Tuesday, August 27, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Murdermobile by B.B. Cantwell

Let me start by saying I love bookmobiles and therefore libraries and librarians. I especially love mysteries with humor involving bookmobiles, and have not found many. So, when I heard about Murdermobile, I quickly bought a copy.
As a writer and student of fiction, I was disappointed in the way the story was presented. I was taught to use only one character point of view in a scene and to let the reader know when the point of view character changes. In Murdermobile, the point of view bounces from one character to another as easily as starting a new paragraph.

If that doesn't bother you, you'll find the story itself, as well as the characters and settings quite enjoyable. The authors definitely know bookmobiles, and their characters come across as real and interesting.

When I encounter a book with the point of view switching like this one, I hardly ever finish it. The only reason I continued to read this one to the end was because of the bookmobile angle. I'm glad I did.

Monday, August 26, 2013

COTT: Oohs and Aahs of July Releases for End of Summer Clash

We're moving toward the end of summer...but there's still plenty of time to check out these great new releases! This month's CLASH OF THE TITLES runs the gamut from debut authors to tried and true fav authors--from history to mystery...Suspense! Contemporary Romance! Sailing! Cowboys!  Novella to full-length - something for everyone.

Come join us on this latest Clash of the Title competition. Vote for the next book you are desperate to add to your reading list...and don't forget to leave a word of encouragement.

This CLASH VOTE lasts until midnight August 27--that's next TUESDAY.

The author with the most votes will be announced on August 29 -- THURSDAY! Make sure you come back then to meet the author and read more about the winning title.

Stalking Willow, by Fay Lamb

Trailed by a stalker in New York City, Willow Thomas, a young ad executive, scurries back to her small North Carolina hometown and the lake house where ten years earlier a scandal revealed her entire life had been a lie and a seed of bitterness took root in her soul. The cocoon of safety Willow feels upon her arrival home soon unravels when she meets opposition from her family, faces the man she left behind, and the stalker reveals he is close on her heels.

Miss Fishfly, by Linda Glaz

Searching for love everywhere but in the right places, Christie Hayes is confounded when chocolate brown eyes wink at her at her best friend's wedding. A narrow miss of the bedpan, and she discovers old Mr. Hartway's grandson, Colton Keller, and brown eyes are one in the same.

A Lady of Quality, by Louise M. Gouge

Catherine Du Coeur is determined to uncover the truth about wealthy Lord Winston, who falsely accused her father of treason. Baron Lord Winston has had little success in finding an accomplished aristocratic bride who is suited to his diplomatic aspirations, but when he meets Miss Du Coeur, a countess’s lowly companion, he finds that family connections are far less important than matters of the heart.

Becalmed, by Normandie Fischer

Tadie Longworth doesn't spend much time worrying that she’s turning into one of Beaufort, North Carolina’s, spinsters with her gift shop full of her own jewelry designs and a sweet little sailboat to take her mind off the guy who got away. But now Will’s back with a daughter and a ship to repair so he can sail—straight out of Tadie’s life.

Rodeo Regrets, by Shannon Taylor Vanatter

After Lane Gray broke her heart Natalie Wentworth made a game of lassoing one cowboy after another with no strings attached. Nine years later, irresistible cowboy Lane Gray is a changed man and wants Natalie's forgiveness-and more.

VOTE HERE! And don't forget to leave an encouraging word. We love to hear from you. Click here to take survey

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense by Mark Mittelberg

The Reason Why Faith Makes Sense is an update of a book called The Reason Why written by Robert A Laidlaw in 1913. Laidlaw, a successful New Zealand businessman, wrote the book for his employees to provide simple answers to complex questions about God and Christianity. Laidlaw's little (37-page) book eventually reached more than fifty-million people around the world.

Mittelberg recreated the book with contemporary expressions and updated evidence to support Laidlaw's conclusions.

The book is organized around the following questions:

Is there a God?
Can the Bible be trusted?
Are we accountable to God?
Who was Jesus and what was his purpose?
Is divine forgiveness available?
What do I need to do?

Answers for each question are given with both Bible references and logic provided by experts in fields other than theology. Stephen Hawking, for example.

What I like about this book is that the answers are succinct while being full of information. My notes from reading the book are nearly as long as the book itself.

This is the type of book you'll want to read over and over again. You'll also want to have a few extra copies to share with friends and family. I feel more comfortable with my beliefs from reading it.

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.”


Monday, August 19, 2013

COTT: Scotland, Food, Romance, God--Four Greats, One Novel. Five Days in Skye

Didn't manage that Scotland get-away this summer? No worries. You can travel there now, through the pages of Laureano's latest novel, Five Days in Skye.
A recent COTT clash participant, this "delicious" romance is a whirlwind trip you won't want to miss!

Five Days in Skye 
by Carla Laureano


About Five Days in Skye

Hospitality consultant Andrea Sullivan has one last chance to snag a high-profile client or she'll have to kiss her dreams of promotion good-bye. When she's sent to meet Scottish celebrity chef James MacDonald on the Isle of Skye, she just wants to finish her work as efficiently as possible. Yet her client is not the opportunistic womanizer he portrays himself to be, and her attraction to him soon dredges up memories she'd rather leave buried.
For James, renovating the family hotel is a fulfillment of his late father's dreams. When his hired consultant turns out to be beautiful, intelligent, and completely unimpressed by his public persona, he makes it his mission to win her over. He just never expects to fall under her spell.
Soon, both Andrea and James must face the reality that God may have a far different purpose for their lives—and that five days in Skye will forever change their outlook on life and love.

About the Author

Carla Laureano has held many job titles--professional marketer, small business consultant, and martial arts instructor--but writer is by far her favorite. She currently lives in Denver with her patient husband and two rambunctious sons, who know only that Mom's work involves lots of coffee and talking to imaginary people.
Carla spends her free time hanging out on her blog and social media. Connect with her here:

What People Are Saying

“Five Days in Skye is at turns sweet and scathing, lush and intimate... This story has guts and heart as well as the depth and heat necessary to satisfy any romance reader's palate.” – Serena Chase, USA Today

 “What a delicious discovery! Carla Laureano’s Five Days in Skye swept me away to the Scottish Isles and into the wounded hearts of the impeccably cool Andrea Sullivan and the charismatic charmer Jamie MacDonald. This is a romance to savour from beginning to end. The funny and feisty first interaction between this pair sucks you in and as the story and characters develop you will have no desire to leave as they wrestle with doubts, prejudice, preconceptions, and sparkling attraction. What I loved most was the substance to this story – this is no marshmallow romance – but a love story that is intriguing and real… In a world replete with romantic clichés, Carla’s writing is so very refreshing!” – Rel Mollet, Relz Reviewz
“The storytelling, characters, and setting all served to drag me so deeply into the world of Skye that for days after finishing the book I felt a huge, gaping hole… If you love exotic places, larger-than-life leading men, and romances that warm you to your very core, Five Days in Skye is the perfect getaway for a hot summer afternoon. Prepare yourself to read late into the evening and night as putting down the novel will be next to impossible.” – Elizabeth Olmedo, Radiant Lit
“From the sceneries, to the refined cuisine, every detail of the land is sketched with precision and care, embarking readers on an unforgettable journey that will leave them breathless for more. Laureano not only seems to have a knack for breathing life into a place few of us truly know, but also for breathing life into characters that will take you by the hand and run away with you.”—Amazon reader review
“The setting was inviting and gorgeous. The characters, especially the hero, felt real and had fully-rounded back stories. Of course, there was a lot of chemistry and fun, but I was drawn in by the deeper themes of making peace with the past and trusting God with the future as well.” –Amazon reader review

“While I was reveling in luscious details and having a grand time, Laureano managed to remind me that life is about more than working hard to earn good things. Taking a moment to breathe, to lift your head and appreciate creation, to let go of mistakes you've made and allow people to love you--all these gems are embedded in the pages of Five Days in Skye. You'll come away from this novel refreshed and craving good food, good times and the company of loved ones.” –Amazon reader review.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Two Devotionals by Martin Roth

Love, Justice and Power: The Message of Passover for Christians by Martin Roth

Martin Roth writes this devotional from his perspective of growing up in a Jewish family and becoming a Christian later in his life. Included are Bible reading assignments and discussions. However, what I found special was when the author talked about his own experiences. His first Seder, or Passover Ceremony, was experienced at the home of his aunt and uncle in Tel Aviv where Roth had gone to work on a kibbutz after recently graduating from the university. It was his first Seder because his father, a refuge of World War II in New Zealand, had rejected his Jewish heritage.

Roth became a Christian at the age of forty-four after his Jewish experience and other experiences while living in Japan.

Another interesting story in this devotional is about Rabbi Harold Vallins, a man who went from being an atheist to a Rabbi to a Christian. Roth talked to him to learn how this happened and reading about it is fascinating as well as informative.

A Psalm for the Battle: Reflections on Psalm 18, Christians and Warfare by Martin Roth 
Roth's father was a Jewish refugee to New Zealand and a Communist who served in the New Zealand Air Force. After the war, he became anti-war, refused his war medals, and became a leader, along with Roth's mother, in the fight for nuclear disarmament.
The question the author poses is this: Should Christians kill as soldiers? The devotional goes through Psalms 18, analyzing each verse as it relates to war.

I found the quotes from Andrew Grills interesting. Grills was an Anglican chaplain with the Australian Defense Force. Another story I liked was the way a British general became an Anglican priest after he retired.

Both these devotionals are well worth the read.

Monday, August 12, 2013

COTT: Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

Welcome! Today we are taking a look at recent Clash Contender, Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson. First, take a look at that gorgeous cover! Love it! Now "turn the book over" to read the back cover blurb:

About the book

Grace's Pictures
Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her. Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.


A review from the Library Journal 

Irish immigrant Grace McCaffery came to New York City for a better life. She takes a job as a nanny to make enough money to bring her mother over from Ireland. When her employers are slow to pay her, she decides to take her new Brownie camera and earn some extra income by selling her photos. A trip to the park puts Grace in danger when she photographs some local gangsters, raising the attention of policeman Owen McNulty. But Grace, who was taken by police to the workhouse when she was a child, has a distrust of men in uniform. Still, she never expects to find one so kind—or attractive. VERDICT Thomson (Brigid of Ireland) has penned a delightful story of overcoming obstacles. Lynn N. Austin fans will savor this historical series debut.

Gotta see more? You can purchase Grace's Pictures on Amazon and read a preview right now!


About the author

Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her Ellis Island series with Tyndale House. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Irelandand Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biographyThree Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research’s Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio. Get to know Cindy at her blog, on Facebook, on Twitter, or on Pinterest.

Click here for a great interview with Cindy on Tyndale's website

Be sure to visit COTT for next month's clash!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron

Chase Falson, the pastor of a church in Thackeray, Connecticut he started and built into a mega-church, suffered a spiritual breakdown. He was especially shaken when the nine-year-old daughter of a recovered drug/alcoholic mother was tragically killed falling off a bicycle just as their lives had begun to improve.

After several unusual episodes at church, the elders asked Chase to take a leave of absence to decide what he wants to do. Chase reluctantly leaves and goes to visit Uncle Kenny, Chase's mother's first cousin, a Catholic priest living in Italy.

Uncle Kenny takes Chase on a pilgrimage following the path of St. Francis of Assisi. Chase, being a protestant, resisted but his uncle talks him into it. An interesting angle is that part of the book consists of journals kept by Chase during the pilgrimage.

Along the way, Chase meets other priests who help him in various ways. Also, Maggie, the mother of the child who was killed joins Chase and becomes an important part of the story.

We all have events in our lives for which we want to blame God. Some people even leave the church because of such events. I suspect it is especially tough when it happens to ministers, and that is what this story is all about.

This Zondervan book is fiction, but rings true with references to and excerpts from books about St. Francis. A bibliography is included in the back of the book.

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."

Friday, August 2, 2013

COTT: The Winner of the June New Releases Clash is...

The winner of our latest Clash is:

A Melody For James

Hallee Bridgeman

Congratulations, Hallee!

Special thanks to her competitors for their participation:

Carla Laureano
Michelle Griep
Cindy Thomson
Miralee Ferrell

About A Melody For James: 

Solitary strangers meet during a stormy stopover. Hours later, their hearts hum a harmonious duet.

Melody Mason has the hottest female voice in the country music scene. But the cheers of throngs of adoring fans mean little in the absence of the handsome stranger who rescued her years before. Widower James Montgomery has never forgotten her. He prays God can bring her back.

Incredible events finally bring them face to face again. Together at last, they realize the bond between them has miraculously risen to a crescendo, melodiously marrying them like strong symphonic chords. Uncannily, they learn they share more in common than they could have ever imagined. They know God reunited them for a purpose.

Sinister forces threaten to destroy their new found happiness. The couple must work in close concert, placing all their faith in God as they solve the deadly mystery that ties their lives inexplicably together.

Fire, loss, and bloodshed cannot shake their faith in God to see them through as they face a percussive climax that leaves hearts and lives forever changed.


About the author:

Hallee Bridgeman lives with her husband and their three children in small town Kentucky. When she's not writing Christian romance novels, she blogs about all things cooking and homemaking at Hallee the Homemaker (http://www.halleethehomemaker.com).

Hallee started writing when her oldest child and only daughter was a baby, but a busy professional career and being the wife of a deployed soldier had her shelve her books for another time. Two more children, a cross country move, and God's perfect timing brought the books off of the shelf to be dusted off and presented to you now.

Join Hallee's Street Team -- Hallee's Allies -- find all of the information here: http://www.bridgemanfamily.com/hallee/i-want-you-to-join-hallees-allies/

Hallee loves coffee, campy action movies, and regular date nights with her husband. Above all else, she loves God with all of her heart, soul, mind, and strength; has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ; and relies on the presence of the Holy Spirit. She prays her books are a blessing to you and would love to hear back from you. You can reach Hallee at hallee@bridgemanfamily.com

What people are saying:
This book has affected me on so many levels. I am so moved by it that I don't know where to begin this review. Me, who is usually never stuck for words! To say I'm stunned is an understatement. Friends, brothers and sisters, I never say I'm stunned by a book. Never. But I'm saying it now.

This is as taut a thriller as ever I've read. It's hard hitting and doesn't flinch from the bad stuff. Like any contemporary thriller, it's full of surprises. Explosions, bombs, bullets, missed connections, it's all there. What's not there is explicit sexual description and what is definitely not there is profanity. What a refreshing change! Hallee Bridgeman has gone and proved that you don't have to write dirty to get people's attention. That a book can thrum with sexual tension without a bed in sight. That actual evil and hatred can manifest itself on the printed page without a single swear word. And I truly believe, as a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead, that this can only be accomplished by the power and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Hallelluia!

I praise and thank God for the gift of Hallee Bridgeman to readers, for her awesome talent and generosity of spirit in sharing this wonderful story. The Spirit of God is definitely present here and the Word of God and it's vibrant power is continuously present.

The plot, James and Melody's story, how they meet at a juncture of their lives and fall in love, to be reunited again several years later, is compulsive and will please readers of romance. The intrigue regarding the enemies who surround them will please the readers of thrillers. How this couple walk in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, fearing no evil will please spirit filled Christian believers. It is so true - if you live in the Word of God and the Word in you, no weapon formed against you shall prosper and ever tongue which rises against you shall be condemned.

Heavenly Father, I pray this wonderful novel will be read far and wide and help increase the faith of believers everywhere and bring faith to people who don't know the Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen!

~From Contemporary Romance Reviews (http://rbh-contemporary.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-melody-for-james-by-hallee-bridgeman.html)

 Click here to see the author discuss the book herself!! http://youtu.be/np3EQK3VFh4

Thank you all so much. This has been a tremendous clash! Join us again for our July New Releases, coming soon! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Meet Emma Right, Author of Keeper of Reign

Today we are interviewing Emma Right, author of Keeper of Reign.

Tell us something about the book.

Keeper of Reign is an allegorical fantasy about the fall of man and the redemption story in a fantasy setting that's filled with danger and adventure. Something young readers eleven and up can enjoy even though the story still has a Christian message.

How did you come up with the title?

I came up with over a dozen names: Elfie Epic, Kingdom of Keepers, Kingdom of Reign, The Overcomers, …but finally, I decided that it really was about just one Keeper: Jules Blaze, a boy who minimized his heritage, and didn't realize he could make an impact in his world, and that his family needed him.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Which scene or characters were the most difficult for you to write and why?

(Spoiler Alert)
The last scene when Jules has nothing but the pouch of stones (to represent Jesus, the Rock) to overcome Whisperer and his evil ways--the pouch of stones Jules has had all along and which, time and again, the enemies tried to take away from him. It is sort of like how it is with us. Our enemies will always try to take away everything that could empower us so we could not defeat a bad situation, but if we dig deep, we will see we already have it in us to triumph over evil.

Tell us about some of the biblical imageries in Keeper of Reign.

The name of "Gehzurolle", the evil Lord, is German, for Confounder, which essentially is what Satan is. Elfies are a cross between Elves (the physical and carnal part of Man) and fairies (the more ethereal, spirit side of humans.) And Whisperer represents the evil whisperings or rumors that tend to take us down, or fill us with fear--one of the tactics that the Devil uses to try to crush us. I made Mosche, the Keeper, live behind a waterfall, because when we are soaked with the water of His Word, the Bible says, the enemy cannot touch us. And why "Roaring Falls"? Because when we are so filled with the hearing and hearing of the Word, our faith is built. There're a lot more biblical imageries in the story. I tried to make it subtle so only Christians can pick these images up, as I am marketing the book as a secular fantasy, and hope that it would open doors for non-believing kids reading it.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Lisa Hainline designed it for me. I told her some of the elements in the story, and that the dragonfly lantern was an important component, and that I wanted it to have a magical, fairytale like feel, for that's what Keeper of Reign is--something of a fairytale. And, it's Elfies, not elves. The Elfies are a cross between elves, (the more robust, physical beings) and fairies (think ethereal, flighty.)

What would you like Keeper of Reign to accomplish?

I hope my readers can see that with the power of the gospel, we can overcome our problems and difficulties. I want to empower young readers with this message, that if they seek the truth (the Ancient Books, in Keeper of Reign) they will find wisdom and answers to life's problems. It doesn't mean the answers are going to come easily, but persistence will pay off, and the Bible has the answers.

Do you have a quote you live by?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?

I would love to see Mt. Ararat. I'd be curious to see if I could spot Noah's Ark.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Please visit my blog and sign up for my newsletter at http://www.emmaright.com. I promise not to bog you down with emails. Only a few to announce no purchase needed contests, and when my next book with its promotional price will be available. I am currently editing Dead Dreams, and it should be ready Dec 2014. And I hope to have Keeper of Reign Book 2 out early 2014.

Emma Right

Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one.

Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.

Connect with Emma Right:

Blog: http://www.emmaright.com/Blog.aspx