Thursday, May 24, 2012

STALKING KATIE GANSHERT... and a chance to win an autographed copy her debut novel, WILDFLOWERS FROM WINTER!


Serena Chase corners Edgy Inspirational Romance's
latest stalking victim: author Katie Ganshert
I don't often get to stalk my favorite authors in person, but a couple of Saturdays ago I had the opportunity to meet a new addition to my "favorites" list at the book launch party for her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter.

Between signing books and taking down names for her mailing list, Katie Ganshert handed out delicious truffles to her fans, signed my Advanced Reading Copy of her novel, and chatted with this author-stalker for a bit.

And now (drum roll, please!) the results of my sneaky peeky stalking of Katie Ganshert! (plus the deets on how you, yes YOU, can win a signed copy of this author's debut novel!)


OUTSIDE THE AUTHOR’S STUDIO WITH KATIE GANSHERT

The best book you’ve read (so far) this year:
Featuring: Katie Ganshert
Author of WILDFLOWERS FROM WINTER
That is so tough because I’ve read so many great novels this year! I really enjoy literary-type novels, so I loved Far From Here by Nicole Baart and Into the Free by Julie Cantrell. Right now I’m listening to The Book Thief and that totally has me captivated.

The one place you insist must be kept clean:
 My kitchen! Dishes in the sink, crumbs on the counter, and dog hair on the floor drives me nuts. The rest of the house can be a pit, but if the kitchen is clean, I’m good.


Pet peeve:
When I can’t find something that I KNOW I saw lying around the house a couple days ago.


Favorite memory from a writers’ conference or event:
That’s equally tough because I have a lot of great memories from the ACFW conferences I’ve attended. If I had to pick one, it would probably be the dinner I had with my editor and several other Waterbrook/Multnomah authors at the ACFW conference in St. Louis. While we were waiting for our food, my editor showed me the cover of my debut novel for the very first time. It was a magical moment. I wanted to steal her phone and stare at the picture for the rest of the evening. But man….there have been MANY great memories, especially lately. I could probably write a week’s worth of blog posts about them all.

Favorite Superhero: 
Robin                                 

Why?
Because sidekicks never get the attention they deserve. And I used to have a giant crush on Chris O’Donnell, who played Robin in Batman Forever.


Three things on your desk: 
  • An empty can of Diet Coke (I prefer them full, but what can you do?)
  • Post-It Notes (because I use them for everything)
  • A picture of me and two of my girlfriends, bordered in Trident wrappers (my two roommates made it for me before my wedding, because wherever I went, I left behind a trail of Trident gum wrappers)

If you could spend one week within the world of one particular novel, it would be:
Ooo! That’s a total tie between Harry Potter and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I would love to visit Hogwarts, but I’d also like to hang out with talking animals in Narnia.

And in that week you would trade places with/assume the identity of:
Harry’s always in danger, so definitely not him. Probably Hermoine. In Narnia, I’d like to be Lucy. I was going to say Aslan, but seeing as he’s the Christ figure, I thought that might be a little weird. 

Your favorite not-quite-a-curse word (or, what you might say if you stubbed your pinky toe. Hard.):
Fudge bucket. No idea where it came from or what it even means. 

What sounds might I hear if I was eavesdropping outside your kitchen window?
My son making puppy noises. He’s always pretending to be a puppy these days. You’d probably also hear, “Brogan, stop barking, honey.”

What’s your definition of a perfect day?
Sleeping in. Time in the Word. Doughnuts for breakfast. A day outside with my husband and son. Reading a really great book in the shade. A date night with the hubs. Followed by a family movie and popcorn. 

One lousy job from your past:
You know, I never had any truly horrible jobs. Probably my least favorite was my very first job. I was a hostess at Old Chicago. There’s only so many ways to roll silverware before the whole thing turns dull.

Worst writing (or life) advice you ever received:
Ditch the prologue. It was from a contest judge. That prologue was ultimately what garnered the attention of my editor. If I would have ditched it, who knows if I’d be published today. Goes to show that we have to listen to our gut.
The author at her official book launch event
May 12, 2012 in Davenport, Iowa

Best writing (or life) advice you ever received:
“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”

Jesus has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Hands down.

In second place?

"Don’t wish your life away."

It was one of my mother’s famous mom-isms. She used to say this to me all the time and I’d roll my eyes. But it’s so true. I was totally that girl who always wanted to be two steps ahead of where I was. The problem with living that way? All of a sudden you get to where you want to be, and you realize there’s something else to aspire toward. Don’t miss the journey.

If you met this celebrity___________________________, you might pee your pants or do something else just as embarrassing:

Man…how lame is it that I can’t think of anyone? In junior high, I would have flipped out over Michael Jordan. But now? I’ve been sitting here for ten minutes, racking my brain. I got nuthin’.

How you reacted when you saw your book in its final form for the first time:

I stood there in my kitchen with my mouth open, holding it out in front of me, blinking at the cover. If dead fish could blink, I’m sure that’s what I looked like. Everything felt frozen and incredibly dreamlike

Thanks, Katie, for letting us stalk you! It's been fun. And for all you other author-stalkers out there, you can also find Katie Ganshert in these places: 

TWITTER: @KatieGanshert
BLOG:  www.katieganshert.com/blog (Katie blogs every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday about writing, faith, and romance)

WIN! WIN! WIN!
And now, the deets on the contest!
To be entered into the random drawing to win my signed ARC of Katie Ganshert's debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter, leave a comment below including the following details:
1. Your email address -- in spam-free lingo 
(such as: jane underscore doe at jmail dot com)

2. Your personal answer to any (one) of the questions I asked Katie 
(such as: "My favorite superhero is Wonder Woman because of the invisible jet." or "I would totally pee my pants if I met Johnny Depp.")

3. The title of the book you're reading now (or the last book you read)
Good luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: WILDFLOWERS FOR WINTER by Katie Ganshert


 

The life Bethany Quinn has built for herself in Chicago is the exact opposite of the trailer-park childhood she spent in the small Iowa town she loathes. An up-and-coming architect with a prestigious firm, Bethany hasn't been back to her hometown in years – and wouldn't be going now if not for tragedies that have befallen the two people in Iowa she cares for most. Determined to stay no longer than courtesy demands, Bethany plans to return to her successful life, but then she finds herself the recipient of an unexpected inheritance: 500 acres of Iowa farmland.
The farm has been under the care of handsome Evan Price for the past several years and it's his dream to continue farming it indefinitely. But if she sells the land to a developer Bethany could finance a dream of her own: opening her own architectural firm. When her carefully wrought life in Chicago begins to disintegrate, however, staying in Iowa, while no more attractive than ever, becomes necessary until the pieces of her life fall back in line.
Evan isn't happy with Bethany's plan to sell the farm – and his dreams along with it – and he can't help but see her as selfish and cold when she refuses to consider other options. Yet there is something vulnerable under the surface of Bethany's heart that draws him. As much as she infuriates him, he can barely deny the impulse to draw her into his arms.
With memories of small-town judgments and religion's betrayal lurking around every corner, Bethany can hardly wait to sell the farm and get out of Iowa for good. But with nothing immediate drawing her back to Chicago – and a growing attachment to the people and happenings around her – Bethany may find that the only way to move beyond the pain of her losses is to surrender her heart.
HITS & MISSES
The novel begins with a prologue written in the first-person point-of-view in which Bethany remembers a piece of her life at age 12. The majority of the rest of the book, however, is told in varying third-person points-of-view, but the story occasionally – and somewhat unexpectedly – dips back into telling first-person memories from her childhood every now and then. The switches are a little difficult to navigate at first, but it doesn't take long to figure out what's going on.
The insertion of scenes shown from Evan's viewpoint (and a spare few from another person) seem to flow a little more naturally than the first few dips back into Bethany's childhood and, although the alternating points of view lack a bit of symmetry when viewed from above, there is a syncopated sort of rhythm to the POV switches that allows the reader to better engage in what each character is going through.
Katie Ganshert manages to skirt the temptation to allow her characters to preach at one another in order to speed up their coping processes. In this way she artfully allows the reader to form her own opinions and sympathies as the story progresses while remaining fully aware of Bethany's set-in-stone perceptions. There are no cardboard cutout characters or plotlines in this book, but there are a few Bethany sees that way and the reader knows it. It's a tricky bit of magic, but Ganshert made it work.
Ganshert tackles the issue of religious abuse with a delicate clarity that does not apologize for illuminating the shadows of legalistic religion. Tenderly showing the faith-crippling consequences of judgment-based theology, she paints a clear portrait of how the influence of a prideful preacher can destroy a family and mask the evidence of a grace-offering God to those who survive the fallout of such an abuse of power.
Evan and Bethany fight their attraction for different reasons and, even though they both keep the gloves up for a long time, the romantic tension is well played and the physicality of their magnetism sizzles beneath the surface of every scene. When they finally give in to that kiss … it's well worth the wait.
TO READ...  OR NOT?
Katie Ganshert knows how to wring the heart of a scene in order to place her reader within a character's pain and wonder. (And I'm not ashamed to admit that one particularly beautiful scene brought me to tears.) Contemporary with a somewhat prickly sense of nostalgia, Wildflowers from Winter is a romantic beauty-from-ashes story – and a promising series starter from this debut author.

This review first appeared at USA Today's romance fiction blog Happy Ever After.

Serena's Rating:





Make sure you check back later this week for my exclusive OUTSIDE THE AUTHOR'S STUDIO interview with Katie Ganshert -- and watch for details on how you could win my autographed ARC of this lovely book! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review: CUTS LIKE A KNIFE by M.K. Gilroy


Mystery, suspense, touches of romance and a hearty dose of wry humor fill the action-packed pages of M.K. Gilroy's debut novel, Cuts Like a Knife.
The sitch: 
Kristen Conner is a tough police detective who coaches her niece's soccer team, spends a lot of time with her family – even when things are tense, which is most of the time – and goes to church on Sunday – except when family things are tense or she's busy with work, which is a lot of the time, lately. She's a good cop who has risen through the ranks quickly – too quickly some think, crediting her dad's legacy in the department more than her skill set.
Though she can't hit the proverbial barn with a bullet, she's got great detective instincts and is all aces in hand-to-hand combat, a skill that protects her in the field but garners the attention of Internal Affairs when a knife-wielding punk cries "excessive force" upon his arrest.
Narrowly avoiding a suspension, Kristen is assigned to a hush-hush joint task force of the Chicago P.D. and the FBI to catch the serial killer known as the Cutter Shark. Desperate to catch the killer before he does his grisly work on another young Chicago woman, Kristen goes undercover in hopes of drawing him out. But the Cutter Shark has had Detective Conner in his sights all along … and he's closer than she thinks.
Hits & misses: 
The novel opens with a journal entry from the nameless, faceless deranged serial killer whose identity is not revealed until near the very end of the novel. Gilroy does a fantastic job of setting the scene and introducing his villain's creepy, yet quite reasonable voice in that brief entry. The killer's point of view pops up every now and then throughout the rest of the book, but his clever, patient insanity never wavers even amidst moments of deepest frustration. He is in love with the idea of Kristen … and patient in planning the artistry of her death. His voice is both believable and chilling.
Kristen is a delight as a first-person protagonist. She's tough, habitually late, beautiful … and absolutely clueless when it comes to relationships. Only partially admitting to the anger issues her sisters (and her pushy mother) keep nagging about, Kristen keeps people at arm's length and that isolation from intimacy keeps her vulnerable to the inner demons she can't quite keep on a leash.
I loved the honesty of Kristen's inner monologue – especially in response to her not-really-boyfriend, Dell. It's quite humorous to watch Kristen vacillate between annoyance and guilt and justification of annoyance and guilt and downright exasperation at Dell's sad attempts to avoid admitting that their relationship is over. Likewise, her mother's untimely phone interruptions – such as when Kristen is about to make an arrest – are quite humorous to see her disentangle herself from.
I would have liked to have seen the immediate attraction between Kristen and FBI Agent Austin Reynolds acted upon a little earlier, but the book was so darn engaging that I'm willing to wait for that angle to amp up in book two. Kristen's intimacy issues and relational dysfunction cannot be denied and, since that romance promises to be a bigger factor in the next books in the series, I'm excited to see what lengths our heroine will go to in order to keep love – and Agent Reynolds – at bay.
Kristen Conner is a quirky, movie-ready mash-up of Castle Detective Kate Beckett's brains and beauty and the half-masticated witty charm of Special Agent Gracie Hart … about midway through her Miss Congeniality makeover. What's not to like? I'm sold on this heroine – and her ability to drive a series.
To read … or not? 
Cuts Like A Knife is an intense, eerie, funny and suspenseful thriller with a very subtle faith thread that enriches rather than suffocates the story. M.K. Gilroy's debut is a sure-fire winner – even if his lead detective isn't so great with her gun.

(This review originally appeared at USA Today's romance fiction blog, Happy Ever After)

Serena's Rating:


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Guest Post from author Allie Pleiter

Please welcome our guest blogger today, Love Inspired author ALLIE PLEITER! Allie's latest novel is HOMEFRONT HERO. Here's the overview from Barnes & Noble website: 

Dashing and valiantly wounded, Captain John Gallows could have stepped straight out of an army recruitment poster. Leanne Sample can't help being impressed—although the lovely Red Cross nurse tries to hide it. She knows better than to get attached to the daring captain who is only home to heal and help rally support for the war's final push. As soon as he's well enough, he'll rush back to Europe, back to war—and far away from South Carolina and Leanne. But when an epidemic strikes close to home, John comes to realize what it truly means to be a hero—Leanne's hero.



And now, without further ado: 
ALLIE PLEITER 

Interview Questions I Wish I Were Asked 
by Allie Pleiter

What kind of snacks fed your writing for this book?

They tend to be different with each book, but this one definitely leaned toward the Mr. Salty 100 calorie pack chocolate covered pretzels.  And no, I hardly ever stuck to one pack.  Those things are awesome (too awesome...)!

Who did you pattern the hero after, visually?  The heroine?

Thanks to my well-known Dr. Who obsession, John Gallows was almost immediately Captain Jack Harkness from Dr. Who/Torchwood fame.  He’s WWII in the television series (actually, he’s a whole bunch of decades but that would take another hour to explain...), but he translated beautifully.  My heroine was Taylor Swift (but older).

On a scale of 1-10, how freaky did you get in the month before your deadline?

A 4 or 5, which is a big improvement for me.  There was one crazy couple of weeks when I realized John couldn’t be Navy, he had to be Army, and that created a wild reorientation of facts and locales (and uniform artwork on the cover!!), but I was unusually calm for this one.  Believe me, that’s not always the case.  Every once in a while a story slips together as if the author is only taking dictation--that was true for this book.  I think God does that so we’ll keep going, because some books are like ripping your skin off every single day.  This one did make me cry a lot, but for an author that’s always a good sign.

At what point in the manuscript were you sure this would never come together?

The day before I realize John needed to be Army, not Navy.  All kinds of details and locales and motivations weren’t working until I moved him from Charleston to Columbia.  That’s the challenge of working with real history--sometimes you can tweak things for the sake of the story, and other times you’ve just got to keep twisting your story until it matches up with the history.  Without giving to much away, the other plot hurdle was figuring out how John would make the crucial choice he did.  I had about four different versions, and I was sure I would never make it work to my satisfaction.  Then one day it did, and everything fell into place after that.

What’s your favorite line from the book? 

Oooo, this is one of the first books where this is a tough question.  John is such a silver tongue, he gave me some truly exceptional lines.  I had some fun with that, and tweeted 30 of my favorites every day for the month before release date.  My personal favorite:  “He wasn’t here stirring up patriotism because he was brave. He was here because his name was Gallows, he had a silver tongue, took a good photograph and had somehow managed not to die.”

What was your original title?


Signs in the Sky.  Original titles hardly ever stick, so I’ve learned not to get too attached to them.

How did you celebrate when you sit the magic “Send” button and finished the book?


What I usually do:  go the Apple store and buy myself some new gizmos.  I love gizmos!  And yarn.  I’ll take any excuse to buy more yarn.  Both of these are particularly amusing when you realize the last thing in the world I’m in need of is more gizmos and more yarn.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Guest Post by author Lacy Williams

Birthdays and Sharing
a guest post by Lacy Williams

So… living with a two-year-old, I’m getting to revisit some of the life lessons from my own childhood. Right now the Little Princess is trying to learn sharing. She definitely understands the concept. What is harder is the reality of “why do I have to do something I don’t want to do?” (i.e. share her toys with her brother or cousin).

Little Princess is a firstborn and was also the first grandchild for both my family and my husband’s family. Yes, she’s pretty spoiled, so this lesson is even harder for her—because up until now she’s gotten everything she wanted. But that’s life…

When I was young, the thing I hated sharing was my birthday. I have a younger brother and sister and we’re all born in May. When we were younger, my parents always had one big birthday party to celebrate all of our birthdays. Now that I’m the mom, I realize how expensive parties are (and all that cleaning!!!), so I can definitely understand where they were coming from, but as a kid, I really wanted to have MY OWN birthday party. All by myself. With my own cake (no one else’s name on there). All the focus on me. Okay, as I’m writing that I’m a little embarrassed at the selfishness of it. But that’s how I felt.

This year I’m turning thirty and hoping we get a combined party (we usually go out to dinner) so the focus will be OFF of me turning such a milestone birthday. :)

In my book, THE HOMESTEADER’S SWEETHEART, the hero has adopted seven boys and also has a little girl. I’ve had friends who come from large families and I’ve always been amazed at how the kids (mostly) get along. It was really fun to write a story with so many children and imagine how much they would have had to share, especially in the era the story is set in.

Here’s an excerpt. This scene is breakfast after the heroine has just met the hero’s seven sons and his daughter, Breanna.

His sons? All seven of them?

Penny had no opportunity to ask about it as the boisterous group began dishing out delicious-smelling food. She'd never seen anything like the confusion of reaching arms, and boys half standing out of their seats to get to the food. Her brother Sam stared at her with wide eyes, sitting back in his seat across the table. This chaos was completely different from their meals taken with their father and mother where the housekeeper served each course. And Penny’s finishing school training had never discussed what to do in a situation like this!

She looked up to find Jonas's eyes on her, narrowed as if waiting for her reaction. She kept a placid smile on her face as a biscuit, then eggs and a slice of ham appeared on her plate from both sides. Their manners might be lacking, but at least they'd served their guests.

Penny kept waiting for a woman to appear to take credit for the meal, but none did. Who kept all the children in line?

As Jonas offered a sincere blessing for the meal and thanks for safe travels home, Penny fingered the worn, plain cloth that covered the table. It was far different from the fine embroidered tablecloths she was accustomed to at home.

During the prayer, none of the boys fidgeted, not even the youngest. But after the last "amen" echoed around the table, the noise level rose right back to what it had been before. Penny sat for a moment, just absorbing it.

"Do ya want some jelly, Miss Penny?" Breanna asked from close to Penny's side.

"Oh. All right." She accepted the somewhat sticky jar from the little girl's hands and spooned some of what appeared to be blackberry jelly across the fluffy biscuit on her plate.

"Butter?" The boy—she thought it was Ricky—asked from her other side, offering a small bowl for Penny's consideration.

One thing about sharing birthdays (and everything else)—I’m still really close with my brother and sister. So even though I sometimes resented it, I know having to learn this lesson has been a huge blessing in my life.  Now to convince the Little Princess…

By day, Lacy Williams is a stay-at-home mom battling dirty diapers and dog-hair dust-bunnies. By night, she is a novelist whose debut book has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews 2011 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her current projects include a screenplay and potty-training her little girl.

In honor of her birthday and book release, Lacy is doing a special promo during the month of May. Get full details at www.megamaybirthdaybash.com.

Friday, May 04, 2012

Should I... or shouldn't I? Overcoming Book Review Guilt

I'm one of those people who second guesses nearly everything I do -- including how I write book reviews. I feel blessed to have been given a good-sized platform from which I can influence readers and promote quality Christian fiction and, even though I am afforded the luxury of having more than enough books to pick from each month, not all of them are books I would recommend people spend their hard-earned money to obtain. So... lately I've been doing my best to sift through and only pick out the titles that truly interest me as a reader and, if I feel the writing craft is sub par by chapter three, I decline the review.

So what does this mean for the books I actually DO choose to review?

It means my personal rating system is a bit tougher. The books that I review are all worthy reads and they're pitted against each other in a battle for supremacy. They're the really good books  measured against the really great books which are measured against the most incredibly awesome books. And those lines are fine and subjective. And, although we use "couples" here at Edgy Inspirational Romance, you may notice that when I transpose these same reviews onto other sites (such as Goodreads or Amazon) my star ratings are sometimes slightly higher. That's because not everyone on those monster sites understands how I roll.

So... if it's a badly written book... well, I'm not going to review it. I've done that... and it accomplishes nothing for the genre in general, the community, or for me as a reviewer (other than making me feel incredibly guilty.)

I'm an aspiring author myself. I know that somewhere down the line I'm going to get a review that's going to make me curl up in the fetal position, suck my thumb and revert to monosyllabic wails for a while. To write a review like that at this stage in my reviewing experience would absolutely drown me in guilt. And I refuse to crush an author's spirit with my honesty just because some team of editors somewhere decided their book was ready for publication a bit too early. Even if I felt justified in my criticism, which I have in the negative reviews I used to post in the distant past, I haven't been able to bring myself to do it for a long time (even though I've read a few real stinkers.) Let badly written fiction speak for itself, I say. I want to promote the good stuff.

As a service to those who come here for advice on which books are worth the dollars necessary to purchase, I can't not be honest; so... if I review a book, even if I give it only 3 couples, it IS worth the money. In most cases it only received that rating because it was weighed against the creamiest cream of the Inspy Romance crop.

I've found over the past year that I've given 4-couple ratings to novels which received resounding 5 stars from around the blogosphere and... I've got one coming down the pike that's on that track, which was the impetus for this post. I'll admit that a big part of me feels guilty for that one less star. But... reviewing is subjective and for me to give a novel 5 couples, well... I have to be absolutely blown away by the story, the craft, the characters... the whole of the work. My disbelief must be utterly suspended for the entire time I'm reading. I have to be satisfied with the ending, but sad that it's over because it was just. that. awesome. To get 4 couples means that I thought this was a great book -- a book encroaching on awesome that I will recommend to friends and, most likely, read again someday. 3 couples means I really liked it and I am glad I read it, but I don't feel particularly compelled to read it a second time. (But I AM GLAD I read it!) Receiving 2 couples, if I chose to give that rating (I haven't yet), would mean that the writing might have been good but the story just didn't resonate with me, there were too many bonnets & buggies  (you've read my Amish Fiction rants before, right?), or I didn't have a hard enough time putting it down. These reviews will rarely, if ever, see the light of day HERE (I do blog elsewhere.) 1 couple? Those novels will be declined by the time I make it to chapter three and they just aren't going to get reviewed by me in a public forum.

So what does this mean for the authors and books I review? It means I'm kind of tough... but I try to be kind. I want to be edifying of the work, the craft, the author, and the genre, but... I feel obligated to point out the things that bother me about story, craft, and character along the way. Yes, I'm tough. But I try to balance those negatives out with positives... actually I try to focus mostly on the positives... to give a pretty big-picture view of the novels I am glad to have spent time reading. If I review it here, consider it a recommendation!

