Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Deadly Echoes"(Finding Sanctuary Book #2) by Nancy Mehl

Book Description
 January 27, 2015
After a youth filled with tragedy and upheaval, Sarah Miller's life is finally settled with all echoes of the past silent at last. She happily calls Sanctuary her home and spends her days teaching at the local school.

Sarah's joy at her recent reunion with her sister, Hannah, and meeting the niece she didn't know she had is too soon interrupted when Deputy Sheriff Paul Gleason informs Sarah her sister has been killed.

As she learns more about Hannah's death, the circumstances are eerily similar to their parents' murder. Sarah enlists Paul's help in digging deeper into the murders the police are dismissing as burglaries gone wrong. Paul's concern encourages Sarah's growing feelings for him, but as their investigation peels back the layers of lies almost twenty years old, they get close to uncovering the truth one person will do anything to hide--even if that means coming after the last remaining members of the Miller family.

"Mehl is an amazing author who gives fans what they want and more in every book. The believable, smooth-running storyline features suspense, mystery and family tragedy with characters who are kind and charming...and a few who are not what they appear to be." - RT :Book Reviews
Author Info

Nancy Mehl lives in Festus, Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She's authored fifteen books and is currently at work on a new romantic suspense 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. "It's a part of me and of everything I think or do. 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 especially for your life, and there is nothing you can't overcome with His help." 

You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at: www.nancymehl.com or find her newsletter at: www.nancymehl.blogspot.com. She also is active on the Suspense Sisters: www.suspensesisters.blogspot.com and on FaceBook!
My Review: "Deadly Echoes" by Nancy Mehl is the second book in the (Finding Sanctuary Series). This book is my favorite one by Nancy Mehl. Yes, it is fiction and a mystery but it had some hard hitting facts that spoke to my heart,that is why I like to read so much, you never know when you might read something that speaks personally to you through the written word.
Here are two quotes from "Deadly Echoes" that especially spoke to me "I've come to the conclusion that true humility is believing what God says about you when everything inside you screams you're not who He says you are."  "Comparing ourselves to other people only brings unhappiness. We almost always come up lacking. I think God hates it when we do that. He made each one of us special and unique. When we judge ourselves against someone else, isn't it saying that God didn't do a good job in creating us? Isn't it degrading His handiwork?" I think that is a powerful statement, of course in the book Sarah was added after the first sentence but I left it out to make the statement more powerful to fit anyone and especially ME.
Once again Nancy Mehl has written a book that is hard to put down because the cast of characters are believable and you are invested in these characters and you just have to see what happens next.
Sarah Miller learns to accept that she is who God created her to be and she doesn't have to keep comparing herself to her sister. This book teaches life lessons as well as gives the reader a little spine tingling adventure. 
I was surprised at the ending, really didn't guess who the criminal was.  If you want to read a book that touches all of your emotions, then I definitely recommend " Deadly Echoes" by Nancy Mehl.
Yes there is murder and crime but it is written in a way that is not gory or nothing that anyone should find offensive. I give "Deadly Echoes" by Nancy Mehl five stars. I cannot wait to read her next book. 
I received this book from bookfun.org in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

"The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman" by Carole Brown

Book Description

 October 21, 2013
Caralynne Hayman is angry and bitter over the abuse and death of her eleven-year-old daughter at the hands of a radical religious cult—The Children of Righteous Cain. So when her husband, a founding member of the cult, suffers a massive heart attack, Caralynne allows her husband to die.

Caralynne’s secret seems safe until Dayne MacFarland returns, determined to learn the truth about the cult. His investigation and his rekindled love for Caralynne lead the pair toward a confrontation with the group’s elders.

Can Dayne’s love for Caralynne bridge the gulf of anger and bitterness that divides the community? Or will Caralynne’s deadly secrets prove too high a price for her redemption? 


Author Info:Carole Brown's debut novel, The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman, is a RWA Oklahoma International Digital Award 2nd place winner, a Clash of the Titles top three finalist, a Selah Award finalist in debut novels, and a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest. 

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, she enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband have ministered and counseled across the country. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 

I'd love to connect with readers at: 
Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/ 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/browncarole212
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

I also participate on:
Barn Door Book Loft: http://www.barndoorbookloft.net
Geezers Gals and Guys: http://geezerguysandgals.blogspot.com/
Stitches in Time: http://stitchesthrutime.blogspot.com/

My Review:  "The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman" by Carole Brown was a hard book to read as it deals with spousal abuse and sexual abuse of both women and children. There is nothing wrong with the writing, just the subject is an emotional one! But it was a good book. I felt it described cult living and I hope none of my family and friends are ever put in a situation like Caralynne.

This book had me turning the pages to see what was going to happen. I was intrigued with the whole story.

