28 February 2012

Marian Baay reviews Brandilyn Collins's Over the Edge

Dutch Translation Copy of Over the Edge
DUTCH Readers - Scroll down for the Dutch version of this review, thank you!


Over the Edge 
by Brandilyn Collins
(B&H Books, 2011)
5 stars *****
Reviewed by Marian Baay
On the Edge... of My Seat!

Janessa is married to a highly respected research physician named Brock McNeil. He’s a Lyme Disease researcher. He doesn’t believe in chronic Lyme  Disease. He believes that patients should be healed after four weeks of antibiotics.

When Janessa is not feeling well for three weeks, she asks Brock if she could be infected with Lyme Disease. He thinks it’s nonsense. They haven’t been in the woods or anywhere else where ticks can be found.

What Janessa and Brock don’t know is that a couple of months earlier a man broke into their house and left three ticks in Janessa’s hair. Janessa will soon learn what the man did when he calls her on her cell phone. He explains what he did and that now she is infected with Lyme Disease and coinfections too.

In a couple of days Janessa must convince Brock to make a statement that chronic Lyme Disease does exist, or else the secret man will infect their 9-year old daughter too.

A race against time! Brock does not believe Janessa. She’s on her own. Her body is hurting terribly. She is immensly tired. She can not think clear. Can not find the right words. But she must convince Brock. Or is there another way to make a public statement?

  Over the Edge    -     
        By: Brandilyn Collins

This book is full of valuable information about Lyme Disease. You get a good idea how Janessa must be feeling. Lyme Disease is the subject of this book, but this wouldn’t be a Brandilyn Collins novel if there wasn’t suspense and mystery. I literally sat on the edge of my seat a good couple of times.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know what it’s like to live with Lyme Disease, or to anyone who knows someone with this disease.


Brandilyn Collins books available on Amazon as well as Christian Book Distributors and other bookstores.


IN DUTCH

Op het randje... van mijn stoel!
Janessa is getrouwd met de vooraanstaande arts onderzoeker Brock McNeil. Hij onderzoekt de ziekte van Lyme. Hij gelooft niet in de chronische variant van de ziekte van Lyme. Hij denkt dat patienten binnen vier weken genezen moeten zijn als ze antibiotica innemen.
Wanneer Janessa zich als drie weken niet goed voelt, vraagt ze aan Brock of ze geinfecteerd zou kunnen zijn met de ziekte van Lyme. Hij denkt dat het onzin is. Ze zijn niet in het bos geweest of op andere plaatsen waar teken zijn.
Wat Janessa en Brock niet weten is dat er een paar maanden eerder iemand in hun huis heeft ingebroken. Hij heeft drie teken in Janessa’s haar achtergelaten. Janessa komt er snel genoeg achter wat de man gedaan heeft als hij haar op haar mobiele telefoon belt. Hij legt haar uit wat hij gedaan heeft en vertelt dat ze nu geinfecteerd is met de ziekte van Lyme en dat ze ook nog coinfecties heeft.
Binnen een paar dagen moet Janessa Brock overtuigen om een publieke verklaring af te leggen dat chronische Lyme weldegelijk bestaat. Zo niet, dan zal de geheime man ook hun 9-jarige dochter infecteren.
Een race tegen de klok begint! Brock gelooft Janessa niet. Ze staat helemaal alleen. Haar lichaam doet vreselijk veel pijn. Ze is ontzettend vermoeid. Ze kan niet helder nadenken. Kan niet de juiste woorden vinden. Maar ze moet Brock overtuigen. Of is er een andere manier om een publieke verklaring af te leggen?
Dit boek staat vol met waardevolle informatie over de ziekte van Lyme. Je krijgt een heel goed idee hoe Janessa zich moet voelen. De ziekte van Lyme is dan wel het onderwerp van dit boek, maar dit zou geen Brandilyn Collins boek zijn als er geen spanning en mysterie zou zijn. Ik zat regelmatig letterlijk op het randje van mijn stoel.
Ik beveel dit boek van harte aan voor iedereen die wil weten hoe het is om met de ziekte van Lyme te leven, of voor een ieder die iemand kent met deze ziekte.




GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of this author’s books, choice of format.


26 February 2012

Interview - Brandilyn Collins



Brandilyn Collins is the author of Over the Edge and of 23 other books, including her latest release on March 1, Gone to Ground.  

Brandilyn, welcome to Overcoming Through Time – With God’s Help.  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?
In 2002 I became very ill. I literally went from being a healthy, five-miles-a-day runner to falling down on my kitchen floor and not being able to get up. My legs had suddenly gone weak. Eventually in 2003 I learned I had Lyme disease. The disease crippled me and made me unable to perform the normal duties of being a wife and mom. My husband had to cook all the meals and take care of the home on top of his already demanding job. I couldn’t do much for my kids. My daughter, 13 at the time, thought she was losing me. It was a time of great fright and facing the unknown in our family.
During that time I learned how to truly praise God through difficult circumstances. He taught me how to use the psalms for both praise and supplication. I prayed them aloud every day, sometimes praising with tears running down my face. I learned that praising God is an act of will, not emotion. When I eventually lost the ability to read because of Lyme, I listened to the psalms on tape and praised that way.

In May of 2003 God granted me a miraculous healing from Lyme. It’s an amazing story that’s available to read on my website. Today, many people around the world have read about this event.
It is this experience with Lyme disease, and with facing the general medical community’s tendency to dismiss the disease and its diagnosis and treatment, that led me to write my novel Over the Edge. The book features the first person story of a woman infected with Lyme. And woven into the story are the background issues of the battle between Lyme sufferers and the medical community. I have received wonderful praise for this book, both from reviewers and from readers who have Lyme or wanted to know more about Lyme. Some who have been sick for years, undiagnosed, realized they should be tested for Lyme after reading Over the Edge. Now they’re finally getting treatment. Imagine receiving a note that says, “Thank you for helping to save my life.” Other people have given the book to family and friends, who now can understand what they’re going through. All in all I see how much the book has helped people. Even those who simply pick it up to read a fast, tense suspense walk away knowing more about Lyme disease. And I was able to weave into the story my own journey in learning how to praise God through it. This is also what my main character, Jannie, learns.
So, yes, Lyme disease was a terrible, formidable opponent. But I wouldn’t want to give up what God taught me through it. Then God gave me a chance to use to the experience, through writing Over the Edge, to help others.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
My life verse God gave me—Psalm 138:8: “God will accomplish what concerns me.” (NASB) Or as the NIV translates it, “God will accomplish his purpose for me.” If I can believe that—really walk in it—that about covers it. Easier said than done.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio? 
Numerous of my books are available in audio format as well as large print. Over the Edge is already out in large print. Because I have so many novels, it’s hard to list every one that’s available here. The best way to see is to click my name on Amazon and see all the variations of my books that come up.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
First and foremost, I want my readers to enjoy my novels for the suspense experience. My trademark brand, Seatbelt Suspense®, carries a four-point brand promise: fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. Although ultimately I hope the reader will latch onto the faith message woven into the story, I don’t sit down to write a “Christian suspense” or to write a story with a certain Christian message. Most of the time I have no idea what the Christian message will be until I’m some distance into writing the story. The faith element must arise naturally from what the protagonist is facing, and her own experiences, background and built-in fears. Readers pick up my novels because they love suspense. So I must deliver that experience to them. If they like the suspenseful story, if they can empathize with my main character, then they’ll finish the book. And within that reading they will see the faith message. (Which they can ultimately accept or reject.) But if I don’t deliver on the suspense, readers will put down the book at page 30 or so. Then what good is my message? It’ll never be read.


The natural faith element in my novels allows me to have both Christian and non Christian readers. With Over the Edge I’ve had a lot of readers who aren’t necessarily Christian, because this novel has been so talked about among Lyme sufferers. People who’ve never read my books are picking up Over the Edge and recommending it to others. They want to read a great suspense about Lyme. From all indications via reviews, I am delivering that. But they also are reading the faith message. And in the back of the book I have a lengthy author’s note, which includes information about my own experience with Lyme and a link to my Lyme page and healing story on my web site. Now many people who may have never found that recounting of my healing are reading it.
God works in all kinds of unexpected ways.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I did do a lot of research on Lyme for Over the Edge, even though I had a good basis of knowledge to begin with. The stories are so heart-wrenching. Such as people who are crippled today who could be well if they’d just been diagnosed and treated. Instead doctors refused to test for Lyme, or assured them “We don’t have Lyme disease in this state.” Other sufferers are diagnosed but can’t find a doctor who’ll treat them. And many doctors who have treated Lyme long term are sanctioned and scared out of treating through the threat of losing their medical licenses. It’s a really sad situation all around. Bad enough to be so sick, but to have to fight the medical community as well is heart-breaking.

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In the author’s note at the back of Over the Edge is a fairly lengthy explanation of Lyme disease and its challenges in treatment/diagnosis. I link to the Lyme page on my web site, which has further helpful links in understanding the disease, finding a Lyme doctor, etc.

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




Brandilyn's books are available through CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one of Brandilyn's books, including her latest - Gone To Ground, releasing March 1, 2012!!!


25 February 2012

Fibromyalgia and Arthritis


First of all, I want to again extend condolences to Andrea Boeschaar on the loss of her mother to cancer this past week.  Diana, Teresa, and I ask our readers to continue to pray for Andrea.  Diana and I know first hand how difficult a time this is to get over our mothers’ deaths. 


Weekend topic: Fibromyalgia
If you missed Andrea Boeschaar’s post on dealing with fibromyalgia, go back to Monday of this week.  She has a lot of wisdom about dealing with a chronic illness.

When I first got diagnosed with arthritis and told I had fibromyalgia (later confirmed as RA) I was urged to get Arthritis Today   the magazine of the Arthritis Foundation.  I am surprised by the number of people who do not know about this premier source of information about arthritic inflammatory conditions, including fibromyalgia.  The issues are usually pretty evenly balanced among the various types of arthritic conditions.  There are a bunch of great resources within the website, including one for ease of use products   You can also sign up to follow them for dailytips from the Arthritis Foundation on Twitter.

If you are someone being treated for fibromyalgia, keep in mind that many people with this are eventually diagnosed as having sero-negative Rheumatoid Arthritis.  And don't listen to people, including medical doctors(!) who refer to the condition as a waste-basket diagnosis, as someone recently told a friend of mine.  One way to keep up-to-date with the research is to get the magazine and to also check the website for the Arthritis Foundation. 

Thank you, again, Andrea for opening your heart and sharing your story with us.  And we will keep praying as your continue your journey in overcoming, through time, with God's help.

Our winner will be announced Sunday afternoon in the comments section below.

23 February 2012

Diana Flowers Reviews Threads of Hope by Andrea Boeshaar


Threads of Hope 
by Andrea Boeshaar
(Realms, 2012)

Reviewed by Diana L. Flowers


5 stars~*****

Tender Historical Romance!
In Threads of Hope, Andrea Boeshaar has weaved a heartwarming tale of honor, forgiveness, and romance, set in Wisconsin, in the year 1848. After losing both of her parents, Kristen Eikaas travels from her native Norway to America, along with her Uncle Lars and his family, seeking a better life only to find disillusion and heartbreak. Instead of the lovely home her uncle has promised, she finds herself in a one-room shanty with barely enough to eat, in a town filled with division, prejudice, and superstition. Kristin finds herself immediately drawn to her handsome neighbor, Sam Sundberg, but is forbidden to have anything to do with him or his family.

After the death of Sam's mother, his father marries a lovely Christian woman from the Oneida Indian tribe, and Uncle Lars in his ignorance and prejudice, claims that the Sundbergs cast spells on people. Mr. Sundberg, on the other hand, claims that Uncle Lars stole their silver many years ago, and a lifelong feud ensues between the two families. As false accusations arise, Kristen is forced from her uncle's home and the Sundberg's hire her as a housegirl, in spite of Sam's father's intense dislike of her, because she is an Eikaas.

Is there any hope for Sam and Kristen to find happiness together, when all odds are stacked against them?  Is there any hope for forgiveness and reconciliation to tear down the walls of bitterness that have been built over the years?

I have read almost all of Andrea Boeshaar's novels and this one certainly did not disappoint. Her characters were very realistic, with many human frailties, and her research into the history of Wisconsin and the Indian land negotiations, was extensive and very interesting. A true story of love, forgiveness, unforgettable characters, and a strong spiritual thread throughout, this book will keep the reader turning those pages until the very satisfying conclusion! Another wonderful novel from the pen of Andrea Boeshaar! 


Andrea's books are available for purchase through many sources such as Christian Book Distributors and Amazon.



GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of this author’s books, choice of format.

19 February 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Andrea Boeschaar



Andrea Boeshaar is the author of Threads of Hope, book one in the Fabric of Time series, as well as the author of the acclaimed 4-book series, Seasons of Redemption. In addition, she co-authored the popular devotional Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry. Find out more about Andrea and her books at: www.andreaboeshaar.com


I met Andrea through some online groups, including ACFW, an organization that she co-founded.

Andrea, 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 characters has had to get past?
I’m going to be blatantly honest here. I have fibromyalgia and something called small fiber neuropathy, which, I’ve been told, is a cousin to MS. While multiple sclerosis patients have problems with their “main power sources” I have trouble with my “electrical outlets.” In either case, things don’t work properly. Furthermore, and contrary to what some doctors think, small fiber neuropathy isn’t always a result of diabetes. My blood sugar is not high. I am not pre-diabetic. With me, physicians have to think outside the box and it’s difficult to find one capable of doing that. Personally, I think my chronic illnesses began after my thyroid was removed in 2000 due to thyroid cancer. My endocrinologist finds my theory interesting, although there are no studies to prove it.

I write all this to educate and not complain, although I confess that there are days when my pain is so severe and so distracting that I cannot even think of writing. I can’t concentrate. I can’t think. I can’t plot or plan. I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes all I can do is crawl into bed, turn on the heating blanket, and watch Little House on the Prairie reruns. I feel so pathetic!

BUT GOD is greater than my feelings! I find that when I stay close to the Lord, I can claim His promises so the devil doesn’t get a foothold in my life. I believe I’m called to write – and write stories and devotionals that will encourage other Christians. I believe there is a spiritual battle going on – a battle for the souls of mankind and one to cripple believers. Our “sword of the spirit” is the Word of God. 

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
I have so many, but one of my favorites is 2 Corinthians 10:4:  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.
I believe there are many reasons for believers to struggle with chronic illnesses. God works them together for our good, to draw us closer to Him, it’s true. But they can also turn into strongholds and what I mean is this: A person can become so preoccupied with his or her chronic illness that he/she becomes narcissistic and useless to God. They look inward instead of upward. I will admit that I’m tempted sometimes to dwell on my infirmities and not God and His sovereignty.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?
My books are not yet available in audio format; however, my more recent titles are available in e-book formats. Some of my books have been published in large print editions.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
Chronic illness, no matter what form it takes, is real. Accept it. Strive to understand it. But don’t allow it to consume you. Some days will be better than others.
As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I realize more and more the hardships our great, great grandmothers endured. With my medical history, I would have never survived in the 1800s. But that’s why I wasn’t born back then!
In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
In Threads of Hope, my hero Sam Sundberg’s mother suffers with a debilitating illness that cannot be diagnosed. I modeled it after fibromyalgia, which was unheard of back in 1848 so I didn’t give it an actual name. Mariah Sundberg is a Native American who uses natural remedies to help many others, including my character Kristin Eikaas, and yet herbs and medicine don’t help her. But she states in the book that she uses her times of illness to look up and speak with God. I hope I can always use my “down time” in that way.

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


Andrea's books can be purchased through CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other booksellers.

Giveaway: We are giving away an ebook copy of one of Andrea's book this week. Andrea is giving away a paperback copy of one of her books this week, also.  thanks, Andrea!

