BOOK FUN MAGAZINE - FREE READ

LAST DAYS TO ENTER 20 Book DRAWING BOOK by Melody Carlson, Patricia Bradley & Lisa Wingate

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10 BOOK GIVEAWAY

5 BOOK GIVEAWAY
5 BOOK GIVEAWAY

PATRICIA BRADLEY UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL 5 BOOK GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY



ABOUT AUTHOR: Patricia Bradley's manuscript for Shadows of the Past was a finalist for the 2012 Genesis Award, winner of a 2012 Daphne du Maurier award (1st place, Inspirational), and winner of a 2012 Touched by Love award (1st place, Contemporary). She is a published short story writer and is cofounder of Aiming for Healthy Families, Inc. When she's not writing or speaking, she can be found making beautiful clay pots and jewelry. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America and makes her home in Mississippi. Learn more at www.ptbradley.com.


What inspired you to write Shadows Past? 

One day in my quiet time, a character popped into my head. This was after almost six years of working in the abstinence program and not having the energy or the inspiration to write fiction. I immediately knew three things. 1. The character was a woman; 2. Someone was trying to kill her; 3. God had released me to go back to my beloved suspense stories.

Who do you identify most with in your story, Shadows Past? Why?

Taylor, because she doesn't think she can be wrong about anything. We have both been humbled.

Research
Watch any crime shows? If so, what are your favorite why? What do you look forward to seeing each week? 

My favorite shows are Castle, NCIS, and CIS NY (mostly because of Gary Sinise) I actually get a lot of my research material from these shows (allowing for the fact that nothing happens as fast as on TV) as well as from a loop called crimescenewriter and a blog written by Lee Lofland—The Graveyard Shift. The last two help me to stay accurate. There are a lot of retired cops on the loop and they will answer any legitimate question you pose.

Can you tell us your testimony?

My story is much like the parable of the prodigal. I accepted Christ at a young age, but didn't stay in His word. That left me an easy target for the world and actually wandered in the desert for 30 years (at least it didn’t take me as long to wake up as it did the IsraelitesJ). All the time I wandered, God never let go of my hand. He kept calling me back. And I returned, but this time I grounded myself in His word and followed His map for my life.

In a day and age when no place is safe not even our homes as your main character finds out. How do you keep sane? Calm? 

For one thing, I no longer write suspense scenes just before I go to bed. I also try to watch my surroundings and don’t put myself in dangerous places, especially after dark. But I don’t dwell on the bad things happening—that would drive me crazy.

Can you share with us some of your “WOW” moments in your writing journey? 



My first WOW moment came when Woman’s World bought the first short story I wrote. They went on to buy 2 more. Another WOW moment was winning the Maggie for unpublished writers, but my two biggest WOWs were acquiring Mary Sue Seymour as my agent and when Revell made a three-book offer.

In your new book character, Nicolas Sinclair is an author being interviewed in your story about his new book “Dead Men Don’t Lie”. Someone asks him this question “was it difficult to write about murder after what happened to his wife?” His replies, “Death, even murder, is always difficult for me to write about. Life is precious, and I try to convey that in my books. It’s very important when I write those scenes that I show the body being treated with dignity, no matter whose death it is!”

QUESTION: I wanted to know how you feel about this matter. What guidelines do you have in your writing style? What do you show and not show readers as a rule? How do you feel about Nick Sinclair’s statement? Agree with it? 

On this matter, Nick’s views came straight from my heart. It is very important to me to treat the death of one of my characters like he or she was part of my family, even if that character isn't a nice person. I focus on the suspense part of the story rather than go into details on a death. 

FUN QUESTIONS I JUST HAD TO ASK 

What movie affected most you when you were young? If you didn't watch movies what books affected you most? 

Mind you I didn't see it when it first came out, but Gone with the Wind affected me the most. J I walked around the house for weeks saying, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.” And “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” 

As for books, I remember reading all night to finish Leon Uris’s novel Exodus. That book has stayed with me all of these years. 

You are shipwrecked on an uninhabited tropical island with a group of Christians – all friends and relatives of yours. You all have to work as a team to survive. Many roles have to be filled. Which role do you think you’d play?

If I’m not the leader (which I probably will be :o) ) , I’d be the one who supported that person and tried to make their job easier.

Out of all the sounds in all the world what are your favorites?

The church bells that I hear when the wind is just right as I sit on my deck each morning, weather permitting. Or a baby’s laughter. 

What two jobs have you had that would surprise people? 

I have cruised timber and trained horses. A note: a timber cruiser walks a tract of land with trees on it and estimates how many board feet it will cut—I was really good at this job. And training horses netted me a several bruises. But not broken bones. 

A friend of yours has a time machine and they are going to let you use it for a while. Where would you go? What would you do?

 I would go back to the three years Jesus walked the earth and become one of the women who followed Him, maybe even be the one who wove the one-piece cloak the soldiers gambled for. 

ANY FINAL COMMENTS FOR READERS PATRICIA? 

First, ask God to put His dreams in you, then live your dreams. Do the hard stuff to make them come true so that you can be in the right place when God opens a door.  And don’t give up, but remember that everything is in His timing.

Pat

 Pat Trainum writing as Patricia Bradley
I asked God to teach me patience and He gave me a book to write
www.patriciabradleyauthor.com
http://mbtponderers.blogspot.com/
@PTBradley1
www.facebook.com/patriciabradleyauthor

Shadows of the Past from Revell February 2014
Available at CBD: http://ow.ly/qIx2k and Amazon: http://ow.ly/qIx90 and B&N: http://ow.ly/qKdSL
Thanks Patricia for stopping by and sharing yourself with us. I'm THRILLED that Revell is giving away 5 copies of your book Shadows of the Past. ENTER TODAY! LAST Day to Enter is FEB 28th.

You Must JOIN TBCN (It's free and easy to join) to Enter to win a copy of Patricia's New book at www.bookfun.org  Scroll down the Front page of The Book Club Network. CLICK the LINK on top of her book cover, Answer one of the authors questions to be entered. It's that easy!

ALL ENTRIES are made at TBCN www.bookfun.org NOT on this blog. You can Comment and encouage Patricia. She'll be stopping by. But the Contest is at TBCN!

BLESSINGS

See you at TBCN Where Book Fun Begins.
www.bookfun.org

Nora :o)

LISA WINGATE PART TWO UP-CLOSE & PERSONAL

ABOUT AUTHOR: Lisa Wingate is a journalist, inspirational speaker, reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over twenty novels. Her novels combine elements of history, romance, mystery, and women's fiction with nuggets of Southern culture, from the sublime to the humorous. She is a seven-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her works have been selected for Booklist’s Top Ten List in 2012 and in 2013. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. Visit Lisa at her website: www.LisaWingate.com

LISA WINGATE INTERVIEW PART TWO

How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?

The story is a combination of folk legend, historical fact, and wild flight of fancy. I like to think of it as part historical, part contemporary, part romance, part adventure, and part drama. The idea began spinning itself in my head after a chance encounter with a roadside monument. I'd tell you about the monument, but… well… that would spoil the story. Suffice to say that it commemorates a sad and much-debated chapter of Civil War history in Texas. Many people outside Texas aren't even aware that the state was part of the Confederacy, or that the issue was hotly debated among Texans as the conflict heated up to the east.

I have always been a lover of history, and having grown up in the era of sweeping western movies, I'm especially fond of the history of the American frontier. I'm a sucker for roadside monuments, Small-town museums, the foundations of old homesteads, historical markers, and old graveyards. Standing over the time-worn headstones of child graves – sometimes several in the same family -- I've often felt the connection to the human side of the past, to the mothers of those children, whose grief at times must have been overwhelming. It's impossible not to wonder, from the safer vantage point of a modern life, if I could have endured what those pioneer women endured? If I were in the shoes of my ancestors, would I have the metal to survive?

What do you hope readers take away from your Wildwood Creek?

I hope readers take away the message that God’s plans are so much larger than we can imagine, and because of this, it’s important to be open minded and open hearted about the people who surround us. God does some of His most important journeys -- the historical and the contemporary -- physically mirror one another, so that both characters journey to Wildwood, and finally arrive there at the same point in the story. Both are lulled by its beauty initially, both are caught in its dangers eventually. Syncing the two stories was a challenge.

Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.