This story is about what evil can do but also about what love and hope and belief in the Lord Jesus can do. 

There was a couple of times I wanted to quit reading this book because of the subject matter but I am so glad I read it to the end, it was a great ending and even though I didn't see it ending the way it did, it was a fitting ending!

I recommend this book but just be prepared to have your tissues handy because it does pull at your heartstrings!

I am giving "The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman" by Carole Brown five stars. 

I was given an ebook copy by Avid Reader Reviews.com in exchange for my honest review.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

" A Road Unknown" by Barbara Cameron

Book Description

 February 4, 2014
Elizabeth is at a crossroad. Will rumschpringe lead her away? Or bring her home?
She's been given the chance to experience life outside of her community, away from the responsibility to care for her eight younger siblings, but Elizabeth Bontrager can't decide which road to take. Goshen has its charms and pressures, but Paradise, Pennsylvania, sounds . . . well, like paradise. And it's also home to her Englisch friend, Paula. Decision made. Elizabeth is Paradise bound.

But will the small town live up to its name? When Elizabeth meets Paula's friend, Bruce, she quickly learns he wants more than a friendship. And the same might be true of Saul Miller, her new boss at the country story that sells Amish products to the Englisch community. As the two compete for her attention, Elizabeth is surprised to realize she misses her family and becomes even more uncertain about where she belongs. She has a choice to make: return home or embrace this new life and possibly a new love?

A About the Author

Barbara Cameron has a heart for writing about the spiritual values and simple joys of the Amish. She is the best-selling author of more than 40 fiction and nonfiction books, three nationally televised movies, and the winner of the first Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award. Her books have been nominated for Carol Awards and the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Award from RWA’s Faith, Hope, and Love chapter. Barbara resides in Jacksonville, Florida.

My Review:"A Road Unknown"is the first book in Barbara Cameron's Amish Road Series. There are some characters from her series"A Stitch In Time".  I really liked this book and especially liked these two quotes from the book"Supper's not just about eating. It's also about enjoying family and making memories." and" Sometimes when we let go and stop trying to tell Him what's best for us we find it, eh?"  I just felt there was so much truth in those two statements.
Elizabeth Bontrager is tired of not being able to go to singings or have any fun because she has to take care of her eight younger siblings. She leaves to go Paradise, Indiana because it is well, Paradise. 
On the bus she meets Saul. Then she meets Bruce through her English friend Paula. Both Saul and Bruce want to get to know her more. Which one is the right one for her?
There are a couple of fun scenes in this book that I literally laughed out loud reading them.
This is a fun read and even through it is Amish I didn't feel it was the average Amish story! I have book 2 and book 3 in my to be read pile.
I am giving this book four stars. 
I was given a copy of "A Road Unknown" by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

"Mail Order Brides: Montana's Bride (A historical western romance novelette series ~ Book 2)" by Susette Williams

Book Description

 December 9, 2014
99¢ ~ An Inspirational Romantic Novelette
Montana’s Bride ~ Book 2

Montana Kincaid figures if writing a mail order bride worked out so well for his youngest brother, why not try it himself? He’s made sure to ask all the right questions so he doesn’t end up with any of the surprises Jessie had. But life is often full of surprises—unfortunately, they’re not all good surprises!

Mary Dobson lost her parents when she was still a child. Her aunt and uncle took her in and to raise. Out of obligation, Mary corresponded with Calvin, a friend of theirs, but stopped writing him once she started receiving letters from Montana. Unsettled by a recent letter from Calvin, Mary decides it best that she join her fiancé, Montana, several months earlier than planned.

Did runaway brides exist as early as the 1800s? Or is there more trouble brewing on the homestead? The Kincaids are not strangers to danger, but this time, will they lose a new addition to their family?

Mail Order Brides series:

Jessie’s Bride
Montana’s Bride
Caleb’s Bride
Marshall’s Bride 
Author Info:



Susette Williams is the mother of six, and has been married to her husband for 31 years. She loves writing various genres; anything from romance, mystery, and suspense to name a few. She usually can't resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way.




My Review:"Montana's Bride" is the next novelette and takes up where "Jessie's Bride " leaves off. I enjoyed this story as well but it wasn't as exciting as "Jessie Bride" but then I don't think the Kincaid family would like it to be that exciting but before you think there wasn't excitement let me assure you there was! 

I am really enjoying these little stories and it helps that I can read them right after each other and not have to wait to start the next one and I love the fact that they end without a cliff hanger!

I am giving "Montana's Bride" five stars. I was given a pdf file for my honest review!

Mail Order Brides: Jessie's Bride (A historical western romance novelette series ~ Book 1) by Susette Williams

 September 25, 2014
Book Description
99¢ ~ An Inspirational Romantic Novelette
Jessie’s Bride ~ Book 1

Jessie Kincaid doesn’t plan to follow in his three older brothers’ footsteps, which seems to include being bachelors. There might be twice as many men as women in their town, but there are still other ways to go about finding, or competing, for a wife.

Jessie begins writing Sarah Engle in hopes that she will become his mail order bride. Even though there are miles between them, he feels connected to her. He sends her money, along with a stage coach ticket, to come see him so that they can be married.

Not everyone is happy with their decision to wed. When the preacher said, till death do you part, did he mean literally? Or can a mail order bride and her groom truly have a happily ever after?     

Mail Order Brides series: 

Jessie’s Bride
Montana’s Bride
Caleb’s Bride
Marshall’s Bride 

Author Info:
Susette Williams is the mother of six, and has been married to her husband for 31 years. She loves writing various genres; anything from romance, mystery, and suspense to name a few. She usually can't resist the urge to let her ornery sense of humor shine through in one of her characters and has always believed that laughter helps you deal with the obstacles life puts in your way.






My Review: Jessie's Bride is a short fifty six page novelette but it is full of twists and turns to make you feel that you have read a complete book! 

Sarah is determined to marry Jessie even if everyone isn't happy with her choice. She runs away to meet him and they do get marry! 

But the plot is on to separate them. The twists and turns really kept this reader on the seat of her of chair saying Oh no,this can't be!

I am surprised that I'm giving this Five stars since it is so short but like I said it feels like a real book and not a novelette and it doesn't end with a cliff hanger!

I was given a pdf file for my honest review!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"Laurel" by Susan F. Craft with interview

    Book Description

     January 17, 2015
    Desperate to rescue their kidnapped daughter, Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos trek two hundred miles through South Carolina mountains and backcountry wilderness, fighting outlaws, hunger, sleeplessness, and despair. When the trail grows cold, the couple battles guilt and personal shame; Lilyan for letting Laurel out of her sight, and Nicholas for failing to keep his family safe.

    They track Laurel to the port of Charleston as post-Revolutionary War passions reach fever pitch. There, Lilyan, a former patriot spy, is charged for the murder of a British officer. She is thrown into the Exchange Building dungeon and chained alongside prostitutes, thieves, and murderers. Separated from her husband, she digs deep inside to re-ignite the courage and faith that helped her survive the war. Determined to free his wife at any cost, Nicholas finds himself forced back into a life of violence he thought he'd left behind.

    Following a rumor that Laurel may be aboard a freighter bound for Baltimore, Lilyan and Nicholas secure passage on a departing schooner, but two days into the voyage, a storm blows their ship aground on Diamond Shoals. As the ship founders, both are swept overboard.

    Will their love for each other and their faith sustain them as they await word of their missing child? Or is Laurel lost to them forever?'
    Author Info:
    Susan F. Craft retired from a 41-year career as a writer for public television, a communications director for a state agency, a continuing education planner for a university, and a proofreader for the SC Senate. She and her husband of 45 years have two adult children, a son-in-law, a granddaughter, and a granddog. An admitted history nerd, she enjoys painting, singing, listening to music, and sitting on her front porch watching rabbits and geese eat her day lilies. In 2011, Susan's Revolutionary War romantic suspense, The Chamomile, won the SIBA Okra Pick. She is represented by Linda S. Glaz, Hartline Literary Agency.
    My Review:
     "Laurel" by Susan F. Craft is a  followup to"The Chamomile" which I have not read but definitely want to after reading "Laurel". "Laurel" can be a stand alone but I want to read all the books in a series if I read  one! 
    I have to be honest and say I wasn't sure I was going to like this book because I thought it was slow reading but I soon changed my mind! I really like it! The problem might have been that I didn't read "The Chamomile" first and so I didn't know the background but the more I read I couldn't put the book down and read it in one setting.
     This book is about something that as a mother and grandmother I never want to go though or want anyone to, a child is stolen. Laurel is stolen while in her aunt's care and through the aunt is stolen also she returns but has amnesia from being hit and cannot remember what happened to Laurel. 
    I really wanted to cry as Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos hunt to find her and I almost stopped reading this book a couple of times because I was so heartbroken at all they had to go through but I am so glad I continued. 
    This book had this reader amazed at how Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos could remain so strong and be so heartbroken at the same time! There were many surprises in this book and one in particular had this reader thrilled! I know you are saying "What is the surprise" Now come on, you know you want to read this book yourself and find out what I'm talking about. What fun is it if I tell you? 
    While in prison Lilyan befriends other women and helps them while going through her own struggles. I recommend this book to anyone that likes Historical Fiction. I am giving "Laurel" four stars but if I had read "The Chamomile" first I might be giving it five stars because after reading "Laurel"  I understand that it has the same characters and I might have understood the history in the first part of the story a little better. But with that said it was a great book even if a little sad!
    I was given an ebook copy by Avid Reader Reviews.com in exchange for my honest review.  

