Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh

Hi Readers,

A Sweethaven Summer is a lovely read! I think that Courtney Walsh did a lovely job on her first novel. A Sweethaven Summer also has a room for other books that could follow in this series. That would be nice.
This story starts with Suzanne, a teen-ager who is pregnant and scared. She is loosing her friends and her yearly trips to Sweethaven because of her baby. Suzanne and her 3 girlfriends have crafted a scrapbook together during their summers in Sweethaven.  Now after all these years of broken friendship, Suzanne had letters ready to go out to her three estranged best friends. Suzanne has more than one secret, and those secrets are about to come tumbling forth as her daughter, Cambell, searches for the answers she has to have in her life. To get those answers, Cambell has to go to Sweethaven and her Mother's friends have to come as well. Each of them has chunks of the scrapbook from their youth and in those pages answers and healing can be found.

A really good book that makes you want to know all the rest of the story. Just enough mystery and romance, plenty of pain and healing and the ways that God moves in that are often mysterious.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Sweethaven Summer
Guidepost Books (February 7, 2012)
Courtney Walsh

Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooker, theater director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, will be followed by two additional novels in the series. She’s also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper. Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum. She works as the PR Manager for Webster’s Pages from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her husband and three kids, who range in age from 4 to 10. Courtney drinks entirely too much coffee.  

Suzanne's daughter, Campbell, journeys there in search of answers to her questions about her mother's history. Suzanne's three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-were torn apart by long-buried secrets and heartbreak. Though they haven't spoken in years, each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together in Sweethaven. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets one by one, old wounds are mended, lives are changed,
and friendships are restored-just as Suzanne intended.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sweethaven Summer, go HERE.

The book link is: 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart


Today is about Words Spoken True by Ann H. Gabhart. Adriane Darcy has grown up in the Newspaper business because of her Father. She has been drawn to writing and stories for as long as she can remember. The only problem with that is that in the day and age she is in, a lady isn't in this kind of work! She should be at home cooking or married and raising a family, not wanting to involved in a newspaper. That would just be close to scandalous! Crime and politics are things a lady shouldn't think of much less dream of writing about or getting a "scoop" for a breaking story. 

So to avoid lifelong complications and serious scandals, Adriane's Father starts pushing her to wed her suitor. After all, Stan's Father owns their newspapers's competition. That would look good, and keep her closer to a newspaper with out being in one. But Adriane isn't sure she wants to marry Stan for several reasons and she is a woman who has grit. She likes to defend and stand up for what she believes in and what she feels God wants to her to do. Besides that, there is Blake. Blake her is a rival, and yet a man she is very drawn towards. 

While Adriene works to uncover the truth, and pursue her story, she is also working through her own life story of who she will marry, trust and what God has in store for her. The historic part of this book was good, and it had just enough mystery and suspense to make it fun. 


About The Book:

Adriane Darcy was practically raised in her father’s newspaper offices. She can’t imagine life without the clatter of the press and the push to be first to write the news that matters. Their Tribune is the leading paper in Louisville in 1855. Then Blake Garrett, a brash young editor from the North with a controversial new style of reporting, takes over failing competitor the Herald, and the battle for readers gets fierce.
When Adriane and Blake meet at a benefit tea, their surprising mutual attraction is hard to ignore. Still, Blake is the enemy, and Adriane is engaged to the son of a powerful businessman who holds the keys to the Tribune’s future. Blake will stop at almost nothing to get the story–and the girl. Can he do both before it’s too late?
Set against the volatile backdrop of political and civil unrest in 1850s Louisville, this exciting story of love and loyalty will hold readers in its grip until the very last page. Bestselling author Ann H. Gabhart once again delivers an enthralling and enduring tale for her loyal and ever-expanding fan base.

The first chapter as well as the Author's web site are here:

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead (The Ancient Earth Trilogy)

Hello Dear Readers,

Welcome to my review of The Realms Thereunder by Ross Lawhead. Ross is the son of Stephen R. Lawhead, who's books I thoroughly enjoy! When I found out that Ross is now writing, I became quite excited because it must be fun to have two good writers in the same family. Ross is a good writer all on his own, so I read this with an open mind because even when there are more than one good writers in a family they can be very different from each other.

As soon as I started this book I got the feel of Stephen Lawhead's current series that I have been reading, The Bright Empire Series. (My reviews on the first two books of that series are here, and here.)  At the same time it quickly becomes clear that we are going to get to enjoy Ross Lawhead's work and watch him grow as a writer as well. For those who don't know, this is Ross's first novel - the debut!

The Realms Thereunder starts with two missing children being found. They have been gone for about two months after vanishing during a school field trip. Daniel Tulley and Freya Reynolds have the same birthday, and apparently, a joint destiny.  While on that school field trip the pair decides to explore an arch. That arch lands them in another realm entirely! Sleeping knights are everywhere, an entire army of them. They are sound asleep, not dead, until Daniel blows a horn and they start waking up! Daniel has no idea that he and Freya have just sent into motion a prophecy that when the knights who are sleeping awake, that the end times have begun. Thus we embark on the first book of a journey that is being taken -like it or not.

Things shift back and forth from current time in Oxford, England and the Realms Thereunder. Most of the transitions are easy enough to follow, especially given that we have come to love this in Stephen Lawhead's books and I was happy to see Ross use that as well.

I want to update this more soon, I haven't been able to finish this book yet because of circumstances beyond my control.


About the Book:

Ancient legend tells of an army of knights that will remain sleeping until the last days.
The knights are waking up.
A homeless man is stalked by a pale, wraithlike creature with a mouthful of needle-sharp teeth. Maimed animals and a host of suicides cluster around a mountain in Scotland. And deep beneath the cobbled streets of Oxford, a malicious hoard besieges a hidden city.
Freya Reynolds is a university student with a touch of OCD and an obsession with myth and folklore. Daniel Tully is living rough on the streets of Oxford, waging a secret war against an enemy only he can identify. Years ago, they found themselves in a world few know is real. They have since gone their separate ways and tried to put that adventure behind them.
But the mythical world is now bleeding into our reality-a dark spiritual evil that is manifesting itself in forgotten corners of the British Isles. Alex Simpson is a Scottish police officer who specializes in hunting mythical creatures. Together, they must confront the past, the present, and points beyond to defeat the ultimate threat to humanity.
Nothing they've seen so far prepares them for what awaits . . . in "The Realms Thereunder."

Book link -
Author’s Web site -
 In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. 

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Melissa Carswell
Jeff Chapman
CSFF Blog Tour
Theresa Dunlap
Emmalyn Edwards
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Tori Greene
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Bruce Hennigan
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Rebekah Loper
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen
John W. Otte
Donita K. Paul
Joan Nienhuis
Crista Richey
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Steve Trower
Fred Warren
Dona Watson
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

Monday, February 20, 2012

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

Hi Folks,

This book should have come with a graphic content warning so that I could have at least been prepared for what was going to hit me! After the second page of the third chapter I was so upset that it took me at least a day to even pick Into The Free back up and resume reading. What was worse about that is I am a Breed Preservation Specialist. Sadly, I know what it is like to have a Dam (female) freak out and kill her pups, especially if that dog was a rescue who is sacred out of her mind.

I just didn't expect to read it like that, nor to have it brought up again and again in the book as a theme tied to death. While I can separate my emotions from it and see why Julie Cantrell did this, it still bothered me. That isn't good because I am rather strong and tough and don't normally react like this. I can't stand not knowing endings. That BOTHERS me so I  literally pushed myself through this book. By the end of page 206 I was telling a friend that this book is in a massive spiraling tail-spin nose dive and I am not sure that it is going to recover at all!

Before I give you the rest of my review and thoughts, let me tell you this. I knew as SOON as the EAST facility came into play - I KNEW where this was set. I have people I know and love who were in, or in and out of  East Mississippi. I have seen their tears and felt their pain and prayed while they dealt with their mental issues. I have seen the abuse there, and in other places in Mississippi as well. I have been to the cemetery where the Gypsy King and Queen are buried more than once. I know the curses and the Spiritual strong holds of that area FAR more intimately than I ever expected to. That is what happens when you live near somewhere. For this part I wish to say that Julie Cantrell did a good job with the gypsies in this book. They were well written and in a kind light. And the torment that comes with mental and abusive issues was well displayed.

