Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Rose Legacy: The Judgement by Beverly Lewis ~ Review

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Judgment
Bethany House (April 5, 2011)
Beverly Lewis
Not until her own children were well into middle school did Bev seek to publish her work, first in magazines such as Highlights for Children, Dolphin Log, and Guideposts for Kids. Her first book followed in 1993—Mountain Bikes and Garbanzo Beans—presently retitled Big Bad Beans (book #22 in the popular CUL-DE-SAC KIDS series of chapter books—see list of Bev's children's books).

Beverly's first venture into adult fiction is the best-selling trilogy, THE HERITAGE OF LANCASTER COUNTY, including The Shunning, a suspenseful saga of Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman drawn to the modern world by secrets from her past. The book is loosely based on the author's maternal grandmother, Ada Ranck Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student. One Amish-country newspaper claimed Beverly's work to be "a primer on Lancaster County folklore" and offers "an insider's view of Amish life."

Booksellers across the country, and around the world, have spread the word of Bev's tender tales of Plain country life. A clerk in a Virginia bookstore wrote, "Beverly's books have a compelling freshness and spark. You just don't run across writing like that every day. I hope she'll keep writing stories about the Plain people for a long, long time."

A member of the National League of American Pen Women, as well as a Distinguished Alumnus of Evangel University, Lewis has written over 80 books for children, youth, and adults, many of them award-winning. She and her husband, David, make their home in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, and playing with their three grandchildren. They are also avid musicians and fiction "book worms."

Rose Kauffman is engaged to Silas Good, a well-liked Amish fellow, so why does she still pine for Nick Franco, the former foster son of the bishop? Especially now that Nick has left the Amish community under a cloud of suspicion after the death of the bishop's biological son? Will Rose marry Silas, even while struggling with romantic feelings for Nick? Meanwhile, Rose's older sister, Hen, has returned to live at her parents' farm with her young daughter. Hen and her modern husband, Brandon, are separated by mutual agreement, although he is threatening to sue for custody of their daughter if Hen does not return soon. Will the judge rule in Brandon's favor? Is there any way Hen can reestablish her place among the People without sacrificing her marriage?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Judgment, go HERE

Watch the book trailer:

My Review:

One of the things I love about Beverly Lewis’s books are the characters. “The Judgment” is no surprise either. They are wonderfully crafted and stand from the page in full three dimension. I feel I could step into the story and pick right up with the characters, as well as I know them after reading these two books.

In the second book of The Rose Legacy, the reader picks up again with the characters and situations established in book one. I would recommend you read these books in order, you will have greater appreciation for the story as a whole.

There was a twist about two-thirds of the way through the story I never saw coming. I became invested in the emotions and circumstances of the characters and how they would tackle each challenge. Several of the story threads still need to be closed and I’m anxious to see the decisions made in the characters.

The plot can seem to meander, but Lewis has built a strong story and I know I will always be satisfied with where the story is headed. The story is building to a head and I am looking forward to finding out what happens in the third and final book out this fall.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review through CFBA.

Friday, April 29, 2011

"Cold Call" Friday with Julie Lessman!

Welcome Julie, to your “Cold Call” interview!!  For those of you who don’t know what the “Cold Call” feature is, at the beginning of the month I have a poll, the winning author YOU then get to interview!! Julie Lessman won this month’s vote and I am thrilled to present her here with YOUR questions. Without any further ado, heeeerrrre’s Julie!

