Ashton Park - Reviewed

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ashton Park
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
by
Murray Pura


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.



ABOUT THE BOOK

For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park. Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park. The year is 1916. The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

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

My Thoughts:  I haven't watched Downtown Abbey, so I have no idea about the show. However, I was quickly drawn into this book with the first page, being swept up into the family life of the Danforths, and the house staff. It is quite clear that Murray did his research as I felt as though I was apart of it. If you enjoy books set in the England, you will love this book. 

Q & A With Tosca Lee about her upcoming novel Iscariot

Friday, January 25, 2013




 

Tosca, you say in the video that you may have done the same. What are your thoughts on that now that you've written the novel? After writing the novel did you have more questions, answers, or both? Did you find it difficult to humanize Judas?

Andie: Going through the process of researching and writing the novel, the tension of the time and that surrounded all those following Jesus actually convinced me that I might have done the same. Yes! I definitely had more questions afterward--that always seems to happen with each book. As for humanizing Judas: It became increasingly easier... I realized that I was writing my own story, too.


What was the hardest part of the creation of Iscariot?

1. The hardest part of the creation of Iscariot: The first hardest part was deciding to do it, because my initial reaction to Jeff Gerke (who had acquired and published Demon and Havah) and who had suggested I write about Judas was "NO WAY." The second hardest was doing all the research. I had a lot to learn.

 Did you learn anything unexpected while writing it? 

2. I learned more unexpected things than I have room for here, from the context of the stories we know so well to nuances of the parables formerly lost on me. But the over-arching thing was the context of oppression under Rome. The fact that other would-be Messiahs had risen up in the past, only to be violently put down. You could not safely make a bid at Messiah-ship without risking life and limb, and the freedoms (including religious freedom) Israel already had under Rome. In Jesus' case, it became far safer to silence him than to risk retaliation.

Did you ever picture yourself writing his story?
3. No.  

How have people in your church (assuming you have a home church. If not, we'll say people of your faith) reacted to you penning this book?

4. With wide-eyed looks, questions of "why?" and "Wow. That sounds fascinating." Not everyone wants to see a humanized Judas. But for me, I found looking at Jesus through Judas' eyes--and the eyes of the first Century Jewish Everyman--a way to understand Jesus far better. And the story is ultimately about Jesus. 

 

Reasons for Hatred

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!



Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:

Outskirts Press (October 24, 2012)

***Special thanks to Paulette Harper Johnson for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Hadassah Thomas Martin is a high-spirited woman of faith who was born in Los Angeles and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She trained with Precept Ministries and became a certified trainer in “How to study the Bible”. She is also an active member of the Fellowship of International Christian Word of Faith Ministries (FICWFM). She is the founder of “Keep It Real Ministries” which is a non-profit organization whose mission is to conduct local bible studies which teach people how to continuously live in the reality of God’s Word; regardless of their experience.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

This a story based on true events. Two best friends who were separated during their childhood. The spotlight then zooms in on Hadassah; during their adult reunion, she divulges the painful moments of the sexual abuse, murder and death that occurred in her life during her adolescence. It is a story about an ordinary person faced with extraordinary trauma and how she came to forgive and learned to embrace wholeness.


Product Details:
List Price: $19.95
Paperback: 138 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (October 24, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1432793772
ISBN-13: 978-1432793777



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Reunited

Hadassah and I planned our reunion. It was in August when we reunited over the phone at Casey’s house. We had not yet seen each other, because both of our schedules were crazy busy. We decided to do a four-day cruise touring Catalina Island and Ensenada, Mexico; this way we were close to home, but far enough away to spend some uninterrupted high-quality time together. We desperately wanted to see each other, and we did not want to wait until the following summer, so we planned our cruise for October during the off-season.

We agreed to meet at the Long Beach pier, where we were to board our cruise ship. It was a beautiful sunny morning, which was quite rare weather for the middle of fall. As my ride was dropping me off in front of the building at the pier, Hadassah was getting off the shuttle bus. This would be the first time that we saw each other in thirty-two years. With great anticipation and excitement, we looked for each other. As soon as our eyes connected, we immediately recognized each other. We instantly left our luggage to run and embrace. Our faces beamed with jubilation. We could drown from the tears that flowed from our eyes.

The day was like a dream come true for the both of us. We kept hitting each other to confirm that we weren’t dreaming. It was true! We were really together again. The last time we saw each other, we shed tears of sadness. On this day, though, we shared tears of pure joy. Hadassah looked at me and said, “Let me help you with your carry-on bag.”

“Oh, no, let me help you with yours,” I said. We both burst into laughter. It was like we were kids again, fussing over each other.

“Oh forget it, Hadassah said. “I’ll just carry yours, and you can carry mine.”

