Tuesday, June 18, 2013
"Life is filled with difficulties. This isn't heaven. We have these big mountains, set right in front of us, and we have no choice but to climb.
Her mom looked down, took a long moment, then squeezed Madison's hand. "When you were a little girl, you didn't like going barefoot, you remember? You had such tender feet."
"The grass tickled, and the sticks and rocks hurt."
"Even that time we went to Lake Michigan, you wore your sandals on the beach except when you were on your towel."
"The sand was hot."
"You remember Michael though?" Mom laughed. "Mercy, I couldn't keep that boy in shoes. It was all I could do to make him keep them on at church. I'd come into the nursery and there his socks would be, all balled up in the corner, and him running around barefoot."
Madison smiled at the remembrance. "We were different as day and night."
"But still so close." Mom tucked Madison's hair behind her ear and looked at her knowingly. "Sometimes we have to find the courage to take off our shoes and feel it all. Even the bad stuff."
"Sometimes those negative feelings are so strong, they're overwhelming, and it's easier to just not deal with them. But they always come out one way or another. You've always been afraid of feeling, Madison. But death is part of life. Not my favorite part, not by a long shot. But God does not owe us ninety years on this earth. Life is a gift, however long it lasts. It's God's to give and take away as He sees fit. We go through life thinking we're entitled to our ninety, but we're not entitled to anything. All we can do is trust that He knows what He's doing. That He has a plan for all of us, and that no pain He allows in our life will go unused. I supposed realizing that has given me a measure of peace." (pg 235-236).
In the latest novel from best selling author Denise Hunter, Barefoot Summer, takes the reader in the life of Madison McKinley who lost her twin brother ten years ago when he drowned. Now plagued by unrelenting nightmares, Madison feels that the only way she'll find peace is to fulfill her brother Michael's dream to be the youngest winner at the town's annual regatta. But to do that, she'll have to conquer her fear of water and her fear of Beckett O'Reilly, who's the only one who can teach her to sail.
But Beckett O'Reilly has his own secrets he's been carrying around for years. One that started at a high school dance and has impacted the lives of the McKinley's to this day. If only he can find a way to dig deep inside and tell Madison what she needs to gain perspective in her life, but these days all she is doing is harboring a deep grudge inside against God for taking her brother away from her. If only he could find a way to help her find God and allow Him to heal the broken pieces in her life.
I received Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. Too often our fears of failure will hold us back from what potential God has planned in our lives. Too many times, we'd rather run and hide than face things head on. I love how Denise Hunter incorporates that into the first book in her Chapel Springs Romance series. It seems that despite all outward appearances in both Madison and Beckett, there lies deeper secrets that they both will have to come to terms and deal with. But are Beckett and Madison the only ones who are keeping secrets? You'll have to pick this novel up to find out! A perfect summer read and one that offers a powerful message between the cover. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and even includes a discussion guide that is perfect for book clubs.
For more information about Barefoot Summer, Denise Hunter or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also find Denise Hunter on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Barefoot Summer from the Litfuse Publicity Book Tour, please click here.
Denise Hunter is celebrating her new Chapel Springs Romance series with a Summer Fun Giveaway. The first book, Barefoot Summer, is already a favorite with readers. “Hold-your-breath romance, heartache, and laugh-out-loud moments. It’s more than a good read. It’s a delight.” -- Lisa
Summer: it’s all about sunny skies, star-gazing, swimming, spending time with loved ones, and living as if a small part of the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders.
Get ready for some serious summer fun with Denise’s 12-Day Summer Sun giveaway. From June 10-21, keep your computer near as you head to the lake or your friend’s barbecue because Denise will be giving away a summer essential each day!
Monday, June 17, 2013
I love it when I can find out truly suspenseful novel that completely grabs me from the moment I dive into the book. I made the mistake of reading this one kinda late at night when I was home alone and with every noise in the house, set me literally on edge. That in my own personal opinion is already a winner. In the latest novel by author Creston Mapes, Fear Has A Name is the first in the Crittendon Files series. This is also a first for me reviewing a book by this author but after this one, it won't be my last by a long shot. In fact, I intend to search for the ones he has previously written and begin my journey in suspense even further by adding them to my personal collection.
In Fear Has A Name the author really challenges the Christian reader to see just how far on the righteous scale you would tend to stay despite having your family threatened by an unknown intruder. Despite how Jesus has instructed his followers to forgo taking their own vengeance and instead leaving it up to God. This is a definite conversation starter for most believers. While almost everyone I spoke with said pretty much the same thing, very few could sit back faithfully and be reassured that God would protect their families by leaving things entirely up to Him. With that being said, let me introduce you to the premise of this novel.
