Thursday, June 26, 2014

A MUST READ


Title: At the Edge of a Dark Forest (Fairwilde Reflections)
Author: Connie Almony
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (February 20, 2014)
Pages: 180

I feel almost speechless. As if no words I conjure up could do justice to the way I feel about, AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST (A Fairwilde Reflections Novella) by CONNIE ALMONY. To say that I didn’t want it to end, is an understatement. If I had the ability, I’d make this amazing story into a movie. A movie that would no doubt become one of my favorites.

I have a special place in my heart for the retelling of fairytales. Beauty and the Beast being at the top of the list, right beside Cinderella. I tend to latch onto any movie that comes out with a new version of one of the classics I loves so much. Though I have read a few such stories, I don’t recall reading one that captured me the way AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST has.

Cole Harrison is a bitter man, but not because he is lacking of worldly possessions. The wall he has built up around his heart has left him a man not many dare to get close to.

Carly Rose is put into a situation she has little choice but to endure. Her love for her father has her encountering a mission and a man that seems at first appearances, impossible.

I can’t provide much of a synopsis for this story, for in doing so I would write a good portion of the book. I, a slow reader, with little time, finished this amazing story in just two short days. Every time I attempted to put it down, it silently called to me. My emotions reeling from only completing it moments ago, are nearly too raw to express the horde of feeling it has created.

I guess it goes without saying that I am now a fan of MS ALMONY. Her writing is amazing, just as her storytelling. I was engrossed, inspired, intrigued, laughed, and cried. The author created many great lines that caused me to smile, my skin to have goose bumps, and my eyes to tear up.

AT THE EDGE OF A DARK FOREST is a clever and unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast. MS ALMONY took an unlikely twist to the storyline, yet kept the core of the story alive. I have never encountered a retelling of a story that kept the basic elements, with such a unique twist. I loved every word. Every scene. The beginning, the middle, and the end. It never disappointed. Not for a second.

Aside from the unique storyline, I LOVED how MS ALMONY incorporated bits of the original story through the characters. It was absolutely brilliant, adding to the overall charm of the story and characters. Though they referred to Beauty and the Beast, you never felt as though the story was mimicking it…yet it was so similar…in a unique way.

I love every character, each unique and three-dimensional. I love how MS ALMONY brought to the story things that you typically wouldn’t find in faith based fiction. The Christianity was relevant to life, subtle, yet so powerful. 

Okay, enough. I could go on and on. Do yourself a favor – get this book. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

ANY TEENS IN THE HOUSE?

I feel confident that anyone with a teen daughter in the house will have no problem getting this. 


Saturday, June 21, 2014

THIS IS NOT JUST A PRETTY BOOK.


 
 
Title: Pretty: Nutrition for Beauty, Inside and Out
Author: Jolene Hart, CHC, AADP
Publisher: Chronicle Books (February 25, 2014)
Pages: 208

I just LOVE this little book! EAT PRETTY: NUTRITION FOR BEAUTY, INSIDE AND OUT by JOLENE HART, CHC, AADP. It’s packed full of great information, simply stated, in an easy to read layout. The book is titled appropriately, and visually beautiful. Even though I am not a pink person, I found it gorgeous.

I realize in today’s world we have everything at the tip of our fingers with the internet. Being a visual person, I find it helpful to have the information in front of me in a tangibly form. The internet can often be overwhelming, and let’s face it, as soon as you walk away, or click on another link, it’s gone. Having valuable information ready and waiting to flip through at anytime, anywhere, is priceless. Especially when you’re talking about your health, because when it comes down to it, it’s about staying healthy and fit.

The first page I opened to was page 149. My eyes locked on, Kiwi. What I read, and how it was worded and laid out, immediately sold me on the book. I am so happy I made the decision to purchase EAT PRETTY: NUTRITION FOR BEAUTY, INSIDE AND OUT.

I knew that I was going to get helpful information on what to eat and why, but I hadn’t realized I’d also receive information on what not to eat and why, along with some fabulous recipes. At the end of each description of food, there is a quick chart: Eat pretty food, beautifying compound, and beauty benefit, in just a few simple words.

What will you get in this amazing little book?
·        Information on antioxidants, biotin, and omega-3s.
·        More than 85 everyday foods, each with their specific beauty/health-boosting benefit.
·        Healthful ingredients.
·        A full lifestyle makeover, exploring stress management, hormonal balance, and mindful living.
·        Charts and lists.
·        Nearly 20 recipes.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

CHAIN OF MERCY by BRENDA S ANDERSON is a MUST read


Title: Chain of Mercy
Author: Brenda S Anderson
Publisher: Winslet Press (April 22, 2014)
Pages: 358

To say that CHAIN OF MERCY is the first, but not the last book I’ll read by BRENDA S ANDERSON, is a huge understatement. If I were only allowed one word to describe this amazing book, it would have to be, WOW!

Richard Brooks is not who he appears to be. Not by a long shot. But that’s intentional. He wants nothing more than to rid of the man he once was. Only problem is, he’s everywhere he goes.

Sheila Peterson is intrigued by the handsome maintenance man. She never imagined she’d stoop so low as to go out with someone so beneath her, but he’d serve a purpose. Little did she realize what man was hidden behind the fa├žade.

Forgiveness is a huge element in CHAIN OF MERCY on many levels, but it is so much more. The characters, writing, and storyline are beyond amazing. It’s not your typical, predictable novel. MS ANDERSON takes you on a journey with surprising twists and turns. Each of the characters is distinct, with tangible personalities. From the very first page, you will be pulled in, and absorbed into the lives of the characters. But it won’t stop with the last word. No, CHAIN OF MERCY is bound to remain in your heart forever.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A BOOK NO WRITER SHOULD BE WITHOUT


 
 
Title: The Art of War for Writers: Fiction Writing Strategies, Tactics, and Exercises
Author: James Scott Bell
Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; Original edition (December 9, 2009)
Pages: 272
 
I had heard others mention THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS: FICTION WRITING STRATEGIE, TACTICS, AND EXERCISES by JAMES SCOTT BELL, and to be honest, I resisted purchasing it. I don’t always believe all the hype. That is until I spotted this tiny book at a writing conference a few years back. I finally relented and made the decision to purchase it. Still, it sat on my shelf of books to be read. Now, years later, I finally read it.

Wow! I do believe that God gives you what you need, just when you need it. If ever the saying “Tiny, but mighty” was true, it would be in reference to this book. I just LOVED the extremely short chapters. They are quick, precise, yet packed with core information. All the basics you need to write a great book, without all the fancy words and sentences to jumble your brain, threatening to lose the point. There was not one single chapter - of 77 - that I did not gain knowledge from.

THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS will be a book forever near as I continue my writing journey. Even if you have been writing for some time, it’s a quick reminder of the dos and don’t that you are sure to find helpful.

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS, YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS


FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS
 
by Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton,
Margaret Brownley


Title: Four Weddings and a Kiss


Authors: Mary Connealy, Robin Lee Hatcher, Debra Clopton, Margaret Brownley


Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 10, 2014

 
Pages: 400

 

SPITFIRE SWEETHART by MARY CONNEALY

Admittedly, this is the first story I’ve read by MARY CONNEALY, and I loved the storyline in SPITFIRE SWEETHART.

Rylan Carsterns has never noticed how pretty his annoying neighbor, Maizy Place is, until he was placed in an uncompromising position.

Maizy Place new she was in trouble when she is caught on Rylan Carstens property. If she thought that's the worse of her problems, she only needed to look around to discover how untrue it was.

LOVE LETTER TO THE EDITOR by ROBIN LEE HATCHER

Again, another first for me. LOVE LETTER TO THE EDITOR by ROBIN LEE HATCHER is a cute story, well written, with a good pace. I have a feeling I’ll be reading more by MS HATCHER in the future. She did a fine job of creating a well-rounded story in so few words. Not an easy feat, as any writer knows.

Molly Everton, the town newspapers daughter, is not happy when she discovers he father hired an editor. Why hadn’t she been given the job? After all, she knew the paper better than any other in the office, and certainly better than some stranger that wasn’t even a local.

Jack Ludgrove is optimistic about his new position at the newspaper, about moving to a new town, even if he only plans to stay for a shot while.  

A COWBOY FOR KATIE by DEBRA CLOPTON

If I was honest, and I do try to be in all I do, A COWBOY FOR KATIE by DEBRA CLOPTON is the reason I was most excited to receive FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS. I have been a HUGE fan of MS CLOPTON since day one. I can honestly say, I can’t get enough of her stories.

If I’m not mistaken, A COWBOY FOR KATIE, is MS CLOPTONS first historical, and I have to say she did an amazing job. I’m a huge fan on historicals, as well as anything with a cowboy in it. It wasn’t until I read this story, that I put the connection together. There’s something about cowboy ways, that holds similarities to characters of the past.

As typical of MS CLOPTON, she drew me in right away with characters and a storyline that pulls you in from the first word to the last. She did an amazing job with a historical story, as well as a novella. One of the hardest things to accomplish. It takes a skilled writer to be able to pull off a short story from start to finish, and not just accomplish it, but do it really well.

Katie Pearl has no interest in a husband, only in hiring someone to fix the damage done to her property. When she spots a wandering cowboy coming through town, she ropes him in just long enough to complete the job and move on.

Treb Rayburn only plans to stay in the town he wandered into long enough to earn enough to buy a horse. At the pretty ladies offer as a hire hand to earn a few bucks, and a horse to boot, Treb can’t resist. What he hadn’t planned on was getting to know Katie in a way that had him rethinking packing his bags and leaving.

COURTING TROUBLE by MARGARET BROWNLEY

COURTING TROUBLE is not the first book I’ve read by, MARGARET BROWNLEY, and another reason I wanted a copy of FOUR WEDDINGS AND A KISS. Love MS BROWNLEY’S writing, both fiction and non-fiction.

Grace Davenport’s reputation is not one to be desired. In fact, if you were a man, you’d do best to run in the opposite direction.

Attorney Brock Daniels is confronted by a potential client – a very young one at that – to take on a case he had no intentions of taking. That is until he meets the boys, mother. Brock changed his direction of law practice for a reason, but looking into Grace Davenport’s eyes through the cell bars, has him rethinking his decision.

*Please see my profile for more information on this review.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

ACFW JUNE 2014 NEW RELEASES

June 2014 New Releases

More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Contemporary:

All Right Here by Carre Armstrong Gardner -- Ivy Darling can't have children of her own, and her husband Nick's resentment is forcing them apart. And while Ivy has the support and love of her large, close-knit family, Nick's family has never welcomed her into the fold. When the three children next door are abandoned by their mother, Ivy and Nick take them in for the night. One night becomes several, and suddenly Ivy and Nick find themselves foster parents to the only African-American kids in the town of Copper Cove, Maine. As Ivy grows more attached to the children, Nick refuses to accept their eclectic household as a permanent family. Just as Ivy begins to question whether or not she wants to save her emotionally empty marriage, Nick begins to discover how much Ivy and the children mean to him. But is his change of heart too little, too late? (Contemporary Fiction from Tyndale House)

A Woman of Fortune by Kellie Coates Gilbert -- Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream. Her world is filled with designer clothes, luxury cars, and stunning homes. But her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly, she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must start over against incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living. (Contemporary Fiction from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

The Cat Lady's Secret by Linda W. Yezak -- Emily Taylor loves to help people, loves to ease their burdens and make their dreams come true. But when a conman ruins her reputation, she discovers that helping others is safer and easier from behind the scenes. When one of Emily's gifts captures the attention of an avid journalist, her identity as the town's anonymous benefactor-and her renewed relationship with her high school sweetheart-are threatened. As her private life begins to unravel, she realizes the one hope for regaining control lies behind prison walls. (Contemporary Women's Fiction from Harbourlight Books[Pelican])

Contemporary Romance:

A Romance Rekindled by Kimberly Rose Johnson -- Susan Hill can't forget how Blake Mitchell jilted her and left their hometown without an explanation. But when he returns to Leavenworth, the ruggedly handsome writer evokes conflicting emotions, especially when Susan meets the child she assumes is his daughter. Since his parents' deaths six years ago, Blake's been raising his little sister on his own. But he's never forgotten the woman he left behind. Now, he can't undo the past, but maybe he can change the future...if he can convince Susan to give him one more chance. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Lakeside Sweethearts by Lisa Jordan -- Agnes Kingsley can hardly bear to walk past the house she lived in as a married woman. It's full of bad memories she's never shared-not even with her best friend, Ian James. But now Ian wants her help to restore that old home for a community project. Agnes knows it's for a good cause, but as their work brings them even closer together, she's afraid to trust-in herself or in the feelings she's secretly harbored for her childhood friend. Yet as they chip away at the house, walls come down around both their hearts...uncovering a foundation to last a lifetime. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Their Unexpected Love by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- Widowed contractor Logan Burkett knows exactly what troublemaking teens need: discipline. A former rabble-rouser, Logan had his life turned around by firm guidance and hard work. But try telling that to Pippa Gallagher. The softhearted event planner runs a skate park ministry for troubled teens and thinks a place to be themselves is the answer. As he and Pippa work together renovating the space, they seem to disagree about everything. But when disaster strikes, Logan finds himself feeling very protective of the beautiful planner and surprised to discover they share one very special thing in common...love. (Contemporary Romance from Love Inpspired [Harlequin])

Historical Fiction:

The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart -- Nell Marchwold is fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. When Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon. But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is. (Historical General Fiction from Faith Words [Hachette])

Historical Romance:

Four Weddings & a Kiss by Margaret Brownley, Debra Clopton, Mary Connealy, and Robin Lee Hatcher -- In 1885 five western preachers sit around a campfire talking about unlikely couples they've seen God bring together. (Historical Romance from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])

