Monday, August 21, 2017

Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman

First light FB Banner copy
To purchase your copy, click here. 

About the Book


Out of Darkness - Ebook Small (1)
Click to purchase

Book title: Out of Darkness
Author: Erynn Newman
Release date: May 18, 2017
Genre: Romantic suspense
Elisabeth Allen gave her heart to Jesus as a little girl and to Drew Marek as a teenager. When their wedding day finally arrives, it’s the happiest day of her life–until a car bomb transforms her dream come true into a living nightmare.
As Best Man at the wedding, Gabriel Di Salvo promises Drew–his best friend and CIA partner–he’ll look after Elisabeth, but he never dreams it will become necessary so soon. As Elisabeth struggles to put the pieces of her life back together without Drew, Gabe becomes her rock, and as they share their grief and begin to heal, their friendship gradually deepens into something more.
Three years later, Gabe and Elisabeth are planning a future together when he receives a shocking call from the one man who can upend his happiness: Drew. Suspecting someone at the CIA is behind his abduction, Drew refuses to come home. Instead, he asks Gabe to bring Elisabeth to him. Now Gabe just has to figure out how to let her go.
Drew and Elisabeth race across Europe, dodging international arms dealers and attempting to reclaim what was stolen from them. But years of captivity and torture have left their mark on Drew. He is no longer the same boy Elisabeth fell in love with, but he is still her husband, and she’s determined to build something new and leave her relationship with Gabe in the past, if her heart will get the memo.
When their enemies close in and the threat of a terrorist attack escalates, Gabe may be the only person they can trust. Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe are thrown into a fight for their lives–one that will test their loyalties to God, country . . . and each other.

My Review:

A bride, a wedding, a murder passed off as an accident, and a best friend and former best man, who's angry at God allowing something that doesn't make sense at all. With his promise to care for Elisabeth that Gabe gave to Drew, never expecting him to die - Gabe and Elisabeth are strong together. The way Drew died, right off the bat at the front of the book was explosive in every way possible. Now, just as this lovely woman is about find her happily ever-after for the second time, a totally different disaster occurs. I really felt for all the characters in this book. 

From terrorists to love, God and country, this book doesn't let up. Who will Elisabeth wind up with for the rest of her life and why, what, and who was behind this are just a few of the questions you have to read this book to find out about. It's full of excellent suspense, faith, espionage, and mystery.


Gabe

About the Author 

ERN 3 cropErynn Newman is a pastor’s kid, raised in churches all over the Eastern Seaboard. Since earning her degree in Christian Studies, she has traveled the world and served as a missionary, a counselor, an ESL teacher, and a nanny. Though she has never worked with the CIA, her DVR contains a veritable Who’s Who of international spies. She is a Carolina girl, a wife, and Mama to a very busy little boy, two cats, and a gaggle of characters that live inside her head.

20 Facts About Out of Darkness

  1. 1) I write novels while the rest of the house sleeps. That’s also when I do most of my editing work and social media stalking. During the day, I get to hang out with an awesome 4-year-old who is the reason I get up in the morning (both because he’s my heart and because he’s staring into my soul asking me to make pancakes).

  2. 2) I don’t like wine or coffee. My writer fuel is partially frozen Cherry Pepsi.

  3. 3) It took me a long time to realize I was a writer. I thought that everyone made up imaginary people and back stories for them and imagined the lives they lived and sometimes talked to them in traffic. Turns out no. Fortunately other writers found me and helped me figure it out.

  4. 4) My greatest nemeses are also my greatest inspirations. Facebook and Netflix. Finding the balance of hanging out with other writers and readers and being inspired by great story telling and actually doing the work is the hardest thing for me.

  5. 5) I am obsessed with casting characters. Finding the perfect actor/actress or model who embodies my characters is one of my favorite parts of the process. I also do this for every single book I read.

  6. 6) So, of course now you want to know who I chose for Drew, Elisabeth, and Gabe. I’m glad you asked.
    • Drew is based on Matt Bomer’s portrayal of Bryce Larkin in the show Chuck (there are quite a few nods to this show hidden throughout Out of Darkness).
    • Elisabeth is partially based on a character from a show I watched when I was in college (also a waitress and artist), but she looks like this model.
    • Gabe is based not that loosely on (young) Anthony DiNozzo from NCIS.

