31 May 2012

Review of Lena Nelson Dooley's Mary's Blessing by Teresa Mathews

Mary's Blessing
By Lena Nelson Dooley
(Realms/Charisma House, 2012)

5 Stars *****

In this touching story of a beautiful young girl that has to take care of her family after their mother and older sisters have died, Lena Nelson Dooley has created a beautiful masterpiece. Mary Lenora Caine has known since a small girl she was adopted and when her mother was alive she always called Mary, “God’s blessing” but now years after her mother’s death Mary doesn’t really feel like that’s true, she feels as though no one cares about her at all. Even her father has been almost a stranger to her and her siblings since her mother died, leaving Mary to take care of her sister and brothers by herself. Feeling that no one cares anything about her, Mary starts to wonder about her birth parents and why they didn’t love her enough to keep her. Will she ever find the answers she seeks about her birth? Will anyone be able to convince Mary she is a beautiful young woman worthy of love?  

Daniel Winthrop, a friend from childhood who has loved Mary for what seems like forever, has dreamed about the day he would ask Mary to be his wife. He knows how hard she works taking care of her family and he wants to make her life easier. Having received Mary’s father’s permission to court her, Daniel believes his dreams are finally going to come true, but when a tragedy strikes Mary’s family will he be able to stand by Mary? Or will Daniel do the unthinkable and leave her just when she needs him the most?

In this story Lena has painted a picture of what sometimes was typical life in the late 1800’s, especially the in lives of the people who paved the way on the Oregon Trail. I loved how this story pulled at my heart and how I couldn’t wait to see how it ended for Mary. I can hardly wait to read the third book in this McKenna’s Daughters Series, Catherine’s Pursuit to see how the mystery behind Mary’s birth turns out.

Lena Nelson Dooley's books are available through CBD, Christian book stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

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

29 May 2012

Diana Flowers Reviews Maggie's Journey by Lena Nelson Dooley

Maggie's Journey 
by Lena Nelson Dooley
(Realms/Charisma House, 2011)

5 stars~*****

Simply A Lovely Story!

Lena Nelson Dooley takes us on a journey laden with beauty, love, deceit, and forgiveness---from Seattle, Washington, to Little Rock, Arkansas, as a beautiful, young woman, coming of age, sets out to find herself. Near the advent of her eighteenth birthday, Maggie Lenora Caine, happens upon a chest in the attic that turns her life as she knows it, upside down. For in the chest she finds proof that she was adopted, and no longer knows who she really is. She feels betrayed by the parents who gave her away, and the deceit of her adoptive parents, and wonders why she can never quite fit the mold set by her critical mother. Didn't her real mother love her enough to keep her?...and where does she really belong?

Maggie longs to be a dress designer, and with the permission of her parents, she sets off on a train trip to visit her grandmother in Arkansas, owner of a dress designing shop, accompanied by her longtime friend, and her father's business partner, Charles Stanton, and her young, widowed Aunt Georgia. Charles and Georgia immediately appear to be drawn to one another, much to Maggie's chagrin, for she has hidden feelings for Charles herself.

As she draws close to her grandmother will she find the answers she seeks? Will she accept her grandmother's offer to help her start her own dress company in Arkansas? What guilt has her adoptive mother been carrying inside for years, that has caused her to treat Maggie as she has?...and while missing her daughter so far away, will she be able to release it to her Heavenly Father? Can forgiveness and restoration come to mother and daughter after years of deceit and criticism, and will Maggie discover who she really is...and find romance as well?

This is a beautiful story of ultimate love and forgiveness as only Lena Nelson Dooley can write them. It was a relaxing read...not mad dashing excitement page after page, and I loved that for a nice change. Ms. Dooley actually takes us from state to state, and her use of imagery is so impeccable, the reader will feel as though they have been on a trek themselves. I learned so much about the first trains and railroads that were built...who knew that could be so interesting? Her characters were so endearing, especially our young heroine, and wrapped themselves around my heart. And as always in Lena's books, there is a strong spiritual thread throughout, and a satisfying (lump in the throat, tears in your eyes) conclusion. Very well written, Lena N. Dooley!

