Saturday, July 28, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Ten Year Anniversary
Ten years ago this week, Taken by Storm's scuba-diving hero, Michael, swam out of award-winning YA author, Angela Morrison's brain and onto her page. Join the anniversary celebration! Win your own copy of the brand new paperback! Snag Taken by Storm's Kindle ebook for only $ .99! Unbroken Connection (Book 2) and Cayman Summer (Book 3) are free on Kindle! Hurry. The promotion ends Friday, July 20th. Don't own a Kindle? http://www.blogger.com/%3CA%20href=">Download free Kindle apps for your laptop, tablet, iTouch, or phone.
In Taken by Storm, Mormon girl Leesie has life figured out until devastated Michael lands in her small town high school. He needs her like no one has before. A rare journey into a faithful LDS teen’s intimate struggle.
from Taken by Storm . . .
I’m lost to his firm chest,
his slender fingertips, his long wavy hair,
his mouth sucking my bottom lip—
The world spins, the stars shift,
and I can’t see anything except his smoky
gray eyes gazing into mine.
You scare me, whispers
from my mouth across his.
Good, he breathes into me.
I need you to save me.
"[Morrison] handles the topics of religion and premarital sex gracefully without passing judgment. The message has less to do with religion than learning to respect and cherish others while staying true to one’s own beliefs.” – Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
Brand new paperback and reformatted ebook with fully scalable fonts. Includes bonus, never-before-published scene, "Airport Good-bye!"
Angela Morrison is the award-winning YA author of http://www.blogger.com/%3CA%20href=">Taken by Storm (Books 1-3) and http://www.blogger.com/%3CA%20href=">Sing me to Sleep. She grew up in Eastern Washington on the wheat farm where Taken by Storm is set. She's an advanced NAUI, Nitrox certified scuba diver. The hurricane that kills Michael's parents was inspired by a real-life diving accident. She wrote Cayman Summer, book three of Michael and Leesie's saga, with fan input, at http://caymansummer.blogspot.com/.
Excerpt - Prologue and Chapter One
from Leesie's Most Private Chapbook, Prologue, Taken by Storm, "What does it Matter?"
What does it matter if
another jock pinches me
as I walk down the hall to Physics
and high fives Troy, celebrating
like he just scored
the season’s first touchdown?
As I stalk past Troy,
architect of my torture,
I’m frozen, a block of ice—
not a single drop melts.
All hail the Mormon Ice Queen.
What does it matter?
I know the commandment,
but I don’t even consider
turning the other cheek.
And, yes, it hurts, but
life without pain
isn’t much of a test.
This feeling can’t be lonely—
I’m not alone.
I walk with His hand on my shoulder,
His voice whispering in my soul,
His love soaring in my heart,
What else could possibly matter?
from Michael's Dive Log, Chapter 1, Taken by Storm, "Before"
The dive starts perfect. Perfect water. Perfect sky. Perfect wall. The ocean, warm, flat, perfect. I leave my wetsuit drying on the Festiva’s dive deck. Saltwater slips silky over my skin like Carolina’s caress.
Jeez, I miss her. Caroleena. She insisted on Spanish pronunciation. I thought this trip would help, but I can’t forget lying in the sun, curled together, my face lost in her thick black hair, holding on. Three months. Every day. More when she felt like it. I always felt like it, but I didn’t want to use her.
She dumped me on my butt when I took off to dive all summer at the condo. I wanted to bring her to Florida. Keep her close. Keep her safe. But she had to stay in Phoenix and work. Her family’s got nothing. And Mom flipped when I mentioned it was a shame the sofa bed in the living room would be empty. Dad was cool with it. He’s cool with everything. It should have been Carolina and me all summer, diving.
The creep b-ball jock she’s with now is after one thing, as much as he can get. Possessive, too. Freaked when I called her from the Keys. And when we were all back at school, she wouldn’t even look at me. Dad knew something was up, let me cut a week for the club’s annual “hot deal” hurricane season trip. So, I’m scuba diving my brains out, free diving whenever I can get a spotter, trying not to think about that jock pawing my Carolina.
Love. Makes me crazy. All of it. You get so close, like she’s part of you. And then she’s gone. You ogle the smiling waitress on the boat, who has your girl’s hair and wears a loaded bikini top and a sarong slung dangerously low. You appreciate the view while she serves you a virgin pina colada, but you still ache inside because now you’ve got a hole in your ribcage that won’t fill, a gash that heals way too slow.
Salt water’s my therapy of choice. [cut excerpt here for shorter post . . .but feel free to use the entire dive log]
I swim my makeshift free-dive raft, Dad’s old scuba vest packed with everything we’ll need, out to the wall. Mom’s late.
Lame. I know. Diving with Mommy. But she’s missing her scuba dive with Dad this a.m. to lie face down on the water all morning watching a breath-holding fanatic sink head first into the ocean. I got to give her props for that.
Spread out, Dad’s BC, the scuba vest, makes a decent place to hang between dives. I blow air into it until it bounces on top of the water and wonder if I’ll get that dive kayak I want for Christmas. I tie my diver-down flag to the BC raft and hook it all up to the buoy marking the edge of the reef. The ocean floor drops off hundreds of feet here forming a sheer coral wall. Still no scary pink slashed shark bait wetsuit jumping off the Festiva and finning toward me. It’s okay. We’ve got all morning.
Good old Mandy in Florida used to spot me. That was in no way lame. I faked shallow-water blackout all the time so she’d have to swim down, wrap her sexy body behind mine, pull me to the surface, and resuscitate me. Mandy. Another hole in my guts.
I’m tired of waiting. I sling my weight belt around my hips and cinch it tight. A few more pounds of muscle mass to my core and I won’t need the weights. I’ve got my body taught and toned. I can hold my breath forever. My heartbeat even goes slow-mo when I free dive. Total control.
I pop a quick sixty-footer down to the reef, bop with the juvie fish—yellow and black, blue, purple. Wish I could shrink down to their size and dart in and out of a coral mound happy, careless, flitting, free. Easy to be a fish. I wouldn’t make a freak of myself like yesterday when I finally talked to that waitress. She looks eighteen, twenty tops.
I took my drink to the bar for a refill. “You want to hang out with me on your break?”
Chicks usually say, “Yes.” Babes hit on me way more than I hit on them. Even the older ones. I think it’s the hair. Boring brown, but it went wavy post-manhood. I keep it long. Girls can’t resist. I don’t take up their offers as much as I could. Mom’s got this thing about respect.
But my waitress didn’t say, “Yes.” She pushed her own thick, black, sexy hair that whispered, “Carolina,” out of her eyes and smiled to let me down easy. “I don’t think so.”
“Come on. There’s nobody up on the bow. You could work on your tan.”
“Tan?” She’s Hispanic, gorgeous golden all over.
“Pretend.” I ran my finger down her arm. We both felt it. That charge when it’s right.
She didn’t get uptight and jerk away from me. I was getting to her. “And what will you do?” She blinked slow. Her mouth opened slightly as she exhaled.
I traced her fingers. “I’m pretty good with lotion.”
She laughed again, throaty, teasing. “Sorry.” She pulled away then. “Next break the Captain lets me call my kids.”
No lie. She handed me a picture. Three brown faces tumbling over each other. They stay with her mom up in Belize City. She misses them pretty bad. I felt sorry for her. Wanted to do something. I mean here’s this young, beautiful girl stuck serving drinks to creeps like me until her looks go. I wish I could get Dad to hire her, but I don’t think she types. I laughed it off, hung out with her while my drink melted. The whole thing made me feel useless.
So much easier to be a fish.
I leave the juvies playing hide-and-seek in the coral’s tiniest caves and swim over to the wall for a look. Nice. Steepest one we’ve been on. Blue, deepening to bluer, deepening to a thousand feet of blue. Perfect. I know I can break a hundred.
Every time I tried at the condo last summer, either the waves were too high or the currents too strong. That’s the Keys. None of that here. I turn away from the promising depths and swim toward sunshine.
When I break the surface, Mom’s all over me. “Dammit, Michael, you supposed—”
“Just warming up. Not a real dive.” I suck up. “Never without a buddy.” I duck under the BC raft, grab the weight belt I brought for her from the vest’s pocket, and surface.
“It looked like a real dive to me.” Mom fastens the belt, kicking slow to stay afloat.
I grin and give her a saltwater kiss on the cheek before I move out along the line stretched between the buoy and raft, positioned so I can dive straight down the wall. I float on my stomach, blow through my nose to clear my mask, shoot a spout of water out of my snorkel, and inhale—fill my gut, hold it a few beats, then blow it out nice and slow, expelling CO2, the waitress, Carolina, Mandy, even Mom, through that handy tube stuck in my mouth.
“Take it easy, this morning.” Mom treads water instead of taking up her spotting position. “Don’t go too deep.”
I keep venting, soaking up the blue world under me, eager to immerse myself in it again.
