Saturday, February 27, 2010

The 4-Month Challenge


I saw this challenge back several months ago, and it looked pretty interesting. I lucked out tonight when I saw sign-up time for it has rolled around again. There's probably a couple of these that I don't have a chance at accomplishing, but I think I've got a pretty good shot for most of the choices. The dates for the challenge are 3/1/10 through 6/30/10, and I love that these books can be used for the other challenges I'm working on this year. :o)

Here are the challenges from She Read a Book:

5 Point Challenges

Read a book by an author you’ve never read before - Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa by Melanie Dobson - 3/19/2010
Read a book with a one word title - Wind by Calvin Miller - 3/16/2010
Read a book with an animal name in the title
Read a book with a proper name in the title - A Woman Called Sage by DiAnn Mills - 5/13/10
Read a fantasy
10 Point Challenges
Read an ‘Austenesque’ book
Read a book with a two word title - June Bug by Chris Fabry - 3/6/2010
Read a book that is part of a series - Fit to Be Tied by Robin Lee Hatcher (The Sisters of Bethlehem Springs, Book 2) - 3/2/2010
Read a book about a real person
Read a mystery - Deceit by Brandilyn Collins - 6/3/2010
15 Point Challenges
Read a book written in the 60’s (any century)
Read a book with a number in the title - One Smooth Stone by Marcia Lee Laycock - 3/12/2010
Read a book by an author born in March, April, May or June - Halfway to Forever by Karen Kingsbury - 3/14/2010 (Karen was born on June 8, 1963 according to her website.)
Read a book with a three word title - Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis - 3/24/2010
Read a book by an author with three names - The Bride Bargain by Kelly Eileen Hake - 3/22/2010
20 Point Challenges
Read a book with over 500 pages - Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers - 4/24/2010
Read a book with a four word title - Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson - 5/22/2010
Read a book by two authors - In a Heartbeat by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy - 6/28/2010
Read a book written in the 70s (any century)
Read a book that has been number one on the NYT Best-sellers list
_________________________________________

This post will be the central location for what I read. Wish me luck! :o)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review: Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge

About the book:

Talented new author Hillary Manton Lodge brings a new twist to the popular Amish novel.

Jayne Tate loves her life as it is—living in a big city, working as a reporter for a fast-paced newspaper, and dating a guy who knows nothing about her past. When her father passes away though, she’s forced to take another look at what she wants out of life. After losing out on the big career opportunity she was hoping for, she decides to escape to Oregon Amish country, seeking solace and maybe a big story.

Even in this land of buggies and bonnets, Jayne finds life more complicated than she expected. Can she persuade herself that her growing friendship with the mysterious and handsome Levi Burkholder is just about research? And what’s a latte-drinking, laptop-using, motorcycle-riding reporter to do when this new life starts to change her?

With humor, faith, and unexpected romance, Plain Jayne will delight readers.

My thoughts:

Plain Jayne took me on a journey to "Amishland" that I imagine most fans of Amish fiction wish they could take in real life. I know that I am most definitely one of those fans. I have always wondered what it would be like to actually spend some time living within the Amish community, and whether or not I could hack it with all the manual labor day after day. The cooking and sewing I know I would love...milking the cows and scrubbing the kitchen floor is another thing altogether.

I loved that this novel showed things from an Englisher's point of view. I had no trouble at all relating to Jayne because we are very have very similar, somewhat frazzled, personalities. She got the opportunity to see things from the outside looking in, and got to learn a lot about herself in the process.

The supporting characters in the book were great, too. Each one had their own unique qualities that made for such a great story. I loved how Martha opened her home after Jayne was practically dropped on her doorstep with little to no warning. I loved how Sara had such talent with a needle and thread that she willingly wanted to make a dress for Jayne so she would not feel out of place in an Amish household. I also loved Miss Lynnie and her directness even at 90-something years old (I'm also hoping she'll pop up somewhere in the author's next book).

Even with all the good stuff, there was one small thing that kept annoying me throughout the book. Some portions of conversation were just too clipped, for lack of a better word. I felt like I was reading an interview transcript--just lines on the page with no clue as to what the character is experiencing emotionally, what the look on their face means, if they're speaking sarcastically, etc. Some portions were so long that I had to go back to the beginning of the conversation to figure out who was talking when. This occurred maybe a handful of times throughout the whole story, but it bothered me nonetheless.

Ms. Lodge has definitely tapped into a new area in Amish fiction that younger fans are sure to enjoy. Not only has she created a new twist on an Amish tale, she's also set her stories in a different area of the country--the Pacific Northwest--instead of the traditional settings of Pennsylvania and Ohio. I have no idea what she's got planned for future novels, but I would love to read more about Gemma, for sure. I am certainly looking forward to reading more about Sara in Ms. Lodge's next book, Simply Sara, that's due to release in 2011.

4 Stars

**This book was provided to me free for review through Glass Road PR.

Click here to purchase your own copy of Plain Jayne.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cover Attraction: A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

Title: A Hope Undaunted
Author: Julie Lessman
Release Date: 9/10/2010
Publisher: Revell Books

About the book:

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jake fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jake? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the Winds of Change series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story.

**There are just not enough words to describe how much I cannot WAIT until this book comes out!!!! I feel like a little kid screaming, "Gimme, gimme, gimme!!" Besides the new Francine Rivers book that will be out next month, this book is the one I've been looking forward to reading more than anything else this year. And is not the cover just beautiful?!?!! The girl on the cover looks exactly like what I imagined Katie looking like....a saucy, no-nonsense type of gal. :o)

Oh, how I don't want to wish my life away, but I so wish it was September right now!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Book Review: Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith

About the book:

Abigail’s hopes and dreams for the future are wrapped up in her handsome, dark-eyed betrothed, Nabal. But when the long-awaited wedding day arrives, her drunken groom behaves shamefully. Nevertheless, Abigail tries to honor and respect her husband despite his abuse of her.

Meanwhile, Abigail’s family has joined David’s wandering tribe as he and his people keep traveling to avoid the dangerous Saul. When Nabal suddenly dies, Abigail is free to move on with her life, and thanks to her brother, her new life includes a new husband–David. The dangers of tribal life on the run are serious, but there are other dangers in young Abigail’s mind. How can David lead his people effectively when he goes against God? And how can Abigail share David’s love with the other wives he insists on marrying?

Jill Eileen Smith, bestselling author of Michal, draws on Scripture, historical research, and her imagination as she fills in the blanks to unveil the story of Abigail and David in rich detail and drama. The result is a riveting page-turner that will keep readers looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

My thoughts:

Abigail, as well as book one in the Wives of King David series, Michal, are hands down two of the best Biblical fiction books I've read in a very long time! I have always wanted to know about David and his life from his boyhood all the way to his place as Israel's king. Both of Ms. Smith's books give tons of insight on what it might have been like back then, and more specifically, what it might have been like to be the wife of a king.

I have to admit that I struggled with this book a little bit in the beginning. Before I tell explain the reason why, I have to commend the author for keeping up with three overlapping storylines that span over both of her books. You see, Abigail does not pick up where Michal left off. Rather, it tells each story as it happened while providing little snippets here and there of what's happening elsewhere. While telling Abigail's story, the author kept me up to date with what was currently happening with David as he continued to flee for his life from King Saul. During David's portions of the story, he would occasionally allude to missing Michal, and how he wished he had taken her with him when he first fled from King Saul. I didn't mind that the story kept going back and forth between Abigail and David, but I found myself wanting to know more about Abigail and less about David hiding out in one cave and then another. That part seemed to be a little repititious since so much of it was already covered in the first book.

I thought the author did a wonderful job portraying Abigail's internal struggle between wanting to please God by honoring her marriage vows, and her desire to be free of her abusive husband, Nabal. Right after their wedding, Abigail was very outspoken with her belief in God and His laws, but Nabal does not want to hear any of it, and instead, he basically beats her to shut her up. As time goes by in their marriage, Abigail quickly learns that she's better off to keep silent and try to avoid the beatings if at all possible. I felt an incredible sadness when reading this because as we all know, not much has changed through the years with those types of relationships.

The most moving part of the book for me was after Abigail and David were married and she was with child. During that time, the author wrote that David penned Psalm 139 which is the psalm about how God knit us together in our mother's womb. Now I don't know if that timeline is accurate, but how it appeared in the story was simply beautiful. It was gradual, giving just a little taste here and there, and by the time the full psalm was written in the story, I was so overcome with emotion thinking about how God above truly does care about us from the very first moment of our lives.

There are some authors out there that, when they find their niche in writing, they need to stick with it. So, um, Ms. Smith....don't stop what you're doing! I was so impressed with your storytelling abilities as well as the loads of time you spent doing research to get everything just so. You definitely have great talent with this particular genre, and I can't wait to read what you've got in store with your next book...I'm really hoping it will be about Bathsheba. :o)

**Thanks to Revell for providing a free copy for review!

For more information, including a peek at the first chapter of Abigail, please visit http://thewivesofkingdavid.com/abigail/.

Click here to purchase your own copy of Abigail, or here to purchase Jill's first book, Michal.

28-Day Organizing Challenge Week 3 Update

Well, I don't have a lot to report on an update for the past week, and unfortunately, no pics either. I have gotten a little bit more work done, mostly getting rid of more books (I've actually lost count by now, which is a good thing because I seem to be passing them on to other people left and right!). I've managed to empty and sort out 2 more boxes as well as gather up another bag of trash!!! Yay!! I feel like a drill sargeant now in regards to all this mess--"Head 'em up, and move 'em out!"

I have been working on the last few things that needed to be addressed that I mentioned in last week's update, and the big thing there has been the bookcases. I have reorganized my "book" bookshelf which has been the "in-and-out" station. The books that were there that needed to be filed into my collection alphabetically have been taken care of, and I am sticking to my guns about not getting loads and loads more of books for my own pleasure. :o)

I have also reorganized my craft bookshelf, and cleaned it up considerably. I've gotten some magazine files to sort some of the craft magazines and loose-leaf things that were in no sort of order. Now, everything has a place, and I know where to go to find it. Woohoo!!

I've also cleaned off the top of both bookcases and it's no longer just a gathering place for extras. I've neatly placed some of my larger jewelry display pieces up there out of the way, but easy to get to when I need to take them to a show.

I'm very pleased that I haven't needed to get a lot of extras to help me organize my room this month because I had a pretty good stash of storage bins in the attic that used to hold other things and were empty. So far, the only containers I've had to buy are the magazine files (a package of 6 for $12.99 at Office Depot....thought that was pretty good) and one 30qt storage tote. Hey, I'm loving the cost savings!

So, for the rest of this week, I need to focus on the little things--continuing to sort and toss stuff I don't need anymore. There are two more large boxes that I have in my closet that I have put off to the last minute that I'll need to tackle this week....not looking forward to that. I also need to get the curtain hung for the window.

Wish me luck as I only have 6 days left to complete this challenge! :o)

Friday, February 19, 2010

CFBA Tour and Book Review: The Pastor's Wife by Jennifer AlLee


This week, the
 


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 


is introducing




Abingdon Press (February 2010)

by
 


Jennifer AlLee


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer AlLee was born in Hollywood, California and for the first 10 years of her life lived over a mortuary one block from Hollywood and Vine. An avid reader and writer, she completed her first novel in high school. That manuscript is now safely tucked away, never again to see the light of day. Her first inspirational romance, The Love of His Brother, was released in November 2007 by Five Star Publisher.

Besides being a writer, she is a wife and mom. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, her husband and teenage son have learned how to enjoy the fabulous buffets there without severely impacting their waistlines. God is good!


ABOUT THE BOOK:

Maura Sullivan never intended to set foot in Granger, Ohio, again. But when circumstances force her to return, she must face all the disappointments she tried so hard to leave behind: a husband who ignored her, a congregation she couldn't please, and a God who took away everything she ever loved.

Nick Shepherd thought he had put the past behind him, until the day his estranged wife walked back into town. Intending only to help Maura through her crisis of faith, Nick finds his feelings for her never died. Now, he must admit the mistakes he made, how he hurt his wife, and find a way to give and receive forgiveness.

As God works in both of their lives, Nick and Maura start to believe they can repair their broken relationship and reunite as man and wife. But Maura has one more secret to tell Nick before they can move forward. It's what ultimately drove her to leave him three years earlier, and the one thing that can destroy the fragile trust they've built.

