Sunday, July 20, 2014

BLESSINGS

 
Blessings comes in many forms. This is just one of them. This is God at work. Inmates don't have much, so for one to give what little he has, is nothing short of God at work.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

ANOTHER AMAZING STORY BY BRENDA MINTON


 
Title: Single Dad Cowboy
Author: Brenda Minton
Publisher: Love Inspired (May 20, 2014
Pages: 224

Anyone who has read my reviews in the past knows that I am a huge BRENDA MINTON fan. I have to admit, I was not impressed with the title of SINGLE DAD COWOY (Though anything with the word “cowboy” in it, has my attention.) But oh boy was I in for a treat. As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover, I guess the same could be said about the title.

Harmony Cross moved back to her family farm with one purpose in mind, and one purpose only. To get her life back in order. To find the person she once used to be. And that person didn’t include a man. A man was the last thing she needed in her life - ever.

Dylan Cooper has a plan. A plan that will not only get the matchmakers off his back, but help Harmony Cross obtain the independence and space she wants. If only he’d realized having an agreement to help one another as friends, would take a different turn.

As always the case, MS MINTON created an amazing story, with great writing and characters. I have to say, I do believe SINGLE DAD COWOY is now marked as one of my favorites. I loved both the main characters, Harmony and Dylan. Do I dare admit I fell in love with Dylan Cooper? The lines MS MINTON came up with had my heart melting and soaring all at once. This is why I read cowboy romances!

BRENDA MINTON blended a magical combination of chivalry, strength, stubbornness, persistence, confidence, sweetness, and gentleness in Dylan Cooper. Harmony’s inner conflict was carried out realistically to the end, in an unique way.

Often once the main characters kiss, that’s it. Not so in SINGLE DAD COWOY. Each time was refreshing, and realistic. I loved that the author was able to produce the “first kiss” several times throughout, and not only bring it to life, but continue their relationship as a “non-couple” in a believable way.

Me: Impatiently waiting for the next BRENDA MINTON book.

 

Monday, July 7, 2014

WELCOME JENNIFER SLATTERY

Welcome Jennifer Slattery
 
Jennifer Slattery writes Missional Romance for New Hope Publishers, a publishing house passionate about bringing God’s healing grace and truth to the hopeless. Her debut novel, Beyond I Do, is currently available for preorder at a 26% off discount. You can find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-I-Do-Jennifer-Slattery/dp/1596694173/
Visit with Jennifer online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.
 
BOOK TALK WITH JENNIFER SLATTERY
 
I love a great story, but I loathe a bad one even more. Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon more greats than duds, but every once in a while…
A few years ago someone mailed me a historical fiction about... Um… I'm not sure what it was about because I never made it that far. I tried. Oh, my, did I try, but after page upon page of stirring pots, ironing clothes, and other life-activities, I put the book aside. I learned the heroine wore her hair in ribbons in painstaking detail, what she ate for breakfast—each and every day, and numerous other details of her daily life. Sadly, her over-abundance of minute details, void of conflict, dulled my brain.
Perhaps you can relate. 

As I think back on the varied novels I’ve enjoyed this past year,  I realized one of the things I long for in a story is the ability to visit a place other than my own. That doesn't mean I always gravitate toward time-traveling speculative fiction, but I don't want to relive the monotony of life either.

I love books that raise the stakes while introducing me to unique settings and heroic characters. One of my favorite authors is Charles Dickens. Upon first glance, I might conclude this is due to his "other-than" settings, but I believe it's more than that. His use of language creates images so vivid and emotive; I’m captivated by a routine walk through the city. He does this without losing the human element--the universal emotions we all share. So basically, he creates a world that is unique enough to grab my attention and propel me into the story, but he does it in such a way that I deeply connect with the characters.

