Friday, September 24, 2010

Beyond Summer, Carie Lawson

Zane has a theory in life: Beautiful women are more trouble than they're worth. So when he's coerced into spending the summer with the very beautiful Carly as his nanny, he expects the worst. But she changes his opinion, one good deed at a time. Until he gets a little too close and finds out his beauty queen is nothing more than a liar and a thief. Theory proven.

But the pretty liar has two little girls who've stolen Zane's heart. He's going to have to wade in and untangle the mess Carly's made of her life for her daughters. Can Zane ignore the theory Carly's proven, forgive her, and accept that beauty is sometimes more than skin deep?

In order to make enough room for his shoulders, Zane put his arm on the pew behind her. "Thanks for, uh, smoothing things with Leah."

She appreciated his discomfort. "No problem. If you'd told me you'd planned a date with the Sunday School teacher, I'd have made excuses to Anna and Brie."

He shrugged. "It wasn't a date. We're just going to service together."

Carly leaned forward and eyed the end of the pew. Her eyebrows raised. "She's not going to fit, Zane."

The corner of his lip kicked up. There was a spark of the old Carly again inside of her. It was good.

"I'm meeting her for the next service." Zane explained.

Now she was confused. "Is it a different kind of... service?"

"No." He shook his head.

Enjoying his rueful grin, she said, "Two services, huh? You must've been bad this week."

The old man on her left smothered a chuckle behind his hand. Zane cut a look at her. "Who'd have guessed there was so much sass behind your spit and polish shine."

Carly studied her fingernails during what she imagined would be the final prayer.

Immediately following, the crowd started moving like a group of ants around the big room, lining up to get out the door. Zane stood and took a step back. If there hadn't been so many people swarming, she could've managed to get out without touching him. As it was there was no way, so she might as well give in to temptation.

Her hand touched his waist as she moved past him and she tossed her hair back. It had been a long time since she'd flirted, but he more than deserved it for making her stand there with the lovely and perfect Miss Leah while he explained away double booking them. She tilted her

chin and looked up into his face. "So, two lessons today on humility for the man who never makes a mistake. Maybe this really was heaven sent."

His hand went to her arm, not hard enough to hurt, but tight enough to capture her there longer than she'd planned to be. Someone bumped into her from behind and then she was trapped against him.

His eyes were hard as he looked into hers. "Don't kid yourself, Carly. I'm anything but perfect."

Carie Lawson has done another marvelous job with this edition of the Twisted Roots series. I LOVE the McCords! ... Trust me when I say you won't be disappointed with a Carie Lawson book!!! I would highly recommend Beyond Summer. It can be read as a stand alone but for a richer experience I would recommend you read Beyond Africa first. A thank you goes to the author for providing me with this complimentary review copy! Great Job Carie!!! Can't wait for Beyond Ever After!" -- Love 2 Read Novels Blog

"Okay, Carie Lawson has become a favorite author of mine. This is her second e-book in the Twisted Roots Book Series and I have loved both stories! I am afraid I didn't get much done, because I just wanted to sit and finish this story - I really liked it!.. This story was just all around good. I can't wait to read the next one in this series! You won't be disappointed when you read this book!" -- Judy Glidden - That's a Novel Idea Review Blog

"Carie has done a superb job of developing her characters and their situations. You are drawn into the book, and become a part of the families. This is one of those books that I didn’t want to put down! It was worth just a few hours of sleep to finish the book. I highly recommend this and also the first in the series, “Beyond Africa”. You won’t be disappointed." -- Janet's

Why Carie Wrote Beyond Summer:
When I wrote Beyond Africa, the intention was always to have four books in the Twisted Roots. Zane appeared at the end of Beyond Africa to give his brother a helping hand. He was quiet and mysterious, and I knew that telling his story was going to be fun. Because he had such an attitude I wanted him to have this softer side, which really came out in his interactions with his own son and Carly's two girls. More than that, Beyond Summer is really a story of redemption. Left to our own devises, without God's help, we tend to make a mess of living. Only by obeying the Lord and searching out His will allow Him to start unravelling the messes we make in life.

Purchase from Amazon.

Purchase from Desert Breeze Publishing.

Other books in this series:

Author Bio:
Carie Lawson home schools her four kids, drives the soccer van --- complete with dirty socks and McDonalds bags scattered throughout --- and tries to sneak away to her computer whenever possible to write. She is an active member of a local writer's group, Middle Tennessee Christian Writers, and received third place in the North Texas Romance Writer's Great Expectations contest in the Inspirational Romance category.

For more about Carie Lawson please visit

And don't for get to leave a comment for a chance to win this wonderful book!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Hearts Surrender, Marianne Evans

Contemporary/Romance /Series
Kiara Jordan is a sophisticated modernista, but beneath an engaging personality and super-model looks, her heart hungers, and she longs for deeper meaning in her life.

Ken Lucerne is the charismatic young pastor of Woodland Church ; he's adjusting to life on his own following the death of his wife and copes by keeping as busy with parish life and mission work as he can.

A home-building mission in Pennsylvania brings them together, and forces them to look hard and deep at the relationship they share, and where God means for it to go. Already bound by mutual respect and caring, love dawns, a love that takes them to a life-point neither would have expected.

After all, can a chic, vivacious woman find fulfillment within the quiet, mission-centered life of a clergyman? Can they trust God's hand strongly enough to surrender their hearts to one another…forever?

“I’ve been the wallflower who bloomed. But I’ve never believed in myself enough to give up the fancy trappings. I've clung to vanity-centered ideals for too long, I suppose. I’ve worked hard to fit in, and finally I succeeded. Problem is, that kind of success is a double-edged sword. That pathway, once you start to follow it, is hard to leave.”

In an unexpected, graceful motion, Ken caught her swing by the chains. He held her in place, suspended backward, with nothing but a cushion of air between them. All at once Kiara went dizzy, tempted once more by that full, supple mouth, and the satiny-looking fall of his thick brown hair. He was close enough to touch. In this moment, she wanted nothing more than to do just that.

“Some time – at some point – I’d like to hear more about that, Kiara. I’d like know how you became the woman you are.”

“I’d bore you to tears. It’s nothing extraordinary.”

“All present evidence to the contrary.” He set her gliding once again and Kiara’s stomach performed a sparkling fall-away. She delighted in his words but forced herself to brush them aside before they could take root and sway her into believing he saw richness to her spirit. After all, it was part of Ken’s persona to be gracious and encouraging.

He continued, “You're moving forward in directions that are not only admirable, but eye-opening – not just for you, most likely, but to everyone who's part of your life. Don't hold to what other people see, or expect of you, Kiara. Be who you are. And while you're at it, create the best version of yourself you can imagine. After all, the only question, with the only relevance that matters, is this: Who are you now?"

When she sailed back his way, he caught the chains of her swing once again and whispered in her ear, "I believe in you."

With that, he released her on a push, sending Kiara on another dizzying spin of sensation. He walked away, retracing his steps up the path to the cabins and mess hall. She swung to a stop then sat in silence for long moments after he left, absorbing, shivering in a way that had nothing at all to do with the cool of the encroaching night.

Five Hearts – Five Heart Sweetheart Winner - The Romance Studio, Brenda Talley

Ms. Evans has once again delivered a book which I could not put down. I had looked forward to it since completing book one, Heart’s Crossing. I was definitely not disap-pointed. After setting such a high standard for herself in her first book, she just proved that she was fully capable of maintaining the level of expert writing we have seen prior to this. After reading this, I cannot wait for the rest of this series. If possible, it just got bet-ter than the first book. I anxiously await the sequels to this book. I commend Ms. Evans for her ability to write such a book and keep our interest high.

4.5 Books – Happily Ever After Reviews, Clare

A sequel to Heart's Crossing, Ms Evans has once again captured the spirit of true love in Hearts Surrender. It's not necessary to have read the first book, to be enchanted by this one, as it stands alone, second in a series of four. This tender love story, not only puts Ken and Kiara through the emotional wringer, captivates the reader's heart as well and more than once I could have done with one of Pastor Ken's hanky's!

Why Marianne Wrote Hearts Surrender:
Folks who are familiar with the Inspirational E-Books blog may recall my first visit here, when I talked about Hearts Crossing. When I finished Hearts Crossing, and waited to find out if it would even be published, the voices of Ken and Kiara, two of the secondary characters, began speaking to me. Actually, I take that back. They weren’t speaking, they were shouting at me for their story to be told. I wrote the sequel, Hearts Surrender, on faith alone – and by God’s grace these books have led to the creation of the Woodland Series. In this book I was very intrigued by the idea of taking a charismatic, energetic young pastor, and finding out what would happen when he fell in love with a vivacious, chic, stylish woman of modern influence. Not a ‘bad girl’ by any stretch, but a woman seeking more in her life than the latest in high style, and relationships that only run surface deep. Kiara is a woman on a faith journey, who struggles with self worth, and Ken is God’s answer to her hearts call.

Take Away:
Always dive beneath the surface of your most important relationships; find the deeper meaning, the God-given purpose of why people are, and remain, a part of your life.

Author Bio:
Marianne Evans has written numerous contemporary romances. Kensington Publishing purchased her first book, Friends & Lovers. Her second, Right Hand Man, followed shortly thereafter. Her third release from Kensington, Hannah’s Heart, won critical acclaim from The Oakland Press. Her fourth book is her inspirational romance debut with White Rose Publishing – a contest winning novella entitled Hearts Crossing.

The success of Hearts Crossing as led to the creation of The Woodland Series. Hearts Surrender, Hearts Communion and Hearts Key will tell the continuing story of characters first introduced in Hearts Crossing, all of which will revolve around Woodland Church. The series will be available in both print and e-book format. Hearts Surrender will be released in late 2010.

A lifelong resident of Michigan, Marianne is an active member of Romance Writers of America. She’s a long-time member of Greater Detroit RWA where she served the chapter in a number of capacities, but most notably for two terms as Chapter President. She also belongs to the Faith Hope and Love chapter of RWA, American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.

For more about Marrianne Evans, please visit

Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win Marianne's book.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Moselle's Insurance, LoRee Peery

Creative artist Moselle Carson gives new life to old items, but she can't seem to renew her shattered ideal of love. When she returns to her hometown to help with a new family business, memories of a broken heart and small-town gossip chip away the tough exterior she's erected over the years. Now she's forced to decide whether she'll rebuild the wall or trust that true love never dies when it is ordained by God.

Generous insurance agent and vulnerable firefighter, Eric Todd, remembers too well how he mistreated Moselle and then set her aside.
Now he longs for true love and the second chance to become a husband and father. Can he learn to forgive himself and still keep the secret that may redeem him in her eyes?

“You haven’t grown an inch.” He lightly touched the top of her head, then simultaneously tapped her crown and squeezed her shoulder. “But I have.”

Eric gently moved her out of the way. “Check it out.”

Without thinking, Moselle grabbed his arm for balance while she inserted her feet back into her shoes. Even with heels, she had to stand on tiptoe to reach the woodwork behind his head.

Moselle swallowed.

Eric surrounded her.

Heat rose in her cheeks. Somehow, she managed to croak, “Two inches sound about right?”

He didn’t answer. She sensed his gaze searching her face. His breath moved the wispy hairs at her temple.

Would they be in their own laundry room if the past had been rewritten? She’d never let herself pursue that dream of marriage to Eric after their break-up.

“You’re lovely today, Moselle, as always. The colors you wear make you look Irish somehow.” He flicked the circles at her left ear and let his hand rest on her shoulder. “But this wolf suspended in silver is definitely not Irish.”

They grinned at one another.

“Having a hard time staying mad at me, Moze?”

“To be angry, a person has to care.”

“Oh, I think you care, sweets. You just don’t want to admit it to yourself.”

He moved a thumb. The rough touch felt feather-light over the pulse pounding at her throat. The sensation traveled all the way down to her knees. He lifted a finger and traced her bottom lip. She moaned a silent melt at the airy feeling in her head.

His voice came as a raspy whisper, “It’s easier not to care, isn’t it?”

This story show us that God loves us and wants only the best for us even if we don't know what the best is. This story is a true love story of God. I loved the characters and the setting of the town.
Reviewed by Wendy at Happily Ever After Reviews Rating:

This is my first experience with Ms. LoRee Peery but I hope it will not be my last. She has a distinct way of writing which absolutely gripped my attention. Her characters are dynamic, vibrant people who love God and, previously had loved each other. This book is a full-length novel which delved into the characters more deeply than shorter stories. She carried us through their deepest depths of despair and their ultimate times of joy.
Ms. Peery’s secondary characters are also clearly defined. It gives the impression that we, the readers, are there inside the novel with them. Her views on Christianity and serving God are presented in a concise, understandable way which an unbeliever could read and enjoy. She gets her point across without being overly preachy.
I highly recommend this book by Ms. Peery. It will certainly be a hit and is written so that anyone can read it. Look for this author to obtain high recognition.

Brenda Talley at The Romance Studio Rating:

Why Loree wrote the Moselle's Insurance:
I wrote this book because I couldn’t not write this book. I loved the idea of kooky Frivolities when it first came to me. I love the idea of crafty entrepreneur family women. Above all, I love reading about forgiveness and acceptance. God uses everyday people and everyday circumstances to touch the lives of others. His redeeming grace shows up in the lives of people all around us — be they biblical, fictional, or in our families today.

Purchase for Kindle
Purchase from White Rose Publishing

Author Bio:
I am blessed to live in the country with my husband, and have lived in Nebraska all my life. We built our home with our own hands, and even lived in the basement while finishing the rest of the house. After thirty-odd years, we are updating our Victorian so it doesn’t look so much like the 1970s. Comfy leather has replaced reproduction Victorian made-for-looks.

Thanks mostly to our farmer neighbor (and my hubby’s muscles), I have dug, drug, carried, rolled, and scrubbed countless rocks to create several rock gardens where flowers abound. I enjoy the outdoors at all times, but mostly in April and May; September and October. This is my favorite time of the year.

An avid reader all my life, I have books in every room and take a book or my ereader everywhere I go.

I have been blessed to be involved in a wonderful church where people are real and honestly care about the lives of others. My deepest desire in life is that all those I love come to know the saving grace of Jesus.
Best wishes to you, LoRee!

Don't for get about the weekly drawing! Just leave a comment. Have a great week and Happy Reading!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Healing Grace, Lisa Lickel

Romance/Contemporary/Life Issues
A haunting story of love and sacrifice...

Grace Runyon could fix anything--until her husband got cancer. She couldn't help him. She couldn't save him. No one understands. No one would ever forgive her. She has to run. It takes another sick man and his little boy to help her fight her way out of self-pity into the light of redemption. But will her new friends stick with her when they discover her secret?

Ted Marshall wanted to be more than Grace’s landlord. But a dying man has no business asking a woman like to her love him back. Can he settle for a taste of her faith in whatever it is that makes her so special?

Just when Ted and Grace begin to hope for the future, Ted relapses. Grace faces the ultimate choice once again: Trusting God to work through her precious gift, or letting a terminally ill man die. What if the price is more than she can pay?

A recommended book club read

Group question guide included

Ted stumbled in at dark. Grace met him at the door where his expression caused her to take assessing one look before turning to distract Eddy with her computer. She quickly found a game place for children and set him down at it. Eddy looked wonderingly at her, for she had not let him play with the machine before.

“Let’s see if you can beat my score,” Grace gushed out. He complied for once without question.

Ted had made it through the living room and grabbed at the entrance to the kitchen with a shaky hand. “Hey… there, Eddy.” Ted lurched with the next step he took. “I think I need…”

Grace grabbed him before Eddy saw his near tumble and led him to her room, struggling mightily with his tall frame to direct him down the hallway and angle him across the bed. She deftly pulled the cover back before he landed, making the bedstead creak. She grabbed his shoulders to settle his head and neck on her pillow and let his equilibrium adjust to being prone. When she knew he wouldn’t be sick all over her bed, she gently untied his boots and lifted his emaciated legs, accidentally coming into contact with his skin above the socks. A familiar tingle began along the webbing between her thumb and forefinger and she pulled quickly away.

Ted moved restlessly, drawing in his breath. “I don’t know if your hands are warm or cold,” he rasped. Grace jumped back.

She didn’t smell alcohol. What had happened? “Ted? What’s wrong?”

“So tired. I forgot to eat lunch.”

“Rest, then. I’ll be back in a little bit with some food for you.”

