Thursday, May 31, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Sassy Pants Makes Amends by Carol A. Brown

This is a story about Sassy Pants, a pig living on Farmer White's farm after World War II as told by Ms. Molly Merino, a wee shy lamb. Before she was reformed, Sassy Pants broke every rule of the barnyard, leaving her with no friends. Ms. Molly’s story illustrated the consequences of Sassy Pants’ bad choices and encouraged everyone to think carefully about the choices they make. The consequence for Sassy Pants was that she had no friends and was very sad.

Ms. Molly tells the children how Old Clyde, the Clydesdale horse, discovered Sassy Pants all alone, her eyes red from crying. When Clyde learned why Sassy Pants was so sad, he told her she needed to make amends. Sassy Pants didn't know what that meant, but she was willing to learn. The story gently teaches us the big words.

Sassy Pants goes back to all the animal friends she had hurt to try to regain their trust and friendship, offering the reader, or listener, many important messages. The animal characters are fun, too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

I Put My Main Character In The Hospital Today

I've been moping around all day and I think it is because Karen, a fictional character in my work in progress, is unconscious. I cried with Brian when he learned about it. He was in California at the time helping his dad move his mother to a care facility for Alzheimer's patients and he felt guilty for leaving Karen alone in Texas to drive the bookmobile.

How did this happen? It wasn't in my plot outline. I'd been needling Karen for pages but nothing so serious as driving her off a cliff.

As near as I can tell, it's Golden Keyes Parsons' fault.

She spoke at the ACFW CenTex Chapter meeting this month and she talked about Campbell's Hero Journey techniques for plotting. When I got to Step 8, Ordeal – The biggest life or death crisis, during the exercise, I was too embarrassed to write about how the antagonist let the air out of Karen's tires. Granted, it was all four tires at one time, but still not a life or death crisis. On my paper, I wrote, "Karen's car rolls over hill. Hospital. Is she conscious? Brian rushes home, prays. Learns car had been sabotaged."

Now I had a real crisis. When I rewrote the scene I changed car to bookmobile and I let her be unconscious. I can hardly wait to find out what happens next.

Thank you, Golden.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

COTT -- April New Releases Winner Announced!

The winner of our April New Releases Clash is:

The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition by Sharon Hinck

A hearty congratulations to Sharon!

And a special thank-you to the following authors for being part of this fun week:

Susan Page Davis, author of Cowgirl Trail
DiAnn Mills, author of The Chase
Kate Lloyd, author of Leaving Lancaster
Nancy Herriman, author of The Irish Healer

ABOUT The Restorer's Son-Expanded Edition:
Book two in the groundbreaking Sword of Lyric series, The Restorer’s Son won a Carol Award for speculative fiction.

Plunged again into the gray world of Lyric and Hazor, Susan and Mark search frantically for their teenage son, Jake. All signs hint that a trusted ally has betrayed them and threatens their son. A target of assassins and more political intrigue, false leads and near misses beset their path, which leads them into the dark prisons of Hazor before the One’s purpose is revealed.

Cast out by those he trusts, the new reluctant Restorer prefers to cross swords with the One rather than submit to His will. Pursued by his calling, he journeys to Sidian, where he finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. As he embraces the tasks the One has set before him, this new Restorer learns that the One requires his all—perhaps even his life.


*Have read the other books & the original editions & Sharon is a master story-teller...humorous, poignant, deep & lyrical! A must-read!
*I love and am impressed and inspired by everything you write, Sharon. God's blessings daily.
* I LOVED The Restorer! One of my all-time favorite books because it made me love Jesus more.
*I love, love, love The Restorer's Son. If you haven't read it, you should. (Make sure to look for the Expanded Edition to get extras.)
*Sharon is a wonderful wordsmith whose creative writing is experience validated. Can't wait to dig into this one.
*To be read? Maybe to be re-read... for the sixth time. I'm in love with The Sword of Lyric trilogy, and the extended releases are the perfect excuse to tell everyone I know about these books. The Restorer's Son is one of the most powerful fiction titles I've ever read, and it will be on my to-(re)read list for many years to come.

ABOUT the author, Sharon Hinck:

Sharon writes “stories for the hero in all of us,” about ordinary people experiencing God’s grace in unexpected ways. Known for their authenticity, emotional range, and spiritual depth, her novels include contemporary fiction such as The Secret Life of Becky Miller or Stepping into Sunlight and the groundbreaking Sword of Lyric fantasy series which includes The Restorer’s Son–Expanded Edition. She’s been a Christy finalist and won three Carol awards.
Sharon’s undergrad degree is in education, and she earned an M.A. in Communication. When she isn’t wrestling with words, Sharon enjoys speaking to conferences, retreats, and church groups. She loves interacting with visitors at her website and blog:

Q and A with SHARON: 

Q. Besides an entertaining read, what do you hope people experience in The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition?

A. My hope is that readers will catch glimpses of the way the One speaks to each of us in the language we understand, and that we can go to Him with our difficult questions. For those who are walking very painful roads, I hope the story will help them feel acknowledged. The journey is hard, heroic, and sometimes frightening. But we are never alone.

Q.What was it like developing new material for this new edition?

A. Books are like children. I treasure each of them in different ways, and among the novels I’ve written, I try not to have favorites. However, I confess that The Restorer’s Son has an extra special place in my heart. Because of that, it was fun to revisit the characters and world of this story. Kieran’s attitudes were loosely inspired by a verse in Judges where Gideon is told God will use him to save his people. Gideon’s response is basically, “If God is for us, why have all these bad things happened to us?” It’s a question many can relate to, and part of the reason that Kieran is such a beloved character. 

The new devotion guide gives readers an opportunity to dig deeper into the Biblical inspirations that helped inform the book, as well as find personal application. About forty pages of new content, including bonus scenes and a new song composed for the book, make this edition a new experience. 

Q. Where can we buy the book?

To order The Restorer’s Son-Expanded Edition:

Kindle version:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012

I've attended the Sun City Memorial Day Ceremony nearly every year since it began ten years ago. The ceremony is held in the Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial Plaza in Sun City, Georgetown, Texas, less two miles from our home. We took the golf cart, knowing parking would be a problem. We went early to get a place to put our folding chairs. Still, we barely got there in time to get into the inner ring of grass between a sidewalk and the memorial wall. It was not a shady spot and the sun was bright and hot. The ceremony is short, but getting there so early turns it into a longer time in the sun.

Chrissy, Hawk, Dane, Jakob, Celeste 
This is our second year to share this time with Celeste's son Dane Johnson and his family, wife Chrissy, sons Jakob and Hawk.

In attendance were veterans from as far back as World War II, who stood and were applauded. Then all veterans were asked to stand. Many men and women stood, some in uniforms that no longer fit and some with military caps or shirts designating their unit. Another group was separately honored, that of those currently on active duty. I saw only a few, five or six, in front of me, but there could have been others.

The music was provided by the 36th Infantry Division Band of the Texas National Guard. The color guards were from the Navy Junior ROTC at Georgetown and Stony Point High Schools, the Georgetown Fire Department, and the Williamson County EMS.

The Ladies of the Robert Gilbert Livingston Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution passed out the programs at the start of the ceremony and cookies and lemonade at the end.

Jim Watters with Gov. Perry
The Invocation and Benediction was given by Chaplain James Shaw, Colonel, U.S. Army, Retired.

The guest speaker was Governor Rick Perry.

It was a ceremony that makes you proud to be an American.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: To Love A Witch by Debora Geary

To Love A Witch is billed as a novel nibble because of its brevity, and that's why I selected it. For you Kindle readers, it is 974 locations in length, estimated to be 71 pages. I had just finished reading Stone's Fall which is 610 pages and was looking for something I could finish in a hurry. I hesitated at first because of the title and because the next book to read for my neighborhood book club is about the Salem witch trials. But this one by Debora Geary looked different. It looked like it could be humorous so I started it. I'm glad I did.

To Love A Witch is a romantic comedy plus. In the author's world there are different types of witches. Jake, who is a monitor for the Witch Sentinel System, is investigating a possible problem at the Franklin County Youth Detention Center when he discovers Romy. Jake is a witch with special control powers, one of which is to be able to fly on his bike. Romy is a witch with fire-throwing abilities she never learned to control.

Jake learns of other problems in the area due to his predecessor and he sets about, with Romy's help, to solve them. The two are drawn together, and Romy learns to control her witchcraft before incinerating Jake.

I laughed through the first three fourths and cried during the rest. It was that type of book.

Monday, May 21, 2012

COTT -- Five New Releases You Gotta See

*guest post by April W Gardner

This week, Clash of the Titles is featuring five novels new to bookstore shelves. You don't want to miss a single one! They're already getting great reviews. Check them out on Amazon by clicking the cover images. You can also use the survey below to let us know which you're most likely to read first. Which one is going to the top of your TBR pile?

COWGIRL TRAIL by Susan Page Davis
Alex Bright is torn between supporting the cowboys who want to strike or the rancher who gave him his start. The boss’s beautiful daughter complicates matters when she organizes an all-woman outfit to replace the striking men.

THE RESTORER'S SON by Sharon Hinck
Cast out by those he trusts and preferring to cross swords with the One rather than yield to His will, Kieran flees to enemy Hazor, only to find that the One knows no borders. Pursued by his calling, Kieran finds a boy without a home, a king with burning questions, and a nation torn by darkness. 

THE CHASE by DiAnn Mills
To FBI Special Agent Tigo Harris, it's a cold case, but to writer Kariss Walker it's a story that she has to write despite the danger. 
When Holly Fisher's mother reveals a long-kept secret, that Holly's mother abandoned her Amish community where relatives still live, will Holly's yearning for family be strong enough to overtake her conflicted feelings of betrayal? Set in the heart of contemporary Amish country, Leaving Lancaster explores the power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and love where least expected.

THE IRISH HEALER by Nancy Herriman
Accused of murdering a child under her care, Irish healer Rachel Dunne flees the ensuing scandal while vowing to never sit at another sickbed. When a cholera epidemic sweeps through London, she feels compelled to nurse the dying daughter of the enigmatic physician she has come to love. 

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Friday, May 18, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Stone's Fall by Iain Pears

This story is told by three narrators in different times and places who come together at various times in their lives even if unbeknownst to some when they do. It is, in a way, an interesting puzzle to be solved, with the reader finding out where the pieces may fall, sometimes before or just as the characters themselves do.

The book begins in May 1953 in Paris with the funeral of Madame Robillard, who, we learn later is one of the main characters in the story. This part of the book is told from the viewpoint of Matthew Braddock, a journalist and BBC news reporter, who was in Paris for a final business trip prior to his retirement. He had not realized she was still alive, and just happened to learn of her death by reading the newspaper. After the funeral service, Braddock is approached by one of Madame Robillard's solicitors, and eventually given documents left for him by Henry Cort when he died. A stipulation was that the documents were not to be delivered to Braddock until the death of Madame Robillard.

The rest of this part of the book is Braddock's memories of what happened forty years prior when he was a young newspaper reporter hired by Madame Robillard, known then as Lady Ravenscliff, to research her husband's death which occurred in London in 1909.

Part Two of the book is told by Henry Cort in 1890 Paris. Mr. Cort was a British spy. Part Three is presented from the memories of John Stone in Venice in 1867. John Stone was the husband of Lady Ravenscliff who died in 1909.

I was a bit mystified at first when I saw the three parts were not presented in chronological order. At the end of Part One, I wondered why there was more to read. It seemed to be a perfectly satisfactory ending. However by the end of the book I understood why the author arranged the book in the way he did. There was no other way to write the story, now that I see it in its whole and the second and third parts were necessary.

The historical references throughout the book are educational without being dry. I also liked the financial information presented by the characters, even though friends of mine who read the book said they skipped over parts of it. I read every one of the 610 pages, some more than once. It is that type of book you want to keep reading, but when it ends, you know there is no more to be said.

I found it an enjoyable read with unforgettable characters and scenes. Unlike some books, there were times I didn't have a feel for where the story was going next, but I just went along and was richly rewarded for doing so. I can't say more about the details without ruining the story for you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

And the winners are ...


The winners of the Kindles in the John 3:16 
Marketing Network Giveaway are:

Marnie Pohlmann and Patricia Day

The winners of the Christian Bookmobile Blog Contest are:

$50 Gift Certificate

Kim Hawkins Prize Sent

Autographed Copy of Where Love Once Lived by Sidney W. Frost

Tiffany Carney
Kimberly Cole
Teresa Masouras
Marcia Laycock Kindle Sent
Diane Mowery

Autographed Copy of The Vengeance Squad by Sidney W. Frost

Tracy Krauss
Deborah Malone
Tiffany Carney
Marianne Barkman
Felice Gerwitz Need Address

I have sent each person an email announcement. The grand prize ($50 Gift Certificate) has been shipped and the books will be mailed to the address sent to me by the winners. If you haven't heard from me yet, please contact me at

The Christian Bookmobile is holding another drawing this week, independent of the John 3:16 Marketing Network. See details below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

High Desert Haven Wins on Clash of the Titles


**Guest post by Michelle Massaro

In the recent Leading Ladies Clash, Life on the Edge by Jennifer Comeaux and High Desert Haven by Lynnette Bonner  went into the ring on Clash of the Titles.

After the public vote, the winning title was....

 HIGH DESERT HAVEN by Lynnette Bonner!!  

 We're happy to announce that High Desert Haven has been added to the list of COTT Champ titles! And we also want to extend our congratulations to the author. I'm sure we're all eager to add this book to our summer to-be-read pile! 

 In response to her win, author Lynnette Bonner said:

It was an honor just to have been chosen as a clasher, in the first place, and then to have won… wow, I’m totally blessed by that. I’m still fairly new at this, and putting my stories out to the public is, to say the least, a daunting experience. So every little bit of encouragement and affirmation gets tucked away for days ahead when I will need to draw strength from them. I so appreciate COTT for giving me this opportunity to interact and connect with their readers.

Some of the comments left by readers were:
  • Great job!!
  • Both excerpts make me want to read the rest of the story. It was hard to choose!
  • I think they both did a good job of presenting their books.
  • Both leading ladies were believable and presented with skill.
  • Looks like a whole lotta fun!
  • I found it very hard to select only ONE excerpt. They were both great! Keep up the great work!
  • Both excerpts have great leads! Would like to read both books!

Curious to read the winning excerpt? You can both contenders' entries here.
An interview with the winning author can be found here.  

Want to congratulate the author? Leave a message in the comments. Have a question about future Clashes on COTT? Email them at

Thank you! 

**Michelle Massaro is the Assistant Editor for Clash of the Titles, a mother of four, and a wife of nearly 17 years. She bakes, crochets, cross-stitches, sings, writes, and cries during movies. She champions for Biblical authority, leads a Jr. High girls' Bible study, and plays a mean game of backgammon. She spends way too much time on the computer, but makes it up to her family (she hopes) with prayer coverings and chocolate chip cookies. The best place to connect with her is on Facebook, naturally.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Tumbled Stone by Marcia Lee Laycock

Today, we are interviewing Marcia Laycock, author of A Tumbled Stone.

Tell us about A Tumbled Stone. Why did you write it?

When I came to the end of the first book, One Smooth Stone, I wasn't ready to leave the characters behind and I thought the readers might feel the same. So I wrote the epilogue in which the main character, Alex, discovers he has a sister. Then it was a matter of playing "what if" and developing the new characters and the plot line. I knew where I wanted the book to go but it wasn't always easy making it go there. :)

The book involves the issue of abortion, and I wanted that to be an important part but not the central part of the book. The main character's struggle to shape her own identity and reconcile her feelings about her foster parents is paramount. The subplot involves the dysfunction in the relationship between her foster parents and how they resolve it.

Short blurb about the book: Andrea Calvert had to run away. She couldn't stay on the farm, shaming her parents . She couldn't face being pregnant and alone. She would take care of this on her own. As she struggles to make life-changing decisions, Andrea discovers a diary and the wrenching story about her family's dysfunction.

Why do you write in this genre (what do you love about it?) Do you write in other genres as well?

This is my second go at the contemporary genre – the story I wanted to tell fit well in that category and yes, I love writing about contemporary characters in real-life settings. I have also written a fantasy for young adults (not published yet, though an editor is interested) and two non-fiction devotional books and two ebooks.

Tell us about a significant moment for you as you were writing the book (either personally or professionally)

I suppose the most significant thing is that I was diagnosed with cancer just as the book was accepted by a publisher. That meant all the editing was done while struggling with "chemo-haze" so it was a challenge in many ways. My energy level was extremely low so I had to do what I could in short bits. I am very thankful for my editor at Word Alive Press. He was very helpful and patient with me. I'm also thankful that my energy level has rebounded nicely - I need all I can muster now, in the thick of the promotion. :)

What is significant about this book? Why should people read it?

I think a lot of people are running and hiding - from their lives and from God. We all do this to some degree (even Christians) and I believe God wants us to stop and face the past traumas, what we have done, etc. And he wants us to know He loves us in spite of it all, even when we make bad choices. As I mentioned, this book deals with abortion and my prayer is that it may help a young woman somewhere make the right choice for her unborn child. I also hope that after reading A Tumbled Stone readers will have more compassion for young women who find themselves in the place of having to make such a profound, life-changing decision.

Where can readers purchase A Tumbled Stone?

A Tumbled Stone is available from in paperback and Kindle. It can also be purchased at any Christian bookstore (distributed by Ingram in the U.S.) or directly from me via my website, or from the publisher at

Please give us a list of other books you have written or that will be coming out soon.
One Smooth Stone - Alex's story. Available at any bookstore or at

The Spur of the Moment – a compilation of my devotional column – currently in second edition

Focused Reflections – a devotional on special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.

A Traveler's Advisory - an ebook at - short devotionals to inspire you while traveling

Abundant Rain - another ebook at smashwords for writers of faith

All of these books are available on my website -

Check her blog here:

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pulitzer Prize First Sentences

Every writer knows the importance of grabbing the reader with the first sentence, but she also knows how difficult that sentence can be to construct. My writer friends seem to like this one from my novel, Where Love Once Lived: She felt loved on Tuesdays.

To be honest, I like it also. However, I'm not sure why it works. Now that I'm writing a sequel I'm looking for an even better first sentence. This is what I have now, but I'm not tickled with it: Was there anything more embarrassing than being left standing at the altar?

This first sentence could be a spoiler for those of you who have not read Where Love Once Lived and a question mark for those who have. Either way, let me know how you feel about the sentence.

To get the creative juices working, I have listed below, first sentences from a random selection of the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy – When he woke in the woods in the dark and the cold of the night he'd reach out to touch the child sleeping beside him.

The Known World by Edward P. Jones – The evening his master died he worked again well after he ended the day for the other adults, his own wife among them, and sent them back with hunger and tiredness to their cabins.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo – Compared to the Whiting mansion in town, the house Charles Beaumont Whiting built a decade after his return to Maine was modest.

Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow – The book of ballads published by Von Humboldt Fleisher in the Thirties was an immediate hit.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – To the red country and part of the gray country of Oklahoma, the last rains came gently, and they did not cut the scarred earth.

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley – At sixty miles per hour, you could pass our farm in a minute, on County Road 686, which ran due north into the T intersection at Cabot Street Road.

American Pastoral by Philip Roth – The Swede. During the war years, when I was still a grade school boy, this was a magical name in our Newark neighborhood, even to adults just a generation removed from the city's old Prince Street ghetto and not yet so flawlessly Americanized as to be bowled over by the prowess of a high school athlete.

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron – Above the barren, sandy cape where the river joins the sea, there is a promontory or cliff rising straight up hundreds of feet to form the last outpost of land.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – I told you last night that I might be gone sometime, and you said, Where, and I said, To be with the Good Lord, and you said, Why, and I said, Because I'm old, and you said, I don't think you're old.

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides – I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day in January of 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan in August of 1974.

The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson – The prairie lay that afternoon as it had lain for centuries of September afternoons, vast as an ocean; motionless as an ocean coaxed into very little ripples by languid breezes; silent as an ocean where only very little waves slip back into their element.

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk – He was of medium height, somewhat chubby, and good looking, with curly red hair and an innocent, gay face, more remarkable for a humorous air about the eyes and large mouth than for any strength of chin or nobility of nose.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – When he was nearly thirteen, my brother Jem got his arm badly broken at the elbow.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

COTT -- Soul-gripping Heroines

*Guest post by Jennifer Slattery

When our daughter was young, I was very cautious of the television shows and movies she watched. It wasn’t just the language or violence that concerned me, but the image of women they portrayed. The media seemed to convey a constant message: “Women’s value is only skin deep.” I was probably overly cautious, but the discussion still holds merit. What do our choice of heroine’s say about our values as a society?
At the risk of sounding cliché, we’ve come a long way … in but a short period of time. The other day my daughter showed me a page from her magazine. On it, there were five models, each with different skin tones and body types.


I believe the heroine’s in Christian fiction are changing, too. I’ve read novels of women with disabilities, vices they need to overcome, backgrounds they’re not fond of. I’ve read of women doctors, single moms, those facing divorce. To me, a sinner saved by grace, it’s encouraging to read of women just like me—imperfect, yet strong. Struggling, yet overcoming. Imperfect women living in an imperfect world, embraced and loved by a perfect God.

I believe our cardboard heroines from the past arose out of honorable intentions. There was a general desire to set forth perfection in the hopes that we, as readers, would strive for it. And there is much wisdom to that theory, and yet, the Bible presents a different kind of hero and heroine.

Those like Abraham, who lied, thus betraying his wife.

And Moses, a prince turned murderer turned liberator.

Those like Ruth, who had to beg, well, glean, for her next meal.

Paul, a religious tyrant who watched as Stephen the first martyr was stoned.

A sinful woman with an alabaster jar who was willing to surrender something so costly when she found something of higher value—Jesus.

Each of these characters taught us something about grace and something about ourselves. Through their struggles, God reveals our own. More than that, through their triumphs, God stirs us toward victory.

I’d love to hear from you. Has there been a heroine—in a novel, movie, or the Bible—that God used to tap deep into your heart, revealing an area of weakness He wanted to change? Tell me about her, and what God revealed through her.
*Clash of the Titles’ hostess, Jennifer Slattery, lives in the Midwest with her husband and their teenage. She writes for the ACFW Journal, Internet Café Devotions, Jewels of Encouragement, and the Christian Pulse. Her work has placed in various contests and appeared in numerous publications and compilation works. Visit her online at her devotional blog, Jennifer Slattery Lives Out Loud ( or on Facebook at “Living by Grace,” a modern-day meet-at-the-well community. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Welcome to the John 3:16 Giveaway Blog Hop!

The winners are shown in order matching the gifts. The first person wins the $50 gift certificate, the next five people win the autographed copy of Where Love Once Lived, and the last five win the autographed copy of The Vengeance Squad. Congratulations to all. 

Here are the winners to the first contest:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BOOK REVIEW: Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

This is the story of Brad and Darlene Henderson and their three teenaged children, Chad, Grace, and Ansley. After Chad, their oldest, experiences alcohol and possibly drug problems in high school, the family moves from Houston to the small rural town of Round Top, Texas. Brad, a CPA bucking for partner, continues his job in Houston and the long commute keeps him away from the family more than before. Brad and Darlene are both strong Christians and are raising their children to be also. Darlene ministers to a neighbor who has been bitter with God for years because of the death of her child. The neighbor, Layla, turns out to be a former movie star. Darlene had not recognized her, but Brad did from watching old movies. As time goes on, Darlene and Layla become friends and, eventually, Darlene learns that she helped Layla restore her faith in God.

As I was reading the book I thought of the saying, "wherever you go, there you are", because moving to the small town didn't solve the problems. If anything, they were made worse. Brad is away more because of the long drive and having to work extra hours to become partner. Darlene takes a job partly because the children are more independent and they are in a safer environment.

The reader gets to hear the story from the viewpoints of Darlene, Brad, Chad, and Grace, as well as a few people outside the family. This gives the reader insights about the children sometimes before the parents. This increased the suspense and made me want to read on to find out what happens next.

As in real life, events in the story affected different people in different ways. Sometimes a problem causes one person to turn closer to God for love and support. The same problem might cause another person to reject and blame God. Our strong faithful Christians in this story didn't always react the way we expected. But that's the way it is in the real world. How strong is your faith?

I loved the book and the characters. I laughed with them and cried for them. I even wanted to fuss at them at times. This is the first book I've read by Beth Wiseman, but I'll be looking for more. She has a great talent for making the story interesting from the first page to the last. There's no filler. All meat.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an advance review copy of this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”