Saturday, January 26, 2013

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Monday, December 10, 2012

Book Review: Snowflake Sweethearts by Carrie Turansky

Carrie SnowflakeHiRes200resSnowflake Sweethearts was the first of Carrie Turansky’s books I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it! 

Annie Romano, the heroine, has a little girl to provide for so she returns to her hometown to start over where it’s safe. She puts her plans and her life on hold to help care for an older woman and that’s where the adventure begins. Sometimes it’s the bumps in the road that steer us toward the right path and give us a chance to examine our hearts and motives. That’s exactly what happens to Annie in Snowflake Sweethearts. It’s what happens to Alex Jameson, too, when his heart opens to Annie. Carrie’s characters deal with real-life problems. They may not always make the right choices all the time but supporting characters lead the way and gently influence their decisions. Carrie’s sweet heart shines through in her writing and I can’t wait to read more of her books. 

Here’s the book’s blurb: Bringing her daughter to the one place she feels safe, single mother Annie Romano returns to Fairhaven, Washington. Though hoping to start a new life as a personal chef, Annie accepts a different job. Alex Jameson, the handsome man she secretly loved as a teenager, needs a live-in caregiver for his ailing grandmother. A big-city workaholic in town temporarily, Alex doesn't seem to realize how much he needs family—or love. But the holiday season, his grandmother's matchmaking friends and one fatherless little girl start pulling at both Annie's and Alex's heartstrings. Just in time for the most special Christmas ever.
Here's my recent interview with Carrie. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Book Review - Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

BeStillMySoul (1)I recently devoured Joanne Bischof's debut novel, Be Still My Soul. 

Did I say devour? Well, I did! 

This story grabbed me from the first page and never let go.

Lonnie, the heroine, is someone who is so easy to feel for. You want her to be happy. When things go bad in her life, you want to reach into the book and help her out. But you can't. Lonnie knows where to go for help though. She leans on the Lord and even when things seem like they will never be right, she still reaches to God in her weakness and doubt. I wanted to slap Gideon, the hero, for quite a while because he was no hero at all. In fact, he treated Lonnie pretty badly. But her quiet nature and gentle spirit won him over in many ways. Still, there was much to be worked on in Gideon's life before he could ever become a true hero to Lonnie. The story was sweet and filled with angst and kept me turning pages. But the writing is what made me beg for my evening reading time to come quickly. Joanne is a phenomenal writer and I'm thrilled to have read her book. I can't wait for book two in the sequel! 

Be Still My Soul - Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

Night’s chill tickled her skin. Lonnie pressed her hands together and glanced up. He was even more handsome up close. Having grown up the shy, awkward daughter of Joel Sawyer, she’d hardly spoken to any boy, let alone the one who had mothers whispering warnings in their daughter’s ears and fathers loading shotguns.

Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith. But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate. Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob. Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts? You can find Joanne on the Internet at these sites: Facebook page: Website: Twitter:!/joannebischof Be Still My Soul on Pinterest: Amazon buy: B&N Buy: CBD Buy: I reviewed this book for Blogging for Books with no obligation to write a positive review.BloggingForBooks-125x125

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review of Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer

I just finished Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer and LOVED it! Here's the book blurb: All Travis Archer has ever cared about is his brothers and his land. But when a good deed goes awry, he’s stuck with a bride that endangers both. Here’s the official blurb: No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a lethal plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a twelve-year-old debt compels her to take the risk. Fourteen years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer confronts a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt send him riding to her rescue once again. Four brothers. Four straws. One bride. Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she determines to stand by his side against the enemy that threatens them both. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her merely as a short-straw bride?

The only thing about this book that upset me was the fact that it ended. Karen is a very engaging writer. Her characterization is wonderful. She gets deep into the heads of her characters and you care about them. She uses symbolism in such a way that when it dawns on you what she's done, you can't do anything but sigh. I have about five other books to read and review but all I want to do is pick Short-Straw Bride up and read it again!I interviewed Karen recently on my blog so check it out if you're interested in knowing more about her.

The contest has been closed. Find more reviews and interviews at

Monday, October 15, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter Review

Wildflowers from Winter is a gripping story!

Bethany Quinn is a mess! A wreck! And she doesn’t really know it at first. She’s an architect in a Chicago firm and her future seems bright. She’s got a boyfriend and it seems like her life will only get better. But she’s got a past that she doesn’t want to face. People she has walked away from that she doesn’t care to ever see again. But she gets called to return to her hometown and the memories of her trailer park days flood her mind no matter how hard she tries to run away from them. Her plan was to make her necessary visit and then return to her Chicago world and boyfriend. But her past wraps itself around her ankle and keeps dragging her back. She inherits a five hundred acre farm along with Evan, the farmhand. Well, she doesn’t really inherit him but she might as well have because he is as attached to the farm as she realizes she still is. It’s not going to be as easy to walk away as Bethany thought—and hoped. This woman has so many issues in her life, I wanted to jump in and help her overcome them. I found myself talking to her as I read and there were a few times I wanted to slap her, too. Katie has done a wonderful job of setting the scene and of conveying emotions. Wildflowers from Winter digs deep into the subject of loss and the grief that follows it. It also offers hope for a future. I interviewed Katie on my blog earlier this year. Interview with Katie "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review."

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Inspiring Heroes Inspire Readers by Jack Cavanaugh

Today, I introduce you to Jack Cavanaugh, novelist extraordinaire.

I met Jack in 2003 at the Christian Writers Guild Writing for the Soul writers conference. He was an instructor of one of the classes I took and I have never forgotten the things I learned there. He has the kindest nature and doesn't mind answering questions and taking time to help others perfect their craft.

Jack is an award-winning, full-time freelance author with twenty-six published novels to his credit. Two of his latest novels (Beyond the Sacred Page and Dear Enemy) are published through OakTara, my publisher, so we have much in common. A student of the novel for more than a quarter of a century, Jack takes his craft seriously, continuing to study and teach at Christian writers conferences. He is the former pastor of three churches in San Diego County and draws upon his theological background for the spiritual elements of his plots and characters. Jack has three grown children and lives with his wife in Southern California.

We'll learn a little more about Jack at the end of this article, but first let's hear what Jack has to say about heroes and how they inspire readers.

Inspiring Heroes Inspire Readers by Jack Cavanaugh

As a reader you know them— Emma Woodhouse Jane Eyre Robin Hood Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Atticus Finch Frodo Romeo and Juliet Sherlock Holmes You’ve shared their adventures. Shared their pain. And even though in your heart of hearts you know they’re not real, they feel like friends. Every year Margaret Mitchell gets the highest compliment an author can receive when Atlanta tourists walk into the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and ask for directions to the graves of Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. How do authors do it, clothe fictional characters in flesh and blood? Creating characters is an act of inspiration. The word inspire means, “to breathe life into.” So how does an author do that? He follows the same recipe the Creator used when He fashioned man— “And the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) An author begins with dust of the ground attributes: Physical description, Clothing, Hard-wiring his character with a personality type. Then, the author breathes life into his creation with motivation and intangibles: Giving him hopes and dreams, Setting obstacles and opposing characters in his path, Placing doubts in his mind, Forcing him to change, Making him face his greatest fear. To make a hero, the author adds: Courage, Cleverness and resourcefulness, A special talent or insight, And a wound to make him human. Finally, the author places the character in a scene with other characters and sets them in motion. It’s an anxious moment, even for the author, to see how the hero will handle himself. Bestselling author Terri Blackstock expressed this anxiety at a writers’ conference when she asked the other authors, “Do you pray for your characters?” How do authors know if their creation has truly come to life? They know they’ve succeeded if at the end of the book the reader suffers mild depression upon realizing they will no longer be spending time with the characters of the story. As magical as this seems, it gets better. If authors do their jobs well, there comes a moment when the reader is no longer reading the story, but living it; a dramatic moment of realization when the truth of the story crystallizes and — with a sharp intake of breath — the reader discovers something about himself. His life is changed. His sights are elevated. His resolve strengthens. He is a better person for having read the story. Not only has the author breathed life into his characters, he’s breathed new life into his reader. This is inspirational fiction at its finest.

I don't know about you, but this post inspired me! I am inspired as a reader and as a writer. Thank you, Jack, so much for taking the time to write this post for my blog.

Here's a little bit more about Jack: Jack's novels have been translated into a dozen foreign languages, largely because of the universal scope of his topics. Jack has not only written about American history, but about South Africa, banned English Bibles, German Christians in the days of Hitler and Communism, revivals in America, and angelic warfare. Jack’s current writing schedule includes motion picture screenplays and e-book novels with Internet distribution. His novel Death Watch has been optioned to be made into a motion picture by Out Cold Entertainment, Inc. AWARDS • Silver Medallion Award (1995), Christian Booksellers Association • Christy Award (2002, 2003), Excellence in Christian Fiction • Silver Angel Award (2002), Excellence in Media • Gold Medal, Best Historical (2001), ForeWord Magazine • Best Historical Novel (1994), San Diego Literary Society • Best Novel (1995, 1996, 2005), San Diego Christian Writers Guild

You can find Jack at this website:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Pew Perspective: Book Review - TO DANCE ONCE MORE by Sherri Wilson ...

A Pew Perspective: Book Review - TO DANCE ONCE MORE by Sherri Wilson ...: Today's book is one early-American historical romance readers will like best--it is so true to the times! Lydia Barrington is the younge...