One of my all-time favorite novels, A River Rising by Athol Dickson produced the same effect. The inner and outer drama woven throughout the novel was intense, but it was his writing that made everything come together. Every word, every verb, was carefully selected to enhance the overall mood of the novel, resulting in a total-mind take-over. As I read, I became the main character. I tasted the sweat dripping down my face, felt the muscles in my shoulders and back scream for relief.
What about you? What are some things you look for in a story? Think back to a story you've particularly enjoyed. What was it about that novel that grabbed you? Is it a slightly quirky character or a castle shrouded by clouds and hidden behind a patch of trees? Have other novels appeared to drag on? Maybe forcing you to put it down after a mere twenty pages? If so, why do you think that was?  
Beyond I Do
 
Marriage . . . it’s more than a happily ever after. Eternally more. Ainsley Meadow’s encounter with a woman, her child, and their abuser sparks a passion that threatens her engagement. Will seeing beyond the present unite her and her fiancé or tear them apart? Raised by a hedonist mother, who cycles through jobs and relationships like wrapping paper on Christmas morning, falls into a predictable and safe relationship with Richard, a self-absorbed socialite psychiatrist. But as her wedding nears, a battered woman and her child spark a long-forgotten dream and ignites a hidden passion. One that threatens to change everything, including her fiancé. To embrace God’s best and find true love, this security-seeking bride must follow God with reckless abandon and realize that marriage goes Beyond I Do.
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

ACFW JULY 2014 NEW RELEASES


July 2014 New Releases
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.
Biblical Fiction:
In the Field of Grace
by Tessa Afshar -- Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation. But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better. (Biblical Fiction from River North [Moody Publishers])
Contemporary Romance:
A Plain Love Song (The New Hope Amish)
by Kelly Irvin -- Adah Knepp wants nothing more than to sing and play the guitar and write her own songs. That's a dream that will never come true in her strict Amish community. But then she meets Jackson Hart, and all of a sudden she finds the chance for a different kind of life. But pursuing her dreams means turning her back on her family and community--and saying goodbye to Matthew, the gentle Amish farmer she can't get out of her mind. Is it worth giving up the only home she's ever known to pursue her dreams? (Contemporary Romance from Harvest House Publishers)
When I Fall in Love (Christiansen Family)
by Susan May Warren -- Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled-or maybe yanked-away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime. (Contemporary Romance from Tyndale House)
Contemporary Women's Fiction:

Hope Deferred
by Elizabeth Maddrey -- Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse? June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage. Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams? (Women's Fiction from HopeSprings Books)
The Tidewater Sisters
by Lisa Wingate -- Tandi Reese and her sister, Gina, have always been bound by complicated ties. Amid the rubble of a difficult childhood lie memories of huddling beneath beds and behind sofas while parental wars raged. Sisterhood was safety . . . once. But now? Faced with legal papers for a fraud she didn't commit, Tandi suspects that her sister has done something unthinkable. With Tandi's wedding just around the corner, a trip to the North Carolina Tidewater for a reckoning with Gina was not part of the plan. But unraveling lies from truth will require confronting strained sibling bonds and uncovering a dark family secret that could free Tandi from her past or stain her future forever. (Novella) (Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)
Historical Mystery:
Murder at the Mikado (A Drew Farthering Mystery)
by Julianna Deering -- Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has found smooth waters, Fleur Landis, an old flame, reappears in his life. She's married now, no longer an actress, and he expects she'll soon disappear--until she comes to him in dire need. The lead actor in her old troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect. Drew would love nothing more than to just focus on his fiancé, Madeline, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline dive into the murder, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. Nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. It's Drew's most complicated case yet. (Historical General Fiction from Faith Words [Hachette])
Historical Romance:
Captured By Love
by Jody Hedlund  -- Michigan Territory, 1814. A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger discover firsthand the high price of freedom. The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders. Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who's grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley. As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they'll risk for love. (Historical Romance from Bethany House [Baker Publishing Group])
Groom by Design (The Dressmaker's Daughters, #1)
by Christine Johnson   -- Dressmaker Ruth Fox gave up her dream of a husband and children long ago. Her family's floundering dress shop, her ailing father and her two younger sisters require Ruth's full attention. Though the handsome new stranger in town is intriguing, Ruth is certain he wouldn't look twice at a plain spinster of twenty-six. Sam Rothenburg's connection with the shy young woman next door is immediate, but he knows Ruth will be crushed when she discovers his real purpose in town. Sam is secretly working to open one of his father's large department stores in Pearlman, Michigan, which will surely put Ruth out of business. How much is Sam willing to sacrifice to claim Ruth's heart? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin]
A Hero in the Making (Brides of Simps)
by Laurie Kingery -- Nate Bohannan won't let anything stand in the way of his grand plans in California. Even if it means traveling there with unreliable huckster Robert Salali. But after a destructive bender in Simpson Creek, Texas, the unscrupulous Salali runs out, leaving Nate to carry the blame-and the debt. He can fix broken furniture...but can anything fix the despair in café owner Ella Justiss's eyes? When her café was destroyed, Ella felt sure she'd lost her dreams along with it. Yet somehow Nate's cheerful care and optimism fill her with hope again. When danger threatens, will Nate be the hero Ella can finally trust-and love? (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
The Warrior's Vow
by Christina Rich -- Swept away from her home and into the desert, Abigail is as much a prisoner as she is a princess. A ruthlessly ambitious captain of the palace guard intends to force her into marriage and rule Judah through her. Yet the badly beaten soldier Abigail rescues offers another choice-if she dares trust him.  (Historical Romance from Love Inspired [Harlequin])
Historical:
Annie's Stories (Ellis Island)
by Cindy Thomson -- The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment-they're a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House. But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. (Historical Women's Fiction from Tyndale House)
Military Suspense:
Operation Zulu Redemption: Overkill
by Ronie Kendig -- In this FREE TEASER episode, readers meet the Zulu team. In the aftermath of their first highly successful op, the first all-female special ops team, known as Zulu, discovered that innocent civilians-women and children-died at their hands. Zulu was set up to take the devastating fall. Fearing for their lives, the Zulu team vanished. With new identities and spread across the globe, they live in relative but isolated peace-yet still haunted by the past. Five years after that horrific night, they've begun to hope they might be safe and the tragedy forgotten. Until two of them are murdered.  (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Operation Zulu Redemption: Collateral Damage Part 1
by Ronie Kendig -- Five years ago, six soldiers made American military history as the first all-female Special Forces team, named Zulu. A tragic mistake in Misrata, Libya, leaves twenty-two dead and Zulu fleeing for their lives. Now Jessica Herring and Candice Reyna are dead at the hand of an assassin. Keeley Shay clings to life in a hospital. The last three Zulu members are forced into a fight for answers, for redemption, and for their very lives. They must track down who hit the team and deliver justice to the enemy-before the interference of Sam Caliguari and relentless Army intelligence analyst Lieutenant Francesca Solomon gets them all killed. (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Operation Zulu Redemption: Out of Nowhere - Part 2
by Ronie Kendig -- Zulu continues the fight! The remnant of the first all-female Special Forces team, Zulu, will do whatever it takes to determine what really happened that night five years ago-when a trap entangled Zulu in the deaths of twenty-two innocent people in Misrata, Libya. With Lieutenant Colonel Trace Weston and Boone Ramage leading the way, Annie Palermo, Téya Reiker, and Nuala King are training harder and stronger, digging deeper for clues, and tracking down leads in the U.S. and Europe to clear their names. Just when things start to turn for Zulu, one of the team is targeted by one of the world's most deadly assassins. Then another vanishes. Zulu wanted the truth, but they didn't know it might cost every one of their lives. (Military Suspense from Barbour Publishing)
Romantic Suspense:

Seagrass Pier (The Hope Beach Series)
by Colleen Coble -- Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit. But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks-and vivid dreams of being strangled-she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor's murder. Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked-by a man she's only met in her nightmares. (Romantic Suspense from HarperCollins Christian Publishing [Thomas Nelson & Zondervan])
Firewall (Deadly Force)
by DiAnn Mills -- After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they're both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn't who he appears to be. Agent Grayson Hall's number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day's act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties. (Romantic Suspense from Tyndale House)
Shake Down
by Jill Elizabeth Nelson -- To clear his imprisoned father's name, Shane Gillum must find evidence hidden in a Martha's Vineyard cottage. But he arrives to find the "vacant" property being prepped for sale by real estate agent Janice Swenson. Is she tied to the notorious owners? Or is she in over her head as the "accidents" on the property grow increasingly dangerous? And who is the saboteur targeting-Shane with his search, or Janice with her dark, hidden past? With so much at stake, trusting Janice is a huge risk...but keeping silent about the cottage's mysteries could mire them both in a deadly scheme. (Romantic Suspense from Love Inspired [Harlequin]).
Historical Speculative Fiction:

Shenandoah Dreams
by Lisa Belcastro -- What if she met the man of her dreams...in another century? (Speculative Fiction/Historical from OakTara Publishers)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

AUTHOR CINDY THOMSON


Welcome author Cindy Thomson

Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Visit her online at www.cindyswriting.com or on Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/cindythomson.

***
An Interview with the main character from Annies Stories by Cindy Thomson

Annies Stories tells the story of Annie Gallagher, an immigrant from Ireland. We first met Annie in Graces Pictures, the first book in the Ellis Island Series. Annie is the housekeeper at Hawkins House, a boarding house for new immigrants run by Mrs. Agnes Hawkins.

Annie, can you tell us how you came to work at Hawkins House?

Oh, now, thats a question that requires a whole novel to explain. But Ill give you just a bit of it. I had the unfortunate experience of being put in a place called a Magdalene Laundry back in Ireland, and against my will too! Ill not tell you how I got out, but I was sent to Hawkins House in Manhattan where a woman named Mrs. Hawkins (better known to some of us as the Hawk) set me up as her housekeeper. I was happy to be there, but I wanted more for my new life in America. The stories my father wrote for me turn out to have a part in helping me achieve my goal, and then some!

On the cover youre holding a copy of L. Frank Baums The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Can you tell us why? I mean, it is a childrens book.

Then perhaps youve not read it? The book is a wonder for several reasons. I was drawn to the story because Dorothy Gale feels neglected by her aunt and uncle, and everything in Kansas is so gray and unwelcoming. She wants excitement. And she certainly gets that in Oz. I know what its like to feel that way. And besides all that, the book is printed in such wonderful colors. I had never seen anything else like it. And as for it being for children, tis a well-known fact that Mr. Baum has stated the book will appeal to adults as well as children. I would not be surprised if someone made a stage production out of this story. Ive read it more than once.

Tell us something about the other characters who appear in Annies Stories.

Well, there is Mrs. Hawkins, of course. Shes a kindly soul, but rather mysterious. Readers will learn a lot more about her than they did in Graces Pictures. Grace and Owen from the first book in the series are in Annies Stories as well. Readers of Graces Pictures will remember Reverend Clarke and Mr. Parker. There is a terrible Pinkerton man, although if you want my opinion he should not be around at all. And then my troublesome cousin Aileen comes through Ellis Island from Ireland, like I did except not from the laundry. She really should have been the one sent to the laundry, although I would not have wished that on her or anyone. But Ill let you read about that. We have a new boarder at Hawkins House named Kirsten. She and her perplexing brother Jonas keep us busy. And then there is Stephen Adams the postman. I wont tell you much about him except that hes handsome. There are a few other important folks, but you can meet in them in the pages.

I hear that you like to read. Why are books and stories so important to you?

I was raised on stories. My father, God rest his soul, was a seanchai back in Ireland. Thats the word for storyteller. It was his occupation. Stories and the telling of them is my precious link to his memory, and without that I would feel lost. Stephen loves books as well, and he even lives over top of the offices of a publisher. Books feed our souls in a way that no other entertainment can. Wouldnt you agree?

Thanks so much for chatting with us, Annie. We look forward to your story.

Thank you for inviting me. I hope we meet again in the pages of Annies Stories.

About the book


The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainmenttheyre a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.

But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annieand in her fathers unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.

Though the postmans intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her fathers stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future shes always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.
     
A glimpse into
Grace's Pictures


“Listen to me,” her mother had said. “I don’t care what lies your father once spoke to you, darlin’. . . . Remember instead this: You are smart. You are important. You are able.”
Grace McCaffery hopes the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader.

A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.