Monday, January 13, 2020

Interview Featuring David Rawlings With a Giveaway

Hi, David, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. I’m honored to have you here.

David: It’s an honour to join you Andi. Thanks for having me.

RL: What is your favorite part about living in Australia?

David: All of it. Australia is a land of contrasts and beauty. From where I live in South Australia, it’s five minutes to the Australian bush, five minutes to long stretches of sandy beaches and ten minutes to a world-class wine area.  Each of them is beautiful in its own way.
And we have room. We are a massive country where you can get away from cities and you are likely to be the only person within shouting distance. Sometimes it’s nice to hear the world breathing rather than the rush of progress.

RL: Australia sounds heavenly. It's definitely on my bucket list to visit. 

Where would we catch you reading?

David: In the hammock, or unwinding at the end of the day.

RL:  A hammock sounds like a great place to be read.

Here on my blog I say that it’s a radiant light and a source of encouragement for both readers and authors. 

What do you hope radiates from your daily life?

David: It seems that my ability lies in asking the right question to get people to think or reflect, so I would say that.

I’ve taken this approach into my writing, and the messages I get back from people who’ve read The Baggage Handler and The Camera Never Lies suggest that it’s working. 

I regularly hear from readers who are examining the baggage they’re carrying or thinking about the secrets in their lives.

RL: That is really awesome! I know author's love hearing from their readers so that must make your work fulfilling.

Who is your favorite book character from childhood?

David: Will, the main character from a trilogy called The White Mountains by John Christopher. It just spoke to me at a time when I was the same age as the character. That story has stayed with me.

RL: I have not heard of that book and I'm always looking for books for my grand-kids who love reading. 

We all have reading and writing spaces that are unique to all of us. Where is your favorite place to write?

David: On the train. When I’ve got client meetings or lectures to deliver in the city of Adelaide, I catch public transport. It’s a 45-minute trip into the city, and I’ve found it’s a focused time with an immovable deadline … I have to get off! I’ve written the bulk of two novels on the train.

RL: That sounds like a perfect writing space. You have a timeline and your writing desk never gets cluttered. HaHa!

Which of the main characters in The Camera Never Lies is most like you?

David: All of them. I think the best writing comes from deep within, so the experiences of the characters do reflect something of me. 
Daniel, the marriage counselor, is keen to keep secrets thinking it’s safer. I’ve done that. 
Kelly, his wife, is working in a job that challenges her ethics and approach to honesty. I’ve been challenged by that as well. 
And their daughter, Milly, looks at those around her and wonders why they just can’t be honest with each other and themselves. I wonder that every day.

RL: WOW! I really enjoy when authors insert some of who they are into their stories it gives readers an insight into the author as a person. 

Would you say you’re more of a plotter or pantser?

David: I’m a pantser trapped in a plotter’s body.

RL: I wish I could be a plotter, but I'm definitely a pantser as well. 

And if you are a plotter how much of the story did you know?
If a pantser did you have any plan at all?

David: I plot the entire story, and then almost put it to one side as I fill in the blanks. I know where I’m starting and where I’m ending, but the journey between those points is quite free-flowing. It’s an approach I learned from Robert Ludlum (my literary hero) and I find it gives me enough creative freedom while still weaving an intricate plot.

RL: That sounds like a perfect combination of plotter and pantser.

What did you hope readers would take away from The Camera Never Lies?

David: The simple message that the truth will set you free.

RL: That message is definitely woven throughout the book.

Thanks for taking time to chat with me. Before we say good-bye for today, tell us what’s coming up next for you?

David: I’m launching Where the Road Bends – my third novel – in June 2020. It’s another modern-day parable, but this one’s set in outback Australia, which I’m terribly proud of. It’s another thematic story which asks the question: “How did you get where you are in life, and where are you going from here?”

Here’s the blurb:
Fifteen years after college graduation, four friends reconnect to keep a long-ago promise and go on a trip of a lifetime in the Australian Outback. 
Dropped at a campsite in the middle of nowhere, the friends quickly discover they aren’t the same people they once were, and they begin to confront hard truths about one another—and themselves. Then a bizarre storm sweeps across their camp, scattering them across the desert. Wondering if they are part of some strange escape game, each of the friends meets a guide to help them find exactly what they need: purpose, healing, courage, and redemption. 
It’s available for pre-order now.
And I’m writing novel #4, which has the working title of The Eighth Guest.