I agreed, and we switched bags. We nervously walked up the pier as we tried to grasp the reality of the moment. In our hearts, it was as if we had never lost touch. We turned to enter the building and check in. I kept looking at Hadassah and thinking, Wow, what a beautiful woman she grew up to be! I didn’t remember her being so attractive. I guess as little girls we didn’t focus much on outward beauty. Hadassah didn’t look her age at all, but I could tell she had matured. I finally said, “Hadassah, you are simply beautiful, girl!”

“So are you, Sylvia.”

After we had checked in and received our information packets, we proceeded toward the ship. Cruise photographers were constantly snapping pictures of tourists, but we had our own cameras. We asked a few people to take pictures of us. We also took pictures of each other. As we were boarding the ship there was yet another gentleman at the entrance taking pictures of tourists. Hadassah said, “C’mon Sylvia, let’s take an official cruise picture together.”

I said, “Okay.”

That photo captured the very essence of the moment, our internal happiness. I had not felt that depth of absolute joy in a very long time. It was like being a child all over again.

By that time it was around 12:30. We were directed by attendants to the luncheon buffet on the eleventh floor. When we got to the eleventh floor, there was music playing. People were drinking, dancing, and eating. The buffet was out of this world! There was every kind of food imaginable for lunch, but we weren’t hungry. We were still caught up in the moment. We walked around chitchatting, observing and meeting people for about an hour and a half. Finally the alarm sounded, letting us know that it was okay to check in. We received our cabin number and were directed to our room. By the time we got there, our luggage had already been placed inside.

“Um, tight, but nice,” Hadassah said as she leaned her back against the closed door of the cabin.

“Yes, and clean,” I said as I quickly surveyed the room. “Wow, look! The bathroom has everything we need.”

“I’ll let you choose first, Sylvia; which bed do you want?” asked Hadassah.

“I want the bed by the window,” I replied.

“Good, because I don’t want to get sick looking at the motion of the ocean,” Hadassah said jokingly.

We both laughed, because we remembered how I used to tease Hadassah about how much of a scaredy-cat she was when we were younger. Making fun of the small closet space, Hadassah said, “Girl, we should have brought some more clothes to put in these big ole closets.” We started laughing again as we looked around the small cabin. “How much do you think this bottle of water costs?” Hadassah teasingly asked as she picked up the complimentary bottle that was on the shelf.

“I don’t know, but I’m not gonna open it to find out.” We laughed and laughed. It seemed like everything was so funny.

We began unpacking our belongings, organizing our things, and settling in. We worked smoothly together. We were both neat freaks. It was just like old times. After that, we were called to participate in the ship’s emergency drill. This took about forty-five minutes. I then looked at the agenda and saw that Hadassah and I were scheduled for the first seating for dinner, which was at 6:00. We were happy to be scheduled for the first seating. After all of the excitement of the day, we were both ready to eat; afterwards we could briefly check out the surroundings and return to our room to relax.

This was my first cruise of any kind. I was never interested in being on anyone’s water. I heard people share their stories about motion sickness, and I had no desire to experience it. On the other hand, some of my colleagues had spoken favorably about cruises, so my thoughts were, Why not try it for the first time with my friend and make memories? It was recommended that I purchase medication to take with me in the event that I got seasick.

I found out later that it was Hadassah’s first cruise as well. She had the same thoughts about being on the ocean and getting sick; she had purchased medication also. We had more than enough medicine for several people on the ship, including ourselves, if needed.

After organizing our belongings, we decided to do our own self-guided walking tour to kill some time before dinner. We located the spa, where we planned to have full-body massages while on our cruise. We also located a couple of the discos on board; we heard there were three of them. We returned to our room, washed up, and headed for the dining area.

The dinner setup was amazing. The waiters entertained us with singing and dancing. There was a beautiful ice carving on one of the main tables. The spread resembled artwork; dinner was scrumptious. I had prime rib, a wonderful vegetable medley, a myriad of salads, and all the water and Shirley Temples I could drink. Hadassah had a seafood medley with salmon, scallops, shrimp, and oysters, not to mention dessert. The delectable dessert table was endless. We ate until we could hardly move. After dinner we were so full we had to go walking. We simply could not retire to our rooms in our bloated condition.

The ship was large; it had twelve floors. It was like a little city on water, and we planned to explore every inch of it, but that night, we only wanted to walk up and down a couple flights of stairs for about ten to fifteen minutes to get relief from feeling so stuffed. Although we still had much excitement within us and did not really want to retire to our cabin, we realized that fatigue was taking over, so we decided to go to our room to get ready for bed.

“Did you bring any music?” I asked.

“Did you?” she asked.