“No blackout today, right?” She says that every dive. I was ten that one time. Get over it.
A pair of painted angels drift over the top of the wall, their fins waving in time to my slowing heartbeat. I blow up my chest and gut, nine more mesmerizing cycles.
Mom maneuvers into position, face down on the other side of the line.
I advance to super-vents, stretch my head back so I can drive air into every chamber of my skull and torso, filling my throat and nasal passages, again and again until my fingers tingle perfect breathe-down. O2 maxed, totally zoned.
I inhale one last time, packing every crevice, and then pack more air, and more. Mom bumps my leg. Doesn’t matter. I’m Mr. Zen of the Deep. Nothing can penetrate this lean mean free-diving machine.
I slip the snorkel out of my mouth, bend at the waist, kick my massive free-dive fins skyward and shoot down through the water. One kick, two. My buoyancy slides negative at fifteen feet. I streamline it, conserving my hoard of O2. Don’t need to kick now. Pinch my nose and clear my ears—easy. I zoom past the top of the wall, equalize my mask, glance at the dive computer strapped to my wrist, seventy feet, clear again, eighty. The deeper I go, the faster I fall. I blow past ninety. Hit a hundred before I know it. The water’s so kicking clear.
I pull up hard, flip so my head points skyward, and work my fins to stop sinking. I want to celebrate. Kind of a deadly idea. A massive crab, all blued out, sits in a crevice sliced into the wall. He waves his claws in my direction. It took less than a minute to get down there. I have plenty of oxygen packed in my body, but I need it all for the ascent. No time for underwater fans.
I begin kicking for real, powering my giant fins back and forth. Don’t go anywhere. Freak. Ditch my weights? No way. Dive won’t count. My depth gauge reads 99 feet. Good. I’m moving—just doesn’t seem like it. I paste my eyes to the blaring pink triangle that is Mom and kick harder. Ninety feet, eighty.
I make the top of the wall with upward momentum. Acid scalds my leg muscles. My lungs weep for air. Still, I don’t chuck the weights. I keep eye contact with Mom so she won’t think she has to save me and wreck this dive. My chest vibrates with the effort of holding onto the last dredge of O2.
My legs get stiff. I force them to keep wafting my heavy fins back and forth.
The drowsy warmth of blackout creeps over me at fifteen feet, but I don’t give it any room. I blow my CO2. Positive buoyancy propels me to the surface. I blast through, plastering Mom. She squeals.
My starving lungs kick back mounds of fresh salt air.
“Your lips are blue, baby.” Her eyebrows draw together.
I suck O2 to my brain and stick my computer-strapped wrist in her face.
107 feet. Perfect.
“Whoa.” She doesn’t yell it and give me skin like Dad would have. “From now on you’re going to need a lot better spotter than me.” Mom starts untying the diver-down flag from the buoy. “Let’s head back.”
“We’ve still got tons of time.” I fin over to her. “I’m going again in a few minutes.”
“No way.” She struggles with my knots.
“Yes. Way.” My mask fogs up. I rip it off my head. A few strands of wavy brown chick-bait hair come with it.
Mom gets the rope loose. “You need to work on your knots.”
“I just got started.” I hock a ball of slime into my mask and rub it around with my finger. “What am I going to do back on the boat?”
“You’ve got yesterday’s dives to log.”
“I’m staying.” I swish my mask around in the water.
“Not without a spotter.” She winds up the rope and hands it to me.
I hook the scuba vest raft with an elbow. “Then spot me.” I put my mask back on, mess around clearing it of my wild hair, remembering how
Carolina tore at it the last time we were together.
Mom turns her back on me. “You’re diving way out of my league.” She unlatches her weight belt, lifts it out of the water by one end, and sets it on the BC raft. “You know I’m lucky if I free dive to thirty.”
“This is stupid. You always spot me.”
“One more dive. Just to the reef. A baby could make that dive.”
“Can I trust you?”
How can I answer? We both know I’ll be down that wall again—freaking should be down that wall again.
“I’m not going to lie there and watch you drown. End of story.” She pulls her still pretty face into a crease. “You’re not free diving unless you’ve got a qualified spotter at the surface and a scuba spotter at depth.”
“Give me a break.” Nobody does that for a hundred feet. “It’s not like I’m riding a sled to 450.”
“Don’t give me nightmares.”
Right on cue, like Mom foresaw all and paid off the captain to get her way, the horn on the Festiva blares, over and over.
Mom frowns back at the boat. “Let’s go.” She starts swimming.
I hang back.
“Get a move on,” she yells. “They don’t blow that thing for nothing.”
Contest link is http://caymansummer.blogspot.com/
Taken by Storm on Kindle http://www.angela-morrison.com/taken-by-storm.html
Unbroken Connection (Book 2) : http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003Z0CUHI
Cayman Summer (Book 3) : http://www.blogger.com/goog_839498426
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Angela-Morrison/217571908269726
Amazon Author Page: http://www.blogger.com/goog_839498440
Blogs: Cayman Summer (all things Michael and Leesie): http://caymansummer.blogspot.com/
Angela Morrison's liv2writ (my writing life and tips for writers and teachers): http://angelamorrison.blogspot.com/
What's the Opposite of Chewbacca? (opposite poems for younger readers) : http://www.blogger.com/goog_839498446
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Title: The Cowboy Next Door
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Steeple Hill (May 1, 2009)
It never fails. As soon as I start a BRENDA MINTON book, I can’t stop. And when I get to the end, I’m ready for another. THE COWYBOY NEXT DOOR was no exception. I loved getting immersed into Lacey and Jay’s lives.
Lacey Gould is a strong woman, in spite of her past…or maybe because of it. Since she escaped to Gibson, she’s slowly been putting her life back together. A life she’s dreamed of.
Jay Blackhorse, an officer of the law, knows all about Lacey Gould’s past. He and Lacey may be from two different worlds, but she isn’t the only one with a past. With secrets better left alone.
Lacey’s sister shows up with a baby in Gibson, then Lacey’s mother. Jay and Lacey’s growing friendship is soon snuffed out. Lacey may have forgiven others in her life, but she has yet to forgive herself. Jay made a promise to a girl years ago, and doesn’t know how to let go.
Will they both let go of their past and hurts, and allow love to blossom?
Once again BRENDA MINTON has written a page turner, with well thought-out characters that will walk into your life and win your heart. It’s a real pleasure when you run across a great line in a book that has you reading it over. But when you come across several, it’s a real treat, and THE COWYBOY NEXT DOOR is just that.
Next on my list of BRENDA MINTON books…REKINDLED HEARTS.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Author: Dineen Miller
Publisher: Barbour Books (May 1, 2012)
THE SOUL SAVER by DINEEN MILLER is not your typical Christian novel. At least not like any I’ve read. What first captured my attention was the idea of a Spiritually Mismatched Marriage between the main character and her husband.
Lexie Baltimore’s husband, Hugh is an atheist. Not only is Lexie a believer, she has a gift as well. Through sculptures in her studio, she forms unknown faces from visions God gives her in her dreams that will send her on a mission to save a soul.
Pastor Nate Winslow, lost his wife a year ago, and nothing about his life has been the same since. He had made a deal to save his only child. A deal that would haunt him daily.
Hugh Baltimore has his sights set on a career he’s been working on for years. Unlike his wife, God doesn’t fit into the picture. But when evil lurks, Hugh can’t deny there might be something to this faith thing his wife is so adamant about.
After mentioning WINNING HIM WITHOUT WORDS:10 TEN KEYS TO THRIVING IN YOUR SPIRITUALLY MITSMATCHED MARRIAGE, a non-fiction book DINEEN MILLER co-authored, in THE SOUL SAVER, I was pleasantly surprised to discover I had a copy sitting on my bookshelf. The very next day I started reading it.
DINEEN MILLER has written a brilliant novel, one I took note of her prose. The plot is intriguing, and keeps you turning the pages. A light mystery entangled with an equal amount romance. I’m looking forward to her next novel.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
Author: Connie Cameron
Publisher: WinePress Publishing (July 5, 2005)
I received GOD’S GENTLE NUDGES by CONNIE CAMERON as a gift, and immediately put it at the top of my stack of non-fiction to read. Each morning, along with reading a chapter out of my Bible, I read a story or two out of GOD’S GENTLE NUDGES.
CONNIE CAMERON opens her heart to reader about God’s gentle nudges in her life in this beautifully written book. It’s a collection of stories of inspiration, joy, encouragement, and tears. Stories that will warm your heart and inspire you to make positive changes in your own life.
My favorite stories are:
Chapter 10, page 39, I STILLL CHOOSE “MOM”
Chapter 15, page 69, A WRITER’S PEP TALK FROM GOD
Chapter 25, page 117, GIVE AND IT WILL BE GIVEN
Chapter 29, page 131, WALKING TESTIMONIE
Chapter 30, page 137, A “DEGREE” OF FAITH
Chapter 31, page 145, JUST PASSING THROUGH
I have placed GOD’S GENTLE NUDGES on my list of books to share with others in hopes that it will touch them like it has me.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Author: Karen Witemeyer
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers; 1 edition (June 1, 2012)
I could barely hold in the excitement when I heard the title of KAREN WITEMEYER next book, SHORT-STRAW BRIDE. When I first laid eyes on the cover it only fueled my enthusiasm. This is her fourth book, and each one has proven to be equally as well written with a storyline that will keep you turning the pages faster than a humming birds wings.
Travis Archer is committed to defending the land his father asked him to when he was just a young man himself, along with protecting his three brothers. Travis spent over a decade doing exactly that, allowing few to enter their land. Neither he nor his brothers had ventured off Archer land, except the one time Travis was forced to in order to save a damsel in distress.
Meredith Hayes hadn’t been able to stop thinking about the Archer boy who saved her from the jaws of a trap years ago. Unlike she’d heard all her life, he was gentle and kind, setting her free and carrying her home to safety. Years later when she hears his land and his family may be in danger; she sets off to warn him without a thought to her own safety or reputation.
I loved the prolog, setting the scene of what was to come. It was fun to get a glimpse into Travis and Meredith’s first encounter, as well as what they were like as kids.
Travis is rugged, honest, loyal, hard working, and will defend his own in a heartbeat. Meredith is strong, determined and willing to make sacrifices for those she loves. I loved both of the main characters. The interaction between the two was just the right dose of feistiness and attraction.
I believe SHORT-STRAW BRIDE to be a unique twist on the “marriage of convenience” story. Not only are you treated to this wonderful story about Travis and Meredith, but given a glimpse into what I hope to be the next book in the Archer series, about Jim and Cassie. I’m filled with excitement and anticipation in discovering Crockett and Neill’s story as well.
As always, I wait with bated breath for the next KAREN WITEMEYER novel to hit the shelves.
Monday, July 2, 2012
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble -- Welcome to Hope Beach Where the sea breeze is fresh, sun sparkles on sand . . . and trouble appears with the force of a hurricane. Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the seaward shore of Hope Island could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer's talent and love of history. She's delighted to learn of family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she's met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams. But Libby soon realizes that only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island.… (Romantic Suspense from Thomas Nelson).
Love Finds You in Mackinac Island, Michigan by Melanie Dobson -- Elena Bissette must choose between her family's fortune and her heart's desire. (Historical Romance from Summerside Press (Guideposts).
Oregon Outback by Elizabeth Goddard -- Danger in life and love dog the trail of four rugged brothers. FBI agent Jonas vows to protect a dead man's daughter. Rancher Carver goes head-to-heart with a female sheriff. Fearless Lucas is tamed by a beautiful bookkeeper. Justin seeks a fugitive heading too close to home-and heart. Will love be the brothers' true calling? (Romantic Suspense from Barbour).
Wedded to War by Jocelyn Green -- Charlotte Waverly leaves a life of privilege, wealth--and confining expectations--to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army, only to find that her sweetheart disapproves of her newfound independence, forcing her to choose between love and duty. (General Historical from River North (Moody).
A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California by Keli Gwyn -- A willful widow and a determined merchant find themselves fighting for a town's business-and against their growing attraction. Who will win this contest of wills? (Historical Romance from Barbour).
Lakeside Family by Lisa Jordan -- The one man she never wanted to see again is the only one who can save her daughter's life. (Romance from Love Inspired).
Through Rushing Water by Catherine Richmond -- Sophia has been proposed to so many times, she doesn't recognize true love when it hits her. (Historical Romance from Thomas Nelson).
When Hope Blossoms by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- Amy Knackstedt needs a fresh start; Tim Roper wants to escape his past. Will the crossing of their pathways lead to healing? (General Contemporary from Bethany House).
Decision to Love (Sacred Vows, book 3) by Michelle Sutton -- Eight years after Hope and Tony's affair ended, new problems arise that seem to have a ripple effect, some of which began back when they first met. (General Contemporary from Sword of the Spirit Publishing).
The Doctor's Devotion by Cheryl Wyatt -- When he fled Eagle Point years ago, former
Air Force trauma surgeon Mitch Wellington left only broken dreams behind. Now he's back with a new dream-opening a trauma center in the rural area and saving lives. He hopes to hire the quick-thinking nurse who impressed him during an emergency. But Lauren Bates lost her faith and doesn't believe she deserves to help anyone. It'll take all Mitch's devotion to show Lauren that sometimes the best medicine is a combination of faith, community-and love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired).