Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Dating, Dining, and Desperation by Melody Carlson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dating, Dining, and Desperation
B&H Books (March 1, 2014)
by
Melody Carlson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


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.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Daphne Ballinger has learned to accept her deceased, eccentric aunt’s strange request that she marry in order to inherit her estate, along with taking over her aunt’s hometown paper’s advice column. But knowing and accepting that God’s will be done becomes harder when a new neighbor, a divorced socialite, learns of Daphne’s predicament and takes on the task of finding her the perfect man, even if it includes speed dating. When God does open Daphne’s heart, it is instead to take in a young girl left parentless and in the care of her dying grandmother. It may be a temporary arrangement until the girl’s uncle returns from the Marines, but God uses Daphne to speak His heavenly love and protection into the life of the child -- whom Daphne soon discovers has a very handsome and single uncle.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dating, Dining, and Desperation, go HERE.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley (Review)








  • Series: Logan Point (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (February 4, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722609


Psychology professor and criminal profiler Taylor Martin prides herself on being able to solve any crime, except the one she wants most desperately to solve--the disappearance of her father twenty years ago. When she finally has a lead on his whereabouts, Taylor returns home to Logan Point, Mississippi, to investigate. But as she is stalking the truth about the past, someone is stalking her.

Nick Sinclair pens mystery novels for a living, but the biggest mystery to him is how he can ever get over the death of his wife--a tragedy he believes he could have prevented. With his estranged brother the only family he has left, Nick sets out to find him. But when he crosses paths with Taylor, all he seems to find is trouble.

Join the chase as this determined duo search the murky shadows of the past for the keys to unlocking the present and moving into a future filled with new hope and love. Readers will be swept into the sultry South in this debut novel from a promising and already award-winning writer.

 My Review:

I thought this was an okay debut book. It is a Christian romantic suspense set mostly in the South and some in Washington state. Taylor is a Southern girl who is coming home because she's being stalked and her family needs her. Nick crosses her path and follows her to Mississippi because he is searching also for his brother. Nick is supposed to be like Castle the TV show detective/writer. Most of the book was a little slower than expected and some of the characters not quite developed enough. The ending was predictable but fit the story. This is the first book in a series. I think I will read the second to see what happens with Nick and Taylor. Recommended to fans of this genre.






 Patricia Bradley's manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). She is a published short story writer and is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. When she's not writing or speaking, she can be found making beautiful clay pots and jewelry. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com

Review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A Sky Without Stars by Linda Clare

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Sky Without Stars
Abingdon Press (February 18, 2014)
by
Linda S. Clare
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Linda S. Clare is an award-winning author and coauthor of several books and has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications, including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her most recent book is A Sky without Stars, the newest release in Abingdon’s Quilts of Love line. Born in Arizona, Linda and her husband now make their home in Eugene, Oregon, where Linda has taught college-level creative writing classes, and writes, edits, and mentors other writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter, a church retreat leader, and mom to four grown children and five wayward cats.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Frankie Chasing Bear is caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she also thinks he will need to learn the white man’s ways to succeed. After the untimely death of her husband, Frankie joins the U.S. Government’s Relocation Program and moves to Arizona. There she begins sewing a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn, and prayed into it. A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt—nor her new life—comes easily to Frankie. Nick Vandergriff, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. He’s half-Lakota but Christian, and Frankie can see no good coming from that faith after her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian school. Can Nick convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren’t all bad? And will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient—for her son’s quilt and life itself?


If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sky Without Stars, go HERE.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Be Still My Soul by Randy Peterson (Review)

Be Still, My Soul is a collection of 175 of the most popular hymns and the stories behind them. Many of these hymns were written out of incredible life experiences—from the heart cry of a repentant slave trader to the renewed hope of a survivor of attempted suicide. In this devotional you’ll discover the stories behind the songs we sing. You’ll experience the passion and joy contained in these hymns’ lyrics and melodies. In addition to the hymn stories, Be Still, My Soul includes the musical score, lyrics, and in-depth biographies of 12 of the most-prolific hymn writers, singers, and composers. Whether you are new to hymns or have cherished them for a long time, you’ll enjoy this illuminating book on the stories behind some of the most popular hymns you sing in worship. My Review: I thought this was a very interesting book. I have often wondered at the stories behind old hymns. I liked the way the book was set up also. One page had the hymn in sheet music form and the other had the story behind it. The pages look aged and had a rough feel to them which was great for visual appeal. Having sang some of the songs in church it meant more for me to see some of the history that goes along with them. Recommended. :) I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Shadowed by Grace by Cara Putman (Review)






  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Books (January 1, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433681783

Shadowed by Grace is a dramatic story inspired by the Monuments Men of World War II by acclaimed author Cara C. Putman. Desperate to save her dying mother, Rachel accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy to capture images dangerously close to the front lines of WWII. Her real motive – to find the father she never knew -- an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive. It’s an unlikely situation for love and faith to flourish, but soon Rachel not only finds herself, but also her long-lost earthly father, and ultimately, the man her Heavenly father created to cherish and provide for her.


My Review:

I thought this was a good Christian historical fiction book set during WWII. The setting is mostly in Italy with a few scenes back home in the beginning. The author does a good job with descriptions making you feel like you are there. The characters and plot are well developed, interesting, and unique. It kept my attention from the beginning. I loved the interaction between Rachel and Scott. There was also the subplot of her finding her father to hopefully save her mother. I did not know anything about art during the war in Italy so that was interesting to learn. The faith element was there but not preachy. Recommended to fans of Christian historical fiction book. :)




About the author:

Since the time I could read Nancy Drew, I have wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 I attended a book signing at my local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, is history. There I met Colleen Coble. With prompting from my husband, I shared my dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, I've been writing books.

Shadowed by Grace is my 17th novel and a story of my heart. I have also written one non-fiction title (the Complete Idiots Guide to Business Law).

In addition to writing, I am an attorney, lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, my husband and my kids. I graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!) and George Mason Law School. Because I had a few spare moments, I am now in Purdue University's MBA program. You can learn more about my books at http://www.caraputman.com

 Review copy provided by Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Once Upon a Winter's Heart by Melody Carlson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Once Upon a Winter's Heart
Center Street (January 7, 2014)
by
Melody Carlson


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




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.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Emma Burcelli has suffered over a decade of dating disasters. But she concludes that love is officially dead when her grandfather Poppi suddenly passes, leaving her grandmother Nona devastated. To help out, Emma works in the family bookstore, which Nona insists must be decked out in sweetheart d├ęcor as Poppi would have done for Valentine's Day. Although she feels like a V-Day Scrooge, Emma quickly learns to enjoy the task with the help of a handsome family friend, Lane Forester, who shows her that hanging hearts is much more fun when done to the tune of Dean Martin. As Emma and Lane share time and memories of Poppi, she reconsiders the notion that romance is alive.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Once Upon a Winter's Heart, go HERE.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Gabriel's Bride by Amy Lillard

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Gabriel's Bride
B&H Books (February 1, 2014)
by
Amy Lillard


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I’m a wife, mother, and bona fide Southern belle. Published author, expert corn bread maker, and Squirrel Princess.

I live in Tulsa, though I was born in Mississippi. I moved to the Sooner State when I was seventeen and met my soul mate and best friend not long after. I’ve retained a little of my Mississippi accent though most people think I’m from Texas. (?) Rob and I have been married for over twenty years and have a son–a mom proclaimed prodigy, of course!

I love homemade tacos, shoes, and romance novels–not necessarily in that order. I’m a big fan of country music, a staunch proponent of saving the Oxford comma, and I’m shamefully obsessed with all things Harry Potter.

I believe that God is love. I guess that’s why I adore romances.

I have always been intrigued with the Amish culture, their gentle ways and slower-paced lifestyle. (And I love, love, love the fact that they stay married for their lifetime.) But until recently I never thought to blend this interest with my penchant for romance. Okay, okay, I’m a bit old-fashioned and even enjoy the gender roles that are present in this culture. I love to cook and take care of my family. Yes, that’s me June Cleaver with a laptop.

I dislike people trying to convince me to read the Twilight series (I’ll get to it or I won’t, either way I’m good with it), gratuitous violence, and strawberry ice cream. (I know I’m alone on this last one, and again, I’m good with it.)

Favorite movies–(besides HP) French Kiss, Maid of Honor, A Lot Like Love, Just Married, and Sweet Home Alabama. Oh, and Miss Congeniality, Sabrina (both versions) and a 1940′s movie called Dear Ruth. If you haven’t seen it, you should! A-dorable. Anything with Doris Day and most all of Marilyn’s and Audrey’s.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Rachel Yoder has two choices: marry Gabriel Fisher or move to Ohio. As an orphan, Rachel doesn’t have much to offer; any match she can make will be a good one. She just didn’t plan on Gabriel with his big hands and permanent frown. As a widower Gabriel needs help caring for the farm and his six children. But he never thought he’d marry a slip of a girl who barely reaches his chin. Yet as time passes, Gabriel finds himself thinking about a real marriage. They have spoken vows to God and each other, but can he risk his heart with Rachel?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Gabriel's Bride, go HERE.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January Books Read 2014

I did not read as many books as I normally do in January. I have been in a reading slump this month. I work in a front office with one other lady and she retired this month leaving me by myself. I'm a little depressed about it and they have not hired a replacement which means I will be doing both jobs for awhile then training and working with the new person. Change is really hard on me like it is for a lot of people so I'm praying for an easy transition. :)

January Books Read:

1. The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher
 http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-calling-by-suzanne-woods-fisher.html

2. The Headmistress of Rosemere by Sarah Ladd
 http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-headmistress-of-rosemere-by-sarah.html

3. No One to Trust by Lynette Eason
 http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2014/01/no-one-to-trust-by-lynette-eason-review.html

4. The Brotherhood by Jerry Jenkins

5. Take the Trophy and Run by Gail Sattler

6. Waiting for a View by Debby Mayne

7. Last Change for Justice by Kathi Macias

8. When Pigs and Parrots Fly by Gail Sattler

9. For the Love of Pete by Debby Mayne
 http://www.abookloverforever.blogspot.com/2014/01/for-love-of-pete-by-debby-mayne-review.html

I enjoyed reading all of these books. I cannot pick a favorite. Books 4-8 have been on my TBR for awhile.