    Author Interview   
    1 What does your writing process look like?
    I recently retired after working fulltime for 41 years, so my habits have changed a bit.  When I was younger with a husband, two children, and my mom to care for, I would settle down around midnight and write until one and two in the morning. After my mom died and my children grew up and moved away, I continued to write late in the evenings, even on weekends.  
    I was concerned after retiring that I might not know what to do with all the extra time. Believe me, it’s filling up with things to do that have nothing to do with writing. I’ve got to discipline myself better.
    One thing that has remained constant is my ruminating. I will ponder for hours on end before committing my thoughts to paper. I used to create entire scenes and conversations while stalled in traffic, in doctors’ waiting rooms, and in lines at the grocery store. As I have aged, I can’t wait as long between the ruminating and the writing, as many ideas get lost in that process.                                                             

    2 What book do you wish you could have written? 
    Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ 
                                                                                                                                        Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?
    I admire books by authors Lori Benton (2014 triple Christy Award Winner) and Laura Franz, who writes in the same time period, Colonial America, as I.                                          

    4 If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
    Henry Cavill, as he looked in the TV series The Tudors, would play Nicholas Xanthakos. Sarah Bolger would play Lilyan.                                                                     

    5 How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
    I often find names in my research. For example, for my novel The Chamomile, I found a roster of almost 200 prisoners aboard one of three British prison ships anchored in the Charlestown (Charleston), SC, harbor in 1781.
    We have some very old cemeteries in South Carolina, going back to the 1600s. I’ve found names of people and their stories written on tombstones.
    Several characters in my novel Laurel are Scottish, and I found names for them in a book I have about the clans, their history, mottos, battle cries, and tartans.
    For one of my novels, I had a “tribe,” a group of five women who encouraged me and prayed for me while I was writing – they even prayed when my computer crashed. Their names appear in the novel.
    I often use the books All the Women of the Bible and All the Men of the Bible for inspiration for first names.                                                                                                         

    6 What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
    I’m most proud of my 45-year marriage and the loving relationship and friendship my husband and I have maintained and nurtured. It hasn’t been easy. Like many people we’ve had good and bad times, times of plenty and times of leanness, good health and sickness, and lots of give and take                                                                                           

    Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
    In 10 years I’ll be 76.  I like to think of myself gliding over the Blue Ridge Mountains in a hot air balloon at the peak of the autumn leaves, oohing and aahing at the wonder of it all.                                                                                                                                 

    Were you already a great writer? Have you always liked to write?                                 I wrote my first book (10 handwritten pages) when I was eight. I bound it using two pieces of cardboard box sewn together with dental floss.  I entitled it, The Secret of the Whistling Cave. I was into mysteries, having read every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. 
    I kept my writing to myself in my teen years, and then went to college where I earned a BA in Journalism. My first job was as a writer for educational television. From there, I was an assistant director of communications at a SC state agency, then a continuing education planner for the SC College of Pharmacy, and ended my 41-year career as a proofreader for the SC Senate Committee on Judiciary.
    Some of it was, I told myself at the time, not what I really wanted to be writing—articles for agency publications, informational materials, speeches for the agency director. It was “my day job” that I couldn’t quit because I couldn’t get anyone interested in my novels.                                                                                                    

    What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?
    Persistence trumps talent. I could be the poster child for persistence (some might call it hard-headedness). I’ve been writing for 35 years, honing my craft at more writing conferences and reading more books about writing than I can remember. I simply refused to give up until I found someone interested in representing and publishing my novels. All those years I worked fulltime, took care of my family, and made time for writing—sometimes into the early morning hours. And praying … I should have said that first.
    • After editing on the screen or in print, read your work aloud. You’ll be amazed at how many awkward sentences you can fix this way.
    Join a critique group, preferably with people who write in your genre. (Or find a critique partner.)
    Attend as many writers’ conference and workshops as you can. These things can get expensive, so check them out for those that sound helpful to you and your level of writing. The networking is invaluable.
    Read – a lot, especially the great writers. You’ll soon come to recognize what excellent writing is.
    Enter writing contests; sometimes you get tremendous feedback from judges and you get name recognition, awards, and rewards if you win.
    Volunteer to work at your local Book Festivals. They are the ones who will invite you to speak once you’ve been published. You’ll meet some fine people and network with published authors who usually have good advice.
    If you write historical fiction, PLEASE, make every effort to assure that your facts are correct and your history is good.
    Get an agent. Some writers complain that it is unnecessary and ask why they should give another person a piece of the royalties. My agent, Linda S. Glaz, with Hartline Literary Agency, is my best ally. She knows where my book should be, and she knows the people to send it to, and they respect her opinions. While she’s promoting my novel, I’m free to write. Finding an agent is as difficult as finding a publisher.
    For Christian writers. Pray about and for what you are writing. Ask yourself, will this glorify his name? Will it lift up your readers? Will they be a better person for having read what you’ve written? Have you done your absolute best to honor the absolute sacrifice that was made for you? Will you handle rejection with grace and accolades with humility?                                                                                                        

    10 If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
    I recently retired after working fulltime 45 years, and although I loved my work and made many dear friends from among my coworkers, I don’t want to think about what I’d do for a living. My ambition is to learn to cook again, now that I have the time. And of course, napping, there’s an art to it, which I’m pursuing.                                             

    11 Are you a plotter or a pantster?
    I ruminate (what a good word) for a long time before I sit down to write. I have entire bits of dialogue and scenes going through my head – at stop lights, in the doctor’s waiting room, standing in line at the grocery store…
    I do plot some because I write historicals that require a timeline of events, a template that overlays the lives of my characters.                                                          

    12 Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
    I do read reviews of my novels. I’m always prepared to hone my writing skills, which is a result of criticism. So far, the only bad one I’ve received was 2 stars for The Chamomile. The person said they couldn’t relate to my characters, but even she realized looking at the other reviews, that she was alone in that thought. Now, if several people said that, I would take a look again and try to figure out why.                  

    13 What is your best marketing tip?
    I’ve learned that being an author is not only about writing. Authors are expected to be active on all the social media. It’s not all about selling your books, though; it’s about creating relationships.
    Consider social media as a way of sharing your passion. For example, the posts I contribute have something to do with history, especially the Revolutionary War. I’ll run across a tidbit of historical information, I call them “my treasures,” and can’t wait to share them. 
    Then when the time comes and you have a novel published, your “cyber friends” may become your best allies, sharing posts, and passing along the news to their friends.
    Exercise control, though. Social media outlets can be time stealers. Set time limits. I happen to love Pinterest and can while away lots of time there, if I’m not careful.
    Hone your writing craft. Become the best wordsmith you can be.  Write to inform, not to impress—no one wants to have to consult a dictionary when they’re reading your works. Write from your heart.
    Take some public speaking classes. They will prepare you to speak before groups. Remember, no group is too small. I once met with a book club that had five members. They really read my book and shared amazingly interesting perspectives. We had a fantastic time. You know why? We all love books and can’t get enough of them.                            

    14 What is your least favorite part of the publishing / writing process?
    I’m a reserved person, so putting myself and my work “out there” is difficult for me, except in small, intimate settings such as a book club or with people who love history as I do. I can tout another author’s book all day long, but am not comfortable touting mine.  I was that Girl Scout who knocked on your door and asked, “You don’t want to buy any cookies, do you?”
    Authors are expected to be active on social media sites. I’m 66 and didn’t grow up using a computer. Technology intimidates me.  Here’s my way of overcoming my trepidation about social media—if my heroine, Lilyan, can survive trekking through the wilderness searching for her lost daughter and enduring the loneliness and despair of being thrown into a dungeon, then I can learn how to tweet!                                               

    15 Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?
    I love the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference near Asheville, NC.  The setting is glorious, the quiet serenity of the atmosphere is ideal, the faculty is stellar, and the praise and worship sessions are uplifting.                                                             

    16 Is there a certain type of scene that's harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy? 
    Sad scenes are difficult for me. I’m an incredibly empathetic, sentimental person and cry easily. I carry around a heaviness of spirit with me long after writing a gloomy scene. One evening after writing a tragic scene, I was crying. My husband hurried into my office to see what was the matter. When I told him, he patted my shoulder and said, “They aren’t real, you know?” What?!!                                                                         

    17 Is this your first book? How many books have you written prior (if any?)
    In 2006, I self-published a Civil War novel, A Perfect Tempest.  My novel, The Chamomile, the prequel to Laurel, was traditionally published in 2011. It won the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick.  In 2014, a short story of mine was published in a best-selling anthology, Christmas Treasures. My novel, Cassia, the sequel to Laurel, will be published this September by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas.
    I have two Harlequin-type contemporary romances in my files, which will probably remain there. One that I wrote many years ago is cringe-worthy. ☺                             

    18 What are you working on now? What is your next project?
    I’m almost finished ruminating about The Great Wagon Road, a trail from Philadelphia to Savannah, GA, which immigrants took from 1720-1760 when settling the Southeast.                                                                                                                       

    19 Who is your favorite author and why?
    Lew Wallace is my favorite author because he wrote my most favorite book, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ                                                                                                         

    20 Where is one place you want to visit that you haven't been before?                                         ’d like to take a mule ride through the Grand Canyon and then take a tour of as many US national parks as I can.                                                                                                    

    21When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
    I first realized I wanted to be a writer when my third grade teacher read to our class a novel she was working on.  She made me realize that authors aren’t “out there” but are ordinary people just like me. I wrote my first book (10 handwritten pages) when I was eight. I bound it using two pieces of cardboard box sewn together with dental floss.  I entitled it, The Secret of the Whistling Cave. I was into mysteries, having read every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on.                                                               

    22 How long does it take you to write a book?
    Because I write historicals, I want the information I provide in my novels to be as accurate as possible. Consequently, I research quite a bit—usually a year or two—before I ever sit down to write. As far as the actual writing, it depends. Some days I may write 1,000 words. Other days, not so much.

    23 What do you like to do when you're not writing?                                                                I love spending time with my family. My husband and I take long drives through the countryside and up to a nearby lake, Lake Murray, to watch the sailboats. I read quite a lot too. I have 10 books awaiting me on my Kindle.                                                          

    24 What does your family think of your writing?
    They are my best encouragers. I recently hosted a book launch on FaceBook for my novel Laurel, and my son left a comment that said something like, “As great a writer as my mom is, she’s an even better mom.” Well, you know that made me cry.                           
                                                                                                                                       25 What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
    I never planned to write a trilogy about my characters Lilyan and Nicholas Xanthakos, but was surprised at how much my readers and I loved them and didn’t want to let them go.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                         26 Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
    Hone your writing craft. Become the best wordsmith you can be.  Write to inform, not to impress—no one wants to have to consult a dictionary when they’re reading your works. Write from your heart.                                                                                             

    27 Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?                          I keep getting the most amazing compliments on my latest novel, Laurel. Over and over, people say they couldn’t put it down or that they read it in one sitting. That is the best compliment an author can receive.

    Monday, February 9, 2015

    "The Crimson Cord" by Jill Eileen Smith


    Book Description

     February 10, 2015
    "Rahab's story is one of the most moving redemption accounts in Scripture. The Crimson Cord perfectly captures all the drama of the original, fleshing out the characters with care and thought. Jill's storytelling skills kept me reading late into the night. A beautiful tale, beautifully told!"--Liz Curtis HiggsNew York Times bestselling author of Mine Is the Night

    Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution, she despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.

    In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls--or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

    Under Jill Eileen Smith's talented hand, the familiar story of Rahab bursts forth in high definition. Immerse yourself in a world of dark and dusty streets, clandestine meetings, and daring escapes as a mysterious biblical figure claims her full humanity--and a permanent place in your heart.

    Author Info:

    :
    Jill Eileen Smith is the author of Desert Princess (ebook short) #1 Loves of King Solomon series, the Wives of the Patriarchs series, the upcoming Daughters of the Promised Land series, and the bestselling author of the Wives of King David series. When she isn't writing, she can often be found reading, biking, traveling, spending time with friends, or snugging her feline writing buddy Tiger. She especially enjoys spending time with her family. 

    To learn more about Jill or for more information about her books, visit her website at www.jilleileensmith.com. You can also contact Jill at jill@jilleileensmith.com. She loves hearing from her readers.





    My Review:
    "The Crimson Cord" by Jill Eileen Smith is a wonderful book about Rahab, a prostitute that helps spies when they came to spy out Jericho. Jill Eileen Smith has written a beautiful story of heartache and love and forgiveness. The love is between Rahab and the God she learns to love and to know He loves her!

    I have loved every book of Jill Eileen Smith that I have read. She writes Biblical fiction so well that the reader can almost believe they was there when the Biblical account was happening, she researches her facts well before she writes the story.

    While reading "The Scarlet Cord" I felt Rahab's pain and sorrow,as the story was written so well that the words just reveals how she was feeling.

    Jill Eileen Smith has written another five star novel. Though this work is mostly fictional she does explain why she draws the conclusions that Rehab married who she does in her story and not the man she does in other books written by others!

    In "The Crimson Cord" we see that maybe Rahab wasn't a prostitute by choice and even if she was, we learn that we all need to be forgiven for something, even if it is pride!