18 February 2012

Bibliotherapy Review of A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman


A Heart Revealed
Winds of Change Series, Book Three
(Revell, 2011)

Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

5 Stars *****

Emma Malloy is a survivor. She wears her wedding ring like a talisman to protect her against men, having been abused by the man who put the ring there. He even scarred her face during a drunken rage.  She doesn’t trust a man who can’t control his temper. But her deep shame has finally caught up with her when her young friend falls in love with a man as bad as Rory Malloy had been. Emma is a deeply spiritual woman who has compartmentalized her marriage as a way of coping with her intense distress over the reality of the relationship.

(SPOILER ALERTS)
Sean has demons of his own. He loves Emma, but she keeps him at arm’s length. And another young woman, his boss’s daughter, won’t leave him alone.  When she corners him in his office, he ends up losing his job.

A son in the O’Connor family, Sean is guilty over failing to protect his sister from their uncle’s abuse when they were young. A veteran of WWI, he lost a love and a child. He doesn’t want to be hurt again. But God’s plan is different than Sean’s.


Julie's tagline is "Passion with a Purpose" and this story is no exception.  She's not afraid to include multiple character's storylines and we get an update, in this book, on the characters from the earlier two books in this series.

Bibliotherapy: This book rivals Jennifer Hudson Taylor’s latest release for bibliotherapy elements. 
We have: results of physical abuse, sexual abuse (back story - implied, not on the page), commitment to vows, shame, alcoholism, trauma, scarring, ability to control anger, overcoming the past, and even mental instability brought on by repression of the truth. 
I can think of MANY people who would benefit from this wonderful and deep story about God’s restorative power in the hearts of two traumatized individuals who love and respect one another, a bottom line basis for every marriage.
This is a great example of how compartmentalization as a coping mechanism cannot hold up under scrutiny when the Holy Spirit convicts a believer. 


I really loved this story and Julie is such a master of charactization and story that I almost feel as though these characters are real people!  Bravo, Julie!!!


Julie Lessman's books can be purchased at CBD, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.



GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of this author’s books, choice of format.

17 February 2012

Two Friends on Valentine's Friday


Review by Kim D. Taylor

Opening a book written by Julie Klassen is like jumping on the speedway in the middle of rush hour traffic (in a car, of course.) Klassen's extraordinary characters will thrill you to your fingertips and drive you mad with page-turning adventure. Recently, I read "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" and couldn't put the book down.

"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" is about a young woman driven to escape a marriage crafted by her desperate step-father. With her inheritance seized until her birthday, society's Margaret Macy flees to the country disguised as a maid. But never in her wildest imagination did Margaret see herself working at Fairbourne Hall, the estate of recently returned, Nathaniel Upchurch.

Klassen weaves second-chance love in and out of a story accelerated by near misses, past love, and upstairs-downstairs drama—an adventure you won't want to miss. If you love heart-pounding romance charged with suspense, and the hope of everything right, then you are in for the ride of your life.

So buckle up, sit back, and relax—or try to relax, as Margaret and Nathaniel's story propels you from one page to the next. You will be begging, as I did, for Nathaniel to recognize Margaret, and when he does...hold your breath.

"The Maid of Fairbourne Hall" is only one of five Julie Klassen awarding winning novels. You're sure to enjoy her other books, too.

Klassen's artistry shines through in this tale of hope and second-chance love. "The Maid of Fairbourne Hall gets of Five Star rating for it's amazing characters, high stakes, and rich storyline. Read a Klassen novel and you'll find a work of art.
Profile PictureBio: Kim D. Taylor writes inspirational historical fiction "Finding Hope Around Every Corner" and is represented by Tamela Murray with the Steve Laube Agency. A member of ACFW, she lives in Virginia where her pastor husband is finishing an advanced degree.  They have two adorable boys. Kim and her family love beautiful places and especially the Mountains of Montana and Idaho, she enjoys writing historical stories set in the mountains.

Valentine Week Friday Review of Julie Klassen’s 
“The Maid of Fairbourne Hall”
(Bethany House, January 2012)
 by Carrie Fancett Pagels
Love is in the Air

Whew! I am glad I got to read this wonderful book which I LOVED. Now I can finish my own proposal.  My critique partner, Kim D. Taylor, borrowed this book from me because we both LOVE Julie Klassen and her writing.  She called me and told me that I MUST read the book because of the amazing story and pacing.  And we tag-teamed to tell our other CPer, Sarah E. Ladd, that she needed to set aside her current manuscript to read this book!  It is that good both from a reading and a writing perspective.  And am I ever glad I read this book, despite my original Kindle frying out on me. I was hoping to wait for the audio version, which is how I have “read” all of Julie’s other books.  Instead I read it on a heavy backlit Kindle Fire that is probably more conducive to headaches, but it was worth it.  This book has several commonalities with my current manuscript and so I am going to use it as a comparable in my proposal for those elements (mine is in America, though, during the same time frame).  Okay, on to the real LOVE…

This story breaks out of the gate with strong tension.  The pacing, like Kim had told me, is amazing and the plot tight.  Julie makes you feel concerned for our heroine despite her being, shall we say, a wee bit uppity.  Oh, but that is about to CHANGE!!!  And with a poet in the mix and poetic justice in how the hero is once again reunited with the sweetheart who rejected him, well – make sure you have a couple of days free to read this story as you will not want to set it down.
 
I LOVE (there is that word again this Valentine week!) how she hooks you into rooting for the hero right from the get-go.  And what a mesmerizing man his brother is – the way Julie writes the story you find yourself understanding why women would be that blind to his character faults.  One of my favorite scenes is the bathtub scene because of what unexpectedly happens – I LOVED that!

Don’t even allow yourself to think that the ending will be straight forward.  Admittedly I usually prefer the horse riding straight on into the stable (hmm – not as good as train coming into the station but this was early 1800’s!),  but from experience reading Julie’s other novels, I figured it wouldn’t be. What a satisfying conclusion.  And Kim is right about the kiss!!! 


Weird little notes:  When I heard in the HisWriters group that Julie was setting this story in Maidstone I got very excited. My great-grandparents Emily Wenham and William Fancett lived in Maidstone, England, and were married there.  I have no idea if they were in service there (one account said they worked in the hops fields) but after reading Julie’s story I can see why they would have jumped at the opportunity to have land of their own in Michigan, a half a world away.  And the young couple lived with and worked for a farming family (per the Michigan census) while establishing themselves for the land grant and their own farm.  Too bad the grandparents of the staff at Downton Abbey hadn’t done the same!  
GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of Julie Klassen’s books, choice of format (ebook or paperback).

16 February 2012

Valentine Week Giveaways Continue - Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen



Maid of Fairbourne Hall 
by Julie Klassen
(Bethany House, 2012)
~5 stars *****


Reviewed by Diana L. Flowers


Appearances Can Be Deceiving!

In Maid of Fairbourne Hall, Julie Klassen sweeps us away to 19th century London, in a delightful tale reminiscent of the timeless classics of the beloved Jane Austen. It is a tale of the very wealthy, and their loyal servants, beautiful gowns and masquerade balls, deceit and unrequited love. Our heroine, self-centered Margaret Macy, who stands to inherit a fortune on her next birthday, is forced to leave her home by her money hungry stepfather and his conniving nephew. Not knowing exactly where she is going, Margaret finds herself hired as a servant at Fairbourne Hall, owned by none other than two of her past suitors...Nathaniel Upchurch and his brother, Lewis! 

Desperate not to be discovered, the beautiful, blonde Margaret, dons a brunette wig from one of her masquerade balls, and becomes a servant in every sense of the word...even lowering herself to emptying the disgusting chamber pots. Infatuated at one time with Lewis Upchurch, Margaret turned down his brother, Nathaniel's marriage proposal...much to her chagrine, for Nathaniel has turned into one swoonworthy male, and she finds Lewis to be very shallow and selfish.  

Will Margaret be able to keep up the charade without being discovered, and what valuable lessons does she learn as a housemaid...of sacrifice, forgiveness, and loving those who are beneath her station in life? And who has a vendetta against the Upchurch family and why?...and seriously wounds one of the Upchurch brothers? Will he live?---especially with a traitor in the mansion determined to make that an impossibility? Will Nathaniel forgive Margaret's rejection of him years earlier, should he discover her identity, and will she ever be able return home to her mother and siblings again?

I love Julie Klassen's books, but in my opinion this is the best novel she has ever written! Interlaced with humor, suspense, and romance, this novel will have you laughing one moment and eyes brimming with tears the next. I loved her characters (though somewhat fanciful at times), and how our heroine evolves from being a selfish lady to a real LADY in every sense of the word! Julie's use of imagery is extraordinary, her storyline fascinating, her writing exquisite; what more can I say than you must read this book?!!


The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen can be purchased at CBD, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers.



GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of this author’s books, choice of format.

15 February 2012

"A Heart Revealed" by Julie Lessman, Reviewed by Kim D. Taylor


A Heart Revealed 
(Revell, 2011)

Reviewed by Kim D. Taylor

Opening a book written by Julie Lessman is like opening a treasure box full of good memories. Lessman's characters will steal your heart and her stories will grow your faith. Recently, I read "A Heart Revealed" and couldn't put the book down.

"A Heart Revealed" is about a young woman disfigured by her past. It is a story overflowing with forgiveness, love, and hope. Emma Malloy and Sean O'Conner deliver a stunning performance, on paper that is—a performance not easily forgotten. If you enjoy stories that reveal the "stuff" of life—of heartache and hope, of trouble and salvation—you will love "A Heart Revealed." You will keep coming back for more with Lessman's well-developed subplots and deeply meaningful sub-characters, each unique and challenging, yet Lessman weaves the stories and entangles the characters with such care.

You'll be cheering for Emma and Sean all the way…until you must quietly stand beside them as they face their failures and discover hope for their future.

This is the second book in Lessman's series entitled, Winds of Change. Read Lessman's first book in the series called, "A Hope Undaunted," but have "A Heart Revealed" close by. The third book in this series will release in September of 2012.

 Lessman's artistry shines through in this tale of freedom and forgiveness. "A Heart Revealed" gets a Five Star rating for it's strong characters, high stakes, and thick plot. Read a Lessman novel and you'll find the treasure of a lifetime.


Julie Lessman's books can be purchased at CBD, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.


Profile PictureBio: Kim D. Taylor writes inspirational historical fiction "Finding Hope Around Every Corner" and is represented by Tamela Murray with the Steve Laube Agency. A member of ACFW, she lives in Virginia where her pastor husband is finishing an advanced degree.  They have two adorable boys. Kim and her family love beautiful places and especially the Mountains of Montana and Idaho, she enjoys writing historical stories set in the mountains.

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Julie is giving away a paperback  of this book!  Thank you, Julie!  We are also giving away either an ebook or a pb book of any of Julie's releases to residents of the US (nonresidents - ebook only!).

14 February 2012

Three Laura Frantz Valentine's Day Treats


The Frontiersman's Daughter in Dutch!!!


And we have a review of The Colonel's Lady by Marian Baay!! And we have giveaways!






The Colonel’s Lady

Reviewed by Marian Baay

5 stars *****

I've been impatiently waiting for the release of The Colonel's Lady. As I became to love Laura's previous books I was sure that I would not be disappointed with this book!

Roxanna Rowan is traveling from Virginia to Kentucke to visit her father who serves as an officer under Colonel McLinn. When she arrives at Fort Endeavor she learns that her father was recently killed. She can't return and has no other options than to stay in her father's cabin.


Colonel Cassius McLinn was with Roxanna's father when he died and promised him to take care of Roxie.

While reading how their lives come together I imagined living in the Fort with them. I could smell the odors, hear the people talking and shouting, hear the bullets whistling, feel the winter cold and... feel the chemistry between the colonel and his lady *sigh*. I was really there and witnessed it all. Few authors can make me feel like I'm actually in the story.


This was a great read! Very well done, Laura!



Click on the hot links for: Laura Frantz's books on CBD, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.


Laura Frantz is giving away a box of chocolates to one of our visitors today!!!

And we are giving away one of her books, your choice!





13 February 2012

Valentine Authors/Books: A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

A Heart Revealed 
by Julie Lessman
Winds of Change Series, Book 2
(Revell, 2011)


Review by Teresa S. Mathews


5 Stars *****


This is the story of Emma Malloy, the best friend of Charity O’Connor Dennehy. The two met while Charity was staying with her grandmother in Ireland. Quiet and beautiful,though scarred from a horrible incident caused by an abusive husband, Emma and Charity become best friends. When Charity leaves Ireland to come home to Boston, she cannot face leaving Emma behind, so she persuades Emma to come with her.


In the ten years Emma has been in America she has made a wonderful but somewhat lonely life for herself. Charity, loving Emma like a sister, wants to see Emma happy with a family of her own. But can Emma ever be truly happy? She has secretly had feelings for Charity’s brother Sean for years now but she knows she cannot act on those feelings, because of the tie that still binds her to the abusive husband she left behind years ago in Ireland. Will the God she serves make a way for her to be with the only man who has shown her respect and true love?


Sean, the stable and hardworking son in the O’Connor family who has his own secrets, has said he will never marry. Will he be able to trust God to touch his heart and take away the hurt of his hidden secret from years ago? Will he be the one to rescue sweet Emma from the prison of hurts she has suffered from an evil deceiving man? Will they ever have the happiness they both deserve?


I have read all of Julie's "Daughters of Boston" and "The Winds of Change" books and every time I read one I think "Julie can't top this one". I was wrong, it seems the more they come the better they get. If you have never had the pleasure of reading one of these books you will not want to miss this one. They all are based on the O’Connor family and even if you have not read any of the books in the series Julie has so expertly intertwined the stories it won’t matter where you start in the series you will be able to pick up the story line and the only problem you will have is wondering how long it will take you to find the others, so you can have the pleasure of reading those too!


Julie Lessman's books can be purchased at CBD, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other bookstores.



GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Your choice of this author’s books, choice of format.


12 February 2012

Valentines Week Celebration - Five Special Authors


We have reviews and giveaways all week long in celebration of Valentine's Day!  


Our special valentine's day guest, Laura Frantz, just had her book "The Frontiersman's Daughter" translated into Dutch.  Laura is giving away CHOCOLATE on Valentine's Day! She didn't say if it was Dutch chocolate, though!!!  Her latest release, The Colonel's Lady is wonderful. Of course we'll be giving away a Laura Frantz book, too!
Julie Lessman will be up in three reviews this week.  Moi, my critique partner Kim D. Taylor, and reviewer Teresa Mathews have all given our unique perspectives.  I am saving mine for a bibliotherapy analysis next Saturday.  We are giving away a copy of ANY Julie Lessman book, but this one, "A Heart Revealed" is super-appropriate for Valentine's Day week! And sweet Julie is giving away TWO copies of AHR, also!!!  Thanks, Valentine!









All of us here at Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help, also love Julie Klassen.  We have a review of Julie's latest book up this week, too, on Friday.  With a giveaway - of course!






You only counted three sweeties?  We want to give a great big Valentine Shout out to:
Susan Craft


A copy of Susan's book "The Chamomile", one of my picks for 2011, will be a giveaway.  Susan's book is a treasure trove !


Susan Craft's book on Amazon


and
Kelly Long also in my top 2011 picks, 


whose work I love, especially her two audiobooks in the Patch of Heaven series!
Buy Kelly Long books on Amazon and on CBD and other book stores.


Giveaway of any of Kelly's releases, including her upcoming first book in her Amish colonial series Arm's of Love!


 Kelly will be up on Overcoming Through Time - With God's Help for Kelly Long week later this spring!




Giveaways will be done everyday, so come by and celebrate historical romance for our Valentine's Week Celebration!

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