Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Cover Love

Lizzy and Jane never saw eye to eye. But when illness brings them together, they discover they may be more like Austen’s famous sisters after all.
Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast’s financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.
In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone—including herself—when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.
As she tends to Jane’s needs, Elizabeth’s powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?

She daydreams of whipping up sauces and soufflés in her own restaurant. His heart is set on helping foster children. Both dreams are at stake. So are their hearts.
With grand plans to open her own bed & breakfast in Chapel Springs, PJ McKinley can’t afford the most crucial part: the brick and mortar. But when the owner of a local historic home announces a contest and promises her property to the worthiest candidate, PJ makes a fervent wish and tosses her name into the hat.
Cole Evans is cool, confident, and successful, but he’ll never forget his roots. He’s thankful for how far he’s come and knows his life could have turned out drastically different. If he can win the stately old mansion, he’ll turn it into a home for children aging out of the foster system.
When the eccentric house owner narrows the entries down to only two applicants, she extends the contest, giving PJ and Cole one year to prove which one of them can make the best use of her beloved home. As the pair competes in close proximity, something deeper than rivalry sparks between PJ and Cole. And in this battle, they’re likely to lose their hearts.

It’s a wonder to behold what happens when love moves in . . .
Former child star Fiona Hume left the biz a decade ago, after she left rehab. She retreated to Baltimore and bought an old mansion downtown with dreams of restoring it into a masterpiece—maybe creating an artist’s studio for herself. And living an artist’s life.
That was the plan.
Ten years later, Fiona’s huge house is filled with junk purchased at thrift stores, yard sales, or picked up from the side of the road. Each piece was destined for a project, but all she’s got so far is a piece of twine with some antique buttons threaded down its length.
Her money has almost run out. She will soon lose her house and will be forced back into acting.
So it is that Fiona comes to rent out a room to a local blacksmith, Josiah. Little by little, Josiah magically transforms Fiona’s home into something beautiful. She comes to life again. Her relationships heal and she experiences, perhaps for the first time, what it means to be human, what it means to be loved, and what it means when we let go and allow the wondrous workings of forces far bigger than we are to take over.

 

     Fun Things to Look Forward To! Is there any one that stands out for you?

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Interview of Lisa Carter

Thank you for being willing to be interviewed!

1. What was your inspiration for Beneath a Navajo Moon?

Several years ago at age 45, God put it on my heart to get serious about this secret dream of writing I’d had since I was a child. In fact, He compelled me to take the stories that had been swirling in my imagination and write them down. That story became Carolina Reckoning. My second novel, Aloha Rose, was the result of a God-ordained reunion and now in March Beneath a Navajo Moon releases—Olivia’s story came to me in its entirety in a dream. The Navajo put great stock in their dreams; God often reaches them through the kind of dreams with which He once visited upon Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I think maybe we’ve grown too sophisticated to hear His voice either in our nighttime or waking dreams.

Sometimes people stop themselves for reaching for their dreams because of fear of failure. Whatever your dream, I am the living proof that there is no expiration date on dreams. Rather in my life, God carefully orchestrated my experiences with the proper season of me being at a place that would bring Him honor through my writing offerings.

And so, I write. Stories given by God of incredible loss and unforgettable triumph. Humanity in all its weakness. So that others might see their great need of Him and find healing and the truest of all loves in Jesus Christ. The ultimate paradox is that although I proclaim His worthiness, each story brings me to my own weakness and unworthiness. Perhaps this is indeed the moment we become of use to Him—when we’ve reached the end of our confidence, the end of ourselves and our own sufficiency. When we embrace Who He really is and accept who we really are. It is as Erin remarks in Beneath a Navajo Moon often “a long obedience.”

 

2. I learned so much about the Navajo culture, did this book require you to do a lot of research?

I did a lot of research, which I enjoy. I’ve also visited the area and talked to members of the Navajo Nation. I love exploring cultures different from mine.

 3. When you start the writing process, how much do you outline beforehand? Or do you fly by the seat of your pants (so to speak)?

I start with a general story idea. Next, I begin to people that setting/idea with characters in my head. I usually know how the story will end but the middle is always murky territory. I’m definitely more of a seat of the pants writer. The only story I ever tried to outline is the one story I’ve never finished. Why finish when I already know what’s going to happen? I enjoy the journey of discovery alongside my characters.

 4. Did you have a favorite character when writing this novel (I will admit that Adam was mine)?

Adam is my critique partner’s favorite, too—even out of all the characters I’ve created over the years in my books (which, bless her heart, she’s read and faithfully helped me edit). Adam is my favorite character in Beneath a Navajo Moon. I find his struggles to believe go to the heart of some of my own issues—surrender and its conjoined twin of obedience.

 5. Can you tell us what you’re working on next?

I just finished edits for Under a Turquoise Sky, releasing September 2014. Fans of Adam

 and Erin will want to be sure and read this next romantic suspense novel which is set on the New Mexico side of the Navajo Nation. Although not Adam and Erin’s story, they will make a guest cameo appearance and readers will get to “catch up” on what’s been unfolding in their love story. I’ve got to confess as much as I loved Beneath a Navajo Moon, something about this story (Aaron and Kailyn’s) truly gripped my heart. I hope readers will enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Fans of Carolina Reckoning, my debut novel, will get to “catch up” with Alison and Mike in Vines of Entanglement also set in North Carolina in March 2015.  Two other romantic suspense novels will follow into 2016.

Thanks so much for hosting Beneath a Navajo Moon—and me. 🙂

 

Posted in Fantasy/Sci-Fi, Young Adult

Jennifer Hartz’s Heroes of the Horde Book Two: Siege and Giveaway!


About
Last year’s battle was just the beginning. Now the Horde is sending out smarter, more personal demons to attack the superpower-charged teenage Heroes. Romantic tension mounts between Hero members and jealousy is in high gear. Can the Heroes put their personal issues aside long enough to locate the source of the Horde before it destroys them all?

Review
Heroes of the Horde Book Two: Siege takes place about three months later after the first one, and was really a lot of fun. It had the superhero aspect mixed in with teen drama, and light spirituality. So:

What did I like:

I think with the first book, I kept wondering where the series was going. Well, now I feel like I know. I get it. And for me this made for a far more cohesive tale and sold me on the series.

This may sound weird, but in this book you begin to see how vulnerable the characters are. But in their weaknesses they become stronger.

I like how they have to learn to work together, and how they don’t all gel right away. It’s six different people and that is a lot of personalities.

I liked the teenage drama. I will admit to thinking they were silly at first and then being completely caught up in it. The “L” word was tossed out a lot for such young people, but then again, I know teenagers talk like that.

Some of the characters personalities were so strong (i.e. Jimmy, Shelley) that they instantly became my favorite character.

The curveball ending! I didn’t see that one coming.

Spiritually, I like the subtleness of the message that only Jesus saves as well as the importance of repentance. As the series goes on, I imagine that that message will grow to be important to all six of the heroes (but also note for sensitive readers that their is mild language, though far less than what you would find in most YA novels).

What I didn’t like:

Some of the characters personalities were not as strong, and so I didn’t miss them when they weren’t “talking.”

Romantic scale: 8 (there are a lot of little romances going on, though one caught my eye more than the other, so I averaged them and came out with 8)

Overall, very cute and very fun and very original.

**I received this novel from the author. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Giveaway!

The lovely Jennifer Hartz is willing to giveaway three copies of the first book in the series: Heroes of the Horde (they will be kindle copies)It’s worth reading, and if you love superhero anything (or paranormal for that fact) you will enjoy this book. All you need to do is leave a comment below with your email address. The giveaway ends three weeks from now on April 16! The winners will be randomly selected!

Posted in Historical

Roseanna M. White’s Circle of Spies


About
1865—Marietta Hughes never wanted to be a spy, but the family legacy of espionage is thrust upon her as the War Between the States rolls on. Unknown to her, the Knights of the Golden Circle—a Confederate secret society bent on destroying the Union her brother died for—has been meeting in a hidden lair beneath her home. Faced with the secrets of her late husband and his brother, whom she thought she could trust with anything, Marietta’s world tilts out of control. Can she right it by protecting a Union agent infiltrating the KGC?

Slade Osborne, an undercover Pinkerton agent, is determined to do whatever is necessary to end the conflict between the North and the South. When he infiltrates this secret cell, it isn’t just their inner workings that baffle him—it’s the beautiful woman who seems to be a puppet for the new leader and yet…so much more.

Do they dare trust each other in this circle of intrigue? Will their shared faith sustain them? And can Mari and Slade stymie the enemy long enough to see their beloved country reunited?

Review
I have read all of Roseanna M. White’s books.  Her first two novels (Jewel of Persia & A Stray Drop of Blood) are the epitome of drama. However, I noticed that after those two, she dialed things back for a while. Oh, but this one brings some of that ole drama back and I loved every minute of it. From the first page I was thoroughly engrossed in this novel and probably gasping for the first half of the book. You will be on the edge of your seat figuring things out. So:

What I liked about it:

The drama (obviously). It’s good drama. The kind that surprises you without making you queasy as you wonder how everything will work out.

Marietta. Boy is this girl something. She’s kind of like a reformed Scarlett O’Hara, the best part being that she is reformed. She’s got a special talent that is so unique and original and makes incredible sense for a spy.

I love how she also takes the theme of the Alpha male (which is so popular in secular romance novels) and flips it on its head.

I really liked the complexity of the villain. He had moments of goodness and moments of pure evil. He was in no way one note.

The Lane family. They were very well incorporated in the story without making it feel crowded.

Spiritually, there is a beautiful theme of grace and forgiveness balanced with the concept that just because you’re forgiven doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.

What I didn’t like:

Okay, I liked Slade and I liked his back story, BUT, somehow the other guys (yes there’s two others) managed to have more charisma and somehow managed to stand out in my mind more. Or maybe someone else who is not supposed to be a contender managed to slip in there and be one. I think it has to do with the fact that they had such terrific back stories that connected with Marietta that it almost felt like who is this new guy. Then again, Marietta needed a new guy on the scene. All I do know is Slade didn’t connect to Marietta as well as I would have liked.

Overall, I had so much fun with this book. To be honest, this one didn’t seem as interesting to me as the others in the series at first, but I think it may have been my favorite in the series.
Romantic Scale: 8

**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**

Posted in Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Tear-Jerkers

I have a confession to make. I am one of those people who cries when watching movies. I mean, it really doesn’t take much. The last movie I teared up in was Frozen (the beginning was sad. IT WAS!). I have even shed happy tears. Have you seen Sense and Sensibility when Elinor realizes who Mr. Ferrars married? I love that scene.    

But, ironically enough, I rarely cry when reading books. I’m much more likely to cry tears over a sad novel than a happy one, but, I just don’t find myself doing it often (also if the book makes me that sad, I’m usually very irritated with the author as well for not giving me a HEA). That said, one book stands out in my memory because I was ugly crying: Francine Rivers’ A Voice in the Wind. I cried and cried until I turned the next page and saw that there was a book two. The closest book that made me happy cry? Becky Wade’s My Stubborn Heart.  

So, what books have you read that made you cry happy tears? Sad tears? Ugly tears?

Posted in Uncategorized

Feature Friday…L.A. Kelly

One of the most memorable characters I’ve ever read was created by the fabulous author L.A. Kelly. If you haven’t had the opportunity to meet Tahn, then you should make it your mission to do so. I promise this book will capture you from the first page, and take you on a journey unlike you’ve ever been before. 

 Ms. Kelly died in 2011, but I think one of her many legacies (no doubt) lives on in this series.

Posted in Historical

Kate Breslin’s For Such a Time


About
Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther

In 1944, blond and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.

Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.

Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?

Review
Can I just admit that I think retellings are generally cop-outs? To me, they can lack a certain amount of imagination. But. This. Book. I loved her retelling. It was just enough hints of Esther so that you could see the similarities (particularly with the names) and more than enough creativity on Kate Breslin’s side of things (to the point  where I could not predict how things would turn out). A wonderful, engaging novel. It’s one of the many WWII novels that are coming out this year, but this one is a definite success.

What I liked:

Colonel Aric was my favorite person because he was so deliciously complex. Was he nice? Sometimes. Unstable? All the time. I loved that you couldn’t figure him out and that you didn’t always know who he would side with. For me, personally, he gave me a greater understanding of how Xerxes probably was in the Bible and the risk that Esther took in approaching him. I will say that his character development sped up towards the end, but he didn’t change the essence of who he is.

Stella/Hadassah was also a bit, unstable (emotionally). But, considering what she’s already lived through by this point, it makes a bit of sense. Generally speaking, I find heroines who are just amazingly beautiful to lack something, but here, her beauty was almost a character itself and just fit the narrative.

The secondary characters were wonderful. They were fully developed and each and every one of them tugged on my heart strings. Everyone knows the Jewish people really went through at that time, but oh how they went through.

Spiritually, Stella and Aric both have some heavy pasts and feel like God failed them to some degree. To watch them trust again is a process well worth going through.

What I didn’t like:

Again, it felt like things sped up towards the end.

Overall, I really enjoyed it. I connected with the characters and I cared about them. Constantly, I was asking myself what I would have done. Though this is a retelling, it’s also incredibly unique. I won’t tell you it’s fun, because there are some hard parts, but it’s well worth reading.

Romantic Scale: 8.7
**I received this novel from Netgalley. My opinion was not affected in anyway.**