Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stalking Denise Hunter!



I just discovered Denise Hunter's books last year, but she has quickly become one of my favorite authors...and you know what I do to my favorite authors. One stalking coming right up!

The last thing you threw away: Ummm, a paper bowl? Just finished my breakfast--quinoa with cinnamon, butter, and a pinch of Splenda.

A brand of breakfast cereal in your pantry:
Bear Naked Banana Bread Granola

Three things in your purse: Tissues, Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer (Rhubarb), and a Vera Bradley notebook--a gift from friend and author Diann Hunt

Something that'll fall out of your medicine cabinet when I open it:

Love these random questions. :-) My medicines are "organized" in Rubbermaid tubs, so nothing would technically fall out. Good luck finding anything though.

A sentence (or paragraph) from your rough draft that didn't make the novel:

My editor felt the bolded sentence below was extreme, so I cut it:

“I have a question for you,” Abigail said when Reagan wrapped up her surgery summary. She lowered her voice, just in case. “You remember anything about a rodeo star named J.W. Ryan in the news several years ago?”

“Well, duh, who doesn’t.”

“Me?”

“If only you read the tabloids . . .”

“Spare me.”

Reagan chuckled. “He was a cowboy, a total hunk, in every celeb magazine you could find. His wife died—or got murdered, depending on who you ask. There was a lot of speculation, then he just disappeared. Which, of course, made everyone suspicious.”

“What do you mean disappeared?”

“I mean fell off the face of the planet. No more interviews, reporters gossiping about what happened to him and his daughter. Some even suggested he killed himself and his daughter out of guilt, but no bodies were ever found, and I don’t think anyone believed that anyway. They were just trying to make headlines. Why the sudden interest?”

The name of every book you've ever published (so we can track 'em all down):

Oh, boy. I need more caffeine. Let's see . . . I'll start with the most recent and see how far my memory goes.

A Cowboy's Touch (A Big Sky Romance)
Driftwood Lane (Nantucket series)
Seaside Letters (Nantucket series)
Sweetwater Gap
The Convenient Groom (Nantucket series)
Surrender Bay (Nantucket series )
Finding Faith (New Heights series 3)
Saving Grace (New Heights series 2)
Mending Places (New Heights series 1)
His Brother's Bride
Bittersweet Bride
Never a Bride
Stranger's Bride
I also have novellas in "Aloha", "Blind Dates" and "Reunions".

Your favorite not-quite-a-curse word: Shoot?

One lousy job from your past:

My first job was at a donut shop.
1. I had to wake up at 4:15 am.
2. I am not a morning person.
3. I never did get tired of donuts.

What sounds might a feline stalker hear while hanging around outside your kitchen window?

Since our kitchen window is very near our laundry room, I'm afraid the sound of the washer and dryer would drown out anything else. And since we're a family of 5, they're almost always running.

What would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"Well done, good and faithful servant!", of course!

Denise Hunter is the best-selling author of many novels, including The Convenient Groom and Driftwood Lane. She lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too! Visit her website at www.DeniseHunterBooks.com.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review- Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Ever since I finished reading Lisa T. Bergren’s Waterfall, I’ve gushed to friends, family, bloggers, and Twitterologists about how much I loved this book. Without fail, one particular word has found its way into each and every conversation: exceptional. So without further ado, let me give you the sitch on Lisa T. Bergren’s exceptional new novel.

THE SITCH:
You would think spending the summer in Italy would be a dream-come-true for a couple of American teenagers, but for Gabi and Lia Betarrini it’s shaping up to be little more than an exercise in boredom. At seventeen and fifteen years old, the Betarrini sisters would love to be cruising the Italian Riviera looking for cute boys, but instead they’re twiddling their thumbs in the middle of nowhere while their archaeologist mother excavates Etruscan tombs.

Against their mother’s direct orders, Gabi talks her younger sister into entering one of the tombs. Though mindful of not touching any of the priceless artifacts, Gabi is inexplicably drawn to a pair of mural-like handprints on the wall of the tomb. Strangely, one print seems to be the exact size of Gabi’s hand – and it is warm to her touch. The other, fits smaller Lia just as perfectly. Suddenly, the room shifts, panic sets in, and Gabi wrenches her hand away from the searing-hot print, grabbing for her sister. She falls. And Lia disappears with the light.

When Gabi emerges from the tomb alone it is dark -- and a battle rages outside. At first Gabi thinks she has stumbled onto some random Renaissance Faire reenactment, but soon she realizes the weapons are real – and men are dying in brutal ways. Although Gabi hasn’t left the site of her mother’s archeological dig, she has vacated its time. Somehow she has been transported to fourteenth-century Italy -- and she has no idea what has become of her sister.

When the battle is over, Gabi is taken under the protective wing of a young knight. Though not much older than herself, Marcello Forelli is not only a person of near-royal influence in the region but, in Gabi’s estimation, totally and amazingly hot. Marcello takes her to his castle (suh-weet), provides suitable clothing for her, and offers to help Gabi find her sister and mother.

With the introduction of some really vile bad guys, a beautiful young woman with her eye (and claws) on Marcello, constant political turmoil, and the challenge of speaking Dante-styled Italian to a guy whose gaze turns her knees to jello, Gabi’s “boring summer in Italy” takes a most interesting turn.


HOW IT HIT ME:

Like a polished, antique sword wrapped in red silk and placed gently into my hands by a really hot Italian guy who is totally into me – I think.

In other words: this story is elegant, beautiful, romantic, and historical -- but it shines with the sharp inner monologue of a modern seventeen-year-old girl’s witty and often self-deprecating observations.

WHAT MADE ME SQUIRM:

Bergren made me worry about what was going to happen to the good guys. I was worried about them. Really. Worried.

My one complaint? I kept waiting for someone to fall over a waterfall, get kissed by a waterfall, or even see a waterfall -- but unless I skipped something (and I’m pretty sure I didn’t) there was no waterfall anywhere. But guess what? I don’t actually care that there wasn’t a waterfall. Ms. Bergren gave me such a beautiful, fun story that, with sequels to be released entitled Cascade and Torrent, I have decided to trust her that it’s symbolic and will make perfect sense by the time I’ve paddled across the last page of “The River of Time Series.”

TO READ, OR NOT TO READ: THAT IS THE QUESTION:

Well, duh. Read it, already! With vivid characterization, a perfectly captured sense of place and time, and a clever juxtaposition between language stylizations, I believe Waterfall will be one of those rare novels that can hop right over the boundaries of the traditional Christian market and into the hands of any mainstream teen or adult (especially the female variety) without losing its inspirational value. It’s an exceptionally written, great story. Read it

AND FINALLY, IN THE WORDS OF INIGO MONTOYA:
“No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”

Through indirect metaphor and succinct moments of actualization, Lisa T. Bergren shows the mystery of a seeking heart in a fresh, lovely, and layered way. Waterfall was written for a teen audience, but please don’t let that label keep you from reading it if you’re a decade (or three) beyond that demographic. This romantic, historical fantasy is one of the best I’ve read. I predict this series will not only be a hit with teen girls, but will firmly ensconce itself into their mothers’ hearts as well. In closing, I’ll leave you with a brief warning: Cascade (the sequel to Waterfall) isn’t scheduled to release until June. Sigh. It will be a most agonizing wait, but the payoff promises to be sweet.

Serena's rating:







Reviewed by contributor Serena Chase
Follow Serena Chase on Twitter @Serena_Chase

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Review- Give the Lady a Ride by Linda Yezak

Give the Lady a Ride by Linda Yezak definitely charmed this city slicker. I've never been on a horse, but after Yezak's debut I'm thisclose to saddlin' up for my own ranch and rodeo adventure (I'll have to draw the line at palpating cows, though).

She did a fantastic job including details that really brought life out west into focus. I could almost smell the joe brewing in the kitchen, and hear the characters' boot steps on plank floorboards.

