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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Never Without Hope sample has all new content. This is "the confrontation."

Read the sample here...


http://www.freado.com/read/7428/never-without-hope-sacred-vows-book-1

My review of To Conquer a Highlander by Mary Wine

To Conquer a Highlander
About the book:


Mary Wine captures all the raw, rugged beauty of the Scottish Highlands, where tumultuous times bred a race of warrior men and women who fought for country, keep, and kin, and loved as passionately as they lived. In To Conquer a Highlander, Torin McLeren discovers his neighbor is plotting against the rightful heir to the throne of Scotland—a move that is likely to incite an English invasion. Seeking to foil the plot, he takes his neighbor's daughter hostage. Fiery Shannon Boyd plans to seduce her captor and then destroy him as retribution. But her plan goes awry when she lures Torin into her bed. In Torin, Shannon finds a passionate lover, a man who values and understands her. A man worth risking her life for— for her father will surely kill them both when he discovers what they've done…


My review:


This was a story with a fast moving plot and a lot of action. The battle scenes were gruesome, as was the description of the dungeon. That was enough reality for me to feel firmly planted in the time period. There was a lot of great tension as Torin and Shannon got to know each other better, too. I liked how the author showed the culture of the time and how men treated women in general, which made her captor's decent treatment of her all the more heroic. And unlike many books where the couples went to bed before marriage, you could tell these folks really did have feelings for each other.

I liked the realism of how Shannon kept insisting that she was worth nothing (after he had lain with her) because she was not his wife and she felt shame despite the fact that she enjoyed what they did. She continually said Torin should marry someone of blue blood, but the fact that his parents' had a marriage based on love and mutual affection made him want to settle for nothing less than the real thing. Torin was a pretty hot hero, and very easy to like. Same with Shannon. She gained the respect of his clan, and for good reason. At first she was more bull-headed, but she wasn't a wimp prone to manipulating men or people, which made everyone fond of her. It was sad how her own family disregarded her.

At any rate, the story was captivating and very sensual, but the steamy content didn't occur until almost halfway through the book. It was a little hotter than I prefer to read, as the majority of the second half of the book was loaded with all kinds of enticing scenes that were very erotic. The story would have been just as good without so much explicit detail and erotic wording, especially when it came to the oral sex. In fact, it would have been better. The author definitely has skill in writing sex scenes, though some of the terminology was crass and a bit offensive at times.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the book, though I hesitate to recommend it to people not used to reading fiery historical fiction. I don't typically read it myself because I don't want to get all worked up reading a book. If they came out with a Christian version of this book I would highly recommend it for the storyline and the developing love between the characters, which in a Christian version would not be consummated before their wedding. As it stands now I'd recommend it with caution due to so much graphic content the second half of the book. But, I concede that it was a well-written and expertly plotted love story.

To Conquer a Highlander was published by Sourcebooks Casablanca and releases July 6, 2010. A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Found them in my mailbox Monday June 28, 2010





Only 7 days 'til Sand in My Eyes: Great Beach Bag Giveaway!

Sand in My Eyes 
Between today and July 1 when Sand in my Eyes releases, Christine is giving away some of the best beach books of summer!

Pre-order Christine Lemmon's new book, Sand in my Eyes, from Amazon now, email your receipt to jclemmon@gmail.com with subject line Beach Bag Giveaway, and you'll be entered to win a beach bag full of 7 fabulous new summer beach reads including Seven Year Switch by Claire Cook, The Island by Elin Hilderbrand, Fly Away Home by Jennifer Weiner, The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch, The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen, The Nobodies Albumby Carolyn Parkhurst and Thin Rich Pretty by Beth Harbison.
 
Added bonus: Christine is throwing in a sweet pair of women's Oakley sunglasses and a $50 Amazon gift card for even more reading fun.
 
Thanks for your support of Sand in my Eyes!

My review of Salvaged by Stefne Miller

Salvaged 
About the book:

My body was being torn apart, and my stomach felt as if it exploded. The pain was excruciating, and I was aware that I was dying... "Mom?"

My vision was murky, but I could see her face. It was bloody, and her eyes were large and full of fear. Her voice calmed. "Get out of the car, Attie."

Her words sounded crisp and clear. I looked into the backseat in search of Melody and found her lying covered in blood in a twisted heap on the floor. I turned my attention back to my mother and out of the corner of my eye saw fire.

"Get out, Attie!"

"Mom?"

Everything went dark.

Attie Reed should have died in the wreck that stole the lives of her mother and best friend. But her life was spared. Why? When Attie moves to Oklahoma to stay with the Bennetts for the summer, she hopes she has left her nightmares behind. But her battle is far from over, and Riley Bennett steps forward to help her fight the nighttime monsters. As the battle wears on, Riley begins fighting monsters of his own: his feelings for Attie. And Attie realizes she must begin to face the monsters of the night herself if she wants to conquer them for good. Can Attie's life be Salvaged?

My review:

This novel blew me out of the water; ripped my socks clean off, and sent them hurtling into orbit. I am NOT kidding. Salvaged was so well-written and emotionally engaging that I couldn't stop reading it. I really enjoy going to church, but today I even wished I could have stayed home just to finish the book. Yeah, it hooked me that much. I finished the entire story in one weekend, and it's a 352 page novel (which is ironically the same number of pages as my debut YA novel, It's Not About Me.)

Salvaged
was a beautiful love story and a heart-wrenching portrayal of emotional healing. There were so many times in this story I got all choked up that I lost count. That's one way I can tell a book is truly wonderful. Whenever the story sweeps me away and I'm lost in the fiction realm because it feels so real...that's when I know it's a great book. I am really going to miss Attie and Riley. I loved both of them so much that my heart rejoiced with them and even ached for them at times. And they aren't even real people! I had to keep telling myself that. But they felt like people who could have been my friends when I was that age.

Attie and Riley were good teenagers and they were realistically portrayed, yet also backed with a solid message that avoiding temptation is a smart thing to do, and that accountability is necessary when you are young and hormonal...to keep you on the right path. I also loved the message that waiting to get physically involved really forces you to get to know the other person on more than just an attraction level. It makes a real emotional bond possible, thus making the heart connection special and built on a genuine affection for the person for who they really are.

I loved that the characters experienced intense feelings and desires, and that they struggled because of them. That's real life. Plus, the suppressed passion and battle for self-control just made the story all the more compelling and compulsively readable. Their is nothing sexier in a young hero than controlled passion. I think every young girl needs to get that message from this story. It is critical for the long term to wait on love and not rush things. Get to know the guy as a person and then see what happens. All great messages for teens. Plus, it was a perfect YA romance for males and females because it was packed with action. I didn't skim a single sentence.

Last, I loved that Attie talked to Jesus and that they had a tight heart connection. The honest conversations they shared were emotionally gripping and powerful because of the truth in their words. Like He did with Attie in this story, Jesus lovingly, yet firmly encourages us to deal with life head on, yet He promises never to leave us or forsake us. This was beautifully shown in their dialog. In fact, this book was so well written I forgot I was reading most of the time. The quality of the author's writing and her mastery of dialog makes this novel stand shoulders above many "shallow" teen novels on the shelves these days. I can't say enough good things about this book! It's making my best Christian fiction of 2010 list.

Salvaged was published by Tate Publishing and released in May 2010. There is a promo on Goodreads that ends June 30th, and there are well over 1,300 entries for two copies of this book. Give it a try and enter, but if you don't win, by all means buy the book. It will be worth every penny and every minute you spend reading it. I promise. Here is a link to the author's site where you can order the book. The author makes the most per sale when she sell the book herself, plus you get if for $10 off the cover price when you get it directly. She also has a kindle version of this book. So what are you waiting for? Snag this story while you still can @ http://stefnemiller.com/

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Here is the link to my interview on Blog Talk Radio. Check it out!


Listen to internet radio with Donald James Parker on Blog Talk Radio

Now I'm giving away Priceless by Tom Davis! (comes with bonus review)

To enter for a chance to win a copy of this amazing book, please answer the following question... If you knew that a young teen was going to end up sold into prostitution when she left the Russian orphanage if someone didn't adopt her, would you step in and adopt the child even if you had to raise the funds to do it. Now the right (Christian) answer would be yes, of course. But what if that girl had had already been abused and was a sexualized young woman who didn't understand boundaries? How would you protect your husband and sons from a sexualized teenage girl and ultimately protect her from herself in order to help her feel safe in her new family? In short, how would you help her to heal?

It's a complicated question, but give it a shot anyway. I will select a winner using the Randomizer program next Sunday, July 4th!

Priceless: A Novel on the Edge of the World

About the book:

Photojournalist Stuart Daniels has found purpose in life. After suffering the fallout of a tragic assignment, Daniels rediscovered his faith while helping a young African orphan. Now his photo work carries a greater mission: To educate people about social injustice happening around the world.

Daniels next assignment carries him back overseas and into the heart of Russia. Once there, Daniels is persuaded by an old friend to help save two girls from a desperate situation. Soon he becomes a key player in a dangerous campaign to rescue helpless women trapped in the sex-slave trade. What Daniels encounters during his journey will shake his faith, test his courage, and even threaten his life. Yet as Daniels gets deeper and the stakes get higher, he will discover that hope can be found in the darkest of places.

My review:

I loved this book as much, if not more than Scared, Davis's first novel. Not trying to sound corny here, but I have to say that Davis's latest book is truly Priceless. The author's compassion for orphans resounds from every page. Anyone who reads Priceless will be stirred to hopefully rethink their priorities. It seems that the average person in a wealthy country such as the United States has no idea what really happens to many of the orphaned children in other countries, such as Russia. If understood, more people would be involved in eradicating the sex trade and pursuing the criminals who traffic children to provide a carnal service to the basest of people.

For me, Priceless was an eye opening story that rang true-to-life. While unsavory at times, I found the content to be absolutely necessary to show what really happens to these girls and to develop compassion in the reader. None of the details seemed over-the-top to me. The main character, Stuart, was understandably conflicted between his desire to help free these children, and what he might have to do to facilitate their rescue, because he found posing as a buyer revolting. I empathized with Stuart and wanted to cheer him on for trying to do the right thing.

Before reading Priceless I hadn't thought much about the horrors of sex trafficking and what it would be like to be raped multiple times a day every day of your life. It's frightening to think about. Because this novel is so full of rich details like culture and language, it's obvious that the author has an authentic understanding of Russian orphans and the devastating histories many of these children have. A reader would have to be heartless not to be moved to tears while reading this book. The Lord is going to use this novel to reach people in a profound and mighty way.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

My review of The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare

The Fence My Father Built The Fence My Father Built by Linda S. Clare


My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Fence My Father Built was an interesting look into a different lifestyle and culture pertaining to water rights, land ownership and Native American burial grounds. It read like a woman's fiction novel, which was probably the author's intent. The author also used pretty creative descriptions at times, almost giving the story a bit of a literary feel. Nicely written.

I enjoyed the parts of the story where Muri read the journal that her father had written in before he died. I also loved the whole situation with the artifacts and Muri trying to show that Linc was a scoundrel who didn't care about his neighbors at all. It almost made me feel like I was watching a movie or an old TV show where the current episode dealt with a confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy in a hick town with a hick lawyer and jaded citizens who were afraid of the crook, Linc.

Since I love romance, I would have liked to have seen more happening between Muri and Rubin, her neighbor who was also the local veterinarian. There was so much untapped potential there. Muri's friendship with Rubin could have helped her to heal from the sense of betrayal and unworthiness she received from her ex-husband who dumped her. Maybe this will be addressed in another book?

The characters were all quirky and different, as was the setting in general. If you love reading about dysfunctional families this one will speak to your heart. I recently read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie and some of the cultural stuff with Aunt Lutie and Uncle Tiny reminded me of that story.

I didn't get Muri's excessive outrage, but I did appreciate her heart for wishing she had known her father before he passed away. I also appreciated how this story showed that her father loved Jesus even though he couldn't kick the alcohol. That is a different scenario not typically found in CBA fiction, and had Joseph been a real person, I wouldn't doubt for a moment that he really did love Jesus, despite his weakness. In the end, I loved that Muri did feel like she had some peace inside once she had fully connected with the father she didn't really know or remember. That was poignant.

View all my reviews >>

My review of Caleb and Kate by Cindy Martinusen-Coloma (fantabulous story!!!)

Caleb + Kate


Publisher's Description

"Romeo + Juliet gets an update in this story of forbidden love. Shakespeare’s never been so hip." -- Jenny B. Jones, author of The Charmed Life Series


As the popular darling of the junior class and heiress to the five-star Monrovi Inn empire, Kate has both everything and nothing. She’s bored with school and life...until she locks eyes with Caleb at a school dance.


Caleb is new to Kate’s exclusive prep school, and it’s clear he doesn’t fit in. In fact, he and his dad work in maintenance for Kate’s father. And while Caleb knows better than to spend time with the boss’s daughter, it seems that every time he tries to back away, something pulls him right back in.
When their parents demand that they are to stay away from each other, they learn of a fight between their families that occurred more than fifty years ago. It’s a mystery Kate doesn’t understand...but a legacy Caleb has endured his entire life.


With the world stacked against them, Caleb and Kate will have to walk by faith to find the path that God has planned for them.


My review:

If there was a ten star rating system for Young Adult romances I'd give this book twelve stars. It's the best YA romance I've ever read. Seriously. My heart was actually pounding for the last half of the book. Yes, it really was. I adored Caleb. He was a great guy, and I loved that he was not what everyone assumed when they first met him. The same with Kate. She wasn't a rich snob like he'd expected. I was thrilled that he couldn't hate her even though he had tried. They were so different.

Having met people from Hawaii who were native to the islands, the whole "haoles" reference to white people rang true, too. He didn't want to love her because life would be easier not to love her, but that's the cool thing about true love. It comes unexpectedly. When it hits you right in the heart, it leaves you stunned at first, but then craving more. Kind of like a wild carnival ride. Scary and exciting at the same time. I loved how the author perfectly captured the thrill of the ride in this story without being sappy or cliche.

The YA romance "voice" of this story was perfect, too. So was the male point of view. I loved that he didn't see her and think, "gee, she looks like she might have a wonderful personality. I'd like to get to know her." It was realistic. He thought, "Whoa. She's beautiful." And he kept feeling very drawn to her despite his attempts to feel otherwise. He also had very male teen hormonal thoughts, which rang true. Passion under control is SO heroic. Ahhh...love that kind of story where you fight true love and you lose.

There is something wonderfully elating about being pulled into a story and having it win over your heart. That is what this story did for me. I couldn't stop reading. I wanted to call someone to talk about how much I loved it as soon as I closed the book. It was such a beautiful story and slightly sensual but nothing over the top. These are high school teens here! Anything less than that would seem fake. I loved that they both fought desire. That made the story even better. And the fact that there was a faith element gently woven into the plot made it all the more endearing to me.

This book is making my top fiction list for 2010! Move over Valeria's Cross. You have some serious competition here. I now have a tie for the top of my favorites list! That has never happened to me before.

Caleb and Kate was published by Thomas Nelson and released in May 2010. A hearty thanks go to Thomas Nelson for sending me a copy of this book to review. I loved it!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free chapters from Waterbrook/Multnomah!

Shades of Morning
Anna Finch and the Hired Gun

Read Chapter One
Dowload Chapter One

Marnie Wittier has her life just where she wants it—and that?s a long way away from her past. Trapped between a famous outlaw and a troublesome lawman, one reporter searches for the truth and finds love.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

More cool stuff for bookclubs from Waterbrook/Multnomah!

Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann
Book Spot - A Program For Book Clubs
This Month's Feature:
Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann
Everyone in Redford, Colorado, has a
secret—even Police Chief Jonah
Westfall and the woman who loves him.
Will the revelations drive them
apart? Or make them indivisible?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kindles are on sale for a great low price! Nook also dropped their price!

Amazon Drops Its Price!!! Kindle Only $189.00


Have you been wanting an Amazon Kindle...but $259...$399 was WAY too much for you to pay? Here is the deal...Amazon just dropped the price of their current edition Kindle.Yep, the spanking new high tech one!

It's now only $189.00. (And guess what? Someone is buying me one just because they know I really want one! I didn't even ask or anything! Isn't God good?)

So, get that Kindle you have wanted forever. I've even made it easy for you. Just click on the link to your left and get yours today!


Plus if you are wanting a Nook - the price on that device came down to $199.00 for the 3G + WiFi and only $149 for just WiFi. http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Monday, June 21, 2010

Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist is up on CFBA with bonus review!






This week, the






Christian Fiction Blog Alliance






is introducing





Maid to Match
Bethany House (June 1, 2010)





by
Deeanne Gist




ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.


Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.


After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It!® product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.


Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere. Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, two RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.


Her 2010 books, Beguiled and Maid To Match are now available for order.


Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-seven years and their two border collies. They have four grown children. Visit her blog to find out the most up-to-the-minute news about Dee.




ABOUT THE BOOK


Falling in love could cost her everything.


From the day she arrived at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled, by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid, After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.



But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangles in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations...their hearts.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Maid to Match, go HERE.



Join this SPECIAL GETAWAY (Click on the Button):










My review:

I have yet to read a historical romance written by Deeanne Gist that I haven't totally adored. She has a way with words, setting, and edgy romantic elements that is just hard for other authors to beat. Maid to Match was a real page-turner, in my opinion, but it was more than that. It was truly insightful and inspiring. I loved how the story delved into what true riches are and how status and a good job can only go so far when it comes to truly satisfying work in this life. For a person of faith, there is always something more that the heart yearns for. Gist did a fantastic job showing that side of things.

This awesome historical was also a sizzling romance. Gist clearly understands that many historical romance readers want not only to feel like they are living in a different era, but that we want yummy romantic tension in the story, and she delivers every time. This is not a quick-peck-on-the-lips-kiss-at-the-end CBA novel. But it's not just a relationship built on physical attraction either.

The many hours the characters spent working together and getting to know each other better at the mansion were precious and sweet. I loved how the mutual caring between the hero and heroine developed in a subtle, yet powerful fashion. Then when they finally kissed it was like, WOW! It was hot. The sparks flew off the pages. I SO loved that moment and the many other rendezvous they had that followed. And those barn gatherings/games were something else.

The cool sub-plot regarding the orphanage was well developed, too. The scenarios with the children and the issues that arose were believable and well done. I loved that the Biltmore was a real place, even though Gist explains that the orphanage itself was completely fabricated. It felt real to me, and that's all that mattered. My heart ached for the children and for them as a couple. The end of this story was so satisfying and sweet that it's making my best fiction of 2010 list.

Maid to Match
was published by Bethany House and released in June 2010.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Now I'm giving away Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart!

To enter for a chance to win a copy of this book please post a comment answering the following question and make sure to leave me a way to contact you if you win. The question is this... Do you have a loved one who has suffered from severe depression? How has it affected you?

I'll go first. Depression runs on my mother's side of the family. I've learned that not only can it affect me, but because of the genetic correlation I had to be on guard myself. I've also learned that you learn to "tune out" pain when you see someone who is always in the throws of it. Otherwise it can be overwhelming.

I'll select a winner next Sunday, June 27th, using the Randomizer program. Best wishes!

Chasing Lilacs: A Novel

About the book:

It is the summer of 1958, and life in the small Texas community of Graham Camp should be simple and carefree. But not for twelve-year-old Sammie Tucker. Sammie has plenty of questions about her mother's "nerve" problems. About shock treatments. About whether her mother loves her.

When her mother commits suicide and a not-so-favorite aunt arrives, Sammie has to choose who to trust with her deepest fears: Her best friend who has an opinion about everything, the mysterious kid from California whose own troubles plague him, or her round-faced neighbor with gentle advice and strong shoulders to cry on. Then there's the elderly widower who seems nice but has his own dark past.

Trusting is one thing, but accepting the truth may be the hardest thing Sammie has ever done.

My review:

I read this book from cover to cover in one day. Chasing Lilacs is a wonderful coming of age story about a girl learning to cope with so many things in life that she didn't understand...one being why her mother would take her own life, and the other wondering if her mother ever really loved her at all. As Sammie explores the issues her mother struggled with, she starts working through emotional challenges of her own. To make matters worse, her mother's sister moves in and tries to take over thei...more I read this book from cover to cover in one day. Chasing Lilacs is a wonderful coming of age story about a girl learning to cope with so many things in life that she didn't understand...one being why her mother would take her own life, and the other wondering if her mother ever really loved her at all. As Sammie explores the issues her mother struggled with, she starts working through emotional challenges of her own. To make matters worse, her mother's sister moves in and tries to take over their home, which Sammie obviously resents. The endearing relationship Sammie had with Slim and with her boyfriend Cly were delightful to read about and were some of my favorite scenes.

I enjoyed the setting and the many things that were classic to that time period, like the kids drinking Ovaltine. The way treatment for depression was described totally fit the time period they were in, too. Because of the details that gave the story an authentic 50s feel, I found myself totally engrossed in Sammie's world. The characters' troubles and heartache seemed real, as did their self-discovery and growth resulting from their pain. The characters were complex, making this novel a delightful read for me. I really felt bad for Sammie's father, and worried that he would make some wrong choices, too. In many ways this story reminded me of Mary DeMuth's Watching the Tree Limbs because it had similar themes and depth to it. Great debut novel!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My review of Sing by Lisa Tawn Bergren! Spotlight for B&B Media!

Can you run far enough to outdistance truth?
A story of prodigals chasing their dreams. Will they turn toward home before it’s too late?

How much are your dreams worth? Can wealth and fame satisfy your heart as deeply as family and faith? Award-winning author Lisa Bergren’s latest novel, Sing, explores the lives of two prodigals who must decide if they are willing to pay the price their dreams demand. Moira and Nic St. Clair have both defied their father’s desires for them and instead travel to the edge of their dreams and find themselves standing upon the precipice of decisions that will alter their lives forever.

Bergren first introduced the St. Clair family in the novel Breathe. Maintaining her strong and well-researched story line in Sing, she immediately transports readers to the end of the 19th century and weaves the plot amid scenes from Europe, Brazil and Colorado. Moira St. Clair takes center stage in this dramatic saga, as the reader follows her on a treacherous journey across the Atlantic into a lifestyle that proves to be even riskier and more daring than her life upon the stage of the European opera. Believing the promise that she could become “the perfect specimen of modern womanhood,” Moira travels farther and farther away from her family’s heritage of faith. When she encounters a deadly nemesis from her past, she must quickly decide what she values most in her life, before it’s too late.

Bergren takes the reader on a suspense-filled and arduous spiritual journey as she weaves the lives of the three St. Clair children into an unforgettable prodigal story. Her award-winning prose is a strong voice showcasing God’s mercy and grace in the lives of defiant believers, and her characters and their trials will be remembered long after the final pages. Sing is a brilliant addition to Bergren’s Homeward Trilogy, and fans will be eager to learn what comes next in the lives of the St. Clair family.

Sing by Lisa Bergren (Book Two in the Homeward Trilogy)
David C Cook/April 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6707-3/400 pages/softcover/$14.99

Sing: A Novel of Colorado 

About the book:

It’s 1886 and the St. Clairs are living out their dreams in three very separate parts of the world—Paris, Brazil and Colorado. And while each has found a measure of success and joy, each are haunted by past sins and secrets. As they face the biggest challenges of their lives—including facing off with an old enemy—each must discover the power of homecoming, and what it means to sing praises to God, even in the midst of loss.

My review:

I enjoyed the sequel to Breathe and am looking forward to the third book in the series, Claim. Bergren did a fantastic job of torturing her characters and making you care about them. The brother Nic and sister Moira messed up the worst. What I liked about this story was that Begren pulled no punches and had them make poor choices and suffer from their mistakes. I really ached for Moira who went through quite a transformation in this novel because of the many disappointments and hurts she suffered.

I also loved the conflict between Odessa and Bryce's brother. There was some serious tension there, and I loved how realistically it was portrayed. The temptation was well done. I'm curious to see if this plays out further in the next book in this series. I'm also looking forward to seeing what happens to Nic in the last book. He has gone through so much, and yet he survived. On the positive end, he lost some of his recklessness because of this. Both he and Moira learned that they could not control everything. I found it interesting how they were introduced to faith, and also touching when Moira experienced unconditional love.

Last, I adored that this book had a lot of edgy content. Again, Bergren lays the temptation and aftermath right out there. She shows how sin easily entangles and snares the victim. She also uses realistic dialog in many of the scenes and I cringed at the painful truth in those words. Bravo to Lisa for writing a daringly different historical romance set in 1880s Colorado. I would definitely recommend this series to people who like edgy stories within which the characters have realistic struggles they try to overcome.

Sing was published by Cook and released in April 2010. A copy of this book was provided to me to review by The B&B Media Group. My review was not influenced by this, but is my own opinion.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Posted a new teaser chapter from Never Without Hope. Enjoy!



If you enjoy the teaser, please consider buying the book. :)

My author copies of Never Without Hope have arrived.

Woke up from my nap (not feeling well today so I went home early) and discovered my two cases of books have arrived. Yay!

This book is even more beautiful when you hold it in your hand than it is just seeing it on the internet. If you want an autographed copy, post a comment and we'll talk. These books won't last long, I guarantee it! I'll also send some gorgeous bookmarks to share. I've had a lot of pre-orders already, so going once...going twice...

You know, I am so proud of this book, not just for how well the story turned out, but how good the product is for the price. I promise you that it will be one of the best purchases you've made this year. Now I'm done with the shameless advertisement. Back to your regularly scheduled activities.

Ad for Multnomah. They're promoting some great titles for e-readers I thought you'd want to know about.




Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Revell Blog tour stop for The Homecoming by Dan Walsh with bonus review!

Homecoming, The: A Novel


About the book:

No sooner is Shawn Collins home from the fighting in Europe than he is called upon to serve his country in another way--as a speaker on the war bond tour. While other men might jump at the chance to travel around the country with attractive Hollywood starlets, Shawn just wants to stay home with his son Patrick and the aging father with whom he has finally reconciled. When Shawn taps Katherine Townsend to be Patrick's nanny while he's on the road, he has no idea that she will be the key to his future happiness and the mending of his heart.

My review:

This sequel to The Unfinished Gift was heartwarming and sweet. I am a real WWII fiction buff so the scenes that involved war I found particularly interesting, like the bombs being dropped on England toward the end. I found a lot of the material to be interesting and perfectly suited to the era. The author had obviously done his research and had me solidly grounded in the 1940s while I read this novel, especially when it came to lingo, popular music, and the current "stars" of the day. This story kind of reminded me of "It's a Wonderful Life" in tone, but minus the Christmas setting.

The spiritual thread in this novel was solid, though subtle. I found it well-balanced and inspirational. It didn't feel like a sermon to me, but like part of the story, as it should. I enjoyed watching the characters develop affection for each other and observing the continued healing of the broken bonds between father and adult son from the first book. The pacing was well done and the healing process realistically portrayed. I also felt like I'd really bonded with Katherine and her heart for wanting the family she never had. That was so touching and sweet how the author developed that aspect of her character.

The hero was amazing, too, and very humble, which made him extremely likable. His relationship with his son was tender and I grieved for him when they were separated. I loved how he got some solid advice from his dad about what to do with Katherine toward the end of the story. When the hero finally had his "oh no, I'm gonna lose her" moment, I was like "YES!" and cheered him on in his pursuit of true love. This was a great story with a lot of good heart-felt emotion. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first book, but I did find it ultimately satisfying.

Revell provided me with a copy of this book to review for the tour, but it did not influence the outcome of my opinion in any way. The Homecoming was published by Revell and released in June 2010.

I changed the free 8 page sample from yesterday to 6 new ones today.

Those of you that read the sample yesterday will enjoy the fact that I posted a new section today. If this doesn't make your jaw drop, I don't know what will. :) Anyway, click on the little book on the right side for your sample. I will leave it here for awhile. Peace!

Oh, and Never Without Hope is now available on Barnes and Noble...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

About Michelle Sutton-fReado

About Michelle Sutton-fReado

This is my latest cool discovery. You can read chapter 9 of NWH here for free by clicking on the link...

Litfuse Blog Tour stop for Scars and Stilettos by Harmony Dust.

Blog tour for Harmony Dust's moving book:
Scars and Stilettos:The Transformation of an Exotic Dancer.




ABOUT THE BOOK:

Fear of being abandoned keeps nineteen-year-old Harmony Dust trapped in an abusive and cruel relationship. She thinks she has hit bottom-tens of thousands of dollars in debt, struggling to get by, and so controlled by her boyfriend that she doesn't protest when he begins openly sleeping around. Things can't get worse . . . until someone tells her how much money she can make as an exotic dancer. For the next three years, Harmony lives a double life as Monique, a dancer in a fully-nude strip club.

Scars and Stilettos is Harmony's stark, honest, and ultimately hopeful story of how God found her in that dark, noisy place and led her out. She has since married, completed an MA in social welfare, and now leads Treasures, an organization helping women in the sex trade discover their true worth.

"Harmony wrote her story so that you and your friends may get help out of whatever dark tunnel you find yourself in. . . . once you start this book, you will not be able to put it down and you will want to get a copy for every person you know." -Holly Wagner, from the preface



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Harmony Dust is founder of Treasures, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles that reaches out to women in the sex industry to show them they are loved, valued, and purposed. Find out more about Treasures, Harmony, and her book at www.IAmATreasure.com or http://www.ScarsandStilettos.com. Check out Harmony's Press Page for magazine articles and videos about her work with women in the sex-trade industry.

My review: (note: I reviewed this book on my own and was not given this book as part of the blog tour. I had already read the book so my opinion was in no way influenced by anything.)

I enjoyed this story/memoir and read it straight through. I found it compelling and well written. In fact, I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn't a novel because it read like one. The author gives the reader a real feel for the lifestyle and how a young woman can get pulled into it without making the reader feel icky. Not an easy task with this type of subject matter. I appreciate how she showed that God had used the damage from her past to heal her in the present, and to prepare her for the future so she could minister to others.

I personally have been in similar situations as have many of the people I've worked with in child welfare. In these situations they agreed to something they didn't want to do out of fear of losing something they thought they had but was never really theirs to begin with. That particular theme in the story is what makes it so sad and yet, so real. The early childhood abuse taught her not to fight or to assert herself because she would always lose. That is how so many teens that I have worked with felt about themselves. They would make poor choices because they felt they had no choice. Yet when they realized they'd had a choice it was too late. Sad, but very real life. Bottom line...the authenticity of the story amazed me. And to be brave enough to tell it in all of it's shameful subject matter is incredible. That can only be done with God's help.

In Scars and Stilettos I didn't feel like the author was trying to glorify her past, but intended to walk the reader through her story in regards to the thought and emotion she went through as she deal with so many things. It was even powerful of a story in that regard. The beauty of how God reached her right where she was inspired me the most. How true that you don't win people to Christ by shaming them, but by filling them with the love of Christ, and then the behavior changes. You can't make anyone change by condeming them, but with love, you can move mountains. Isn't that so true? This book is not a downer; I really encouraged me. I loved that Harmony pointed out that she waited to heal before getting involved in a new relationship. That was a very healthy message. I have nothing but good things to say about this book.


LINKS:

Link to the blog tour on your blog:

http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/scars-and-stilettos-blog-tour.html


CONTEST
!

Kregel Publishers is graciously donating a $50 Amazon.com gift card for the Litfuse Blog Tour Contest! Woo-hoo (thanks Kregel!) All you have to do to enter is either tweet (see TWEET THIS below) or share the book on Facebook using this link: http://www.litfusegroup.com/Blog-Tours/scars-and-stilettos-blog-tour.html

BLOG TOUR!

6/14

Jami at Intentionally Living...
http://jamibalmet.blogspot.com

Tina at Tina's Book Reviews
http://www.tinasbookreviews.com

Monica at My 3 Crazy Monkey's
http://www.thebertones.blogspot.com

Michelle at My Semblance of Sanity
http://michellekemperbrownlowwrites4kids.blogspot.com

Beckie at RBC Library
http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com

6/15

Alex at ...She Reads...
http://alihsee-reads.blogspot.com

Maggie at Tethered Mommy
http://www.tetheredmommy.com

Lisa at Heritage Homestead and Homeschool Academy
http://www.teachthemhisways.blogspot.com

Chistine at The IE Mommy
Http://www.theiemommy.com

Valerie at Teatime with Valerie
http://www.valkgal.com


Michelle at Edgy Inspirational Author
http://www.edgyinspirationalauthor.blogspot.com



6/16

Book Reviews by Kady Garrett
http://kgar.wordpress.com


Stephanie at The Joy Centered Life
http://www.thejoycenteredlife.blogspot.com

Elizabeth at Count It All joy
http://texasjoy.blogspot.com

Marta at Marta's Meanderings
http://martasmeanderings.blogspot.com

Kaylea at My Scrappy Life
Http://kaytebug2002.blogspot.com

6/17

Julie at my5monkeys
http://www.tableforseven-julie.blogspot.com

Rhiana at A Frugallife
http://www.afrugallife.org/

CelticLady at Blog O'The Irish
http://www.celticladysramblings.blogspot.com

Shonda at Knowlton Nest
www.jsknowlton.blogspot.com

Catherine at Cuzinlogic
http://cuzinlogic.wordpress.com/

6/18

Erin at Connected2Christ
http://connected2christ.com/theblog/

Heather at Mommy Of 1 and Counting
http://www.heatherandavery.blogspot.com

Lulu at Knits and Reads
http://knitsandreads.blogspot.com

Stacy at A Novel Source
http://anovelsource.blogspot.com

6/19

Paula at GraceReign
http://www.gracereign.blogspot.com

Angela at A Heart for Words
http://aheartforwords.blogspot.com/

Andi at Radieant Light
http://www.frommipov.blogspot.com

Marissa at The Review Stew
http://thereviewstew.blogspot.com

6/21

Jill at Frugal Plus
http://frugalplus.com/

Jettie at Jettie's Ramblings
http://jettiesramblings.com

Kristina at 3under4
http://www.3under4.com

Karen at Sky-High View
http://sky-highview.blogspot.com/

Crystal at The Scattered Mind Fragments of a Musical Mommy
http://musicandmommies.blogspot.com

6/22

Shannon at Mountaineer Country
http://www.mountaineercountrywv.blogspot.com

Zoe at Soe Reads
http://zoereads.blogspot.com

Emmanuel at Your Dreams Have Meanings
http://yourdreamshavemeanings.blogspot.com


Tracy at Pix-N-Pens
http://www.pixnpens.com

Suzanne at Clicking Her Heels
http://www.clickingherheels.blogspot.com

Ponderings by Andrea
http://andrealschultz.blogspot.com

6/23

Missie at Thirsty
http://fillmythirst.blogspot.com

JHS at Colloquium
http://www.jhsiess.com

Carol at Books Before Food
http://bookbeforefood.blogspot.com/

Lynetta at Open Book
http://lynetta.blogspot.com/

Revka at The Porch Light
http://ourfamilyporch.blogspot.com

Esther is Blogging
http://www.estherisblogging.blogspot.com/


6/24

Jen at The Steeds
http://www.thesteeds.net

Edna at My Favorite Things
http://edna-myfavoritethings.blogspot.com/

Tracy at Tracy's Book Review
http://www.tracysbooklet.info

Vera at Luxury Reading
http://www.luxuryreading.com

Barb at Country Bookshelf
http://www.countrybookshelf.blogspot.com

6/25

Mattie at Nothing But Love
http://www.owenothingbutlove.blogspot.com

Dona at Allergy Kid Mom
http://allergykidmom.blogspot.com

Stacy at Uponeagleswings
http://uponeagleswings.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 14, 2010

Extremely edgy sample from chapter 4 of Never Without Hope...

This is to show you a sample of the story so you'll know if it's too edgy for you in advance...

BUT, if you love it, please get your copy ASAP so we can keep the momentum going, okay?

Excerpt from Never Without Hope

Chapter 4

Once we arrived home, I wondered if James had really understood what I’d done. What I’d tried to tell him. He acted like nothing had changed. I readied for bed, wearing my short pink silk gown with the low cut neckline, his favorite. My long brown hair caressed my shoulders like silk. I draped a section over the front of my gown so it covered part of my breast.

I knew he liked my hair this way, so I gave it all I had, including the bedroom eyes. He gazed at me with sadness, and yearning. I wish I could take everything back and start over again. But some things couldn’t be undone.

“Come here.” My husband reached for me.

My skin tingled at his command, and he hadn’t even touched me yet.

I threw myself into his arms. “Oh, James. I love you so much.”

He held me tight for several minutes, then drew back until he could look into my eyes. “You’re my best friend, you know that? I thank God for you every day.”

Closing my eyes, I turned my head away. When he looked at me with such emotion, it haunted me. How could I have hurt him like that? I hated myself.

“Look at me, Hope.” He touched my chin and guided my head. “I want you to look me in the eyes.”

I lifted my lids and peered at him, wondering what he’d say next. Trembling at his touch. Pouring my heart out to him, but without words. I ached for intimacy and held my breath as I waited for his declaration of love.

“I’m not the man I once was, Hope. I can’t satisfy you anymore. I’m sorry.” His eyes filled with tears, and I felt lower than dirt.

Resting my head on his shoulder I held him tight. What did that mean? Was he telling me we’d never have sex again? I didn’t get it. With my face burrowed into his shoulder, I inhaled the scent of his musky skin, then asked, “What are you saying, James?”

“You deserve a younger man, a man with some life still in him. I just don’t feel well anymore. My drive is gone. I don’t know what’s wrong.” He sighed and turned away.

Maybe he hadn’t heard me when I’d told him what I’d done.

Maybe I was too vague, or he really didn’t get it. Now another chance to tell him presented itself. I could make sure he understood this time. I opened my mouth, but the words wouldn’t come.

His gaze slowly covered me from head to toe and back again.

“You are so beautiful.”

Tears now cascaded down my cheeks. “Don’t give up, James. See the doctor and ask him to help you find out what’s wrong.”

“No!” he yelled, making me jump. He shoved his finger in my face. “I’m not telling anyone about this. And you better not, either.”

“But how will it get fixed if you don’t—”

His face darkened. “I said no. I’m not talking about this anymore.” He stomped toward our bed and pulled back the sheets, then slid under them.

I stood with my mouth gaping. “Does this mean that we won’t ever—”

“Hope, honey, it’s not that bad.” His voice softened. “We love each other. What more do we need?” He peered up at me with a distant look in his eyes, like he’d resigned himself to a sexless marriage.

I hadn’t thought I was being selfish, but was I?

“James, there are things we can still do. Your hands work just fine. Sometimes I just like to kiss, you know? Nothing expected, just a kiss.”

He grunted. “Yeah, right, Hope. Come on. You know what you want.”

Was that so wrong? To want my husband? I didn’t get it. “Of course I want that, but I’ll take anything you give me, honey. Anything.”

“No! Not if I can’t follow through.” Frowning, he rolled over until he faced the wall, just like that.

Anger welled up in me. He’d given up too easily. It wasn’t right.

My fists clenched. I’d make him respond to me. I just needed to try harder to get him aroused. So I slid under the sheets and pressed against his back. With our son staying at his friend’s house, we wouldn’t have to worry about him barging in on us. So I kissed James’s hair, his neck, and inhaled deeply. My hand rested on his abdomen. I slid it lower. “Baby, let’s make some noise.”

He wedged himself between my arm and his torso and flung my hand off him. “Stop it, Hope. Just let me sleep.”

Let him sleep? Was this what I had to look forward to from our marriage from now on?
Fine!

I folded my hands over my chest, stormed into our guest room, and turned on the computer. I hadn’t checked my e-mail yet, so until I cooled down, at least that would distract me from wanting to use his back as a punching bag.

After deleting junk mail, I scanned my list. Tony had e-mailed me. Excited and terrified, I gave in to the urge to find out what he’d written. My blood pumped so hard it made my ears ring.

Clicking on the message, I held my breath…

I still can’t believe what happened. It was like a dream. You make me happy.

Tony


Well, at least I made someone happy. I swallowed hard as I decided what I’d say in return. After deleting several potential replies, I ended up with this…

You were great. I will never forget what happened either. I’ll dream about it tonight, for sure.

Hope


Within seconds, he responded.

We can meet again. My wife, she is gone for two days so I am home tomorrow until I must leave for work. Call me?

Tony


His wife would be gone? Wow. That meant I could see him one more time. So what if all he wanted from me was the same thing I wanted from him. It helped me cope with a miserable situation, and from what he’d already told me about his wife, Tony wasn’t getting any action at home, either.

Okay, I’ll call you tomorrow. 

Hope.

Yawning, I stretched and started when my husband suddenly appeared behind me.

“Who is that e-mail from, your boyfriend?”

My face heated and I shrank from him. “Would you care if it was?”


He flinched. “Come on, Hope. I was being sarcastic. I know you’d never do that to me. Now let’s go to bed.”

“But I don’t want to sleep yet.” I gave him my most pleading look and raised the skirt of my nightie. “Touch me, James.”

“Dang it, woman! I told you how I felt! I just want you to come to bed. To sleep.”

“Then I’ll stay up.” I turned away from him.

He stormed into the other room and I heard him crack open a beer. Well, he could have his beer. I decided to watch a chick flick, since that would be the only romance I’d probably get. Too bad it had to be a fantasy, a work of fiction. I wanted the real thing, and from the looks of things, sex with my husband would never happen again.

Suddenly I felt less guilty about wanting to see Tony. If my own husband didn’t want me, then what other option did I have?

Besides, I’d only see Tony one more time. Then we’d end it. I’m sure he’d agree it was simply too risky to keep meeting, because one of these days we could get caught in the act.

I’d rather be eaten alive by sharks.

You can now order Never Without Hope in paperback form on Amazon.com!



Click on the picture of the cover above and order now!

Back cover copy:

Hope believes she is above sexual temptation; that she would never break that commandment like her husband's previous wives had done. After all, she is a good Christian and a loving mother. She has no reason to stray... until her husband starts neglecting her needs and things begin to look hopeless. Though she clearly communicates her pain to her husband, he refuses to get help. She starts to wonder…Will she never have sex with her husband again? She soon learns that she, too, is capable of such betrayal when she succumbs to the unthinkable.

But things that first seemed sweet and reasonable given her painful situation soon produce a bitter taste when combined with the overwhelming guilt. No substitute will ever replace her love and desire for her husband. If only he would touch her like he used to. If only they could make love again. She misses him so much and wants to tell him the truth hoping it will propel him to do something to fix their problem, but she fears his rejection. Yet, she can't continue living such a hypocritical life. She knows it's wrong even though she continues to crave physical intimacy. Steeped in the quagmire of adultery, Hope must find her way back to solid ground to save her marriage. But will she lose everyone she loves in the process?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer is up on CFBA (with review!)

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


A Tailor-Made Bride


Bethany House (June 1, 2010)


by


Karen Witemeyer






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Karen Witemeyer is a deacon's wife and mother of three who believes the world needs more happily-ever-afters. To that end, she combines her love of bygone eras with her passion for helping women mature in Christ to craft historical romance novels that lift the spirit and nurture the soul.



After growing up in California, Karen moved to Texas to attend Abilene Christian University where she earned bachelor and master's degrees in Psychology. It was also there that she met and married her own Texas hero. He roped her in good, for she has lived in Texas ever since. In fact, she fell so in love with this rugged land of sweeping sunsets and enduring pioneer spirit, that she incorporates it into the pages of her novels, setting her stories in the small towns of a state that burgeoned into greatness in the mid-to-late 1800s.



In January, 2009, Karen signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers for three inspirational historical romance novels, and she is thrilled to announce that her first book, A TAILOR-MADE BRIDE has released this month. For an inside look into the background and quirks of some of the major players in this upcoming story, click over to Character Corner





ABOUT THE BOOK





When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!


Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.



Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?



When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to consequences neither could have foreseen--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?



If you would like to read the first chapter of A Tailor-Made Bride , go HERE.

My review:

I enjoyed this historical romance by debut author Karen Witemeyer. It had tender, insightful, loving moments and some dynamic, realistic attraction between the characters. It was a bit more yummy in the sensual tension department than most books in this genre, while still remaining very reserved. That was an impressive feat on the author's end. This novel sizzled without sizzling. I'm not sure how that happened, but it was enjoyable nevertheless.

I loved how the author managed to insert that it's not fashion that causes one to stumble, but the heart, the same as it's not money that's the root of all evil, but the LOVE of money. Like any good Christian romance, this story showed how love can change a person's underlying motivation and the love of a good woman can change a man's heart. Also, the hero learned that assessing a person by their outward adornment is inaccurate at best. Bottom line...his assumptions about her were wrong.

There is a theme in this novel that shows that actions speak louder than words, too. Our actions should show our love and our character. What we do for people should be a natural outpouring of our hearts as Christians. This book had many good aspects to it and many solid lessons within the pages. I enjoyed it even though it's not much different from other romances set in the old west. The fact that the heroine was a seamstress by trade and a business woman, however, was a nice touch that offered a unique slant on things.
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