There were two special challenges in writing Wildwood Creek. The first was definitely the research. Because there is an ongoing modern story interlaced with an ongoing historical story, both contemporary and historical research were required. Putting the novel together necessitated everything from learning about how frontier reenactment docudramas -- like the PBS Frontier House series -- might be filmed and staffed, to learning what the actual frontier life of the young Irish schoolteacher, Bonnie Rose, might have been like during the Civil War era in Texas. A fair bit of study on available means of transportation, clothing, cooking methods, and Texas politics of the time period was also necessary. I'm not complaining, mind you. I found more fascinating facts about skirmishes, Civil War espionage, riverboats, Irish immigrants, and general frontier life than I could possibly use. So often while I was writing of Allie's life on the reenactment set, or Bonnie's life in the town of Wildwood, I lost myself in their lives. The best stories are the ones that completely transport you to another whose grief at times must have been overwhelming. It's impossible not to wonder, from the safer vantage point of a modern life, if I could have endured what those pioneer women endured? If I were in the shoes of my ancestors, would I have the metal to survive?

That sense of wondering is part of Wildwood Creek. A 150 year old mystery lies hidden beneath Moses Lake in the story. Though the locals have long shared tall tales and legends of Wildwood, a town in which the citizenry suddenly vanished near the beginning of the war, no one knows what really happened. But as Allie accepts a position among the cast of a docudrama set to reenact the last days of Wildwood, a summer drought (yes, we had one of those in real life as I was writing the book) is closing in and the secrets of Wildwood are about to rise to the surface.

Did the book involve special research? Please explain if so.

Because the book is set on a lake, I was forced to take my lawn chair and my inner tube and suffer through numerous days of sitting by the water, watching flocks of egrets fly over and letting the wind blow through my hair. It was tough duty, but I am hopelessly devoted to my art and willing to endure whatever it takes to get the setting, and the culture surrounding it, exactly right. It’s a lot to ask of a writer, but I’ll put in my time, no matter how long I have to listen to the waves gently lapping at the shore and watch happy families coming and going from the picnic grounds. Did I mention that I’m hopelessly devoted to my art?

Who have been your favorite authors and how have they influenced you?

In terms of classics, I have so many favorites. I love the rhythm of the prose and the wisdom of Eudora Welty and Zora Neal Hurston. I love the sense of place and the intermingling of both the humorous and the profound that is so present in Mark Twain's works. What I have learned, sitting at the knee of these and other timeless writers, is exactly this – the stories that drive deepest into us are those that tell us things we already knew, that crystallize truths we’ve felt but not yet framed into words in our own minds. When a story pulls something from within the reader, it is a kidnapping, in a way. A piece of personal truth is forever tied to that story. I think that's what we all want as writers. It’s what we seek to create on the deepest levels beyond just entertainment. The best stories both draw on life experience and expand it to deliver meaning.
How do you find the time to write in the middle of life's challenges?

Honestly, this seems to be more of a challenge now than it was when I started. That’s counter intuitive, because when I started writing full time, I had small children at home, so I was juggling my writing schedule around diapers, naptimes, and school activities. The reality is, though, that the writing business has grown more complex and time consuming over the years.

Twelve years ago, when my first novel came out, keeping in touch with readers entailed answering daily email or letters, and speaking at banquets or book events from time to time. Now, there's Facebook, twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and the list goes on and on. There are writers’ loops to follow, promotional groups to participate in, and a wide, wide world of people to keep in contact with. It's easy to spend literally hours tied up with these things and never find writing time. Meeting deadlines is a matter of a scheduling for yourself, either in terms of a daily word count, or in terms of keeping certain writing hours each day. It’s difficult, though, when there’s an actual person on the other end of the cyber communication, awaiting your response. I think these days the struggle most writers face is the challenge of balancing writing time and marketing time.
I think that maintaining sanity and staying focused in a world filled with sound bytes, distractions, and demands is a challenge. There’s a silent intimation that if we can’t do everything, be everything, and have everything all at once, we’re somehow failing. For me, the key to not driving myself crazy is in facing the fact that I’m just me. I’m not Wonder Woman, and that’s okay. I try to remind myself of the things that really matter and to stay focused on what will be significant in a year, five years, ten years, and so on. So many of the issues that eat up our time and our writing lives really don’t matter beyond tomorrow, when you get right down to it.

Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)

There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas. I love its history of an independent past. I love that many small towns still claim an ethnic affiliation to various countries in Europe. I also love the fact that Texans are famous for their bold hearts, brash personalities, and tall tales. Storytellers abound here and the legend of Wildwood is the sort of story you might hear being passed around. There is also, undoubtedly, a bit of my own hidden dream in Allie's opportunity to join the historical reenactment -- to go back in time. The idea fascinates me. I think I'd love to do it, but the reality probably is that after a few days without air conditioning, a microwave, and hot showers, I'd be ready to go home again.

As always, some members of the Wingate family might claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Wildwood. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you've got.

Thanks Lisa for stopping by and sharing yourself and your book tour journey with us. I'm THRILLED that Bethany House is giving away 10 copies of your book Wildwood Creek. It's always a pleasure to hear from you.
Catching up with Lisa Wingate at a book event

JOIN TBCN and Enter to win a copy of Lisa's new book at www.bookfun.org Scroll down the Front page of The Book Club Network. CLICK the LINK on top of her book cover, Answer one of Lisa's questions to be entered. LAST Day to Enter is FEB 28th.

ALL ENTRIES are made at TBCN www.bookfun.org NOT on this blog. You can Comment and encourage Lisa. She'll be stopping by. But the Contest is at TBCN!

BLESSINGS

See you at TBCN Where Book Fun Begins.
www.bookfun.org
Nora :o)

LISA WINGATE UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL 10 BOOK GIVEAWAY





ABOUT AUTHOR: Lisa Wingate is a journalist, inspirational speaker, reviewer for the New York Journal of Books, and the author of over twenty novels.  Her novels combine elements of history, romance, mystery, and women's fiction with nuggets of Southern culture, from the sublime to the humorous. She is a seven-time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol award nominee, a Christy Award nominee, an Oklahoma Book Award finalist, a Christianity Today Book Award nominee, an Inspy Award nominee, and a two-time Carol Award winner. Her works have been selected for Booklist’s Top Ten List in 2012 and in 2013. Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others, as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.  Visit Lisa at her website: www.LisaWingate.com

ABOUT BOOK: With love and loss tangled together, how was she to know where her life would lead?
Allie Kirkland has always heard the call of her father's unfinished destiny. When she's offered a production assistant's job on a docudrama filming in the hills near Moses Lake, Texas, the dream of following in her director-father's footsteps suddenly seems within reach. The reenactment of the legendary frontier settlement of Wildwood is a first step into the film industry. A summer on set in the wilderness is a small price to pay for a dream.

But in 1861, the real Wildwood held dangerous realities. Town founder Harland Delavan held helpless residents, including young Irish schoolteacher Bonnie Rose, in an iron grip. Mysterious disappearances led to myths and legends still retold in the region's folk songs. Eventually, the entire site was found abandoned.

When filming begins, strange connections surface between Allie and the teacher who disappeared over a century ago, and everyone in Wildwood--including Blake Fulton, Allie's handsome neighbor on the film set--seems to be hiding secrets. Allie doesn't know whom she can trust. If she can't find the answers in time, history may repeat itself...with the most unthinkable results.

READERS Here's a treat for you. I talked with Lisa Wingate about the tour she went on last year meeting readers in their home towns. She was one busy lady. She told me it was also one unforgettable tour. Here's some questions I asked her.


   Lisa How did you come up with the Idea for this tour? Why did you call it The Untold Story Book Tour?

It’s funny how small (seemingly safe) ideas can take on lives of their own – a little like Allie’s summer job in Wildwood Creek.  Originally, she and her best friend Kim are certain it’ll be the perfect summer if Allie can secure a job behind the scenes, while Kim lands a position among the cast. Of course, that’s not at all the way things work out, and Allie is soon traveling completely uncharted territory.


Interestingly enough, I had just finished writing Allie’s and Bonnie’s story last year, when book tour planning took a similar left turn toward Albuquerque. The tour was originally conceived as a dual book tour with a friend. By the time some complications made that impossible, I’d already started talking with fans and bookstore owners along the proposed route.  The ball was already rolling, so to speak, and I found myself planning my first-ever big, multi-state book tour solo.

Because, for me, writing is always about combining fiction with untold stories from real life, we named the tour The Untold Story tour.  I’m passionate about encouraging people to record their stories, to share them within families, to know the stories of their communities, to preserve our combined story heritage. Encouraging storytelling and story sharing became the underlying focus of the tour.  If you’d like a list of ideas for promoting storytelling in your family or community, you can some great ideas here: http://www.lisawingate.com/familystorytelling.htm



       I know that you had people write in and invite you to different towns how did that work for you?

Far and away, the most wonderful thing about creating imaginary people like Allie, Bonnie Rose, and the folks of Wildwood Creek, and sending them out into the world, is that they so often come home, bringing real-life people with them.  Books, quite simply, form communities.  The communities span states and continents, and age groups, but all of us have something in common because we have the story in common.  In essence, we share several friends that we’re deeply attached to, but those friends just happen to live within the pages of a book.

Here’s a bit of the fun book community forming around Wildwood Creek:

When I ended up planning last fall’s book tour solo, I reached out to an amazing, wonderful, and always-supportive book community who have followed my books over time.  We selected a general geographic area, based on several fall conferences I was already scheduled to attend, and we asked people, Where else should we go? What should we see? Are the organizations we could benefit?  Are there people we should meet? Stories we should hear?

I was both humbled and amazed when the community of book friends graciously offered suggestions and more.  Reader friends became hosts, and trip planners, cooks, and contact people.  Many of our events on the tour were benefits for churches and charities suggested by readers.

Now, I’m beginning to hear from the readers of Wildwood Creek, and because of the nature of the story – Allie temporarily traveling back in time and living the life of her pioneer ancestors – that book community has begun to include some wonderful ancestral family stories, and a few fascinating family mysteries from Bonnie and Allie’s new reader friends..  I can’t wait to see what else comes up!

1September 17, Nashville, TN.  you had a Booktalk & signing that included you , Denise Hildreth, and Jolena Petersheim. QUESTION FOR YOU: You mentioned that details will follow but I didn’t get them. I was wondering where you where and how that event went. What did you all talk about? Pictures? 


 This event at the downtown Lifeway store was such a joy.  Not only was I blessed to share the time with fellow author-friends, Jolina Petersheim and Denise Hildreth Jones, but because the store is by the Lifeway offices, we were able to meet many Lifeway staff members, as well. 

 We talked about books, and what it’s like to have a mind that’s constantly spinning stories from whatever happens in real life. There’s something interestingly different about a storytelling mind, which is one of the reasons I had so much fun writing the Allie character in Wildwood Creek.  Being in her head was a little like being in my own.

The Nashville event was a blessing and a joy… and, since we arrived just a bit early, we even had the chance to walk down the strip, buy the obligatory tacky-tourist souvenirs and T-shirts (because what’s a trip, without a few tacky souvenirs?) and visit with Elvis and Willie… sorta ;)


Thanks Lisa for stopping by and sharing your self and your book tour journey with us. I'm THRILLED that Bethany House is giving away 10 copies of your book Wildwood Creek. It's always a pleasure to hear from you. CLICK HERE FOR PART TWO of this interview http://psalm516.blogspot.com/2014/02/lisa-wingate-part-two-up-close-personal.html 

JOIN TBCN and Enter to win a copy of Lisa's New book at www.bookfun.org Scroll down the Front page of The Book Club Network. CLICK the LINK on top of her book cover, Answer one of Lisa's questions to be entered. LAST Day to Enter is FEB 28th.

ALL ENTRIES are made at TBCN www.bookfun.org NOT on this blog. You can Comment and encourage Lisa. She'll be stopping by. But the Contest is at TBCN!

BLESSINGS

See you at TBCN Where Book Fun Begins.
www.bookfun.org

Nora :o)

THE AMBITION by Lee Strobel REVIEWED




The Ambition
By Lee Strobel
Published by Zondervan
ISBN# 978-0-310-29267-8
286 Pages

Back Cover: A corrupt judge in a mob murder case. A disillusioned pastor, hungry for power. A cynical reporter, sniffing for a scandal. A gambling addict whose secret tape threatens the lives of everyone who hears it.