    I read this in  "The Crimson Cord" by Jill Eileen Smith and was amazed when I read Rahab's statement about the effort on our hearts! Any thoughts from any of you, my blog followers? I ask this because I like when a book can lead to discussions and bring us closer to understanding and following our Saviour closer! Yes, " The Crimson Cord" by Jill Eileen Smith is written about a woman from the Old Testament that we don't know much about but the sacrifices they are discussing will be replaced by Jesus's sacrifice, so I don't feel my statement is taking anything away from the story line.  So here is the quote, " Rahab nodded. In the distance, she could hear the bleating of lambs kept in pens near the tents when they weren't out foraging in the fields with the shepherds. " A lot of blood must be spilled because of our sins." The image of the spotless lamb Salmon had chosen for them filled her mind." Why could God not accept a different type of offering? Why must an innocent animal be killed?" " I do not know," Eliana admitted. " All I know is that from the beginning God expected animal sacrifice. Adam's oldest son Cain tried to bring an offering of the fruit of the ground, as though he could choose which way to worship our great Creator. Elohim did not accept him, and in the end, Cain killed the brother God accepted out of jealousy. I think the blood reminds us of how grievous sin is to God." Rahab pondered the thought. " I don't suppose a pomegranate or a fig as an offering would have the same effort on our hearts. To see an innocent life taken in our place is much more humbling than offering Adonai fruit. "

    I was given a copy of "The Scarlet Cord" as part of the Launch Team and for my honest review!

    Sunday, February 8, 2015

    "The Matchmaker" by Sarah Price and Interview

     Hi Sarah! Welcome to my blog. Can you tell my readers all about your new book The Matchmaker?
    Hi Debbie and thanks for inviting me to hop on over to your blog! Always fun to be here and you always have the best questions!!! 
    The Matchmaker is the second book in my Amish Classics series. It is the retelling of Jane Austen’s classic book, Emma. Based in an Amish setting, my Emma follows the same trials and tribulations of Jane Austen’s Emma. She thinks a little too highly of herself and those around her. She is quite happy to express her opinions, often when she shouldn’t. Personally, I love Emma as a character because she is so real. Let’s face it…she’s flawed. Aren’t we all? But her flaws get her into a few situations that will make the reader chuckle. That’s the best part of retelling Jane Austen’s novels: She had the greatest characters!
    You have had a rough year. How do you always have a positive attitude with everything you have been through? 
    Total confession: When I was diagnosed with breast cancer and it turned out to be a little more serious than they originally thought and then the plastic surgeon basically maimed my body which took almost TWO YEARS to fix, I made a big mistake. While I’m not partial to whining and adopting a “woe is me” attitude, I think I could have been a little LESS positive. 
    There were times when people actually forgot about what I was going through! The surgeries, the recovery, the chemotherapy, the hair loss (which was the total pits), more surgeries…That takes a huge emotional toll on a person. Everyone has problems, but people who are strong on the outside might be breaking down on the inside. 
    Being strong comes with a price and sometimes you do have to cry and have a pity party in order to get back on your feet. And for family members of someone who is going through tough times, compassion and understanding is helpful. I have another confession…my cyber-family never once strayed with their love, support, and prayers. During difficult time, I turn to them more than anyone else. <3

    Do you write real life experiences in your books?
    Definitely! In fact, I am doing this more than ever. An Amish Buggy Ride and An Empty Cup (Waterfall Press) incorporate many real life experiences, experiences that people are often afraid to address: bullying, verbal abuse, alcoholism, domestic violence, depression. The problems that we face are not unique to us. These are universal problems…and the Amish face them, too. I know it’s nice to think that the Amish have the perfect lives, but they are people and people have personalities. You put a bunch of people into a room and there’s going to be clashes. It’s human nature. Some readers might not care to read (or even believe!) these situations…but I can assure you that anything that happens in our world—the good, the bad, and the ugly—happens in theirs. 

    What is your greatest accomplishment so far?
    OK, I know I’m supposed to say something like raising my children or supporting charities, or rescuing animals (all of which are, indeed, great accomplishments), but my greatest accomplishment is my sheer determination to face even the most difficult and scary challenges without sacrificing who I am as a person. I’m not perfect. No one except Jesus is perfect. And God has plans for us, whether we like them or not. I have a very strong work ethic and work for what I achieve. I don’t like things given to me; they have to be earned. And if that means facing difficult challenges or putting in 14 hours days, I will do it. There is a saying that if God brought you to it, God will help you through it. Well, the key word there is “help”—He is not just carrying you through it, He is helping you through it. That means that we have to try to help ourselves, too. Lean on God and He will HELP us…but He isn’t just going to give it to us. 