He grabbed for her hand when she turned to leave. “Wait!” His voice barely rose above a whisper. “Wait. I want, I—thank you—I want you to know that—” his voice trailed off and his shoulders began to shake as he wept.

Grace sighed and grabbed a straight chair and pulled it close. She hadn’t cried in two years. Two years! What had caused him to lose control like this?

She gently dislodged her hand from Ted’s convulsive grasp. Her legs itched to run again; right now she’d like nothing better than to run from this little family with their strange problems. Everything had happened so fast. She just wanted to be left alone to build relationships for herself at her own pace. Excuses drizzled through her mind—all the reasons she should leave Michigan and go somewhere—anywhere else. Somewhere safe.

This house had been too good of a deal. She moved too quickly to purchase it. She hadn’t explored the neighborhood enough. The real estate agent misled her when she said the brothers next door wouldn’t bother her. How wrong she had been. Both of them bothered her. She wasn’t a mother any more, not a wife, not a professional anything. Why did they have to ask her and ask her and keep asking her to do things for them? Couldn’t he see that she was just as tired as he was?

Ted gasped and brought his knee up, face convulsing.

“Ted! What do you need? What can I get for you?”

“No-nothing. Just a—spas-m. It’ll—pass. Wait.”

Grace watched him gulp in air and sweat. She felt as helpless as she did watching a patient in labor. Not much she could do until it was time to push. Michigan? Why had God brought her to Michigan?

Grace had not counted on there being an Eddy, and a Ted. The Ted who now wriggled like a fish out of water on her own bed and whose tears wet her pillow.

She breathed out. Ted slowly relaxed and sighed. He turned over to look at her with eyes that gleamed in the dim lighting. “Jilly left me after the accident when the sickness started.”

He did not apologize for crying. Men never do.

“The first seizure, she freaked. By the third one, she was gone. Didn’t even take Eddy. He was only a year old. What was I supposed to do?” He swallowed, the noise exaggerated in the dimly lit room. “Eddy’s been through too much for a little kid. All he’ll remember when he grows up is that he never had a mom and his dad got sick and died.”

He was really laying it on thick, feeling sorry for himself. Grace blinked at her internal burst of sarcasm and squashed her emotions. Professionals did not get involved. Whatever his diagnosis, he had regained strength since she first met him. Until today, that is. Grace had been so raw upon arrival, the wound barely scabbed over from her own losses, that she could not reach out to anyone else. That God would need her, demand that she use her gifts so soon had been repulsive, a hurt beyond deep. Another betrayed that sent her reeling.

Grace had buried that caring piece of herself in Woodside. She had nothing left to give; no desire to, for that matter. But the gift, had she left it there, too? Was it time? She was not ready to follow that thought. What was wrong with her? “What are you talking about, Ted? You’re so much better. What happened?”

Silence. Sniff.

“Come, Ted. You must have just had a bad day. Rest, and I’ll get you something to eat.”

Ted closed his eyes. “It’s not right I tell you my problems,” he allowed. “I hardly know anything about you. And you’re right—there were only six months of seizures after the accident.”

He lay back and rubbed the prominent scar at his temple. “They stopped, but then I started losing control of my muscles. It’s a good thing Jilly wasn’t here for that.” He scrubbed at his cheeks, grasping again at her hand. “Stay just a little longer, please? Eddy will be okay. I never asked you before. Do you have any family?”

Grace snatched her hand away and jumped up. “I’ll let you rest now. You’ll feel better soon, I’m sure.”

Ted grabbed at her hip as she turned in the tight space and reached for her wrist to pull her close with a surprising surge of strength.

Grace resisted the urge to fight him. She held her breath, not wanting Eddy to hear anything. She had to strain to listen to Ted’s soft croon.

“You’ve been so good to me and to Eddy. Why?”

She let him stroke the hair of her temple. She closed her eyes. So long…so long it been since anyone had touched her like this. She felt his fingers move across her cheek to trace the corner of her mouth.

“Can I be your husband?”

For the first time since she put him to bed, Grace felt a reluctant tug at her lips. She pulled away, put her hands on her hips and looked down at him. “You wish.”

Great book!, July 20, 2009
By John Otte (South St. Paul, MN United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Healing Grace (Paperback)

I saw the ending coming. But that's only because I got to read this one before it was published. Insert big cheesy grin here.

No, seriously, it was my pleasure to read Lisa J. Lickel's book, Healing Grace. Lisa is one of my fantabulous critique partners and I got to read the end of this one when we first met. So for me, it was interesting to see how the book started.

It's the story of Grace Runyon. Grace is from a small town in Tennessee, a Christian community where gifts of the Spirit are alive and well. Grace has the gift of healing. Or at least, she did. But then tragedy up-ends her life in a major way and she runs as far as she can, all the way to the town of East Bay, Michigan. There she tries to recover from her loss.

Only to find herself on the verge of a new one. The house she buys belonged to a single father named Ted Marshall. Ted is battling serious health problems that will likely prove to be fatal. Even though Grace is still suffering from the traumatic scars of her previous life, she finds herself falling in love with Ted. That's a problem, because it seems as if God and her gift have abandoned her. What can she do when she's falling in love with a man that she could have healed but can't anymore?

Lisa's book was great. You really feel for Grace as she tries to cope with her loss and tries to construct a new life for herself. It isn't as easy as it sounds, especially since there are undercurrents in East Bay that threaten to take her down. Lisa especially weaves together some great mental images with her words, conjuring up the area around East Bay and making it live. And Eddy Marshall, Ted's son, has to be the most precocious fictional kid I've met in a long time.

So go and check this one out for yourself. You won't be disappointed!

"a modern-day tale of healing touch", November 2, 2009
By Julie A. Saffrin (Excelsior, MN United States) - See all my reviews

This review is from: Healing Grace (Paperback)

By just reading the book's title, you may think this book is about a woman named Grace who has the ability to heal people. And you would be right. But "Healing Grace" has a double meaning. It is a book about Grace, a woman who is grieving over a tremendous loss, even when she possesses the gift of healing.

No matter what spiritual gifts we have been given, the truth is, we are still human and do not have a full view of our lives, nor how or even if, our lives influence another person. We also cannot see the future of our loved ones. Thus is the case for our main character, Grace Runyon.

In this story, Lickel's characters don't have easy answers. In fact, sometimes they don't have answers at all. Lickel allows her characters to ask tough questions like why prayers go unanswered, why we suffer loss, and why, sometimes, a healing touch works while another time it may not.

As I read book, I thought of a couple of things: Hawthorne's "Scarlet Letter," the Salem witch trials, and Anne Boleyn. Why? Because these women were judged without evidence of their wrongdoings.

Lickel does a nice job of keeping the reader turning pages. I liked her use of the Petoskey stone and that it is both a rock and a fossil. I felt a slight metaphor, that the stone only shows its fossils when it is wet. Who do we become, when under pressure? Do we stay true to who we are or change to fit into what the world tells us we should be? Another way I also looked at the Petoskey stone as a metaphor with regard to our lives is this: Dare we reveal who we really are? Can we risk doing so without fear of rejection?

My only complaint in this book was from a publishing standpoint. I counted more than 20 typos in this book. How can two ".." be missed at a sentence's end?

I give Lickel kudos for tackling a hard subject for today's reader and thank her for writing this compelling novel.

Why Lisa Wrote Healing Grace:
Dear Readers:
Healing Grace is a personal story that came from a time in my family's life that needed to know that God's healing touch was going to take care of my brother's mysterious health issues. It was the second book I tried to write, and I've learned a lot since then. I've been asked whether or not I believe in the spiritual gift of healing. I believe in miracles, I believe in a God whose perfect and good Will is bigger than any problems we experience here on earth. I have been surprised to find the issue of the practice of the Biblical spiritual gifts to be a divisive issue. I'm sad about that. People are desperate for answers to their troubles. They look in all kinds of places and often find answers that cause more pain. Healing Grace is a novel, it's a work of fiction that is my attempt to give readers a good story while offering food for thought about where true answers can be sought and found. I enjoy getting together with readers and would love to meet virtually with your book club. Please contact me through my websiste.

Author Bio:
Lisa Lickel is a midwestern author and graduate of the Christian Writers Guild. Her publishing credits include newspaper features, local history editing, magazine articles, devotionals, radio theater, and several novels. She is the editor of Creative Wisconsin, a magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers, loves to mentor new authors and enjoys participation in several reading and writing clubs. She regularly reviews books for several publicity companies and occasionally freelance edits. Find her on Facebook, Shoutlife, Amazon and Goodreads. Visit her website at, and

I love what Lisa wrote as her reason for writing this book. Lisa is an author who makes you think. If this book interests you, be sure to also check out her other book, Meander Scar. Don't forget to leave a comment!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Mended Heart, Mary Manners

Shane Calkin is a former bad-boy-wannabe fighting to raise his spunky niece and a rambunctious puppy.

Jade McAllister nurses a wounded heart as she struggles to escape her mother’s rejection…and Shane’s.

Nine years have passed since they last saw each other, and a terrible secret looms. Will the secret destroy them, or have the years taught them how to trust…and to love?

“What are you doing here?”

Shane slid two English muffins into the toaster and pressed the lever to warm them. “Claire let me in an hour ago. She had to get to the hospital.”

Jade brushed fingers through long strands of wavy hair and tossed her head to work out the tangles. Her eyes glittered beneath sunlight that streamed through the window over the sink, and she pulled the edges of her powder-blue terrycloth robe tighter before cinching the belt. “I’m not a charity case. I don’t need a babysitter.”

He let the comment slide. “Nice slippers.”

She glanced down to see two fuzzy bunny heads staring back at her.

“Claire bought them for me--a gag gift last Christmas.” The pink of a blush crept up her neck. No matter she wasn’t wearing a lick of makeup and that her hair was matted and tangled--she still looked beautiful.”

“I made you breakfast.” He reached for the muffins as they popped from the toaster, nicely browned. He gave each a healthy slap of butter as Jade looked on. The aroma of eggs and crispy bacon filled the air.

“I’m not hungry.” Like a traitor, her stomach chose just that time to let loose a rumble that could have rivaled an earthquake.

“Your belly begs to differ. Did you eat anything at all last night?”

She crossed her arms over her stomach and ignored the question.

"Mended Heart is reminiscent of Karen Kingsbury's work...I couldn't put it down. Can't wait for the next book." -- Laura Maturo, Chicago, IL

"Mended Heart deals with real-life issues. You have a winner here." -- Sharon Kelly, Seymour, TN

Why Mary Wrote Mended Heart:
Mended Heart highlights the power of grace and forgiveness. No family is perfect...each has its own set of quirks, problems and hurts. I wanted to show that through God's love and grace. healing is possible and lovely.

Author Bio:
I live in the foothills of the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains with my husband, Tim, our daughter Danni, and the cherished pets we’ve rescued from local animal shelters…dogs Molly and Abby and cats Lucky and Gus.

I’m active in my church, where I help cook Wednesday night meals and work with the trustees on church construction and beautification projects. I’m also active with the youth, and help raise funds for mission projects through our breakfast table.