We both looked at each other, smiling and started laughing. It was almost in unison that we spontaneously blurted out, “Of course, I did!” We were definitely still two peas in a pod. I had packed my iPod with my cradle and miniature speakers, and so had she. We both had downloaded onto our iPods an accumulation of all the childhood songs we used to sing and dance to. Hadassah plugged in her speakers and iPod and began playing songs like “I Second That Emotion” by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, “Boogaloo Down Broadway” by Fantastic Johnny C, “We’re A Winner” by The Impressions, “The End Of Our Road,” by Gladys Knight and the Pips, and other artists, such as Jr. Walker and The All Stars, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, and many more.

Hadassah did some of the old dances we used to do, as she moved from one song to another on her iPod. “Remember this?” Hadassah taunted as she was doing an old dance we called “the freak.” She was always the better dancer.

“Of course I do,” I said as I joined in and danced with her. We danced and danced the rest of the night away. We were having so much fun. We fell onto our beds laughing as we reminisced about the times we spent together as children at the record shop. We lived the moments of our first evening together caught up in the memories of our childhood.

“Whew! I needed that,” Hadassah said as she fell across her bed from exhaustion.

“I know. We ate entirely too much. Thank God for exercise!” I said.

“Yep, if I can just get my lazy self up and jump into the shower, it will be all good,” said Hadassah.

“I totally feel you, girl. Well, you go first, and I will be right behind you,” I said as I lay across my bed.

“Nah…you go first, Sylvia. You’re not slick; you just want to get a little nod in while I’m in the shower, but no nodding for you,” said Hadassah.

“And what’s wrong with a little nodding?” I asked.

“Nothing, except I want to get my nod in too, so you can go on ahead and get in the shower. I’ll be here when you get back,” Hadassah said, laughing.

I dragged myself up and went to take a shower, hitting Hadassah with a pillow on my way to the bathroom.

After we had taken our showers and put on our pajamas, we sat on our beds and talked for a couple hours. We shared our feelings about the day and how much our reunion meant. I shared with Hadassah a few stories about experiences that had occurred in my life since our separation from each other. As I shared highlights of my teen years, which included graduations, proms, friends, and boyfriends, Hadassah smiled appropriately, but I noticed how intently she listened. I guess I expected her to chime in about similar events during her teens, since we had so much in common; however, she just listened to what I said with excitement, but without adding anything. Knowing Hadassah the way I thought I did, I found this behavior a little peculiar, so to get her to talk about herself I asked, “What high school did you attend, Hadassah?”

“Oh, I attended three high schools, Sylvia,” she responded.

“Three?” I asked.

“Yes, three. I attended tenth grade at Green Valley High, the eleventh grade at Lakeside High, and I graduated from Solano Senior High,” Hadassah said, matter of factly. From that statement alone I knew that Hadassah’s and my life had been very different. I attended one high school, Lincoln High, which was the school Hadassah and I had planned to attend and graduate from together when we became teenagers. Now she was telling me that she had attended three schools during her high school years.

As children, we often talked about our high school and college dreams. I knew attending three high schools was not her dream.

“I know, Sylvia, not exactly what we dreamed about when we were girls, right? A lot has happened in my life since we were little girls. My life was never the same after my mom and I left Los Angeles; been through a lot of grief and pain.”

“Pain?” I asked.

“Yes, girl, some serious pain, but looking at it now, I know I would not be who I am today, had my life been different. I would not want to repeat it, but I thank God for it. Once I learned how to navigate through my pain, I began to gain an understanding of who I was. When my identity took form, I was able to place things in my life into proper perspective. It has taken much prayer and practice in applying God’s principles, but the harmful effects from the weapons of mass destruction that were launched against my life have been reversed. I love the person I have become. As a result, I have been able to assist and comfort others in their hard places.”

I had a deep longing to know what had caused my friend so much pain and what made her the person she had become and why she referred to the harmful effects as “weapons of mass destruction.” I found this description very interesting. Oh, how I wished I could have been there for her, maybe things would have been different. “Do you mind sharing more?” I asked.

“No, Sylvia, I don’t mind sharing more with you at all. Although we’ve been apart for so long, you’re still my good friend. My question to you would be this: are you sure you want hear about it while we’re on our cruise? It may be a little heavy, and I wouldn’t want to spoil the cruise for you. I can share my experiences with you another time.”

“Absolutely, I want to hear it. What better time than now?” I exclaimed. “I have not found a friendship that compared with ours as children, and although we are adults, I can sense there still remains a special bond in our hearts that hasn’t been broken. I’m sure that I want to hear whatever you are willing to share with me about your life.”

