Colors of Christmas

Colors of Christmas cover

About the Book

Christmas in Blue
Angela just wants Christmas to be over. Instead, she finds herself in charge of the town’s celebration, and everything goes from bad to worse. Can she rescue Christmas for the town—and herself?

Christmas in Gold
When eighty-year-old Astrid moves into an assisted living community and meets a young woman on the brink of despair, she resolves to stir up Christmas hope one more time.

 

About the Author

Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and twenty-something children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where day-lilies grow as tall as she is.

Olivia Newport

 

Guest Post from Olivia Newport

We All Have a Story

 

I’m younger than most of the people I exercise with. It started when I had a lot of pain in my feet and needed low-impact classes with the option of sitting down and learned I didn’t have to be a senior citizen to take their classes at my gym. Then I discovered how tough most of them are. Years later, though my feet are better, these are still my people.

 

A couple of years ago, while we waited for the younger and allegedly-but-not-really-tougher crowd to clear out of the group exercise room so we could invade it, a woman I would not have guessed to be 80, because she could out-cardio and out-lift me any day of the week, mentioned she had been widowed since she was 39. And she’d been widowed the first time at 19. And she’d grown up in Germany while Hitler was intent on destroying Europe and life was not easy.

 

Then the changing of the guard happened and I was left with my mouth gaping. I knew I had to hear this story. The next week after class, we went across the parking lot to Culvers for lunch and I scribbled notes on the backs of a pile of brown napkins while Astrid talked. Later she let me read the account of her life that she had written herself.

 

Astrid faced so many tragic circumstances, but she would be the first to tell you that God was with her even before she knew how to call on him. Many people with her life story would have found plenty of reason to wallow and stagnate. But not Astrid. Truly she is one of the most hopeful people I know.

 

Her story was the beginning of Colors of Christmas, which includes two stories. Astrid’s is “Christmas in Gold,” and the other is “Christmas in Blue.” Astrid inspired me to write about hope for a time of year when the Christian message resounds with hope yet so many people struggle to grasp hope for themselves. I pray these stories will help many recover a sense of hope afresh.

 

Olivia Newport chases joy in Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where day-lilies grow as tall as she is.

 

My Ideation

Personally, I think Christmas stories are fantastic.  Not only do they bring hope, but they paint a beautiful picture of a wonderful time of year.  Colors of Christmas did that through two different stories.

Christmas in Gold was a true-to-life story.  Astrid has gotten up in years and must move to a retirement home.  Although not entirely happy about it, she understands that the time has come.  In the middle of familiarizing herself with a new home and starting physical therapy, she makes it her mission to figure out what is troubling her physical therapist.  Through her treatments, she tells her life’s story and hopes that Carly will come to know the Lord.

I loved how Newport brought in Astrid’s childhood and marriages into the story.  It helped me better connect with Astrid.  My great-grandma was from Germany so hearing Astrid’s story reminded me of my great-grandma and what her family may have gone through.  Astrid’s character is very loving and godly.  I loved how she put everyone else above herself, which is as it should be.

Christmas in Blue was a little difficult for me.  Angela lost her best friend to cancer.  This was to be her first Christmas without her.  She was not feeling festive in the least bit.  This was my family last Christmas as it was the first since my mom had passed from cancer.

Angela has been “volunteered” to carry on her best friend’s Christmas tradition, in which she is to decorate the town.  Angela is not happy about it.  She is mourning her friend and would rather just forget about Christmas.  Even though she is not happy that she was volunteered, she decides to concede.  Everything starts going wrong until a handsome young stranger comes to town and steps in to help her.  

This is a very sweet story that reveals how powerful love is.  Angela makes some realizations during this time and begins to see things in a different light.  The handsome young stranger shares a bond with Angela and in working together are able to help each other in the healing process.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Olivia is giving away a grand prize of a Christmas Bundle Bonanza which includes 7 Jumbo rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, 2 sets of stick-on gift tags, 2 packages of Christmas cards and envelopes, 2 collections of Christmas novellas—18 stories in all, and a signed copy of Colors of Christmas!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c319

 

Blog Stops

Books N Baubles, October 17

Christian Bookaholic, October 17

Bukwurmzzz, October 17

Janices book reviewsOctober 18

Singing Librarian BooksOctober 18

Reading Is My SuperPowerOctober 18

Moments Dipped in Ink, October 18

A Simply Enchanted Life, October 19

G.O. & D’S QUILTS & BOOKSOctober 19

BigreadersiteOctober 19

Reader’s cozy cornerOctober 20

Have A Wonderful DayOctober 20

Reflections from my bookshelves, October 20

Blogging With CarolOctober 21

Just the Write EscapeOctober 21

Zerina Blossom’s BooksOctober 21

A Greater YesOctober 22

Mary HakeOctober 22

Daysong ReflectionsOctober 22

A Baker’s PerspectiveOctober 23

Ashley’s BookshelfOctober 23

Baker KellaOctober 23

Smiling Book ReviewsOctober 23

The Fizzy Pop CollectionOctober 24

It’s Storytime With Van DanikerOctober 24

Remembrancy, October 24

Carpe DiemOctober 25

autism momOctober 25

Bibliophile ReviewsOctober 25

A Reader’s BrainOctober 26

By The BookOctober 26

The Power of WordsOctober 26

With a Joyful Noise, October 27

Pause for Tales, October 27

Splashes of JoyOctober 27

Jeanette’s ThoughtsOctober 28

Christian Chick’s ThoughtsOctober 28

Karen Sue HadleyOctober 28

Vicky SluiterOctober 29

To Everything a SeasonOctober 29

Pursuing StacieOctober 29

Just Jo’AnneOctober 30

Tell Tale Book Reviews, October 30

Debbie’s Dusty DeliberationsOctober 30

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Devil in the Dust

Cover hi rez[11002]

About the Book

June 1933

Their small Oklahoma town is dying. Lillian remembers how acres and acres of wheat once waved under jewel-blue skies. Now the dirt stretches across the flat land as far as she can see.

Emma’s husband is missing. She keeps house, keeps her five children fed as best as she can, and keeps smiling as her hope fades. But when the days stretch to weeks, she faces the possibility that he will never come home. Left with the likelihood of losing their farm, and the ever-present pangs of hunger, she is forced to consider opportunities that, under normal circumstances, she would never contemplated.

Jessie, Emma’s oldest daughter, completes her tasks as if numb. Forced to wear her mother’s shoes to avoid the humiliation of bare feet, she watches the dead, dirt road for signs of life.

And then he comes.

His new car and shiny shoes and generous way with gifts and money catch Jessie’s eye, much to the dismay of her mother … and much to the concern of the minister’s wife, Lillian. He’s too smooth, too willing to help, and much too eager to spend time with a girl less than half his age. But who is to say he is not the miracle they all prayed for?

 

About the Author

Award winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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Guest Post from 

Why I wrote Devil in the Dust.

One Sunday after church, we decided to go to lunch with another family. We hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know this couple well, but the conversation was amazing, we laughed until we almost cried, and I’m pretty sure the restaurant manager was glad to see us go.

On the way out, the topic grew more serious, and I mentioned something that worried me. It was maybe a sentence—I was not baring my soul—but the woman with whom we had spent the last couple of delightful hours stopped, blinked, and put up her wall-of-a-Christian-smile. In an instant, I knew I had been judged as negative. You see, for many Christians, the mantras of “the battle is already won,” “faith will get you through,” and the largely American “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” have drowned out the quieter mandate to care.

I went home chased by the feeling that, somehow, I didn’t measure up. And for a time, I dredged that place of overthinking, attempting to float a reason out of that murky pond where insecurity hides.

Of course, I came up with nothing, and decided to put my efforts into deciding what my next novel would be. Unfortunately (or fortunately), at this stage, every little life experience has potential for use.

While I had been undecided on theme, I knew I wanted the setting for the novel to be in the dustbowl in the 1930s. I began researching, and I realized the scope and human impact of this disaster was much larger than I had remembered from history class. More importantly, it lasted an entire decade. For a decade, people dealt with hunger and drought and death from breathing in the ultra-fine soot. Children were lost. Families abandoned their farms. People survived on rations of canned government meat…and that’s when they were lucky. Many felt cursed.

Life was hard. I imagine that smiles were rare, even in the church.

I started thinking about what it would take for a community to survive devastation on this scale. I considered the kind of people who make up a town: merchants, teachers, police, farmers, and ministers. And while merchants and teachers, along with everyone else, would feel the change brought on by the slow death of a drought, for a minister it would be different. A minister’s purpose is to bring people the good news of the gospel. Technically, their job would stay exactly the same, except every phrase they spoke would shift in meaning because the context—the lives of those sitting in the pews—had changed so dramatically.

Growing up as the child of a pastor, I have some knowledge about how a minister’s home works. And in all my research I was left with one question: How could a minister preach every Sunday to a congregation of people who had lost everything with no hope for improvement anytime soon?

I moved my research to the Bible, and when I did, I came across the story of Lazarus. I have heard and read this story countless times, but in the light of trying to puzzle out what a pastor might do in a situation where it looks like all has been lost, I realized something about the story that I had never considered. Before Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he cried with Lazarus’ sisters. He shared in their grief even though he knew it would end. He stayed there with them in that moment of sorrow.

I came to the conclusion that during times of suffering, our responsibility to others should look nothing like that drought-of-a-Christian-smile that I met outside that restaurant. Rather, it should emulate Jesus’ example. When we make Christianity only about victory, and turn faith into a wish book, we strip it of its most powerful message: hope. Not eternal hope, but the hope of not being alone. More often than not, we lack the ability to change someone’s circumstances. What we can do is come up alongside someone and help carry their burden even if only for a few minutes. Christianity is not a way to avoid suffering, it’s about finding meaning through the suffering.

I wrote Devil in the Dust as an exploration of what it means to be a Christian while standing in the midst of a desert. Told through the voices of three women who endure the quiet shame of poverty, Devil in the Dust is a story about what happens to faith when everything goes wrong.

My Ideation

This is a great story of how people are able to get through difficult times by relying heavily on God.  This once flourishing town has been hit with a drought.  For the past three years there have been no crops.  Heavy winds bring constant dirt into homes and into food.  There is no way to avoid it.  Many families have left the area, either abandoning their homes or losing them.  Luecht does a good job of pulling in the reader.  I could not only picture the dust storms, but practically taste the dirt as well.

When the handsome, rich stranger comes into town, many people do not trust him.  Even though he’s the step-brother of the town’s store owner, there’s just something about him that isn’t right.  He tries to woo everyone.  He donates food to the mom who’s husband has been away for awhile and puts large amounts of money into the offering plate at church.  This man however, has a hidden agenda.  

This story has well-developed characters.  Luecht has done a great job with descriptions.  It is easy to picture the area, the constant mass of dirt, the fear that the residents have.  I was pulled in from the very beginning!

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card and signed copy of Devil in the Dust!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c201

 

Blog Stops

Zerina Blossom’s Books, October 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 11

Connie’s History Classroom, October 11

The Fizzy Pop Collection, October 12

Genesis 5020, October 12

A Reader’s Brain, October 13

Blogging With CarolOctober 14

Bukwurmzzz, October 15

A Baker’s Perspective, October 16

Books n Baubles, October 17

Inklings and notions, October 18

Mary Hake, October 19

Pause for Tales, October 20

Bigreadersite, October 20

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, October 21

Karen Sue Hadley, October 21

Daysong Reflections, October 22

Locks, Hooks and Books, October 23

 

 

Deadly Proof

Deadly Proof

About the Book

Tapped as lead counsel in a corporate cover-up lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, Kate Sullivan knows this case could make her career. What really drives her, though, is getting justice for the victims whose lives were ruined by the company’s dangerous new drug. But when a whistleblower turns up dead, it paints a target on the back of everyone involved.

Former Army Ranger turned private investigator Landon James steps in to handle security for Kate. He’s still haunted by mistakes in his past and is determined never to let something like that happen again. But it soon appears someone is willing to do anything–even commit murder–to keep the case from going to trial.

As danger closes in, Landon can’t help but admire Kate’s courage and resolve–but will her determination not to back down become too great of a risk?

 

About the Author

Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation’s most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband. She is active on social media, and you can visit her website at www.racheldylan.com.

 

Dylan_Rachel1

My Ideation

This was a great book!  Dylan’s knowledge of the law came through in this story.  It was well-written and sounded very professional where the law was concerned.  Before I knew that Dylan had once been a litigator, I assumed that she had just searched so thoroughly.  I enjoyed the suspense as Kate pushed forth to prosecute MPC.  Even though her life was in danger, she pushed on in an effort to fight against this company that was producing harmful drugs.  I also enjoyed how Dylan brought in Landon, a PI, to not only protect Kate, but to help bring him back to the Lord.  Many wrongs were righted, as well as honor to God.  This story reminded me that when we are wrong we are to go to our brother and confess our sin against them and then to apologize.  I love how Dylan brought this into the story! 

Q & A with Rachel Dylan

  1. The Atlanta Justice series is centered around strong, female lawyers who take on high-stakes cases. What made you want to write their stories?I’d have to say it’s personal! Having been an attorney for eleven years now, I love being able to pour parts of myself into the books. My everyday life as a lawyer isn’t that exciting and is definitely not as dangerous! But I’m able to draw on what I’ve lived through to bring life and authenticity to these characters.
  1. What type of research did you do for Deadly Proof?One of the great things about writing books related to my career is that I know lawyers who practice all different types of law. Deadly Proof focuses on Kate Sullivan, who is a plaintiff’s attorney taking on a big pharmaceutical company. I don’t do this specific type of plaintiff’s work, but I know lawyers who do, and I was able to talk with them. Also, I was able to relate to my characters on the defense side because I’ve done that work for years. It was really fun to write the perspectives of characters on both sides of the case.
  1. Is there a reason you chose Atlanta for this series?Yes! I’m from Georgia and lived in Atlanta, practicing law at a large law firm, for eight years. I wanted to pick a setting I was intimately familiar with to give readers an authentic Atlanta experience—sweet tea and all.
  1. Where do you think Kate’s passion for her work comes from?Kate truly believes that her life’s work is to help those who have been wronged. I believe a lot of her passion stems from her strong faith that has developed over the years. She’s not a lawyer to make big bucks but to change people’s lives for the better.
  1. What is the next book in the Atlanta Justice series about?Book two is about Kate’s friend Sophie Dawson, who we meet in Deadly Proof. Sophie is an Atlanta prosecutor. This story is exciting because it involves a completely different type of legal case than Deadly Proof. But I promise things get just as dangerous!

 

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

 

Giveaway

To celebrate the tour, Bethany House is giving away four Suspense Novels and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/4664b04912/

 

Kerfuffle

Kerfuffle Front Cover v3

About the Book

Olive’s best friend needs her now more than ever, but can she piece together everything in time to help him?

When an anonymous email circulates through Normandie High, everything Olive knows about her family, church, and friends will change. In the midst of controversy, Olive finds she has been entrusted to protect her best friend and his secrets, though revealing them would make her life much easier. Meanwhile, she struggles to figure out what the Bible teaches about homosexuality while the members of Revive church lobby accusations back and forth, threatening to cause a church split.

In a twist that even Olive couldn’t anticipate, family relationships waiver as Olive tries to decode her mother’s mysterious behavior. When the past stirs up new accusations against Olive’s family, she learns that some secrets are more painful to reveal than others.

Though a helpful guy in Spanish class has her attention, Olive realizes that boy problems are the least of her worries. Can she balance drama, schoolwork, and still be the supportive friend and daughter God wants her to be?

 

About the Author

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

Kristin Author Photo 2017

 

Guest Post by Kristin N. Spencer

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

My Review

I must honestly say that I wasn’t really sure about this book in the beginning.  It is more for a teenager, but I am not above reading teen books.  I just had no idea how it would pan out.  I’m so glad that I pushed forward and finished it!

This is a story that touches upon real life tragedies.  Just because a person is born again doesn’t mean that they will never encounter homosexuality or abuse.  It may not happen in their home, but they can encounter it among family members or friends.  This is the case for this Olive’s family.  

Olive’s family are church goers who fear the Lord.  They speak openly about God, pray for one another and as a family, and have Bible study in their home once a week.  Olive is a freshman in high school who wakes up early every morning to do her devotion and prayer.  Whenever there is an issue, the family prays right away. When Olive and her family learn that her friend Adam is attracted to boys, they pull together to support him.

Adam makes the choice to NOT get into a homosexual relationship because of his love for the Lord.  Even with this decision, however, he is ridiculed in his own church and is accused of sinning even though he has not sinned.  This is a very heavy story about how Christians can be too quick in hating a sinner who really, only sins differently than they do.

Kristin N. Spencer does a great job of putting scripture within this story that is a reminder that we are to love the sinner, not the sin.  We are not to judge and condemn others, but love them as ourselves.  When a Christian becomes self-righteous, not only is he sinning, but it can cause division within the church.  As Galatians 5:14 states, “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I received this book for free for an honest opinion.

Summation

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Giveaway

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

 

Blog Stops

August 15: Bukwurmzzz

August 16: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

August 17: Ashley’s Bookshelf

August 18: Blogging With Carol

August 19: Just the Write Escape

August 20: Carpe Diem

August 21: A Reader’s Brain

August 22: Remembrancy

August 23: Margaret Kazmierczak

August 24: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

August 25: Baker Kella

August 26: Avid Reader Book Reviews

August 27: The Power of Words (Spotlight)

August 28: JosephineAnneWrites

The Secret Slipper

The Secret Slipper final

About the Book

Being a cripple is only the beginning of Lia’s troubles. It seems as if Bioti’s goal in life is to make Lia as miserable as possible. If Lia’s purpose is to be a slave, then why did God make her a cripple? How can He make something beautiful out of her deformity?

Raoul never questioned the death of his daughter until someone reports her whereabouts. If Ellia is still alive, how has she survived these ten years with her deformity? When Raoul doesn’t know who to trust, can he trust God to keep Ellia safe when evidence reveals Bioti’s dangerous character?

As time brings more hindrances, will Raoul find Ellia, or will she forever be lost to the father she doesn’t even know is searching for her?

About the Author

Amanda Tero is a homeschool graduate who desires to provide God-honoring, family-friendly reading material. She has enjoyed writing since before ten years old, but it has only been since 2013 that she began seriously pursuing writing again – starting with some short stories that she wrote for her sisters as a gift. Her mom encouraged her to try selling the stories she published, and since then, she has begun actively writing short stories, novellas, and novels.

If something she has written draws an individual into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ, it is worth it!

Amanda bio pic

Guest Post From the Author

Do you ever have plans that come up from almost nowhere? That is kind of how “The Secret Slipper” started. I had written a fun novella, “Befriending the Beast.” It was a stand-alone. Just for fun. My relief project during a longer project. Well, no sooner had “Befriending the Beast” released when a friend asked me, “Hey, have you considered a father/daughter Cinderella story?” That night I stayed up until after midnight, mulling over ideas and coming up with the title. Lord Kiralyn, who appeared in “Befriending the Beast” as Belle’s uncle now had a story—involving a daughter that I didn’t know existed, but whose existence created a whirlwind of adventure, heartache, and excitement. And now that I have two books in the series, my brain is already pulling at ideas for a book three. But that’s another story for another day.

My Review

The Secret Slipper is a fairy tale similar to Cinderella, but with some very different twists in it.  I love how Tero turned the main character into a cripple.  This made the story-line more believable, but still intriguing.  It also portrayed how strong a father’s love can be.  

The characters are believable and well-created.  I tried and tried to figure out why Bioti did the things she did.  She was a miserable woman who did some despicable things.  I disliked her from the beginning of the story.

Ellia was a sweet, caring character, even though she was raised by a horrible person.  She pushed past her disability in order to do what was expected of her.  She knew she was being mistreated, but it didn’t stop her from obeying.

This was a fun story!  Tero made me dislike and love the characters.  Her writing is well-done and her imagination is very rich.

Summation

♥♥♥♥

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Amanda is giving away a grand prize of paperback copies of Amanda’s three novellas: Journey to Love, Befriending the Beast, and The Secret Slipper.Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/b994

Blog Stops

June 6: Desperate Homeschoolers

June 6: Remembrancy

June 6: Pursuing Stacie

June 7: It’s Storytime with Van Daniker

June 8: Fiction Aficionado

June 9: These Splendid Sentences

June 9: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 10: Blogging With Carol

June 10: Reading Is My SuperPower (Spotlight)

June 11: The Power of Words

June 11: Karen Sue Hadley

June 12: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 12: A Path of Joy

June 13: Bukwurmzzz

June 13: cherylbbookblog (Spotlight)

June 14: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS

June 15: Zerina Blossom’s Books

June 16: Live.Love.Read.

June 17: A Baker’s Perspective

June 18: History, Mystery & Faith

June 19: Henry Happens

June 19: Bookworm Mama (Spotlight)

Letters From Skye

About the Book

A sweeping story told in letters, spanning two continents and two world wars, Jessica Brockmole’s atmospheric debut novel captures the indelible ways that people fall in love, and celebrates the power of the written word to stir the heart.
 
March 1912: Twenty-four-year-old Elspeth Dunn, a published poet, has never seen the world beyond her home on Scotland’s remote Isle of Skye. So she is astonished when her first fan letter arrives, from a college student, David Graham, in far-away America. As the two strike up a correspondence—sharing their favorite books, wildest hopes, and deepest secrets—their exchanges blossom into friendship, and eventually into love. But as World War I engulfs Europe and David volunteers as an ambulance driver on the Western front, Elspeth can only wait for him on Skye, hoping he’ll survive.
 
June 1940: At the start of World War II, Elspeth’s daughter, Margaret, has fallen for a pilot in the Royal Air Force. Her mother warns her against seeking love in wartime, an admonition Margaret doesn’t understand. Then, after a bomb rocks Elspeth’s house, and letters that were hidden in a wall come raining down, Elspeth disappears. Only a single letter remains as a clue to Elspeth’s whereabouts. As Margaret sets out to discover where her mother has gone, she must also face the truth of what happened to her family long ago.
 

About the Author

A Letter from the Author, Jessica Brockmole

Jessica Brockmole

Dear Reader,

As an American who spent years living abroad, I know too well the challenge in maintaining relationships from a distance. Before telephones and webcams made separations easier, people had no choice but to entrust bits of their heart to the postman with every letter they sent. A lost letter could cause sleepless nights, a returned letter, even more. But a reply penned immediately, in a hot rush of emotion, could make the soul soar. Letters from Skye is a story about lovers and families separated by war, with nothing but pen and paper to hold everything together.

I first wrote this book six years ago, while I was living in Edinburgh, Scotland. After my youngest was born, we escaped the city and went to the Isle of Skye for one gorgeous week. We stayed in a cottage on the beach and chased legends across the island in the rain. Evenings, I sprawled before the little peat coal fire with maps of Skye, tracing the coast and trying my tongue at the Gaelic. On the drive back to Edinburgh, a story came together in my head. The story of a woman bound to the poetry of Skye, held within those rocky coasts, being given a glimpse of the greater world with the unexpected arrival of an envelope. The story of a man, desperate to prove himself fearless, finding his only fear on the other end of those letters. The story of a daughter, trying to catch the past as it comes tumbling out of the wall. I scribbled notes right there in the car and started furiously writing when we got back home.

The result of that outpouring wasn’t just a novel; it was an extended letter to myself, written in those secret, lonely hours after the rest of the world went to bed. A letter reminding me to not lose touch with those I love, no matter where in the world we may be. Reminding me that it’s okay to have fears; I’m stronger for overcoming them. Reminding me to walk to the borders of who I am, and then to take a step beyond.

I invite you to do the same.

 

My Ideation

What a clever way to tell a story – through letters!  This book was romantic without having all the sappiness that normally comes with romance novels.  It had a great story-line that went on for decades.  David is a college student who reaches out to poet, Elspeth Dunn, through a letter.  These letters continue as the two get to know one another and eventually fall in love.

When an earthquake rocks Elspeth’s home, a letter falls from the wall that sparks her daughter’s curiosity.  That curiosity sparks even more when Elspeth goes missing.  While Margaret is looking for her mother, the reader gets insight into the many letters between Elspeth and David.  These letters have quite a story to tell and Margaret will not stop until she gets the answers and finds her mother.

I enjoyed how the story went from 1915 and up, to 1940.  It was fun learning about how different Scotland was back in that time.  It touched upon the war, as well and how love, no matter what time era, could be so rich and strong.

This was a book I purchased for my own enjoyment and to review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥ 

Violet Dawn

Violet Dawn (Kanner Lake Series Book 1) by [Collins, Brandilyn]

About the Book

Something sinuous in the water brushed against Paige’s knee. She jerked her leg away.


What was that? She rose to a sitting position, groped around with her left hand. 

Fine wisps wound themselves around her fingers. 

Hair?

She yanked backward, but the tendrils clung. Something solid bumped her wrist. 

Paige gasped. With one frantic motion she shook her arm free, grabbed the side of the hot tub, and heaved herself out.
Paige Williams slips into her hot tub in the blackness of night—and finds herself face to face with death.
Alone, terrified, fleeing a dark past, Paige must make an unthinkable choice. 
In Violet Dawn, hurtling events and richly drawn characters collide in a breathless story of murder, the need to belong, and faith’s first glimmer. One woman’s secrets unleash an entire town’s pursuit, and the truth proves as elusive as the killer in their midst.

About the Author

Brandilyn Collins is an award-winning and best-selling novelist known for her trademarked Seatbelt Suspense®–fast-paced, character-driven suspense with myriad twists and an interwoven thread of faith. She also writes insightful contemporary novels with rich characters. She is often blamed for keeping her readers up at night, as they “just have to see what happens next.”

Brandilyn Collins

My Review

Brandilyn Collins is one of my favorite Christian mystery writers.  Her books are so suspensful!!  Paige is new to Kanner Lake.  She found a job right away and loves it there.  The people in the town are very nice and welcoming.  She is running from something, but what?

Collins does a great job pulling the reader in.  I found myself cringing and covering my mouth at points in the story.  I could feel all that Paige went through when she found the body in her spa and the actions she took to get rid of it.

I enjoyed how Collins intermingled the characters so that the mystery continued.  She is a brilliant writer!  I purchased this book to read and review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥♥

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train: A Novel by [Hawkins, Paula]

About the Book

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

 

About the Author

Paula Hawkins worked as a journalist for fifteen years before turning her hand to fiction.

Born and brought up in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and has lived there ever since. Her first thriller, The Girl on the Train, has been published in over forty languages, has been a No.1 bestseller around the world and is now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt. Into the Water is her second thriller.

Paula Hawkins

My Review

This was a book that I would see on the bookstore shelf and kept putting off buying.  Why?  I have no idea!  I spent an entire Saturday reading the book from beginning to end!  Rachel, the main character is a mess!  Divorced, scorned, and lonely, and an alcoholic, she fixates on a house with a married couple.  She gives them names and is certain that their lives are perfect.

Somehow, Rachel finds herself in a bind when the police show up at her home.  Due to her alcoholism, she suffers from blackouts.  She is asked about her appearance on the street where her perfect couple lives because she is now missing.  She is set on helping out the perfect husband so that he is not charged with his wife’s disappearance and while doing so, makes a mess out of just about everything.  There are lots of twists in this story!  

I purchased this book to read and review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥

Dear Daughter

Dear Daughter: A Novel by [Little, Elizabeth]

About the Book

Former “It Girl” Janie Jenkins is sly, stunning, and fresh out of prison. Ten years ago, at the height of her fame, she was incarcerated for the murder of her mother, a high-society beauty known for her good works and rich husbands. Now, released on a technicality, Janie makes herself over and goes undercover, determined to chase down the one lead she has on her mother’s killer. The only problem? Janie doesn’t know if she’s the killer she’s looking for.

Janie makes her way to an isolated South Dakota town whose mysteries rival her own. Enlisting the help of some new friends (and the town’s wary police chief), Janie follows a series of clues—an old photograph, an abandoned house, a forgotten diary—and begins to piece together her mother’s seemingly improbable connection to the town. When new evidence from Janie’s own past surfaces, she’s forced to consider the possibility that she and her mother were more alike than either of them would ever have imagined.

As she digs tantalizingly deeper, and as suspicious locals begin to see through her increasingly fragile facade, Janie discovers that even the sleepiest towns hide sinister secrets—and will stop at nothing to guard them. On the run from the press, the police, and maybe even a murderer, Janie must choose between the anonymity she craves and the truth she so desperately needs.

A gripping, electrifying debut novel with an ingenious and like-it-or-not sexy protagonist, Dear Daughter follows every twist and turn as Janie unravels the mystery of what happened the night her mother died—whatever the cost.

 

About the Author

Elizabeth Little was born and raised in St. Louis and graduated from Harvard University. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other publications, and she has appeared on All Things Considered, The World, and Here and Now. She has written two works of nonfiction: Biting the Wax Tadpole: Confessions of a Language Fanatic (Melville House, 2007) and Trip of the Tongue: Cross-Country Travels in Search of America’s Languages (Bloomsbury, 2012). Dear Daughter (Viking and Harvill Secker, 2014), her critically acclaimed debut novel, was a Los Angeles Times bestseller and will be published worldwide. Dear Daughter has been nominated for the Barry and Macavity Awards for Best First Novel, was longlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, and won the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel. Elizabeth lives in Los Angeles with her family.

Elizabeth Little

My Review

This book was hard to put down!  I couldn’t wait to get off work so I could continue reading it.  Janie is the typical spoiled rich kid who has spent 10 years in prison for murdering her mother, only she’s not sure she did it.  Donning a disguise, she steals a truck and heads to a little town that has the strangest history.

This book will leave you hanging and wondering.  There are so many twists that it makes for a very exciting story.  There is foul language, which I just tuned out.  Other than the language, it was exciting!

This was a book I purchased to read and review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥♥

Dark Alleys

Product Details

About the Book

Being innocent and proving it are two different things, especially when a powerful politician is involved

Tessa’s life spiraled out of control, and she finds herself in a dark alley on a cold wintry night where she witnesses a murder, and almost becomes his second victim. Homeless and alone, she knows the authorities won’t believe someone like her, leaving her only one option—to run.

 

About the Author

Lillian Duncan writes stories of faith mingled with murder & mayhem. She lives in Ohio with her husband, two parrots, one Jack Russell, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel that she’s thinking about renaming Clifford since he keeps growing and growing and….

She writes the type of books she loves to read–suspense with a touch or two of romance. Whether as an educator, a writer, or a speech pathologist, she believes in the power of words to transform lives, especially God’s Word.

 

My Review

I had the pleasure of reading another of Lillian Duncan’s books for review and I enjoyed it so much that I purchased this one to read!  A great mystery with God incorporated into it.  Tessa had it all: a home, a husband, and a new baby, but when tragedy strikes she flees.

Living on the streets, drinking heavily, she witnesses a murder.  She is able to escape, but must go through many trials to free herself of the murderer and her alcoholism.  There are lots of twists and turns that will keep you wanting to read and read.

I purchased this book to read and review.

 

Summation

♥♥♥♥