This is a short, quick read- about the length of a Love Inspired novel, with charming characters and sweet romance. Give the Lady a Ride is certainly a ride worth taking.

Want more info? Here's the book blurb:
Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York.

Talon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas.

He thinks she’s too polished.

She thinks he’s insane.

Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission–letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced.

Soon, she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend.

To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.”

From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.


My rating:







It's giveaway time!
Linda visited Edgy Inspirational Romance a couple of weeks ago. Leave a comment on her guest post for a chance to win Give the Lady a Ride!






CymLowell

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Book Boyfriend Luke Redmond from Dining with Joy


Book bloggers highlight the characters they fell in love with in My Book Boyfriend, a weekly meme from Missie at The Unread Reader.

The book boyfriend that I spent my weekend with was Luke Redmond from Dining with Joy by Rachel Hauck.

My Book Boyfriend's Stats:
-36 Years Old
-Blue eyes
-Clean soapy fragrance
-Professional chef & restaurant owner
-His kiss "tastes like flour, vanilla, and cream, like the comforts of home at the end of a long, hard journey." p. 47




In my mind, Luke looks like:





















What I love about him:
Is there anything more attractive than a man who who can cook (except maybe a man who reads)?

My favorite pick up line:

"The boys would banish you from Mars if they knew you asked me about cooking when you could've been kissing." Joy cut around him and maneuvered through the trees toward Venus. Toward safety.

"Answer the question and I'll kiss the breath right out of you."

Luke's voice lassoed her and she whirled around to face him. "I'll keep the air I breathe, thank you very much." But she found it difficult to inhale deep and fill her lungs. (p. 138-139)

What to know more about Luke's story? Here's the book blurb:

Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can't cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.

Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare bankruptcy of his Manhatten restaurant. When her producers ask him to co-host the show, Joy sees Luke as her way out. But Luke sees much more than just a co-host in Joy.

Their relationship begins to simmer on and off set. Until Joy's secret is revealed and her reputation is ruined on national television by her rival, Wenda Devine.

But could Devine's cruelty be a divine gift? Losing Luke--and her sister--forces Joy to consider where her worth really comes from. Could God be cooking up an even bigger adventure from the mess? And will Joy hang on long enough to find out?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review- Remember Why You Play by David Thomas

I've swapped blogs for the day with Tiffany from A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews. While I'm over there reviewing romance, Tiffany is here reviewing a memoir.


Remember Why You Play documents the lives of the coaches and players of the Faith Christian School football team in Grapevine, Texas. The book follows the players and coaches through their season, struggles and triumphs. The author, David Thomas, followed the team for a full season, resulting in this story and its inspirational message of what sportsmanship is all about. The novel puts a focus on the importance relationships over winning. The highlight of the novel takes place as the Faith Christian team plays the Gainesville State Tornadoes, a team of convicted juvenile offenders. The outcome is one that will stick with the reader and inspire you to be better.

Remember Why You Play was pretty much what I expected it to be. It is a novel of faith, football and a team’s season with a focus on the one huge game that is a life changing memorable event regardless of outcome. While I don’t normally enjoy sports related novels, I did enjoy this one. It reminds me of other football related books & movies such as Remember the Titans, The Blind Side and Friday Night Lights. The novel takes a look at a team, a player, a coach and those around them as the events that could make or break them unfold. As in other inspirational stories, this true story has heartache and trials along with triumph and victory as it proves how one person’s choices can affect another, sending small ripples that make a larger wake when people band together to make a difference.

The novel was easy to read. It grabs your attention. I was curious to read on and see what the outcome of the final game would be. I enjoyed learning more about the key “players” in this story and their lives during the season. It was an inspirational story of compassion, understanding and sportsmanship as the players and coaches struggled with their own insecurities, doubts, and fears. Coach Hogan and his team have not only made a difference in each other’s lives, they have set an example for others and given many people a story to be inspired by. I thought this book was wonderful for its genre. Though personally most of the football as far as plays and such was lost on me, the story around it was heartwarming.

If I could give any one piece of advice I would suggest you go into this book reminding yourself it’s a quality story, based on true events that focus on faith, football and making a difference. I read reviews prior to reading this novel that discredited the book because it had too much football or too much God. This is a true story published by a Christian publisher about a Christian Schools football team; don’t discredit the book based on God and football. It is evident these aspects are a major part of the book. Personally it was great to read about quality values and choices. The author does a wonderful job of retelling the story he deemed important enough to write about.

**I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale House Publishers.**

Tiffany's rating:







Tiffany is an avid reader with a passion and love for books. She enjoys sharing her passion for reading with her children and friends. She is the mom of two beautiful girls and has two adorable nephews. Her blog is her own little oasis, a mix of everything she reads integrated with her passion for marketing and advertising. She would love to be in PR for books!



Sunday, March 20, 2011

You're invited to participate in the Christian Fiction Book Club!



The Christian Fiction Book Club meets every six weeks at different book blogs. Hosts are chosen from participants in the most recent book club discussion. Feel free to grab the button and come join the conversation!


Discussion dates:

April 9- The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen
Host: Joy @ Edgy Inspirational Romance

May 21-
Words by Ginny Yttrup
Host: Julie at My Only Vice

July 9- Pompeii by TL Higley
Host: Amber at Seasons of Humility

August 13- Digitalis by Ronie Kendig
Host: Jules at My Own Little Corner of the World

September 24- The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund
Host: Lydia at The Overweight Bookshelf

November 5- Dancing on Glass by Pamela Binnings Ewen
Host: TBD

December 17- She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
Host: Renee at Black n Gold Girl's Book Spot


Want to participate?

1. Secure a copy of the book club pick and read it before the discussion date.

2. Find the reading group guide in the back of the book or on the publisher's website. Choose one or more of the discussion questions to address in a blog post. You might also want to include a short review of the book.

3. Schedule your blog post to run on the discussion date. You may copy and use the book club logo above if you'd like.

4. On the discussion date, the host will run his/her review and answer a few discussion questions. The host will also include a MckLinky at the bottom so bloggers can link their posts.

5. On the discussion date, we all hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.

6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about the book club pick in the comment sections of other blogs.

7. Have you already read our book club picks? Great, participate anyway! You'll have a head start answering some of the questions!




Do you know how long it took me to make this button?? Please grab it and post it somewhere!

(If you want to shrink the button to fit your sidebar, change the width number from "320" to "160" and the height number from "222" to "111")

EdgyInspirationalRomance
<a href="http://www.edgyinspirationalromance.com/2010/03/youre-invited-to-participate-in.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://i26.photobucket.com/albums/c148/Tamsin72/bookclub.jpg" alt="EdgyInspirationalRomance" width="320" height="222" /></a>

Friday, March 18, 2011

Interview with Kendall Evans and giveaway!

Author Kendall Evans is here today to discuss her new novel Anna's Shattered Faith which I reviewed last month. She's also hosting a sweet giveaway so don't forget to leave a comment!

Nook or Kindle? Kindle

Which authors inspire you?

I think my ultimate inspiration would be Janette Oke. I’ve always loved her books. She just has a way of telling a story that really draws the readers in and makes them want to follow the characters through until the very end.

Tell us a little about Anna's Shattered Faith:

It’s an 1800’s inspirational romance about a Texas Ranger and a widow who wants nothing to do with lawmen. Here’s a little blurb:

The day Anna Hampton's husband, Zach, was killed was the day she lost her faith. Ranger Daniel Cochran represents everything she doesn't like. Not only is he a lawman, but he's a God-fearing man like Zach. His faith might work for him, but the only thing Anna saw it do was get her husband killed. The Ranger’s presence grows more and more welcome, especially when danger lurks around every corner, and Anna is caught in the middle.

What are you working on next?

Astraea Press just contracted Promise to Laura which is a love story set during the Korean War, and I’m now back to working on the sequel for Anna’s Shattered Faith. Now that Anna and Daniel have expressed their love, this book tests that commitment and Anna’s renewed faith.

Can you share an excerpt with us?

From Anna’s Shattered Faith:
“Well, I appreciate your concern, but I can take care of myself and my family. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have washing to tend to.”

Daniel captured the door with the toe of his boot before she could close it. “I’m trying to help you.”

“And I’m telling you I don’t need help.”

They stared at one another, neither relenting. The light of battle in her eyes told him he wasn’t going to get an answer. Frustration raced up his spine. “Is everyone in your family this stubborn?” The words were out before he could stop them, and he immediately winced. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”

Her shoulders relaxed marginally. “It’s all right. The answer to your question is yes, though, I would have to admit I was born with a lion’s share of stubbornness.”

The sunlight streamed across her face, giving her an almost angelic appearance. Daniel’s hand ached to reach out and caress her cheek, to offer some measure of comfort. Instead, he summoned a smile and clamped his hat back on his head.

“I suspect you’ll tell me if and when you want me to know, although, I do hope you’d come to me if you were in any kind of danger.” He paused to let the words sink in.

Anna lifted her chin a notch. “I appreciate your concern, but I’m in no danger.”

He jerked his head toward the area behind her. “Is that why your husband’s rifle is on the table?”

She edged the door closer, shielding the room from his line of vision. “Are you this concerned about everyone in this town or just me?”

He smiled, recognizing the deflection. “Yes, Ma’am. That’s all part of the service the Texas Rangers offer.”

“I doubt you’d stop by every farm that has an early morning visitor.”

“You might be surprised.”

“Now why do I doubt that, Ranger?” Before he could reply, she continued, “Regardless, I should tell you that if your concern comes out of any thoughts you might have about you and me, you’re wasting your time.”

Daniel studied her for a few seconds, considering her words. “Really? Why’s that?” He didn’t actually admit to having some of those thoughts she mentioned, but he figured it wouldn’t hurt to find out why she was so against him.

“Because I’m still married.”

Her response caught him off-guard until he saw the flash of pain in her eyes. In her heart she was still married, but she was a smart enough woman to know that wasn’t logical. “Well, I can certainly understand that, Ma’am. It’s hard losing someone you love.”

For a moment, her defenses slipped, and Daniel caught a hint of softness, like maybe she wanted to talk, to share more. But just as quickly as the opening came, it disappeared, and Anna’s gaze shuttered. “Well, good day, Ranger.”

As she started to close the door again, he called her name. She hesitated. “You would tell me if you were in trouble, wouldn’t you?”

Her next words surprised and angered him. “No, I wouldn’t.”

It was no wonder he found himself praying for more patience. Anna Hampton was, by far, the most obstinate woman he’d ever met. But obstinacy had put more than a few people in their graves. He wouldn’t allow that to happen to Anna…no matter how much he had to interfere in her life.

“Why not?”

“Because I’ll not have the death of another lawman on my hands.” She closed the door in his face.


Kendall Evans is a romance writer who enjoys writing Christian romance, sweet romance, and occasionally, non-fiction. She lives near the beach and considers herself blessed to be able to smell the salt of the ocean air and hear the waves crashing over the shore. You can find her at http://www.kendallevans.weebly.com/and on Facebook.

It's giveaway time!


Thanks so much Kendall for visiting today! She's agreed to send one lucky reader a PDF copy of her novel Anna's Shattered Faith. Just leave a comment between now and April 1 with your name and email address if it's not in your profile.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Love Never Fails by Linda Yezak (and giveaway!)

I remember being young and in love. The insecurities, the anxiety involved in awaiting the next phone call, the constant desire to see that loved one again, and the clammy palms when I did. Virtually every young man I dated holds a special place in my heart.

Not too distant in my memory is the first time I fell in the “I do” kind of love. The wedding is a whirlwind of memories swirled together with no specific favorite. The honeymoon held charm and joy, heat and passion. Don’t they all?

The next three years, however, brought challenges I wasn’t strong enough to overcome, and I found myself becoming a number in one of the fastest growing statistics in America: the divorce rate. A serious issue the church is learning to address. A problem many Christians face regardless of their upbringing. A shame of vow-breakage, not just to the soon-to-be-exed mate, but to God.

Because of my personal experiences, many of my heroines, both in my current release, Give the Lady a Ride, and my works in progress, are damaged by failed relationships. Upon their backs, they bear the consequences of making a poor choice, of acting in haste, of not taking the rose-colored glasses off before buying the wedding veil. Since my novels are light-hearted, these burdens are in the character’s backstory, baggage she carries into the a romance and tosses into the dumpster when her new love wins her heart.

And he always does.

Jump ahead ten years from when I signed my name on that legal document marking my failure, and you’ll see that my new love won my heart, accepted the damaged me, and after a short while, allowed me to toss the baggage in favor of a new beginning and a long-lasting, God-blessed union. This year, we’ll celebrate twenty years of marriage, of love and security. Most people our ages are looking toward their fortieth anniversary, some even longer. Our past mistakes give us a slim chance of seeing our fiftieth anniversary. But our story is one of victory and joy. We found love late, but we found it.

Even through the humor of my novels, you’ll see my story over and over. The scars failure leaves behind. The victory of love over pain. The joy of a match “made in heaven.” Just as it says in I Cor. 13:8a, “Love never fails.”

Two-time ACFW Genesis finalist Linda Yezak resides in the state of Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. Aside from being a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), she also belongs to Women Writing the West (WWW) and The Christian PEN. She lives in the heart of a forest with her husband, three cats, four ducks, and a pond full of fish.






Want to know more about Linda's book? Here's the back cover blurb:
Patricia Talbert is a high-class social coordinator from New York.

Talon Carlson is a rugged bull rider from Texas.

He thinks she’s too polished.

She thinks he’s insane.

Opposites aren’t quick to attract when the lady who enters the cowboy’s world is on a mission to sell the ranch. But a box of letters changes her mission–letters of unshakable faith and a love deeper than anything she’s ever experienced.

Soon, she finds his integrity appealing. Her spunk draws him in. He has the faith she craves; she may be the love he longs for. But faith and love aren’t achieved in a single weekend.

To buy time to explore the possibilities between them, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.”

From here on, they’re in for the ride of their lives.

It's giveaway time!

Leave a comment for Linda between now and March 31 to win a copy of her novel Give the Lady a Ride. Be sure to include your email address if it's not in your profile!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update on my son



When I planned this new blog feature, this is definitely not the kind of post I had in mind. But while my son is sleeping and I'm wide awake, I thought I'd update those of you who've been following my tweets.

My youngest (he turned 8 today) was admitted into the hospital early Monday morning for pneumonia which is exacerbated by his asthma. He's in ICU right now, but last night he made a turn for the better. Praise the Lord! We're praying for more progress.

Thank you to everyone on Facebook and Twitter who responded to my half-crazed status updates. It's comforting to know there are people on the other side of this laptop praying along with me.



Friday, March 11, 2011

On My Wishlist 3/12



On My Wishlist is a weekly meme where book bloggers spotlight the books they're pining for. I'm excited about this new release coming soon from White Rose Publishing:

Title: The Covering by Dana Pratola

Release Date: Coming soon from White Rose Publishing

Summary:

What do a woman of faith and a heathen biker have in common? The devil, of course.

Tessa is moved to intercede for a man she’s never met. When they do meet, she’s stunned. Gunnar is gorgeous, charismatic, and driven. He’s also hostile, self-destructive, and an unbeliever…and she’s drawn to him like no other.

The temptation she feels is as dangerous as it is alluring. She wants to stay away, but God has other plans. He reveals the devil’s intent to destroy Gunnar and commissions Tessa to keep him covered in prayer. Can she rely on God to keep her from falling…in love, and into temptation? Or will the devil claim them both?

Why I want it: I got a sneak peak at this story last year and loved what I saw! Plus I have a thing for bad boys and Gunnar is sooo my type of hero. Can't wait to finish what I started!








Have you voted in our Christian Fiction Book Club poll? Get your choices in now. Next Saturday I will announce the list of books we're reading this year.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Review- A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell did not fit neatly into my preconceived box. I expected a romance written in standard third person point of view. What I got was women’s fiction and lesson about loosening up a little bit.

Mitchell employs the omniscient narrator point of view. But she also breaks the fourth wall by speaking directly to her audience. I don't want to go all grammar on you, but so you get what I mean, here's an example of breaking the fourth wall from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre:

"Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt? May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonized as in that hour left my lips; for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love" (Chapter 27).

"Reader, I married him." (The first sentence in the last chapter).

For the first quarter of the book, the point of view drove me crazy! I found the narrator’s side comments distracting. Every time she addressed the reader it popped me right out of the story. Also, up to chapter eleven, there was no romance. I may have even taken to Goodreads to vent my frustrations, but you know how I love my romance!

Since Siri Mitchell comes highly recommended by some of my favorite book bloggers, I kept reading. Then something amazing happened. I stopped focusing on the point of view and got lost in the story of three Italian immigrants from very different backgrounds (it's probably no coincidence that my connection with the book occurred about the same chapter Mitchell introduced the love interests).

Pretty soon I was cheering these girls on as they made their first steps toward independence in a new world. I can measure how invested I am in a story by whether or not I forgo lunch in the teachers' faculty room to eat at my desk with the book. Yes, dear readers, this was an “eat at your desk” kind of book and I'm so glad I didn't set it down at the quarter way mark.

So I learned changing things up a little bit isn't so bad. Now I'm even more anxious to read Siri Mitchell's She Walks in Beauty which I'm assured has no omni narrator and comes with its four walls solidly intact.

Want more info? Here's the book blurb:

The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times.

Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client.

Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

You can read the first chapter here.

My rating:










(Thanks to Bethany House and to Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing a review copy).

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Vampires in Christian fiction

I have a confession. Vampires entertain me. But I'm not a horror fan. I prefer my vamps cute and campy as opposed to dark and creepy- more Edward than Anne Rice. And if there's a little romance thrown in, all the better.

Most of the Christian fiction I read falls into the realm of realistic fiction (and you may think romance is debatable), but I'm not opposed to seeing fantasy elements in the genre.

So whenever I hear about an inspy vampire book, it catches my attention. I haven't tried any of them yet, but they are definitely on my radar. Especially this new one by Leanna Ellis (thanks to Rel for the heads up).

Forsaken is an Amish vampire novel set to release in August from Sourcebooks. Leanna Ellis is a popular CBA author, but Sourcebooks is a general market publisher.

I haven't read a bonnet book in about a decade (a fact that makes me feel slightly guilty since I blog about inspy romance, but that's a confession for another day). Forsaken just might be the book that breaks the dry streak.

Want to know more? Here's the book blurb:

Hannah Schmidt pines for Jacob, the boy who saved her life. But Jacob is gone, buried. Levi Fisher loves Hannah. But he knows how much Hannah loved his brother Jacob. He also knows the troubling event that took Jacob out of their lives.

So when a stranger named Akiva comes into their community, he carries with him two secrets: he is, in fact, Jacob. And he is now a vampire.

When secrets are revealed, Hannah must choose between light and dark, between the one she has always loved and the new possibility of love-a decision that will decide the fate of her soul.

And have you seen these?

Vampire Lit seems to be the red headed step-child of the CBA. But if you search a little, you'll find other titles out there. FaithWords has a book called Kiss of Night, the first in a Christian vampire series by Debbie ViguiƩ, coming this fall (thanks to Amy and Deborah for the heads up on this one).

Below are a few covers of a some more books in this sub-genre. Have you read any of them? Which ones would you recommend to a high romance/low horror vampire fan? I'm okay if the romance doesn't actually include the vampire.








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