    If you were younger and knew what you know now what would you change and why?
    Probably nothing. Honest. I know that’s a boring answer, but it’s true. If I changed one thing, I might have moved to Paris as a fashion designer, quit college to become a professional cowgirl, or run off with the circus (well, since I actually DID that, maybe that’s a bad example). Besides, in my heart, I’m still a kid at times and I feel like I’m 29 years old. In fact, my son gives me a birthday card that says “Happy 29th Birthday for the XX time.”  I’m not telling you the XX part. ;-)

    How do you meet all of your deadlines and still meet all of your family's responsibilities?
    I work very, very well under pressure and I have an awesome family. My husband and my two children get “it”. When I’m a stress maniac and writing to meet deadlines, they leave me alone. My husband just built me a writing room that is connected to the bedroom. It’s actually a really cool library…I call it my woman cave. I just disappear and write. My husband feeds Alex and Cat, or runs them places. I couldn’t do it without the three of them. Oh, and of course, I always have Tobi to keep me company while I’m writing. I talk to him a lot and brainstorm storylines. He’s an awesome writing companion. 

    What is your favorite book that you have written? 
    Hands down, the Plain Fame series. That was a scary book to introduce to my readers. I simply could not believe how it took off! Combining a young Amish woman with a Cuban international star? And it worked??? Wow. But, like I responded earlier, I love challenges. 
    The idea came to me while walking to work in Manhattan (I used to teach at a college there). I was irritated that my fan crush, Pitbull, was performing at Rockefeller Plaza and I couldn’t go watch; I had to teach instead. I was talking on the phone, complaining about this devastating loss on my part, and the other person said, “Well, maybe you’ll get lucky and his limo will hit you when you cross Fifth Avenue!”
    Happy birthday, Amanda and Alejandro! Literally, that was the day that they were born. 
    Without doubt, they are my favorite characters. I love their love story, the way they talk to each other, how he helps her adapt to change, how she helps tame him. They feel like family to me. And their story is not over yet so…stay tuned…
    Who is your favorite author?
    Obviously I love Jane Austen. I also love Victor Hugo and plan on retelling Les Miserables in an Amish setting. I appreciate their style of writing and the hidden elements and layers of the story that make if great literature.  
    Now, as far as more contemporary authors, true storytellers, who inspired me…Laura Ingalls Wilder, Alex Haley, John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, and Tracy Chevalier. Now there are five authors that you normally wouldn’t see grouped together! Each of those authors wrote books that impacted me in different ways…ways that made me want to refine both my writing AND my storytelling skills. 

    What’s next for you?
    The sequel for the Plain Fame Trilogy, Plain Return, is going to be released in October. I know that my readers will be quite pleased with this novel. I receive letters and emails almost daily requesting more Amanda and Alejandro. Of course, there are more Jane Austen adaptations, too. 
    If you would like to learn more about The Matchmaker and visit other tour stops here is the link to take you to the Blog Tour List.

    The Preiss family emigrated from Europe in 1705, settling in Pennsylvania as the area's first wave of Mennonite families. Sarah Price has always respected and honored her ancestors through exploration and research about her family history and their religion. At nineteen, she befriended an Amish family and lived on their farm throughout the years.
    As a masterful storyteller, Sarah Price prides herself on presenting an authentic Amish experience for her readers. Many of her stories are based on actual people she has met and her own experiences living among the Amish over the years. Sarah now resides in Morris County, New Jersey with her family. 
    While she started out as an Indie author, she signed on with Realms, an imprint of Charisma House and Waterfall Press, an imprint of Brilliance Publishing. Her first book, First Impressions: An Amish Adaptation of Pride and Prejudice was released in May 2014.
    Get the latest news about Sarah Price on Facebook, Twitter, and sarahpriceauthor.com.


    Please use these buy links: Amazon / B&N / Christianbook.com

    My Review:
    I just finished reading "The Matchmaker" by Sarah Price. It is a retelling of Jane Austen's "Emma" only Sarah's Price novel is written from an Amish perspective and I am thinking this is really good! My question is who has read Jane Austen? I haven't read any of Jane Austen's books because I thought I wouldn't like them but I read Sarah Price "First Impression" which is based on "Pride and Prejuice" by Jane Austen only Sarah's was Amish and loved it and then I read Jane Austen's version and loved it! So I am wondering why did I think I wouldn't like Jane Austen before, is it because I didn't think I would like the style, maybe the genre " classic" scared me off but then I loved "Gone With The Wind" and it is a classic. Well, with that said I haven't read "Emma" by Jane Austen but it is now on my to be list as well as the other novels by Jane Austen. 
    "The Matchmaker" by Sarah Price is classic genre with an Amish twist. Emma is determined to never marry but she knows who is the perfect match for her new friend Hannah. At least she thinks she does. Emma means well but her plans aren't what God has planned and hearts are broken! Can they be healed and lives lived as only God planned?
    It was fun to read this book and see how Emma grows out of her prejudice ideals and learns to "Let Go and Let God" This is a fun book with plenty of secrets. I challenge you to read "The Matchmaker" and you will become a Sarah Price fan too!
    "The Matchmaker" is a five star book! 
    I was given a pdf file of "The Matchmaker"  by the publisher for my honest review!