I also teach 7th grade math and English at Seymour Middle School. I love working with teenagers, and have been blessed to know many wonderful children and parents during my 25 years of teaching.

I enjoy the outdoors and am looking forward to cooler autumn weather. I enjoy cultivating flowers, taking long walks with my wonderful husband, and reading romance books while lying in a hammock beneath our century-old shade trees.

Visit Mary Manners at

Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win this book, along with No Other and Daniella, also featured this week. I've changed my drawing days to Fridays, with a one week lag between features and the drawing for them. So the drawing for this week's books will be next Friday. And today I'm drawing for last week's books.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Daniella, JoAnn Carter

When Harrison Beckman meets his father’s secretary, Daniella Duncan, she’s shy and self-conscious. Harrison, however, is determined to get to know her better. Before he gets to do that a rival comes along to steal Dani’s heart as quickly and thoroughly as the company’s contracts, which have been disappearing. As the mystery unfolds, Harrison has to fight for the woman he loves, even though this means crossing swords with his father and his determined adversary. Will Harrison be able to find the love that could await them or will it be too late?

Short excerpt:
Harrison took the folder from her extended hand. Her hand seemed so small, and he had the strangest desire to protect her from whatever inner battle she was fighting. “I’m sorry. I know you’ve been with our advertising firm for quite a while now, but until today, I’ve never met you.” He added with a smile, “Forgive me, I’m horrible with names. What’s yours again?”
Her eyes grew wide. With a nervous catch, she said, “Daniella Duncan.”
“I like that name. May I call you Daniella?”
She shrugged. “Everybody calls me Dani.”
“I think I prefer Daniella.” Still studying her face, Harrison added, “Somehow, Dani doesn’t seem to fit you.”
“Oh, Dani fits me all right. It sounds short and fat.” Her hand clamped over her mouth, and her eyes grew even wider. Harrison’s heart nearly broke when she asked, “Did I really say that out loud?”
It had been drilled into his head since he was a boy never to talk to women about two things: their age and their weight. Now, what should he do with this hanging hot potato? Ignore it. “I didn’t hear anything if you didn’t.” He tried to continue with the previous introductions. “Everyone calls my father Mr. Beckman, so I go by Harrison.”
“Okay. I’ll try to remember that.” Daniella seemed to have reached her limit; she looked like a cat being chased by a mouse, desperate for escape. “Um, I really need to get back now, so...”

Marianne Evans says, “Daniella is a tale of hope for every person who has ever doubted themselves - for any reason. "Daniella" affirms the truth that love sees beyond all things - and that God, and the man of her dreams, love her just as she is, and without condition.

There's suspense here as well - corporate intrigue and machinations that keep the pages turning, yet never lead the reader away from a wonderful romance. I love the fact taht the hero, Harrison, who is handsome and successful, is completely attuned to a God Daniella seeks - but not with a fullness of heart and belief. Further, she doubts Harrison would ever be able to see past her size to the heart beneath. But he does!

I strongly recommend this heart felt and heart warming romance from the skilled pen of JoAnn Carter.”
Carol Ann Erhardt says, I love books where I can associate with the heroine. Daniella captured me from the very first page. Remember how cruel classmates can be when you are young? Can you remember one time when something stuck in your head and began to undermine your self-confidence? I can. And so could Daniella.

Daniella has top notch secretarial skills and a caring heart. She works hard, loves her job, but is caught in her own insecurities. Cast her in a room full of executives, including the boss's son, Harrison, and she tries to disappear into the decor. Secretly, she has a crush on Harrison, who is smart, handsome, and grounded in his faith. When work circumstances join these two on a major project, Harrison is determined to learn more about his new assistant. She's very capable, smart, and pretty. Why is she so shy?

Enter Maxwell, who flirts openly with Dani, and lavishes her with sweet words. His persistence opens her lonely heart. Harrison is leery of Maxwell, but is his distrust based on jealousy?

Daniella has everything you'd want in a book. Romance, suspense, and a journey of faith. I loved it!!!”

Why JoAnn Wrote Daniella:
While in the middle of writing this story, I heard the song MIRROR MIRROR by Barlow Girl on the radio. As I listened to the lyrics, it hit me how many women like Dani, (the heroine in DANIELLA) struggles with self-image.
As the plot develops, and Dani comes to the realization God loves her the way he made her. I had to be honest and ask myself, "Do I believe that?" It’s easy for me to nod my head while I’m writing this, but it’s another story when I’m standing in one of those dinky changing rooms try to find a bathing suit for the summer!
Accepting myself is sometimes is a daily struggle. In the same way this story has challenged me, as you experience Dani growth reading this book, it’s my prayer that it will draw you closer to God as well. (If you’d like to hear Mirror Mirror, click onto this link: )

Looking for discussion questions? Check out:

You can also access a free two-week devotional to go along with the theme of this book by going to my web page:


Author Bio :
... about me
Some people seem to be born with a pen in their hands and have written for as long as they can remember. That’s not the case with me. In fact if my Jr. High teacher’s knew how much I enjoy writing now- well, lets just say I’m sure they would get a kick out of it.
... my family
In 1996 my husband (a Youth Pastor) and I discovered we were going to have our first child. I knew as I stopped working as an LPN and transitioned into motherhood, I’d be home alone many nights. It was then, without ever having tackled anything like it, I wrote my first manuscript with the desire to encourage others as I have been.
We now have four boys ages 9-14 and reside in beautiful Vermont.
... my work
I love to write when I can grab the time. I’ve learned so much and find that everyday I’ve more to learn. It’s my desire to be a blessing to others and that my readers faith would be strengthened by the characters and lessons learned through the stories I write. On the side, I read and write reviews for Christian Ministries, Inc. These reviews are aired on The Light and the Wave radio networks. I also enjoy speaking at schools and our local libraries. To learn more about my writing ministry, please go to

I think this book sounds great! If you'd like the chance to win it, leave JoAnn a comment.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

No Other, Shawna K. Williams

Romance/20th Century Historical/Life Issues
In the aftermath of WWII all Jakob Wilheimer wants is to get over his pain, get on with life, and if at all possible, forgive those who've wronged his family -- including himself. But it's hard to do when there are constant reminders. One of them being his former schoolmate, now teacher, Meri Parker -- Miss Port Delamar Pearl, Mayor's daughter, Belle of the town -- Meri Parker.

After enduring the stigma and isolation associated with the internment camp, the awkwardness of going back to school should've been a cake walk. But Jakob didn't expect to find himself inexplicably drawn to Meri. Or to discover that the pain and loneliness of her life surpassed his own. She needed to be rescued from the wretched people seeking to control her life. And more than anything, he needed to be the one to save her.

Jakob headed for the living room, holding the chandelier by its chain. "Hey Meri," he called to her over the rain. "Come in here."
Meri walked toward the living room, but paused at its entrance as a gust of wind hit her. "The window is broken," she said.
"I know. The wind is blowing south though and the porch is keeping most of the rain out."
Meri took slow steps toward him, crossing her arms and rubbing them as the chill from the storm hit her. Jakob stood in the center of the room with his hair blowing wildly.
"What are you doing?"
He closed his eyes and tilted his head back slightly. "It feels nice. Kinda like standing in the rain without getting wet."
He laid the chandelier on the floor and marched over to the wall. Meri watched as he used his foot to clear pine needles and dirt from an area of the floor. He stood over the spot, inspecting it, and then unbuttoned his plaid shirt and took it off, revealing the white tee shirt he wore underneath.
Her heart jumped into her throat.
Jakob laid the shirt on the ground, then turned and sat next to it with his back leaning against the wall. "Come on," he said. "I saved ya a seat."
She furrowed her brow. Her teeth clattered with a sudden chill but she did as he asked. "This is crazy," she said, taking a seat on his shirt.
"Nah." He stretched out his legs, leaned his head back and closed his eyes.
"Jakob, what are you doing?"
"Just takin' it all in." He let out a relaxed sigh. "You should give it a try."
Meri folded her arms. Then unfolded them. She hated feeling self-conscious. "I don't know how." He cracked one eye at her. "Be still."
"Copy me," he said. "Lean back, close your eyes."
She did as he said. "Now what?" This was nuts.
"Quiet your mind, and just listen and feel."
Meri took a deep breath and tried to relax. It wasn't working. She sneaked a glance at Jakob. His face seemed beautifully serene amidst the swirling bits of debris flying through the room. It was so... him. Somehow, realizing that made her want to give herself over to the experience. She took another deep breath and let it out slowly.
The first thing she noticed was the musty scent had been cleansed from the air. The smell of rain, clean and fresh, took its place. Droplets rhythmically pattered against the roof. And the
sound changed with the wind -- becoming soft, like a whisper -- then building into a crescendo with the howling gale. At its peak, rumbling thunder. It was music.
Her body relaxed fully and her shivers subsided. She surrendered to the moment, allowing the wild breeze and cool mist to touch her, tickle her. Tiny goose-bumps rose all over her skin. With her eyes closed it felt as if she were elsewhere -- suspended and floating. Free.
"It's beautiful," escaped her lips.
"Glad you could join me," Jakob whispered.
She felt the warmth of his hand slip around hers, his touch joining them in the experience. Their own private symphony.

This is a romance novel that won my heart, even though I normally do not read romance. Shawna's mastery of characterization infused the story with such believability, and I fell in love with Jakob and Meri. No sappy scenes, no corny lines--this book is about story. Yes, it's a love story, but it is so much more.

Set in post WWII Texas, Jakob's German family faces discrimination while they try to rebuild their household. His parents have returned from an internment camp, and his brother has returned as a war hero. Jakob must now step down from his patriarchal role and make his own return--to the high school he had left three years earlier in order to care for his younger siblings in his parents' and older brother's absence.

Matters become even more complicated when he steps into his classroom and discovers his old classmate, Meri Parker, sitting behind the teacher's desk. Their worlds couldn't be more different--she'd had all the advantages Jakob had not. Wealth, college, no one to care for but herself. But Jakob saw what no one else could--how trapped Meri was by her so-called advantages. With his own family restored, Jakob's natural instinct to rescue shifts its attention to Meri.

No Other is beautifully written. If you love romance, you will love No Other. And if you don't like matter. You'll still love it.
-- Kat Heckenbach, Kat's Musings.

There is "no other" story like it. Seriously.

This debut novel by author Shawna Williams took my breath away. It sounds cliche, but I don't know how else to describe the emotions that moved through me as I read this book. My heart was engaged and fully invested in the outcome.

I read most of this book in one sitting. It's a perfect historical romance in that the tension kept building and it made me want them to work things out and find a way to be together. I fell in love with the characters and empathized with their situations. I also felt firmly grounded in the time period.

The author's use of dialog was masterful. I could hear the characters speaking and their inner thoughts and dialog were consistent with that era. My favorite scene was toward the end when Jakob tries to do the right thing. The emotion was intense and so realistic I nearly cried myself. That's great writing because I felt something.

I loved how true to life this story seemed and it was edgy enough to make me want to cheer Shawna on. This story felt real to me because the characters were complex and three dimentional. There were a few shifts in plot that were delightful as well. I love it when the author does something you aren't expecting. Nice job! I can't wait for the next book. This is making my "favorites" list for fiction for this year - 2010.
-- Michelle Sutton, Edgy Inspirational Author.

Why Shawna Wrote No Other:
I wrote No Other because I wanted to tell an inspirational story about getting up after you fall. About how Christians don't just struggle, sometimes we blow it, but God doesn't abandon us. Even when our efforts to right things fail, He's still in control. Him, and No Other.
Amazon - Purchase
Desert Breeze Storefront - Purchase
Author Bio:
Shawna K. Williams is an Inspirational Romance writer who loves telling a story through flawed characters – the only kind she can relate to. She also likes a good dose of nostalgia, which is why many of her stories are set in rural America during the first half of the 20th Century. However, being a fan of other genres, including Science Fiction and Suspense, she has a few surprises planned for future works.
When not writing, Shawna spends time with her husband and three children enjoying life on their ranch. She's also an avid reader, book reviewer, blogger and jewelry designer.

Happy Labor Day and Happy Reading!
No Other is the Acfw Bookclub's choice for the Spetember discussion. Leave a comment for a chance to win. You'll have plenty of time to read it.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

In His Sight, Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Romance/Suspense/Contemporary/Short Story (Novella)
Grade school teacher Carson Alexander has a gift—a gift that has driven a wedge between him and his family. Worse, it’s put him at odds with God. Feeling alone and misunderstood, Carson views God’s gift of prophecy as the worst kind of curse…that is until he meets Lorelei Conner, landscape artist extraordinaire, and perhaps the one person who may need Carson and his gift more than anyone ever has.

Lorelei Connor is a mother on the run. Her abusive ex-husband has followed her all over the country trying to steal their daughter. Distrusting of men and needing to keep on the move, she’s surprised by her desire to remain close to Carson Alexander. Through her fear and hesitation, she must learn to rely on God to guide her—not an easy task when He’s prompting her to trust a man.

Can their relationship withstand the tragedy lurking on the horizon?

Lorelei Connor scoured the atlas on the coffee table. Her eyes searched far from the small town where she resided. The tick of the clock on the mantle above the fireplace reminded her time had run out.

Fear crawled up her spine.

They had lived in one place for too long. It was time to move on.

She closed her eyes, placed the red marker over the state of Tennessee and let the Lord lead her hand. She gazed down at the circle just southeast of Nashville. Stars Crossing.

The name leapt out. She did a quick search on the Internet for specifics and clicked on the “Real Estate” link to verify available housing. A note on the page caught her eye.

Handyman needed for maintenance and minor repairs of properties owned by agency. Emailed resumes accepted. Her soul danced in excitement.

She picked up the laptop and rushed into her daughter’s room. “Laurel, I know where we’re going!”

Her child groaned and buried her face in a pillow. “Not again, Mom. Where to now?”

Lorelei climbed on the bed and elbowed her daughter in a gentle gesture. “Look at this little town in Tennessee I’ve discovered.”

Laurel sat up and glanced at the screen. “Stars Crossing? Who ever heard of Stars Crossing, Tennessee? Stupid name if you ask me. You promised we’d stay here for a while.”

Despondency colored her tone and made Lorelei’s heart ache. “This time for good, no more moving, you’ll see.”

“Yeah, like I haven’t heard that before.”

Lorelei closed the laptop and eased off the bed with a sigh. Weariness dragged at her. She understood how Laurel felt. She, too, despaired of the constant moving. Maybe this time she’d find the peace she craved and a quiet, unhurried lifestyle where she felt safe.

“Pack up your things.”

She returned to the living room and emailed her resume to the real estate agency. Two days later she and Laurel hit the road, everything they owned in the backseat and trunk of her car.

Five days after leaving Wyoming, they arrived in Stars Crossing, Tennessee. Within hours Lorelei had a place to live, a job, and Laurel was registered for school.

5 Tea Cups! This story caught my attention from the beginning and it made me wonder if I had given all to God as he gave all to me. Thank you, Pamela for a story that I would readily recommend to anyone who needs that extra encouragement! ~ Reviewed by Wendy for Happily Ever After Reviews

5 Hearts! This latest book by Pamela S. Thibodeaux is a fabulous read. It is a fast-paced, suspenseful storyline. This book grabbed my attention at page one and never let go. It was a poignant saga which consisted of lies, abuse, fear and finally, trust. The incredible way these lives intertwined will amaze readers. This author wrote such a captivating book that felt as if I was on the inside of this poignant situation. The characters were so endearing. It was impossible to put the book down. This was truly an adventure well worth reading. I hated to see the book end. The spirituality shown in this book was truly amazing. It was not overly preachy or a book that would offend non-believers. I highly recommend that you read this book. You will not regret it. ~ Reviewed by Brenda Talley for The Romance Studio

Why Pamela Wrote In His Sight:
This story got its beginning as an entry for White Rose Publishing’s “Hearts Crossing” contest. Unable to complete by deadline due to my husband’s failing health, I put the story aside. After his death, finishing the story was a way to ease back into the writing world.

Author Bio:
Award-winning author, Pamela S. Thibodeaux is the Co-Founder and a lifetime member of Bayou Writers Group in Lake Charles, Louisiana and a member of White Roses in Bloom Authors. Multi-published in romantic fiction as well as creative non-fiction, her writing has been tagged as, “Inspirational with an Edge!” and reviewed as “steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message.”

Website address:

Don't forget to leave your comments for the drawing on Wednesday!

Have a great weekend all, and Happy Reading!