Sadly, I have to go back to the rest of this story. I can say that domestic violence and the results that it has caused so many many people in Mississippi, and everywhere else was well covered. The generational curses passing down were quite intact. What made me literally, physically sick though was dealing with Millie's rape. That was handled horribly, and Millie had no real help with dealing with it. I was so disappointed to see that true help on how to handle being raped was not provided in this book. Instead it was just all swept and buried and left undealt with to crop up and destroy lives at a later date. I know this issue way too well, and I know how many of my friends or family members have been put through this, or physical abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, and even Spiritual abuse.

The end of this book left me sickened, and I couldn't even sleep. I tried to read another book and I couldn't, so I just prayed until I could sleep. I know at least 7 of my friends who can not or should not read this book because of the portal of abuse and rape with out resolution or close relationship with Christ. I can't recommend Into The Free to any one who has ever been through any of this kind of trauma.God was way off in the distance and shown as mostly a judging harsh version of God instead of the loving Heavenly Father who weeps when we weep and when His children are abused.

Being raped does NOT LEAVE just because you forgive the person who did this to you. Being molested doesn't stop just because you are "ok" with it. The effects are life altering and carry into the future in ways people never expect. Apparently Ms. Cantrell hasn't endured this pain personally in her life and I am glad of that. But to leave everyone who reads this with out the guidance they need is just almost as tragic as the rape and abuse itself. Millie walks off NOT into freedom as she though, but into the horrible issues and consequences that come with living through these kinds of traumas.

I feel badly to have such a hard review, because I know one day my books will be in print and that this would be hard on me to read a review like the one I am having to write just now. However, I have always told my readers my true thoughts and feelings, so I can't hold back now. This book crashed and burned with no recovery whatsoever.

I simply can't recommend this book, and right now I wish I hadn't read it. :(

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Free
David C. Cook (February 1, 2012)
Julie Cantrell

A speech-language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and currently teaches English as a second language to elementary students. She has been a freelance writer for ten years and has published two children’s books. Julie and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm.

Julie served as contributing editor to MOMSense magazine and wrote content for Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl. for nearly a decade. Additionally, she has contributed to more than a dozen books. Into Th Free is her first book.  

Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.

For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Free, go HERE.

The book link is: 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

When The Smoke Clears by Lynette Eason (Deadly Reunion Series)

Hi Everyone,

Here is another incredible book by Lynette Eason. Her books have been great every time! If you check my blog, you will see I have read one of her other series, and really enjoyed them. This one is not an exception to that rule, if anything When The Smoke Clears is even more involved and fast paced. Alexia goes home after many years to see about her Mother in the hospital. She hasn't been back since she left after graduation with her life in shambles. Upon her return her high-school boyfriend is murdered in her Mother's home, just as she got there! Being a first responder she tries to save his life, but he dies anyway. That places her as the main suspect.
Hunter was the last boy/man she considered before she left her home town, and now he is the one handling the investigation and he is the one who is attracted to her. Even so, is she the prime suspect, or who is after her? Why was her home on fire and why was she blamed for it as a teen-ager? Alexia can't remember it all, so this is going to be a major journey to heal enough to have a friendship with her mother, and to stay in this home town with all its haunting issues and memories.

I so enjoy Lynette's books that I hate to put them down. There are not many books that are really that way. When The Smoke Clears is one of them!


About the book:

As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother’s home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she’s involved with murder, arson—and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she’s been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light. Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the DeaDly reunions series.
About the author:
Lynette Eason is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Too Close to HomeDon’t Look Back, and A Killer Among Us. She is a member of American Fiction Christian Writers and Romance Writers of America. A homeschooling mother of two, she has a master’s degree in education from Converse College. She lives in South Carolina.

Available February 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Words Spoken True - Contest!!

While my new fun things I am posting are messing up my books read for the year count, I can't help but
to have this much fun! Words Spoken True by Ann Gabhart will be posted by me later. MEANWHILE-
we get a contest! Check out this link and the great prizes!!! SUPER easy to enter, this will only take you seconds! HAVE FUN!!!!

Carol :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Hi All! 

Meet Sadie Wagner. Her papa is ill, so God opens a door and she heads off to work in a mercantile, and become a singer in an opera house. Her cousin, by marriage, Sid is already living there. Sadie doesn't know it, but Sid arranged all this for her to come. So now Sadie is living in Goldentree and finds herself falling for Thad, the current sheriff. There is a problem though, Sid wants to marry her - not just be her friend and cousin. Thad doesn't want to be a sheriff always, he is planning on being a pastor. Sadie just wants to sing, and finds her self very drawn to Thad, but with Sid vying for her heart too things are very confusing. All Thad has to do to change occupations is to find who is running the bootlegging in this tiny little town. When suddenly it looks like Sadie is a big part of this operation everyone is up on end. 

Another very good book! 

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Kim Vogel Sawyer

Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.

Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.

The book link is:

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Jerk Magnet by Melody Carlson

Hi All,

This is not my first book by Melody Carlson. I have also read The Christmas Shoppe and Double Take.  
I enjoyed The Jerk Magnet as much as I did her other books. Chelsea and her father have survived in the vacuum like aftermath of her Mother's passing for 5 years. Now, all of the sudden, Chelsea's dad is marrying Kate. Chelsea hardly knows her, but she is trying so hard to please! Kate decides that all Chelsea needs is a major make over on the outside to turn her from geeky wallflower to blonde bombshell. But it is not an easy transformation because as Chelsea struggles with her new look, a new home, and new friends, she is also trying to decide who she really is inside, and how others see her now. It is quite a journey! In the midst of it all her new best friend explains her to that she is a jerk magnet. Jerky guys are drawn to her for all the wrong reasons, and the guy she likes, can't give her the time of day. Chelsea is working hard on herself, and on how God fits into all these changes in her new life with a new school, home, friends and a Step-Mother. 

I did enjoy this book, it was a fast easy read. I loved how everything was handled, and I like how the camp was worked into the end of the book. 

About the Book:

What if beauty is more than just skin deep?

When Chelsea Martin's future stepmother helps her transform from gawky and geeky into the hottest girl at her new school, Chelsea is pretty sure it's the best thing that ever happened to her. But her hot
new look has a downside. She's attracting lots of guys who all have one thing in common: they're jerks. Oh, and stealing the attention of all the guys in school doesn't exactly make her BFF material for the girls.

Finally a great guy catches her eye. But he's the only one around who doesn't give her a second glance. Can Chelsea come up with a plan to get his attention? Or will her new image ruin everything?

About the Author

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books with sales of more 
than five million. She is the author of several Christmas books from Revell, including the 
bestselling The Christmas Bus, The Christmas Dog, and Christmas at Harrington's, which is 
being considered for a TV movie. She is also the author of many teen books, including Just 
Another Girl, Anything but Normal, Double Take, The Jerk Magnet, and the Diary of a 
Teenage Girl series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement 
Award in the inspirational market for her books in 2010 and 2011. She and her husband 
live in central Oregon. For more information about Melody visit her website at

Available January 2012  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ruth's Redemption by Marlene Banks

Hello Readers,

I don't think you are going to want to miss out on Ruth's Redemption. Being from the South, I am well aware of the history of black slavery in some aspects. It has always been a sad thing to me that slavery existed at all, but it has been around for much longer than a North Vs. South issue. When I think of slavery the first one I think of is Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his own brothers. This book is about Ruth, her husband Bo Peace, and Naomi. (Yes, those are very familiar names, and well used in this book.) 

Ruth has been so greatly abused, and the abuse that many salves endured is written plainly in this book. Bo Peace is a slave who has been freed, and on his farm the salves he buys are free as well. He strives to show them God's love, and be a living example of Christ to all he meets. Especially his Ruth. He has bought her off the slave auction block, and made this lost hurt abused woman his second wife!

This is a moving book that was well, well worth reading.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ruth's Redemption
Moody Publishers/Lift Every Voice (February 1, 2012)
Marlene Banks

Marlene Banks has worked 30+ years combined in nursing and the business arena.  Her goal as a writer is to create inspiring, gripping and realistic stories with an emphasis on African American literature.  She believes her gift and desire to write is from God and desires to use it to fulfill His purposes.  Marlene lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church.

Set in the 1800s, Ruth's Redemption, is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America. Bo, a main character, was educated while a slave. He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom.

Bo is also a man of God and widower whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave girl, Ruth. Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, Ruth struggles to adjust to life outside of bondage. She wants no part of Bo's Godly devotion. Yet Bo is unlike any man she's known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed.

A gripping slave era novel, Ruth's Redemption is a story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God's unconditional love in the darkness of a culture's cruel socially accepted inhumanity.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ruth's Redemption, go HERE.

The book link is: