Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Last Family Standing by Jennifer AlLee


About the Book:

Twenty-five years ago, Monica Stanton gave up a baby girl for adoption. Now, the thing Monica didn’t dare hope for has happened: Jessica has reentered her life . . . and brought a little drama and competition with her. Jessica is willing to meet her birth mother, but she wants the reunion to air on a reality TV show. Monica would rather chew glass than appear on TV. But she’ll swallow her pride—and a few other unsavory items—if that’s what it takes to reconnect.

As if getting to know her grown daughter while competing on a remote island isn’t hard enough, Monica is further confused when Jessica’s long-lost birth father shows up, complicating both her relationship with her daughter and the attraction Monica has to the hunky reality show host. The fruit-basket upset of emotions, accusations, and regrets might make for good TV, but will it destroy the family in the process?

My Thoughts:

I'm not a huge fan of reality television, and I've never seen the fascination with shows like "Survivor".  However, I've enjoyed other books by Jennifer AlLee, and I was intrigued when I read the concept for her newest novel.

"Last Family Standing" plays on the 'Survivor' television show by pitting couples against one another on a deserted island in a competition to the finish.  But this show comes with a twist: one of the contestants is looking for her birth mother.

Now, would YOU go on national television to meet the child you gave up for adoption years ago?  Before you answer, you need to read Jennifer's book.  It isn't always the most plausible plot, but it is emotional and packed a huge punch for me.

I was gripped from the first page, captivated by the relationship between Monica and Jessica.  The whole reality television aspect was ludicrous from the beginning, but it did make for some humorous reading.

I'm grateful to my friends at Abingdon Press for my advance copy of "Last Family Standing" in exchange for an honest review.  I'd recommend this as a great end-of-summer read.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney


About the Book:

Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband, Grant, are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri.

Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions.

What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her?

One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?

My Thoughts:

I love when my favorite authors craft a series around a family of characters.  This is a first for Deborah Raney, but I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in her new series, set around a bed-and-breakfast inn.

"Home to Chicory Lane" captures the Whitman family just as the new family venture gets off the ground.  Now that the kids are moving on, Audrey has persuaded her husband to plunge their savings into remodeling the family home and opening a new business.

Grant is on board, but the unexpected return of their newly married daughter throws a serious wrench into his retirement plans.  Lots of confusion ensues as Landyn tries to figure out what she wants from life.

I kept wanting to shout "a little late now, doncha think?" when the newlywed came towing a U-Haul trailer home.  But even though she got on my 'mother's last nerve', Landyn grew on me, and by the end of the story I was cheering for her.

While this wasn't my favorite Raney novel, I'm willing to hang in there for the rest of the series.  My thanks to my friends at Abingdon Press for my advance copy in exchange for an honest review.  Mildly recommended.

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Reflections.....





See you on Monday!

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CFBA Presents "Thief of Glory" by Sigmund Brouwer

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Thief of Glory
WaterBrook Press (August 19, 2014)
by
Sigmund Brouwer


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sigmund Brouwer is the best-selling author of nearly thirty novels, with close to 4 million books in print. Based on his inspiration for Thief of Glory, which Sigmund wrote as a way to learn and honor the his parent’s stories, especially of his father’s boyhood in a Japanese concentration camp, Sigmund leads The Chapters of Our Lives memoir seminars across the United States and Canada. Sigmund is married to recording artist Cindy Morgan and has two daughters.



ABOUT THE BOOK

A boy coming of age in a time of war…
the love that inspires him to survive.


For ten year-old Jeremiah Prins, the life of privilege as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies comes crashing to a halt in 1942 after the Japanese Imperialist invasion of the Southeast Pacific. Jeremiah takes on the responsibility of caring for his younger siblings when his father and older stepbrothers are separated from the rest of the family, and he is surprised by what life in the camp reveals about a woman he barely knows—his frail, troubled mother.

Amidst starvation, brutality, sacrifice and generosity, Jeremiah draws on all of his courage and cunning to fill in the gap for his mother. Life in the camps is made more tolerable as Jeremiah’s boyhood infatuation with his close friend Laura deepens into a friendship from which they both draw strength.

When the darkest sides of humanity threaten to overwhelm Jeremiah and Laura, they reach for God’s light and grace, shining through his people. Time and war will test their fortitude and the only thing that will bring them safely to the other side is the most enduring bond of all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Thief of Glory, go HERE.

My Thoughts:

I received a copy of "Thief of Glory"  from Waterbrook Press via CFBA in exchange for an honest review.  I requested a copy because of high advance praise, and I've always enjoyed Mr. Brouwer's stories.

Be watching for my review to post soon.

Happy Reading!

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Monday, September 8, 2014

Operation Zulu: Redemtion by Ronie Kendig, a Serialization


Brand-new 5-part Serial Novel! 
They never should’ve existed.  Now they don’t.  In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians—women and children—died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall. 

Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace—yet still haunted by the past. Terrified of being discovered.   Five years after that horrific night, they’ve begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten. 

Until two of them are murdered.

Start the mission with Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill--The Beginning.  This FREE episode drops you into the rapid-fire action where the women of Zulu are trying to figure out who is targeting them.   Who really set Zulu up to take the fall years ago?  Are they one and the same? Now the remaining members of Zulu have no choice but to regroup and stop their enemy--before it's too late.

And Overkill is just the beginning...   

My Thoughts:

Ronie Kendig has a stellar reputation for rapid-fire fiction: in fact, that's her tag line!  But she takes no prisoners and no one is safe in her new serial novel, "Operation Zulu: Redemption".  Thank God above that this came to us in five parts...

...because your heart can't take it all at once!

I'm a true book nerd.  I hate cliff-hangers, so I scope out the books I want to read and if I discover the book is a part of a series, I'm known for hanging on until the final book is released before I even crack the cover of the first novel.

I'm not as bad as I used to be, but at times my weird habits surface, and that's what happened to me with "Operation Zulu: Redemption".  I read "Overkill", then patiently waited for the other four to release.

BIG MISTAKE!  I ended up reading them as they were originally intended...a week at a time.  Simply put, I couldn't stand the pressure, so I had to escape the library!  This is the most intense writing I've ever seen, and it's all Ronie!

Don't get attached to ANYONE...when Ronie can craft a character, introduce her to you, and five pages later she's gone...and you CRY...and get ANGRY....that's POWERFUL writing!  And yup, you'll be holding your breath and praying the entire way through "Operation Zulu: Redemption".

For imaginary people in imaginary situations, no less.  But that's because Ronie writes with such authenticity.  She knows her stuff and she knows how to wield a pen...or rather, a keyboard!  I was so stressed out this entire ride...but in its own twisted way, it was a lot of fun.

And if you can put down one of Ronie's novels and not have a higher estimation of our military than you did before you opened to page one...then check yourself.  These men and women and their families are so brave, and go through so much, to defend us, whether we ask them to or not.

I received my first installment of "Operation Zulu: Redemption" from Amazon for free, and purchased the rest of the series from them as well.  This serial novel is published by Shiloh Run Publishing, an imprint of Barbour Publishing, and all five are available now, and will be released in one big, thick book.

But don't be a ridiculous as I was and wait...Do you Zulu??  HOOAH!!
Happy Reading!

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

A Life Intercepted by Charles Martin


About the Book:

Twelve years ago Matthew "the Rocket" Rising had it all. Married to his high school sweetheart and one of the winningest quarterbacks in the history of college football, he was the number one NFL draft pick. But on the night of the draft, he plummeted from the pinnacle of esteem. Falsely accused of a heinous crime with irrefutable evidence, it seemed in an instant all was lost—his reputation, his career, his freedom, and most devastatingly, the love of his life.

Having served his sentence and never played a down of professional football, Matthew leaves prison with one goal—to find his wife, Audrey, whom no one has seen since the trial. He returns to an unwelcoming reception from his Gardi, Georgia, hometown to learn that Audrey has taken shelter from the media with the nuns at a Catholic school.

There she has discovered a young man with the talent to achieve the football career Matthew should have had. All he needs is the right coach. Although helping the boy means Matthew violates the conditions of his release and—if discovered—reincarceration for life, he'll take the chance with hope of winning back Audrey's love.

My Thoughts:

I've loved the writings of Charles Martin ever since I found his first novel "The Dead Don't Dance".  I've always thought of him as the male version of Karen Kingsbury.  If you've ever read her books, you know to have a JUMBO box of tissues handy.

The same is true of Charles' novels.  They are packed to the brim with emotion, characters so lifelike they walk off the page and into your heart forever, and stories that first break your heart and then put it back together, leaving lifetime scars of memory made from what you've just encountered.

"A Life Intercepted" is one of those books.  Charles has gotten a bit sneakier, putting out hints of the events to come for several chapters before lowering the boom on the reader.  I can hear you, reading friend, as you gasp in dreadful shock of what takes place.

I know I did.

And by the time events began to truly unfold, I was already in love with Matthew and Audrey Rising, as well as Woody, Dee, and so many others.

I also long for justice, and I learned to despise the perpetrator of injustice.  But Matt and Audrey taught me to let it go, and they never watched "Frozen"....this came truly from their hearts.  They also taught me to shake off the past, and neither of them were fans of Taylor Swift....genuine sentiment from two excellent examples of maturity, love everlasting, and faith.

So, if you've never read a novel by Charles Martin, get to a bookstore quickly and pick up a copy of "A Life Intercepted"...it releases today.  My thanks to my friends at Center Street, an imprint of the Hatchette Book Group, for my complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

In all honesty, I haven't forgotten any of the novels crafted by Charles Martin.  I don't believe you will, either (Thunder and Rain is definitely for mature audiences...read it and you'll see why I said that!).

Happy Reading!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Sweet by Food Network Magazine



About the Book:

Dessert and snack fanatics, wait no more! The folks at Food Network Magazine have gathered together more than 300 pages of illustrated, easy-to-follow step-by-step recipes for cakes, cookies, candy, cupcakes, and other goodies, all of them triple-tested and endorsed by culinary enthusiasts.

Definitely one of the tastiest baking books of the year.

My Thoughts:

"Sweet" from Food Network Magazine is to pastry chefs and bakers what Lucky Charms is to children--magical and delicious!  This is the perfect book for the upcoming holidays, but you'll find far more than just seasonal treats.  How about a recipe for Mini Bacon Cheesecakes?  If that doesn't float your boat, how about Peanut Brittle Chocolate Cupcakes?  There's something for every sweet tooth, even those trying to eat healthier.

Of course, as a grandmother, I loved "Fun Projects", like the Alphabet Cupcakes or t he Cookie Puzzle.  As an avid baker, I loved all of the unique flavors and twists on old favorites like brownies.  Is Almond Joy your favorite candy bar?  There's a recipe for you!

Each chapter comes with incredible picture indexes at the beginning of each section, letting you flip right to the recipe you wanted to try with ease.  And every recipe comes with a full color photo that you can regardless of eyesight.  These pics are HUGE!

My thanks to Blogging for Books and the Food Network Magazine for my complimentary copy of "Sweet" in exchange for an honest review!  It gets five enthusiastic stars from me!

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thunder, a Stone Braide Chronicles novel by Bonnie S. Calhoun


About the Book:

The Time of Sorrows is long past.
The future of Selah and her people is shrouded in mystery.
And the clock is ticking.
Hidden in the tall grasses along a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city, a hunter crouches. It is the eve of her eighteenth Birth Remembrance and high time she proves to herself and her brothers that she can stand on her own two feet. Selah Rishon Chavez waits not for game but for one of the small boats that occasionally crash against the desolate shoreline. Because inside one of these boats she will find her quarry--a Lander.

These people from an unknown land across the ocean are highly prized by the Company and bring a good price--especially if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander whom Selah catches is stolen by her brothers, and Selah wakes the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bodhi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell in the Mountain.

My Thoughts:

Dystopian fiction is hot these days.  But some say dystopian CHRISTIAN fiction is weak, not worth reading.  IF that's true, then allow Bonnie S. Calhoun change your mind with "Thunder: A Stone Braide Chronicles novel".

