Friday, May 31, 2013

Interview with Jamie Adams


1. Why do you write the kind of books you do?

I love westerns, cowboys and stories where the hero rides off into the
sunset, with the heroine off course. Action scenes are my favorite scenes to
write and westerns are full of them.

2. What are you reading right now?

Last night I just finished reading Bittersweet by Linda Cushman. It’s one of
the best books I’ve ever read. The characters are still with me this morning.
I find myself wanting to read more but unfortunately I’ve read it all.

3. What is your current work in progress?

 I’m working on a series with two other authors set in the real, small town of Mammoth
Spring, Arkansas, although they are greatly fictionalized events. Each of our stories
revolves around a different sister in a family that runs a hotel. In Wishes and Whims
I have the middle daughter, Cora. Rivalry and Romance, Wishes and Whims, and
Friends and Foes will be available in June.

4. What would be your dream vacation?

A few years ago we went to Gulf Shores during the off season. It was still
warm enough to enjoy the water but without the crowd we practically had
the beach to ourselves. I’d love to go back one day.


5. Tell us about The Doctor’s Daughter a brief blurb:

Set in Washoe county Nevada in 1883. On the trail of outlaws, Pinkerton agent
Jacob Hanley comes across a tenacious woman with a secret that puts her at odds with
a small frontier town. Determined to honor a deathbed promise, Laura Prescott vows to
hold her ground when she finds herself the unlikely guardian of two young children and a
teenage boy.

6. Is there one particular message or “moral of the story” you hope readers walk away with?

The main message is the importance of family and forgiveness. So
often it’s those closest to us that cause us heartache. When we harbor
resentment we are the ones that suffer, unable to let go and move on.
It’s so much easier to forgive and forget. With God’s help it is possible.

7. How did The Doctor’s Daughter get started?

I had a dream. I’ve written many stories but this is the first one that came
to me while I slept.

8. Tell us about your research process.

I love to research!  It’s amazing how easy it is to acces information online.
Sometimes I get so caught up in the research the book gets neglected.
History fascinates me.

9. What impact did your research have on you personally?

It gives me ideas for more stories and a greater appreciation for what
people in the 1870’s had to endure to survive.

10. If someone else were sitting at your desk right now, what would they see?

Books. I have a book review blog and always have a book nearby to read when
time allows.

11. Where can readers find you online?

http://jladams-books.com/
Twitter: @Roosgal
http://inallthywaysacknowledgehim.blogspot.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Jamie-Adams/e/B00CNRNSRK/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1




Bio:
Jamie Adams fell in love with books at an early age. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott opened her imagination and sparked a dream to be a writer. She wrote her first book as a school project in 6th grade. A fan of westerns her books take the reader back to a time when hero's wore Stetson hat's and gun belts while heroines had grit and grace.

A graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature as well as member of American Christian Fiction Writers, The Writing Desk and several critique groups she spends most of her time writing, reading or learning more about the craft near to her heart.
The parents of three very active children, she and her husband live in the Ozarks surrounded by forest and wild life.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

When the Morning Glory Blooms



Title: WHEN THE MORNING GLORY BLOOMS
Author: Cynthia Ruchti
Publisher: Abingdon Press
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1426735431
Genre: Women’s fiction

Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world.

Sixty years earlier, with her fiancé Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn't know is coming. Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy's listening ear until the day she suspects Anna's tall tales are not the ramblings of dementia. They're fragments of Anna's disjointed memories of a remarkable life. Finding a faint thread of hope she can't resist tugging, Ivy records Anna's memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman's emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories.

Is Ivy's answer buried in Anna's past? Becky, Ivy, Anna--three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the blossoming simplicity of truth.

WHEN THE MORNING GLORY BLOOMS is Ms. Ruchti’s second emotion-packed women’s fiction novel. This one deals with three unwed mothers tied together only by the secrets they carry, the hurt they caused loved ones by their decisions, and the uncertainty on how to proceed.

This is a book that every innocent teen girl needs to read before they take that step. It’s a story every mother needs to read and every girl who has succumbed needs to read. And it’s a must have for every crisis pregnancy center in the nation.

I’m donating my copy to the local crisis pregnancy center to pass around – after my daughter reads it. It is hard to read in one setting. This is a book that takes time. And thought. And a box of tissues.

Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. 


$14.99. 352 pages. 4 stars.

About the Author:
Cynthia Ruchti is an author and speaker who tells stories of Hope-that-glows-in-the-dark through her novels, nonfiction, women’s events, and outlets related to the Heartbeat of the Home radio broadcast she wrote and produced for thirty-three years. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in the heart ofWisconsin, not far from their three children and five joy-giving grandchildren.
Her latest book is the Christian fiction, When the Morning Glory Blooms.
You can learn more about Cynthia and her writing and speaking at www.cynthiaruchti.com.
Connect with Cynthia:


About the Book:

Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world. Sixty years earlier, with her fiancé Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn’t know is coming. Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy’s listening ear until the day she suspects Anna’s tall tales are not just idle ramblings. They’re Anna’s disjointed memories of a remarkable life.
Finding a faint thread of hope she can’t resist tugging, Ivy records Anna’s memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman’s emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories. Is Ivy’s answer buried in Anna’s past? And what connects them to Becky?
Becky, Ivy, Anna—three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the blossoming simplicity of truth.
Purchase your copy:

When the Morning Glory Blooms Tour Page:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ray of Light




Title: RAY OF LIGHT
Author: Shelley Shepard Gray
Publisher: Avon Inspire
May 2013
ISBN: 978-0-06-22044204
Genre: Amish/romance & women’s fiction

When two hearts connect on a beach in Florida, is it a brief romance…or the start of lasting love?

After family secrets come to light, causing an uproar, Roman Keim is taking a much-needed vacation to Pinecraft, the Amish snowbird community in Florida. The warm weather is a welcome break from the bleak Ohio winter, as is a week off from all his family's drama. But Roman's own drama begins when he meets his next-door neighbors: Amanda Yoder, a beautiful young widow, and her adorable daughter, Regina.

In the two years since her husband died, Amanda has never looked at another man. She certainly doesn't intend to get married again. But she can't deny that there's something special between her and Roman. As his week in Pinecraft comes to a close, Amanda knows that, in spite of her attempt to remain distant, she's given Roman a piece of her heart. And her daughter seems to have fallen in love, too.

Is there hope for a second chance at love for Amanda? Or will duty call Roman home first, far from the two women who have captured his heart?

RAY OF LIGHT is the second book in The Days of Redemption series. I didn’t have the opportunity to read the first book Daybreak and I wish I would’ve as RAY OF LIGHT referred back to some events I didn’t know anything about. However, for the most past, RAY OF LIGHT was an independent story.

I enjoyed getting to know Roman and Amanda, as well as her little girl. I also enjoyed getting to know about Roman’s family back home as their story is told, too, but that part is more women’s fiction. There are a lot of secrets in Roman’s family, and some drama. Roman feels he lives a quiet uneventful life, and sometimes he feels like a boring individual, but as the cliché goes, still waters run deep.

If you like Amish fiction, don’t miss RAY OF LIGHT. Again, read Daybreak first, as I really don’t think these books stand alone. Any of Ms. Gray’s books are recommended. Really good continuing stories. Discussion questions and a sneak peek at her next book Eventide is included at the end of the book. $12.99. 288 pages. 4 stars.


Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/l5Xy7

Meet Shelley:
Shelley Shepard Gray is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the "Sisters of the Heart", "Seasons of Sugarcreek", "Secrets of Crittenden County", and Families of Honor series. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town's bike trail.

Learn more at http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com.

 Blog Tour Schedule


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Heart Stone





Title: THE HEART STONE
Author: Sherry Kyle
Publisher: Abingdon Press
April 2013
ISBN: 978-1426733512
Genre: Contemporary romance

When the biological father of Jessica MacAllister’s son decides to break their custody agreement, Jessica and her son visit her Uncle George for advice and refuge…

Following a year of grief, Evelyn Sweeney is finally ready to move on. Pondering her new path in life, her mind drifts to her first love, George MacAllister…

When the lives of these two women cross, they discover that one heart-shaped ring binds their stories together. But will the results be a rekindled faith and new hope, or will it lead them both back into the darkness they’ve fought for so long?

I enjoyed reading THE HEART STONE by new author, Sherry Kyle. The story is really two romances in one, as these two women both reconnect with George—and a fireman who happens to be friends with the nursing home director where George stays.

The story is well written. There are some tense moments when Jessi’s son is threatened, but I figured out where the story was going long before it got there. While predicatable, it was a sweet romance. It did move a bit slow and I didn’t fully connect with the characters, but it was still a sweet read.  Discussion questions are available at the end. 4 stars. $14.99. 320 pages. 



Purchase:
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE



About the Author:

Sherry Kyle is a graduate of Biola University with a degree in Communications, and a minor in Bible. Sherry is also a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature. She currently has three books in print, her award-winning book for tween girls titled The Christian Girl's Guide to Style all about beauty, fashion, and character, Delivered with Love, her debut contemporary novel, as well as The Heart Stone by Abingdon Press. Sherry and her husband have four children, three biological and one by adoption. She lives along the coast in central California.

You can find her on the web at: www.sherrykyle.com.

Connect with Sherry:
TWITTER | FACEBOOK







Book Trailer:





BOOK EXCERPT


“Jessi, it’s Andrew . . . Andrew Lawson.”

At the sound of his voice, Jessica MacAllister’s knees went limp and her palms grew moist. She sat down on the wooden stool near the kitchen counter and leaned her head on her hand, her elbow resting against the cold tile. Why was he calling? She hadn’t heard from him since he signed the papers relinquishing his rights to Jacob six years before.

“Jessi, you there?”

She fought the urge to hang up the phone. “I’m here.”

“I want to see him.”

Her heart beat a strange rhythm. She had prayed this day would never come. “Andrew, I—I—I don’t know,” she stut-tered. As a speech pathologist, she prided herself on her communication skills, but this man could trip her up regardless of her training.

“We can meet at a park. I’ll sit at a distance and watch.” The desperation in his voice was palpable. Jessica’s jaw clenched and her stomach churned. How could she trust that he wouldn’t rush up to Jacob and tell him that he was his biological father? Or worse, what if he wasn’t sober? His behavior when he was drunk could be . . . No.

She wouldn’t let a man who had no part in Jacob’s upbringing suddenly waltz into his life—especially someone who had shown her the ways of the world. But Andrew wasn’t entirely to blame. She’d given in.

“No. No, that won’t work.” Jessica ran her hand through her shoulder-length hair.

“How about a restaurant? I’ll eat at a separate table. I only want to see our son.”

Our son. Jacob was not their son. He was hers and hers only. Andrew wasn’t there for her when she was pregnant or gave birth. He’d never been there. Why the sudden interest now?


The Heart Stone Tour Page:

http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/04/09/pump-up-your-book-presents-the-heart-stone-virtual-book-publicity-tour/

Monday, May 27, 2013

Zero Visibility and No Way Out


Title: ZERO VISIBILITY
Author: Sharon Dunn
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
July 2012
ISBN: 978-0373083183
Genre: Romantic suspense

Why was she a target?

Merci Carson doesn’t have a clue—but she knows she owes her life to the quiet man who roared to her rescue in his snowmobile. EMT Nathan McCormick is used to handling challenging situations, but between the unexpected blizzard that stranded the lovely student and the desperate men chasing her, he has his hands full. Yet for Nathan, failure is not an option. Merci’s bravery and kindness challenges his guarded heart, making him start to hope for the future. Together, they could be something special—if they solve the mystery in time.

ZERO VISIBILTY is attention getting. I was hooked from the first page. Two college girls, on the way home for Christmas break when they get into an accident on a back road. But the rescuers that stop attempts to rob them—and when Nathan roars up, Merci and Nathan try to work together to kidnap the other girl, Lori, back from the kidnappers.

What are the robbers looking for? Why are they desperate enough to kill for it? Is Lori a victim or an accomplish? I had to keep reading to find out.
Some of the events are unbelievable. Will two people really chase after bad guys with guns in a blizzard with no weapons and no plan? But with the suspension of disbelief, it was a good, exciting read. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.75. 217 pages. 

***


Title: NO WAY OUT
Author: Susan Sleeman
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
May 2013
ISBN:  978-0373445394
Genre: Romantic suspense

Who can she trust?

Alyssa Wells has uncovered evidence that her police officer husband was murdered by his partner—a dangerous claim in a small town. After two tours in Iraq, protecting Alyssa and her children shouldn't be a problem for private investigator Cole Justice.

Alyssa feels drawn to him, but how can she trust anyone after everything she's been through? Cole's sure his heart is closed off to love, but Alyssa and her children seem to have found a way in. As the killer draws closer, Alyssa realizes she's trusting Cole with more than her safety.

NO WAY OUT is the third book in Ms. Sleeman’s The Justice Agency series. It easily stands alone, but readers will want to read Double Exposure and Dead Wrong first as they are about members of the same family and you’ll want to know about the details of their relationships.