Pamela Crittendon is home alone with her young daughters, Faye and Rebecca when a man appears at her front door. For whatever reason, she gets a feeling that she shouldn't open the door. When he keeps on knocking her daughters want to know who's at the door. She instructs them to head back upstairs and that she will deal with it. When she yells for the man at the door to leave, he immediately begins the process of breaking down the door. When that fails, he breaks the glass on either side and attempts to unlock the door. Pamela takes her girls and runs out the back door to the safety of a neighbors home and calls the police.
When the police arrive the man is gone of course. As Pamela calls her husband, Jack, and tells him to come home, he reassures her that this is probably just a one time deal. The only items missing from her home are her Bible, her jewelry and her daughter's locket. All other items in the home of any value are still there. The police feel confident that they will find the person responsible, but that does make Pamela feel any safer. Even more troubling is the job her husband does working as a reporter for the local paper. He's been assigned a possible missing person who is the local pastor at a church who has left a suicide note. But it seems like things are about to get interesting when Pamela finds their wedding picture has been cut to remove Jack from it. To her, this doesn't seem like a random event and she's just about to learn that Fear Has A Name!
I received Fear Has A Name by Creston Mapes compliments of David C Cook Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. This was such a great conversation starter for my husband over breakfast one morning. It's such a difficult thing to know what anyone would do in this situation and my husband could definitely relate to how Jack handles things. I on the other hand, don't think I could deal with things as calmly as Pamela did during portions of the novel but that is what makes for a truly exciting page turner. This one does not disappoint. The only thing I had to make sure of was finishing it before my husband left on his business trip. For that reason I give this one a 5 out of 5 stars. Congratulations Creston Mapes, you definitely had me on the edge of my seat and reading this one with all the lights on.
For more information about Fear Has A Name, Creston Mapes or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can find Creston Mapes on Facebook to stay up to date with all his latest novels.
To read more reviews on Fear Has A Name from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tour, please click here.
- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0781408164
- ISBN-13: 978-0781408165
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
Whatever Joanna Robbins for her birthday, her father, Silas will make happen, even if it means breaking the law, stopping a train and kidnapping the preacher who is supposed to be on board. Silas hasn't forgotten his old outlaw ways after robbing enough stagecoaches and trains in his lifetime, fulfilling Joanna's only birthday wish seems easy enough to grant. However when Joanna learns just how her father has managed to bring her a preacher for her birthday, kidnapping one wasn't in her prayers or requests. Now if she can only manage to convince the preacher not to press kidnapping charges on her father.
When Joanna convinces Crockett Archer to spend a couple of hours with her listening to her reasons for wanting a preacher for her twenty-first birthday, he is more than intrigued. It is also the only way he can find freedom from the Lazy R Ranch that Robbins owns. Joanna takes Crockett to an abandoned church and tells him how difficult it has been for anyone to attend church since the local town is so far away from farming families and this old church has lost not only it's flock of believers but also any preacher wanting to stay long enough to give God a chance. Would Crockett be willing to find a preacher willing enough to give this small community a chance and she hopes in the process find a way to save her father's stubborn heart who just doesn't have time for God any longer? Seems like Crockett is about to get some interesting answers to just that very prayer when the job he was hoping to land in Brenham is given to another preacher and leaving Crockett high and dry in the middle of Texas without a job, thanks in part to Silas Robbins.
Joanna believes since her father is to blame for Crockett's lost job at the church since he was preventing from being able to preach in the local church, that her father owes Crockett a job at the ranch until they can begin to restore the old abandoned church to its former glory. Only Silas Robbins isn't a charitable man and gives all the worst and most difficult jobs to Crockett hoping that he will show just how weak a preacher man really is. But God has other plans for Silas Robbins and He's about to show him just how he can use man's weakness to bring about His own goodness and glory.
I received Stealing the Preacher compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. Historical Christian Westerns are one of my long time favorite genre's. Taking you back to a much simpler time, Karen Whitmeyer has done an exceptional job at pulling at your heartstrings in this novel. I love the way she uses the situations in this novel with Silas and Crockett almost like God pursing a lost sheep. All along the way it isn't so much what Crockett says, but the actions he does that reaches out to the hardened heart of Silas and offers him a glimpse of the life his former wife had prayed so long for before she died. I'd rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and finds its home along with my other Karen Whitmeyer novels. Welcome home Stealing the Preacher, welcome home! A must read for all western romance fans!!!
For more information about Stealing the Preacher, Karen Whitmeyer or where you can pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
You can also follow Karen Whitmeyer on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews from the Litfuse Publicity Book Tour on Stealing the Preacher, click here.
Karen Witemeyer is "kindling" the excitement for Stealing the Preacher (Bethany House) with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at her June 18th Facebook Author Chat Party!
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire
- Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at 4pm on June 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Stealing the Preacher" Facebook Author Chat Party on June 18th. Connect with Karen for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Karen will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.
So grab your copy of Stealing the Preacher and join Karen on the evening of June 18th for a chance to connect 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 today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!
Friday, June 14, 2013
It seems that the older I've gotten the more I notice when my feet feel achy and tired. I've tried all kinds of different shoes, padded socks and arch supports to relieve the pain that often accompanies my feet at the end of a long day.
When I got the opportunity to review Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles by being a BzzAgent, I have to say I was more than a little skeptical. I mean seriously just how good can they be? I also wondered how just adding something to the inside of my existing shoes would really feel and if they would feel strange or uncomfortable.
When the package arrived I noticed that these insoles were designed specifically for women, not a generic one size fits all. These were geared for sizes 6-10 and the instructions inside the package were easy enough to follow. Simply remove the insoles if possible in your current shoe and cut to fit. I actually cut mine a little smaller than my current shoe and insert them into the shoes I wear most of the time. The rubberized gel sticks perfectly to the inside of your shoe and doesn't move around or bunch up.
At first, they felt a little odd since they increased the padding on the bottom of my shoe just a bit. But honestly after a day or so, I didn't notice a difference in the fit.
What I did notice is just how plushy and comfortable they made me feel in all the walking I was doing. There is ample padding on the heel of the insole which is where I needed the most support. After just a few short days, I did notice a huge difference in the way my feet felt. I wasn't feeling as sore and in fact, loved wearing my shoes more, even despite the hot summer temperatures because of the softness and cushion they offered my feet.
I can honestly say, I would recommend them to anyone who is looking for a way to add more cushion to your shoes and relieve your achy feet from all the standing and walking you do. These will work in all kinds of shoes, work boots, or sneakers. I'd recommend putting them in the ones you were the most.
The best part is that if they don't perform as well as you'd expect, Dr. Scholl's offers a full replacement or refund. For me, that's a win/win!
I'd easily rate these a 4.5 out of 5 stars and have purchased an additional pair to put in my other work shoes so I don't have to take them in and out as I need to change shoes.
I received Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles compliments of BzzAgent and Dr. Scholl's for my honest review and received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. For more information about Dr. Scholl's Massaging Gel Insoles visit your local retailer or their website by clicking here.
Thursday, June 13, 2013
I've always loved great stories. In part, because they stay with you long after you have finished. Some in fact have embedded themselves in my mind that even now they seem like my own personal memories. Then one day something truly wonderful happened. I came across a blog titled simply, "What I Learned Today" from Billy Coffey. He shared these simple, but relevant true stories that resounded deep inside your soul and once there they have never left. I am thrilled for that because I've gotten the opportunity to watch him live a dream.
He began writing these incredible stories on his blog while waiting for his big break. It has taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears but in the end, Billy is living every writers dream, to see your book published. Not only that but well received, liked, talked about and in demand.
If you're a firm follower of Billy Coffey, then you already know most of this, but if you have found your way here today, well I'd like to believe God brought you here for a purpose.When Mockingbirds Sing is Billy's third novel. His first, Snow Day, is an amazing novel that chronicles what happens when that inevitable snow day occurs to different people all over a wonderful city. There is truly something to be found for everyone who reads it and everyone definitely has their favorite parts of the book.
Paper Angels was Billy's second novel debut and chronicles the life of Andy Sommerville, who has been visited throughout his life by one he deems, the Old Man, who instructs him to keep a box of mementos that share special memories of people who have impacted his life. This is where we get to know just what the purpose in the collecting means and how he shares it with a woman named Elizabeth, he believes is a counselor in the hospital. What happens along the way touches you long after you finish the novel.
Now in When Mockingbirds Sing, by far for me, his best novel yet, we are taken back to the town of Mattingly and we meet the Norcross family who has just moved there from a place simply known by the locals as Away. The story revolves around their nine-year-old daughter Leah who feels isolated partly because of her stutter. She finds solace in her conversations with the Rainbow Man who is only visible to Leah. The story builds as Leah finds herself painting pictures based on instructions from the Rainbow Man who appeal specifically to those she paints them for. It soon draws a line in the sand between the people of Mattingly who believe Leah and those that don't. You'll have to pick this one up to see the climatic ending of just what happens when people can't find explanations for what is going on in their small town.
Now the fun part. I got to take some time and ask Billy some questions not only about the novel When Mockingbirds Sing but also about life in general. So without further delay, here goes!
1.Where did the idea to introduce mockingbirds to the novel stem from? In other words, why mockingbirds and not another species of bird?
My grandmother loved birds. I remember being just a kid and going to work up the garden with her. She’d start calling birds, one after the other—robins, sparrows, cardinals, anything. She’d whistle and sound just like them, and after a while I’d look up at the telephone line that ran the length of their yard and see it covered with birds. But she loved mockingbirds most of all. She passed on when I was just a boy. But for years after, every summer there would be a mockingbird singing every night in the big maple in our backyard. It just stuck with me, I guess.
2. Will there be another novel coming as a sequel to When Mockingbirds Sing? I know you are working on the companion book to Paper Angels involving the town of Mattingly again, but will there be one that continues the story of some of the characters in When Mockingbirds Sing like Allie, Tom or Ellen Norcross or even the Sheriff Jake since we never quite got to hear about his story of Happy Hollow.
The next novel will focus on Sheriff Jake. The one after that will be Allie’s. I think all the characters but Allie found some sort of closure by the end of When Mockingbirds Sing. That was by design. Allie’s my favorite, so I’m not done with her quite yet. Unfortunately, that also means she’s going to be hurting quite a bit.
3. What do you hope people take away from reading When Mockingbirds Sing?
I think there’s a prevalence in today’s society to fit everything we can into a single tiny box, whether it’s politics or social concerns or religion. That’s one of the main points the story ends up making—life is too full of mystery to be neatly fit into either/or. It’s oftentimes more and/both.
4. What made you decide to take a darker spin to your writing style? There is obviously a darker element that we see at play in this novel with a suspense side that is created when the painting Leah creates begin to have a prophetic vision to them.
I spent my first two books trying to get a feel for writing fiction. Mockingbirds is the result of that. Thomas Nelson gave me the freedom to produce the kind of books I really wanted to write. Mockingbirds really is darker than my other two novels. In some ways, the next one is even darker than Mockingbirds. But you know what? I think real life can be pretty dark as well, and I’m a big believer in the notion that we’re all surrounded by the unseen. So I don’t mind using a little darkness. It makes the light brighter.
5. Do you think the Rainbow Man will be returning in any of your future novels?
You never know. My gut reaction is no. But I’ll qualify that by saying the Rainbow Man was an instance of God stepping into the world for a brief moment, and that’s something you’ll always see in my books.
6. What do you think are the earmarks of a great storyteller?
An ear for dialogue, an eye for setting, and a good dose of honesty. And I think the best stories—the ones that stand the test of time—are those who don’t just tell what happens, but also speak to the deepest parts of us and what it means to be human.
7. How do you stay true to your faith in your novels without going overly religious that might turn some readers off?
I always think of the book of Esther in the Old Testament. God’s never mentioned once in those ten chapters, and yet He’s everywhere—just behind the scenes. That’s what I try to keep in mind when I write.
8. You say you wanted to be a baseball player growing up, have you considered the possibility of writing a book about a baseball player?
Oh, I’m sure sooner or later the subject of baseball will come up in a book. Or two. There are already a couple of ideas floating around.
9. What would the local people around your small town have to say about Billy Coffey?
I’m not sure a lot of them know I write books, or if they do, they don’t much care. I’m just Billy to all of them, and I like that just fine.
10. What is the biggest compliment/reward you’ve received since having your books published?
I think every writer wants to hear from readers who say this story was great or that character was riveting, but the best rewards to me are those who say a book or a blog post has really helped them through a rough time in their lives. That’s what I live for.
So there you have it in a nutshell! I want to personally thank Billy Coffey for taking some time out of his day to answer these questions. If you haven't already done so you can find more about Billy Coffey by visiting his website and while your there you can even get 30% off When Mockingbirds Sing by clicking here.
You can also follow Billy Coffey on Facebook so you don't miss out on any of his novels or short stories.
You can find his latest novel at your favorite book retailer or on Amazon by clicking here.
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Nelson (June 4, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401688217
- ISBN-13: 978-1401688219
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The one thing I love most about reading books is their uncanny ability to transport us to a place we'd never imagined we would go or experience things we would never want to but still like to be an outsider looking in. Erin Healy is a master at both of these events. In her latest suspense novel, Afloat, we meet Vance Nolan who has developed a revolutionary idea of building homes that can float inside a sheltered cover, providing the experience of an water-view home in a vastly different perspective. Originally Vance created these modular, green-friendly homes to provide alternative housing for the homeless in the small town called Eagle's Talon, so defined from the unique riverfront shape of land that houses what will be 96 modular units, in 12 buoyant buildings.
The one thing lacking in all of this master build planning is the financial component and soon that appears to be solved with the backing of Tony Dean, a wealthy developer who sees these units as something larger than providing them for the homeless. He convinces Vance to build them with a higher end clientele in mind and spears heads the sales with the help of an attractive single mom, Danielle Clement and her son Simeon. Yet when a freak and unexpected storms rocks the small cove, along with a series of unexplained accidents, it seems that there is more going on that just what lies beneath the pristine waters. Darkness soon falls to those that find themselves trapped with no apparent way out.
I received Afloat by Erin Healy compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity Book Tours for my honest review. I received no monetary compensations for a favorable review. This is now my third book from Erin and once again she manages to captivate me right from the beginning. I was turning pages and trying to follow along while making my own guesses on what exactly was going on. There is a supernatural twist to this one that really makes you wonder about the people who come into our lives in unexpected ways and the ending is one that has you completely on the edge of your seat. I'd rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion and know that I will most certainly add Erin Healy to my Must Watch List.
For more information about Afloat, Erin Healy or where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:
You can follow Erin Healy on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.
To read more reviews on Afloat from the Litfuse Publicity Book Tour please click here.
Erin Healy is celebrating the release of her latest novel Afloat (Thomas Nelson) with an iPad Mini giveaway.
- An iPad Mini
- iTunes gift card
- Afloat by Erin Healy
Don't miss a moment of the fun; ENTER today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Visit Erin's blog on the 17th!
"Always trying to save the world, aren't you Jace? Well, look where it's gotten you now."
If-onlys crowded out hope. If only he'd upgraded to first class, maybe he wouldn't have arrived so sleep deprived, and his reactions would have been quicker. If only he'd let someone else pick him up at the airport instead of agreeing to drive a friend's Land Rover. If only that last goat hadn't tried to cross the road. He slipped his hand into his suit pocket and closed it around a small wad of shillings, the local currency in Kenya. If only he'd been willing to pay the bribe, he could have avoided the whole mess.
He should have known that the crowd that gathered around his Land Rover would have sided with the locals. "He was speeding," they had all agreed. Kikuyu mamas with colorful clashing sweaters and headscarves. Barefoot children pushing roasted corn beneath his nose, hoping for a sale. An old man on a donkey cart had rubbed his gray-chin stubble and nodded with apparent wisdom. "Shouldn't race on our roads." Everyone claimed it was Jace's fault. If he had only paid the bribe. If only.
In the latest novel from author Harry Kraus, An Open Heart takes the readers into the heart of Africa, right into the Great Rift Valley that separates Africa in two for his suspense thriller. The book opens with Jace Rawlings, a US heart surgeon who is sitting in a Kenyan jail awaiting the outcome of his crime, one that in most eyes would be ruled an accident but only if you were in the US. Only Jace wasn't in the US and now he could only begin to think of a way out of this mess. Only the prime minister of parliament in Nairobi is taking matters into his own hands to free Jake. He has consulted with Mzee Simeon Okayo, a town elder of Kisii who practices traditional witchcraft to assist with this most urgent matter and one that needs to be managed with discretion.
Only now it seems that Jace Rawlings has powers that even the local villagers have begun to take notice of beginning with the victim who died at the scene of his accident. Now it seems that what was once dead has now returned to life and now Jace it seems is the new magic man! Just when Jace arrived in Africa to escape his troubles in the US it seems like new ones have found their way to Africa and Jace's running is about to end.
I received An Open Heart by Harry Krauss compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and David C Cook Publishers for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. This is an interesting look at just what missionaries have to deal with in Africa. Not only the differences in cultures but also in religion. While the character of Jace Rawlings exemplifies the Christian doctor, he has to deal with the local people who still believe in the traditional witchdoctors to deal with virtually everything that happens to them from the crops to the weather. Is there more at work here than meets the eye? You'll have to pick this one up to see what the dead who are brought back to life have to say! I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I've read quite a few of Harry Kraus novels and the experience of being a board-certified surgeon and medical missionary bring a sense of realism to this novel in unremarkable ways.
For more information about An Open Heart, Harry Kraus, or where to pick up a copy of this novel today, please click on the links below:
To read more reviews on An Open Heart from the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Tour, please click here.
- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: David C. Cook (June 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0781405351
- ISBN-13: 978-0781405355
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches