29 April 2011

Contemporary Book Review - Friend on Friday!

Review: Save the Date Save the Date
by Jenny B. Jones http://www.jennybjones.com/

Reviewed by: Charlene Quiram http://www.keytreecreations.com/
Format: E-book

Publisher: Thomas Nelson



Do you want to read a book that is fun, fun, fun while delivering a powerful punch about forgiveness and reconciliation? Jenny B. Jones delivers LOL humor with Lucy Wiltshire on almost every page of Save the Date, her latest novel. Lucy is witty, klutzy, noble, haunted, and hilarious when she fakes an engagement to the rich and arrogant pro-football player-turned-senatorial candidate, Alex Sinclair in order to save the struggling woman’s shelter she’s sunk her heart and soul into.

You’ll love how Lucy sucks you into a whirlwind of emotions—panic when it looks like both her dream and the homeless girls she’s grown to love will be thrown back to the streets; conflict as she wrestles with God about a solution; mortification when the answer she opts for flings her so far out of her comfort zone she’d be better off on an alien planet in one her beloved Sci-Fi flicks, and confusion when she finds herself drawn to the man that couldn’t be more wrong for her.

Jones is known for her sassy YA (Young Adult) books, but Save the Date is a great cross-over book with its twenty-something characters and more mature issues.



Faves:

 Jones has a gift for creating terse-but humorous dialogue with the key characters—especially Alex with Lucy and Clare with Julian

 She illustrates key biblical concepts such as forgiveness, the importance of relationships over work, and our own self-worth without being preachy

 Alex is steaming hot

 She mentions Bono on page 223 (Anyone who likes Bono enough to write him into her novel—gets my endorsement)



Fails:

  • At first, I had a hard time believing that Alex Sinclair was the kind of God-fearing man her turned out to be—only because of how much Lucy prejudiced me against him in the beginning. Not a complete fail—because eventually you see why he’s changed and he becomes more believable if almost too-good-to-be true.

  •  In this same vein, I had a hard time swallowing the wicked witch transforming into a fairy godmother, but, of course, with Him, anything is possible.



At the beach on spring break, on a coffee break, on a couch break, give yourself a break and read Save the Date. I dare you not to break out laughing.


Charlene Quiram is a writer from Williamsburg, Virginia.  She is a member of Tidewater Christian Fiction Writers. Charlene has a special interest in Russia, having adopted two Ukraine children, now teens.

25 April 2011

Book Review by Diana Flowers



Suspense Cajun-Style!


Kathy Herman http://www.kathyherman.com
takes the reader off on a suspenseful page-turner in the first of her series Secrets of Roux River Bayou, False Pretenses!I was immediately drawn to the hometown atmosphere of this Loiusiana bayou setting...colorful shops, cajun cuisine and language, and southern plantations!

Zoe Broussard's life is perfect...her dream of opening a successful cajun eatery has come to fruition, a dream she shares with the love of her life, Pierce Broussard. As her best friends, Vanessa and Ethan Langley, embark on fulfilling their own dream of turning an inherited plantation into a bed-and-breakfast, Zoe's perfect world begins to unravel.

What terrible secrets is Zoe hiding from the past that could destroy her marriage and reputation, and who is sending her frightening, anonymous notes, threatening to expose her? And who is the mysterious stranger that Vanessa and Ethan's four year old son claims to have spoken to in the mansion? Is he the product of a child's overactive imagination or is the Langley mansion actually harboring a ghost? Eventually Zoe's lies put her and all those she loves in terrible danger, and her marriage is put to the ultimate test. A riveting novel of past mistakes, forgiveness, tension and suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

My passion is historical fiction, but there is enough southern history packed in this powerful novel, to have successfully turned me into a fan of contempory suspense. At least of Kathy's books anyway! I can't wait for the next one!

*Warning* There is some violence for those of you who are a bit on the squeamish side.


Bio: Diana is an avid reader who prefers historical Christian fiction. She is a regular reviewer on this blog. Diana lives in South Carolina with her husband and is happy to have her extended family nearby.

Giveaway:  Diana is giving away a copy of this book.  Leave a comment by Friday morning, 8:00 EST, for a chance to win.  

18 April 2011

Interview with Laura Frantz, Birthday Girl!!!

HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! DID YOU KNOW

THE FRONTIERSMAN'S DAUGHTER HAD A DIFFERENT NAME AT FIRST?
The hint is in the birthday cake, above!!!


Laura Frantz 

is the author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter 
Courting Morrow Little 




Courting Morrow Little

, and the upcoming The Colonel’s Lady

The Colonel's Lady

I met Laura Frantz a couple of years ago when Rachel Hauck  was teaching an online writers’ class and asked us to find comparables for the books we were writing. I found out that The Frontiersman’s Daughter was ready to release in a few months and got in contact with the very gracious Laura. Was I thrilled to get to write the very first review on Amazon for this wonderful book, still my favorite! I am so glad to have this lovely lady on my blog this week and want to wish her a


VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON TUESDAY APRIL 19!!!


Laura, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

Now that I’ve reached the mid-century mark and can look back at my life, I can see that the loss of my father as a young girl impacted me deeply, though I spent years denying it. Even as an adult I struggle with trusting my Heavenly Father because of that loss. But I will say that God is ever faithful and has been a father to me when my earthly father was absent. In terms of my writing, God healed me in such amazing ways during the writing of The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Growing up in Kentucky and being steeped in the lore of those early settlers, I used to imagine what it would have been like being the daughter of Daniel Boone who was, and still is, my hero. The book took 10 years to write as I put it away for 5 years when my boys were small, but throughout the writing I can see God’s healing hand on every page. I don’t know that I would have become a writer had my father not left our family. Writing became my escape and solace at a young age and continues to be. Not only that, God has given me a husband who is so faithful and steadfast and we are, truly, more in love now than the day we married 17 years ago. This has also brought healing. It’s so moving to see how God redeems difficult situations for those of us who are His.



What is your favorite bible verse and why?

Oh, I will forever love Isaiah 40:11:

He tends His flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in His arms and gently leads those who have young.

The Lord gave this verse to me during a very trying time. We were living in tiny garage with a colicky newborn while Randy was building our house between working full time and completing a 5 year apprenticeship. That winter it had rained 93 days straight and my family was 2500 miles away. That verse became my anchor as I trusted God’s care of me and my baby and my hardworking husband during those long, lonely days.



Are any of your books available in audio format? Are any available as e-books with audio capability? Large print? (Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)

The Frontiersman’s Daughter is available in large print through Thorndike. Also, Kentucky’s Talking Books Program was planning to include it on audio in their library. (Not yet listed on their site, however.) Both The Frontiersman’s Daughter and Courting Morrow Little are available as e-books with audio capability.



What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?

Since the Lord gifts us with writing, He seems to have an agenda for every book. Often I don’t know what that is until I’m finished and write that final page. Sometimes readers tell me what they feel is the message or important truth within, at least for them individually. It’s a bit of a mystery to me. I always pray as I write, asking Him to guide me and keep Him at the fore. My characters often do and say very unexpected things – surprising me but not Him, surely!


As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?

In my upcoming release The Colonel’s Lady, I was overwhelmed and awed by the sacrifices men and women made during the American Revolution as I researched. Many of them lost their lives, families, and fortunes and died debtors because of their sacrifices. You only have to read a bit about Valley Forge when men had no shoes and rages for clothes and walked about bloody in the snow, or those who died aboard British prison ships to get a small glimpse of the overwhelmingly painful circumstances. We owe so much to those colonials who risked everything to make our country what it is. God has truly blessed our nation throughout our history and I hope we never lose sight of that.


Thank you Laura Frantz for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!

Love the interview, Carrie! I can tell these questions come from a gifted Christian psychologist;) Thanks so much for hosting me here. You’re a blessing!


In celebration of Laura’s birthday, I will have my first giveaway today. One of my regular blog followers, through Blogger, will be entered to win a copy of The Frontiersman’s Daughter. Do stop by and leave a comment even if you are not a follower as I have different drawings every day! Let the party begin!!!

15 April 2011

Masquerade Marriage by Anne Greene

Masquerade Marriage
“Verra Riveting Read”


Review By Diana Flowers

In Masquerade Marriage, Anne Greene http://www.annegreeneauthor.com/ magnificently sweeps us away to 18th century Scotland, a majestic land of castles and kilts, Scottish burrs and bagpipes, lords and ladies. However it is also a war-torn land, divided into Highlanders and Lowlanders, and divided loyalties to the king of England. Brody MacCauley, a Highlander, awakens on the battlefield to find he is the only survivor in a bloody battle with the English who vow to exterminate every Highlander.

To save his sister and mother from a fate worse than death, Brody enters into a marriage "in name only" to Megan, a Lowlander, who he has loved all his life, unbeknownst to her. Since Lowlanders were loyal to King George of England, Megan enters into marriage with Brody, knowing his family will be kept safe, but also to escape an arranged marriage to an abusive noble. She also prayerfully hopes that a marriage between a Highlander and a Lowlander, might someday unite her beloved Scotland. Even though Megan's heart belongs to another she finds Brody breathtakingly handsome and virile. Sparks and deep chemistry fly high between these two Scots, but can they overcome their obstacles to have a true marriage?

Danger lurks around every corner, and soon Brody, with a price on his head must leave his lady love behind, knowing he will never see her again. Will Megan ever truly love him or is it too late, as Brody embarks on a trip to the colonies, knowing he and his family will be safe there and able to begin anew? And what surprising twist takes place at the end of the book with Megan's father, who totally disdains all Highlanders? What an exciting, romantic, riveting read! Verra nicely done, Anne! Loved that Scottish dialogue, as you can see!

Thanks, Diana, for posting your review on my blog! Congratulations, Anne, on your novel!  Sounds fascinating.

Contest: Leave a comment by this Monday for a chance to win a (gently used!) copy of this book. 

11 April 2011

Interview with Louise Gouge





Louise M. Gouge http://blog.louisemgouge.com/
is the author of At the Captain’s Command (April 2011), from Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historicals. This is the third book in this colonial series.

I met Louise through HisWriters, an online writers group for those who have either published or planned works with European characters, and Colonial American Christian Writers, an online group I founded last year for authors of colonial-era, and slightly beyond, American books or works-in-progress.


Louise, welcome to Overcoming Through Time. Would you share either the most difficult thing in your life you have had to overcome, with God’s help, or the most tragic situation or circumstance one of your character’s has had to get past?

Hi, Carrie. Thank you for inviting me, but WOW! This is a hard question to begin with. By my age, a person usually has had more than a few difficult life situations to deal with. Not one to let any conflict go to waste, I often use my own painful experiences to infuse real emotions in my characters. That may sound a bit callous, but not when one considers that the “job” of the Christian fiction writer is to engage readers through true-to-life experiences for both entertainment and spiritual growth. In other words, I write my stories with the hope that they will reach readers on a deep level and change their lives, specifically helping them to have a close relationship with Jesus Christ. This echoes the way that Jesus used parables to reveal God’s true nature to us.

That being said, I’d add that the most painful experience in my life was the death of my beloved son-in-law Bill, a godly young pastor and teacher. Sometimes it seems unfair and maybe even a big mistake when God takes a wonderful man like Bill away from us. My faith assures me that right now Bill is happy in the Lord’s Holy presence. But he left a widow with two small children to struggle through life without his loving, guiding, protecting hand. However, true to her strong faith, my daughter has managed over the past five years to work through her grief and come to terms with her loss. She’s a wonderful and fun mother. I’m so proud of her in every way.

As for me, when Bill died, I lost a friend and fellow writer. I still miss him. A part of me still asks “Why, Lord?” But again, Faith answers the question, saying “Bad things may happen, but God never makes a mistake.” Like my daughter, I choose to trust Him.

(Louise, that had to be very difficult. To see your daughter and grandchildren suffering, too.  Thank you for your assertion that trust and faith are the right choices to make in this loss.)



What is your favorite bible verse and why?

Psalms 47:4 promises us that “He shall choose our inheritance for us.” I would rather trust God’s will for my life than force things to go my way. Every time I’ve done that, I’ve regretted it. Yet when I’ve trusted Him, He has blessed my endeavors.



What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?

I pray that people will understand the true loving nature of God as our heavenly Father. He isn’t angry with us, and we don’t have to jump through a bunch of hoops to earn his love. He’s already done the work by sending His Son Jesus to die for us. All we have to do is accept His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.



As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?



Oh, yes. I’m constantly uncovering “neat stuff” about the past. For At the Captain’s Command and the other two books in this series, it was the common humanity that we all share, no matter what our opinions are about any given issue. Historically, England’s King George III was our enemy, a despot who refused to consider the colonists’ legitimate complaints about taxes and oppression. On the other hand, as borne out by detailed research, King George was faithful to his wife (very unusual for a monarch or peer of the times) and a true believer in Jesus Christ. He just believed that God had given him the right to rule however he saw fit.



Looking at the situation from the high hill of history, I can disengage my personal biases and appreciate the righteous parts of his life even as I deplore his unreasonable treatment of the colonists. And who can fail to feel some measure of pity for a man who had the enormous responsibility as leading his country wisely, and yet he fell ill to a devastating madness that impaired his ability to lead. Anyone who has watched the helplessness of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other debilitating disease of the mind can appreciate the misery George endured for decades before he died. Death, the great leveler. Whether we be kings or paupers or just regular folks, we all share that common humanity. That alone should inspire us to look more kindly upon others.



Thank you, Louise, for agreeing to answer these questions. Have a blessed day and keep on writing!!



Thank you, Carrie, for having me.
Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a copy of At the Captain's Command, or another of her books if you already own this latest colonial romance! 

06 April 2011

Abigail's New Hope by Mary Ellis


“Very Poignant Read”

If you have read Amish fiction before you are certain to enjoy Abigail's New Hope and if not, this would be a good novel to start with! We have all heard the scripture "God sends rain on the just and the unjust." In the wake of the tragedies that have recently befallen this lovely group of people, we can certainly see how this scripture is so true.

This book not only centers around Abigail, a lovely, innocent young Amish mother and wife, through her "dark night of the soul", but also around two other characters as well. Isaiah, who is a recluse, not by choice, is misunderstood because of his inability to hear, and Nathan who tragically loses his wife to childbirth. I especially liked the way the author intertwines all these characters and showed how each person handles the storm that has surrounded them differently. Abby uses her time in imprisonment to draw closer to God, whereas Nathan runs from God, and Isaiah simply hides from everyone. This story is the embodiment of love; love for those of other religions and beliefs, love for those who may be different than us, and love for the "untouchables" in our society, those that are imprisoned or in deep bondage. I also saw how just one person's love can make a difference and help someone's whole life to change! I want to be one of those people.

Don't let the innocent little cover on this book throw you off, Mary Ellis has written a power-packed novel! Thumbs up!

Review By Diana Flowers

Bio: Diana lives in South Carolina with her husband of thirty-eight years.  An avid reader of Christian historical fiction, Diana posts reviews regularly on this blog as well as on CBD and Amazon. 




Contest/Giveway: Diana is giving away a gently used copy of this book.  Leave your email address for a chance to win a copy of Abigail's New Hope!

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