If you would like to read the first Chapter of The Pastor's Wife , go HERE

My brief thoughts:

The premise of this story is very interesting, and new to me in the world of Christian fiction. I have never read a novel that focused solely on a pastor of a church and how that role truly affects his family. However, I found myself wishing for more by the time I finished it, particularly more emotion between Nick and Maura. Perhaps if the book had been a little longer, I doubt this would've even been an issue for me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cover Attraction: Love Finds You in Pendleton, Oregon by Melody Carlson

Title: Love Finds You in Pendleton, Oregon
Author: Melody Carlson
Release Date: 3/1/2010
Publisher: Summerside Press

About the book:

Pendleton is ready to rock and rodeo! Sunshine Westcott is one-quarter Cayuse but has never stepped foot on the reservation where her ancestors’ story seems to be buried beneath generations of heartache and discrimination. Now that Sunshine is about to turn forty, her friend Leanne insists on taking her to the hundredth annual Pendleton Round-Up. The pair arrives just as the fun begins. Does the town hold the answers to Sunshine’s troubling family secrets? And how will Leanne’s cowboy-to-the-core family react when her brother Max falls head-over-heels for this Native American princess?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

28-Day Organizing Challenge Week 2 Update

Wow, I cannot believe that I am 2 weeks into this challenge already, and there are just not enough words to describe how great I feel about all the change that's come about in my craft room!!! If you go and look at my first post, you can see that this room was a train wreck....seriously. Now, 2 weeks later, there's been such significant progress that I just can't wait any longer to share it with you! I've managed to throw out at least 3 full and heavy bags of garbage as well as empty and sort out 15 boxes worth of stuff!!!



This is the view now from the hallway. Notice that you can actually see the floor!!! :o) There's just a small pile of stuff that still needs to be sorted through right there in front, but that's it. I still have plans to hang a curtain for the window...just haven't gotten it done yet.




This is my jewelry desk that looked like a tornado had touched down on it 2 weeks ago. Now, I've gotten everything back in order, put loose beads where they belong, and actually have room on the table to start my next project. There is a box over to the side of the table that I still need to decide what to do with, but other than that, I'm very pleased. :o)



Continuing to move clockwise, we're now at my sewing desk. Remember the quilt that I told you I've been working on since hubby and I got married almost 8 years ago? Well, the top is completely finished, and now I have to work on piecing it together with the other necessary layers. I cannot even begin to say how thrilled I am that I have finally made it to this part in putting it together, and I can't wait until it's finished so I can put it on the bed!!


I've also gotten everything rearranged over in this corner. Remember all the books that were stacked closer to the corner and out in the floor that are part of my book-swapping addiction? Well, so far, I've managed to get rid of around 50 books that were donated to Goodwill, and I've gotten rid of another 15 or so through swaps. Yay!! Also, in this corner, I moved that drawer organizer from the opposite wall so that all of my cross-stitch stuff can be together. It's a little crowded, but I can easily open all the drawers from that organizer as well as that other small chest that's in the corner.



Yep, this is where the majority of the work still lies. The left bookshelf is just one of the three bookshelves that I have, and I use this one mostly for stuff that's rotating in and out. My goal for this next week is to pull out the books from the second and third shelves and fit them in with the other books that I have in alphebetical order by the author's last name (yes, that's probably the biggest OCD thing I have about my books). As for the other bookshelf, there's not a whole lot I can do with it because it's mostly filled with craft booklets, instruction guides, etc. for all the hobbies that I have....um, there are several. :o) Oh, and I need to clean the tops of the bookshelves, too...it's become a dumping ground for anything and everything. :o(


And finally, there's the closet. Big difference there, too. The three cardboard boxes on the left on the floor are where the PBS and BookMooch swapping books will be kept from now on, and so help me, I will not accumulate that many books for swapping ever again! I don't care how much my aunt begs me to take them from her!!! :o) Seriously, my goal for the future is to keep them to a very bare minimum, and keep better track of how long I've had them. If I haven't swapped several books after a certain period of time, they will be leaving my house in some other form or fashion!

I also now have space to hang some clothes in here....hooray!! I've always wanted to use this closet to rotate my summer and winter clothes, and now I can! I've also got more space to store the jewelry that I've made for shows and such....it's not going to be scattered throughout my room any more!

So, I'm literally bouncing off the walls!! Even though there's still work to be done, I am so happy that I've already made lots of progress. :o) Also, just knowing what goals I have for the future makes me feel so good, too. Here's a few:

  1. Keep the swapping books to a maximum of 75. After I've had a book for 3 months, I will donate it.
  2. Read more books than what I acquire. This one is really gonna be difficult since I participate in several blog tours, and it's difficult to read the other books on my shelves.....but I have faith that I can do it!
  3. When I start a craft project, see it through to the end. This one won't be too bad to accomplish with jewelry since most of those projects are quick, but the sewing and cross-stitch hobbies will be a little more difficult.
  4. My room will not become a dumping ground for anything and everything in my house! If I bring something in this room from now on, it will have a specific place and it will go there immediately. If it doesn't have a place to go, then it's leaving my house!

Be watching next week to see what else I've managed to accomplish in here! :o)

Pics of My Doggy in the Snow

Had to share with y'all some pics of my doggies. :o) We've had some strange weather in TN lately, and have gotten more snow than I've ever seen around here in my lifetime. I had no idea that hubby got the camera out the other day and took some pics of my little girl in the snow. :o)

Bella is kind of finicky when it comes to weird weather. She absolutely will not go out when it's raining, so I don't even bother any more. Of course, that means that I occasionally have a mess to clean up in the house....ick! My other dog, Dasher, will go out in the rain, and it's the fastest "doing his business" that you've ever seen in your life!

So, it's somewhat strange that these pics are of Bella in the snow, and Dasher is no where in sight. How very strange that he doesn't like the snow, but she does. :o)




Not sure what she's doing here...sniffing something, I guess.

Checking to see if her "neighbor" is out. (We are surrounded on all three sides of our fence by other dogs, so things can get noisy from time to time.)




And just so he's not left out, here's an old picture of Dasher sleeping. He's such a cutie pie! :o)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Book Review: A Kiss for Cade by Lori Copeland

About the book:

Bestselling author Lori Copeland shares another marvelous romantic Western full of God’s grace, the beauty of redemption, and second chances.

Famous bounty hunter Cade Kolby is forced off the trail to decide the fate of his late sister’s orphaned children. He’s not just returning to his hometown and nieces and nephews, but also to the fiery redhead he loved and left 17 years ago.

The last person Zoe Bradshaw wants to see is Cade. She tries to be cool and polite, even as the attraction between them flares up again. Only this time, Zoe is determined to not let Cade get close to her heart.

But the townsfolk have other ideas. They want to see the little orphans with a mother and a father, and they form a plan that includes the possibility of a kiss...

Formerly titled The Courtship of Cade Kolby, rewritten for the inspirational market.

My thoughts:

A Kiss for Cade is the second book in Lori Copeland's Western Sky Series, and let me tell ya, she knows how to do a western romance right. It's more romance than western, but just the mere mention of bounty hunters, ransoms, and gunfighting....well, that's where you get a good taste of the Old West. Some might say that this is a "sweet" romance, and I agree just a little bit except for the fact that this story seems to have a little more meat on its bones.

Zoe has every right to be infuriated with Cade when he comes rolling into her small town, and it's not just because she was obeying her dying friend's last wish. Cade left Zoe years ago, and she not ready to let him forget it any time soon. But now, he's got to make a decision about his orphaned nieces and nephews, and Zoe does everything short of begging to get Cade to let the children live with her permanently. Not only does Zoe have to consider the children, she's in financial trouble at the store she owns, and she's barely making ends meet. After all that, I'm sure you can see what I mean that this isn't an all "kisses and hugs" story, but when the romance shows up....um, it's REALLY good! :o)

While this book is the second book in the Western Sky Series, it has no connection whatsoever to the first book, Outlaw's Bride. And like Outlaw's Bride, A Kiss for Cade is a book that Lori originally wrote for the mainstream market and has since updated it to appeal to Christian fiction lovers. Most of the crossover novels I've read in the past seem to fall a little flat with the Christian elements seeming to be added as an afterthought, but this one, along with Outlaw's Bride, didn't have that problem whatsoever. After reading two books now by Lori that have been rewritten and loving them, I hope she rewrites all her mainstream novels!

**Many thanks to Rebeca at Glass Road PR for providing me with a copy for review.

Click here to purchase your own copy of A Kiss for Cade.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

CFRB Tour and Book Spotlight Revisit: Drawing Marissa and Forgiving Sean by Jessica Adriel


Back cover of Drawing Marissa:

When Marissa Gladstone's father dies, she runs to her neighbor, Sean Moffit, for comfort. Three years later with a ring on her finger Sean suddenly skips town and Marissa wakes up in the emergency room. Her heart takes its final blow when she learns the truth and tries to hold her shattered life together. But the only one who can heal her wounds is God, and getting to Him is the last thing on her mind. That is, until Sean's college buddy reveals a drawing that holds the key to her heart.

Back cover of Forgiving Sean:

Marissa Gladstone is happy and in love, or so she thinks. When her ex-boyfriend returns home after a two-year absence, he has plans to win her back, that is until he sees her with his arch nemesis, Hawke Davies. Faced with Forgiving Sean and reopening an old wound, Marissa confides in Hawke who has more secret of his own to reveal. Will Sean's troubled past finally release Marissa from his old or will Sean's old ways rekindle a flame that died way too soon?

My thoughts:

Young adult fiction has changed A LOT since I was a teenager. I was about 11 or 12 when I started reading books on a regular basis, and I started off with the Trixie Belden books and the Babysitter’s Club books. From there, I started to discover Christian YA fiction, and found books by Judy Baer, Robin Jones Gunn, and Patricia Rushford. I pretty much devoured everything by these 3 authors, and loved every minute of it. The books were great, but most of the time, they were pretty sugar-coated. In hindsight, I wish I’d had the opportunity to read some YA back then that had a little more depth.

Jessica Adriel is a YA author who has a great sense of what teenagers are facing today, and it shows in her writing. From what I have been able to glean from her website, she has “been there, done that,” and lived to tell about it. She currently has 2 books available—Drawing Marissa and Forgiving Sean—and she’s definitely given a picture of the real world of a teenager in both books. I was so impressed that she didn’t hesitate to show her characters as flawed individuals who didn’t have all the answers, but who needed to rely on God for their strength. Not only did she portray the kids that way, she cast the parents and other adults in the same light. One parent in particular really caught my attention. It was a dad who pretty much let his daughter do whatever she wanted as long as it wasn’t anything illegal. The sad thing is that I have known kids with parents exactly like this who care nothing about their child’s morals or their integrity.

These two books would be very high on my list of recommendations for anyone, but particularly teens, simply because they are the real deal. You won’t find summer trips to the beach or sleepovers with friends. Instead, you’ll get a look at the real world that some teenagers face daily, full of struggles, heartache, and love.

4 Stars for both books
_______________________________________________

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

Friday, February 12, 2010

CFBA Tour: Walking on Glass by Christa Allan

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Walking on Broken Glass


Abingdon Press (February 2010)


by


Christa Allan






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Christa Allan, a true Southern woman who knows any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, weaves stories of unscripted grace with threads of hope, humor, and heart.

The mother of five and grandmother of three, Christa teaches high school English. She and her husband, Ken live in Abita Springs, Louisiana where they play golf, dodge hurricanes, and anticipate retirement.



ABOUT THE BOOK

Leah Thornton's life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But already sloshed from one-too-many drinks at a faculty party, Leah cruises the supermarket aisles in search of something tasty to enhance her Starbucks—Kahlua and a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice shatters the facade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears.

When her best friend Molly gets in Leah's face about her refusal to deal with her life, Leah is forced to make a decision. Can this brand-conscious socialite walk away from the country club into 28 days of rehab? Leah is sitting in the office of the local rehab center facing an admissions counselor who fails to understand the most basic things, like the fact that apple juice is not a suitable cocktail mixer.

Rehab is no picnic, and being forced to experience and deal with the reality of her life isn’t Leah’s idea of fun. Can she leave what she has now to gain back what she needs? Joy, sadness, pain and a new srength converge, testing her marriage, her friendships and her faith.

But through the battle she finds a reservoir of courage she never knew she had, and the loving arms of a God she never quite believed existed.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Walking on Broken Glass, go HERE.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Revisiting Jessica Adriel

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting a new, up and coming young adult author that has a big heart for teens. Since this week is the Christian Fiction Review Blog's tour of Jessica's latest book, Forgiving Sean, I wanted to give you the opportunity to get to know Jessica a little better.

Hope you enjoy!
_____________________________

How did your journey begin as a writer?

When I was a kid, I played library. I would make my mom take me to the library and I loved to check out books. I just didn't like to read them. I began writing seriously in high school, everyone says they start with poetry but I really did. I wrote over 800 poems by my senior year.

If you weren't a writer, what would your dream job be? (this is assuming, of course, that writing is your dream job) :o)

That's easy: A Marine Biologist. I fell in love with Sea World in 5th grade.

How much of your own personal experiences do you use for your books?

Most of it. I've had a rather vibrant life. I use stories I was either involved in or observed.

Tell us about the books that you currently have available.

The Chatham series follows the young Marissa Gladstone through the perils of teenage life with a deceased father and a sudden miscarriage. Running head on into the stigma's and rumors of her past, Marissa encounters God through a series of events that lead to her spiritual awakening and salvation. The greatest part of the story, is who God uses to draw his daughter back to him. In the second book, Marissa comes face to face with the father of her unborn child and the secret that tore their relationship apart. When Marissa is forced to choose between a new path or an old one, the readers experience for themselves that life long bonds are formed through physical intimacy and first loves...and even though there is forgiveness, wholeness is a virtue only God can give.

You seem to have a handle on the issues that teens face today. Besides writing, are there any other areas where you're able to help and provide advice to teens?

Yes, I speak to small groups, at conferences or retreats and even at a local Mom's night out, homeschool meeting or a mother-daughter breakfast. We talk about dating, courting, relationships, etc. I have a lot to share and speaking to groups helps get that message across. There is contact information on my website JessicaAdriel.com.

What do you hope your readers take with them after reading one of your books?

Hope. Hope that God is real, and that He is listening. Hope that they too can tune into hear his voice, and feel his tender call. God is with us even when we feel alone and under a mountain of pressure. I want my readers to know that He is waiting for the invitation to show up in their lives.

I believe the last book in the Chatham Series will be available next year. Do you have any other books that you're working on for the future?

Yes, The Great Erin Walker was a novel I penned back in 2006. It's being revamped for the teen market and deals with a lofty teen model who takes a nasty fall due to her pride. And when love finds her, she sees that its been right in front of her the whole time. The book delves into mother daughter issues, self-esteem and physical boundaries in dating.

What authors do you enjoy reading?

I'm a big Non Fiction Reader. I enjoy Sigmund Brouwer, Francine Rivers, William Young.

When you're not writing, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love board games, I shop online (big pocketbook fetish) and I research a lot of history, especially the slave trade era.

Where can readers find you on the web?

I have a Facebook fan page with great updates and insight, and my website DrawingMarissa.com is another great source. I hope to release Hawke's journal this winter...its a precursor to Hawke's Tale the final book in the trilogy.

___________________________________________

In addition to this "revisit" with Jessica today, I'll also share a couple of reviews with you later this week for both of Jessica's books. Be on the lookout! :o)

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cover Attraction: She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Title: She Walks in Beauty
Author: Siri Mitchell
Release Date: 4/10/2010
Publisher: Bethany House

About the book:

For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.

Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries. When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her marriage at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

CFRB Tour: Forgiving Sean by Jessica Adriel


Forgiving Sean
by Jessica Adriel


This month, CFRB presents Forgiving Sean by Jessica Adriel.

About the Book:

Marissa Gladstone has already buried her father and had one man walk out on her, so when her boyfriend Hawke Davies suddenly proposes, Marissa’s unsure things will last. Hoping that her quiet summer at home will give her time to think, Marissa forgets that her first love may be home for the summer. Before she can give Hawke an answer, she needs to find out why Sean disserted her. But when the competition heats up between the boys, Sean tries to win her back by making a staggering confession that links his former life to Hawke. Forgiving Sean may be the answer she has needed all along and allow her to choose the man she’s always loved.

About the Author:

Jessica Adriel is a licensed minister, author, mother and speaker. She spends her days penning books, preparing talks and delving into the world of teenagers. Her gifts of communication and compassion were noticed early on when she composed over 800 poems during high school and yet spent a great deal of time with volunteer efforts. A native to New England, it was Jessica’s tragic stint of car accidents, assaults and a four year career in modeling, that inspired her to write ‘real life’ novels that impact teenagers. Today Jessica inspires and ignites teens to find their God given purpose through her books and challenging seminars. Her stories provide a bridge between today's generation and the pressures of media and peer pressure which lead teens in the wrong direction. Armed with a plethora of stories and a deep love for God, Jesus introduces her audience to Christ in unconventional, yet very powerful ways.

Visit the author's website and
check out the Free Chapter Downloads.

Purchase Forgiving Sean at
Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.

Check out these other member blogs this week for more info.

**Be watching later on this week for a re-visit with Jessica and the interview I did with her last year. I'll also be re-posting my thoughts on both of the books that she currently has available. Stay tuned!! :o)

Monday, February 8, 2010

28-Day Orgainizing Challenge Week 1 Update

No pics to post this week, but I have made HUGE progress on organizing my craft room!! I'm slowly getting rid of some of the huge stacks of books that are in my room that were sent to me by my aunt. What she doesn't know is that I'm about to pawn off a large stack of things on her! HA! Hey, turn about is fair play. :o)

I'm also slowly emptying out some of the boxes that were in my closet, and a few that were in the room itself. A lot of them were filled with things that hadn't been unpacked since we moved into the house. So far, I've unpacked 10 total boxes, and I can now see the floor at the bottom of my closet! Woohoo!!!

One of my other goals this month was to actually move closer to finishing a quilt that I've been working on since hubby and I got married almost 8 years ago. I'm happy to report that I've almost finished the top itself, and will soon need to get the other stuff from the fabric store to finish it off. Hopefully, I can remember how to finish a quilt....I haven't made one since I was in high school, and that was over 10 years ago!

So, I'm gonna keep chugging away at everything. I'm so happy at the progress that I've already made. Since I don't have pics this week, it's hard for you to "see" what I mean, but trust me...it's looking good in that room! The bad news is that I haven't had much time for reading, much less for writing reviews in the past week, but that's not permanent, I assure you. :o) It's just that this room is my first priority this month, and I am so anxious to have it clean!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cover Attraction: The Spoils of Eden by Linda Chaikin

Title: The Spoils of Eden
Author: Linda Chaikin
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: 5/1/2010

About the book:

Amid the looming spiritual and political crisis in Hawaii, Eden Derrington and Rafe Easton are thrust into a conflict that will forever change their beloved Hawaii and threaten to derail their future marriage. When Eden, representing the Hawaiian Board of Health at Kalihi Leper Hospital is sent to Rafe’s plantation to take baby Kip to Kalihi to quarantine him indefinitely, an emotional volcano of suspected betrayal threatens to turn their love relationship to ashes.

Someone has alerted the Board that the baby Rafe saved and brought to Honolulu came from the Kalawao leper colony. Since the law strictly forbids children born of lepers from being adopted Kip’s future seems destined toward tragedy. And what of Eden and Rafe after their engagement is broken? When Eden’s father, Dr. Jerome, returns to open a clinic at Kalawao, she joins her father, leaving Rafe to run for the legislature and attempt to change the children’s law.

CFBA Tour and Book Review: Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand





This week, the




Christian Fiction Blog Alliance




is introducing




Beguiled




(Bethany House March 1, 2007)




by




Deeanne Gist




and







J. Mark Bertrand


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:

Deeanne Gist, the bestselling author of A Bride Most Begrudging and The Measure of a Lady, has a background in education and journalism. Her credits include People magazine, Parents, and Parenting. With a line of parenting products called "I Did It!® Productions" and a degree from Texas A&M, she continues her writing and speaking. She and her family live in Houston, Texas.




J. Mark Bertrand has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. After one hurricane too many, he left Houston and relocated with his wife Laurie to the plains of South Dakota.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her... Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything. As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Beguiled, go HERE

Check out their video:



My thoughts:
I've never been disappointed in anything I've read by Deeanne Gist. Every book I've read by her has always gotten a 5-star rating simply because I am incapable of putting her books down! I have to keep reading them....even if I should be doing other things. :o)

Well, Beguiled did not disappoint one bit, and I didn't mind that it wasn't Deeanne's usual historical fiction. Placing the story in Charleston, SC with all it's own personal history made up for it being written as a contemporary novel. Also, the fact that the book was a mystery helped me enjoy it even more, and it began right in the very first chapter....wow! There was no worrying with trying to get into the story at all because it just takes off on its own with very little build-up, character development, etc. Those things came into the picture gradually throughout the book, and it was just one more reason why I couldn't put it down.

The only qualm I had with this book was some of the conversation in the beginning. There were a few places where it seemed to be very clipped and stilted, which I can only contribute to Mark Bertrand's style of writing since I've never noticed that with Deeanne's. After awhile, it started to fade away, and the dialog began to flow much more naturally.

This is one book that you can't go wrong with even if you've never read a single Deeanne Gist book. Don't get me wrong--her historical fiction is second to none, but it's always nice to see an author go outside their norm every now and then and write something different. I would love to see this author combination again, particularly if they choose another location that is rich with history like Charleston.

5 Stars

Southern?  Yes
Sass?  No

**This book was provided to me by the publisher for free to review.