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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review of My Journey Beyond Being Catholic by Connie Limmex

   Connie Limmex
Life Sentence Publishing
116 pp.
Thinking back, I can still remember the particular moment when it occurred to me that although I was a good person, went to church, and didn’t sin much, I was not absolutely sure I was going to heaven. That realization was pivotal in my journey, as I began to allow truth to take root that did not mesh well with otherwise comfortable Catholic religion.

My Review:

This was a very good book, the author took me on a journey of how she accepted Christ as her Savior and in the process GOD told her that the Catholic Church was not where he wanted her.  It was well written and did not try to persuade anyone to leave the Catholic faith.  I’m not Catholic, but I thought this book would be interesting.  The author did not in any way say that the Catholic faith was wrong, and I highly respect that.  The author told of people that helped her along her journey.  She told of her past in the Catholic Church and how she became interested in learning a different faith.  Her paternal grandfather was a Methodist Preacher, but he didn’t really have an impact on her life.  Her grandmother was a good role model, but the author states she wishes her grandmother would have shard more about her faith with her.  She also learned a lot from letters that she found that were from her mother’s brother when he was in WWII.  These letters really impacted her.  She was also greatly impacted by a group of other families that her and her husband would get together with and have “Family Time”.  This was a fast read and I finished in a little over an hour.  I say good job Connie Limmex.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review

Giveaway and review of Kathi Macias-The Moses Quilt


My Review:

This was a very good story.  It was very moving and thought provoking.  This was a story of a young white woman who is in a relationship with a young black man.  He has asked her marry him, and she does love him, but something is holding her back.  Her mother and great-grandmother approve the union and are wondering what is holding her back.  Her great-grandmother then tells her the story of a quilt she has.  The “Moses Quilt” in which the blocks tell the story of Harriet Tubman, but unfortunately, the great-grandmother dies before the story is finished.  So the two head to where they quilt was made to see if they could find out the rest of the story, only after finding out the rest of the story, they both have reservations about the marriage.  This story reinforces that Jesus redeemed us all with his blood and that we are free from everything, even things from the past that we had no control over.  I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more in the Quilt Series by Kathi Macias.  Great job Kathi, you are an excellent story teller. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Book TrailerHere's the link on >

Kathi Macias, Author

About the Author: Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

The Quilt Series sounds interesting, but what makes it unique or sets it apart from the many other quilt books that are so popular right now?First, I must confess to NOT being a quilter. I’ve never even considered taking it up! Second, I love quilts and have always been fascinated by the stories behind them. I combined that fascination with my passion for writing issues-related fiction, and I ended up with a three-book series that is, for the most part, contemporary but told against historical backdrops.

Sounds interesting! Can you tell us a bit about each of the three books in the series? Sure! Book one, The Moses Quilt, involves an interracial romance, where the couple works through their concerns and apprehensions as they learn the story of Harriet Tubman’s faith and courage as told through the patches of the Moses quilt that represents her life. Book two, The Doctor’s Christmas Quilt, deals with the topic of abortion told against the backdrop of the life of America’s first woman doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, who was strongly pro-life. Book three, The Singing Quilt, deals with a young woman overcoming a physical disability; the background for that story is based on the “Queen of Gospel,” Fannie Crosby.

Was it difficult to do the research on these women, particularly Harriet Tubman? What did you learn about her in the process? I knew more about Harriet Tubman than I did about Elizabeth Blackwell or Fannie Crosby, but I expanded my knowledge of each as I did the research. Harriet Tubman’s amazing faith and courage is what stood out most to me about her life. Here was a woman born a slave, penniless for the majority of her life, and illiterate except for the scripture verses she had memorized (even if she couldn’t read them). Her prayer life was powerful, even as a child. After she escaped to the North and began making forays back into the South to help bring others out of slavery, friends would caution her against it. “Harriet, there’s a reward on your head—dead or alive. Aren’t you afraid?” She brushed off their fear and explained that she believed God had called her to help rescue her people; therefore, He would protect her. When her job was done, He would take her home to heaven, so what was there to fear? Wow, what a dynamic woman of God! I also learned that her achievements went far beyond rescuing slaves, though that’s what she’s best known for. She also served as a spy for the Union Army, worked as a nurse, and opened a home for indigent elderly former slaves. She died there herself in her mid-nineties, and the entire town flew their flags at half-mast in her honor.

Tell us a little more about the contemporary story in The Moses Quilt. The majority of the contemporary story is set just outside San Francisco. Mazie is white and deeply in love with Edward, an African-American lawyer who adores her and wants to marry her but tries to be respectful of her hesitation to make a commitment. What he doesn’t know is that Mazie is disturbed by what she considers secrets in her family’s past, secrets that begin to be unraveled as her great-grandmother, Mimi, tells her and Edward the story behind her Moses quilt, which she bought years earlier in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, a little town famous for its quilts. Edward thought he knew everything there was to know about Harriet Tubman, who had always been somewhat of a hero to him, but Mimi’s story opens up new avenues of discovery for both the young people in this relationship—and takes them straight back to the quilt’s origin in Gee’s Bend.

