Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis

I think I have read some of Beverly Lewis's other books, but this one is more striking. Jenny is a "Englisher", a regular gal growing up in normal America. Only, Jenny simply hates the times she is born in. Maybe it isn't so much a hate, as she just really doesn't fit and and doesn't care for it and since she was about 12 she has been fascinated with the Amish. Deciding that her life is never going to fit, Jenny decided to move to Hickory Hallow and become a Seeker. That means, she is going to see if she can become Amish, Plain, and never again have to deal with the world that she never felt that she fit into to start with. She has left behind her parents, friends and siblings. 

Now the question is, will she be able to make it? Will she be able to keep the secrets and make the changes that would let her pass her Proving in order to be a permanent part of this world she so cherishes? Can she change enough to be Amish in actions as well as her Spirit, and learn to speak another language? Will she be loved and fit in, or will her hopes and dreams be crushed if this isn't where God really wants her to be? Jenny has some major challenges because the home she is living in is the home where the famous Katie Lapp use to live, before she was shunned. 

The Secret Keeper has a great deal of depth to it, and it I do not regret reading this book. It is not all frilly and glamorous, it is more down to earth and real. 

Carol :) 

About the Book:
With her love for all things old-fashioned, Jennifer Burns has often been told she's an "old soul," but no one is prepared for the young woman's decision to set aside her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world. Yet Jenny does exactly that, adopting Plain dress and settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp while she works as a mother's helper for the bishop's wife--a far cry from her former job as an x-ray technician.

The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them, one handsome Amishman in particular. But he is not the only man vying for Jenny's affections, and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren have set for her...challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.

Will Jenny's secrets keep her from the peace she longs for? Or will they lead the way home?

From the Back Cover:
Come home to Hickory Hollow, Pennsylvania--the beloved setting where Beverly Lewis's celebrated Amish novels began--with new characters and new stories of drama, romance, and the ties that draw people together.

Jennifer Burns shocks her family and friends when she bids farewell to her modern life in favor of the Old Order Amish world, settling in with Samuel and Rebecca Lapp.

The people of Hickory Hollow are curious about the beautiful young seeker among them--one handsome Amishman in particular--and Jenny faces many challenges in the Proving time the brethren set for her...challenges of the heart, as well as the spirit.

About the Author:
Beverly Lewis, born in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, has more than 17 million books in print. Her stories have been published in eleven languages and have regularly appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the New York Times and USA Today. Seven of her blockbuster novels have received the Gold Book Award for sales over 500,000, and The Brethren won a 2007 Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado, where they enjoy hiking, biking, making music, and spending time with their family. Learn more at www.beverlylewis.com.


My copy of this book was sent for me for free, for me to review by Bethany House Publishers. Thank you! 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Christmas Quilt by Vannetta Chapman

The Christmas Quilt is about Annie, and her best friend and sister-in-law. They are both going to have babies. Leah is due first, and she is carrying twins.  Annie became a nurse on her Amish rumspringa. Since returning and taking her vows with the church to stay Amish, Annie and her husband Samuel provide herbal and back up medical care for their community. Things start getting hectic when Leah's twins are trying to arrive before their due date.

God has ways of working in our lives, and this book is not an exception. As Leah and Annie work through their pregnancies, they also work on a quilt, and decided that some certain stories need to go along with that work. I did like their stories, and the way certain relationships changed.

Carol :)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Christmas Quilt
Abingdon Press (October 15, 2013)
Vannetta Chapman

A Word From The Author:

I hold a BA and MA degree in English, and I am proud to be represented by Mary Sue Seymour, AAR. I have published over one hundred articles in Christian family magazines, and have received over two dozen awards from Romance Writers of America chapter groups. I am honored to be a member of Romance Writers of America, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Faith Hope and Love.

I live and teach in the Texas hill country with my husband, cats, and a rather large herd of deer. Our four children have flown the nest; however, we are fortunate that they all live close enough to visit.

I have always felt that my faith was at the very center of who and what I am, and I am thrilled beyond words to be able to now write about something that is so near to my heart. At various times I have served as a pianist, teacher, church secretary, and worship team member. While living in the Dallas area, I served as an adjunct professor of English Literature at Dallas Baptist University. When we moved to a small town in Central Texas, I continued teaching for a few years, but I now write full-time and I play the keyboard in our church’s praise band.

My grandfather was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, and I am currently researching whether I might have Amish roots.


Annie's life is deliciously full as the Christmas season approaches. She helps her husband, Samuel, attend to the community's minor medical needs. She occasionally assists Belinda, the local midwife, and most days, she finds herself delivering the buggy to her brother Adam. Annie’s sister-in-law Leah is due to deliver their first child before Christmas morning, and Annie is determined to finish a crib quilt before the boppli arrives. With six weeks to go, she should have no problem . . . but God may have a different plan. Leah is rushed to the English hospital when the infant arrives early, and Annie discovers the Christmas quilt may hold a far greater significance than she ever imagined.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Christmas Quilt, go HERE.

Vannetta can be reached through the Contact link on her Website 

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1426752776

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Martyr's Fire by Sigmund Brower (Merlin's Immortals Series Book Three)

This is the third book in this very good series! :)
The first is The Orphan King, and the second is The Fortress Of  Mist.

We are back with Thomas's world, a place that is never dull. Right off the bat we are reading about possible blood, from Thomas in the Bible. Yes, the one that is often preached about for "doubting." Thomas is now king, and that isn't nearly as easy as he would like it to be! His allies aren't happy, and his faith is stressed, and that is the start of things.

The Priest of The Holy Grail, are using chemistry and other means to pull off their "stunts". Next thing he knows, he is in exile! Figuring out who to trust now is not a small task, with people who would rather see him dead! Thomas doesn't want his people deceived, but he is fighting so hard for control, and the harder he works for control of his life, the farther it is out of his reach. That is pretty exasperating, so Thomas finally takes his friend's advice and starts to sort some peace out of the mess his life has been being. Then things really pick up because a king shouldn't stay in exile, now should he?

I'm really loving this read, as I always do with Sigmund Brouwer's books!
Carol :)

About This Book

Will this dangerous quest lead the outcast Orphan King toward an ancient secret—or to certain destruction?
Posing as a beggar, Thomas escapes Magnus after fifteen men, who are calling themselves the Priests of the Holy Grail, arrive and take control of the castle through wondrous acts and apparent miracles. With the help of his longtime friend Gervaise, Thomas sets out on a journey that leads him to the ancient Holy Land. Unaware that Katherine and Hawkwood are watching over him, Thomas is tested in his beliefs and comes face to face with the ancient power that the Merlins and Druids have long been searching for.

Enter the world of Merlin’s Immortals, where ancient secrets and evil conspiracies take you on a breathless adventure of discovery, intrigue, and hidden knowledge. 

   About the Author

With more than three million books in print, SIGMUND BROUWER is the best-selling author of dozens of popular books for children and adults. Over the last two decades, his Rock and Roll Literacy presentation has inspired students and teachers at schools all across North America. Sigmund is married to songwriter and recording artist Cindy Morgan. The couple and their two daughters divide their time between Red Deer, Alberta, and Nashville, Tennessee.
In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. 

Martyr’s Fire - http://www.amazon.com/Martyrs-Fire-Book-Merlins-Immortals/dp/1400071569/
Author Website - http://www.coolreading.com/

Participants’ links:
Red Bissell
Beckie Burnham
Theresa Dunlap
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Nikole Hahn
Becky Jesse
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Rebekah Loper
Jennette Mbewe
Amber McCallister
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Writer Rani
Nathan Reimer
Jojo Sutis
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Deborah Wilson
Rachel Wyant

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Greetings From The Flipside by Rene Gutteridge

Tonight's review is on Greetings from the Flipside

I haven't yet finished this book, my copy arrived so close to the tour date that I am horribly behind. What I have read so far, is off to a dramatic start. 

Hope has a man she is about to marry. There is someone else who loves her, but she doesn't realize it. He has been in love with her passion, and her since a very young age. On the day she is about to marry a man named Sam, several massive incidences occur. First of all, Sam ditches her and sends her message just before she is ready to walk down the isle. How painful! As she is fleeing the church, she is the victim of a hit-and-run! The next thing we know she is in a coma and her whole life is about to change in ways she just could never have fathomed.  

I know that, besides, the interesting card sayings, there is going to be a lot more to this book than I have been able to read thus far. I'm glad my copy got her, and I have a good feeling about the ending! 

Carol :) 

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Greetings from the Flipside
B&H Books (October 15, 2013)
Rene Gutteridge


Rene is the author of seventeen novels. She also has extensive experience writing comedy sketches, and worked for five years as the director of drama for a church. She has a degree specializing in Screenwriting, for which she earned the Excellence in Mass Communication Award, and graduated magna cum laude.

She is married to Sean, a musician and worship leader, and has two children. They reside in Oklahoma, where Rene writes full time and enjoys instructing in college classrooms and writers conferences.


Hope Landon has been rewriting other people's greeting cards since she was six years old -- there's always a funnier caption. She's all set to chase those creative dreams with her musician fiance in New York City until he leaves Hope at the altar, deciding he must not really love this girl if he can't write a song for her. That may give her something to write about . . .

Hope disappears alone on what was supposed to be the couple's month long honeymoon. Upon returning she learns of her funeral -- everyone in her life concluded Hope must have killed herself after being jilted. Needing a fresh start more than ever, she heads for the Big Apple only to discover it's not that easy to rent a place when you've been declared dead.

Taking shelter at the YWCA, Hope soon lands a job at a Christian inspirational greeting card company as an assistant to Jake, a guy who shut down his organization's humor department. She has lost her faith in love; he needs to find something or someone that will make him laugh.

Is there anything in the cards for these two? Find out in the truly original Greetings from the Flipside by authors Rene Gutteridge (Boo) and Cheryl McKay (screenplay for The Ultimate Gift).

If you would like to read the first chapter of ;Greetings from the Flipside, go HERE.

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1433676893 

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Reluctant Courtship by Laurie Alice Eakes (The Daughters Of Bainbridge House)

Oh I am so glad I didn't miss this book! 

A Reluctant Courtship is the third book in this series. 
I happen to have read the first two as well!
A Flight of Fancy is first, and then A Necessary Deception is second. 

This book picks up with Honore's plight and that of a noble man who's loyalty is being questioned. He has an uncanny way of rescuing her, but she has so tainted her reputation that she figures she is not any good for him. Never mind that she is terrible drawn to him, and that he is the match her Father had picked for her before his passing. No matter, none of that will matter if he can't clear his name, or if her name taints his fragile standing. It is complicated! But what happens if they can clear his name, and what if she can only fall in love with this one man, Lord Ashmoor. 

Honore is, as always fantastic and I just didn't want this book to end! I hope the next series is as wonderful as this one! I recommend the entire series! 

Carol :)

Cover Art

About The Book:

A woman without a prospect. A man without a homeland. Can love give them a future?
Honore Bainbridge has been courted by two men, one of whom turned out to be a traitor, the other a murderer. Banished to her family's country estate, where she will hopefully stay out of trouble, she finally meets the man she is sure is exactly right for her: Lord Ashmoor. Tall, dark, and handsome--what more could a girl ask for? 
But he too is under suspicion because of his American upbringing and accusations that he has helped French prisoners escape from Dartmoor Prison. If he's to keep out of a British prison himself and secure his place in British society, Lord Ashmoor needs a wife beyond reproach--something the vexingly beautiful Honore certainly is not. Though they find themselves drawn to each other, family obligations may conspire to keep them apart forever.

For the sake of her heart, Honore determines to prove Ashmoor's innocence--even if doing so risks her own life.

From the first sentence, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes thrusts you into high drama amid the rocky cliffs of Devonshire, England, and keeps you suspended there until the final page.

Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Where to Purchase

  • Baker Retail
  • Amazon.com
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Christianbook.com

  • Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the MistHeart's Safe PassageChoices of the HeartA Necessary Deception, and A Flight of Fancy, which won the October 2012 Clash of the Titles Award, voted on by readers. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 forFamily Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats. Visit www.lauriealiceeakes.com for more.
  1. Laurie Alice Eakes

    Laurie Alice Eakes

    Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the MistHeart's Safe PassageA Necessary DeceptionA Flight of Fancy, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie...
    Continue reading 
    about Laurie Alice Eakes

Unwrapping Wonder by Carol O'Casey

Unwrapping Wonder is so much more than you can tell from this cover, or these descriptions below! Frankly, this book is an amazing devotional in disguise. I too have always been very involved with things God made, and like this author Carol, I too had pet crickets! Oh, not because I didn't have other pets, I did, but because I was working on my own cricket breeding program. Imagine my joy in reading the first few chapters about this woman who is a Pastor's wife, but who didn't loose her joy of the little things. 

My degrees are different than Carol O'Casey's, but at the same time what I have done with some of my critters, my love for the ocean things, and more made this book a PERFECT fit for me! However, you need to understand that this book isn't one to race through. It is meant to be read and "savored". It is a pleasure to read, and I am so glad I have a copy to enjoy frequently as time permits. 

You are really going to enjoy this book! 
Carol :) 

Categories: Nature Studies/ God & Creation/ Spiritual Growth
Price: $17.99

Heeding technology's cry to "get connected" can result in overloaded circuits of the mind. Frenetic connections can cause frazzled lives.
Step outside to cultivate a connection with creation and deepen your relationship with the Creator.

Unwrapping Wonder offers a delightful mix of natural history, human story, and God's glory. Each chapter "unwraps" one object of nature such as the barnacle, the honey bee, the tiniest seed. As readers peer within these gifts, they discover more of nature, God, and themselves.

This book is for individuals, families and groups who enjoy learning about creation and getting to know the Creator better through the wonders he has made, and those looking for hope in a hectic world. It will help restore the reader's soul.
Each chapter includes:
  • The Wonder Introduced - through anecdote, natural history, or life story.
  • The Wonder Unwrapped - minute hidden details revealed and explained in everyday terms.
  • The Wonder Applied - Practical, spiritual lessons for daily living.
  • Promise of Hope: Relevant Scripture to inspire hope.
  • "Wondercise": A short, hands-on nature activity designed to awaken heart, mind and soul to the wonder of creation and give praise to the Creator.
Sign up with the publisher for aFREE BOOK drawing.

Carol O'Casey has spent years in the field - literally - from cataloging plants high in the mountains of Southern California to mucking through mud monitoring shorebirds on the coast of Washington state. She has taught science to college students and also to sixth graders. She and her husband, a pastor and Christian college professor, live in Oregon. They are the parents of three grown children. Carol's passion is expounding the wonders tucked in the cathedrals of God's wilds. She teaches "Wonder Workshops" and speaks at retreats. Learn more at http://thedivinenatureproject.com/

Good morning, Carol. Thanks for meeting with us. We'd love to get a glimpse into the personal passions that motivated you to write this delightful book, Unwrapping Wonder. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm a field biologist. I love being outdoors. I feel most alive in God's natural cathedral52;the wilds. And I'm a bit of a field guide addict. I collect guide books because I love to read about nature 51;from birds, bugs and butterflies to trees, leaves, flowers and fish. I want to know what makes these things tick. I want to unwrap the wonder of each and learn how they live. Field guides help me to do that. But many of them lack an element that's important to me.
Let me explain. My aunt is a tour guide to art at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. As a guide, my aunt not only talks about the painting, but she discusses the artist. I consider nature to be God's living museum of sorts, filled with His artworks. I want to discuss both the art and the artist. I wrote Unwrapping Wonder so the reader can explore the natural science of the bird, the butterfly, the leaf, the tree, as well as connect with the Master craftsman and learn a hope-filled lesson for everyday life.
You use this phrase as your tag line: Discover More about God, Nature and Self ~ One Wonder at a time. Can you explain how Unwrapping Wonder will help the reader discover more about God?
Each chapter of the book explores one object from nature. By studying these wonders as we peer inside the layers of a leaf, unwrap the wonder of a seed, or investigate the bee and its abilities we discover that God is able ... He's able to do more than we could ever ask or imagine.
What will a reader discover about nature from Unwrapping Wonder?
For starters:
  • How a butterfly wing gets its color.
  • Where a dragonfly spends it's "childhood."
  • What cell of a plant has no nucleus and why that's important.
  • What a leaf scar is and why it is critical to the life of the plant.
  • How a sand dollar moves--and why?
  • How a barnacle is able to withstand crashing waves.
  • What exactly goes on under the bark of a tree.
  • I could go on, but I'll let you discover the rest70;
  • Finally, what can a reader expect to discover about herself (or himself) from nature?
Nature has taught me many lessons. One is that I don't have to have life all figured out. I only need to follow the One who does. Too often, I try to depend on myself to solve life's problems, instead of looking to the birds and lilies of the field52;as Jesus advises in Matthew 6:26-30. When I do, I discover that God takes care of their needs. Because of that, I can trust Him with all of my cares and concerns.
And to my readers I'll say this: I'd love to hear about your own discoveries! After reading Unwrapping Wonder, please visit my website: www.divinenatureproject.com to contact me and share your discoveries.
Thanks again, Carol, for joining us today.
Thank you. Now, go wonder!

UNWRAPPING WONDER: Finding Hope in the Gift of Nature
by Carol O'Casey

Trade Paperback
224 pgs / 6" x 9"
Illustrated: original drawings by Matthew Kondratieff
ISBN 9780981892986

"A gem of a book.... Carol O'Casey's use of metaphors that link the nuances of nature to our spiritual growth makes this a self-enriching treasure and a wonderful book for meaningful group studies." ~ Kim Patten, Ph.D, professor, Washington State University

"Carol O'Casey beckons us to consider the wonders of God's creation. To savor, to relish, to partake, to revel in: in this hurried life do we make the time to do such things? Take up the challenge. Each chapter is an event well worth it." ~Dennis Ellingson, author of God's Healing Herbs and God's Wild Herbs

"From the perspective of a person who has always been fascinated by the details of nature (God's design and workmanship are astounding), I recommend this book to anyone who needs to slow down and be reminded of this amazing planet we get to live on." ~ Michele R. Myers, photographer, hiker, nature enthusiast, BA in Environmental Studies

Trade Paperback
224 pgs / 6" x 9"
Illustrated: original drawings by Matthew Kondratieff
ISBN 9780981892986

"A gem of a book.... Carol O'Casey's use of metaphors that link the nuances of nature to our spiritual growth makes this a self-enriching treasure and a wonderful book for meaningful group studies." ~ Kim Patten, Ph.D, professor, Washington State University

"Carol O'Casey beckons us to consider the wonders of God's creation. To savor, to relish, to partake, to revel in: in this hurried life do we make the time to do such things? Take up the challenge. Each chapter is an event well worth it." ~Dennis Ellingson, author of God's Healing Herbs and God's Wild Herbs

"From the perspective of a person who has always been fascinated by the details of nature (God's design and workmanship are astounding), I recommend this book to anyone who needs to slow down and be reminded of this amazing planet we get to live on." ~ Michele R. Myers, photographer, hiker, nature enthusiast, BA in Environmental Studies

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Fall Fling - Gadly Plain by J. Micheal Dew

 It is time!  What time? FALL time which means another Fall Book Fling from 
CLADACH Publishing
YEAH! And this year we start with Gadly Plain. First of all - that isn't spelled wrong, and if you read it Gladly - well, I did that at first too. 

Next, this book is NOT your average book. It is more of a bit of an allegory, but yet an entire tale of a girl, and her family. Spring-baby is just 12, and her Daddy has died. Her Mother leaves her with family, and vanishes. Basically alone, and in shock, Spring-baby finds an odd friend in the "different" guy who lives next to her Grandparents. Chirp is supposedly mentally impaired, but he has a friend. A friend that Spring-baby and others have seen, but discounted. This friend is a donkey, named Amen. Amen's tale is a huge part of this book, and it is a good one. 

This book probably will not be a book that everyone understands, but if you will just come as a child, you will not have a single problem liking Amen's story. After all, it is the story of Redemption seen through different eyes. 

Carol :) 

GADLY PLAIN    -    A Novel
by J. Michael Dew

What do you get when you mix an orphaned girl just coming of age, a grieving, pain-filled family, a rural Kentucky barnyard, a donkey who has lived since Adam and has stories to tell, a mentally-handicapped man, and an apocalyptic climax? Happily, you get a literary novel that maintains its lyrical language and dramatic pace from the first to the last page and leaves you thinking, smiling, wondering, looking at this life and the next with eyes to see in fresh, new ways.

When a young girl's father dies, and her mother abandons her at her paternal grandparents' home in Kentucky, no one helps her cope with the cloud of death that hovers over the family ... until she wanders down to the neighbor's barn. There in an earthy, unlikely haven, vistas open to Spring-baby that transcend time and place and even death.

For readers who love well-written fiction that is both personal and sweeping in scope. If you enjoy novels with literary merit that show the intersection of the grit and grief and glory of life on earth with the presence and power and persuasion of the supernatural and heavenly ~ you'll likely be enthralled by this story.
At the back of the book is a discussion guide for reading groups and book clubs.

Creative drawings by Raw Spoon, at the head of each chapter, bring visual life and added sensory dimension to the experience of reading this book.

J. Michael Dew lives with his wife and three young daughters in Atlanta, Georgia. He was born and raised in Warren County, Pennsylvania. He earned a B.A. in English from Lock Haven University and an MA and PhD in Literature and Criticism from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is an Associate Professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College where he is also the Honors Coordinator for the Dunwoody campus. In his spare time he enjoys being a husband and a dad. And fishing. He loves a glinty, trouty stream.

The author and illustrator at the book launch.

1. This story is remarkably creative yet feels warmly authentic. One would think you have experienced it yourself.
Dew: I suppose I could say that Gadly Plain began for me the day, at age nine, when I found out my father had passed away. It is, I suppose, a working out of that sadness. The story is based on conclusions I reached after years of introspection. I will admit, however: The German woman in the beginning is not a made up character. She was real. I met her as did my sister. But nobody else remembers her presence.
2. Some authors take years to write a book while others take only months. What was your process for writing Gadly Plain, and how long did it take?
Dew: To give readers a practical answer, one afternoon, I went out and purchased a large piece of cardstock paper on which I began to diagram plot points. The diagram grew to include characters, biblical references, and other details I felt were important to the story. I used this diagram of sorts as an outline, keeping it in front of me each time I sat down to move the story along. All in all, it took a year to complete a first draft. Copies of that draft then went to professionals in the fields of theology, speech pathology, and creative writing. Once I got their very valuable feedback, I revised the manuscript then sent that version to another set of readers. It took a dogged effort, but it was worth it.
3. Tell us about the title of your novel. Why did you choose such an enigmatic title as Gadly Plain and what is its significance?
Dew: The title was discovered on a Pennsylvania back road somewhere between Interstate 80 and Warren. I was driving home from graduate school under a cloud-splotched sky, and I happened to pass one of those roads that was probably a driveway but was nevertheless given the distinction of a name: Gadly Plain. It was a rutted dirt road that more than likely led to a simple hunting camp or some far-flung place of retreat and rest. I didn't stop to inspect. Instead, I made a mental note of the catchy name, and when I pulled off the road to fish for trout further into my journey (as was my happy custom), I jotted down the name in my journal, thinking this would make a great title for a book. This was years ago. It took a lot of time since to construct my own getaway. Much of that time was spent learning why I needed to do so in the first place.
"Gadly Plain" could be "way away" or "heaven" or "paradise" or "across the rainbow bridge" or "in the bosom of God" or "Narnia." I didn't want to be too specific, thereby robbing the reader of his/her ability to imagine Gadly Plain, and I wanted to be (in my humble way) poetic. Gadly almost sounds like Godly, and the existence of heaven is a "plain" truth - nothing complicated, something a child can understand, no need for an advanced degree in theology, etc.
4. What themes are you interested in writing about next?
Dew: At least since the dawn of postmodernism, writers have largely been asserting, in various and sundry ways, the viewpoint that all values are relative, that everything is and should be deconstructed. I know I am generalizing here, but I feel this to be a safe assessment of modern literature. I believe in taking up the call issued by Wendell Berry who says that an author's duty today is to rescue some values from the dustbin of relativism and go about bravely building meaning and relevance in a world at direct odds with them both. The themes I'm interested in exploring are themes that do just that.
5. Reading this succinct but sweeping novel, one cannot doubt you believe in the over-arching story of the Bible and the final victory of good over evil. Will you share something of your personal faith?
Dew: I am deeply devoted to Christ and strive daily to be the man he wants me to be.


Trade Paperback
224 pgs / 5.5" x 8.5"
Illustrated: original drawings by Raw Spoon
ISBN: 9780981892993
Category: Christian Fiction/ Literature
Price: $14.00

"As a reader, it's not often I come across a small literary miracle, an unexpected gift. Gadly Plain is that type of book. It sweeps us up into the rich yet simple world of an orphaned girl and a mysterious donkey, a world both familiar and mystical, melancholic and full of hope. Do yourself a favor and open this gift.." ~ Eric Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Fireproof andOctober Baby

"Splendidly written ... You will give yourself over to the girl, Spring-baby, and to her life of wonder with a donkey that does not die." ~ Terry Kay, award-winning author of To Dance with the White Dog

"Gadly Plain is a book about sorrow, regret, and grief--but it is also about the fleeting spirit of childhood and the choices we make to believe in the stories that give us hope. Gentle and reflective, this is a story about stories and the incredible power they hold to heal and redeem broken hearts." ~ ForeWord Reviews

On Amazon
At BN.com
From the Publisher

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Dark Justice by Brandilyn Collins

Alright! Brandilyn Collins, this time you had me in suspense! :)

Dark Justice is about a Grandmother, a Mother, and her Daughter. Hannah and her Mother, who has dementia took a different route home. It changed their lives forever. All they did was try to help a man who was dying from a perceived accident. They talked to him while waiting for help to arrive. Unknown to Hannah, something was slipped into her pocket. Something that has nation-wide impact, and is about to put Hannah on the run with her tired and confused mother. Something that will drag her daughter Emily into this mess! If Hannah can't keep herself and her Mother alive, and maybe Emily as well, the entire USA will suffer greatly. A something that has Hannah not knowing where to turn, and who to trust - as some people are not at all what they seem, in more ways than one.

I loved how Grand quotes scripture at the best, and worst times. That was really a very nice touch. The entire story is plausible, and this book kept me turning pages and wondering about the outcome.
Quite well done!

Carol :)

This week, the

is introducing

B&H Books (October 1, 2013)



Brandilyn Collins is a best-selling novelist known for her trademark Seatbelt Suspense®. These harrowing crime thrillers have earned her the tagline "Don't forget to b r e a t h e . . ."®  Brandilyn's first book, A Question of Innocence, was a true crime published by Avon in 1995. Its promotion landed her on local and national TV and radio, including the Phil Donahue and Leeza talk shows. Brandilyn's awards for her novels include the ACFW Carol Award (three times), Inspirational Readers' Choice, and Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice.

Brandilyn is also known for her distinctive book on fiction-writing techniques, Getting Into Character: Seven Secrets a Novelist Can Learn From Actors (John Wiley & Sons). The Writer magazine named Getting into Character one of the best books on writing published in 2002.

When she's not writing, Brandilyn can be found teaching the craft of fiction at writers' conferences.


If I’d had any idea what those words would mean to me, to my mother and daughter, I’d have fled California without looking back.

While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Soon people want to kill Hannah and her mother for what they “know.” Even law enforcement may be involved.

The two women must flee for their lives. But how does Hannah hide her confused mother? Carol just wants to listen to her pop music, wear her favorite purple hat, and go home. And if they turn to Hannah’s twenty seven- year-old daughter, Emily, for help, will she fall into danger as well?

Pressed on all sides, Hannah must keep all three generations of women in her family alive. Only then does she learn the threat is not just to her loved ones, but the entire country . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dark Justice, HERE.

Brandilyn can be reached through the Contact link on her Website.

The book link is: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1433679531

Friday, October 4, 2013

The Class Reunion Series - by Debby Mayne Pretty Is As Pretty Does & Bless Her Heart & Tickled Pink

This is a three book series! I shall give you my brief reviews of all three books!
Pretty Is As Pretty Does, is the first book and in this book we meet all our man characters. I had to read this series, because it is in Mississippi. (I have lived there! Aggg!) It is time for the 10 year class high-school reunion! Priscilla is now a very successful hairdresser. She owns 3 salons and counting. You'd think her parents would be proud, but instead they are still put out that she didn't finish collage. She is single, and almost 30. She had a man who loves her, but can she even see him? Tim knows he is "below" Priscilla, but it doesn't stop him from loving her, nor working to win her over. He is a strong steady fellow, he just didn't go to collage, and his vocabulary is something he works on all the time to impress Priscilla. He is her date for the reunion, but her old flame from high-school will be there. What changes will that cause? And what is going on with Priscilla's parents?

Laura is marred to Pete, the high-school drunk. Together they have four children and Laura is trying to head up this whole reunion. Frankly, her life is falling apart in shambles.

Celeste was never pretty, she never took care to look good. Her life is about to change somewhat due to Priscilla's care.

Trudy is also falling apart. Divorced from her high-school sweetheart, she has to face him at the reunion with his newest "thing" on his arm. She hasn't been able to put her "perfect" beauty pageant image together since the divorce, and she is hurting and suffering.

The glue holding them all partly together is prayer, and Priscilla's work to make these ladies beautiful for the night of their reunion party. I found Priscilla's character to be strong, and sweet, and she just made the book! I did connect with some of the other characters too, and I thought that the first book was a great introduction to the series! I have to say thank you Debby Mayne for using a MS. phone # at the front of this book. That just make me smile from page one on out!

Bless Her Heart is the second book in this series. Oh my goodness! It has been five years already! It is now time for the fifteen-year reunion for Piney Point High. It is time to check back and and see how the lives of the people we met in the first book are progressing now.

They are definitely progressing! Things you might never thought would be a conflict, are now in conflict! Priscilla's parents are separated, and things are very strained to say the least! Someone is stealing, and lives are falling apart. People are trying to hold it together. Most of them aren't succeeding with that, and a few are learning to lean on God, and how to cope! While some relationships are falling into pieces, others are struggling and a few --- just a few are improving. There is an ice plant that is very interesting too. You should read about that part. Tim has some tough choices to make, as do several other folks. A few folks have tied the "knot" while others are miserably divorced, or in worse jams. We didn't loose any of our main characters, so the moment I finished this one, I started reading the next book!

Tickled Pink is the final book in this series. It can stand alone more than the middle book, but it is a wonderful end to this series. Priscilla has about reached the majority of her goals! She has Ms. Prissy Big Hair on the shopping network. Her name is a household word! She has salons that she owns all over the USA. She has it "all", or does she? Her Dad isn't in her life much of late, and her Mother is doing some shocking things, one of which is dating! Oh Poor Priscilla to watch her Mamma date after almost 30 years of marriage! Tim's life is changing drastically. Pete and Laura and their four young'uns have had some major issues that are still in progress. When a stalker photographs Tim and Priscilla, and sells the photos to the tabloids, it shows Tim that he is going to have get totally away from Priscilla and move on with his life, or get her to fall for him once and for all. Some of our folks are with child, and others are going through massive heart-aches. They have all matured in the last 15 years, but is it enough for them to all get along and get their lives on the paths that God wants them to be on?

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed this series, and yes... Ms. Mayne captured much of life in Mississippi very well. I have experience, I know! While some of it is toned down from real life there, other things are just as real as what I am praying my friends there through. This series shows life, the ups-downs, ins and outs of some people who are well written enough that if they were based (even loosely) off some friends of a friend - I wouldn't be shocked. It is that real. Don't read this series if you don't want to smile, laugh, or almost cry, because this is real life in book format.

Carol :) 

This week, the

is introducing

Book Link- Bless Her Heart 
Book Link- Tickled Pink 

(Abingdon Press March 1, 2007)



Debby Mayne is a best-selling author who has published more than 25 books and novellas, 400 short stories and articles, and devotions for women. She has also worked as managing editor of a national health magazine, product information writer for HSN, a creative writing instructor, and a copy editor and proofreader. Her novel, Love Finds You in Treasure Island, Florida received 4-1/2 stars from RT Book Review, and was named a Top Pick for the month of July. She and her husband Wally have two grown daughters, and live in Palm Harbor, Florida.


Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she’s a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren't exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth—and she may be surprised at what she discovers.

As Priscilla Slater’s 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity… and to flaunt her latest achievement—taking her business to a national level with the possibility of a TV show. As if getting ready for the event and putting up with the pranks of her former classmates isn’t enough, Priscilla’s hometown visit is further complicated by her parents’ separation. With the once-solid sanctuary of her home broken at the foundation, there’s only one thing Priscilla’s parents can agree on: no matter what sort of accolades their daughter receives as a hair stylist, she’s not living up to her potential. Eager to escape the painful reality of her childhood home, Priscilla bolts as soon as a call from New York brings good news: her offer to purchase one of the best salons in the country is likely to come through. But returning to New York means returning to Tim, Priscilla’s best friend and business pal who has been impatiently suggesting their relationship should be more than a friendship. Despite her recent achievements, will Priscilla learn that success doesn't always result in popularity—or love?

Priscilla Slater shows up at her 20-year reunion as a national celebrity. Her hair salon dynasty has skyrocketed, and to top it off, she has her own line of hair products. She has become a huge success with the “Ms. Prissy Big Hair” line that lets women with the thinnest of locks get the coveted “big hair” look so popular in the South. Her classmates have finally come to terms with adulthood, but they’re handling it with the grace of a Southern woman wearing white after Labor Day. It’s just downright awkward! Asserting the maturity that her classmates have often lacked, Priscilla holds her head high. But she can’t ignore everything. When she catches her mother in the arms of her former high school principal, Priscilla can’t get out of town fast enough. Eager to get back to her more comfortable life, Priscilla runs head on into an ultimatum: Tim tells her they’re not getting any younger—as if she has to be reminded.

The book links are at the top, with each book name! :)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

First Date by Melody Carlson (The Dating Games #1)

Double Take, and A Simple Song were really good! Because of that, I was wall in for another fast read by Melody Carlson. This book is First Date. It does start off a bit slow, but with an interesting enough premise. These gals are in a Christian School - and they want dates for the dance. Thus, they form a secret club to help each other get dates. Their methods aren't that bad, their working on themselves is just fine, but keeping certain girls from being "left behind" might just wipe their plans off the map. You see, it isn't as easy as people would have you think to get a date. The boys are difficult, or unaware, and the girls are dealing with daily changing emotions and feelings.

My thoughts - this wasn't quite as strong of a book as the two I listed up top. That could have just been me though. Dating is not easy, not at any age. I was glad to see a group of girls trying to look out for each other, in spite of all their teen-age challenges. I never really got to like Devon, though I really tried hard. I didn't think they should have let her do what she did the night of the dance. However, in real life that tends to turn our far far worse than it did for Devon. Some difficult topics were brought up. There is a chance that this book could work for a Mom to discuss with her young teen-age daughter. (Think age 14 and up in today's world. In mine it was 16 and up.) I would still read the second book in this series if I get a chance. I have a feeling it will be much stronger than this one.


Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Bryn, and Abby have one thing in common as they start their sophomore year: none of them have ever been on a "real" date. With homecoming looming, the girls make a pact and start a secret club they call the DG (Dating Games) that has just one objective--dates for the dance. 

They're sworn to secrecy, but the club is their way to set each other up on their first dates so they can report back to the DG. They'll have to navigate expectations and rules from their parents, figure out how to act on a date, and endear themselves to the guys they like.

What could possibly go wrong?

You can connect with Melody Carlson on her website www.melodycarlson.com

The Book Link:

Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.