  7. 7) Our house has a really great office with a nice desk and comfortable chair that looks out on our wooded back yard. But I work almost exclusively while sitting on the couch with my laptop propped up on the back of it. My uniform is yoga pants and an old t-shirt. The author life is G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S.

  8. 8) I got my start writing fan fiction. Most of it has been obliterated from the interwebs, but there may still be a few Star Wars stories floating around out there (I owe this to my love for Ewan MacGregor and my hatred of Annakin Skywalker). Fan fiction is also the way I found my very first critique group. And our leader, Susan Kaye Quinn, best-selling author and real life rocket scientist, helped me realize I could be a real author. And later she taught me how to publish. I want to be her when I grow up.

  9. 9) Speaking of fan fiction, the original idea for Out of Darkness was a fan fiction based on that character from that show I talked about above. The waitress/artist who lost her first love and then fell for someone else. And then when her love returned, he was… recast. And terrible. And she forgot who she was and made every wrong decision. And everyone was miserable ever after.
    And I was like, what even IS this show?!?! So I started writing my version of how it should have gone.
    But then a surprising thing happened. My characters took on lives of their own, and I fell in love with ALL of them, and I knew I had to tell their story. So I started creating a different back story for them (and I introduced them to Jesus), and then they became their own characters and started telling me what to do. And I’m a little insane now, but I’m not even mad because I love what this story has turned into (and turned ME into).

  10. 10) I started writing Out of Darkness in its earliest form in 2006. I stopped and restarted several times. I wrote other things that may or may not ever see the light of day. I learned that I was writing all wrong, and I ripped it apart, started over and stitched it back together piece by piece. In fact, my original chapter one is now chapter FOURTEEN. And all of that is after the first fifty pages that now comprise First Lightthe prequel novelette that tells the story of how Drew and Elisabeth met and fell in love.

  11. 11) Of all the exotic locations mentioned in Out of Darkness: Venice, Italy; Paris, France; Cordoba, Spain; Trim, Ireland; and even Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, I have been to two—Baltimore and Paris.
    Google Maps Street View and Wikipedia are an author’s best friends.

  12. 12) Music inspires me to write, but I can’t write to music. I often hear a song that makes me think of a scene or helps me get the emotion right. And I add those to my play list, but when I write, I prefer quiet (or instrumental music).

  13. 13) I want the Gospel to be front and center in every story I write (including my own), but there were two scenes in particular that I really felt like the Holy Spirit guided me in writing. One is when Drew finds his Bible in the backpack Gabe packed for them, and the other is Gabe’s argument with God when he decides to let Elisabeth go. In both instances, I feel like God really led me to the right Scriptures and gave me the words in a way I didn’t experience with any other scenes.

  14. 14) The hardest scenes were all of the ones with Drew and the gas. Both because I don’t like to torture my characters (contrary to what you may believe) and because the science behind the weapon is way above my head. I worked with a couple of microbiologists to get it at least to plausible/possible, but I’m sure there are still some issues with my science there.

  15. 15) I cried several times while writing this book. Elisabeth and I grieve much the same way, so I saw a lot of myself in her moments crying out to God—especially in the ones where she just wanted to feel Him and couldn’t. I cried when Drew fell apart reading his Bible, and I cried at the end when I wasn’t sure who would live or die.

  16. 16) Gabe was the biggest surprise of the writing process. He was supposed to be out of the picture after chapter sixteen. He was just supposed to be a supporting character in the first half of the book, but at every turn he was tapping me on the shoulder and telling me, “there’s so much more to my story.”

  17. 17) A few scenes didn’t make it into the final book. Two of them are in the outtakessection of my website, but don’t read those until after you’ve read the book. Seriously.