This sounds like more than just a “feel-good” story. Can it be used as a study book in some way? Absolutely! As with nearly all my books we have free downloadable discussion questions at that will enable The Moses Quilt to be read as a study book for individuals or used as a discussion/study book for groups.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Giveaway and Review of Chrystle Fieldler's Scent to Kill

  picture and synopsis from

When naturopathic doctor and shop owner Willow McQuade’s ex-boyfriend Simon Lewis invites her to a party for the cast and crew of a new television show at Long Island’s scenic Bixby Estate, she’s most excited to visit the property’s exclusive lavender farm. But a whole field of her favorite stress-reducing herb can’t provide enough soothing support to calm the effects of a murder! Even the show’s psychic star didn’t predict the demise of Roger Bixby, the estate’s owner and estranged husband of Simon’s new girlfriend. Now Simon, who’s been collared by police, needs Willow’s help to remedy the situation. As Willow snoops about the mansion, offering natural cures to ease the mounting tension, a strange energy—and the discovery of an eerily similar unsolved murder decades earlier—makes her wonder whether the alternative source of the crime might actually be . . . supernatural. Can she find harmony between mind, body, and possibly even spirits before somebody else goes up in smoke?

My Review:

This was a really good cozy mystery.  It kept me in suspense till the very end.  This is what I really like about a Cozy.  I also enjoyed the herbal remedies in the book and intend to use some of them.  Reading this book gave me a whole new perspective on herbs, besides being a great read.  The book was so well written and flowed so well, that it is a fast read.  This was the first book I’ve read by Chrystle Fielder, but is sure won’t be the last.  I really like the character Willow McQuade and can’t wait to read more about her.  I plan to pick up the first book in this series and anxiously await anymore in this series.  Great job Chrystle.
I recieved a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
Check out Chrystle's website:

Review and Giveaway of Wanda Brunstetter's Goodbye to Yesterday

Product Details  
Book 1 of an exclusive 6-consecutive-month release Amish serial novel. In Goodbye to Yesterday, part one of New York Times Bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunsetter’s The Discovery--A Lancaster County Saga, Meredith and Luke Stoltzfus, an Amish couple, are faced with the greatest challenge of their young lives. Financial struggles. Arguments. A suspected pregnancy. A last-minute trip to Middlebury, Indiana. A deadly encounter at a Philadelphia bus station. Will their love and faith be enough to bring them back together again, against all odds? Follow their story in this exclusive 6-consecutive-month serial novel.
My Review:
This is the first is a series of short stories by Wanda Brunstetter.  As always Wanda writes from the heart and you fall in love with her characters and their struggles.  This short story was no different and it leaves you anxious for the next installment, wanting to know what happens with Meredith and Luke.   The story ends with a major cliffhanger, that is why you won’t be able to wait for the next installment.   Great job Wanda, as always!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

I have a copy of this book to giveaway, just leave a comment below with your email so I can contact you if you win.  Good luck.  I'll just randomly pick a winner.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Review of The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife banner

For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.
Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

My Review:

Well, let me just say, this was an excellent book.  The writing was excellent and the prose was wonderful.  I did not know a whole lot about the Lindbergh’s before I read this book, other than that Charles was an aviator and their first-born child had been kidnapped and murdered.  I realize this was a work of fiction, but Melanie Benjamin did a very good job with the true historical facts she put in this story.  She was accurate.  I thought this would be a book that would not keep my attention, but boy, was I wrong.  She put in her author’s note, that one thing a historical novelist finds gratifying is that the reader was inspired enough to learn more about the subject, well, Ms. Benjamin, I do plan on finding out more about the Lindbergh’s.  Great job, a thoroughly engrossing book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
Melanie Benjamin is the author of the nationally bestselling Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.
Her latest book is the historical fiction, The Aviator’s Wife.
Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.

Visit the Author:


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Review-A Little Bit of Madness by Sheryl Browne


Contemporary Romance / Comedy
Title: A Little Bit of Madness
Author: Sheryl Browne
Date Published: 2/14/13

Celia Summers, intrepid mother of two, loves her work as an art therapist at The Harbour Rest Home. She’s proud of her elderly independents’ artwork, even if her partner, Martin, is disparaging of their efforts. But then, Martin is preoccupied, trying to get his hands on his mother’s home, Charlton Hall, to bail himself out of debt. To which end, he has to get Celia on side with a fabrication of lies.
Meanwhile, Celia fights to keep The Harbour from being closed. She’s ready to abseil from a church steeple to bring attention to the plight of her old people, no matter that she might fall and end up splattered all over the flagstones. When she does fall, however, it’s much more painfully. Police Constable Alex Burrows, son of Colonel Burrows, is considerate, caring and chivalrous. He has a wicked sense of humour, which makes Celia laugh, though when she learns of the circumstances surrounding his disabled daughter, she wants to cry. Alex also has a reputation as a womaniser, which Celia tries to ignore. His trying to influence his father’s Will though, she can’t. Alex, who little by little has stolen her heart, appears to be just as much a liar as Martin.
Will Alex be able redeem himself? Or is evicting Celia from Charlton Hall, which she and her elderlies have laid
My Review:
This book was good in some places but tedious in others.   It was kind of long for me.  I liked how Celia would do almost anything to help her “independent elderlies”.  There were also some surprises thrown in. 
Celia works as art director at The Harbour Rest Home.  Her boyfriend doesn’t like her working there, but she loves it.  When she finds out they are going to close the Core part of Harbour Rest home, she sets out on a mission to save it. During this time, she meets the son of one of the “independent elderlies” Colonel Burrows son Alex and has to deal with her boyfriend Martin putting his own mother in Harbour Rest Home.  She also gets a big surprise from one of her “independent elderlies”.  But in the end, they all band together and come out on top.  This book was hilarious at times, and I did enjoy it, it just didn’t hold my attention too much.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review
About the Author:
Sheryl Browne

Author Bio:
Now residing in Worcestershire, Sheryl Browne grew up in Birmingham, UK, where she studied Art & Design. She wears many hats: a partner in her own business, a mother, and a foster parent to disabled dogs. Creative in spirit, Sheryl has always had a passion for writing. A member of the Romantic Novelists' Association, she has previously been published in the US and writes Romantic Comedy because, as she puts it, "life is just too short to be miserable."
Sheryl's debut novel, RECIPES FOR DISASTER - combining deliciously different and fun recipes with sexilicious romantic comedy, is garnering some fabulous reviews! Sheryl has also been offered a further three-book contract under the Safkhet Publishing Soul imprint. SOMEBODY TO LOVE, a romantic comedy centring around a single policeman father’s search for love, his autistic little boy and the boy’s Autism Assistance Dog, launched July 1 with an immediate 5* review. WARRANT FOR LOVE, bringing together three couples in a twisting story that resolves perfectly, released August 1, and A LITTLE BIT OF MADNESS releases on Valentine’s Day 2013.
Twitter: @sherylbrowne

Buy Link

A Little Bit of Madness - Excerpts


I think I might be able to assist. Excuse me, dears.’ May squeezed between them, potty in hand. ‘There,’ she said, opening the window and chucking the contents out. ‘That should cool their ardour.’
Oh my God.’ Celia gawked. ‘May, I can’t believe you just did that!’
Eleanor laughed. ‘Relax, Celia. He hasn’t been assaulted quite as rudely as you think. It’s tea, not pee.’
I’ve been practising.’ May nodded importantly. ‘It’s not as easy as it looks, you know, making huge potfuls and getting it right, especially when it’s orgasmic.’
Organic, May.’
Oh, don’t be such a baby,’ Celia shouted through the window, as Martin gave an outraged screech and clutched his shirt from his chest. ‘It was tea, not pee.’
It was bloody hot!’ Martin looked up, po-faced. Appropriately, Celia thought. ‘She could have seriously injured me, the silly cow. Come on, Celia, see sense and come out before something awful happens.’
It already did, Martin. You happened.’
Fine. Have it your own way,’ Martin snapped, ‘let’s see if the police can persuade you, shall we?’ With great fanfare, he flicked open his new mobile, and whoosh, in an instant it was gone—swept away on a cloud of fire extinguisher foam.
Yessss!’ Celia did a little twirl on the landing. ‘Well done, Eleanor!’
That is it!’ Martin shouted through a face-full of suds. ‘I’m going to find a public telephone. The police will be here in minutes, Celia. You’d better get out under your own steam, while you still can!’
Do what you like, Martin,’ she called, as the two men in suits climbed from their vehicle, now parked behind Martin’s Jaguar. They’d had the good sense to stay out of the line of fire until now. ‘We’re not budging. We’re not even prepared to talk until we get assurances no contracts have been exchanged!’
Let him chew on that for a while, Celia thought as she turned away. Damn! The bailiffs! She realised they could split up at any moment and bolted downstairs, missing the last step from the bottom to land in a heap.
Ooh bloody, bloody Martin.’ Celia crawled up the banister and limped on, sure at least one of the bailiffs would be trying to gain entry at the back by now. ‘Batten down the hatches,’ she shouted, stumbling into the kitchen.
All battened m’dear. Blighters won’t get in here,’ the colonel assured her, walking stick ready to thrash any hand that might nudge through the cat-flap.
Mum,’ Luke yelled from the front hall, ‘it’s Alex.’
Oh no. Celia’s heart plummeted. Why, why, why, if he cared about any of them, couldn’t he have turned a blind eye, bunked off work, done anything but be involved in their eviction?
Where?’ She raced back toward the front hall, ready to dish out the same treatment to him as they had Martin, except, um, it seemed someone already had.
Here,’ said Alex, meeting her in the hall looking disarmingly Colin Firth-ish. Shirt plastered to his chest, his new shoes sloshing water as he walked, his expression one of total exasperation.
Who let you in?!’ Celia stared at him flabbergasted.
Luke,’ Alex supplied. ‘On the condition I told the bailiffs to back off and in the hope I wouldn’t drown, I imagine.’
Good God!’ The colonel blinked his monocle-free eye. ‘Not raining is it, lad?’
Alex sighed. ‘Torrentially. You might want to point out to May that hosing down policemen isn’t the best way to proceed if she wants to avoid a visit to the station.’

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review-Nancy Mehl's Unbreakable

  About Unbreakable:
Gentle and unassuming, Hope Kauffman has never been one to question the traditions of her Mennonite upbringing. She quietly helps her father run Kingdom Quilts and has agreed to the betrothal he arranged for her with the devout but shy Ebbie Miller.
Despite the attempts of Hope and other Kingdom residents to maintain the status quo, changes have already begun to stir in the small Mennonite town. The handsome and charismatic Jonathon Wiese is the leader of the move to reform, while Ebbie insists Kingdom must remain true to its foundation. When Hope's safety is threatened by a mysterious outsider, she can't help but question what she's always been taught about the Mennonite tradition of nonviolence.
As it swiftly becomes apparent the threat Hope faced is only the beginning, the town that's always stood so strong finds itself divided. With tensions high and their lives endangered by an unknown enemy, will Hope and the people of Kingdom allow fear and division to break them or will they draw on the strength of the God they serve?
Link to buy the book:    
My Review:
This was a very suspenseful book.  I really enjoyed it.  Nancy Mehl is a very good author and does a very good job of keeping you on the edge of your seat.  Christians in the area are being targeted by someone and the Mennonite community of Kingdom thought they were safe, but trouble finds Hope Kauffman on her way home from a shopping trip in Washington.  Then one of Kingdom’s beloved citizens is killed in a buggy accident.  Hope is engaged to Ebbie Miller, an elder in the church who doesn’t believe that the community should retaliate.  But she also has feelings for Jonathan Wiese.  He does believe the community should protect themselves in anyway appropriate.  Which one will win Hope’s heart and will Kingdom survive the attacks.
I really wasn’t surprised as to who was behind the attacks on the community, I just wasn’t sure why.  This is a book in a series, but Nancy gives enough background that it isn’t necessary to read the books in order.  I’ll have to say though; I’m looking forward to the next in the Road to Kingdom series.  Great job Nancy.
I received a complimentary copy of this book for my participation in this blog tour.
Meet Nancy:
Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Norman and her very active puggle, Watson. She's authored fourteen books and is currently at work on a new series for Bethany House Publishing. All of Nancy's novels have an added touch - something for your spirit as well as your soul. "I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing," Nancy says. "God is number one in my life. I wouldn't be writing at all if I didn't believe that this is what He's called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan for your life, and there is nothing you can't overcome with His help." Readers can learn more about Nancy through her Web site: She is also active on Facebook.
Litfuse Giveaway:
Celebrate the release of Unbreakable with Nancy Mehl by entering her Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVPing to the March 5th Author Chat Party on Facebook!

Unbreakable Kindle Fire Giveaway

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire
  • Books one & two in Nancy's Road to Kingdom series (Inescapable and Unbreakable)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 4th. Winner will be announced at the "Unbreakable" Author Chat Party on March 5th. Connect with Nancy, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be gift certificates, books, and fun Mennonite-themed giveaways.

Grab your copy of Unbreakable and join Nancy on the evening of the March 5th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 5th!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review of Michael Baron's Leaves


PUBLISHED BY: The Story Plant
PUBLICATION DATE: September 25, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-9841905-4-6 (978-1-61188-011-3)
GENRE: Fiction
# OF PAGES: 332
Book Synopsis:Welcome to Oldham, CT, a small town rich in Colonial heritage while being utterly contemporary. Situated along the Connecticut River Valley, Oldham bursts with color every fall, as the leaves on its trees evolve into an unmatched palette of scarlet, orange, purple, yellow, and bronze. For more than three decades, the Gold family has been a central part of Oldham in the fall, its Sugar Maple Inn a destination for “leaf-peepers” from all over the country, and its annual Halloween party a stirring way to punctuate the town’s most active month.
But this year, more than just the leaves are changing. With the death of their parents, the Gold siblings, Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina, and Tyler, have decided to sell the Sugar Maple Inn, and this year’s Halloween party will be the last. As October begins, the Golds contend with the finality that faces them, and the implications it has for a family that has always been so close. For some, it means embracing new challenges and new love. For others, it means taking on unimagined roles. And for others, it means considering the inconceivable. Complicating it all is a series of “hauntings” that touch each of the Gold siblings, a series of benign interventions that will remain a mystery until October draws to a close.
Filled with romance, tension, and unforgettable family drama, LEAVES is the first in a series of novels about a world and a family that readers will want to make their own.

My Review

This book was very well written, very enthralling.  It is hard for me to describe how this book made me feel.  I thoroughly enjoyed and I’m very glad that it is the first in a series.  I feel like I know the Gold family on a personal level.  This book really explored the feelings of the Gold Family very well. 

The Gold family:  Maxwell, Maria, Deborah, Corrina, and Tyler recently lost their parents and have made the decision to sell their parents Inn.  The story focuses on each sibling and their relationships with each other and other people.  They each are going in different directions and drifting apart through the sale of the Inn.  Throughout the book, each sibling sees something that reminds them of an incident from the past, but them the image disappears.  They throw one last Halloween party at the Inn before the new owners take over.  During a picture, they all here their mother’s voice; telling them they will need each other in the future.

A great book that focuses on family and what sometimes happens with families that were once close.   This book leaves you with a sort of cliffhanger, leaving you definitely waiting for the next novel in the series to see what happens with the Gold family.  I can’t wait.  I highly recommend this book.  A very good job Michael Barron.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my participation in this blog tour.
About the Author:I grew up in the New York area and I’ve lived there my entire life. I worked in retail and taught high school English before I got my first book contract. I have gotten several additional book contracts since then, which is fortunate because I didn’t have the patience to work in retail and, while I quite enjoyed teaching, my approach was a bit too unconventional for most school systems. One school administrator told me that, “there are more important things than being a dynamic teacher.” Since I couldn’t name any of those things (at least in the context of school), I figured I didn’t have a long-term future in the profession. Hence, I became a writer, where I believe people appreciate a certain level of dynamism.
Though I started with nonfiction, I have always loved fiction and I have always wanted to write it. Since I can remember, I've had a particular affection for love stories. In fact, the very first book-length thing I ever wrote, when I was thirteen, was a love story. Mind you, it was the kind of love story that a thirteen-year-old boy would write, but it was a love story nonetheless. I have a deep passion for writing about relationships – family relationships, working relationships, friendships, and, of course, romantic relationships – and I can only truly explore this by writing fiction. These novels have given me a way to voice the millions of things running through my head.
My wife and kids are the center of my life. My wife is the inspiration for all of my love stories and my children enthrall me, challenge me, and keep me moving (and have served as the inspiration for several of the kids I've written about). One of the primary reasons I wrote my first novel, WHEN YOU WENT AWAY was that I wanted to write about being a father. Aside from my family, I have a few other burning passions. I’m a pop culture junkie with an especially strong interest in music, I love fine food (as well as any restaurant shaped like a hot dog), and I read far too many sports blogs for my own good.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Promo The Orchestra Murders by Rena Fruchter

The Orchestra Murders banner
About the Book:
Superstar conductor Sir Gregory Langhorne and his globe-trotting, violin-soloist son Jonathan Langhorne are the best of friends—until a brutal murder shatters their lives and Jonathan becomes the prime suspect.
Six years later, Sir Gregory is now the music director of the world famous Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra and has finally reconciled with his son Jonathan, just as members of the orchestra are being killed off one by one.
The challenge for brilliant young hotshot Philadelphia Detective Cynthia Masters is to solve not only the orchestra murders, but the question of why murder seems to follow the Langhornes. Has Masters finally met her match—a case that cannot be solved? Set in London and Philadelphia, this dramatic story of murder, infidelity, and the abuse of money and power establishes Cynthia Masters as a world-class detective in this thrilling and unusual mystery.
About the Author:
Rena Fruchter is the author of three books—two critically acclaimed books in the biographical genre—Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, and I’m Chevy Chase…and you’re not. And now, her exciting and soon to be released book: The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery
Ms. Fruchter is a renowned pianist, writer and educator, and director of an arts organization. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States, Europe, Australia and the Far East in both solo and ensemble appearances. She made her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at the age of six, performing the Haydn Piano Concerto in D Major. Appearances with other orchestras and on radio and television followed. At age eleven, she gave her first performance with the Boston Pops under Arthur Fiedler at the Esplanade, later returning to perform the Schumann Piano Concerto with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall.
For twelve years, Rena Fruchter was a music columnist for the New York Times. She was also a music critic and an arts commentator for New Jersey Public Television, the London Music Correspondent for the Boston Herald and a contributor to many other publications. Her radio interview series, “Backstage Portraits,” was broadcast throughout the United States.
A graduate of Brandeis University, Rena also holds degrees in both piano performance and pedagogy from the Royal College of Music in London, England, where she studied with Louis Kentner and Lamar Crowson. She also studied with two distinguished Nadias--Nadia Boulanger in France and Nadia Reisenberg in New York.
Rena is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Music For All Seasons, an organization that presents musical programs for people confined in institutions including hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and special facilities for children. The organization also runs “Voices of Valor,” which provides workshops for veterans to write and record their own songs. The organization was co-founded by Rena and her husband, Brian Dallow. Dudley Moore was the Founding Advisory Board President of Music For All Seasons, which is now in its 21st year.
Rena is CEO of Martine Avenue Productions, a company co-created with Dudley Moore to bring his musical works to the public. The company has produced seven CDs, the latest, the two-CD set Dudley Down Under—unabridged, the complete live Dudley Moore Trio concert at Sydney Town Hall (Australia) on May 2, 1978. This CD is produced in honor of Dudley on the tenth anniversary of his death.
The company donates a portion of its proceeds to two charities designated by Dudley—the international research fund of the US-based “Cure PSP” and “Music For All Seasons, Inc.”
With long-time friend and colleague Dudley Moore, Rena toured the United States and Australia, New Zealand, and the Far East in two-piano performances.
Rena Fruchter is the author of the critically acclaimed book Dudley Moore—An Intimate Portrait, published in 2004 by Ebury/Random House/UK and subsequently published in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
Her popular book I’m Chevy Chase…And You’re Not, an innovative biography presenting the American comedy icon in a fascinating and revealing look at his life and work, was published in the UK and US. The only authorized biography of Chevy Chase, it provides a comprehensive view of the brilliant and complex actor, comedian and writer.
Her new book has just been published and is called The Orchestra Murders—A Cynthia Masters Mystery.
Rena is married to Brian Dallow, and they are the parents of four adult children, including a set of triplets. They live in New Jersey.

Review of An Amish Kitchen

The Amish Kitchen is the Heart of the Home – and the Ideal Setting for Stories of Love and Hope.

Fall in Paradise, Pennsylvania, always brings a brisk change in the weather. This season also ushers in unexpected visitors, new love, and renewed hope for three women.

Fern has a green thumb for growing healing herbs, but longs for love to bloom in her life. Then the next-door neighbor’s oldest son, Abram, comes running into Fern’s kitchen seeking help for his little sister. The crisis soon leads to a promise of romance—until mistrust threatens to end the growing attraction.

Nearby, Hannah runs her parents’ bed and breakfast, Paradise Inn—but her life feels nothing like Paradise. She longs for a man of integrity to enter her life, but never expected him to knock on the front door looking for a room. Will she be able trust Stephen with her future once she discovers his mysterious past?

When a storm blows a tree onto Eve’s farmhouse, she has little choice but to temporarily move her family into her parents’ home. Outside of cooking together in the kitchen, Eve and her mother can’t agree on anything. But this may be just the recipe for hope in healing old wounds.

Three Amish stories—each celebrating love, family, and faith—all taking place in a tight-knit community where the kitchen truly is the heart of the home.

Also Includes Reading Group Guide and 45 Old Order Amish Recipes.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a book three novellas by three great Amish Authors, Kelly Long, Amy Clipston, and Beth Wiseman.  I like all three stories, they didn’t really intertwine, but there was mention of characters from the other stories in each story. 

The first story is  A Taste of Faith by Kelly Long.  This is the story of Fern Zook.  She lives with her grandmother, who uses herbs to help people with ailments, and she taught Fern all she knew.  In this story, Fern has several run ins with her neighbor, Abram Fisher.  Fern thinks no man will ever love her, will Abram change her mind. 

The second story A Spoonful of Love  of Hannah King who runs her parents bed-and-breakfast since her father suffered a stroke.  An Amish man from Ohio, Stephen Esh, comes to stay and the bed-and-breakfast and Hannah’s brother hires him to be the handy man at the bed-and-breakfast.  Hannah’s mother is very critical of her and always fusses to her a lot about her and Stephen both staying at the bed-and-breakfast.  What is Stephen hiding and what are Hannah’s feelings for him.

The third story, A recipe for Hope and my favorite, was Eve Bender.  Her and her family’s home is partially destroyed by a falling tree, so they go and stay with Eve’s mother and father for a while.  Eve was never close to her mother, and her mother has medical issues that she is hiding from Eve.  Also, Eve’s twin 16 year old sons are having a drama of their own.  I liked this story because it had a lot of humor in it, too.

All three stories told the importance of trusting GOD, and that he always comes through, no matter what.  All three stories also mostly center around something to do with the kitchen.  I thought it was a charming read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.


Review-Allison Pittman's All for a Song

All for a Song
List Price:  13.99
ISBN:  978-1-4143-6680-7
Trim Size:  5 1/2 x 8 1/4
Binding:  Softcover
Release:  February 2013
Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and a budding romance with the young pastor who took over her late father's pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother's old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more.

Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister's family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life-movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson's crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

My Review:


This was a mesmerizing book that kept me enthralled from start to finish.  I love reading about this era of history, it is still a time of innocence, but also of an awakening.  This book hit that on the mark.  It was an emotional journey to say the least.  I learned a lot from reading this book, like to follow your heart and that your heart will usually lead you home.


Dorothy Lynn Dunbar lives in the small town of Heron’s Nest.  She is the daughter of a preacher.  When her father becomes ill, a new preacher comes to take over for him.  Brent and Dorothy fall in love with each other and decide to marry.  Dorothy goes to St. Louis to her sister to have her make her wedding gown.  While there, Dorothy experiences the lure of the big city.  She discovers a church service and becomes acquainted with a man who will change her life.  He hears her sing and play guitar and asks her to become part of the church service. Dorothy figures out that he can take her to California, where her brother, who never came home from WWI, is living.  While there, she is drawn into some things that she normally wouldn’t do, but she does find her brother.  Will she decide to go home to her fiancé’, or will the lure of fame be too much for her.  This story is told from two different perspectives of Dorothy; the young Dorothy in the Roaring Twenties and the 107 year old Dorothy in a nursing home.  She also ends up meeting some long lost family right before the end. 


I say great job with this book Allison Pittman.  It was a great journey to take with you.


I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Author Bio
Allison Pittman 
Allison Pittman
Award-winning author Allison Pittman left a seventeen-year teaching career in 2005 to follow the Lord's calling into the world of Christian fiction, and God continues to bless her step of faith. Her novels For Time and Eternity and Forsaking All Others were both finalists for the Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction, and her novel Stealing Home won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award. She heads up a successful, thriving writers group in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family—Stella.

Allison Pittman Author Q & A

All for a Song

1. What was your inspiration for this book,
All for a Song?

There were so many different pieces that came together with this book; it’s hard to name just one. First, I was introduced to, and then became fascinated with Aimee Semple McPherson, and while I wasn’t ready to take on her story, I knew I wanted to create my own characters to somehow come into her sphere. She was a woman who embraced both ministry and fame, and I wanted to create a character who had that same opportunity. With that, I am so inspired by the decade of the 1920’s—such sweeping social changes, shifts in moral centering, an explosion of choices and opportunities for women. It was a time to test one’s faith—to go against the new norms in pursuit of righteousness. Such a challenge!

2. Tell me about your main character Dorothy Lynn. Was her character based upon anyone in particular?

The young Dorothy Lynn, no, not really—not beyond any other singer/songwriter out there. She’s a young woman with a message and a voice, so maybe she’s a mash-up of every musician I know. The older Dorothy Lynn, Miss Lynnie, is somewhat based on the mother of a friend of mine. His mother went to be with the Lord while I was in the final stages of writing this novel, and at her funeral, I learned that she had a stroke years before her passing, during which she had a glimpse of Heaven, and had spent her intervening years longing to return. I remember going home from that celebration of her life and re-writing just about every

Breath of Angels scene, incorporating that into Dorothy Lynn’s story. It was exactly what the story needed, and brought about a depth I couldn’t have imagined in the initial draft.

3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?

I hope that they learn that it’s good to take a chance, to take hold of opportunities that come your way, even if it doesn’t always make sense to do so. Yes, there are times that require periods of prayer and reflection and guidance-seeking, but then there are times when you have to hop on the next train and trust that God has the details well in hand. Along with that, I’d want them to know that while there is breath, there is opportunity for grace and forgiveness, but we might need to humble ourselves. There’s a theme of a longing for home, no matter how enticing the alternative seems.
4. Although this novel is set in the 1920s, how does Dorothy Lynn’s story still resonate today?
The world today wants nothing more than to entice young women to exploit themselves in some way, and the enemy wants nothing more than to make us think that we are beyond redemption. We all make stupid, thoughtless, reckless decisions; we all get ourselves into such unbelievably embarrassing messes; we all disappoint our loved ones. The world tells you to move on; God tells you to go back.
5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
Oh, my goodness. As a historical writer, I loved the time period—that sort of new, innocent fumbling with innovations of the time. One of my favorite scenes was when the 107-year-old Dorothy Lynn experiences her first iPad. (By the way, I had to make her that old in order to make all the history "fit." I spent every day for a month watching the Willard Scott segment on the
Today show making sure that her age would be believable. Wouldn’t you know? Every week there’s somebody that tops the 105th birthday!)
6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?
I would love it if this book would prompt a reader to reach out to somebody they feel they have lost. Reconciliation is hard—whether you’re the perpetrator or the victim of whatever "wrong" that happened. But life is short, even if you’re going to get more than a century of living, at some time that final day will come. Close those gaps in your life. Offer and ask for forgiveness. Leave a legacy of grace.
7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?
My tendency (a very purposeful one) is to leave my stories with a bit of an "unfinished" edge. I like my characters to leave the page on the cusp of fulfillment, so that my readers can have the pleasure of imagining those final, satisfying moments. A good friend (and, coincidentally a fan) of mine said, "I love your books. I hate your endings. I’m just going to have to accept that this is what an Allison Pittman story does." So—how fun was this to write the most definitive ending, ever! To open a story on the last day of a character’s life—so totally new for me.
8. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?
It goes back to a conversation I had with James Scott Bell back when I’d written approximately 7 chapters of what would become my first novel,
Ten Thousand Charms. The whole conversation is chronicled in Chapter 16 of his fabulous book The Art of War for Writers. (I’m the "young woman" – which I was, at the time, sort of…) Anyway, I was frustrated and discouraged, and he explained to me that this writing thing was like a pyramid. At its base, you have everybody who ever thinks they maybe might want to try to start writing a book someday. At the top is Max Lucado. The rest of us are somewhere in-between. "Your job…is to keep moving up the pyramid. Each level presents its own challenges, so concentrate on the ones right in front of you." I love and welcome every new challenge.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Review-Cindy Blackburn's Cue Ball Mysteries #1-Playing with Poison


Playing With Poison       Pool shark Jessie Hewitt usually knows where the balls will fall and how the game will end. But when a body lands on her couch, and the cute cop in her kitchen accuses her of murder, even Jessie isn't sure what will happen next.

Playing With Poison is a cozy mystery with a lot of humor, a little romance, and far too much champagne.

My Review:

This was a great mystery. I just love Jessica Hewitt, she is the bomb. She definitely has it all together. Well, maybe she does drink a little too much champagne, I mean, whose drink of choice is usually champagne. But oh well, she is still great, and she got the job done. This book is also filled with other great, funny, eccentric characters that Cindy makes you feel like you know personally. And if you like animals, there is also a great kitty cat in this book.

Her neighbor, Candy Poppe's, fiancé' knocks on Jessica's door one night and she lets him and he makes it to the couch, and then proceeds to die. What should Jessica do? First she is a suspect. Then, Candy is the main suspect and is arrested. What ensues is a hilarious and somewhat scary, at the end, journey. I was kept guessing throughout the story, which is what I love about a good cozy mystery.

I'm so glad to be included in this book tour for Cindy, she has immense talent and I can't wait to read the rest of the Cue Ball Mysteries. I received this book for my participation in this blog tour.

Author Bio
Cindy Blackburn has a confession to make–she does not play pool. It’s that whole eye-hand coordination thing. What Cindy does do well is school. So when she’s not writing silly stories she’s teaching serious history. European history is her favorite subject, and the ancient stuff is best of all. The deader the better! A native Vermonter who hates cold weather, Cindy divides her time between the south and the north. During the school year you’ll find her in South Carolina, but come summer she’ll be on the porch of her lakeside shack in Vermont. Cindy has a fat cat named Betty and a cute husband named John. Betty the muse meows constantly while Cindy tries to type. John provides the technical support. Both are extremely lovable.
When Cindy isn’t writing, grading papers, or feeding the cat, she likes to take long walks or paddle her kayak around the lake. Her favorite travel destinations are all in Europe, her favorite TV show is NCIS, her favorite movie is Moonstruck, her favorite color is orange, and her favorite authors (if she must choose) are Joan Hess and Spencer Quinn. Cindy dislikes vacuuming, traffic, and lima beans.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Review-Colleen Coble's Safe In His Arms

Sometimes it takes a stranger to see you as you really are.
Under Texas Stars, Book 2
Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O'Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she's made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She's convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.
So when Margaret's father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she's frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she's downright worried. Daniel swears he's not involved, but Margaret's not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic "accidents" threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.
My Review:
As always, Colleen Coble delivers a great story with a great message.  As with all of her books, GOD is always at the center. 
Margaret O'Brien has always helped her father with his ranch and assumed it would be hers one day.  He wants her to be more feminine and ladylike, so he hires a foreman, Daniel Cutler.  But Daniel is not what he seems and Margaret is very suspicious of him.  Meanwhile, her father also sends for her cousin, Lewis.  He ends up deciding to leave the ranch to Lewis, therefore hoping that Margaret would find a husband.  The rest of the story is so action packed, it left my head spinning.  Margaret finally finds out who Daniel really is, finally realizes she need to fully trust GOD and that GOD really does love her unconditionally.  After this everything falls into place. 
I highly recommend this book, it was wonderful.  Great job Colleen.
I recieved a complimentary copy of this book for my participation in this blog tour.
Meet Colleen:
Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA's RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.
Find out more about Colleen at