The Beaches and Brides Romance Collection by Lynn A. Coleman, Susan Page Davis, Mary Davis, Paige Winship Dooly and Cathy Marie Hake -- Venture along historic American shorelines, enjoying five stories that are full of adventure, challenge, and romance. In Key West a couple collides over a child's welfare. In Washington, a captain's wife guards a secret. In Maine, a castaway returns from the dead. In Georgia, a woman dares to man a lighthouse alone. In Virginia, a wounded soldier recoups at a seaside cottage. Watch as God works through their challenges to bring them safely to a harbor of love. (Historical Romance from Barbour Publishing)

Stuck Together by Mary Connealy -- Tina Cahill, newly arrived from the East, is determined to get the saloon in Broken Wheel, Texas, closed for good. To that end, she pickets outside the place every afternoon. Unfortunately, so far no one has paid any attention. Vince Yates earned the nickname "Invincible Vince" because of his reputation for letting absolutely nothing stop him. But Vince is about to face his biggest challenge yet: his past has just caught up with him. His father, mother, and the sister he didn't know he had, show up in Broken Wheel without warning. Vince has a lot of people to take care of, and Tina doesn't approve of how he's handling any of them. But with almost all the other men in town married off, Vince finds himself stuck with feisty Tina over and over again. Of course, Tina is the prettiest woman he's ever seen, so if he could just get her to give up her causes, he might go ahead and propose. But he's got one more surprise coming his way: Tina's picketing at the saloon has revealed a dark secret that could put everyone Vince loves in danger. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

Truth Be Told by Carol Cox When Amelia Wagner takes over her father's newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have serious consequences. Her father's revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements. Determined to find out the real story, Amelia begins her own investigation. She's joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her. What they uncover stuns them both--and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])

A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino -- Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Puritan Barnabas Horton is still grieves the loss of his beloved wife and needs only a mother for his two young sons. And yet these two very different people with very different expectations will take a leap of faith, wed, and then embark on a life-changing journey across the ocean to the New World. Along the way, each must learn to live in harmony, to wait on God, and to recognize true love where they least expect to find it. (Historical Romance from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Ozark Reunion by Helen Gray -- In the aftermath of the Great Depression, it's time for Riley to start over. And the first step is winning the trust of his Missouri hometown. But it isn't easy for a man with a troubled past. Especially when his first love, Jolene Delaney, seems to believe that the new rumors about him are true. After Riley broke her heart, Jolene threw herself into teaching school and caring for her father and little sister. But she knows something is missing from her life. Especially when she comes face-to-face with Riley again. Can he convince Jolene that he's truly a changed man? Or will he succumb to old temptations and destroy her faith in him once again? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer -- Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston, Texas, to find her father deathly ill. Though she loves him, Nicole's father has always focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run Renard Shipping. Vowing to find a suitable husband to give her father the heir he desires before it's too late, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure as her dowry: the highly coveted Lafitte Dagger. But her father's rivals come after the dagger, forcing a change in Nicole's plans. After a boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana nearly took his life, Darius Thornton has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. Even if it means letting a female secretary into his secluded world. Nicole is determined not to let her odd employer scare her off with his explosive experiments, yet when respect and mutual attraction grow between them, a new fear arises. How can she acquire an heir for her father when her heart belongs to another? And when her father's rivals discover her hiding place, will she have to choose between that love and her family's legacy? (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group]) Historical Women's Fiction:

Yankee In Atlanta by Jocelyn Green -- When soldier Caitlin McKae woke up in Atlanta after being wounded in battle, the Georgian doctor who treated her believed Caitlin's only secret was that she had been fighting for the Confederacy disguised as a man. In order to avoid arrest or worse, Caitlin hides her true identity and makes a new life for herself in Atlanta. Trained as a teacher, she accepts a job as a governess to the daughter of Noah Becker, a German immigrant lawyer, who enlists with the Rebel army. Though starvation rules, and Sherman's troops edge closer to Atlanta, rages, she will not run again. Will honor dictate that Caitlin and Noah follow the rules, or love demand that they break them? (Historical Women's Fiction from River North [Moody Publishers])

Mystery:

Blind Trust by Sandra Orchard -- Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can't believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation-and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world-and her budding romance with Tom-begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom? (Mystery from Revell [Baker Publishing Group])

Romantic Suspense:

Moon over Maalaea Bay by H. L. Wegley -- They expected the honeymoon of their dreams. What they got was a nightmare wrapped in revenge and kidnapping. (Romantic Suspense from White Rose Publishing [Pelican])

Suspense:

Sky Zone by Creston Mapes -- Jack Crittendon is expecting a mindless night on the job at Festival Arena, but when Homeland Security picks up intel about a potential terrorist threat, Jack is thrust into a life-or-death battle to save himself-and the lives of thousands of innocent people. (Suspense from David C. Cook)