Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fade to Blue by Julie Carobini and Giveaway!!!


Let's welcome Julie Carobini today and see what she has to share about herself and her new book,
   
Fade to Blue.

Hi Julie! I'm so excited to have you here today.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.

 
Sure! I write seaside stories filled with faith, flip flops, and waves of grace. My family and I make our home on California’s central coast, and I’ve written five novels plus hundreds of published articles on everything from parenting, to team building in the workplace, to Christian surf dudes on a mission.


 Living on any coast sounds good to me :-) How did you become interested in writing?

 
My father wrote magazine articles on the side, including interviews with entertainers such as Fred Astaire and Fred MacMurray. Always loved that! I too became an article writer almost twenty years ago, but I always yearned to create fiction. I wrote two novels that did not sell, but as they say, third time’s a charm, and my debut novel, Chocolate Beach, released in 2007 (re-released with recipes in 2011 as an eBook). By that time, I had a renewed faith in God as well as a redefined focus on the kinds of stories he was leading me to write.

I'm so glad they bought your novel! What compelled you to write a book on this subject?

 
Hearst Castle
 Ever since the inception of the Otter Bay Novels with Sweet Waters, I’ve wanted to set a book with the famed Hearst Castle as its backdrop. So much intrigue and mystery about that real castle on the hill and its eccentric, yet astute owner. Of course, novels are more than their location. So after writing the 2nd of these stand-alone novels, A Shore Thing, even I longed to know what happened next for the big-hearted, single mom from that story. Fade to Blue satisfies that curiosity …


That's some castle! What is the main theme or point that you want readers to understand from reading your book? Are there any other themes present in the book?


Writing this story was much like holding a seashell, constantly turning it over in my hand. Though they’re often tossed into the sea with nary a glance, seashells are intricately beautiful—even when broken. The more I examined the shattered life of Suz—the heroine of Fade to Blue—the more beauty I found. Only the One who restores our souls can make that happen.


 Amen! Are there some specific lessons you hope readers will learn and apply to their lives after reading your book?

 I hope readers get lost in the story and the beautiful setting, that they revel in God’s creation as much as I did while writing it. I also hope they experience the Good Shepherd’s gentle leading (Psalm 23), and fall in the love with the concepts of forgiveness, sacrifice, and grace—as much as they do the breathtaking locale.


  
 
sea anemone
I know I loved the scenes depicted, especially the anemones!

What makes your book different than any other books similar to yours that are in circulation today?

Although I’ve been compared to some amazing writers—something that humbles me—I also know that God made each one of us uniquely. I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5. One unique aspect of my books is the focus on God’s creation of the sea and everything in it. My characters have loved dolphins, sea lions, otters—even giant, glowing sea anemones. But they take that admiration a step further by drawing closer to the God who made such beauty.


You describe it so beautifully, too! How does the book intertwine with God’s call on your life and how you are currently serving Him?

 This story reminds me not to dwell on the past, but to prayerfully, joyfully—and ‘hope’fully— move forward. Such lessons there! Suz Mitchell made mistakes in her past—so have I—yet healing brokenness and restoring souls is God’s business. Praise him for that!


He is the Restorer! Do you have a favorite Scripture verse?

I have more than one favorite, but this one’s been spinning in my mind again lately: Psalm 19:14 NIV, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.”

Wonderful verse. When you are not writing, what do you like to do? Do you have any hobbies?

I love to comb the beach, to jog the sand with Charlie the Dog, and take coffee breaks with my husband—so adore that man!


I love walking on the beach and feeling the power of the sea! As we close, is there anything else you would like to add?

Just that I hope people reading this are encouraged to follow their heart’s desires with the Good Shepherd as their guide. God took all the lows and highs in my life and created something new with them. Although I’d always wanted to write, I had no inkling that I’d be writing beach- themed novels one day. I just kept praying and writing and seeking until an idea popped into my head. I followed that idea, and now find myself talking about my fifth novel filled with ‘waves of grace.’ Be encouraged!




About the Book

How do you restore a soul? One brush stroke at a time …

Suz Mitchell is a determined dreamer, and won’t allow her ex-husband’s jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah’s life. An accomplished artist, Suz moves with her child across the country to California’s central coast, and lands a job restoring priceless art for the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the sea.


But even dreams have shocking twists. To her surprise, a serious old flame, Seth, works at the castle and jumbles the new aspirations in Suz’s heart. While sorting through their past and a palette of spiritual differences, an even bigger brush with yesterday awaits. Suz must learn to let God be the true restorer of all that once seemed lost.



My Review

This was my first book by Julie that I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It's a relaxed read full of stunning coastal details. I could just picture those sea anemone when Suz was at the beach. I loved how she road out on her bike each morning for exercise, but getting that much needed quiet time to contemplate all of life's twists and turns. She's an amazing character who has suffered many losses and the way Julie depicts her enduring faith is quite real. 

Former beau, Seth, mysteriously starts appearing every where she goes and she doesn't quite know what to think of that. He's not the same impulsive young man he once was since he's dealing with his own ghosts of the past. His faith has been shaken and he doesn't know how to deal with the anger and grief. During his quiet and contemplative moments you just want to reach out and give him a hug, telling him Who to lean on. 

Julie does an excellent job of weaving contemporary issues into an intricate story of love, loss and restoration.

Thank you, Julie and B&H Publishing for providing me with an ARC! I was under no obligation to write a positive review. It is my honest opinion.

To purchase: B&H Publishing Group, Amazon

To Read an Excerpt: Amazon

Website: http://www.juliecarobini.com/
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Fade-Blue-Otter-Bay-Novel/dp/0805448748/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_5

Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Fade-to-Blue/Julie-Carobini/e/9780805448740/?itm=2

CBD.com: http://www.christianbook.com/fade-to-blue-otter-bay/julie-carobini/9780805448740/pd/448743?item_code=WW&netp_id=864211&event=EBRN&view=details

I know contemporary fiction lovers will enjoy this book. Julie is giving away a copy, so be sure and leave a comment.

MANDATORY - PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT About the interview for your name to be entered in the drawing.

DRAWING WILL BE - JUNE 4th


For an EXTRA CHANCE to win this book you can


Become a FOLLOWER of my blog (1) entry - please make a separate comment.
(Use (At) and (dot) so that people won't be able to spam your email address) - I will contact the winner and need to hear from them within 48 hours to claim their prize!
Winners chosen using Randomnumber.org.

Photo credits:
 
Hearst Castle~ Art Works Magazine
sea anemone~ National Geographic
rocks/waves~ Public Domain - Jon Sullivan
beach~ Public Domain - Leon Brooks

~no copyright infringement intended~


PLEASE REMEMBER to leave your email address so that I can contact you if you win !

Ready to go to the beach yet?

Have a great day in the Lord!



Monday, May 30, 2011

Author Interview & Giveaway Tomorrow!!!






Julie Carobini stops in tomorrow with a great interview and giveaway of her new book Fade to Blue!!! She writes beachy books set in coastal California. They are awesome!!! Don't miss it...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Update on Blogger Problems~

Finally my Followers Gadget is working properly but my images are still missing in most of my posts. I am having to edit each post and re-upload the images. This will take me some time, but eventually I will prevail!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

~New Crafty Supplies~

Prima Butterflies & Flowers






Aren't they beautiful?!?

7 Gypsies French Dictionary Cards

 7 Gypsies Book Covers
(Love this book cover )

7 Gypsies Binding Rings

I bought all this from Melissa Samuels @ The Art of Scrapbooking
She's having a HUGE SALE so stop on over to get some fantastic deals while supplies last!  
 

(I don't get any compensation ...just sharing about my awesome finds :))

HAVE FUN SHOPPING!!!

~Heather & Lydia Munn's Debut Novel ~


How Huge the Night by Heather & Lydia Munn is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens and adults alike turning the pages late into the night! http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13181161


Monday, May 23, 2011

MONDAY MOJO ~ LET'S GET FIT!!!


Book Review ~ The One-Day Way

About This Book

Today Can Be Different Than the Rest!

Yesterday’s mistakes are gone, so let them go. You can’t control tomorrow, so stop worrying about it. Today is your chance to lose weight, get strong, and look great.

—Chantel

The One-Day Way produces lasting results by taking you back to basics. No more complicated weight-loss strategies. No more expensive diet plans that achieve only temporary results. Instead, you will lose weight and get fit with Chantel Hobbs’s simple, high-energy meal plans and her at-home program for cardio exercise and strength training. She will teach you how to change the way you think, which leads to new actions. Before you know it you will be strong, fit, and healthy. All it takes is doing things differently for twenty-four hours—and then repeating it.


The One-Day Way gives you everything you need to lose weight and get fit in body, mind, and spirit:

• Break free from past dieting defeats.

• Learn a realistic, life-changing way to measure success.

• Change the way you think so you can change your life.

• Translate your dreams into goals, and your goals into lasting achievements.

• Get strong with thirty-one simple exercises, no fancy equipment required.

• Take advantage of ten ways to eat better while you lose weight.

By focusing on food, faith, and fitness, Chantel shows you not only how to lose weight, but how to build the new life you were designed to live. You don’t have to wait any longer. The One-Day Way gives you all the tools for success, starting right now.

My Review

I love this book! I'll admit I'm not one to ever pick up a book that I think is going to be motivational. But I chose this one for a reason. Three years ago my husband and I went on a life change (uh..yeah, so we thought) and began eating healthier foods and getting regular, daily intense exercise. He lost 70 lbs!! I lost 25 lbs.!! We each met our goal and were so excited. We actually kept the weight off for a year. Then began the slide...not pretty. In the last 2 yrs I have regained all 25 lbs, and he has regained 30lbs. We have said for months that we need to go back to healthier foods and exercise. UGH! Then I saw this book up for review and it was like an epiphany :) Ok, maybe not an epiphany.


But it was time for some...



For me, this book is it! As I read along I kept saying “YES!” Now, a lot of the principles she talks about I already know, but sometimes you just need some Mojo and Chantel is motivating.

Stressing Faith, Food, & Fitness reaffirms what I have long believed about weight loss. You can't do it without Christ. Daily take up your cross and follow Him! I know it's not the same thing, but the principle applies. It IS one day at a time.




FOOD

If you are constantly checking the scale, charts, and personal eating journals, the whole process can get very discouraging. Especially if you only lose a ½ pound on a given day. She encourages you to take a look at what really is going on in your life and make a conscious choice, EVERY DAY, to focus on TODAY and what you can do to achieve your goal on this One-Day Way.







Practical eating and exercise is discussed and examples given. She talks about how we need to stop freaking out over what happened yesterday and focus on changing TODAY!

I am SO ready!

Come along with me on this journey of getting fit ~ body, mind & spirit!


I was provided a copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah for review purposes in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.



faith, food & fitness photos courtesy of Microsoft
~no infringement intended~


Friday, May 20, 2011

Another one to read

Book Description

Mark is in his garden, grieving and depressed over the unexplained death of his son and without knowing it, is almost coaxed by a demon into committing suicide. But, at the last moment Sotare, an angel, rescues him and is later permitted to appear to Mark in the Garden. The two dialogue about God, life, death, good, evil, the spiritual realm, and the nature of truth. However, all is not well. The demons are watching and powerful evil forces are sent to kill and destroy those who are close to Mark and those who are praying for him. As Sotare teaches Mark, he is given answers to his questions -- but they do not come easily. He must face his greatest challenge in order to learn his greatest lesson. The battle over Mark unfolds in both the spiritual and physical worlds as angels are sent to battle against the evil forces that are seeking to destroy. True victory is never easy.
 
 
This is the book my son is reading right now and he can't say enough about it so far! He is constantly saying, "Mom, let me read you this!" I guess I will have to read this book :)
 
Some quotes he's read to me so far:
 
(they are all from the angel Sotare speaking to Mark)
 
  "The standard of what is good is not found in humanity. It is found in God because God is absolute and unchanging. He is the standard by which good and bad are judged. Anything that deviates from Him is not good. It would follow then that the average persons sense of right and wrong is skewed because it is based on his own preferences or the particular moral direction that society happens to have at the time."



"The wise seek truth, no matter what it is. The foolish hide from it and seek their own comfort, or try to distort truth to suit their own desires. Don't be a fool."

"People don't like that God allows bad to happen, so they complain. They have no problem accepting good from God, but they reject the adversity he may send. Yet, both are part of God's plan. A plan that is infinitely complex and old."

It's only available on Kindle, but you can download Kindle for PC and read it even if you don't have an e-reader! Click here to go to Amazon.

Stay tuned for his review @ ThePaynefulPoet.

Also, check out my daughters funny post today @ MamaJava.
(I don't know where she gets the sarcasm from)
 
Have a great day in the Lord!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How Huge the Night




How Huge the Night by Heather & Lydia Munn is a compelling, coming-of-age drama that will keep teens and adults alike turning the pages late into the night!

http://litfusegroup.com/blogtours/text/13181161

To read Diane Estrella's review click here!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

First Wild Card Tour ~ The Redeemer by Linda Rios Brook

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


The Redeemer

Realms (May 3, 2011)



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Linda Rios Brook has worked as a media executive in broadcasting for over thirty years. A highly acclaimed teacher and member of the International Coalition of Apostles, she teaches at the Covenant Centre International in Palm Beach Gardens and at the Wagner Leadership Institute in Colorado Springs. Linda serves on the board of directors for Global Harvest and is vice president of the International Christian Chamber of Commerce USA. She has taught classes on the Dominion Sky Angel satellite network and is the author of several books: Lucifer’s Flood, The Deliverer, The King, Frontline Christians in a Bottom Line World, Wake Me When It’s Over: From the Boardroom to the Twilight Zone and the Faithfulness of God, and Jesus for Adults.

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

As the final installment in the series that began with Lucifer’s Flood, Linda Rios Brook’s The Redeemer finds ancient language expert Samantha Yale translating a final batch of ancient scrolls written by a fallen angel. This volume of writings covers the demon’s eyewitness accounts of biblical events that cover the life of Jesus. In the process we also discover the mysterious Mr. Wonk’s true identity and learn an amazing secret that Samantha has been keeping. This is a story about rebellion and consequences. It is about demonic strategy to disrupt and destroy the people of God. But ultimately it is a story about the unrelenting love, grace, mercy, and determination of a sovereign God in pursuit of His errant children.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616382066
ISBN-13: 978-1616382063

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


I never knew how Satan was going to react to bad news, so I waited as long as possible before mentioning the new star-like object. At the slightest chance an irregularity might resolve itself, I usually saved myself the grief and didn’t tell him.
This time I may have waited too long.

Satan stared at the glowing ball hanging in the vacuous space between the heavens. “How long has it been there?”

“I’m not sure, sir. It appeared suddenly. I watched it for a few days, and when it didn’t disappear, I called for you; that is, as soon as I realized it might be important. But then on the other hand, perhaps it means nothing.”
He leaned over the ledge, looked down, and then back up at the strange new light.
“You should have notified me immediately.”

“My fault entirely, All-Knowing One.”

“I knew you were dumb—always have been. How could you think something like this appearing in my territory without my permission could mean nothing?”

Trick question.
“I meant to say maybe it doesn’t mean anything to you— personally. Perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered you until I was sure.”

“It’s your fault for not telling me sooner if this turns out to be trouble for me.”
He was becoming agitated. I needed to diffuse the situation.

“Oh, you know what it probably is? I should have remembered. Before we were thrown out of heaven, Adonai was always making new stars, but some of them didn’t turn out, and He threw them away. This one is probably a reject. He tossed it here to get it out of

His way.”
I paused to gauge his reaction. When he didn’t have one, I kept talking.

“Of course, that’s just what it is, nothing but a botched star. I should have figured it out before I interrupted you. A thousand pardons...”
“It’s not a star.”
“You’re right; it’s not.”
“Don’t patronize me.”
“That would be impossible, sir.”

I knew it wasn’t a star, but it shone like one, and I had to call it something. I was about to explain my choice of descriptors when Molech arrived.
“You sent for me, my lord.” Molech bowed his head, as all lesser beings were required to do when addressing Satan.

“Do you see it?” Satan pointed toward the light.

“Yes, it’s been there for weeks. We’ve all been watching it.”

“Weeks?” Satan snarled and looked at me.

“Uh, well, it’s like this, master—” I had to think of something fast, or I would be so found out. It was my job to watch and report anything unusual immediately. For sure a new light source fixed in the sky as if tethered by an invisible wire over a small town on

the earth would, by anyone’s interpretation, fall into the unusual category. The truth was, of late I’d grown lax about monitoring the earth.

Ever since the prophets died off, God seemed to have lost interest and hadn’t said a word to the Jews in four hundred and thirty years. Humanity was not that interesting without God, and I got bored. I hadn’t been watching Earth every day like I should have been. I still checked on it on a somewhat regular basis, but the truth was, I didn’t know where the light came from or how long it had been there. One look at Satan’s scowl and I knew I’d better find something to say in my defense.
“As you know, master,” I continued, “I’m always at my post watching, but my vision isn’t what it used to be. Recently I’ve seen a number of things that weren’t there, and knowing how busy you are, I didn’t want to trouble you with a figment of my poor eyesight and vivid imagination. But as soon as I knew it was real, I notified you right away, O Sovereign One ever to be praised.”

“God is behind this,” Satan said to Molech, ignoring me entirely. “Send scouts; find out what He’s planning. Miss nothing.”

“As you say, my liege.”
Molech spread his leathery wings and was off. Satan watched the light a little longer and then went back to his lair without saying another word to me. I hopped up on my perch to study the light more closely.

What can it be? Have I ever seen anything like this? No. So why does it seem familiar?
As I strained to recollect, a long-dormant memory woke up in the back of my mind and wiggled its way to the front. Goosebumps formed on my tail as it all came back to me.

How could I have forgotten? I was right here on this very perch when I saw it the first time.
It was after we were thrown out of heaven, thousands of years ago when Lucifer ordered me to watch the earth languish in devastation after he and his rebellious angels ravaged it until there was nothing left of the beautiful blue-and-green planet except for the black, swirling waters. I was with them, but it wasn’t my fault, and I wasn’t a rebel. I was a victim of circumstance.
I was standing in the wrong place when the war in heaven broke out, weighing the odds between Lucifer and Michael, trying to make up my mind what to do, as any reasonable person would, given the situation. When I figured out that there was no possibility Lucifer could win, I was just about to walk over to Michael’s side; then suddenly the

war was over, and Lucifer and one-third of the angels were cast to the earth. I got caught in the downdraft and fell with them. Five minutes more and none of this would have happened to me.

The day things changed for the earth I was right here at my post in the second heaven watching the dank waters that covered it. I confess that from time to time the boredom became unbearable, and I would close my eyes and let my mind wander to a happier time when I was still in the third heaven with God. Fortunately for me, I wasn’t wandering that day. I scanned the sea like always, and like always I saw nothing happening—except for one tiny glimmer that appeared in the black water.

“It can’t be light,” I said to myself. “There is no light left anywhere on the earth.” I looked again. “That is definitely a glimmer of light.”
I got a little closer and watched as the luminous ripples grew bigger and spread further until the murkiness of the water began to clear. When I finally figured out what was happening, I wanted to run and hide.

Ruah Ha Kadosh was hovering over the deep. I was a witness when God began the re-creation of the fallen earth.

“There’s something about this star, or whatever it is, that feels like the light I saw in the seas so long ago.” I scratched my head. “But how could it be?”
I continued to watch the glow for several more hours until I heard the beating of wings. Molech was back with a cadre of platoon leaders. They set themselves down on the steps leading into Satan’s throne room. I hurried to catch up and followed them inside.

“What have you learned?” Satan demanded. “Something is happening on the earth, isn’t it?”
“That may be, my lord.” Molech paused and exchanged looks with Tammuz, the demon to his right. “But whatever might be happening on the earth cannot be nearly as important as what has happened in the third heaven.”
“How could you know anything about the third heaven?” I blurted out before I could catch myself. “We have no access there anymore.”

Molech glared at me. “You have no access, but my associate here”—he nodded toward Tammuz—“has, shall we say, sources.”

Tammuz stepped forward and bowed to Satan. “My lord, legions of angels are leaving the third heaven—right now—and are heading to the earth.”
Any news involving the heavenly host always made Satan’s eyes twitch, especially if the word legions was in the same sentence.

“But there’s more.” Molech prodded Tammuz along by poking him on the arm. “Tell him the rest—the part about Adonai.”

Satan’s twitching eyes widened.
“I was coming to that,” Tammuz said. “Adonai is missing.”

“Missing?” Satan squeaked, then cleared his throat. “Do you mean to say they’ve misplaced Him?”
Neither Molech nor Tammuz laughed at the ridiculous nature of Satan’s question, and I certainly didn’t, but only because I clamped my teeth over my tongue.
“He’s gone, master,” Tammuz said.

“Vanished,” Molech added. “He’s left the third heaven.”

“Impossible,” Satan declared. “He never leaves home. Besides, where would He go? You’re mistaken and wasting my time.”

Satan drew back his arm as if he might strike the messengers. Molech and Tammuz cowered and stepped back.

“He’s not there, my lord,” Tammuz said. “My sources looked everywhere. He’s gone. The rank-and-file angels are as perplexed as we are.”

Satan lifted an eyebrow.
“There was one witness to something strange.” Tammuz chose his words carefully. “Someone saw the host lined up in front of the throne room, facing each other with their swords drawn and crossed.”

“And?” Satan waved his claw hand in circles, urging Tammuz to say whatever he was trying not to say.

“And the witness saw Adonai come out of the throne room, walk under the crossed swords, and leave. No one has seen Him since.”

“It’s a trick.” Satan walked across the floor and kicked over a footstool, then turned back to Molech. “Where could He have gone?”

“The angels don’t know, sire, not even the elite guard. They are as mystified as you—I mean us; of course you are never mystified.”

Suddenly the door flew open as Baal, Satan’s highest-ranking demon god, barged into the room without being announced. He was breathing so hard we could barely understand him.

“You’ve got to come now, master—to the rim. We’re about to be overrun by them. Hurry!”
“Overrun by what? Whom?” I asked.

“Angels!”
“Are we being invaded?” Satan demanded.

“You must come and see for yourself.”

Wasting no more time, Satan raced with Baal to the edge of the second heaven with the rest of us right behind them. We lined up along the perimeter, where we had a clear view of the earth and all that lay in between it and us. Baal hadn’t exaggerated. Tens of thousands of high-ranking angels were gathering above the earth’s blue sky.

“What are they doing?” Satan asked.

I didn’t realize he was talking to me until he slapped me and demanded an answer.
“I, uh, well, I’m not sure, sir, but it doesn’t look like they’re coming here. It looks like they may be about to penetrate the veil between heaven and the earth and reveal themselves to that group of shepherds down there in the fields.”



“Nonsense. The heavenly host wouldn’t waste their time on gypsies. Besides, I’m sure it would be an illegal military maneuver.”

He was about to huff off when Baal tugged on his sleeve.

“Moron may be right.” He was referring to me. “Look at how the shepherds are scattering. They definitely see the angels.”

We watched as some of the shepherds ran away in fear, while others trembled and fell to their knees. But let me tell you, the trembling ones weren’t by themselves. There were no heroes in the demon horde that day either. We didn’t know why the angels had gathered,

but if it had anything to do with us, we knew we were outmanned by two to one. The chatter among the demons began.

“Why are the angels out there?”
“Is there going to be a fight?”
“Look, they’re closing ranks!”

“Ask Satan what we should do.”

Satan grabbed me by my wing.
“Find out what this means,” he ordered as he pushed me nearer the rim. “Get closer.” Then he pushed me off the edge.

I flapped as hard as I could to keep from falling. I was afraid of what the angels might do if they noticed me, but I knew what Satan would do if I didn’t obey, so I carefully fluttered a little farther out over the abyss where I could see them better. As I got closer, I realized the angels weren’t wearing their combat gear; there was not a sword in sight. They were lining up in choir formation.

“Are they going to attack?” Satan yelled out at me.

“No, sir, I believe they’re going to sing.”

“What?” Satan asked in disbelief as he flew to my side to see for himself.
And sing they did. The angelic royalty of heaven went near the earth and sang a song to fewer than a dozen cowering shepherds.

“Fear not, for behold we bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For born unto you tonight in the city of David is the Messiah, the Lord who will bring salvation to all mankind. Go, and you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
The angels’ voices were so loud we covered our ears to muffle the sounds as they continued.
“Glory to God in the highest and on the earth, peace and goodwill toward men.”
I was terrified like all the rest but so excited by what the angels sang I could barely contain myself. I followed Satan back to the rim and tried to appear as disturbed as the rest of the demons, but inside I was bursting with hope. How long I had waited for Him—the one promised to David so many generations ago. Oh, yes, He was the hope of the Jews, but He was my hope as well, my only hope.

The veil between heaven and the earth closed, and the angels were no longer visible to the shepherds or to us; still, no one moved from his place. It was almost as if an invisible force held us there. We seemed hypnotized by the light that still hung over the blackness of the great abyss.
“What was that all about?” asked one of the demons.

“Maybe Satan knows.”
“Yes, Satan must know.”
But Satan didn’t know. When he heard the chattering among the demons, he whispered to me out of the side of his mouth.

“Do you think it’s over? Should we move on?”

“Can you move, sir?”
He grimaced as he tried to lift a hoof. I pretended not to be looking.

“Maybe we should wait a bit longer,” I said.

I didn’t know what was coming, but the tingling scales on the back of my neck told me something else was about to happen. At once another blinding light appeared and hovered over the abyss right in front of Satan. I knew him immediately. It was Gabriel, the essenger angel of the most high God. All the demons took one step back. Except for me.

“Gabriel! Hello.” I stepped forward and waved.

Satan stepped on my tail and jerked my wing. “Stay still and shut up!”

“Sorry, sir.” I slunk back.
“Lucifer, fallen son of the light.” Gabriel’s voice was like thunder.

“What do you want?” Satan tried to appear annoyed, but his swishing tail said he was nervous. “You’re in my territory.”

“I bring you a message from I AM, one that will be good news to all mankind.”
“Then why are you telling me?”

“Guess what it means for you.”

Every demon took another step back.

“Wha–what is it?” Satan stammered.

The angel’s eyes narrowed as he answered.

“Game on.”

Friday, May 13, 2011

WINNER!!! of A KILLER AMONG US....

Congratulations goes to....

Pat said...

Looking forward to reading A Killer Among Us! Great interview.
P. T. Bradley

I sent you an email, Pat, with instructions on how to get in touch with Lynette for your book!

Thanks to everyone who left comments! My first author interview & giveaway was so exciting for me :)  Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future.

Have a great day in the Lord!

Book Review ~ Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate

Official Lisa Wingate Writer Bio

Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of 16 books. Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its fifteenth printing from Penguin Putnam. Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.
Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010). Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, in mainstream fiction. Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational southern fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.

Book Synopsis

Moses Lake was a constant place, on the surface. But you can't always tell by looking, what might be brewing underneath...


After surviving the worst year of her life, Andrea Henderson moves home to sleepy little Moses Lake, Texas, to recover her shattered faith and build a new life for herself and her son.

Game Warden Mart McClendon finds himself in Moses Lake for a different reason: to forget a tragedy for which he can't forgive himself.

But when a mysterious little girl is suddenly seen with the town recluse, these two unlikely allies are drawn together in a search for her identity. As wounded pasts collide, will their quest bring the redemption and hope they need--or consequences neither of them expected?


My Review

Lisa brings memorable characters to life with the written word. Take a trip to Moses Lake, Texas, a place that captures the cadence of small-town life, where time stands still. Blending mystery, romance and a lot of hope, you will be captivated by all and will not want to put this one down!

This is the first book I have read by Lisa Wingate, but it won't be the last! I became so engrossed in the story that I would find myself talking out loud to the characters, especially Andrea and her son. But, I know when this happens that I am reading a great book. I also thoroughly enjoyed the way the chapters alternated between Andrea and Mart's POV. Included at the beginning of each chapter are some charming quotes.

Through Lisa's writing skill you will experience a myriad of emotions and a depth of spiritual awareness that can only be communicated by someone who is truly using their gift from God.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Contemporary Fiction.

I was provided a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. No other compensation was received.

To read an excerpt click here.
To purchase a copy click here.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

First Wild Card Tour ~ Lonely Girl, Gracious God by Lauri Khodabandehloo

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Lonely Girl, Gracious God

Deep River; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)

***Special thanks to Arielle Roper of Bring it On! Communications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Chicken Soup for the Soul contributor Lauri Khodabandehloo has written many stories speaking of the special bond between those who are challenged with a developmental disability and the people who love them. Lauri lives with her husband in Eugene, Oregon and remains active in the autism community.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:





Embrace this mother's deeply personal account of tragedies and triumphs, along with joys and sorrows of raising a child with the devastating disability of autism.






Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 266 pages
Publisher: Deep River; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935265466
ISBN-13: 978-1935265467

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


A Rough Start

When I found out I was pregnant in July of 1980, it took me completely by surprise. But instead of feeling overjoyed about the news, I dreaded telling my husband. For seven long years, Cody had been working hard to save up enough money to buy his own restaurant, and it looked as if his American dream was finally going to come true. A fourth child would put an additional strain on our finances and might even jeopardize Cody’s plans, which was the last thing I wanted to see happen.

We had also agreed five years earlier, after our daughter Farah was born, that we wouldn’t have any more children. Cody had desperately wanted a son, but he had come to terms with his disappointment and accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. Since then, I had been on birth control and never dreamed I would end up pregnant again.

Now it looked as if Cody might get his boy-child after all, but I wasn’t sure how he’d react, so I decided to put off telling him for a few months—at least until I began to show.

By September, I realized I couldn’t conceal my secret any longer, so I thought up a roundabout way of breaking the news.

After dinner one evening, Cody retreated to the living room and settled into his usual spot on the couch for a little television. I had strategically placed a greeting card on a side table next to the couch so he would be sure to notice it. The card was black and had only one word in gold script across the front: Congratulations! Inside, I had simply written “. . . on number four.”

I watched from the kitchen doorway as Cody checked to see what was on the news and then glanced at the card, just as I’d hoped he would. I held my breath as he reached over and picked it up, read the front, and then opened it to see what was inside.

He stared at the card for a moment and then turned to look at me. I could feel his eyes burning a hole in my head as he waited for me to respond, but I pretended not to notice, fixing my attention on the TV screen.

After a moment, he said in a quiet voice, “For real?”

I nodded silently without looking at him, then turned and retreated to the kitchen to busy myself with cleaning up. I couldn’t bear to see his reaction as the news began to sink in.

Cody didn’t say a word about the pregnancy for several weeks, and I wasn’t about to bring up the subject for discussion. Doing so would only have ignited a conflict I didn’t want to have. It seemed the better part of wisdom to give him plenty of time and space to process things. I knew he’d say something when he was ready.

When Cody finally broke his silence, he told me he wanted to schedule a vasectomy. He seemed just as shocked as I had been that I was pregnant. We couldn’t understand how something like this could have happened when we’d been so careful.

Having another baby was the last thing either of us wanted at this point in our marriage. Cody didn’t want, or need, another mouth to feed as he was preparing to buy his first restaurant, and I had grown weary of the responsibilities of being a mother.

For years I had been longing for a life of my own that would allow me the freedom to experience things I felt I’d missed out on because I had married so young. I had practically been a child when I married my high school sweetheart at eighteen, and by the time I was twenty, I had two baby girls to care for. I wasn’t ready to take on such weighty responsibilities, but ready or not, I had to grow up fast and learn how to meet the needs of the little ones who were depending on me.

At twenty-five, I had gone through a painful divorce and struggled to cope with the demands of caring for two young daughters on my own. Then I met Cody. We both worked at a restaurant in San Jose, he as a busboy and I as a waitress. This handsome, dark-skinned man from Iran had the whitest teeth I’d ever seen and a sparkling personality to match. He spoke very little English, and what he did say was always laced with a thick Middle Eastern accent. He charmed me with his dazzling white smile and wit, and he showered attention on me and my girls.

In just a matter of weeks, I found myself strangely attracted to this man who came from a part of the world I knew nothing about. Even though Cody and I barely knew each other and certainly didn’t love each other, marriage held undeniable benefits for us both. A couple of turbulent years trying to survive as a single mother had taken their toll, and I couldn’t handle the stress anymore. Marrying Cody seemed like the best solution, especially for my girls. Many years later I’d learn that Cody never believed in “falling in love.” In his country, a couple are married first—love and respect come later.

After a whirlwind courtship, Cody and I took a weekend trip to Reno, Nevada, and got married at the county courthouse on June 12, 1972. Before the ceremony, my heart had screamed at me not to go through with it. I even prayed that God would intervene. But the terror of going on alone with two young daughters to care for overpowered common sense, and I ignored any reservations I had.

As Cody and I left the courthouse that day, I told myself that I had married for the sake of my children and would learn to love Cody in time.

Three years later, Farah made her grand entry into the world, and I resigned myself to another long wait before I could spread my wings and fly.

Now, at thirty-three, I was pregnant with my fourth child and knew that I would be stuck in my stay-at-home-mom role for another five or six years. Freedom had been so close, I could taste it. My teenage daughters, Lisa and Lainee, were involved with their own friends and activities, and my six-yearold, Farah, had just started kindergarten. With all of my girls in school, I had been looking forward to time to myself in the mornings to run errands or talk on the phone without interruption, plan a coffee klatch with my girlfriend Randee, or just sit and watch a TV program that didn’t contain the loud and silly antics of colorful cartoon characters. But my wings had been clipped once again, and I was devastated.

Some women in my situation might have considered terminating the pregnancy, but that was never an option for me. I had no right to end a life that God had created. In my heart I knew he had a reason for letting me become pregnant, though I didn’t have a clue what it was. I was also living with the painful memories of a D&C procedure I’d had after Cody and I married. I never knew whether I had actually been pregnant; the doctor said the test was inconclusive but that after seven weeks he’d be unable to proceed with any kind of “remedy.” Though I’d consented to go ahead as planned, I couldn’t bear the thought that I might have naively allowed the doctor to end a life that was a few weeks along. The experience left me devastated and overwhelmed with guilt, nearly plunging me into a breakdown. No, I would never allow that to happen again under any circumstance! Besides, no matter how I felt about having another child, I just couldn’t deprive Cody of one last chance to have a son.

This fourth pregnancy turned out to be the most difficult one I’d ever experienced. Early on, I sensed that something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then, at around five and a half months, the baby started kicking. I thought it would taper off in time, but instead, the jabbing became relentless, making my days miserable and robbing me of the few precious hours of sleep I so desperately needed.

As the weeks passed, the pain and lack of sleep became unbearable, reducing me to tears at all hours of the day and night. I finally pleaded with my obstetrician to take the baby by C-section, but he just shook his head and looked at me as if I had to be kidding.

I wasn’t.

“It feels like I’m being beat up from the inside!” I pleaded with him, trying to describe the pain. “I can’t take it anymore!”

The doctor responded sympathetically, but I suspected he thought I was overreacting. I also knew that as a devout Catholic, he would never perform a C-section at this stage of the pregnancy if there was even the slightest risk to the baby or me.

When I told him how difficult it was to get even an hour of sleep at night, he showed me how to lie on my side to ease the pain without causing the baby any discomfort. I had already tried that—I had tried everything I could think of to find relief—but I decided it would do no good to argue with him. I had great respect for this man who had taken care of me through all my pregnancies, and I knew he meant well even though he didn’t understand what I was going through. I resigned myself to crying my nights away and coping as best I could until the baby arrived.

At seven months into the pregnancy, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of foreboding. It wasn’t the normal apprehension and fears most women experience during pregnancy as their bodies change and hormone levels fluctuate. It was a deep knowing, an intuition that something was terribly wrong with my unborn child.

One evening at home, I cried out to God, “Please let this baby be okay.” I felt desperately alone as I sobbed and rocked back and forth on the couch. Even though I hadn’t wanted or planned to have another baby, I couldn’t bear the thought that this child might not be normal and healthy.

These ominous feelings hung over me like a storm cloud throughout the rest of my pregnancy. I didn’t understand why I felt this way, but it seemed as if something, or someone, was whispering in my ear, telling me that I needed to accept what was coming.

One afternoon as I was taking a nap, I dreamed that I heard a loud flapping outside the house. When I got up and opened the front door, I saw thousands of angels filling the sky, their white robes shimmering in the sun as they soared heavenward. I stepped out onto the porch, longing to go with them, but an angel with a white beard looked at me and shook his head. I knew immediately that he was telling me I needed to stay put; it wasn’t my time to go.

When I awoke from my nap, the dream seemed so real that I got up and went outside to see if it had actually happened.

Strange dreams are common during pregnancy, but I felt certain that God was speaking to me, telling me that I needed to wait on him no matter how difficult the pregnancy was.

As my delivery date approached, I could hardly wait to be free of the burden I’d been carrying the past nine months. I imagined the relief I would feel when my agony finally came to an end. I mentally ticked off the days, until late in the evening on February 19, I felt my water break and told Cody that it was time to go to the hospital.

We promised our girls that we would call as soon as we had some news, and then we headed for Sacred Heart Hospital. All of my children had been born there, so I knew the baby and I would be in good hands. The familiar surroundings and the kind, upbeat nurses always put me at ease.

Cody and I were lost in our own thoughts on the drive to the hospital. All I could think about was that this war going on inside my belly would be over in a few short hours. I was certain this rambunctious child was a boy and that Cody would be elated. But those thoughts didn’t soften the jarring reality that I would soon be the reluctant mother of four.

When we arrived at the hospital, I waddled into the ER with Cody by my side. The receptionist at the front desk welcomed me with a warm smile and summoned an attendant with a wheelchair. Since I’d already dispensed with the admissions paperwork a few days earlier, I was immediately taken to a large, open room on the maternity floor, where other expectant mothers in various stages of labor were waiting in smaller curtained areas for their turn in the delivery room. I could hear the low hum of private conversations throughout the room, punctuated by loud groans that issued from behind closed curtains.

The attendant wheeled me over to an empty exam area and helped me transfer my big belly onto a rolling gurney that would be whisked down the hall when my time came. As I shifted my weight around to get comfortable, a nurse arrived to examine me and announced that I’d be giving birth in the next few hours. I felt confident that this delivery would be quick and easy since my labors had become shorter with each of my previous deliveries.

After about an hour, I was moved out of the exam area into a private room to wait for my labor to begin. With my other children, labor had started immediately after my water broke, but this time, I felt nothing. Cody kept vigil with me but had trouble staying awake. The long hours he’d been putting in at El Kiosco, his restaurant, were taking their toll, so I convinced him to go home and get some sleep. I assured him I would call as soon as the contractions started.

After Cody left, I decided I might as well get a few precious moments of sleep before the agonies of childbirth began. I had started feeling some intermittent labor pains by this time, but they were so light I could easily ignore them.

I dozed off, grateful for the relative calm and hoping that the rest would give me extra stamina for the work ahead.

All of a sudden, searing jolts of pain in my lower back jarred me awake. I had no idea how long I’d been asleep, but as the pain increased and I struggled to focus on my breathing, I found myself thinking that I was way too old to be doing this again. Somehow I had a feeling that this delivery wasn’t going to be as quick and easy as I’d assumed it would be.

Waves of pain came and went, and I waited for what seemed like hours before a nurse finally appeared and announced, “We’ll take you to the delivery room when we have one available, but for now, we’ll just put you down the hallway. It shouldn’t be too long.”

Before I could ask what she meant, she whisked me out of the room, parked my gurney along the wall, and scurried off to assist a woman who was screaming so loudly I was sure she could be heard for miles. When the nurse finally returned, she examined me right there in the hallway, with hospital personnel and patients passing at will, and wondered aloud whether I could “hold off” until the delivery room was available. By then, my labor pains were so intense, I couldn’t have cared less about privacy. Just get this baby out of me! I silently screamed.

When I heard her say, “Okay, I think we can take you into delivery now!” I breathed a sigh of relief.

Someone grabbed the end of the gurney and sped me through an open door into the delivery room. The doctor immediately positioned himself at my feet, and I heard his familiar urgings, “Okay, now push!”

The nurse placed her hand between my shoulders and helped me raise up enough to give it my all. But nothing happened.

Again I heard the doctor say, “Now, Lauri, give me a good push!” And again my body failed me. I had no strength, no urge to push—nothing.

I could hear the urgency in the nurse’s voice as she came around to the head of the gurney to make sure I understood that I had to help deliver this baby before complications arose. But no matter how hard I tried to force my belly to expel this lingering infant, I had nothing to offer.

Another nurse came over to help out, and as the doctor urged me to try harder, he and both nurses put their hands on my stomach and tried to push the baby out. I kept telling them I didn’t know what was wrong. I couldn’t push. I couldn’t feel anything.

The doctor’s voice betrayed his concern as he firmly instructed his assistants as to what they should do next. I was near panic. Everyone kept assuring me that the baby was coming, but I was alarmed that my body was refusing to respond as it should. This had never happened during my other three births.

Finally the doctor pulled the baby free and quickly placed the newborn in the waiting arms of one of the nurses. As she rushed out of the delivery room, I caught a glimpse of the pale blue form in her hands.

“Is my baby okay?” I called to anyone within earshot. “Do you know if my baby’s okay?”

But no one seemed to hear me. All the attention was focused on the tiny infant, who had been taken to a small window-enclosed area adjoining the delivery room. I lifted my head to see the nurses bustling back and forth in the room and hovering over my newborn. Thankful for the care my little one was receiving, I rested quietly on the gurney, patiently waiting for someone to tell me what had happened. A faint cry reached my ears from the other room. Whatever was wrong, at least my baby was breathing.

Eventually, one of the white-gowned nurses came over and assured me that all was well. Rushing the baby out of the delivery room had been a “precautionary procedure,” she told me. They had just wanted to make sure the baby’s airway was clear so she could get plenty of oxygen.

She? The nurse smiled and announced that I had delivered a little girl—six pounds, five ounces. It really didn’t matter to me whether it was a boy or girl; I was just relieved the baby was all right. Nine months of agony had finally come to a welcome end.

Minutes later, another nurse entered the room carrying my newborn. She lifted the baby into the air so I could get a good look at her and then plopped her down on my chest. While I waited for Cody to arrive, I caressed her feather-soft head and gazed at her tiny body. I was amazed that such a small thing had caused so much turmoil.

When Cody finally entered the room and came over to where I lay, I knew what he was expecting to hear. I had been assuring him for months that he would finally have his boy-child.

“No baby girl ever felt like this!” I had insisted. “I’m positive this one’s a boy!”

I swallowed hard as I glanced at Cody and announced the news with as much enthusiasm as I could muster. I hoped he would give me a smile, a reassuring look, any sign that he was happy I had given him another little girl. But instead, a look of bitter disappointment washed over his face. His final hope of having a son had been crushed.

I knew that Cody would eventually get over his disappointment and embrace his youngest daughter with the same fatherly love he had always shown our other girls. But I was sad that I hadn’t been able to give him the baby boy he had wanted so badly.

Later, when I was settled in my hospital room, the nurse brought my newborn to me so I could breastfeed her.

“So you named her Farina—like the cereal?” she asked as she placed the baby in my waiting arms.

“Actually, it’s Fah-ree-mah,” I corrected, emphasizing the m sound. “My husband is Persian, and this name is popular in his country.”

As I held my little one, I noticed that she was having trouble sucking, but I didn’t think there was any need for concern. She had just gone through a traumatic delivery, so I really wasn’t surprised that she’d be too weak to suckle. With a little practice, she’d soon be nursing as well as any hungry newborn.

Farema looked so perfect as she lay fussing in my arms. All my worst fears of the past nine months melted away as I gazed at her angelic face. A baby this beautiful couldn’t possibly have anything wrong with her.

This fourth and last child of mine was already curling her tiny baby fingers around my heart. There was something extraordinary about her, and I sensed that God had something very special planned for her life.

What I didn’t know was that little Fee would turn my world upside down.



I'm still reading this book so I don't have a review today. I can say that for me this isn't a book I can read quickly. There are so many emotions and experiences being shared that I am trying to reconcile them in my mind as I go along which is challenging to me since I am also the mom of a 28 yr old daughter who has been severly disabled since birth. Perhaps if you have not experienced any of the situations that Lauri is sharing you might be able to read the book faster. I find myself analyzing thoughts and actions taking place in the book, and making comparisons between my experience and Lauri's.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Book Review ~ The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

Book Synopsis

It is the dawn of a new century and Olivia Stewart is heiress to an empire. Her family numbers among the Four Hundred – those considered the wealthiest and most distinguished in America. Unfortunately their wealth has nearly disappeared, and now their security rests solely on the Stewart daughters’ marrying well.

Olivia’s sister, Eleanor, was engaged to Harrison Bennett, one of the nation’s wealthiest men, but has since died. Now the pressure is on Olivia to take her place, despite her suspicions about Eleanor’s fiancĂ©. Using her family’s long-forgotten English title, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California, as Lady Devonworth, hoping to learn more before committing to marriage. There she finds that Eleanor’s death was no accident. And Harrison is not the man she thought he would be.

When Mercy Falls holds a charity ball masquerade to raise funds for the new lighthouse, secrets–and truths long hidden–will be revealed. But can Harrison really love Olivia when he finds her true identity? Can she live with the repercussions of failing her family, or will she finally realize that nothing–not money, family, or romance—will ever compare to God’s unconditional love?

My Review

The Lightkeeper's Ball takes us on a journey back through time to the turn of the century when airplanes and motor cars were new and exciting inventions. Where most women were still engaging in arranged marriages, especially women in the upper crust of society.

Heroine Olivia Stewart is one such woman. At 25 yrs of age and single, she is expected to marry well, not necessarily for love, in order to hide the fact that her families financial status is not what it appears. After finding out that her sister (who was engaged to be married to a wealthy man and therefore would have taken the pressure off of Olivia) has died, she embarks on a journey, with only her maid to accompany her, to Mercy Falls to find out what happened. Under the guise of "checking out" her sisters fiance' to see if she wants to marry him in her sisters place, she is really seeking to discover the truth about her sisters death. Is Harrison Bennett, the fiance', involved as Olivia suspects? Was it accidental, as reported? Or was it... murder?!?

For me the pace seemed slow at times but all in all the characters are well developed. Mystery and intrigue are present throughout. There are lots of historical references and that makes it very appealing. This is a nice historical fiction with a gentle romantic essence. The cover art on this book is extraordinary!

The Lightkeeper's Ball is the third book in the Mercy Falls series. It can be read as a stand alone novel, although if you are a Colleen Coble fan you will want to read them all.

4 of 5 stars!

I was provided a digital copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation was received.

To read an excerpt or purchase a copy click here.



Friday, May 6, 2011

Author Lynette Eason Interview & Giveaway

I'm so excited to share my first author interview with everyone today!

Lynette Eason writes fabulously suspenseful novels and is graciously giving away a copy of her new book
A Killer Among Us!

Tell us about your current release:

A KILLER AMONG US released May 1st! Here is the back cover blurb:

What happens when the hunter . . . becomes the hunted?

Kit Kenyon is a first-rate hostage negotiator. Noah Lambert is a good detective with excellent instincts. These new partners have hardly had time to get used to each other when they are thrown into a grisly murder case. As evidence mounts up and more victims are found, Kit and Noah realize they are on the hunt for a serial killer. The problem is, he may be hunting one of them too.

With nail-biting suspense, clever plot twists, and a hint of romance, A Killer Among Us is the latest thriller from Lynette Eason.

Praise for Lynette Eason's Women of Justice series

"My friend Lynette has a hit on her hands with this romantic suspense."--Dee Henderson, bestselling author, the O'Malley series

"A fast-moving tale filled with nonstop action. No chance to catch your breath with this one!"--Irene Hannon, bestselling author, the Heroes of Quantico series

"An exciting ride with characters you will care about."--Margaret Daley, award-winning Steeple Hill romantic suspense author

"Don't read Eason's newest novel late at night!"--RT Book Reviews

"One heck of a thriller. The suspense is high; I was turning pages so fast I had to go back and re-read."--Suspense Magazine

What inspired you to write Christian Suspense?
It’s what I’ve always loved to read, my faith intersects with everything I do in life, so I think it was just a natural progression to my writing. I love suspense, too, so being able to combine my faith with a rocking good story is awesome!  

Boy, do they rock! Do you use real-life facts based on true stories?
No, not really. I get some good ideas from the newspaper or the news, but mostly I just make my stories up as I go along. 

Your imagination is impressive! What is your writing process? How do you get your ideas? How many hours a day do you write?
The writing process is different for everyone. I look at writing like it’s a puzzle. I start with a basic short summary, a synopsis, and a character sketch and go from there. I get my ideas from everywhere. Movies, television, a conversation I overheard, something I see on the highway as I travel (ex. A truck advertising coffins—oh yeah, I had a story about that one almost immediately—and yes, it involved dead bodies.) So, I’m able to pull a story from just about anything.  

I love puzzles. Your characters thoughts are so real! How do you research the psychological aspect of a killer's mind?
Ooooh, that was freaky. I had to do a lot of research. I just looked up the most famous serial killers and read all about them and their psychological profiles if they had one posted. I had to pray a lot during those times.  

I bet! What do you feel is the most challenging aspect in writing?
Finding the time to write. Every day there are distractions, unexpected things that pop up, etc. Just finding two consecutive hours to write and not be interrupted is a huge challenge for me.  

I can imagine. Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
It depends. Usually, the idea comes first then I create the characters to fit the idea.  

You do a great job. Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?
There’s always a message or a theme, but what I pray readers take from the novel is the fact that God is love and He loves them in a way that can’t be explained, just accepted.  

So true! If you could work with any author, who would it be?
I would LOVE to write a story with Dee Henderson.  

Dee's a terrific author. I hope you get to do that someday. What's your favorite part of a book?
When I’m reading a book, I love the first page and the end.  

What genre of books do you like to read? Do you limit yourself to only the genre that you write yourself?
I love to read all kinds of genres. I’m not crazy about sci-fi, but chick lit, westerns, historicals, and of course suspense. I love it all.

Same here. What are you working on next?
I’m now working on the second book for the DEADLY REUNIONS series. This is the second series for Revell. I’m also working on Book 5 in the continuity series for Love Inspired. My book is called THE BLACK SHEEP’S REDEMPTION.  

I guess my TBR pile will get a lot higher :) Can you share some of your testimony with us?
I grew up in a Christian home with Christian parents and gave my heart to the Lord when I was 8. Then as I grew, when I was 18, I rededicated my life to him. It’s a pretty simple testimony.  

Wonderful! Where can readers find you on the internet?
I’m all over the place! LOL.

Website: http://www.lynetteeson.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/LynetteEasonAuthor
Blog: http://www.infinitesuspensefromlynetteeason.blogspot.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/lynetteeason
Email: lynetteeason@lynetteeason.com

Lynette just started a Yahoo Group for those of us who would like to discuss her Women of Justice series. You can find that here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DiscussBooks_LynetteEason/

Thank you so much for being here today, Lynette. I'm just thrilled that you are my first author interview. Thanks so much for having me here, Anne!

Don't forget ~ Lynette is giving away a copy of A KILLER AMONG US to one winner! Leave a comment to be entered with an email address so you can be contacted! Giveaway ends May 11th.

I'll be posting my review soon. I was busy celebrating my grandsons 2nd birthday and didn't get it written.