Lena Nelson Dooley books are available through CBD, Christian book stores, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

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

27 May 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Reviews Lena Nelson Dooley's "Pirate's Prize"

Pirate's Prize (Heartsong Presents #656) (Heartsong Audio Book)
Lena Nelson Dooley
Pirate's Prize (audiobook)
Heartsong Presents romance, Barbour Publishing, 2006

I listened to the unabridged audiobook. Lena offered me this audiobook when I told her I saw it listed at $96 new on Amazon!  Her husband was kind enough to mail it to me, which is so sweet.

This is a memorable book. I loved the character Angelina de la Fuente Delgado. A wealthy businessman's daughter, she is returning to Florida from Spain with her aunt. A young man on board, Brian O'Doule finds himself distracted by the beautiful young lady. He blames himself when her father's ship is boarded by French-speaking pirates. They take Angelina her and her aunt hostage and the cargo as booty. It was really sad when her father's faithful crew are forced to walk the plank. I hate stuff like that in books but Lena handled it well. The scumbags send the boat to the bottom of the ocean.

Brian, who understands multiple languages, survives because Angelina pretends to only understand Spanish, and hence cannot communicate with Etienne Badeau, the pirate captain who wants to make her his wife.  Brian shelters the women and seeks to help them get free. Meanwhile her father searches for them. Lena did a great job of using the language barrier as a plot device for Brian to develop his relationship  with Angelina while foiling Etienne’s plot to marry her.

There are few Christian fiction books set in Spanish America, especially during the colonial period. Add in the French pirate and I haven't seen anything like this in Christian fiction. The unique story line, setting, and time frame really set this book apart in a big way.

Heartsongs seem to be showing up more and more in Kindle. Maybe this excellent story will also become a Kindle book. 

Loved the hero's godly character. Lena is known for creating amazing heroes who are strong Christian men. And Lena didn't make Etienne Badeau too creepy, although she could have - just enough to give you the start of the willies but no more. 

If you can get your hands on this audiobook, it is a wonderful listen! I would consider it a backlist favorite with sticking power.  The narrator was very good, too.

25 May 2012

Audiobooks: Carrie Fancett Pagels' Picks Summer Listens

Most of mine are not new summer releases.  It takes a tad longer to get them on audiobook, my preferred mode of reading.

Tamera Alexander's "Within My Heart" was amazing and my top audiobook listen this spring.  I highly recommend it if you have not already read this book.  Am going to try another of hers,  "A Lasting Impression."

Jill Marie Landis's Irish Angels (reconstructionist Louisiana) orphans series, Zondervan.  I finished the third book, am listening to the first now, "Heart of Glass" and plan to download the middle book, "Heart of Lies" in June. Excellent series so far!

Just finished Dan Walsh's first two audiobooks. Great listens!

Karen Witemeyer's upcoming release "Short Straw Bride."  I finished the last, "To Win Her Heart", which was super.

Vannetta Chapman's "A Perfect Square." If this ends up like the first audiobook, it will be one with "sticking" power.

Kim Vogel Sawyer's "Courting Miss Amsel" was great - just finished it.  So I downloaded "Song of My Heart" for this summer.  It released on audiobook in late February, 2012.

Robin Lee Hatcher's "Belonging" is one I downloaded recently through She has an awesome testimony.  Can't wait to hear what her books sound like.

Are you listening to any audiobooks this summer?  What do you have planned?  

Giveaway:  We have one more drawing to go - for a copy of MaryLu Tyndall's Veil of Pearls.  Leave a comment for a chance to win.  

23 May 2012

Marian Baay Reviews Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke

Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke
Tyndale House Publishers 2012

Reviewed by Marian Baay

4 Stars ****

This was my first book by Cathy Gohlke. I really looked forward to reading this story. Although it was different than what I had expected, it was a good read and beautifully written.

Owen and Allie Allen are brother and sister. Their parents died and young Allie went to live with their mean aunt Eleanor in England. Owen saved money to sail to America to help an Aunt and Uncle with their garden business. Owen sails to America first with the promise to get Allie as soon as he has earned enough money. Owen has a heart of gold and takes pity on a stowaway on board Titanic.

Michael ran away from the horrible life he lived with his abusive uncle. He is surprised by the love that Owen shows for him when he finds him on board Titanic. Owen is planning a new life for Michael in America and is teaching him all about plants and seeds. When the disaster happens with Titanic, Owen gives Michael a chance for a future.

When Michael comes to America he is adopted by Aunt Maggie and Daniel who show him love. He's a hard worker and helps to make the gardens profitable. He seeks to earn enough money to get Annie to America. Meanwhile the two start writing letters.

Annie has a lot to adapt to after Owen left. She loves receiving Michael's letters. But when WWI breaks out something happens and no one hears anything from Annie anymore. What happened? Is she safe?

A lot happens in this story and many years pass. Sometimes I wondered if parts could have been left out. Therefor I give 4 stars instead of 5. The writing is pleasant, the research well done, the characters are very real. Altogether this makes a good story! 

Cathy's books can be purchased at CBD, Amazon and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be Friday for this book. Kindle or paperback. Kindle copy gives you the weekend to read and join in the Book Club discussion.  Click on the following link to join (do not need to be a writer to join)

22 May 2012

Diana's Corner: Review of Surrender the Dawn by MaryLu Tyndall

Surrender the Dawn : Surrender to Destiny

(Barbour, August 2011)

5 stars~ *****
Patriots and Privateers!

MaryLu Tyndall takes the reader away on a fantastic historical journey to Baltimore, Maryland, amidst the War of 1812. Cassandra Channing has lost her father, and both brothers to the war and must find a way to take care of her mother and the rest of her siblings. Her attempts at investing her money for a privateer is met with ridicule for the simple fact that she is a female, and therefore considered "bad luck" as a business partner. Out of desperation she offers a partnership to Luke Heaton, who having won a rotten, rusty ship in a card game, is in serious need of funding to make it seaworthy.

Cassandra knows Luke's reputation as a womanizer, gambler, and a drunk, but also knows he is a good privateer. Luke, having lost both of his missionary parents in a fire, feels bitter and worthless, and certainly has no use for God...but something about the beautiful, auburn-haired Cassandra stirs him as no woman ever has, and he finds himself wanting to become a better person because of her.

Cassandra is unwillingly drawn to the handsome, charming Luke, but knows she must guard her heart against this womanizing rogue. Cassandra also feels that God has forsaken her and hears not her prayers, for didn't He allow her father to die and her brothers to go missing? As Cassandra finally finds herself trusting and falling in love with Luke, what terrible discovery does she make about him - that rips them apart; perhaps forever.

As Cassandra, foolishly places her life in danger with the British, will she learn to trust God and His sovereignty? Will Luke? And what historical figure does Cassandra meet on the ship, and what song does he pen, when overcome with emotion he sees the American flag still flying over the fort after one of the most terrible battles in our country's history?

I found myself tearing up at the end; so proud was I of this great country in which we live, and of the men and women who fought and gave their lives that we might enjoy the freedoms we now oftimes take for granted. The storyline was very realistic...ML Tyndall's research was impeccable, the romance was exciting, and the conclusion was spectacular!

Note: This review was previously posted on Colonial Quills as a guest review.

MaryLu Tyndall's books are available for purchase through Amazon, as well as Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY:  One of our followers who is also a member of the ACFW BookClub is eligible to win a copy of this book.  Put BC on your comment.  (This is in addition to our giveaways this week of a Cathy Gohlke book and a MaryLu Tyndall book of your choice.)

21 May 2012

Diana Flowers' Summer Reading List!

This week our format is different.  Carrie is the ACFW BookClub Discussion Facilitator for MaryLu Tyndall's Surrender the Dawn. Are you a member?  Put "BC" on your comment AND send a comment to the ACFW
Book Club to get counted 5 times for the drawing!  Comment here and on the Bookclub posting for the rest of the week and that gives you, well.... you do the math, lol -- lots of chances!!!

Summer Reads – Consensus

Carrie and Diana both were privileged to read advance copies of Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall (July 1, 2012) and Marian and Teresa are also reading!!!

DIANA's list: By order of release!
An Uncommon Grace by Serena Miller      (April)
Mary's Blessing by Lena Nelson Dooley is on both Carrie’s and Diana’s lists. Diana will have a review up soon.                    (May, 2012)
Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren      (June 1)
The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie             (July 1)

These are Diana’s reads and Carrie’s “eye” reads.  Will post my audiobook listens later in the week. 

We’re not sure if we will receive this for summer but all four of us will read Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz (September 1, 2012 – CBD says they have it available 8-15, though.)

Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of one MaryLu Tyndall’s books! Are any of your summer reads on Diana's list?   

20 May 2012

Summer Reading Lists

This week our format is different.  Carrie is the ACFW BookClub Discussion Facilitator for MaryLu Tyndall's Surrender the Dawn. The other book featured is by Carrie's MidAtlantic Zone member, Cathy Gohlke.  "Promise Me This" will be reviewed this week on OTT-WGH.So instead of an interview this week here are the OTT-WGH reviewer's planned Summer reads: 

TERESA's and MARIAN's lists: By order of release!

Teresa Mathews' Summer Picks
1. Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall July 1
2. The Forgiven Duke by Jamie Carie July 1st
3. Angel of the Cove by Sandra Robbins August 1
4. Hunter's Prize by Marcia Gruver August 1
5. To Write a Wrong by Robin Caroll September 15th

Marian Baay’s Summer Reading List 
1. Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert (See Marian’s review last week on OTT-WGH!)
2. Glamorous Illusions – Lisa Bergren (June 1)
3. Veil of Pearls by ML Tyndall  (July 1)
4. Central Park Rendezvous (4 in 1) by Kim Sawyer, Ronie Kendig, Dineen Miller & ML Tyndall (Aug. 15)
5. Injustice for All (book 1) + To Write a Wrong (book 2) by Robin Caroll (Sept. 15) 

What are you reading this summer? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of any of MaryLu's books and any of Kathy Gohlke's this week, one each given away, paperback or ebook format.

19 May 2012

Overcoming the Burden of Single Parenting - With God's Help

Parenting isn't for the faint of heart. And that goes triple for single parenting. I was spared the difficulty of divorce, unlike Candace Calvert our guest this week. Two broken engagements were easier than two divorces. The most difficult job I had in my life was single parenting my nephew when I was a young adult.  My older sister's husband divorced her when their son was only two-years-old.  It took its toll and he stayed with me for two years,at the same age my son is now which is that transitional time between childhood and the teen years. They didn't call it tween years, though, back then.  

And I didn't even carry the load of shame some single parents, like one friend of mine, carried. This dear woman, brought up in a prominent family, was crushed when she was divorced, left with two children, and had to go back to work to provide for them. 

I haven't read Janine Turner's book 

Holding Her Head High: Inspiration from 12 Single Mothers Who Championed Their Children and Changed History

but it looks great.  

Do you have a word of encouragement today for Christian single parents?

17 May 2012

Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert Reviewed by Marian Baay

Reviewed by Marian Baay

5 Stars *****

More than a year earlier ER nurse Riley Hale was injured in a brutal attack. Because of her injuries she can’t perform the tasks needed of an ER nurse. Now she’s working as a chaplain in the hospital—hoping that someday she will be able to work as ER nurse again.

Daredevil Dr. Jack Travis runs a free clinic. When Jack meets Riley and learns about her condition, he offers her to help at his clinic to practice her skills. Despite her fears of Jack’s reputation she accepts his offer. While working together Jack discovers that he not only needs her in his clinic, but also in his personal life. Riley learns that the rumours she heard about Jack are not completely true and she starts to care for him.

While reading about the growing attraction and romance between Jack and Riley, we also meet some nice secondary characters. Bandy Biggs and his lovely dog on carts,  Hobo, really made me smile. Then there’s Vesta Calder who knows something about Jack’s past, but she’s too scared to talk. And Riley’s friend Kate also has her own secrets to deal with.

This book is the first in a new series, but can also be read as a stand-alone. I learned that Riley’s character first was introduced in Code Triage, but you don’t have to read that book first. I haven’t read Candace Calvert’s previous books and I didn’t feel like I was missing something. Candace’s writing is impeccable, the characters easily loved and the plot nicely developed. This book is on my favorites list of 2012!

*Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley for providing me a free eBook for review.*

Candace Calvert's books can be purchased on CBD, Amazon and other bookstores.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week's contest. Drawing will be late Saturday. Candace is offering two paperback giveaways of each of the books reviewed this week and we are offering an e-book of either one, for a total of five possible chances to win this week!

15 May 2012

Marian Baay Reviews Critical Care by Candace Calvert

Critical Care by Candace Calvert

Review by Marian Baay

*4 stars*

Claire used to be an ER nurse, but when her brother came in during her shift severely burned and died, she panicked and couldn't work the ER anymore. She promised herself never to set foot in the ER again. She took a new job at another hospital and tried to stay away from the ER. But when the ER team are dealing with a tragedy she is needed to evaluate the staff if they can handle the situation.

Dr. Logan Caldwell is not happy to see Claire counseling his staff. His experience is that counseling doesn't help. He thinks one must set their problems aside and do a good job. But with his gruff demeanour he's making working with him almost impossible.
When he is showing indifference to Claire's work she's not afraid to tell him the truth. For Logan that is a surprise. No one ever talked to him that way.

Both Claire and Logan are suffering loss and disappointments. Claire is a believer, but Logan doesn't believe in the power of prayer. He tried that, but it didn't work. Claire had her future plans worked out, but they're all falling apart.
Will those two hurting people find healing—and love?

Secondary characters ER head nurse Erin and workaholic nurse Sarah are making the story more interesting. All the characters fit nicely in the story—even the one-eared cat is a character to love. :)
I really love reading Candace Calvert's work. She has such a pleasant voice and she knows how to captivate me. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

Candace Calvert's books can be purchased at CBD, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other book stores.  

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Candace is offering two paperback giveaways of each of the books reviewed this week and we are offering an e-book of either one, for a total of five possible chances to win this week!

13 May 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Candace Calvert

CandaceCalvert  is the author of Trauma Plan and of the Mercy Hospital series. I met Candace through Facebook and fellow ACFW members.

Candace, 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?
God blessed me with a quirky wit and buoyant optimism, but I didn’t come to really know Him until after a “triple whammy” turned my life into a bad country song. In a span of eighteen months, I experienced a painful and unexpected divorce, the Northern California floods of 1997, and (just when I was coping like a champ, no problem) an equestrian accident that left me with fractured ribs, a bleeding lung, broken back, neck fractures and a spinal cord injury. With no warning, my comfortable life was gone and I became a single mother, a disaster evacuee, and a patient in my own trauma room. I sometimes say that God took drastic measures to get my attention!
In the months of rehabilitation, I healed in body and spirit. And came to fully understand the difference between being a “strong” woman and a woman of strength. The difference is faith, and that lesson has been my biggest blessing. My story, “By Accident,” appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurse’s Soul, and launched my writing career. Readers of my Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series will find that my fictional characters struggle with similar issues. In fact Riley Hale, heroine of Trauma Plan, suffers from lingering disability after a spinal cord injury.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Though it’s hard to choose a favorite, I’d have to say Jeremiah 29:11, the verse that became the Scriptural base for my first novel, Critical Care. I love that it so beautifully shows God’s loving plan for our lives and that it speaks of hope. Hope is a recurrent theme in my work, and I’m always pleased when folks call me the author of “medical hope opera.”

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?  Do your e-books have audio capability? Do you have any in large print.
The first book in my Mercy Hospital series, Critical Care, is available in large print and has recently been recorded by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. It is my hope that my other books will follow suit. All of my e-books have audio capability.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
As I mentioned before, my medical fiction themes all center around hope—and healing. I offer exciting glimpses into the world of emergency medicine and, more importantly, into the hearts behind the stethoscopes, people with wounds—physical, emotional, and spiritual.  I love when readers call these characters “relatable,” telling me that these struggles, doubts, fear—and joys—mirror their own.  We are all flawed human beings; we make mistakes and need second chances. My characters may be medical heroes, but it is through the grace of God that they find true hope and healing. I’m heartened when readers feel encouraged by that.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
At the core of my stories—in both the Mercy Hospital & Grace Medical series—is the issue of post traumatic stress. I address the serious emotional toll taken on rescue, fire, medical, and law enforcement teams who put their hearts and lives on the line in service to others. In my book, Disaster Status, I needed to write from the point of view of a hospital worker suffering PTSD as a result of his service in the Gulf War. A member of my church, a retired Army Lt. Colonel, offered to sit down with me and share his memories of fighting in that desert conflict. Some of it was difficult for him to voice—and for me to hear. His input added much to the character of Sarge Gunther, and I was deeply touched that he wanted to help with my story so that it might offer “hope to other people.”

In this latest work, do you have any topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading about a disorder or situation?
Yes, absolutely. As mentioned earlier, all of my books deal with the subject of critical stress (“burn out,” post traumatic stress disorder). Trauma Plan offers coping strategies for people (medical teams as well as civilians) who have been emotionally affected by tragedy. It also gives encouragement to victims of violent crime, and for those who must cope with debilitating injury in its aftermath. Fear (vs. faith) is an overarching theme, and the subject of agoraphobia is explored via a secondary character.

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

through Barnes and Noble, as well as CBD and other book stores.

Candace Calvert is a former ER nurse who believes love, laughter and faith are the best medicines. Her Mercy Hospital and Grace Medical series offer readers a chance to “scrub in” on the exciting world of emergency medicine—along with a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Wife, mother, and very proud grandmother, she makes her home in northern California

GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment and your email to be entered in this week’s contest.  Drawing will be late Saturday.  Candace is offering two paperback giveaways of each of the books reviewed this week and we are offering an e-book of either one, for a total of five possible chances to win this week!

12 May 2012

Mothers Overcoming with God's Help by Carrie Fancett Pagels

My Mother's Day Roses!

Carla Stewart shared in her interview the many difficulties she has faced within her family. As mothers, we always want the best for our children, just as God wants the best for us. But we have free will. So it doesn't always work out that way. We make bad choices. Our kids make lousy choices sometimes. And we grieve the one who created us to begin with. 

As we celebrate Mother's Day, 2012, may all the mothers who read this be blessed and may God help each and every one to overcome the obstacles to mothering that have been put in her way!  

HERE is a gift from Teresa Mathews for your Mother's Day:

A Mother’s Prayer

Dear Lord help me to be 
a Mother that is led by Thee.

One that never has a care
Even when I could, pull out my hair

One that loves my kids, never ending
Even when for lego’s it seems I’m always spending

Picking up toys, washing all the clothes
Help me Lord before my mind goes.

Cooking food and mopping the floor
Here I go again to the store.

Mom! Mom! I need new clothes
Oh well that’s the way the money goes!

Lord if only I could have a minute alone
I promise I would not talk on the phone.

Mom! Mom! He hit me on the head!
Help me Lord why couldn’t I have stayed in bed????

Children screaming at each other
What was the reason I wanted to be a Mother?

Mommy I love you, Can I have a kiss?
These are the times I’m going to miss.

My little boys are growing up way too fast,
Lord help me to show them the right path.

Listening to your voice telling them the way
Lord help my boys to follow you everyday.

Let them give you all of their heart
And from your way let them never part.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be
A mother that is led by Thee.

© Teresa S Mathews
May 08, 2009

Thanks so much for allowing us to share this poem, Teresa!!! (Readers please note it is copyrighted, thanks!)

Winners will be drawn Saturday and announced Sunday mid-day.  Please leave a comment to be entered!

10 May 2012

Review by Marian Baay of Broken Wings by Carla Stewart

Broken Wings
by Carla Stewart
(FaithWords, 2011)

5 stars *****

Reviewed by Marian Baay

When Mitzi was a child her mother took the childeren and ran away from an abusive husband. Now Mitzi is in her 80s and over 60 years married to Gabe. Gabe is an Alzheimer patient and Mitzi visits him daily at his care centre. When she's not there she works as a volunteer in a hospital. There she meets Brooke, a young woman who was beaten by her fiancée. Mitzi wants to help Brooke to regain control of her life again and asks if Brooke will stay with her for a while.

Brooke breaks her engagement and moves in with Mitzi. But her ex-fiancée is not giving up on Brooke so easily. Soon a young man named Drew also comes to stay with Mitzi a couple of days for Christmas. Mitzi shares stories about her life with Brooke and Drew. The stories show a strong will to survive and encourage Brooke to make a new start.

I really loved this book! I loved the tales of Mitzi's younger life as much as the story in the present time. They were very nicely woven together.

This story shows us what anger can do. But also that there's hope for a new life with new love and faith.

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.

08 May 2012

Marian Baay Carla Stewart Stardust

Review by Marian Baay
4 stars ****

In Stardust we travel back to the 1950s. Georgia’s husband has left her for another woman. After two months his body is found in the swamp. Now she’s a widow and she needs to take care of her two daughters alone.

Georgia was raised by an aunt. Her parents left her at the Stardust motel when she was 3 years old. Her aunt doesn’t want to tell her the reason why her parents left her there. While growing up Georgia often found refuge at the Stardust. Paddy and Doreen ran the place and loved her like a daughter. When Paddy dies he leaves the Stardust to Georgia. Doreen tells her that the answer to her past is hidden in the Stardust.

Her aunt doubts that she can run the place as a single mother. Besides it’s dangerous for a woman alone to run a highway motel. Soon her mother-in-law moves in one of the cabins of the Stardust. Then a stranger named Peter also comes to the Stardust and asks for an job. Peter is helping Georgia with repairs. Georgia grows to like him and people start talking behind her back.Then a pregnant woman and her young daughter come to the Stardust. The woman is sick and needs to go to the hospital. While she’s there Georgia takes care of the woman’s daughter. But then Georgia finds out who the woman is...

Can she forgive the woman for ruining her life?
And when she finds out the truth about her parents, can she forgive her aunt for keeping the truth from her?

Peter gets a phone call from a woman and needs to leave immediately. Is there another woman in his life, or will he come back for her? Can Georgia let go of her hurtful past and focus on a new life with people she loves in the Stardust?

Carla Stewart knows how to make you feel at home with her characters. A well written novel!

Click here to view the trailer of Stardust.

Carla Stewart's books can be purchased through CBD, Amazon, and other book stores.

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.

06 May 2012

Carrie Fancett Pagels Interviews Carla Stewart

Carla Stewart is the author of Chasing Lilacs, Broken Wings, and Stardust, just released in May, 2012.  

I met Carla through some online groups, including My Book Therapy, ACFW, and our mutual friend, Marian Baay.  

Carla, 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?

I'm not sure I've had a single life experience to overcome, but I have always struggled with trying to fix others - I'm a first-born, choleric with a soft spot for hurting people. I became a nurse. What I've had to learn in my personal life is surrendering control in tough situations - my oldest son's depression/drug and alcohol use/dropping out of school at age 16 (a six-year saga - thankfully with a happy outcome). My mother's battle with cancer and attending her the last two months of her life. My mother-in-law's Alzheimer's. My writing career. All are areas where I've had to surrender myself and those I love to God and his plans. And I've drawn from my life experiences in my writing as I've strived to bring messages of hope to those who are hurting or dealt a tough hand.

What is your favorite bible verse and why?
Micah 6:8.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
   And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
   and to walk humbly with your God.
I love that God has given us all of scripture, but this verse sums it up for me. What a blueprint for life!  I stand in awe every day at God’s mercy bestowed on me.

Disability friendliness:
Is this latest release available in audio format or do you have any other works available on audio?
 All of my books are (or will be) available in e-formats – Kindle and others. Both Chasing Lilacs and Broken Wings are available in large print with a hardback library binding. Broken Wings is available as an unabridged audio book both as a download or on CDs.

What has been the most important thing you hope your readers will get from your books and why?
The first thing I hope readers will find is a cast of characters they will come to care about. I love the nostalgic eras and try to recapture those days for readers. This is especially true in Chasing Lilacs and my next book, Stardust, but Broken Wings has a historical thread, also, that parallels the story. In all of my books, I deliver hope for the future. My hope is that readers will sigh in satisfaction when the last page is read. Although I tie up most threads, I also like to leave enough mystery so that readers will wonder how the characters are doing. Sort of the same way we do with good friends.

As you researched your books, did you learn anything that particularly touched your heart?
I already had a folder of material on Alzheimer’s so I reviewed it, researched current articles, and relied on my past experience as a nurse to bring the character to life. The Alzheimer’s research became very personal when my mother-in-law was diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s less than a month after Broken Wings was contracted. She’s a beautiful lady, and it’s been sad to see her spiral deeper into the tangles of this dreadful disease.
But the most challenging part of the research was learning about abuse which, thankfully, didn’t come from such a personal connection. I studied the personality types of victims and abusers and read a lot of personal stories and case studies.

I came to the writing knowing it would be a struggle, but I also knew that, for me, abuse is intolerable. What I didn’t expect, though, was learning that abuse is much more common than I ever imagined. Often there are warning signs that begin before actual abuse takes center stage—irrational behavior, disdain for authorities, getting hot tempered over trivial things, blaming others for their behavior, wanting to be in control of the relationship. The most alarming statistic that I read was that 40% of teens age 14-17 had either been abused or knew someone who had while in a dating relationship. If anything, I hope Broken Wings gives courage to women who are in abusive relationships, that they will realize that it’s not their fault nor their responsibility to stay with an abuser because he “needs” her. Victims, too, have a choice. Help is available.  

Readers, we are posting a Saturday recap.  Carla includes resources at the end of the book, which is wonderful!  As outlined above, she has a great many topics useful for bibliotherapy, or therapeutic influence through reading her books.

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

Thank you. It’s been a pleasure. Blessings to you and your readers here! 

Carla Stewart's books can be purchased through CBD, Amazon, and other book stores.

GIVEAWAY:  A copy of one of Carla's books!

Google Analytics