Sunday, July 24, 2016

Pounced

Pounced 

The Sierra Files #1 

Paperback, ebook

January 30, 2014

by Christy Barritt 


  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • ISBN-13: 978-1495388521

Sierra is used to fighting for the lives of innocent creatures. But when a killer puts the lives of her own cats on the line, her crusade becomes personal. 


Animal rights activist Sierra Nakamura never expected to stumble upon the dead body of a coworker while out filming a project. She definitely never expected to get involved in the investigation. But when someone threatens to kill her cats unless she hands over the "information," she becomes more bristly than an angry feline. Making matters worse is the fact that her cats--and the investigation--are driving a wedge between her and her boyfriend Chad. 

With every answer she uncovers, old hurts rise to the surface and test her beliefs. Saving her cats just might mean ruining everything else in her life. In the fight for survival, one thing is certain: It's either pounce or be pounced.

My thoughts; POUNCED is the first book in Ms. Barritt's The Sierra Files series. I've read all these books out of order, so even though they are about the same characters they are separate mysteries and do stand alone. 

I have enjoyed some of The Sierra Files books and not others, and unfortunately, this was one of the didn't enjoy ones. Sierra is mean and hateful to Chad, thinking he's all about controlling her when he makes it plain that he loves her and wants to keep her safe. Sierra is jumping off the deep end because someone threatened the life of her cats! A dead person is involved, but that is secondary to the life of her cats and she's willing to sacrifice relationships and everything. 

I did guess who might be behind the "catnapping" and murder somewhat easily. The "helper" came as a bit of a surprise, as did the real identity of Sage, the person who was killed.

Still it was a good read, Ms. Barritt is a very good mystery writer, and knows how to keep the reader engaged.  I recommend this book to anyone who loves cozy mysteries and figuring out "whodunit." If you are an animal activist all the better, because that is what Sierra is all about. 

There is a good faith message, though Sierra herself is not a Christian. The book is clean with no sexual tension, and suitable for all ages. 3 stars. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Bound Heart

The Bound Heart 

The Everstone Chronicles #2

ebook, print

by Dawn Crandall

  • Print Length: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House 
  • Publication Date: November 1, 2014
  • ASIN: B00P2YEFSC

One accidental kiss from Lawry Hampton. That was all it took to throw Meredyth Summercourt's world upside-down. Determined to marry the ever-elusive Vance Everstone, she simply doesn't have the time or the desire to fall for her best friend. 

But with Vance out of the country, and with Lawry at her side nearly every day, teaching her what the world is like through the eyes of a little orphan girl named Wynn--Meredyth can't deny that what's holding her to Vance is nothing more than a desire to redeem herself from her past. 

Will she marry Vance once he returns from Europe? Or will she be strong enough to break free from the tangled web she's convinced she deserves, and accept that God's plan for her life includes redemption...and, quite possibly, Lawry Hampton?

My thoughts: THE BOUND HEART is book two in the Everstone Chronicles series, but it easily stands alone  Fans will want to go back and read the first book, The Hesitant Heiress, if they are interested in knowing the story behind Nathan and Amaryllis. and their romance. 

I absolutely loved the premise of THE BOUND HEART--an accidental kiss--and I wondered how a kiss could be accidental. I won't tell you the details because, of course, everyone likely loves a kiss and I adore how the sexual tension between Meredyth and Lawry came to life. Oh, and Lawry? Ahhh, definitely swoon-worthy. 

The language of THE BOUND HEART was much more relaxed than in The Hesitant Heiress, and I enjoyed it. Also the scene breaks flowed ever so much smoother. I also enjoyed that this book is also first person (I mentioned in the review for The Hesitant Heiress that I enjoy first person point of view) and it is such a nice change of pace for a historical. 

Fans of Laurie Alice Eakes' Regencies will enjoy Ms. Crandall's books. These are set in Boston. 

I did get a little confused with the identity of some of the characters with A names - in fact I went back to look to see what Lawry's sister's name was because another character with a similar name was introduced as a very good friend (when you have time to kill at the pool while watching your daughter swim you notice stuff like that) and I did get a bit frustrated with her obsession over someone when Lawry was so swoon-worthy, but all in all I enjoyed THE BOUND HEART. 4 stars. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Hesitant Heiress

Hesitant Heiress 

The Everstone Chronicles #1

Paperback, ebook

September 8, 2015

by Dawn Crandall

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Whitaker House 
  • ISBN-13: 978-1629116587



After being unjustly expelled from the Boston Conservatory of Music, Amaryllis Brigham sees her dreams of founding a music academy in her hometown of Seattle, Washington, disappearing before her very eyes. Now, the only way to achieve her goal comes with high stakes for someone set on avoiding men as much as possible: Marry within the year to inherit the immense fortune of her estranged grandmother. 

Amaryllis reluctantly moves in to her aunt's Boston home and rubs shoulders with fashionable society. Despite her own misgivings, she soon finds herself quickly falling in love with the most unlikely of men--Nathan Everstone, the envy of every eligible female, whose father has haunted her dreams for the decade following her mother's tragic death. 

However, Nathan turns out to be much more than he seems...and everything she never knew she wanted. But just as everything Amaryllis has recently hoped for comes to fruition, it all falls apart when she finds that the real culprit who has been managing her life isn't who she thought at all.

My thoughts:  I have heard (and I won't say by whom) that Ms. Crandall's writing style is very disjointed and stilted.  It is. It doesn't flow well at all between scenes and the wording is very formal. However, it is a regency and maybe (just maybe) that is the way people actually talked back then. I don't know. A lot of regencies I've read do use formal language. Some don't. It is also headache inducing with the same thing being hashed over and over and over (but I did the same in my first book.)  And as rude as Amaryllis is to Nathan I wonder why he even bothered with her. I did love Aunt Claudia though. She was fun and entertaining. 

I am glad that Ms. Crandall didn't start out with a death -- yay! -- though in a way she did as it starts with Amaryllis being expelled from music school where she was a "higher level student". But I'm rather confused as to why she was in music school at all as she admits she cannot read music and plays by memory. (My children's music teacher would shudder!) 

The secrets behind Amaryllis and Nathan's father were rather predictable when they finally were revealed. Maybe it was just me but I saw it coming from the beginning. However, as a writer, I know how these things work and it may not be so obvious to anyone else. 

I also really liked Nathan. He was a nice guy, a true hero. Very patient.  I LOVED him. There is absolutely zero sexual tension between the hero and herione, But some readers like knowing that books are super clean and suitable for preteens, teens, etc as well as adults. I enjoyed the faith message. 

THE HESITANT HEIRESS is written in first person, which I did notice initially, but it didn't bother me. I loved it.  It was rather nice to experience a first person historical.  If you like regency romances set in America (Boston), then  Ms. Crandall's book might be one you would enjoy.  3 stars. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Interview with Heather Blanton and giveaway!



Heather is graciously giving away one copy of her book, A Promise in Defiance to one commenter! Please include contact information.  