NO WAY OUT is spell-binding. It caught my attention from page one and held it all the way to the end of the book. There are some twists and turns that I didn’t expect, but other things I did expect—such as the ending almost seemed to wrap up too quickly—I should’ve known Ms. Sleeman’s writing better than that. She had another twist coming that I didn’t expect.

If you like romantic suspense, NO WAY OUT is a book that you won’t want to miss. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $5.99. 224 pages. 5 stars

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cafe Chocolat


Café Chocolat Retreat Kit
Group Publishing, May 1, 2013
ISBN: 97810764490675/$69.99


Everything is included, except the chocolate.

Cafe Chocolat includes a worship CD, a leaders' training and promo DVD, a tote bag to carry supplies in, a cute bracelet with one of my new favorite verses on it, and Biblically based lessons. It also includes a director's guide, a leader's guide, a journal, and lesson plans for the entire series. There is als a computer CD of graphics included. 

This is a great kit for women's leaders at their church - to start a women's Bible study in the community. It lists everything you need to provide for the Bible study (such as the chocolate) and detailed instructions on how to set up, what to say, games to play, etc. Each woman will need a journal as that give spaces to write, instructions for some crafts, places to write information, words to the worship songs, and the Bible text (in case someone forgets their Bible or doesn't have one.)  

If you are looking for a women's Bible study this summer, then you will want to consider Cafe Chocolat.  Recommended. 


Whether planning a retreat, Bible study or devotional, Group Publishing has long been known as the go-to center for ministry leadership resources. With preparations underway for the summer release of three new resources designed specifically for women, it is clear Group does not intend to disappoint in the future.


















With the release of Café Chocolat on May 1, Group will be introducing a singularly sweet package providing everything necessary to plan and lead an affordable, hassle-free and life-changing retreat for women in the church and community. Even down to its name, the retreat kit is designed to bring honor to God. “We chose to use chocolate as a metaphor for God’s grace,” explained Amy Nappa, who heads up the adult ministry resources team for Group. “Those participating will taste God’s goodness through in-depth Bible study, unforgettable worship and a host of fun activities designed to help them slow down, enjoy their time together and grow closer to Jesus.”

About Group Publishing: Far more than just a publisher of Christian ministry resources, Group Publishing is dedicated to offering products for group settings designed to help grow the participant’s relationship with Jesus. With a team made up of ministry experts known the world over, the company has a solitary mission to help church ministries succeed. From kids’ crafts to teen mission trips and from women’s retreats to men’s Bible studies, everything that Group offers is designed to bring participants closer to God.

Pursuing his dream to offer better tools for leading teens to Christ, Group Publishing founder Thom Schultz began the company in 1974 with the launch of GROUP Magazine, a resource periodical designed specifically for youth leaders, soon making Group’s name synonymous with youth ministry. It was not long afterward that Group decided to branch off into creating resources for children’s ministry. Soon the company was providing innovative VBS and children’s Sunday school programs and had successfully introduced Children’s Ministry Magazine. From there, creating resource materials for men’s and women’s ministries seemed a natural progression. Today, Group Publishing is recognized as a leader in the publishing of Christian resource materials for every age.



Saturday, May 25, 2013

Catch a Falling Star


Enter Today - 5/14 - 6/4!




Title: CATCH A FALLING STAR
Author: Beth K. Vogt
Publisher: Howard Books
May 2013
ISBN: 978-1451660272
Genre: contemporary romance

Is life about accomplishing plans . . . or wishes coming true . . . or something more?

Dr. Kendall Haynes’s plans to have it all—a career, a husband, a family—are eluding her. Now that she’s thirty-six, she needs to stop wishing upon a star and face reality: Some dreams just never come true.

Air Force pilot Griffin Walker prefers flying solo in the air and on the ground—until a dangerous choice ejects him from the cockpit. His life becomes even more complicated after the sudden death of his parents makes him the guardian of his sixteen-year-old brother. There’s no way his life will ever get back on course now.

When their lives collide during a near tragedy, Kendall and Griffin must decide if they can embrace the unexpected changes God has waiting for them.

CATCH A FALLING STAR is Ms. Vogt’s second novel. I thoroughly loved her debut novel, Wish You Were Here so I was anxious to read this one. This book wasn’t quite so exciting as the debut, but it was still good.

I didn’t exactly connect to the characters the way I wanted, but the story was filled with enough conflict I had to keep reading to see how they resolved their issues. Kendall and Griffin both wanted totally opposite things in life—so it was interesting seeing which one would give the most. The ending was rather rushed--wrapping up in a chapter the entire book. It's almost as if Ms. Vogt reached her word count, stopped, and said, "oh, it needs to end." and so it did.

If you like contemporary romance and can’t get enough of it, then CATCH A FALLING STAR is a great book to choice. Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $14.99. 336 pages. 4.5 stars

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/kUDLa
Meet Beth: 

Beth K. Vogt is a non-fiction author and editor who said she'd never write fiction. She's
the wife of an Air Force family physician (now in solo practice), though she said she'd never marry a doctor-or anyone in the military. She's a mom of four, though she said she'd never have kids. She's discovered that God's best often waits behind the doors marked "Never." Her contemporary romance novel, "Wish You Were Here", debuted in May 2012 (Howard Books), and "Catch a Falling Star" releases May 2013. An established magazine writer and former editor of Connections, the leadership magazine for MOPS International, Beth is also the Skills Coach for My Book Therapy, the writing community founded by best-selling author Susan May Warren. 

Find out more about Beth K. at http://bethvogt.com.

 Blog Tour Schedule

**Note: Schedule is now included on the landing page!**

Friday, May 24, 2013

I Really Do Miss Your Smile



Title: I REALLY DO MISS YOUR SMILE
Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher:  Self published
May 2013
ASBN:
Genre: Contemporary romance/novella

Ingrid Young has had a crush on John Christenson since she was thirteen. Every year she goes up with her family to Deep Haven on vacation and they stay in Cabin 12. But this year, Ingrid gets to go with her sister, Kari, to the street dance--and she intends to dance with John. Except--it doesn't go so well.

John has eyes only for the beautiful, cheerleader daughter in the Young family--Kari. But then, so do all the other boys in Deep Haven. He gives Ingrid a brief moment on the dance floor, but is quick to ditch her when he sees Kari leaving with another boy. And he makes a foolish choice...

Every year the Young family goes up to Deep Haven at the same time of the year. And Ingrid looks for John. But will he ever notice her as more than Kari's younger sister?

I REALLY DO MISS YOUR SMILE is the prequel to the Christenson Family series, with the first book about Darek Christenson Take a Chance on Me, which released in April.

As with all of Ms. Warren's books, I loved getting to know John and Ingrid. I hurt for Ingrid, loving a man who didn't know she was alive, and for John for some of his decisions, hurts, and disappointments. I hoped that the two would be able to work things out.

This story is short, only about 60 pages and easily read in a day.  And right now, it is being offered as a free addition when you buy Take a Chance on Me at Barnes & Noble.   $Free, right now, with purchase. 5 stars.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Undeniably Yours


Enter Today - 5/11 - 5/29!







Title: UNDENIABLY YOURS
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
May 2013
ISBN: 978-0764209758
Genre: Contemporary romance

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire. The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's Thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who's determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them and earn her love.

Just when Meg realizes she can no longer deny the depth of her feelings for Bo, their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their relationship--and their belief that God can work through every circumstance--survive? 

UNDENIABLY YOURS is Ms. Wade’s second novel. It easily stands alone but reader’s might want to pick up her debut My Stubborn Heart.  I love contemporary romances, and I’m so happy that they are finally on the upswing in publishing.  The premise for this one sounds interesting, but unfortunately for me, it just didn’t connect. Meg suffers from stress issues, so she plays some number game to calm down but discovers that Bo Porter calms her more, just being in his presence. Yet she wants to fire him—because she doesn’t like horses. She believes in God & is a kind, giving person, but God is not who she turns to when she’s stressed. I wanted to care about these characters, but I couldn’t. I’m sorry. I found Bo too perfect (though I liked him a lot), and Meg too… unbelievable.

The book is very well written. It does have a great premise. And others seem to love it – so you might as well.  Discussion questions are included at the end of the book.  If you like contemporary romances, do give UNDENIABLY YOURS a try. I’m giving it four stars based on the writing and the plot, not considering my opinions about the characters. $13.99. 380 pages.

Purchase a copy: http://ow.ly/kGPEI

Watch the Trailer:

Undeniably Yours Book Trailer
Undeniably Yours Book Trailer

 Meet Becky:

Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas.

Visit her website at www.beckywade.com. 

 Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Leaving Lancaster


Title: LEAVING LANCASTER
Author: Kate Lloyd
Publisher: David C. Cook
March 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7814-0508-9
Genre:  Amish/women’s fiction

Can a splintered Amish family reconcile?

More than anything else, thirty-something Holly Fisher longs for family. Growing up in Seattle without a dad or grandparents, she wonders what it would be like to have a heritage, a place of belonging. Holly is furious when her mother, Esther, reveals a long-kept secret: Holly’s grandmother and uncles are still alive and begging Esther to return. And Holly is shocked when she learns that the family she’s never known lives on a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, farm—as part of an Amish community her mother once abandoned.

Guilt-ridden Esther, terrified to see her mother and siblings, begs Holly to accompany her on a visit to Esther’s mother before she dies. But can their journey to a conflicting world heal their emotional wounds and finally bring them home?

LEAVING LANCASTER is the first book I’ve read by Kate Lloyd. I’d read some good comments about her books on the Amish fiction boards on Facebook, so I was anxious to give it a try.  

I found the characters in LEAVING LANCASTER were middle age middle-schoolers. They acted very immature, were angry and spiteful. The mother lied about her past, and then continued lying after she returned home to make amends. However--that was the point of the story--the characters all had  a lot of maturing to do.

Written in alternating first person/third person makes it a bit difficult to stay in the story. And some of the events were implausible.

However, those who enjoy women’s fiction more than traditional romance might enjoy this take on the Amish life—why someone would leave and then return. If you like Amish fiction, don’t take my word for it. Try LEAVING LANCASTER for yourself. Includes discussion questions at the end of the book. $14.99. 369 pages.





Tuesday, May 21, 2013

His Brother's Wife


Title: HIS BROTHER’S WIFE
Author: Charlotte S. Snead
Publisher: OakTara
October 2012
ISBN: 978-1602903524
Genre: contemporary romance

Is Angelique a gold-digger - or an angel? Jonathan is determined to find out. When David Carter, a wounded war veteran, is gunned down in the streets of Washington, D.C., his twin brother, Jonathan, loses his best friend.

Convinced that the Army nurse David met at the rehabilitation hospital and recently married is only after the Manhattan Carters' wealth and power, Jonathan charges into Angie's office at Walter Reed to deny her the estate...only to find out that David hid his family's origins from her. The sister-in-law Jonathan had refused to meet for months confounds his expectations. Frail, beautiful, blonde Angie claims she wants nothing to do with the notoriety of her husband's prominent family. But Jonathan is determined to fulfill his twin's last request-to care for his wife-which now includes an unborn child.

As their two worlds collide, and the media is stirred into a feeding frenzy, Jonathan's heart is stirred by unexplainable longings for home and family. But will his twin's lovely widow ever be able to see him-without seeing his brother? A tender tale of courage, triumph, and lasting love in the most tragic of circumstances.

HIS BROTHER’S WIFE is the first book I’ve read by Ms. Snead. The book is simplistic in style, your basic category romance.  The story is mostly told, not showing, so as a reader I didn’t get fully connected with the characters.  The story is cute. Jonathan is angry, wanting to cut his brother’s widow out of the will, and Angie is grieving from the loss of her husband, shocked to discover he has an identical twin she’d never met, and rather defensive. One has to keep reading to see what will bring these two hurting individuals together. Kind of pricey at $14.95 for 160 pages. 3.5 stars.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stardust


Title: STARDUST
Author: Carla Stewart
Publisher: Faithwords
May 2012
ISBN: 978-1455504282
Genre: historical / women’s fiction

Shortly after burying her unfaithful husband, Georgia Peyton unexpectedly inherits the derelict Stardust motel from a distant relative. Despite doubts from the community and the aunt who raised her, she is determined to breathe new life into it. But the guests who arrive aren't what Georgia expects: Her gin-loving mother-in-law; her dead husband's mistress; an attractive but down-on-his-luck drifter who's tired of the endless road; and an aging Vaudeville entertainer with a disturbing link to Georgia's past.

Can Georgia find the courage to forgive those who've betrayed her, the grace to shelter those who need her, and the moxy to face the future? And will her dream of a new life under the flickering neon of the STARDUST ever come true?

I’ve read a couple of Ms. Stewart’s books and they are all different. STARDUST starts out with the almost mandatory death (in historicals) of Georgia’s unfaithful husband. STARDUST is impeccably written, I couldn’t find any fault there (not that I was looking) but I never did completely connect with the characters.

The story is slow moving, easy to put down, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s good to read a slow book instead of one that you race through and are left wanting more. STARDUST leaves you contemplating what you read, thinking about it long after you close the pages of the book.  Discussion questions are included at the end of the book. $13.99. 320 pages. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Biking Across America


Title: BIKING ACROSS AMERICA
Author: Paul Stutzman
Publisher: Revell
May 2013
ISBN: 978-0800721787
Genre: Memoir

Discover the heart of America on this life-changing, cross-country bike adventure

After Paul Stutzman finished hiking the entire Appalachian Trail, he found himself longing for another challenge. Trading his hiking boots for a bicycle, Paul set off to discover more of America.

Starting at Neah Bay, Washington, and ending at Key West, Florida, Paul traversed the five-thousand-mile distance between the two farthest points in the contiguous United States. Along the way he encountered nearly every kind of terrain and weather the country had to offer--as well as hundreds of fascinating people who represent the challenges and triumphs of the entire country. Through cold and heat, loneliness and exhaustion, abundance and kindness, Paul pedaled on. His reward--and yours--is a glimpse of an amazing country that inspires us all.

If you long for adventure, love to meet new people, and love this place called America, get ready for the ride of your life.

I had the opportunity to read and review Hiking Through, and I thoroughly loved it. When offered the chance to review BIKING ACROSS AMERICA I jumped at the chance. I picked it up today, knowing my review of the book is due in four days. I figured I’d read a chapter or two and then do my job.

Wrong! I inhaled BIKING ACROSS AMERICA, while my son reminded me multiple times about his desire to read this book. I quit only to do what I had to do, and go to church (as a pastor’s wife, reading a spell-binding book is not a good excuse to stay home) and finally finished the book at 10 p.m. All I can say is WOW. If you read one book this year, it has to be BIKING ACROSS AMERICA. Awesome book.  I wish I would’ve known Mr. Stutzman would be less than two hours from me on his journey and I would’ve driven up to meet him. Mr. Stutzman, if you are reading this review, I’m glad you chose to sell your rights to Hiking Through and allowing us to travel these journeys vicariously through you. Don’t miss BIKING ACROSS AMERICA or Hiking Through. $12.99. 226 pages.

Paul Stutzman is the author of Hiking Through. A former restaurant manager who left his career after his wife's death from breast cancer, Paul hiked the Appalachian Trail in search of peace, healing, and freedom. He continues to seek out adventure in new ways every day. When he is not hiking or on a cross-country bike ride he makes his home in Ohio. Find out more at www.paulstutzman.com.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Bring Your Money into the Light

Download Going Cash for free at www.christyfitzwater.com/writing.
Bring Your Money Into the Light
Article written by Christy Fitzwater, author of the e-book Going Cash


For the first two decades of our married life, I handled all the finances and did it poorly. Of course, I didn't know I was doing it poorly, but now I do.

I thought it was great that I was taking care of the money, so my husband didn't have to worry about it. It seemed like a good wifely thing to do, taking that burden off his already heavy plate. But now I see that what happened was me and the money went into a dark room, and bad things happen in the dark.

Matt's really frugal, and he didn't need money for stuff most of the time. But then every once in a while he would say, Hey, can we buy... I would go ballistic. Are you crazy? Do you know what our finances look like? No we don't have money for that!

Of course he didn't know what our finances looked like.

The money was in the dark.

A few years ago my monthly spending got really bad. We were starting to spend money we didn't have, encroaching into the next month's paycheck ---a dangerous place to be. I realized one day that I was swiping the debit card without evening looking at the amount I was spending. I would leave the grocery store having no clue what I had just done to our monthly budget.

Until the bank statement came, and I would be appalled at what I had spent. But that's what happens when the money is in the dark.

So in frustration three years ago, I decided to follow my friend's lead and go to using all cash.

Best decision EVER.

You know what happened? I went to the bank and saw the money in the envelope. I put money for Matt in separate envelopes for his spending ---right out there where he could see how much he had. I placed real money in see-through plastic sleeves in a purse-sized money organizer. Now even the kids can see how much clothing and allowance money they have.

Jesus says, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:21 NIV)

I used to be horrified to talk to Matt about the state of our finances. It didn't seem nearly so bad when it was just me and the money in the dark, but when I pulled out the truth for him to see I would realize how bad it was. Now that we have gone to using all cash, I have no shame. We all can see how much money there is. Our spending is well under control. (Thank God!) It has brought a peace into our marriage that I didn't know was missing until I experienced it.

So let me ask you---is your money in the dark where things go bad, or have you brought your finances into the light?

To read more from Christy Fitzwater or download Going Cash, visit her blog atwww.christyfitzwater.com or follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@Christy_Fitz). 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tempted, Tested, True


Title: TEMPTED, TESTED, TRUE
Authors: Arnie Cole and Michael Ross
Publisher: Bethany House
April 2013
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1085-3
Genre: Christian Living / Spiritual Growth
254 pages. $14.99 U.S. 5 stars.

From the opening pages where one is introduced to the whole notion of temptation (for those still ignorant of its existence), TEMPTED, TESTED, TRUE shines the brilliant beam of consecrated intelligence and dedicated creativity into the deepest recesses of the enemy’s camp.  Unashamedly, the authors call sin, sin … and provide a time-tested blueprint for how it can be successfully defeated on a daily basis.

Arnie Cole (CEO of Back To The Bible) and Michael Ross (award-winning journalist and bestselling author) combine their insights and God-given talents once again to provide an indispensable resource for living the Christian life in a victorious manner.  We are told in Scripture to “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  (James 4:7).  Cole and Ross have produced a handbook that shows you, step by step, just how that may be accomplished.  And I thank them for it.  If you are honest with yourself, you will recognize, as I have, how crucial it is to have such a work close at hand.  This isn’t a book to be read and shelved; it needs to be a constant ready reference.  Because our adversary never slumbers nor sleeps.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Summer of Service Launch Party!!!




Join Adventures in Odyssey this summer to discover how fun it can be to serve others!

Adventures in Odyssey, the beloved audio series from Focus on the Family, has encouraged kids toward
a stronger faith for 25 years. Whit, Connie, Eugene, and the other loveable characters from Odyssey
have shared countless adventures with kids across the world in the classic audio dramas, books, videos,
and devotionals, fulfilling the AIO promise to help kids discover, imagine, and grow.

This summer, Adventures in Odyssey is joining with Christian bookstores across the country, inviting
kids to participate in a Summer of Service. They’re promoting the biblical message, “When you serve,
everybody wins,” encouraging kids to serve their families, their communities, and their world. Whether
it’s baking cookies for an elderly neighbor or putting together a care package for missionaries overseas,
kids will discover that serving can be a blast!

How the A.C.T.S. (A Call to Service) challenge and contest works:

Kids who join A.C.T.S. can pick up a service log and collect fun character stickers for hours served at
participating bookstores throughout the summer, or download a serving log online at whitsend.org. At
the end of the summer, kids can record and upload a short video telling how they serve and why they’d
like to become an Adventures in Odyssey Ambassador.

A hundred winners will get the brand new AIO Album, and after online voting, two grand prize winners
(one boy and one girl) will get to travel on an exciting Good-Goers Mission Based Adventure trip to
another country with a parent! The out-of-country destination will be announced on a live podcast
May 22—hosted by AIO actors Katie Leigh (Connie) and Chris Anthony (Chris)—which you can watch at
whitsend.org/acts. You don’t want to miss it!

***


Why serve?

Our culture puts an extravagant amount of energy into raising kids who will grow up to feel good about
themselves. In schools, clubs, homes, and even at church, adults have made a decided effort to bolster
children’s “self-esteem” –not by actually encouraging kids do something that’s worthwhile, but by
simply telling them they are important and valuable.

At the turn of the century, researchers predicted that the next generation would respond to these
efforts of raising self-esteem by being filled with optimism and civic duty. Unfortunately, recent research
shows the opposite. Kids coming of age today are more self-centered, disrespectful of authority, and
depressed than ever before.

In a very real way, then, the best path toward building selfless, confident children is to help and
encourage them toward a growing and thriving faith in God. And that includes obedience to what God
teaches—not because it makes kids feel good, although it often does—but because they’re following
God’s instructions to love Him and serve others. That builds a faith they can count on and carry with
them into adulthood—which is the greatest gift any parent can bestow on their child.



·         The free downloadable mp3 file of the AIO Service episode, available here:http://www.tyndale.com/blog/index.php/acts-a-call-to-serve/ (note: downloads are only accessible through this link)

·         The free PDF download of summer service ideas for kids, also available here:http://www.tyndale.com/blog/index.php/acts-a-call-to-serve/