  18. 18) After being told by one agent that Out of Darkness would never sell because it didn’t fit neatly into a genre category, I signed with my current agent in 2012, and we submitted it to several publishers. I received lots of compliments on my writing, but ultimately, people didn’t seem to like the fact that both of my leading men were good guys, and there was no one to root against. One even suggested that I make Gabe complicit in Drew’s abduction. And one suggested I kill Drew (again!) so Elisabeth and Gabe could end up together. Both interesting ideas, but neither were the story I wanted to tell. In the end, I decided to indie publish, which has been really challenging, but I’m so happy with the way everything turned out. We all got the ending we were supposed to have.

  19. 19) Speaking of endings, the one in the final version is very different from the original. I’ll try not to be too spoilery, but let’s just say that the original ending was far less happy, but I felt like it was the only way out. One of my characters made a choice that I couldn’t see any way around. And I thought that a happy ending would be too fake. I didn’t want to tie everything up with a pretty pink bow and say “they all lived happily ever after,” because after everything they’d been through, that wouldn’t be real life. But a very good friend of mine convinced me that I could instead tie everything up with a frayed knot. It’s still messy and difficult and a little raw, but I think it’s real… and full of hope and possibility.

  20. 20)So what’s next, you ask? There’s more to explore here perhaps, but I honestly don’t know what comes next for these characters. That’s something I’m still thinking about.
    The story I’m working on right now also begins in D.C. but takes place mostly in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the story of an ex Army Ranger who has to protect his three little brothers when the youngest witnesses their parents’ murder. And there may also be a girl involved.

Blog Stops

August17: Genesis 5020
August 19: Fiction Aficionado
August 22: Faithfully Bookish
August 22: Mommynificent
August 24: 100 pages per hour
August 25: Carpe Diem
August 26: J.E. Grace Bog
August 26: Karen Sue Hadley
August 27: Back Porch Reads 
August 28: Daysong Reflections
August 29: Remembrancy
August 30: Henry Happens

Giveaway

178830c2-5b4a-449c-9e06-fefb9f3939c7
To celebrate her tour, Erynn is giving away a grand prize of a signed copy of Out of Darkness, a signed copy of First Light, The Joy Eternal~A Sweet and Bitter Providence CD, a $10 Starbucks gift card, and Italian Chocolate Hazelnut Creme Cookies.!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/beac

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kerfuffle by Kristin N. Spencer

Kerfuffle FB Banner copy
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Kerfuffle Front Cover v3
Book title: Kerfuffle
Author: Kristin N. Spencer
Release date: June 1, 2017
Genre: Young Adult
Olive’s best friend needs her now more than ever, but can she piece together everything in time to help him?
When an anonymous email circulates through Normandie High, everything Olive knows about her family, church, and friends will change. In the midst of controversy, Olive finds she has been entrusted to protect her best friend and his secrets, though revealing them would make her life much easier. Meanwhile, she struggles to figure out what the Bible teaches about homosexuality while the members of Revive church lobby accusations back and forth, threatening to cause a church split.
In a twist that even Olive couldn’t anticipate, family relationships waiver as Olive tries to decode her mother’s mysterious behavior. When the past stirs up new accusations against Olive’s family, she learns that some secrets are more painful to reveal than others.
Though a helpful guy in Spanish class has her attention, Olive realizes that boy problems are the least of her worries. Can she balance drama, schoolwork, and still be the supportive friend and daughter God wants her to be? 

My Review:

This is the third book in series. While it started a tad slow for me, it soon ricochets off into all kinds of major issues. They happen to be issues that aren't just teenaged anymore, but they are ones that are serious plaguing our young people of late. Olive has a friend in crisis, so through her life and friends, the book covers topic and issues of sexual abuse, same gender attraction, and friendships. This is not a light-weight read. If your looking for fun and fluffy, this isn't that book. Instead it's a deep and rather heavy one that could work for older teen study groups, and with parents and their older children. I'd say it's at least 9th grade and up, however, these issues are ones we were faced with much younger, like 6th grade. I think the author did a good job with the book and it's characters. 

About the Author 
Kristin Author Photo 2017Kristin N. Spencer is an American expat living in a 68 square meter flat with her husband and three kids near the Aegean Sea. When she isn’t wifing, mothering, counseling, discipling, or writing, she enjoys sewing cosplay costumes for her family, baking, and hanging out with other geeks. She writes whatever she wants, including Non-Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy. Her favorite person is Jesus and her favorite X-men character is Jean Grey. Kristin studied Comparative World Literature at California State University, Long Beach and received a Bachelors, which she fondly calls a degree in reading


Guest Post from Kristin N. Spencer
Retrospective thoughts are so powerful, aren’t they? Now that I’m an adult I often look back on my adolescence and think, “Why didn’t anyone tell me?” As a YA author, I read a lot of books in my own genre, and I’ve noticed a pattern. Though many of the secular YA authors are brave enough to talk about the tough stuff, not many Christian authors go after the real world difficulties that face our young people. The passage of time constantly rips through generations creating new problems and situations. The world that my children are growing up in is very different from what I experienced, and the challenges that they face as Christians are also different. The Desires & Decisions series was born out of the need for me to able to address these controversial topics with my own children. Olive, a teenage girl growing up in Southern California, serves as the lens of perspective as we see almost everything from her point of view. Her world provides a safe, fictional place for Christians to flesh out these thoughts and think through what the Bible teaches about topics like racism, bullying, loving one’s neighbor, what real love is, and addiction.
Kerfuffle specifically explores the complex emotions associated with the Church and the temptation of same sex attraction. We get to experience the conflict Olive feels and also witness the varied reactions from different generations through Olive’s parents and other members of Revive Church. This issue isn’t going away, and as a Church we must be able to talk about it without alienating ourselves from those that struggle with this temptation. There is hope for every person through the blood of Jesus Christ, whether you struggle to love those who experience same sex attraction or you struggle with that temptation yourself. I hope Kerfuffleencourages you as you seek to walk closer to Christ.

Blog Stops

August 15: Bukwurmzzz
August 20: Carpe Diem
August 22: Remembrancy
August 25: Baker Kella
August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

Giveaway

99e7dfe6-edf5-4da0-baa7-6730722c53de
To celebrate her tour, Kristin is giving away a grand prize of all three of her books: Newfangled, Flummoxed, and Kerfuffle and a T-shirt of your choice from the WritersLife Artist Shop ( https://writerslife.threadless.com)!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/bb66

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Scavenger Hunt Tour featuring Molly Jebber




About Molly’s Books:

Change of Heart  

A modern new century brings a young Amish woman an unexpected new life—and a chance to discover love’s true way home…
Ohio, 1899. Soft-spoken midwife Becca Yost lived by her Amish faith’s strict rules—until her fiancĂ© jilted her before their entire community. She’s never been away from home, but the bustling Englischer town of Massillon, Ohio, is a welcome unexpected refuge. Especially when she goes to work for Dr. Matt Carrington, who shares her passion for healing those in need. His outgoing spirit and gentle strength show Becca a surprising new world of choices—and irresistible love. But there is one formidable obstacle: Matt’s wealthy mother is determined her son will marry a society woman.
With her newfound resolve challenged, Becca decides that she and Matt must not be destined for each other after all. She accepts that she will have to forge a life alone—until a wrenching crisis and life-changing revelations teach her that true faith lies in all things, especially impossible second chances. . 
Get it here: http://amzn.to/2tOMMx8

Grace’s Forgiveness

A handsome newcomer with secrets shows a yearning Amish woman a chance at happiness—but their love will need all their courage to keep . . .
Grace Blauch is skilled at midwifery—and crafting quilts that help others pass on messages of enduring family love. But a disfiguring birthmark keeps the young Amish woman from a husband and home of her own—until Mark King arrives from another community. His helpfulness and independent nature earn Grace’s respect. And he finds her outspoken ways and determination to do right irresistibly appealing. Soon Grace is planning a wedding quilt of her very own . . . until her father discovers that Mark’s shunned brother is hiding somewhere in town . . .
Grace can well understand why Mark took such a risk once she hears his wrenching reasons. But she fears even prayer will not convince her father to restore his blessing on their union. She wills herself to face the end of her dreams, but sudden danger and an impossible act of generosity will show her that abiding hope can inspire the most precious of miracles. 
Grace’s Forgiveness: http://amzn.to/2tOQHKl

Two Suitors for Anna

In 1903 Ohio, a young Amish woman must choose between the life she has long planned for and a new, very different future…
Since Anna Plank moved to Berlin, Ohio, with her widowed mamm and two schweschders, she’s found a real sense of belonging. As soon as her beloved Noah Schwartz proposes, they’ll begin a new chapter here together. But Noah has a surprise for Anna: once they’re married, he wants them to travel and live in other communities. Anna, who loves her home and her job at the quilt shop, is distraught when he takes her hesitation as rejection—and leaves.
Daniel Bontrager’s arrival adds to Anna’s confusion. Since taking over his late brother’s farm, the handsome roofer has offered friendship and gentle attentions. Yet the pull of first love is strong and deep, especially when Noah returns. Through each revelation, Anna must search her faith for guidance, knowing she is choosing not just a husband, but a life to nurture and to share…


About Molly:
Molly Jebber’s books have been featured in Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today’s HEA, and Romantic Times has given them a near excellent rating. She’s on RWA’s Honor Roll. She’s a speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, and she offers presentations on writing, publishing, Amish lifestyle and traditions. She has received widespread media coverage, including live interviews, across the United States for her books and speaking engagements.
She’s just signed a new contract for four more Amish books! She loves interacting with her readers. She loves God, her husband, family and friends. She has a hard time saying no to cupcakes, swimming, nine holes of golf, and walks on the beach. Coconut, oatmeal, and onions, on the other hand, are not hard to say no to!
Scavenger Hunt Stops
Stop by each blog to collect their special word then input the sentence it creates into the giveaway for NINE extra entries! While you are at each stop, don’t forget to comment to claim your bonus entries in the giveaway (the bonus entries for a comment on a blog can be claimed multiple times but only once in a 24 hour period).

August 9: Quiet Quilter
August 12: With a Joyful Noise
August 13: Bigreadersite 
August 15: Karen Sue Hadley
August 17: cherylbbookblog
August 18: Baker Kella
August 20: The Power of Words
August 21: Blossoms and Blessings

Guest Post from Molly:
In TWO SUITORS FOR ANNA:
Anna and her sisters are hiding a secret. One Anna knows is wrong to keep. The love of her life wants her to leave her family behind and travel with him. Her life is in turmoil, and she isn’t sure which way to turn? What does the future hold for Anna?
Have you read CHANGE OF HEART and GRACE’S FORGIVENESS? The first two books in the Keepsake Pocket Quilt Series? They are available in and online in bookstores.
I love interacting with you, and thank you for participating!

Giveaway
Blog Tour Prize is an Amish/English Basket!
One big item: Brand New Coach Purse!
Each day, visit the designated blog, comment, and your name is entered in the contest for a chance to win! The word your looking for on my stop is QUILT.


Enter Below! 











Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Return by Suzanne Woods Fisher (Amish Beginnings #3)

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

The Return-Book CoverBook title: The Return
Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher
Release date: Sept 1, 2017
Genre: Amish
In a wild country, the true cost of love may be more than they can bear
Beautiful and winsome, Betsy Zook never questioned her family’s rigid expectations, nor those of devoted Hans—but then she never had to. Not until the night she’s taken captive in a surprise Indian raid. Facing brutality and hardship, Betsy finds herself torn between her pious upbringing and the feelings she’s developing for a native man who encourages her to see God in all circumstances.
Greatly anguished by Betsy’s captivity, Hans turns to Tessa Bauer for comfort. She responds eagerly, overlooking troubling signs of Hans’s hunger for revenge. But if Betsy is ever restored to the Amish, will things between Hans and Tessa have gone too far?
Inspired by true events, this deeply layered novel gives a glimpse into the tumultuous days of prerevolutionary Pennsylvania through the eyes of two young, determined, and faith-filled women.  

My Review: 
It starts simple enough. This book is set in a historical time frame, and in the wilds of a young country, the beginnings of the Amish and Mennonite cultures. Betsy's hope is pinned on Hans. Her family is rather poor. Her father is on a trip, unless he is missing. The area they have moved to, her brothers are sure Indians are around. They say they see them, but they are boys, and brothers, and brothers are prone to being a tease. Meanwhile, tall and intelligent Tessa has always had her heart drawn to Hans. Then things go from peaceful and ordinary to wow! Betsy is kidnapped by Indians. 

Now I have to tell you, I absolutely love how Woods-Fisher did this! I am very fond of the Native American people, and Caleb is not an exception. He's half Indian, and his character is amazing in every way. He's uplifting, Christ centered, and works to point Betsy in all the ways that would help her. Things aren't that simple, because there are other people interested in Betsy and Tessa and all Betsy wants is to return to what's left of her "home." 

This is an emotional read, and a very strong one. I was near tears, and that takes some doing. Anger, hate, loss, forgiveness, trust, are just a few of the topics that are embedded in this book. A five star read, this is the best book in this series, but I have enjoyed them all.

302893_TheReturnFisher_GiveawayPosts

About the Author 

Fisher_SuzanneWoods (1)Suzanne Woods Fisher is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Anna’s Crossing and The Newcomer in the Amish Beginnings series, The Bishop’s Family series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace and The Heart of the Amish. She lives in California. Learn more at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

 Guest Post from Suzanne Woods Fisher
The Three Sisters’ Garden: Corn, Squash & Beans!
Corn was a new food to the immigrants to the New World, introduced to them by Native Americans. Soon, it became an essential part of their daily diet, in one form or another. Growing it brought yet another new discovery: companion planting in the form of the Three Sisters’ Garden.
ThreeSistersGarden2According to Iroquois legend, corn, squash and beans were three inseparable sisters who only grew and thrived together. 18th century Native Americans wouldn’t have understood the science behind why companion planting worked, but they knew it did. Beans, like all legumes, have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it to a form that plants can use. Corn, which requires a lot of nitrogen to grow, benefits from the legumes and provides a pole support for the beans to climb. Low growing squash leaves shade the soil and prevent weed growth. Their sharp and prickly leaves deter pests. This tradition, of planting corn, beans and squash in the same mounds, became a sustainable system to provide long-term soil fertility among Native American tribes that farmed.
The wisdom of planting Three Sisters’ Garden was adopted by the immigrants, including our own Betsy Zook from The Return. Betsy learned of the technique while a captive among a tribe of Indians and later, after she had been returned to the Amish, shared her knowledge with Anna and Bairn.
ThreeSistersGardenHave you ever considered growing a Three Sisters’ garden? All you need is the right kind of seeds, a mound of dirt in a sunny spot, and to not forget to water. Mother Nature will do the rest.
Suzanne Woods Fisher is a bestselling, award-winning author of novels about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, who was raised as a Dunkard (German Baptist) on a farm in Pennsylvania. Suzanne loves to connect with readers! You can find her on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.

*Images courtesy of Dream Home Improvement and Technology Exchange Lab

Blog Stop

August 1: Quiet Quilter
August 1: Remembrancy
August 2: Bigreadersite 
August 3: Genesis 5020
August 3: Book by Book
August 4: Carpe Diem
August 7: A Reader’s Brain
August 7: Pause for Tales
August 7: Splashes of Joy 
August 8: Live.Love.Read.
August 9: Mary Hake
August 9: Simple Harvest Reads (Spotlight)
August 11: The Power of Words
August 11: Karen Sue Hadley 
August 11: Neverending Stories
August 12: Cafinated Reads
August 12: TinaTruelove
August 14: Vicky Sluiter
August 14: By The Book

Giveaway

302893_TheReturnFisher_GiveawayPosts3
To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is doing an amazing giveaway from August 1 through 14! Check it out:
Four winners will receive one of the prizes below:
  • An Amish Gift Basket and a copy of The Return
  • Amish popcorn sampler and a copy of The Return
  • The Amish Beginning 3 book set series
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
You can enter at Suzanne’s website (http://suzannewoodsfisher.com/contests/) or on her Facebook page (http://gvwy.io/q1kb9u4)