BLURB—

~~~The haunting final chapter in the Defiance series!~~~

CHOICES HAVE CONSEQUENCES...EVEN FOR THE REDEEMED. 

When Charles McIntyre founded Defiance, he was more than happy to rule in hell rather than serve in heaven. But things have changed. Now, he has faith, a new wife...and a ten-year-old half-breed son. Infamous madam Delilah Goodnight wants to take it all away from him. How can he protect his kingdom and his loved ones from her schemes without falling back on his past? How does he fight evil if not with evil?

Logan Tillane carries a Bible in his hand, wears a gun on his hip, and fights for lost souls any way he can. Newly arrived in Defiance, he has trouble, though, telling saints from sinners. The challenge only worsens when Delilah flings open the doors to the scandalous Crystal Chandelier. She and the new preacher have opposite plans for the town. One wants to save it, one wants to lead it straight to hell.

For Tillane and McIntyre, finding redemption was a long, hard road. God's grace has washed away their sins, but the consequences remain and God will not be mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap...and the harvest is finally at hand.



Where did you grow up and attend school? Are there any other authors in your family?
 
I was born in Florida but moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina when I was 9, and that was when I truly came home. My hometown is a tiny community (there were 26 seniors in my graduating class) and I miss it every day. I live in Raleigh now. I’m convinced my 12-year-old will be a writer one day, he has such an incredible imagination, but he hates reading. Breaks his mother’s heart.


How did you get started writing? How old were you? What made you want to start? What did you enjoy reading as a child? 

I am loathe to admit I grew up in a century when, as a child, I only had three tv channels to watch. Yes. I know. The horror of it. Forced from shear boredom to find other activities, I gravitated to writing. There used to be a cartoon called The Funky Phantom. I adored it and wrote my first story as a way to spend the afternoon with my favorite teenagers! My mom typed it up for me. I am still mad about some of her editorial changes, but we have finally agreed to disagree … 45 years later!


How and when did you and your husband meet? Was it love at first sight? What does he think about your being an author?  

How apropos is it that my husband and I met at The Long Branch Saloon? I kid you not. Wearing a baby blue button-up, he was leaning over a pool table, muscles in his shoulders bulging all sexy-like, and I said, “I like him.” But we didn’t make eye contact. A few minutes later he came up and asked if my friend and I would like to play pool. He told us later that he had actually lost the game he was playing and therefore the table as well. He gave the other guy twenty bucks to scram so he could invite me to play. He was not a big fan of my writing “hobby” until I finally hit the best-sellers list at Amazon. Now he’s a whole lot more enthusiastic.


How do you research the communities and people you write about? Do you find yourself having to do a lot of research? 

I have travelled throughout the West, but especially Colorado and Wyoming. I love those two states. That’s one reason I set my stories there. I’ve hiked to the top of Independence Rock; rode horses in the mountains above Telluride; even held an outlaw’s note in my hands. I’ve worked as a journalist, too, and know how to research. Besides the Library of Congress, one of my favorite places to visit is the Wyoming newspaper archives http://newspapers.wyo.gov/). Everything you could ever want to read about the Old West is in there! I read lots of old diaries and letters, too. I highly recommend the collection called Covered Wagon Women, the diaries and letters of women who went west on the Oregon and California trails. And to my family’s dismay, I never pass up a museum when we’re on a roadtrip.

Which is your favorite book? Do you have a character in your books you identify with the most

Hearts in Defiance is my favorite book. It’s book 2 in the Romance in the Rockies series and I love it because God presented me with so many wonderful plot twists! It was such fun to write. And while there is a little bit of my sisters and me in all three of the fictional sisters, Naomi is my gal. Like me, she is a work in progress. Flawed, but lovable, God shows her a lot of grace.


BIO
Heather Blanton is the independent bestselling author of several Christian Westerns, including the Romance in the Rockies series, which has sold over 40,000 copies. Intrigued by the concept of three good sisters stranded in a lawless Colorado mining town, a few notable Hollywood producers have requested the script for her first book in that series, A Lady in Defiance. Heather’s writing is gritty and realistic. In fact, her books have been compared to AMC’s Hell on Wheels series, as well as the legendary Francine Rivers book, Redeeming Love.

A former journalist, Heather is an avid researcher and skillfully weaves truth in among the fictional story lines. She loves exploring the American West, especially ghost towns and museums. She has walked parts of the Oregon Trail, ridden horses through the Rockies, climbed to the top of Independence Rock, and even held an outlaw's note in her hand.

She writes Westerns because she grew up on a steady diet of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and John Wayne movies. Her most fond childhood memory is of sitting next to her father, munching on popcorn, and watching Lucas McCain unload that Winchester!

She can be reached several different ways:

http://ladiesindefiance.com/




Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fractured Memory

Fractured Memory 

Love Inspired Suspense

Mass Market Paperback, ebook

July 5, 2016

by Jordyn Redwood

  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Love Inspired 
  • ISBN-13: 978-0373447572

SHROUDED PAST 
United States marshal Eli Cayne saved Julia Galloway's life once…and he's prepared to do it again. But his task would be easier if she could remember him—or the murderer who almost put her in an early grave and seems to be hunting her once more. To protect Julia from the latest threat against her life, Eli has to consider the possibility that he put an innocent man in jail. Julia has no memories of the serial killer called the Hangman, though, and no reason to trust Eli. But with the killer getting closer, she must work with Eli to confront her past—and the feelings growing between them.

My thoughts: FRACTURED MEMORY is not Ms. Redwood's debut novel as I initially thought, but she is a new to me author. She seems to have the Love Inspired Suspense formula down, and shots are fired on the second page! And let the race be on... 

When the safe house she is secreted off to is compromised soon after arrival,  the ante is upped and interested is triggered. 

My suspicions were raised early on as to who the bad "guy" might be. Red herrings were planted to keep the reader guessing, but I'd figured it out, since I read enough of these to know the formula and how it works. It is rare for a LIS author to surprise me. What I didn't know was why. 

I have to be impressed by Ms. Redwood's medical knowledge, but her bio states she's a pediatric ER nurse by day. So medical mysteries are something she excels at. A great book by a new-to-me author. 4 stars. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

All Summer Long

All Summer Long: A San Francisco Romance 

Follow Your Heart #2

Paperback, hardback, ebook

June 7, 2016

by Melody Carlson 


  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800723583


She's ready to take on a new challenge. What she doesn't expect is an old flame.

Tia D'Amico is thrilled to move to San Francisco to help her aunt transform an old luxury yacht into an upscale floating restaurant. What's not to love? Sunset dinner cruises, posh wedding receptions--the possibilities are endless and far more appetizing than staying in a monotonous job in her Podunk hometown. Besides, some of her best memories are tied to San Francisco--especially the memory of Leo Parker, her crush from a long-ago sailing camp.

When Leo Parker himself turns out to be the yacht's captain, Tia is floating on air. But will it all come crashing down around her when she discovers his heart belongs to someone else?

Get ready for a romantic summer in San Francisco, where the future glistens brighter than the Bay at sunset.

My thoughts: ALL SUMMER LONG is another good summer romance story by master storyteller, Melody Carlson. Written in her trademark, innocent style, we have Tia, unsatisfied with her life in her "small" town where she works with her uncle in a restaurant. She is just thinking how unhappy she is when ring! A phone call comes and whirl, she has a makeover and is on a plane to San Francisco where an old flame meets her at the airport and romance flares.
Except, he's engaged. To this really sweet girl that Tia actually likes. 

What I like? The story holds my interest. I like Tia, I like Leo, I like Judith, I like the setting, the boats, the premise, the bay... maybe it'd be easier to say what I don't like. :)

Tia almost seems too naive. She is easily swept into deceit with the girlfriend. Easily forgets her uncle who might be dying in the hospital because she's on a date with a hot man. Everything is coming up all rosy and nothing seems to go seriously wrong. A bad thing happens and wave a magic wand, it is fixed. The story is also predicable. 

But this is Melody Carlson. And a reader knows what to expect with her. Sweet, heartwarming, uplifting, innocent stories about fulfilling dreams.  And that is exactly what is delivered.  I loved the story. At the same time, it annoyed me just a little. Kind of like a familiar, well-loved friend that you adore and yet you see its faults. That is what ALL SUMMER LONG is like. A best friend. 4.5 stars. 


Praise for Once Upon a Summertime
"Carlson kicks off her new series with this heartwarming and uplifting novel about taking a chance on fulfilling your dreams. . . . A pleasant summer escape."--Library Journal
"Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining."--Christian Manifesto

"[The] perfect summer read for a day at the beach."--CBA Retailers + Resources

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more than 6.5 million. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Use Emoji to Search the Bible on Bible Gateway

N E W S   R E L E A S E

BibleGateway-Logo-Red2
 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jonathan Petersen, Marketing Manager, Bible Gateway
616.656.7159, 
jonathan.petersen@biblegateway.com
Newsroom: https://www.biblegateway.com/newsroom

In Time for World Emoji Day July 17,
Use Emoji to Search the Bible on Bible Gateway

3% of public Bible notes and 2% of Tweets linking to Bible verses contain emoji

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (July 13, 2016) – Bible Gateway (BibleGateway.com@BibleGateway), the Internet’s most visited Christian website, is now providing its millions of visitors the ability to use more than 330 emoji in keyword searches to find their favorite Bible verses and passages in more than 50 English Bible versions.

“We’re not changing any words in the text of the Bible–we’re simply letting people search using emoji that they type themselves,” says Stephen Smith, senior director, digital products for Bible Gateway. For example, when the emoji for “clapping hands” and “tree” are entered into Bible Gateway’s keyword search box using the NIV translation, the search results display Isaiah 55:12 — “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”

Bible search using emoji on Bible Gateway can be achieved by using the emoji keyboard on iPhone or Android smartphones while accessing Bible Gateway’s website or mobile app (when connected with the Internet).

Social sharing statistics show Bible readers use emoji while they read Scripture. About 3% of public Bible notes and 2% of Tweets linking to Bible verses contain emoji, with the percentages increasing each year. The most-common emoji associated with Bible verses include: “praying hands,” “heart,” “praising hands,” and “open book.” A collection of emoji can be found at Emojipedia®.

For more information see the Bible Gateway Blog post (http://bg4.me/29IZT8v).

Bible Gateway is ranked number one on global search engines and is the most visited Christian website in the world by users in more than 200 countries. Among its many free features are the abilities to:
·         access more than 200 Bible versions in more than 70 languages
·         listen to Bible audio
·         comprehensively search the Bible using keywords and phrases
·         display & compare up to five Bible translations side-by-side at once
·         read translator footnotes within the context of Bible verses
·         highlight and favorite Bible passages
·         write notes while reading Bible verses and save them to a personal account
·         easily share Bible verses with friends using Twitter, Facebook, email, and print
·         download the free award-winning Bible Gateway App
·         sign up for customizable Bible reading plans
·         select from more than 60 email and online devotionals
·         learn personal Scripture Engagement principles and techniques
·         discover new books and read Bible-related articles and interviews on the Bible Gateway Blog.

About Bible Gateway
As the Internet’s most visited Christian website, Bible Gateway seeks to equip people to read and understand the Bible, wherever they are. Celebrating more than 20 years online, Bible Gateway offers free access to the Bible in more than 200 different versions and more than 70 languages. Bible Gateway’s website and app are used by more than 18 million unique visitors per month. Bible Gateway also offers the membership service Bible Gateway Plus, which begins with a 30-day free trial (https://www.biblegateway.com/plus/). The company is part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Please visit Bible Gateway at BibleGateway.com.

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