What is your secret (if you dare tell us) to write such long page turner books?  Books that hold the reader’s attention and draw them back to the book?
Well, as many of your readers know, I am a card-carrying CDQ (caffeinated drama queen) who likes LOTS of drama, both in my books AND my life, much to my husband’s angst! I am mesmerized by drama, be it a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl or a tumultuous movie like Gone With the Wind, so in order to sit down and pen a 500-page book, there has to be enough drama to keep even a CDQ like me engaged, much less a reader.
I absolutely LOVE to yank at the heartstrings in every way possible, from a tender and emotional scene between a father and daughter, to a knock-down, drag-out love scene between two people who both love and hate each other at the moment. Anger seems to be a favorite of mine, and I wonder if that’s because I came from a pretty volatile family where tempers ran high. Who knows? All I know is as an emotional human being, I am infusing my roller-coaster emotions, reactions and feelings into my characters.
To do this, every scene I write is like a movie in my mindI hear the dialogue and I see the facial expressionsevery muscle and body movement, every tilt of the head, every tic in the jaw and swallow of the throat. I feel absolutely everything I am writing as if I am going through it myself, even utilizing a mirror to capture how I am reacting. I literally laugh, cry and get anxious as I am writing each scene, which translates onto the page, I hope, giving the reader the same roller-coaster experience I am experiencing at the moment.
Since you are all about passion, what is the most romantic location you have visited?
I would have to say Kauai, Hawaii because to me the very air smells like flowers and the beaches are beautiful and secluded, surrounded by lush scenery.
When you go out in public to do some shopping, post office, etc, do you often get recognized by readers? Has anyone ever been “starstruck” when they recognize you?
Uh, no. J
What inspired you to write? And what continues to inspire you?
Well, initially, it was Margaret Mitchell and that white-hot attraction she gave Rhett Butler for Scarlett O’Hara! From the moment I read Gone With the Wind at the tender age of twelve, I was hooked on romance. So much so, that I immediately set out to write (along with thousands of other love-struck young girls, I’m sure), what I hoped would be “the great American novel.” Obviously my dreams of grandeur didn’t go anywhere (grin), but I did write 150 single-spaced pages of a story that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure.
To me, then and now, there is nothing more intriguing than a man who wants a woman on his terms but can’t have her on any terms but hers. In the case of A Passion Most Pure, we have a bad-boy hero angry at God who is drawn to a heroine who will settle for nothing less than a relationship with God in the middle. From there, it was just a matter of borrowing from my own past (playing 2nd fiddle to an older sister who was prettier and more voluptuous than me), and the ideas took flight.
The final inspiration for A Passion Most Pure, however, came one day while I was sitting in a beauty shop. I was reading a July 2001 Newsweek cover article about how Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding when something in my spirit said, “Now is the time to finish your book.” So I started my novel the next month. Hard to believe that almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion—only this time the “passion” would be for Him!
 (Just in case this one was missed) When/where will you be signing in GA this summer (if you know for sure yet!)
Unfortunately, I am not 100% sure that I will be signing in Atlanta this summer, but I hope to be and If I do, it would be at the Life Way Store at the Mall of Georgia near Atlanta.
And for all your many, many stalker fans…where can they find you online? J
I LOVE to hear from readers, so they can contact me through my Web site at, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” (, which is a very laid-back, once-weekly journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Then finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog (, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

Hey everyone, it's Casey again! I need your attention for a sec. Julie is being drawn and quartered in a thousand different directions right now. Deadline, her aunt is not well (please be praying) and other everyday tasks. She'll be in as she can, but I've told her not to worry about returning everyone's comments. I'm sure you all understand as well! Spread some love and have a FANASTIC Friday. :-))

Friday's note:
The winner of Roseanna M. White's Jewel of Persia is...


The email has been sent, thanks everyone for stopping by!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I Was Hooked! Fairer Than Morning by Rosslyn Elliott Review

“An author to watch” has become an oft-used and over-rated phrase and because of that I try to avoid using it my reviews. I am making an exception in this case, because Rosslyn Elliott is truly an author “to watch”.

I was hooked from the very first line and the momentum didn’t end with that last line, each successive word blossomed into a novel I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end.

I was concerned for the plot at the first. With novels that abound in lyrical prose the story can often be lost in all the phraseology, but I was continually propelled through the book. Changes in pace and plot, character growth and development, even a few twists to where I thought the book was directed. The author maintained one story thread clear to the end in such a manner I couldn’t have quit reading even if nothing else happened until that thread was resolved.

Aside from a few places where I thought description was a bit heavy and I didn’t pay as close attention, I can say with complete conviction that I will be watching this author. Her writing is not only a treat to immerse myself in, but her plots, characters and story telling ability will lend her a place on my bookshelves indefinitely.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.    

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Royal Opinion

I won't profess to a great deal of interest in the "Royal Wedding". So why am I blogging about it?