"Thunder" is powerful allegorical dystopian fiction.  When it comes to the faith element, think "Chronicles of Narnia".  When it comes to the dystopian aspect, think "Divergent".  But when it comes to the actual story, Bonnie is in a class all her own.

I fell in love with Selah when I read 'Tremors", the prequel novel.  It was there I also met the rest of the Chavez family...and immediately took a disliking to her oldest brother Raza.  Cleon, however is adorable, as is Dane.  Her mother is so loving, but pushes Selah to learn the strangest things...things which both the reader and Selah are grateful for as the book progresses.

The story is action packed.  From savage rabbits to ginormous pythons that will squeeze the life out of you, to roaming savages...the dangers are plentiful and mind-bending.  Bonnie truly shows off her creative, imaginative side.  The story is dangerous, entertaining, imaginative, and ultimately filled with hope.

Just for your own information, there is what seems to be sexual tension.  But look deeper and you'll see what I saw....two young people falling in love for the first time, with a supernatural pull mixed in.  If Selah thinks looking at Bohde makes her "tingle", don't go for the simple....I challenge you to see what I saw.

The allegory is most powerful when you see the budding romance between Bodhi and Selah as a spiritual connection that leads to love.  That's what this reader believes the tension actually is.  But come back later...and hear it from the author herself!

I received an advance copy of "Thunder, a Stone Braide Chronicles novel" from my friends at Revell Publishing.  I'm so grateful for their generosity in exchange for an honest review.  This is the best inspirational dystopian fiction I've had the privilege of reading, and I can hardly wait for the second book in this series to release.

Oh, I almost forgot..."Thunder" doesn't release until October 7, 2014.  But think of it this way...you have something to look forward to now!

Happy Reading!

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

CFBA Presents "Driftwood Tides" by Gina Holmes

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Driftwood Tides
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (September 1, 2014)
by
Gina Holmes


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Gina Holmes is the founder of Novel Rocket, regularly named as one of Writers Digest’s best websites for writers. Her debut, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Gold Medallion finalist and winner of the Carol Award, INSPY, and RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice, as well as being a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and PW bestseller. Her sophomore novel, Dry as Rain was a Christy Award finalist. Her latest novel, Wings of Glass has been named as one of the best books of the year by Library Journal and was a SIBA Okra pick and a finalist for Romantic Times’ Reviewers Choice Award. She holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose.

ABOUT THE BOOK

He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore. When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Driftwood Tides, go HERE.



My Thoughts:

Gina writes with passion and powerful emotion, and her newest book is her finest work yet.  Keep the tissues close by, because you are about to embark on a highly emotional journey with Libby as she seeks answers to who she truly is.

Holton Creary is bent on self-destruction by the time Libby finds him...the big question is can he provide the answers she's seeking, or will he take her under with him?  For Holt, his big question is how such a loving, perfect, Godly wife could keep something like this a secret from him?

Tess is likeable from the moment we meet her, and watching her stand by Holt no matter what comes his way is something to admire.  Yes, you'll have moments of wanting to reach into the book in order to slap some sense into her, but in the end you'll understand why she makes the choices she makes.

Caroline is a real piece of work....don't expect any warm and fuzzies upon encountering her!  But hang in there and you'll find a human under all that tough as nails exterior...and you'll be prayer for her that she let down a little and be a bit more of a human than a controlling dictator.

Rob...oh, have I known my share of Robs!  Once again, the slap some sense into a fictional character will come over you...resist it!  Let him slowly become the man he was meant to be.  And, if it turns out he doesn't....feel free to slap!

Believable characters, powerful sense of place and gripping story will all be found in the pages of "Driftwood Tides", and I challenge you to read "just one more chapter"...yeah, good luck putting this one down until you've reached the conclusion!

My thanks to my friends at Tyndale House Publishing for my copy via CFBA in exchange for an honest review.  Highly recommended, and should come with a box of tissues!

Happy Reading!

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, A Mitford Novel by Jan Karon



About the Book:

After five hectic years of retirement from Lord’s Chapel, Father Tim Kavanagh returns with his wife, Cynthia, from a so-called pleasure trip to the land of his Irish ancestors.

 While glad to be at home in Mitford, something is definitely missing: a pulpit. But when he’s offered one, he decides he doesn’t want it. Maybe he’s lost his passion.

 His adopted son, Dooley, wrestles with his own passion—for the beautiful and gifted Lace Turner, and his vision to become a successful country vet. Dooley’s brother, Sammy, still enraged by his mother’s abandonment, destroys one of Father Tim’s prized possessions. And Hope Murphy, owner of Happy Endings bookstore, struggles with the potential loss of her unborn child and her hard-won business.
           
All this as Wanda’s Feel Good CafĂ© opens, a romance catches fire through an Internet word game, their former mayor hatches a reelection campaign to throw the bums out, and the weekly Muse poses a probing inquiry: Does Mitford still take care of its own?
           
Millions of fans will applaud the chance to spend time, once more, in the often comic and utterly human presence of Jan Karon’s characters. Indeed, they have never been more sympathetic, bighearted, and engaging.

My Thoughts:

Welcome home to Mitford if you've loved the novels!  If not, then Welcome to Mitford--you need to start from the beginning, but you can do that after you read "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good".

Who am I to be offering a review of Jan Karon's works?  I'm just a fan who takes literature seriously, and insists on quality in what I read.  Jan's books have both a serious take on books and authors as well as top notch quality.

If you've read my post in the countdown to today's release date, you've learned a lot about Jan's journey to Mitford and her beloved Father Timothy Kavanagh.  If you missed those, there's still time to enter each giveaway for a chance at winning a free copy.

So, what did I learn from my time in "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good"?  Lots of things, such as everybody deserves to be loved.  Also, in marriage it is so vital to keep love alive, even if it means writing each other love letters (make it a challenge to out do each other--Like Tim and Cynthia did!)

I learned that it isn't enough to simply ask, "What can I do to help" or say "If you need anything, just call."  No, we have to put feet to our words and let our hands be helpful, or our words are empty.  The beauty of it all is, as we help others, we in return are helped by God.

I also learned that prayer truly does matter, and faith in Christ can be scary and murky for those who haven't yet believed.  I'm beginning to open my days in good morning prayers, pray often for people who ask or who just need prayer.  And to close my days with a prayer of thankfulness to God for all He accomplished in me, through me, and in spite of me.

Oh...one last thing...I MISS UNCLE BILLY!  There.  I've said it.

Here's to hoping for another trip back to Mitford.  I've also missed Mitford, and this was a refreshing tale about people I've grown to love, even though they are fictional...because they seem real to me. 

My thanks to my generous friends at Putnam Adult for my complimentary copy and trusting me to provide an honest review.

So here it is, in all honesty:  GET THEE TO MITFORD!  YOU MISS IT, EVEN IF YOU DON'T KNOW IT YET!  Sorry for the yelling, but it is a vitally important message:-)

Happy Reading!

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day!!!



Dear Reading Buddies,

It's Labor Day, and I cannot think of anyone who worked harder than my Dad.  He gave me my love of books by buying a copy of "Trixie Belden and the Black Jacket Mystery" when I had the flu.  I was only around 8 years old, but that memory sticks in my brain and in my heart.  He also worked hard at a job that was painful for his body, driving truck, in order to buy me books, with only minor complaint--but he loved my love of books, even though he himself didn't read much.

So Happy Labor Day to my dad, Les Ward...enjoy your rest in Jesus, Daddy.



Another person who also worked hard to raise me, and took any home job she could do while being at home with me was my mom.  She shared a love of books with me (I think she's the real reason Dad didn't 'really' complain!), and teaching me that a truly good book wasn't good until it was shared.  Mom is the reason I labor over my reviews and try to pick just the perfect word when I write.  Jean Ward is the reason I review like I do.  She's the reason I share with all of you my love of books.

So Happy Labor Day to my mom, Jean Ward, and you also enjoy your rest with Jesus.

Happy Reading!

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Saturday, August 30, 2014

More Anticipation for "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good"



To encourage Mitford fans (and soon to be Mitford fans), I'm sharing a little more from an interview with author Jan Karon.  Watch for the trivia question at the end of the post for your chance to win a free copy of this highly anticipated novel!

1. Your books are brimming with quotable quotes, both sacred and secular.  Do you have a favorite?  Your top 5?

I collect quotes like a child collects butterflies.  They are everywhere, absolutely flying around in the air and I am after them with a net.  I don't usually collect from other quote collections, finding that the easy way.  A great favorite, on which I feasted for many a moon in the early years of my work, is from Goethe: "Whatever you would do, begin it.  Boldness has courage, genius and magic in it."  This is the best if read over and over again, letting the great truth of it sink in.  My sworn favorite is from a 16th century poet: "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future".  A glorious truth.

2. What makes Father Tim so easy to be with and write about?

Hey, when I first started writing about Father Tim, I found him on the boring side.  Too nice, maybe.  Bland, but as we worked together, I got to know him better.  He became deeper and so did the author.  He suffered and so did the author.  We embarked on a life together, and I began to find him trustworthy, funny, sensitive, loving, thoughtful of others, lacking a little bit in self-esteem, hungry for love but scared of it, and with fewer defenses than the rest of us.  Agatha Christie wrote 60 books and stories about Poirot and said at the end, "I never really cared for that little man."  I find this hilarious, but must tell you that I care very much for my man, and thus have devoted, to date, twenty years of my life telling his story.

3. Is there a story behind the title, "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good"?

Cynthia got the notion that they should write love letters again, as they did when courting.  So around the time of their ninth anniversary, she posed this to Father Tim.  He did NOT want to do it, but she gave him a blast of those cornflower blue eyes and what could he say?  In her first love letter to him, she said she had longed since childhood to be "somewhere safe with somebody good."  I was really looking for a title, as I like to have one upfront.  So far, one had not come my way.  But there it was, hooray, on her small, almost childlike handwriting.  I am always ecstatic when I find the perfect title, one that distills the meaning of 400 pages into a single line.

So....for that trivia question.  Post your answer along with your name and your email address (thedeena63 @ Hotmail dot com) and you'll gain entry into a drawing for your OWN FREE COPY OF "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good"!

Here's the question:  Where is your somewhere safe with somebody good?

Oh, and my favorite quote from the Mitford novels: "Well, I'll be et for a tater!"

Happy Reading!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

In Anticipation of "Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good" by Jan Karon



"Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good" is a highly anticipated Mitford novel, and readers are excited to get a copy.  I received a complimentary copy from G.P. Putnam's Sons in exchange for an honest review  and some advance publicity.

Enclosed with my copy of the book (which is absolutely GORGEOUS in design) came an interview with Jan Karon.  I thought I would share some of her thoughts with you, to hopefully generate some excitement in you, reading buddies.

Let's just say I just about fell out of my chair when the email requesting me to review sent me over the moon.  As I told my children, "Mama's reviewing in the big leagues now!"  But enough about me...

1, After a nine year hiatus, what prompted the return to Mitford now?

My readers were wild to go back to Mitford.  The general consensus was: Holly Springs, fine.  County Sligo, fine.  Now let's go back to Mitford.  Thankfully, I was curious myself,  What was going on in the lives of characters I had lived with for twenty years?  I was occasionally homesick for the place.  Conclusion: Never say never,

2. Unlike many bestsellers today, you've said that your books have "no cussin', no murder, no mayhem".  Given the state of popular culture, what makes your books so popular?

When I began writing the series, I was dedicated to keeping it clean. That's the way I like it, and I thought a few people might agree.  Actually, millions agreed, which, in the end, is no surprise.  Having traveled the country many times over, I find people everywhere to be basically decent, kindhearted, affectionate, helpful, funny, ready for a laugh, a cry--and the assurance that God really does love us.  I am here to encourage, to console, and create a safe place between the covers of a book.

3. Who is your typical reader?  Has that changed over the twenty years you've been writing books?

My typical reader is the same as Charles Dicken's typical reader.   The demographic is every age and both sexes.  Entire families read my work.  Couples read the Mitford series out loud to each other.  Young couples have told me "you have saved our marriage."  (This is astonishing, as I have no clue how to save a marriage.)  My work is read in homeschools, public schools and retirement communities.  I get mail from doctors, bishops, librarians (yay for librarians), and lots of mail from people who have read the series many times over.

Whetted your appetite for Mitford yet?  Come back tomorrow for more with Jan Karon...oh, did I forget to mention a giveaway?? 

To enter leave a comment about how you found Mitford, your name and email address (like this, please: thedeena63 @ Hotmail Dot com)...I will draw a winning name from each day's posts about "Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good", ending with my full review on the September 2nd release date.

Happy Reading!

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tremors, a Stone Braide Chronicles Story by Bonnie S. Calhoun



About the Book:

In this gripping prequel to Thunder, unsettling secrets change Selah Chavez's life forever in the days before her 18th Born Remembrance.

My Thoughts:

Oh.  My.  Word.  If ever a synopsis doesn't do justice to the powerful novella, it would be this one!  I mean, yes, this prequel is gripping.   And yes, Selah learns some unsettling secrets. 

That would be because she's, oh, I don't know...headstrong?  Determined?  Independent?  Try all of the above!

You would be too if your father was....oops!  Almost said too much.  But I can tell you Selah has a wonderful mother, a controlling father, two adorable brothers and one brother I wouldn't wish on anyone!

Then, there's also....oh, you sneaky reading buddy!  Almost talked me into giving away major plot points.  Nope, you'll just have to mine for treasure in "Tremors" yourself....but be warned...

This little taste of this new world Bonnie has crafted will leave you wanting more...oh, so much more!  And while it is a bit frustrating....that's a sign of stellar writing and solid hope of even greater things to come.

I downloaded an electronic  copy of "Tremors", simply because I couldn't wait for the release of "Thunder".   Both are published by Revell Publishing, and highly recommended. 

Happy Reading!

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The Last Witness by Glenn Meade



About the Book:

After a massacre at a Bosnian prison camp, a young girl is found alone, clutching a diary, so traumatized she can’t even speak. Twenty years later, the last witness to the prison guards' brutal crimes must hunt down those responsible to learn what happened to her family.

Twenty years ago, after the fall of Yugoslavia, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands were killed or imprisioned in work camps during an “ethnic cleansing” in Bosnia. Carla Lane has little knowledge of what went on halfway around the world when she was a child. She is living a near perfect life in New York City, married and soon to have a family of her own.

But when her husband is murdered by a group of Serbian war criminals, strange memories start coming back, and she discovers that she underwent extensive therapy as a girl to suppress her memories. She is given her mother’s diary, which unlocks her childhood memories and reveals that she was, along with her parents and young brother, imprisoned in a war camp outside Sarajevo.

As her memories come back, it becomes clear that she is the last witness to a brutal massacre in the prison and that her brother may still be alive. She sets out to find her brother, but first she must hunt down the war criminals responsible for destroying her life. But these killers will stop at nothing to protect their anonymity and their deadly pasts...and are determined to silence the last witness to their crimes.

From the talented storyteller who gave us The Second Messiah, The Last Witness serves up another captivating and nail-biting thriller that will keep you holding your breath right to the end.

My Thoughts:

This is one of the most mind-bending works of fiction I think I've ever read.  Glenn Meade takes readers on a journey that isn't for the faint of heart, but he has crafted a novel that everyone must read...because the atrocities he writes are based firmly on true events.

If I mention the name Slobodan Milosevic, does that trigger a memory of the monster behind unspeakable events that took the world stage a mere 25 years ago?  Unfortunately, I don't think most remember him.

You will when you've read "The Last Witness".  But this may be the most challenging novel you've ever read, and it will remain with you long after the final page is turned.  The events of Milosevic's ethnic cleansing make the Holocaust look rather juvenile....and yes, those events are horrific in themselves.

Still, the journey Carla Lane must take to get the answers that demand resolution is nightmarish.  Events triggered by the murder of her beloved husband result in deeply buried memories that feel surreal.

My thanks to my friends at Howard Publishing for my complimentary copy of this powerful novel, given in exchange for an honest review.  Highly recommended, with a caution: reading these pages will change you, and that will save us from sitting back when the monsters come again.

Because evil will not rest until Jesus returns, and we must stay aware and vigilant.

Happy Reading!

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