I'd love to hear from all you Edgy Inspirational Romance readers on what you think of my revised reading standards. Heaven knows I'll be second guessing whether or not I should have posted this all day long.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Review: Terri Blackstock's DOWNFALL -- and my latest recipe

Trying to write a review in my messy office while keeping track of a 10 week old goldendoodle puppy and trying to choke down my latest attempt at a homemade "diet" shake is... something of a challenge. But I am determined to do it. For you. Cuz that's just the type of girl I am. So... let's go back a couple months in new release history to dish on Terri Blackstock's DOWNFALL.

Okay, that sounds bad, doesn't it? As far as I know, Terri is just fine and has not, in fact, suffered a downfall herself. Downfall just happens to be the title of her book and is the third book in her Intervention series. 



HERE'S THE SITCH
(from the back cover)

Emily Covington has turned her life around after the fallout of her drug addiction, but her family still has trouble trusting her. Though Emily completed a yearlong treatment program and has been sober for almost a year beyond that, her mother walks on eggshells around her, fearing she'll relapse. After her behavior during her drug years, Emily has a lot to prove.

When Emily and Lance discover a homemade bomb under Emily's car, and she learns the wife of one of her friends was murdered that same morning, she begins to connect the dots.

A conversation she had with two men, an Alfred Hitchcock movie, and a plan for a double murder all conspire for one explosive ride. Emily is the only one who can identify the killer and save the life of the next potental victim. But will anyone believer her?

As she frantically works to solve this puzzle and convince authorities of the truth, Emily finds the focus of the investigation turned back on her. She's played right into the killer's hands... and he won't stop until more lives are destroyed.


HITS & MISSES
As you know, I'm a glutton for romance and would have liked a little more in this novel; but it is important to note that this book wasn't being marketed as a romance per se... so: no harm, no foul and, unfortunately for us EIR addicts, no sighs of rapture.  But... it's definitely a great book and, although it doesn't entirely satisfy my need for a little "R" found in most EIR reviews it is both Edgy and Inspirational, so... let's have at it!

I read this novel back in February, but being that it's a little light on the romance, I didn't get around to writing the review until... you guessed it: now -- while I'm still choking down this rather disgusting concoction that I am too cheap to dump down the drain. But I digress...

Even though Downfall doesn't have a lot of romantic action (one character does carry a diamond ring around in his pocket for most of the novel, waiting for the right moment to pop the question) I can wholeheartedly give a thumbs up. Here's why: 

1. Emily is a believable protagonist; a recovering drug addict who has really turned her life around and wants to stay sober. Her point of view is entirely human and sympathetic. Even though most readers' addictions (face it, we all have them. Is that chocolate I smell on your breath?!) may not be as immediately dangerous as Emily's, the draw of drugs is written in such an identifiable way that anyone can feel the struggle Emily undergoes to deny the pull of this sort of escape and pleasure in her life.

2. Downfall is the third book in the Intervention series and I have not read the other two. I found that Downfall stands alone perfectly well, but it initiates such a bonding with the characters (and what has brought them to this point) that you want to go back and read the other novels for no other reason than simple affection for the characters.

3. You just can't figure out who the bad guy is. I love a suspense novel that keeps me guessing. Downfall does just that.

TO READ... OR NOT?
I say... read it. It's a quick read that keeps you interested in the characters and the resolution of the novel's plot while drawing you in to the history of the rest of the series. Blackstock fans have another winner on their hands.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO WIN A COPY?
Visit my  POST about Pinning by May 8, 2012 and leave a comment pertaining to the discussion there and you could win a copy of Terri Blackstock's Downfall and two other new(ish) novels!

And just in case you were wondering: it is my educated opinion that spinach, lactose free cottage cheese, strawberries, bananas, and Nutella should never be put in a blender together. Just sayin'.

Happy reading!

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