No, it isn't because everyone else is.

Okay, maybe it is.

I don't follow the monarchy or stay up-to-date on their social restrictions, who's marrying who, who's going to the wedding and who designed Kate's dress.

Many have said they are getting up early to watch the wedding and wish the bride and groom well. Being of the female persuasian, the thought of a wedding and a royal wedding at that, does makes me excited. And while I have no attachment to the couple or their country, I wish them the best. I really do.

But I think I would have a lot more respect for them and possibly even eagerly await their wedding if it weren't for the circumstances leading up to their nuptials this week.

It's a little known fact that isn't widely talked about in the "royal frenzy circles". That Kate and William lived together for at least a period of the ten years they have been a "couple".

After the sad end to Diana and Charles's marriage through divorce, I wish Kate and William the best and many happy years together. But with a past that has okayed divorce and their own history together starting out with a live-in, I just wonder what this bodes for their marriage.

I can't say whether I'll watch a re-run of the wedding or not. But I can say I am disappointed with the choices they have already made.

Just because you're royal doesn't make you exempt from God's principles. I just wish a few more people would remember that instead of getting caught up in the glamour of the moment. A wedding is just a day. Marriage is a lifetime.

What are your thoughts on the Royal Wedding?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

An Emotional Ride- But a Good One. "The Heart of Memory" by Alison Strobel Review

An emotional roller-coaster ride! That is the easiest way to describe “The Heart of Memory”. The entire book was a ride through emotional highs and lows.

I was intrigued as I read this book and it grew as the plot developed. The book held my attention quite well, especially since the story was based mainly on what was happening within each of the characters. The story walks through the faith journey of Savannah primarily, but includes the struggles of her husband and daughter. The book had several surprising turns in the plot and several times I was quite shocked at the actions of Savannah (though given her circumstances they made sense.)

The book covered a lot of tough issues. Faith struggles, financial problems that are quickly falling apart, relationships, trust, throw in a heart transplant with miles of baggage and there are layers of tension riveting their way through the story.

I thought the ending was great closure for the book. With so much going on through the story, not every single thread was 100% sealed, but the closure of the story worked the best for the characters and their growth. I was satisfied.

I thought “The Heart of Memory” was a good story filled with many elements, but underlying messages that readers will easily relate to.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Driven

Welcome to Writing for Christ, Shellie Neumeier, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

I hate to fly. Seriously hate it. Nightmares, crying like a baby, yelping with each plane jiggle…yup that’s me. I didn’t always hate it. In fact I enjoyed it up until a flight home from Florida flew over a tornado. Right over the top of the storm system. Not only was the flight bumpy, but we dropped a hundred feet at one point. Babies were screaming, the stewardess fell in the aisle and the lights blinked off (did I mention it was nighttime). Scary Larry!  

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

I love to write YA. There’s nothing like inspiring the next generation. Besides, they are far more willing to go places which makes writing young adult stories such fun! It’s also my favorite genre to read too. Probably because I never truly grew up J.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

Don’t let the weaknesses you have stop you from writing. Make them propel your stories to new heights. And while you’re at it, don’t be afraid to try something new. Have a character do something out of character, just to see what would happen. Who knows, you might just like where it takes you.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

I love knowing it’s not based on any spectacular thing I did, but on God’s hand working the road to publication. How cool is that. It’s one of those occasions I look back on when I can’t seem to hear God in my everyday life.  A clear reminder He’s there and working, whether I know/sense it or not!

Places for readers to learn more about you?
Thank you for being with us today!
Thank you for having me. It’s been such fun J.

Okay readers, here is your chance to enter to win Shellie's book.
Please leave an email address. If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win!

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is in the U.S. only and is void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on May 6th.

***Contest is Now Closed***

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This Week's Winner

I was gone yesterday, so I didn't get the chance to draw a winner for Laura V. Hilton's Patchwork Dreams.

That winner is...

Leanna M!!

Leanna has been emailed and has a week to get back with me. Thanks everyone for entering! I'll have more on Monday. Until then a lovely weekend!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Failure as Opportunity

Success and Failure Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.
Courtesy of Flickr

Sometimes we fail…
I don’t know about you, but I fail at least once every day at something. And I know it’s more than once.
I fail at being the sister or daughter I should be.
I fail to remember something I should have.
I fail to consider my words before they leave my mouth.
I fail at my writing.
I fail at the choices I often make.
I fail to be the Christian I should be.
Don’t take me wrong, I don’t have a defeatist attitude. It’s a matter of choice and I’m sad to say I don’t often make the right choices.
I was recently given the chance to either stand up and fight for what was right or simply sit down and see how the circumstances played out. I wasn’t going to fail Christ and I took the stand, knowing that if I did I might insult someone.
But I didn’t want to fail the One who died for my sins.
Failure doesn’t have to be an option. I often think of my writing. I’m not going to get the perfect phrase on the first time writing it. I’m not going to land an agent the first time I query. And I’m not going to hit the NYT bestseller list on that first novel (not that I would complain if I did…)
My question is: are you going to accept failure? Are you just letting the moment pass and forgeting all about it? We have to learn from our failures, we should learn to embrace them, because only through these so called “failures” will we learn so we don’t make the same mistake twice.
It’s hard to swallow, it often makes us want to quit, but if you look at failure as an opportunity, our lives might be enriched in ways we never expected.
How do YOU look at failure?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Historian's Treasure in "An Eye for Glory" by Karl A. Bacon (review)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Eye For Glory
Zondervan (February 28, 2011)
Karl Bacon
A word from the author:
I grew up in the small picturesque town of Woodbury, Connecticut. After graduating from Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, I returned to Connecticut and found employment in manufacturing. “Just a job” turned into a professional career, much of which was spent working for a Swiss machine tool company. In 2000 I started my own business to provide services to manufacturing clients across the USA. This change also allowed time to develop my writing craft.

From youth I’ve been a serious student of the Civil War. The draft of An Eye for Glory took ten years from conception to completion. Thousands of hours were spent researching every detail through copious reading, Internet research and personal visits to each battlefield so the novel might be as historically accurate and believable as possible. I live in Naugatuck, Connecticut with my wife of thirty-three years, Jackie.

Michael Palmer is a good man, a family man. But honor and duty push him to leave his comfortable life and answer the call from Abraham Lincoln to fight for his country. This 'citizen soldier' learns quickly that war is more than the battle on the field. Long marches under extreme conditions, illness, and disillusionment challenge at every turn. Faith seems lost in a blur of smoke and blood...and death.

Michael's only desire is to kill as many Confederate soldiers as he can so he can go home. He coldly counts off the rebels that fall to his bullets. Until he is brought up short by a dying man holding up his Bible. It's in the heat of battle at Gettysburg and the solemn aftermath that Michael begins to understand the grave cost of the war upon his soul. Here the journey really begins as he searches for the man he was and the faith he once held so dearly. With the help of his beloved wife, Jesse Ann, he takes the final steps towards redemption and reconciliation.

Using first-hand accounts of the 14th Connecticut Infantry, Karl Bacon has crafted a detailed, genuine and compelling novel on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. Intensely personal and accurate to the times, culture, and tragedy of the Civil War, An Eye for Glory may change you in ways you could have never imagined as well.

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Eye For Glory, go HERE.

Watch book video trailer:

My Review:

I have always held a fascination for the Civil War. I studied it extensively in high school and it still remains one of my favorite periods of history. So when I had the chance to read “Eye for Glory”, I took the chance.

This book isn’t a romance and I wasn’t expecting one, but I want to ‘warn’ those romance readers out there, that this book is more for the history guru. I have always enjoyed documentaries about the Civil War and this book does read a bit like a documentary. But what makes it a cut above is the reader is inside the head of the main character. The book is driven by the setting and how it in turn affects the main character, Michael.

I was on those battlefields. The author did his research. I was taken from the 21st century and plopped into the 19th with cannons lobbed around me. I could smell the sulfur and feel the fear.

The characterization in Michael was well done. I enjoyed how he grew and in some cases-regressed. The ending came around in a great and even a bit surprising way.

Over all, it’s a good book. I think lovers of history and especially those of us who are interested in the Civil War would enjoy this novel.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Waiting on Tuesday...

I know it doesn't have the ring of "Waiting on Wednesday", but...well I'm not clever enough to come up with a "T" theme. :-)

I saw the cover of Patti Lacy's coming release this fall and instantly fell in love with it. I knew a little bit about it already, but had to share the cover and blurb with you here.

This book looks fantastic and holds a subject very near and dear to my heart, the plight of all the little girls in China.

You can pre-order from Amazon

Here is the blurb (from the same site)

A storm the size of Texas brews when Gloria Powell and Kai Chang meet in a Dallas hotel. They have come to discuss the future of Lily, the daughter Gloria adopted from China and the sister Kai hopes to reclaim. Kai is a doctor who had to give up her little sister during the Cultural Revolution and has since discovered that an inherited genetic defect may be waiting to fatally strike Lily.

Gloria's relationship with her daughter is tattered and strained, and the arrival of Kai, despite the woman's apparent good intentions, makes Gloria fearful. Gloria longs to restore her relationship with Lily, but in the wake of this potentially devastating diagnosis, is Kai an answer to prayer...or will her arrival force Gloria to sacrifice more than she ever imagined?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Giveaway and Author Interview: Jewel of Persia

Welcome to Writing for Christ Roseanna M. White, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?
Thanks for having me , Casey, I'm so happy to be here! Hmm, a fact about me most readers don't know. How about a fact few but my  husband and kids know? I hoard tissue paper. Don't ask me why, but I never throw it out, I fold it up and save it. I haven't had to buy tissue paper since my first year of marriage, and I have a TON of colors to choose from when preparing a gift! I'm weird. I admit it. =)
  What surprised you the most about being a published author?
That it just means MORE WORK, not more time to write. For some reason, I thought having an “excuse” to write would give me more of it, but, um, no.
Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?
Anything romance, but historicals remain my favorite to read. They're my first love in writing too, though I've written a number of contemporary romances still seeking a home. Most of my reading and writing are within the bounds of the Christian publishing world, though I'll occasionally pick up a Nora Roberts or other bestseller just for fun.
When you aren’t writing or interacting with fans, what do you enjoy doing?
Well, I've got two small kids, so when not writing, I'm usually performing the duties of cook, teacher, maid, chauffeur, playmate, and nurturer. Which, of course, I enjoy. =) Also love the leisure of settling in with a good book! (Not surprising, right?)
 Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?
That writing (professionally, anyway) isn't about the author and how they want to write—it's about the reader and what they want to read. A few years ago, I just wrote because I wanted to, because I had to. I didn't care about the market, didn't know the rules. I just wrote. And while that was great for me, the result was a slew of books I now need to rewrite. When I realized I had to target my books and refine my craft, I had to change my style quite a bit—but the result are books that I'm not ashamed to put my name to. Books people other than my family and closest friends enjoy.
What do you enjoy most about being a published author?
The chance to connect with new people! Books are my passion, be they my own or the ones I populate my shelves with, and I LOVE chatting stories with folks. That's why my hubby and I founded the Christian Review of Books back in 2004, and it's really what I've found most rewarding about the publishing process—chatting with readers about stories. My stories, yes, but that also leads to other stories, to authors that have inspired me, to mutual interests. I have made some genuine friends through this crazy process, and that's something I didn't expect, but for which I praise the Lord.
What do you like readers to take away from your books?
That no matter the time, no matter the setting, a few things will always be the same. The heart of humanity never changes—and neither do the Truths of our God.
Places for readers to learn more about you?
My main website is , where you can learn more about me, see my schedule of blog visits and giveaways, and browse through some fun pictures of my characters and setting in my Companion Guide.
I blog Monday-Friday at and I'm also a contributor at
You can find me on Facebook too at!/roseanna.white
Thank you for being with us today!
Thanks for having me, Casey!

Readers, here is your chance to win a copy of Roseanna's new books! Isn't that cover gorgeous?? I love it!
Something to consider: the winner will have a decision to make: to take a digital copy of Jewel of Persia right away or a print copy once Roseanna receives them in a couple weeks. If your name is drawn, this will be something for to consider.
Please leave an email adddress! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

And a NEW one:

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on April 29th.

Contest is Now Closed

Friday, April 15, 2011

When Life Sends You a Flood...

Build an ark!

Or go for a row...

We had so much snow in the hills this winter that when it melted...we got flooded, BIG TIME! There was worry that our town would be flooded. But prayers were answered and it's receeding. But we took advantage of the high waters for a bit of canoeing...

And a bit of "fishing"...

A Pleasure Re-Reading...

I recently did a re-read of a book I loved the first time I read it,! I really loved it the second time around. The symbolism, the underlying threads that wove their way through the book. The faith message...I've already written a review last year, don't need to write another one today.

But seriously, this book is one stellar work of fiction!

The Winner Is...

The winner of Something Stirs by Thomas Smith is...


Email has been sent. :-) Congratulations!

Almost to "The End"...

I am only 7,000 words away from finishing my THIRD WIP!!! I will say first and foremost, the story has been great, but the writing is really....yeah. First draft, 'nuff said. But I can't wait to type those FINAL WORDS!! I've had less time this week combined with writing and subbing at the local preschool to get other things done, so if you're one of those things that has slipped through my cracks, forgive me! :-)

One More Thing...

*deep breath*

I joined Twitter.

Yes. I did.

And while it has been an adjustment, I would rather make the adjustment now then later when I (Lord willing) will REALLY need it. :-)

If you are so inclined...You can find me:

I would have used my full name, but it's too many characters.

Go figure.

So, Q4U...are YOU on Twitter???


Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm Having a Giveaway!

We always look forward to those warmer temperatures right??


Especially when yesterday it snowed...

SO I'm doing a special CONTEST for Spring. Here is what you can do. Three things- one option for each group of people. :-)

ONE: Visit my Bug's Beads Facebook Page and share either a photo or a photo album for my jewelry on your page. You can save the pic to your computer and then load it on your page, be sure and give credit and a link back to my FB page.

TWO: If you aren't on FB, then BLOG about my jewelry. This could include a sidebar post or an inclusion in another post you are writing. Take a photo and then link back to my site here.

THREE: If you don't blog or FB, then email this website to someone else. And if you've bought my jewelry and liked it, then share that news!


A $15 gift certificate to Bug's Beads!!

You can enter up to FOUR times during the month (once per week)

This contest will last for the month of April!! Winner will be announced on May 1st.

Enter away! You can email me, comment here or FB with what've you done.
REMEMBER, only ONE option per person!


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Do You Live Like You Were Dying?

I’m not trying to be morbid, just trying to get you to think.
We aren’t guaranteed tomorrow. We aren’t given the next five minutes or even the next five seconds. Too often I know I forget this fact. I argue with my siblings, I let a hurtful phrase leave my lips. I don’t take a chance I should have.
And I forget that I could not be here tomorrow.
It’s just a fact of life. As Christians, we have a great hope that when we die, if we have lived our lives for Him, we will spend eternity with Him. But have you thought of the legacy you would leave?
I want to be remembered as someone who loved the Lord and you could SEE that a thousand miles away. I want to take those chances: be it spreading God’s word or stepping out in faith. Speaking softer, loving deeper.
Living deeper.
We can so often live on the edge of life. Have you ever thought maybe your life would be changed if you went beyond your comfort zone? Have you ever thought maybe there was more to life then the finite before you?
Have you ever thought about how you would be impacted if you fell deeper in love with Christ?
If you were going to die (and KNEW you were going to die) tomorrow, what would you do? Would you go hug your children one more time? Would you stop the homeless man on the street and tell him about God’s love? Would you take that step out in faith? Would you take that second to sweeten your words?
We need to live deeper. We need to go beyond the superficial. I can’t answer what is for your life. But I know what it is for me. And I’m not sure I would be satisfied if I knew tomorrow was the end. Strike that. I KNOW I wouldn’t be satisfied.  
Live your life. Don’t just let life live through you. You only have this one moment.
What are you going to do with it?
This post was inspired by the song Live Like You Were Dyin’ by Tim McGraw. I have the music video here, the quality isn’t the best, but the song is fantastic.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Denise Hunter + Romance and Faith = Great Story! "A Cowboy's Touch" (review)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:
and the book:
Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


Denise lives in Indiana with her husband Kevin and their three sons. In 1996, Denise began her first book, a Christian romance novel, writing while her children napped. Two years later it was published, and she's been writing ever since. Her books often contain a strong romantic element, and her husband Kevin says he provides all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too!

Visit the author's website.


Wade's ranch home needs a woman's touch. Abigail's life needs a cowboy's touch.

Four years ago, rodeo celebrity Wade Ryan gave up his identity to protect his daughter. Now, settled on a ranch in Big Sky Country, he lives in obscurity, his heart guarded by a high, thick fence.

Abigail Jones isn’t sure how she went from big-city columnist to small-town nanny, but her new charge is growing on her, to say nothing of her ruggedly handsome boss. Love blossoms between Abigail and Wade--despite her better judgment. Will the secrets she brought with her to Moose Creek, Montana separate her from the cowboy who finally captured her heart?

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson (March 29, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595548017
ISBN-13: 978-1595548016


Abigail Jones knew the truth. She frowned at the blinking curser on her monitor and tapped her fingers on the keyboard-what next?

Beyond the screen's glow, darkness washed the cubicles. Her computer hummed, and outside the office windows a screech of tires broke the relative stillness ofthe Chicago night.

She shuffled her note cards. The story had been long in coming, but it was finished now, all except the telling. She knew where she wanted to take it next.

Her fingers stirred into motion, dancing across the keys. This was her favorite part, exposingtruth to the world. Well, okay, not the world exactly, not with Viewpoint's paltry circulation. But now, during the writing, it felt like the world.

Four paragraphs later, the office had shrunk away, and all that existed were the words on the monitor and her memory playing in full color on the screen of her mind.

Something dropped onto her desk with a sudden thud. Abigail’s hand flew to her heart, and her chair darted from her desk. She looked up at her boss’s frowning face, then shared a frown of her own. “You scared me.”

“And you’re scaring me. It’s after midnight, Abigail—what are you doing here?” Marilyn Jones’s hand settled on her hip.

The blast of adrenaline settled into Abigail’s bloodstream, though her heart was still in overdrive. “Being an ambitious staffer?”

“You mean an obsessive workaholic.”

“Something wrong with that?”

“What’s wrong is my twenty-eight-year-old daughter is working all hours on a Saturday night instead of dating an eligible bachelor like all the other single women her age.” Her mom tossed her head, but her short brown hair hardly budged. “You could’ve at least gone out with your sister and me. We had a good time.”

“I’m down to the wire.”

“You’ve been here every night for two weeks.” Her mother rolled up a chair and sank into it. “Your father always thought you’d be a schoolteacher, did I ever tell you that?”

“About a million times.” Abigail settled into the chair, rubbed the ache in her temple. Her heart was still recovering, but she wanted to return to her column. She was just getting to the good part.

“You had a doctor’s appointment yesterday,” Mom said. Abigail sighed hard.

“Whatever happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?”

“Goes out the window when the doctor is your sister. Come on, Abigail, this is your health. Reagan prescribed rest—R-E-S-T—and yet here you are.”

“A couple more days and the story will be put to bed.”

“And then there’ll be another story.”

“That’s what I do, Mother.”

“You’ve had a headache for weeks, and the fact that you made an appointment with your sister is proof you’re not feeling well.”

Abigail pulled her hand from her temple. “I’m fine.”

“That’s what your father said the week before he collapsed.”

Compassion and frustration warred inside Abigail. “He was sixty-two.” And his pork habit hadn’t helped matters. Thin didn’t necessarily mean healthy. She skimmed her own long legs, encased in her favorite jeans . . . exhibit A.

“I’ve been thinking you should go visit your great-aunt.” Abigail already had a story in the works, but maybe her mom had a lead on something else. “New York sounds interesting. What’s the assignment?”

“Rest and relaxation. And I’m not talking about your Aunt Eloise—as if you’d get any rest there—I’m talking about your Aunt Lucy.”

Abigail’s spirits dropped to the basement. “Aunt Lucy lives in Montana.” Where cattle outnumbered people. She felt for the familiar ring on her right hand and began twisting.

“She seems a bit . . . confused lately.”

Abigail recalled the birthday gifts her great-aunt had sent over the years, and her lips twitched. “Aunt Lucy has always been confused.”

“Someone needs to check on her. Her latest letter was full of comments about some girls who live with her, when I know perfectly well she lives alone. I think it may be time for assisted living or a retirement community.”

Abigail’s eyes flashed to the screen. A series of nonsensical letters showed where she’d stopped in alarm at her mother’s appearance. She hit the delete button. “Let’s invite her to Chicago for a few weeks.”

“She needs to be observed in her own surroundings. Besides, that woman hasn’t set foot on a plane since Uncle Murray passed, and I sure wouldn’t trust her to travel across the country alone. You know what happened when she came out for your father’s funeral.”

“Dad always said she had a bad sense of direction.”

“Nevertheless, I don’t have time to hunt her down in Canada again. Now, come on, Abigail, it makes perfect sense for you to go. You need a break, and Aunt Lucy was your father’s favorite relative. It’s our job to look after her now, and if she’s incapable of making coherent decisions, we need to help her.”

Abigail’s conscience tweaked her. She had a soft spot for Aunt Lucy, and her mom knew it. Still, that identity theft story called her name, and she had a reliable source who might or might not be willing to talk in a couple weeks.

“Reagan should do it. I’ll need the full month for my column, and we can’t afford to scrap it. Distribution is down enough as it is. Just last month you were concerned—”

Her mother stood abruptly, the chair reeling backward into the aisle. She walked as far as the next cubicle, then turned. “Hypertension is nothing to mess with, Abigail. You’re so . . . rest- less. You need a break—a chance to find some peace in your life.” She cleared her throat, then her face took on that I’ve-made-up- my-mind look. “Whether you go to your aunt’s or not, I’m insisting you take a leave of absence.”

There was no point arguing once her mother took that tone. She could always do research online—and she wouldn’t mind visiting a part of the country she’d never seen. “Fine. I’ll finish this story, then go out to Montana for a week or so.”

“Finish the story, yes. But your leave of absence will last three months.”

“Three months!”

“It may take that long to make a decision about Aunt Lucy.”

“What about my apartment?”

“Reagan will look after it. You’re hardly there anyway. You need a break, and Moose Creek is the perfect place.”

Moose Creek. “I’ll say. Sounds like nothing more than a traffic signal with a gas pump on the corner.”

“Don’t be silly. Moose Creek has no traffic signal. Abigail, you have become wholly obsessed with—”

“So I’m a hard worker . . .” She lifted her shoulders.

Her mom’s lips compressed into a hard line. “Wholly obsessed with your job. Look, you know I admire hard work, but it feels like you’re always chasing something and never quite catching it. I want you to find some contentment, for your health if nothing else. There’s more to life than investigative reporting.”

“I’m the Truthseeker, Mom. That’s who I am.” Her fist found home over her heart.

Her mother shouldered her purse, then zipped her light sweater, her movements irritatingly slow. She tugged down the ribbed hem and smoothed the material of her pants. “Three months, Abigail. Not a day less.”

“A Cowboy’s Touch” is romantic, heartwarming, touching and packs a message sure to reach the heart and soothe the spirit.

The angle of the story was a great way to start the book, when Abigail needs peace and quiet to ease her hypertension. And—ahem—I think she found a pretty good way to do that. *smile*

Wade is a hunky cowboy with a big heart—and a lot of problems. I loved that this novel went beyond the superficial romance and really delved into the spiritual aspect of both Abigail and Wade’s lives. There is a definite growth and definition in both of the main characters. As the book came to a close I appreciated the changes they made. And it affects more than just their physical.

The climactic scene was especially well done I thought and the plot was fresh and enlivening.

I would have liked to see more of the book in Wade’s point of view, but aside from that, I really enjoyed this story.

It has a great setting (wouldn’t mind living there myself), terrific characters, unique and flawed, and a romance that always does my heart good. But that’s Denise Hunter for you. *wink*

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through FIRST for my copy to review.

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