I am giving away a copy of David Rawling's latest book The Camera Never Lies. You can read my full review HERE. This giveaway is open to US residents only. You must be a follower of my blog and leave a comment, details in giveaway, for your entry to count. 


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Bread Bags & Bullies: Surviving the 80's by Steven Manchester Reviewed

About the Book:

Title: Bread Bags & Bullies Surviving the 80's
Author: Steven Manchester

It’s the winter of 1984. Twelve-year old Herbie and his two brothers—Wally and Cockroach—are enjoying the mayhem of winter break when a late Nor’easter blows through New England, trapping their quirky family in the house. The power goes out and playing Space Invaders to AC DC’s Back in Black album is suddenly silenced—forcing them to use their twisted imaginations in beating back the boredom. At a time when the brothers must overcome one fear after the next, they learn that courage is the one character trait that guarantees all others.

This hysterical coming-of-age tale is jam-packed with enough nostalgia to satisfy anyone who grew up in the ‘80s or at least had the good fortune to travel through them.

You can purchase a copy HERE

About the Author:

Steven Manchester is the author of the The Rockin' Chair (to be released June 18th), as well as the #1 best seller, Twelve Months (2013 San Francisco Book Festival award winner). He is also the author of Goodnight, Brian, A Christmas Wish, Pressed Pennies, The Unexpected Storm: The Gulf War Legacy, Jacob Evans, and several books under the pseudonym, Steven Herberts. His work has appeared on NBC's Today Show, CBS's The Early Show, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Steven's short stories were selected "101 Best" for Chicken Soup for the Soul series. When not spending time with his beautiful wife, Paula, or his four children, this Massachusetts author is promoting his works or writing. 

Website  || Facebook || Twitter 

My Thoughts:

I have mixed emotions on this book. I was a teen in the 80's, I graduated in 1984, yes, I know I just dated myself! All of the pop culture references that Mr. Manchester put into the book brought back loads of fun memories and were my favorite parts of the book! The Van Halen album, 1984, that twelve year old Herbie is waiting for at the beginning of the novel,  I received that January for my birthday in cassette form to blast in my car.

The three boys antics throughout the book had me laughing and rolling my eyes. Partly because I've raised three girls, and secondly I have grandsons so I know there is a huge difference between what girls think is funny and what boys think is.

The book was literally a trip down memory lane for me and I loved that about it. Mr. Manchester is does a good job of writing a book that is relatable and memorable. 

My only fault with the book is the language that he uses. I was not prepared for that, and if you follow my blog you know that most if not all of my reviews are of clean books. It took me awhile to get passed the language to enjoy it. Just be aware of it. 

This is a true coming of age story and Steven Manchester brings that alive from page one.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

An Uncommon Woman by Laura Frantz - Reviewed

About the Book:

Title: Uncommon Woman
Author: Laura Frantz
Publisher: Revell Books
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Release Date: January 7, 2020
Page count 384

Unflinching and plainspoken, Tessa Swan is not your typical 18th-century woman. Born and bred on the western Virginia frontier along with her five brothers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Quiet and courageous, Clay Tygart is not your typical 18th-century man. Raised by Lenape Indians, he returns a hero from the French and Indian War to the fort that bears his name, bringing with him Tessa's long-lost friend, Keturah, a redeemed Indian captive like himself.

Determined to avoid any romantic entanglements as fort commander, Clay remains aloof whenever he encounters the lovely Tessa. But when she is taken captive by the tribe Clay left, his hand--and heart--are forced, leading to one very private and one very public reckoning.

Intense, evocative, and laced with intricate historical details that bring the past to life, An Uncommon Woman will transport you to the picturesque and dangerous western Virginia mountains of 1770.

Purchase a copy HERE!

About Laura Frantz

Laura Frantz is passionate about all things historical, particularly the 18th-century, and writes her manuscripts in longhand first. Her stories often incorporate Scottish themes that reflect her family heritage. She is a direct descendant of George Hume, Wedderburn Castle, Berwickshire, Scotland, who was exiled to the American colonies for his role in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, settled in Virginia, and is credited with teaching George Washington surveying in the years 1748-1750. Frantz lives and writes in a log cabin in the heart of Kentucky.According to Publishers Weekly, "Frantz has done her historical homework." With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, she is represented by Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent & Founder, Books & Such Literary Agency of Santa Rosa, California.
Reader's can find Laura on the following platforms . . . Website|| Facebook|| Twitter|| Instagram|| Pinterest 

You'll love her Pinterest boards! She has boards for her books which is super fun to swoon over! 

My Thoughts:

This book, Y'all! This book is a historical lover's dream! 
Laura Frantz brings the 1770's to life in a very real way. With her vivid imagery and storytelling Ms. Frantz has created real, believable characters and their world of fort life in 1770 Virginia to life on every page. 
The budding romance between Tessa and Clay is swoon-worthy and shows Laura Frantz's talent at her finest.Tessa's desire for a flounced petty coat at the opening in the book just shows her sweetness. Clay was the perfect hero for this story. His care for not just Tessa but the entire Swan family was endearing.
While I wanted to read this quickly the moment I received it, I wasn't able to because of the holidays and it turned out for the best because this book is meant to be savored. 
As with all of Laura Frantz's books the faith element is perfectly placed and sinks right into the reader's heart.
I highly recommend this book, it will enrich your life!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Ruth: Redemption for the Broken, Study Guide with Leader's Notes by Jared C. Wilson - Reviewed

About the book:

Title: Ruth: Redemption for the Broken
Author: Jared C. Wilson

Ruth by Jared Wilson is a ten-week accessible study that brings to life the theological depth and gospel centrality of the Scriptures. For the next generation, this invaluable resource is interactive and engaging in a time in which biblical illiteracy is growing among Christians.

See Jesus more clearly in the book of Ruth, cultivate a better understanding of the themes in this book of the Bible, and find gospel-focused, theologically rich content.

Purchase a copy HERE

About the Author

Jared C. Wilson is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry at Spurgeon College, Author in Residence at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, General Editor of For The Church (and host of the FTC Podcast), and Director of The Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church in Kansas City, MO.
Jared is not a catalytic "agent of change" or a visionary anything. He is a failed church planter and once made a mess of his marriage. He likes food too much and worries way too much about what people think, and he's definitely not all that he's cracked up to be. After 25 years of ministry, he's mainly learned that he's kind of a nincompoop. But he knows Jesus loves him.

Jared blogs at The Gospel-Driven Church.
To contact Jared via email, click here.
Representation: The Gates Group

My Thoughts:

A great ten week study for a small group or personal study. This would work for both men and women. The author makes sure to let the reader know that the book of Ruth is about God's care in the midst of life's disappointments.

I liked how the author showed how Ruth is our story too. Like a family heritage.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Thursday Encouragement #9

Hi! Welcome to my first Thursday Encouragement of the New Year! I don't know about you but I can't believe it is 2020! Life just seems to be flying by. I'd be happy if it slowed down a bit!

I am once again started reading through the Bible using the YouVersion App which I highly recommend. Something has continued to stick out to me this year. I am still in Genesis and so far none of the offspring have learned from their parent's mistakes.

In Genesis 3:1-16 Eve is deceived by the snake, eats the fruit, gives some to Adam and God banishes them from the garden.

In Genesis 4:1-15 Cain killed Abel over God not looking with favor at his fruit offering.

We'll skip a few chapters to Abraham.

In Genesis 20:1-18 Abraham lies about Sarah being his wife.

In Genesis 24 Isaac marries Rebekah and in Genesis 25 Rebekah gives birth to Esau and Jacob. 

Laban, Rebekah's brother deceives Isaac, Isaac lies about Rebekah in Genesis 26, just like his father Abraham did about Sarah, Jacob deceives Isaac to steal the birthright away from Esau. Genesis 27.  In rebellion Esau marries Canaanite women which he knew he wasn't supposed to do.

I promise there is a point to my little history lesson. Take Time To Tell The Stories!!!

As I've read through these chapters this year I've been wondering if Adam, Eve, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah etc. told their children anything about being banished from the garden, lying about a wife because of fear, not trusting God to bring about a child so you have your servant sleep with your husband. And the list goes on.

Our paths may not be pretty either on our way to Christ or while following Him and some of that our children might have seen. I know mine saw a lot. Use the time you have with them under your roof to tell them about the moments you blew it and what you learned from it. I know from experience that God wastes NOTHING! Everything that happens to us, or we inflict on ourselves He uses it to make us better. We can't expect our children to catch following God like a cold, they have to see and know that no matter what He loves us and is always teaching us.

My girls are grown and raising their own families now. I wish I would've taken more time to use every little bit of my life as an example of what not to do more than I did. God knew that sharing the stories were important because He tells the Israelite's in Exodus to do so. 

We have so little time on this earth and with our kids in general I think it's important to tell them. I sure don't want my kids going down the same path I did and I'm sure the first families didn't either. 

Now, it's your turn. . . what do you think? Let me know in the comments!

Then go visit my friends for some more Thursday Encouragement!

Trisha @ Joy of Reading

Nicole @ Christian Fiction Girl 

Jacquelyn @ Heavenly Home 

Jessica @ A Baker's Perspective

Becca @ The Becca Files
Gina @ Stories by Gina 

Rebecca @ Rev. Rebecca Writes 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Anticipated Historical Reads of 2020

Welcome to the first Top Ten Tuesday, sponsored by That Artsy Reader Girl, of 2020. Since the first topic is Most Anticipated Reads for the first half of 2020, I decided to just focus on Inspirational Historical Reads today. 

The Uncommon Woman releases TODAY!!! Grab your copy NOW!!!! 

Are these not fabulous looking books? I am so excited about each and every one of them! I am reading An Uncommon Woman right now and it is definitely a must read!

Are any of these on your anticipated historical read list for 2020? Let me know in the comments!

End Game (Capital Intrigue Book 1) by Rachel Dylan Reviewed

Welcome to a new year of reviews! I finished this book at the end of 2019 but since it releases today, January 7, 2020, I wanted to wait to post my review here on release day. 

If you've been looking for a great suspense read and a beginning of a new series you'll want to pick up End Game!! 

Title: End Game
Series: Capital Intrigue Book 1
Author: Rachel Dylan
Publisher: Bethany House
Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense

When elite members of the military are murdered on the streets of Washington, DC, FBI Special Agent Bailey Ryan and NCIS Special Agent Marco Agostini must work together to bring the perpetrator to justice. Unfortunately, all evidence points to a Navy SEAL sniper whom Bailey refuses to believe is guilty.

When Bailey and Marco start to connect the dots between the victims, including a link to a powerful defense contractor, they wonder if there's a deeper cover-up at play. Then Bailey is targeted, and it becomes clear that someone is willing to kill to keep their dark secrets.

With the stakes getting higher by the moment in a twisted conspiracy, there's a rush against the clock to determine whom they can really trust. As allies turn to enemies, the biggest secret yet to be uncovered could be the end of all of them. 

You can purchase a copy HERE!

About Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan writes legal thrillers and legal romantic suspense. Rachel has practiced law for over a decade including being a litigator at one of the nation’s top law firms. She enjoys weaving together legal and suspenseful stories. Rachel writes the Atlanta Justice Series which features strong, female attorneys in Atlanta. Deadly Proof, the first book in the Atlanta Justice series, is a CBA bestseller, a Daphne du Maurier Finalist, a Holt Medallion Finalist, and an FHL Reader’s Choice Award Finalist. Rachel lives in Michigan with her husband and five furkids–two dogs and three cats. Rachel loves to connect with readers. She is represented by Sarah Younger at Nancy Yost Literary Agency.

Website || Facebook || Twitter || Instagram 

My Thoughts:

In Rachel Dylan's upcoming release, End Games, the first book in the Capital Intrigue series she ramps up the suspense, intrigue, and action.

The character development and story pace is where Ms. Dylan shows talent and growth as an author. She has created character's with depth and the pace is so good that it compels the reader to keep reading.

SEALS, NCIS, DC, and the FBI is the perfect setup for an action packed read!

Highly recommended!!!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher. I was not required to write a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Congratulations, and Happy Book Birthday, Rachel Dylan!!!!!

Interview Featuring David Rawlings With a Giveaway

Hi, David, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. I’m honored to have you here. David: It’s an honour to join yo...