“All right, girl, but would it be okay if we continued this conversation tomorrow?” Hadassah asked as she repositioned herself under her blanket. “My eyelids are heavy.”

“Of course we can,” I replied.

A combination of excitement and exhaustion had taken its toll on our bodies. It was definitely time to go to sleep. As we were lying in our beds, Hadassah asked, “Sylvia, do you pray?”

This was the first time Hadassah asked me about prayer or anything religious. I was a little surprised at the question. We never prayed as children, and our parents were not very religious. We didn’t attend church when we were growing up, except for the time or two that we went to vacation bible school at the neighborhood church during the summer. “Yes, sometimes I do,” was my reply.

“Good. Would you mind if we pray together tonight as I thank God for this awesome day he has blessed us with the privilege to see and enjoy?”

“No, not at all, Hadassah,” I said while I waited for what was next.

Hadassah asked, “Do you mind if we sit up for a moment and hold hands?”

“Sure Hadassah, no problem.”

We sat up on the edge of our beds so that we were facing each other. Hadassah extended both her hands toward me to grasp my hands, and I reciprocated as she prayed, “Heavenly Father, thank you for making this a dream come true. Thank you for Sylvia, and thank you for keeping us alive and safe over the years while we were apart. Thank you for our precious friendship, which has remained in our hearts. You smiled on us today with your love and grace, and I’m grateful. Keep Sylvia in all that she does; protect everyone that she loves. Imprint this time together on our hearts and let us add them to the many memories that we already have and cherish. Thank you for loving us and for sending your son to die so that our sins may be forgiven and that we may have abundant life. I give you honor, I give you glory, and I give you praise. I love you, Father, and I love Sylvia also. In Jesus’s name I pray, amen.”

“Amen,” I whispered.

We silently sat still for a moment, continuing to hold hands. Talk about an experience! There was such a transmission of love from Hadassah to me. This simple heartfelt prayer had generated a power surge that I had not known before.

“Goodnight, Sylvia,” Hadassah said while hugging me with an emotionally warm embrace.

“Goodnight, Hadassah.” I laid my head on my pillow wondering what the rest of our time together would be like. What a lovely time we had our first day on the ship! We walked, talked, ate, laughed, and danced ourselves into exhaustion. I fell asleep with thoughts of Hadassah on my mind.


My Thoughts: This is a beautiful story of forgiveness. Whether you have had to extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt you deeply or you need to this book will show you the freedom of forgiving.

Preview: Grace Given

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Grace Given
Realms (January 8, 2013)
by
Beth Shriver


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Childhood memories of her grandfather's ranch came alive as Beth wrote her first Amish story. Her parents grew up in the country, so she appreciates pastoral life and respects those who make a living off the land. She visits a nearby Amish community just south of Fort-Worth for an occasional church service or brunch with the bishop and his wife. And on the way home she stops at the community store to get some plum jam!

Beth received a degree in social work and psychology from the University of Nebraska. She worked as a caseworker for Boulder County Department of Social Services before starting a family. Beth and her husband, two children, along with two cats and a beagle live in Texas after moving from their first home in Colorado. She freelances for the local papers in her area and writes columns, devotionals for magazines, and novels in a variety of genres in both fiction and nonfiction. Beth is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube Literary Agency.



ABOUT THE BOOK

“Never doubt in the darkness what God has shown you in the light.” —Amish Proverb

Elsie Kline can’t forgive her sister for leaving the community. Gideon Lapp helps Elsie through her bitterness by studying the Martyr’s Mirror book that is centuries old, describing their ancestors’ sacrifice for their faith. But he feels there is something more. When the community moved to Texas, they were not welcomed by some of the locals. They have told Katie and Elsie that harm will come to their community if don’t go back up north where they came from. Gideon stays by Elsie’s side as she learns to give grace and to humble herself to accept grace as well. “Beth has a heart for helping others, whether through her nonfiction and fiction writing or in other capacities. It has been my pleasure to read and respond to her work during the past few years of knowing her.” —Leanna Ellis, Author of Facelift and Forsaken and winner of the National Readers Choice Award.

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

My copy just arrived. I will post a review when I get it read.

Preview: Mystery of the Heart

Tuesday, January 22, 2013




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Mystery of the Heart


Realms (January 8, 2013)


by


Jillian Kent





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of  Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.



Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.



Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.



Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels.  Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.   



ABOUT THE BOOK





Lord Eden is intrigued when he discovers Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart when he is forced to betray her?



Lady Mercy Grayson longs be a physician like her big brother, Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But then a male colleague discovers her secret, which is only the beginning of Mercy’s problems that could destroy her dreams forever.



The Prince Regent is awaiting the return of Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden, whom he sent on a secret voyage to locate and bring back a relic that some believe possesses the power to heal. St. Lyons discovers Mercy washed up on England’s shore upon his return and agrees to give her safe passage to London aboard a ship of men practicing African Vodun. Both must face treacherous circumstances, difficult decisions, and a growing attraction to one another that could forever change the course of their lives.



As the final installment in the series, the theme of this book is God’s plans for our lives. “Whatever the hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might” (Eccles. 9:10).


If you would like to read the first chapter of Mystery of the Heart, go HERE. My copy has not arrived. When it does I will write a full review.

The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow - Reviewed

Sunday, January 20, 2013


















Book Blurb

The whole world is coming to Chicago. Charlotte’s whole world is coming down around her.
While the rest of Chicago focuses on the enormous spectacle of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Charlotte Farrow’s attentions are entirely on one small boy-her boy-whom she has kept a secret from her wealthy employers for nearly a year.
When the woman who has been caring for her son abruptly returns him to the opulent Banning home, Charlotte must decide whether to come clean and face dismissal or keep her secret while the Bannings decide the child’s fate. Can she face the truth of her past and open her heart to a future of her own? Or will life’s struggles determine her path?
This compelling story of courage, strength, and tender romance captures the tension between the glittering wealthy class and the hardworking servants who made their lives comfortable.

My Thoughts:

I didn't read the first book in the series and that would've probably helped.
When Charlotte's son, Henry is dropped off at the home of the Bannings who she works for Charlotte is beside herself as to what to do. Penard the head of the staff, assigns Sarah the new maid in training to take care of Charlotte's son. Sarah, thinks she has this nanny thing down, the truth is she couldn't take care of a guppy by herself. She continues to refer to Henry as it, and has no love or compassion toward the child. Sarah's treating of Henry, kills Charlotte but there is nothing she can do about it. Lucy, would've helped her, but she was with her new husband, Will on their honeymoon in France.
So many times I wanted to smack Sarah, for calling Henry "IT"  and I wanted to give Charlotte the courage to say that Henry was her son. Archie was a true hero for Charlotte.

*Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group*
 

Path of Freedom

Friday, January 18, 2013




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Path of Freedom


Abingdon Press (January 2013)


by


Jennifer Hudson Taylor





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:










Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the 2011 Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publicist. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.







ABOUT THE BOOK





2nd in the Quilts of Love series



When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only her mother’s quilt as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches through unknown treachery.




As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.




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


Watch the book trailer:



Waiting For Spring - Reviewed

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


















Book Blurb:

A new identity may protect her family-but can it protect her heart?
After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.
Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.
Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?

My Thoughts:

Charlotte is in hiding, from her past, from the man who took her husband's life, her real name. She has come to Cheyenne to start over. She opens a dress shop as a way to provide for her and her son, and calls herself Madame Charlotte.
Cattle Baron, Barrett Landry has decided to go into politics and is being pressured to choose a wife, because a wife will help him get elected. The townsmen are pushing him towards Miriam Taggert since her father owns the newspaper, and has connections she is the right match.
When Barrett steps into Charlotte's shop and meets her for the first time there is something about her that is different, and he was struck by her honesty and the ease of their conversation.
Barrett continues to court Miriam believing that she is the right one for him to get elected, yet he just can't shake the feeling that Charlotte is the one he is suppose to be with, and the more he learns about her the more he wants to be with her.

Have you ever longed for springtime? I live in Idaho, and right now we have the most snow on the ground that we've had since I moved here 4 years ago. Amanda has written a book that will have you longing for springtime, and the love and joy that goes with that time. This is a book I highly recommend!

Hurt by Travis Thrasher

Tuesday, January 15, 2013




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Hurt


David C. Cook; New edition (January 1, 2013)


by


Travis Thrasher





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:






After college, he targeted working in the publishing industry and was fortunate to find a job early after graduation. He worked as Author Relations Manager for Tyndale House Publishers, the publisher of his first two novels.




The thirteen years he spent working in author relations taught him the business of publishing as well as the psyche of writers.




Early on, he made a deliberate choice of not wanting to be boxed in by a brand or a genre. Instead, Travis has chosen time and time again to write the stories that mean something to him at that moment. He views his first ten years of being published as training and practice. Those novels in many ways were written for himself.




The four years of writing full time have taught him the discipline and determination necessary to make it as a novelist. They’ve also served to close the chapter on what is hopefully just one era in his writing journey.




The stories continue to fill his head like they did when he was in third grade. The only difference is that Travis now knows what to do with those stories. His goal continues to be to tell stories that move him as well as his readers. He wants to continue to experiment and take risks, but more than anything he wants to provide readers a satisfying experience.




The dream remains the same. To try and write something magnificent. To make up wild worlds full of wonderfully rich characters. To make sense of the world through the stories he tells. And to try and inspire hope with the words he writes.



ABOUT THE BOOK








His Rebellion Will Soon Turn to Hope



When Chris Buckley first encountered the mysteries of creepy Solitary, North Carolina, he had little idea how far he would fall into the town’s shadows. After losing the love of his life, Chris tried to do things his way. He hunted answers. Then he gave up trying to find them.




But now Chris comes back to Solitary knowing there’s a purpose for his being there. As he watches his place in a twisted and evil bloodline become clear, Chris waits for the last battle—and wonders who will be left when he finally makes his stand.




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


My Thoughts:

Travis is a beyond excellent story teller that has kept me riveted through this entire series. I am very sad to see it end. Each of these books has covered genres from horror, thriller, mystery, and Christianity in superb fashion.
Good - bye Chris!  

Choices of the Heart - Reviewed

Sunday, January 13, 2013


















Book Blurb:

She thought she had left her old life behind . . .
Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. When a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud-and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.
Yet could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation-and love?
In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you’ll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.

My Thoughts:

Esther is trained midwife, and comes from a long line of midwives, who is suppose to take over where her mother left off. Esther leaves, rather flees, the seaside area where she and her parents live because she has been taunted over her looks. Even after she tells them about the notes, and letters, she goes against her father and answers an ad to teach in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. Instead of getting solace she finds herself smack dab in the middle of a family feud, between two cousins, who both want to have her. It all boils down to the choices of the heart.  What will her choice be? What is your heart's choice?
I guarantee this book will have you turning pages faster than you can breathe, and keep you up later than you should be. Highly recommended!

*Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*

Diane Estrella's Meet & Greet

Tomorrow, tomorrow . . . I will be on Diane Estrella's blog feature Meet & Greet. I usually do the featuring,

with authors. I haven't interviewed many bloggers, and I was quite surprised at her asking. Diane and I met

on Melanie Dickerson's page when we were discussing The Fairest Beauty, Melanie's newest release. She

offered to send me her advanced reader's copy of the book as soon as she finished with the book, and in

exchange I was going to send her some Amish books for her Aunt.

For me that is what is really neat about the blogging community, especially with in the reviewing and

influencing community. There is such a kinship, and willing to do things for each other. It's really like no other

that I have been apart of.

You can see my interview here http://dianeestrella.com/meet-greet/

Please say HI, and look around her blog. She is a very sweet blogger.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Mason Michael: The Heaven Project

Thursday, January 10, 2013



















Book Blurb:

 “For one hundred thousand souls be saved, save me.” In the final hours of Earth’s existence, eighteen-year-old Alexa Dyson holds the hope of humanity—the key to salvation of lost souls in a world where proclaiming Christ is a death sentence. Frightened and alone, Alexa finds herself warming up to an unlikely protector who vows to care for her and her unborn child. But when faced with a series of incredible events, Alexa realizes there may be more to her handsome young savior than meets the eye. With judgment day approaching and countless lives hanging in the balance, will Alexa accept her divine assignment before it is too late? And when the time comes, will she be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice? This thrilling conclusion to the Beautiful Justice series illustrates the power of intercessory prayer to redeem generational sins, and sheds light on justice and retribution, mercy and divine preservation. Mason Michael will break your narrow perception of heaven and inspire you to trust God’s sovereign will above all else.

My Thoughts:
This is my favorite book of the entire series. Dawn wrote personal things in this book that were not in the others, and it just pulled me into the book. I have read and reviewed all three of these books, and the other two did not affect me the way this one did. I felt as though I was going through everything Alexa was. Dawn wrote it so personally. The conversations with God, His holding her hand, it was beautiful. If you have not read this series, this is a must read! Sad to see it end!

Preview: Doctor To The Rescue

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

le="font-size: 100%;">Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
This week, the
is introducing
Doctor To The Rescue
Love Inspired (December 18, 2012)
by
Cheryl Wyatt


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born Valentine’s Day on a Navy base, Cheryl Wyatt writes military romance. Her Steeple Hill debuts earned RT Top Picks plus #1 and #4 on eHarlequin's Top 10 Most-Blogged-About-Books, lists including NYT Bestsellers. Cheryl loves interacting with her readers and can be found almost daily on Facebook.

Word from the Author:
I do regular giveaways including a Kindle for every 250 people who join (aka "Like) my Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CherylWyattAuthor and I'd LOVE for word to spread about that. We have a lot of fun there as I ask for frequent reader input on current books, with helpers being mentioned in the acknowledgements and fun stuff like that.


ABOUT THE BOOK



Combat doctor Ian Shupe returns home from overseas with his most important mission: to raise his little girl. But Ian's a single dad, and working at Eagle Point's trauma center means having to find child care. When bighearted, struggling lodge owner Bri Landis offers babysitting in exchange for construction work, Ian accepts. He vows to keep his emotional distance from Bri, yet can't deny that his daughter is blossoming under her tender care. But is he ready to believe that his heart's deepest prayer may finally be answered? If you would like to read the first chapter of Doctor To The Rescue, go HERE.

The Hands of Time


















Book Blurb:


When a young woman vanishes without a trace from a quaint fishing village on the coast of England, only one person knows the truth, but he remains silent allowing the authorities to search for her in vain.

Meanwhile, Valerie Crane finds herself transported to the year 1605. Terrified and confused, she turns for help to the Whitfield brothers, who take her in and offer her a home. Both Alexander and Finlay Whitfield fall in love with the mysterious woman, who shows up on their doorstep, creating a love triangle that threatens to consume them all. Valerie must make her choice, deciding between the brother who will lead her down the path of destruction, or one who will give her a love she couldn’t find in her own time.

My Thoughts:

A fun time travel. Not as good as Diana Gabaldon, yet has the same flavor. 

Links to purchase:

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay Give Away Hop - with Review

Monday, January 7, 2013






















Book Blurb:

Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But Ginny needs advice from the one person who will look out for her best interests—her former fiancĂ©, Brett Miller. She travels to the remote town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery provide respite from LA’s pressures.

In Glacier Bay, Ginny discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between Clay, an early missionary to Alaska Territory, and Ellie, the woman who traveled there to be his children’s governess. When Ginny is reunited with Brett in Glacier Bay, will she discover—as Ellie did—that healing and love are sometimes found in the most unexpected places?


My Thoughts:

I fell in love with this book and it's surroundings. The story told through the letters that Ginny read about Clay and Ellie was just precious. Ginny's original reason for going to Glacier Bay was to get advice from Brett about her singing career. She never quite gets to ask him as she is diverted by Brett's, Grandmother who has her read the letters of Ellie and Clay. 

Tricia and Ocieanna have written a wonderful story of love, forgiveness, and true happiness. This is a must read for 2013.

As a member of Tricia's Launch Team for 2013, I have a brand new copy of this book to giveaway. I will also giveaway with it a LFY in Glacier Bay Alaska bookmark and postcard. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway




The Lesson - Reviewed



















Book Blurb:

Sometimes love shows up when you least expect it.
Nineteen-year-old Mary Kate Lapp yearns for adventure, but all she seems to find is trouble. Her dreams of travel have taken a backseat to her assignment to teach school this year. And nothing ever seems to happen in her sleepy Amish community.
But when a sudden and unexplained death conveniently coincides with the arrival of a mysterious young man, M.K. is frustrated that no one takes it seriously. She’s determined to take matters into her own hands and get to the bottom of it. Will she find more than she bargained for?
Centered on one of bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher’s most loved characters, this is the Stoney Ridge story you have been waiting for. With a surprise at every turn, a gentle romance, and a shocking answer to an old family mystery, The Lesson is the dramatic conclusion to the Stoney Ridge Seasons series.

My Thoughts:

I haven't read the other books in the series, but I wasn't lost at all. I loved M.K. she was full of spunk, and her determination even if it was misguided was fun! I was pulled in at the first paragraph and I kept reading until I was done.
Chris and Jenny's story was heartbreaking and the way that it tied into the Lapp family was even more painful.
There were many Lessons in this book. M.K. doesn't want to be the teacher at the school, yet with determination, and creativity she learns how to teach, and finds that she loves it.
The main lesson, was forgiveness and grace. We can't give forgiveness and grace without our Heavenly Father and the characters in this book learn that.
I highly recommend this one! A great read to start off the New Year!

*Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group*

CFBA- Flight of the Earls

Thursday, January 3, 2013




This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Flight of the Earls


B&H Books (January 1, 2013)


by


Michael Reynolds





ABOUT THE AUTHOR:











Michael K. Reynolds is the writer and producer of Emmy and Telly Award-winning film campaigns and has more than two decades of experience in fiction, journalism, copywriting, and documentary production. He owns Global Studio, a marketing agency, and is also an active leader in church and business, speaking in both ministry and corporate settings. Michael lives with his wife and three children in Reno, Nevada.






ABOUT THE BOOK









It’s 1846 in Ireland. When her family’s small farm is struck by famine, Clare Hanley and her younger brother, Seamus, set out across the ocean to the Promised Land of America.

Five years prior, Clare’s older sister Margaret and her Uncle Tomas emigrated in similar fashion and were not to be heard from again. But Clare must face her fears as she lands in the coming-of-age city of New York. There she discovers love, adventure, tragedy, and a terrible secret which threatens to destroy her family and all she believes.

Flight of the Earls is the first book in a historical novel trilogy based on Irish immigration in the 1840s.




If you'd like to read the first chapter of Flight of the Earls, go HERE

Just started this book and am really enjoying it. I will write a full review when I finish it.

2012 Honorable Mentions

Wednesday, January 2, 2013



The hardest part about being an influencer, and reviewing books, is choosing the top books of a given year. I posted my top faves, yet out of 200 books I read last year I have more that I have to mention. Here they are in no particular order.












Lily Young longs to find her lost sister or will die trying. Heedless of any danger, she searches logging camps and towns, posing as a photographer's assistant. And then she arrives in Harrison, Michigan--and the sights of Connell McCormick.
Connell is determined to increase the fortune of his lumber-baron father and figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters. But when Lily arrives in town she upends his world, forcing him to confront the truth that dangerous men have gained too much power while good men turn a blind eye.
http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/09/unending-devotion-reviewed.html












Since she was a child, Meg has dreamed of taking a promised trip to Florence, Italy, and being able to finally step into the place captured in a picture at her grandmother’s house. But after her grandmother passes away and it falls to her less-than-reliable father to take her instead, Meg’s long-anticipated travel plans seem permanently on hold.

When her dad finally tells Meg to book the trip, she prays that the experience will heal the fissures left on her life by her parents’ divorce. But when Meg arrives in Florence, her father is nowhere to be found, leaving aspiring memoir-writer Sophia Borelli to introduce Meg to the rich beauty of the ancient city. Sofia claims to be one of the last surviving members of the Medici family and that a long-ago Medici princess, Nora Orsini, communicates with her from within the great masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance.

http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-girl-in-glass-reviewed.html












As part of a World War II morale-building program, flight nurse Lt. Mellie Blake begins an anonymous correspondence with Lt. Tom MacGilliver in North Africa. As their letters crisscross the Atlantic, they develop a deep friendship. But when they're both transferred to Algeria, will their future be held hostage by the past---or will they reveal their identities?
http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/09/with-every-letter-facebook-party-927.html

  










To everyone who knows her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She's a permanent member of the PTA, never misses her kids' sporting events, and is constantly campaigning for her husband's mayoral race.No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O'Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the sleepy town of Deep Haven, Deidre got a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker. Twenty years later, Annalise couldn't be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on bail and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets.
http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/10/susan-may-warrens-you-dont-know-me.html













"Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory."
What if you could travel inside another person's soul? To battle for them. To be part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds. To help set them free to step boldly into their divinely designed future.
Thirty years ago that's exactly what Reece Roth did. Until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his future.
Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a prophecy spoken over him three decades ago. A prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world . . . if Reece will face his deepest regret and teach them what he has learned.
They gather at a secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado, where they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity--and how to step into the supernatural.
Their training is only the beginning. The four have a destiny to pursue a freedom even Reece doesn't fully fathom. But they have an enemy hell-bent on destroying them and he'll stop at nothing to keep them from their quest for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.
http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/10/souls-gate-reviewed-win-ipad-mini-from.html 












The women of Sweethaven are enjoying an Indian summer when their old friend -- the missing member of their scrapbook circle -- arrives back home. Meghan Rhodes has moved on with her life, leaving Sweethaven and its painful memories in the past. But when her ex files for custody of their twins, she takes the first flight back to the beach town full of haunting memories. Meghan wants to make things right with her ex-husband, her children, and the friends she'd convinced herself she no longer needed. But is she too late? Meghan works with friends Jane, Lila, Adele, and Campbell to begin a new scrapbook for memories yet to be made. Picking up where A Sweethaven Summer left off, A Sweethaven Homecoming explores the strong bonds of friendship, the power of forgiveness, and the importance of unconditional love.

http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/08/sweethaven-homecoming-reviewed-with.html












 In the tradition of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, four friends navigate college and the drama churned up by their Florida beach band to cement friendship and more.

Avra wants love, but drummer Cisco—self-medicating from his parents’ divorce with sex and intoxicants—is a poor choice. Cisco hungers for fresh-baked cookies and the scent of family he finds at Avra’s.

Kallie shares her classically trained singing voice only with lead vocalist Jesse and fights to keep her heart safe. Jesse feeds on fame and hides more than insecurity beneath his guitar.

The friends surf ego, betrayal, and ambition and head for wipe-out. But somehow, when they’re not looking, Avra’s God changes them all.


http://frommipov.blogspot.com/2012/12/avras-god-reviewed.html

Here you go! My honorable mentions. If you have not read these books, I suggest you add them to your reading list for 2013. 

 
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