29 June 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review by Diana Flowers


Secrets of the Heart, Ravensmoore Chronicles Series #1   -     
        By: Jillian Kent
    
Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent
 
























www.jilliankent.com Published by Realms, 2011

4 stars~
 
Not Your Typical Regency Novel! 

Jillian Kent has done a superb job with her debut regency era novel, Secrets of the Heart. This is not your typical regency era novel, full of balls, tea parties, and gowns, but rather one filled with suspense, romance, and intrigue. I was hooked from the first chapter, and although some of the subject matter was not so pretty, I still found myself having a hard time putting this one down!
 
The first chapter finds us in Yorkshire, England, in 1817, with Lady Madeline Whittington horseback riding in the dense forest of Richfield, her family home. In the woods she encounters a scared, filthy, half-starved girl in tattered clothes, who doesn't speak a word. Madeline hides the girl and seeks to restore her back to health, and find out where she is from. Lady Madeline is emerging from a period of mourning, but still can't get over the loss of her beloved father. On a hunting expedition, Madeline has a minor accident and is attended by the handsome Earl of Ravensmoore, whom she despises, believing he was responsible for her father's death.
 
Although of nobility, Devlin Ravensmoore, is studying to be a doctor, wishing to make a difference in the deplorable conditions he sees in the hospitals and mental institutions. As their lives become entertwined, what horrifying secrets do Madeline and Devlin unearth and who is this strange girl in the woods? Will Madeline ever learn to trust doctors, especially Devlin? Can Ravensmoore and Madeline make a difference in the horrible conditions at Ashcroft Mental Institution? And when Devlon goes to the asylum to treat an outbreak of smallpox, who does he find there that shocks him to the very core of his being?
 
This book was full of excitement from beginning to end...a real page-turner! Some of it was very difficult to read, however, because of the reality of how the mentally ill were treated in those days. Jillian Kent is one of the finest debut authors I've ever had the pleasure of reading her work, and has the ability to evoke powerful emotions from her readers. And that's what fine writing is all about...
 
* Warning-Not for the very squeamish...some graphic content.*

27 June 2011

Interview with Dina Sleiman


Interview by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I met Dina through my local ACFW group. Dina is the chairman of the Tidewater Area Christian Writers group that meets in Virginia Beach, Virginia. I will forever be grateful for her friendship and encouragement.  Dina agreed to support me when I took on the original position as leader of the Tidewater group a few years back but she did more than that, encouraging me during a difficult time in my life, too, when my RA was out of control and my mother was dying. Dina is a teacher and an encourager as well as a prayer warrior. She connected me with the HisWriters group, which is an online group for writers with historical European settings. Dina also set up a critique group last winter and assisted a half dozen of us as we got our manuscripts in order.  Three of us now have proposals out!  Thanks, Dina, for all you do!



http://dinasleiman.com/


Dina Sleiman is the author of Dance of the Dandelion. 


Dina, 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?

Hmm…can I play it safe and stick with my character J Dandelion’s main issue in life is that her earliest memories are of a famine. These memories and her panicked responses to them push her to always long for more. To always strive to overcome her circumstances. Sometimes this is good, but other times it drives her to terrible choices. Especially concerning men. I can relate to her a bit in that area I suppose.


What is your favorite bible verse and why?
It’s from the message version of Matthew 11. “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly.” The words “the unforced rhythms of grace” really speak to me as a dancer. I’m sure they would speak to Dandelion as well. We both long for that feeling of living “freely and lightly.” But Dandelion won’t be able to do that until she comes to Christ and is able to put her haunting past behind her.


Disability friendliness: My novel is available in ebook, including kindle which has large print and text to speech capabilities.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The main thing I want my readers to get from my books in general is how to experience intimacy with Christ. That’s really what my tagline, “Dance with Passion,” is all about. I tend to think that an intimate relationship with Christ can pretty much cure whatever ails you. In that way, God can speak into your life whatever you need, despite your past, beliefs, or the obstacles you face.
Dance of the Dandelion specifically deals with the true meaning of love, contrasting various romantic fallacies with God’s definition of love. In the book, different men represent different types of love. However, it is not until Dandelion discovers true intimacy with Christ and is healed of her old wounds that she is free to love as God would have her love.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
The most excited thing that I discovered by accident (or God coincidence) was that worship dance existed in the Catholic church in the Middle Ages, which is when Dance of the Dandelion is set. I’ve been involved with worship dance for almost twenty years and it is a primary way I relate with God, but I didn’t think I could include it in any historical novels, other than maybe Biblical, and still be accurate. One day I was wandering through the dance section of the public library and saw a very academic book called Dance as Religious Studies. It chronicled the place of dance in major world religions throughout history. I had already begun working on Dandelion at the time, and she loved to dance, but I didn’t realize I could actually have her experience legitimate worship dance until I found that book.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Dandelion experiences what we today would call panic attacks when she is triggered about a traumatic event in her past during a famine. I actually use aspects of a prayer counseling technique called “theophostic,” which means “God’s light.” Through God’s guidance in prayer, Dandelion ends up reliving the traumatic situation in her mind, and when God brings his light and truth to the situation, she is finally set free.

Through the demonstration of this inner-healing prayer technique, which is really just another variation of my theme on intimacy with Christ, I think this book could minister to people who need to overcome any sort of wounds from their past, not just panic attacks or starvation.

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

Giveaway: Leave a comment and your email address for a chance to win either a Kindle version, available now or the paperback edition, available in October!  


Kindle purchase link:  http://www.amazon.com/Dance-of-the-Dandelion-ebook/dp/B00547KPI6/ref=kinw_dp_ke?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

23 June 2011

Historical Christian Book Review of The Healer's Apprentice




Book Review by Carrie Pagels



The Healer’s Apprentice
Zondervan  (October 2010)
By Melanie Dickerson

Book Review by Carrie Pagels

I loved this book!  I read it on my Kindle. Melanie Dickerson has a lovely voice.  The story and characterization was gripping.   Ms. Dickerson acknowledges that she parallels another popular fairy tale, being inspired by time spent in a medieval German town but her “take” is original and compelling. The inspirational theme was strong. The romance was something that will keep teens through grandmothers happy!  

Obviously those involved with the Christy awards nominations recognized the power in this story, too.  Melanie’s debut novel was nominated for a Christy this year! 
Rose is a sweet young lady, daughter of a woodcutter, who apprentices with Frau Gerushka, the village healer, in 14th century Saxony.  Two royal brothers pursue her but only one will win her heart. One has pure attention but is betrothed to the mysterious Princess Salomea, whom the chivalrous Wilhelm seeks to find and protect.  

A very satisfying read and a lovely ending to this book.

Well done, Melanie! I gave it five stars. That was pretty cool having my Kindle review automatically go through when I was done reading the book.

Giveaway:  Leave your email address with your comment for a chance to win a kindle copy of this great book!

20 June 2011

Interview with Roseanna White

By: Carrie Fancett Pagels

Roseanna White www.roseannawhite.com
 is the author of A Stray Drop of Blood, Jewel of Persia and will release a colonial fiction, Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland in December, 2011.  She and her husband, David, own WhiteFire Publishing http://www.whitefire-publishing.com/  Jewel of Persia just released as a paperback and is available through Amazon (www.amazon.com) and of course WhiteFire Publishing! 
I met Roseanna through HisWriters, an online group for writers of European Christian fiction. Roseanna is also a member of Colonial American Christian Writers, a Yahoo group I started last fall and a contributor to the group blog, Colonial Quills (http://colonialquills.blogspot.com ).
Roseanna, 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?

For me personally, it was my fourteenth year. I lost five people close to me through cancer, including my great-uncle and my grandfather. It hit my whole family hard; I developed an intense hatred of hospitals, a huge respect for how humor can lighten a dark situation, and most importantly, a true understanding of faith. In that year I began reading my Bible daily, spending time in prayer, and talking about my faith in a way I never had before. It changed me forever in a lot of ways.


What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Talk about a hard decision! =) I have different favorites for different parts of my life. But one that always, always sticks with me is I Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of Christ Jesus for you.
I'm an optimist, but even so it's hard for me to remember that in ALL things, I need to give thanks. Even when I'd much rather grumble. ;-)

Formats Available: A STRAY DROP OF BLOOD is available in large print; you can contact me at roseanna[at]roseannawhite[dot]com for details about that. And both it and JEWEL OF PERSIA are available in several e-book formats that are compatible with many different readers. I'm also happy to send other versions to those whose software doesn't work with the standards. All you have to do is contact me, and I'll do whatever I can to help!

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
My hope is for hope. ;-) That no matter what people go through, no matter how they've been hurt, no matter how hopeless a situation seems, there is always hope in the Lord.  I am a huge optimist, and when I asked my critique partner what was common to all my books, she said, “That no matter whether they're light and funny or deep and intense, it always comes back to hope.” If you visit my website, you'll see a heading of “Hope – In Spite of it All.”

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
My Biblical stories taught me so much about the rich culture and history of those events I grew up taking for granted. While working on A STRAY DROP OF BLOOD I came to understand how perfect God's timing was in when He sent Jesus—and what the first members of the church must have gone through when their souls stretched toward His saving grace.

While working on JEWEL OF PERSIA, I gave a lot of thought to salvation; it's the first book I've written that took place before Christ, so it's in a way a different kind of salvation—and in a way, exactly the same. Discovering those intricacies, and delving into the spiritual world that seemed to be at play when I considered my plot points, really deepened my own faith and made me that much more grateful for this amazing salvation Jesus offered.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
My heroine is one of many wives in a harem, so she has to deal daily with what we would term infidelity in her spouse, but which was accepted and even deemed right at the time. On the surface this may seem to be one of the parts of the book we relate to the least, but I believe it still speaks to us today because so many people, even today's Christians, have to learn how to love their given spouse in the face of past relationships and intimacies and infidelity. Kasia struggles with this and hopefully shows how through faith one can choose forgiveness and, therefore, love.

Thank you Roseanna for agreeing to answer these questions. What a difficult time that must have been for you to go through at such a young age.  Yet, with your faith, you still have hope, which is such an encouragement!

Giveaway:  Roseanna has graciously offered a copy of one of her books in your preferred format.  Please leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win!

16 June 2011

Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island - Book Review


Diana's Corner-Book Review
Love Finds You in Prince Edward Island Canada Product Details

by Susan Page Davis
5 stars~

A Captivating Read!
In LFY in Prince Edward Island Canada, we are swept away to this breathtakingly beautiful island, the setting of the beloved novels, Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. It is Charlottetown, Canada, in 1860 and all of the island is astir, awaiting the arrival of the Prince of Wales and his entourage! The eighteen-year-old Prince Albert Edward is making a two day "goodwill" trip to visit the people of Prince Edward Island, along with the Earl of Washburn and his loyal servant, Peter Stark.
Molly Orland, takes a job as a servant in the Government House, and is nervously excited and honored to be among those that will serve the prince and the British royal family. There Molly meets Peter Stark, and mistakenly assumes he is royalty, because of his dress and impeccable manners. Peter is quite taken with the beautiful Molly, as is the young Prince of Wales, but keeps his distance not wanting to ruin her reputation or jeopardize her job. Molly's grandfather, who was banished unfairly from Britain years earlier, seeks an audience with Peter Stark's royal employer, Lord Washburn, to help him get the justice he deserves. All of their lives become interwined from a long-buried secret, that only Lord Washburn holds the key to unlock and rectify.

Molly also quickly attracts the attention of the young prince who insists Molly attend the festive ball planned for his entertainment. There Molly is surrounded by admirers, but only wishes to be with the handsome and charming Peter, but to do so would only invite gossip. On the most exciting evening of Molly's young life, what happens to cause her to leave the ball in tears? And what part does the charming young prince play in her distress? What causes Peter to be imprisoned and is their love doomed? And what shameful secret does Molly discover involving her family and Lord Washburn?

Susan Page Davis has written a beautifully descriptive love story...from the beautiful red cliffs and farmland of Prince Edward Island to its realistic characters, I was captivated 'til the very last page! I am excited about reading more books by this author.

Giveaway:  A signed copy will be given away by Susan Page Davis, the author.  Please leave your email address for a chance to win!  And thanks for stopping by Overcoming Through Time!

15 June 2011

The Duke's Redemption - book review

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels


The Duke’s Redemption
Love Inspired Historical 2010The Duke's Redemption (Love Inspired Historical)
By Carla Capshaw

I originally published this blog post last April, 2010.  I am reposting this review and doing a giveaway of a Kindle copy of The Duke's Redemption.

This is a historical romance rather than a historical book with romantic elements. I enjoyed it very much.

Set during the American revolution primarily at a plantation near Charleston, Capshaw does a good job at explaining how people had to travel during that time and using that in her story line (Elise is a spy). Having lived in Charleston for many years, I was a little disappointed she did not include even more of the geographic features of the area. However, this book delivered more than I was expecting, since the Love Inspired Historical line was fairly new at that time. This book definitely could compete with those from the bigger Christian publishing houses.

Capshaw has some unusual turns in this book and it is not as predictable as some books I have recently read in this genre. I especially like that she was not afraid to include, and process, an element of history that needs more light shed on it – mainly, what happens when your male relative fathers a child into slavery. Cathy Gohlke also addressed this beautifully in her book, “William Henry is a Fine Name”.

This was a great night time read, is a page turner, with good pacing and plot. If you enjoy reading historical fiction (particularly colonial), this will not let you down - surprise you with the English hero but not disappoint you!

The Colonial Quills blog has a Fiction Sampler of this book up from Monday of this week.  Check it out here http://colonialquills.blogpot.com - just scroll down to the post and happy sampling!

Giveaway: Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a Kindle copy of this book. Oh, and Carla is giving away a paperback copy at Colonial Quills, if you prefer that!  Drawing for both is Friday morning!

13 June 2011

Interview with Kit Wilkinson




Kit Wilkinson is the author of Mom in the Making,due out within the week, on June 21st, and of two other Love Inspired Suspense novels, Protector’s Honor (2009) and Sabotage (2010).

I met Kit through American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW.)  She was a real blessing to me and to the Tidewater Area Christian Writers because Kit was our Area Coordinator through ACFW and she came down and got our local group started.  That local group made all the difference in the world for my writing. Thank you, Kit!!

CFP:  Kit, 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?
KW: Well, I’m in a difficult place right now actually. I’m in the middle of a divorce. I am certainly leaning on the Lord to get through this, as well as my family and lots of great friends.
CFP: I continue to pray for you Kit and ask readers to please join me in praying for you and your family and that God would make His presence known to you in the midst of this in a very personal and powerful way. Readers, join me in an AMEN on that!  We want you to come back and share with us how God walked with you through this valley, as He surely will. 

CFP: What is your favorite bible verse and why?
From Isaiah 43
Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
   I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
   I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
   they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
   you will not be burned;
   the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
   the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

I love the security in this promise from God. I always feel like, “don’t mess with me, I’m His” after I read this. J
CFP: I love that, Kit, it is a powerful passage of scripture, one to claim and hang onto!

Product DetailsCFP: Disability friendliness   Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? I believe many of your books are available as e-books with audio capability, is that correct (on Kindle)? Do you have any in large print?  (Thank you – we offer this information to our readers with difficulty reading books in regular print format.)
KW: Definitely available as an e-read from Kindle or Barnes and Noble. ( CFP Note: audio can be used to read aloud from the Kindle.) I do know that Mom in the Making and Sabotage are available in large print.

CFP: What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
KW: Hope. Life is hard and sometimes we feel like we can’t get through stuff so I hope readers can escape that feeling for a while with an easy read and leave the book with a sense of hope for whatever their circumstance may be.
CFP: As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
KW: Well, I tend to write about things I already know a little about. I have done some research on military life though and I’m always touched by what our soldiers give up for us.
CFP: In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Here’s a blurb from RT, from Kit, with these elements highlighted by Carrie:
Product DetailsMOM IN THE MAKING (4) by Kit Wilkinson: Widowed and pregnant Becky Kirkpatrick is the new middle-school fill-in teacher in Glendale, Tenn. She meets Justin Winters when she mistakenly takes his coffee, never imagining that he was once best friends with her husband. Justin is home to recover from his experiences in Afghanistan. Justin and Becky become involved, but will the past misunderstanding between the Winters and the Kirkpatricks preclude any chance of a relationship with her? Covering a variety of relationships, with both main characters working to overcome their fears, this is a sometimes sad, sometimes joyful, yet always hopeful and heartwarming story.

Thank you Kit for agreeing to answer these questions.  May God bless you and walk with you every day in the midst of this storm.



Giveaway:  Leave a comment, and prayer!,  and your email address for a chance to win a Kindle copy of Kit's new release or a paperback copy of Sabotage.

11 June 2011

Google Books Research

Don't miss this post on Colonial Quills by Laurie Alice Eakes.  She explains the best use of Google Books for conducting research on historical novels.

http://colonialquills.blogspot.com/2011/06/tools-of-trade-google-books.html

08 June 2011

"Kaydie" - book review

Penny A. Zeller
 Diana's Corner


Review by Diana Flowers

Kaydie by Penny Zeller

~4 stars



Love Under The Montana Skies!

In Penny Zeller's, Kaydie, we find ourselves in Pine Haven, Montana Territory in the late 1800s. Kaydie Kraemer marries a smooth talking man, who promises her the moon, only to realize too late he is physically and emotionally abusive. Only after Kaydie's husband is stricken with a terrible disease and passes away, does Kaydie regain her freedom, but is still emotionally bound by her intense fear. She moves in with her sister, Mckenzie, and her husband, on a ranch in Montana, for she finds she is with child.

Kaydie falls in love with Pine Haven and its small town charm, and has no desire to return to the life of privilege she once enjoyed in Boston. She becomes friends with Jonah, the ranch hand, who was rejected by both of his parents as a small child, and has no desire to ever marry. Together they attend many of the small town's functions, such as Founder's Day, 4th of July celebrations, and dances, and Jonah, in spite of himself, falls for Kaydie and loves her new baby girl as his own.

As soon as Jonah gets up the nerve to propose, who comes to Pine Haven, and causes Jonah to back off?  And will he ever get over the hurt of Kaydie's rejection and forgive her? Will Kaydie trust God to guard her heart and her life? Will she settle for safety over love?

This book was a touching read, demonstrating God's grace and healing power to hurting wounded souls. It was also a very fun and relaxing novel, so go  grab a glass of lemonade and sit under a shade tree and read to your heart's content! Penny Zeller is an up-and-coming new author to keep our eyes on!


Giveaway:  Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win!  Penny Zeller graciously offered a copy of Kaydie for giveaway!  Also, Penny will send a personalized bookplate, autographed with the winner's name on it! Thanks, Penny - Carrie & Diana.

03 June 2011

Carrie Fancett Pagels Reviews "The Preacher's Bride" by Jody Hedlund


The Preacher's Bride
The Preacher’s Bride
by Jody Hedlund 
(Bethany House, October 2010)

I give this novel four stars. A very good book.

Why I listened to this: Another writer friend, Gina Wellborn, a preacher’s wife, highly recommended this book and gave it a glowing review.  This book is also set during a time period that I enjoy.

Formats: I listened to this as an audiobook that I downloaded through www.audible.com  and it was a fairly long book.  Also available as a softcover, a hardcover large print book, and in CDs! 

Caution: Violence, including a whipping scene with so many lashes that most people would have died from the injuries. Unfortunately, on audio one cannot just skip over the scene.  Some may object to some of the sensuality, but it is appropriate to the story line.

Genre: Historical Inspirational Fiction, (debut novel), with romantic elements.

Bibliotherapy aspects: Feelings of unworthiness, persecution, trauma, and grief.
The hero’s daughter is blind.

Other themes: Stepparenting, being obedient to God’s will in one’s life.


This book is set in the late 1600’s during the transitional time after Cromwell’s “reign” in England. Puritans’ lives are disrupted by the change in political power.  This is a dark story but with hope shining through. It is based loosely on the story of John Bunyan’s second marriage.  There are few stories set during this time as inspirational fiction and for that reason alone was worth listening to. One senses that this author’s voice will continue to grow even stronger in her subsequent works. Quite an accomplishment in this debut novel! 

Audio comments: The narrator sounded very fatigued throughout much of the narration, which was somewhat off-putting.  

01 June 2011

Diana's Corner - Book Review by Diana Flowers





Keeping Guard 
by Christy Barritt
~4 stars


A Suspenseful Little Read!!

"You can't hide from me." Kylie Summers has an idyllic life as the host of a small cooking show in Kentucky. Soon her perfect life begins to crumble when she starts receiving threatening phone calls from a gravelly voiced stranger, hand-written notes, and disturbing emails. Fearful for her life, Kylie is forced to flee and "hide out" in Yorktown, Virginia, where her brother's best friend, Nate Richardson, runs a restaurant called The Revolutionary Grill. Kylie's plans are to work for Nate, while her brother, a police officer, searches for the "man in black" as Kylie has dubbed her terrifying stalker.

Nate, once a Coast Guard rescue swimmer, has inherited a quaint restaurant in historical Yorktown from his father. He holds within a terrible burden of guilt from the past, and is also gun shy when it comes to women, because of a failed relationship, so his relationship with Kylie is doomed from the get-go.

Soon a local girl, who works in the restaurant, comes up missing. Is this an isolated incident or has Kylie's stalker found her? Who is disguising their voice and leaving terrifying messages on her voice mail and why? And when Kylie senses someone is watching her every move is it her own paranoia? How could someone ransack her apartment in Kentucky and be in Yorktown at the same time? Can Nate ever let go of his guilt and learn to trust again?

Keeping Guard is a great little whodunit that will keep you on the edge of your seat 'til the very end! *One word of warning-You don't want to read this book while you are at home alone during a thunderstorm. Just kidding...well, sort of. 


Giveaway:  Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a copy of "Keeping Guard."

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