadline. My cat, Coco, usually comes upstairs and stands in front of my computer monitor until I leave the “zone” and drift out of my brain fog to go and feed her. It’s always a good time to take a break anyway, and it beats having to set a timer. In the afternoons, I usually take a two-mile walk near my house, which not only gives my eyes a break, but the exercise is crucial to my sit-down occupation. I find walking is also great for untangling those knots in my plots!

5. What’s up next for you?
Currently, I’m working on my third novel for Bethany House, another historical romance set during WWI. I’ve really found this time period rich with history, and there is so much I still want to explore. I had fun, too, with the intrigue in Not by Sight and plan to continue with more in the next book.





Photobucket

View blog reactions

Monday, August 10, 2015

Through Waters Deep


Through Waters Deep
(Waves of Freedom, Book 1)
Sarah Sundin
(Revell)
ISBN: 978-0800723422
August 2015/384 pages/$14.99


It is 1941 and America teeters on the brink of war.

Outgoing naval officer Ensign Jim Avery escorts British convoys across the North Atlantic in a brand-new destroyer, the USS Atwood. Back on shore, Boston Navy Yard secretary Mary Stirling does her work quietly and efficiently, happy to be out of the limelight. Yet, despite her reserved nature, she never could back down from a challenge. When evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them.

Sarah Sundin takes readers to the tense months before the US entered WWII. Readers will encounter German U-boats and torpedoes, along with the explosive power of true love, in this hopeful and romantic story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter, On Distant Shores, In Perfect Time, and the Wings of Glory series. In 2014, On Distant Shores was a finalist for the Golden Scroll Awards from both AWSA and the Christian Authors Network. In 2011, Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. Find out more about Sarah at http://www.sarahsundin.com/.



MY THOUGHTS

Sarah Sundin kicks off a new series set in WWII with Through Waters Deep and once again, she has written a tale that kept me glued to the pages. Engaging characters dealt with authentic issues: Mary as she struggled to balance her mother's strict and legalistic teachings about staying out of the limelight with the need to be bold in presenting information regarding possible saboteurs in the Navy Yard, and Jim as he walks a fine line between "going with the flow" and being a pushover. Suspense and sabotage added some hold-your-breath moments as the story progressed and reached its heart-pounding climax. I'm already looking forward to the next novel in this series


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book free from Revell/Baker Publishing and Litfuse Publicity for a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Dive into Sarah Sundin's explosive new series, Waves of Freedom, with book one, Through Waters DeepWhen evidence of sabotage on the Atwood is found, Jim and Mary must work together to uncover the culprit. A bewildering maze of suspects emerges, and Mary is dismayed to find that even someone close to her is under suspicion. With the increasing pressure, Jim and Mary find that many new challenges–and dangers–await them in the midst of their budding romance.

Join Sarah in celebrating the release of Through Waters Deep by entering to win an Anchors Aweigh prize pack!

twd-400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of Through Waters Deep
  • A nautical tote bag
  • A set of compass rose notecards
  • A "Hope Anchors the Soul" journal
  • A Boston Tea Party earl grey tea set
  • Through Waters Deep apron
  • A set of nautical tea towels
twd-collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 24th. The winner will be announced August 25th on Sarah's blog.

twd-enterbanner



Photobucket

View blog reactions