New York Times bestselling author, Lee Strobel, weaves these edgy characters into an intricate thriller set in a gleaming, suburban megachurch, a big-city newspaper struggling for survival, and the shadowy corridors of political intrigue. The unexpected climax is as gripping as the contract killing that punctuates the opening scene.

Review: I have a commute to work so I brought the audio book to listen to in my car. I was hooked from the start. Near the end of the book I stayed parked in my driveway to hear the dramatic and suspenseful conclusion! OHMYGOSH! It’s a riveting and nail biting ending.

I work at a book store and have watch Lee Strobel’s non-fiction books fly off the shelf. I listened to his testimony on a CD called The Invitation. It made me want to read his debut novel, Ambition.

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to enjoy every minute of this suspenseful, gritty, true to life tale. It’s a fascinating novel that naturally deals with evangelical issues of prayer, miracles, healing, relationships etc. It’s also filled with intrigue ambition, power, deception, mystery, faith, mistakes and more.

It’s has surprising plot twits and characters that grate on your nerves. Although this is written from a faith based point of view this author. His evangelical voice is never too strong. He shows us characters we can identify with and some we might meet at church. He shows that Christians are human with faults. We are all a work in progress. God says he died for us when we “yet” sinners.

I liked the fact that this author didn’t try to force the reader to accept a particular worldview; instead he asks the reader to consider all the facts and issues for themselves. It’s what he did in his book Case for Christ. I liked that.

I also liked the fact that even though there were people murdered and some gritty situations they were not described on a gory or gross manner. There were no steamy romance scenes. I like how he tastefully dealt with love and relationships in this book too.

Lee Strobel is a great and gifted story teller. His novel is relevant in today’s world and reveals a frightening but yet hopeful view of political ambitions and mega churches in general.

This is a real slice of life in the fast lane. I highly recommend this intricate, suspenseful thriller with its riveting conclusion that will make your heart race, leave you satisfied and wanting more. You’ll be thinking about this book long after you’ve read the last page. Its a worthwhile read. There is so much in this book it would make a great book club pick. The discussion questions in the back of the book would make for an interesting discussion.

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog  www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

DOWN & DEAD IN DIXIE by VICKI HINZE REVIEWED




Down and Dead In Dixie (Down and Dead, Inc. Series)
By Vicki Hinze
Published By Magnolia Leaf Press
ASIN# BOOHZWLLMM
267 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Clean Read. This book is suitable for most readers. 

To live, sometimes ya gotta die! Daisy Grant is in a heap of trouble. She stumbles into a mob turf war and now somebody wants her dead. Daisy may be small-town to the bone, not at all the kind of woman to deal with the Southern Mafia, but she knows how to get creative fast! 

Enters the way-too-attractive Mark Jensen... He didn't mean to rescue anybody, and he certainly didn't mean to go on the run because of a stubborn, sassy woman. Soon they are up to their ears in so many wacky characters they don't know who's on their side. Daisy and Mark decide that to live, sometimes ya gotta die. And sometimes to die right takes . . . practice.

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of the first book in the Down and Dead, Inc. series. It’s a delightful, suspenseful drama that introduced me to Vicki Hinze’s humorous side. Love that! I also enjoyed her cast of characters that brought me through a full range of emotion that started off with laughter, empathy, anger and a few more as I instantly related to Daisy Grant. She is having a string of unfortunate events. The first of these unfortunate events is the fact that she catches her hem of her dress on the back of her shoe. The heal brakes and makes her fall. While down for the count she witnesses Edward Marcello’s murder. If that wasn't bad enough she discovers this was a mob hit on another mob family member!

“…If I’d known I was going to die today, I’d have worn more comfortable shoes…I’m not fond of heels…As it as, catching my hem was catching a break-odd for me, because my standard requirement to catch a break is to need both hands and a net to just miss out on any luck at all. I guess I was saving it all up for one night.”

Daisy goes to the police and tells them what she’s seen. They want to have her testify against the mob. FBI Detective Keller tells her how the witness protection works. She learns their success rate of keeping people alive isn’t so great. Two mob families wanted her dead. She feels she’d take matters into her own hands. It was her life after all.

“Daisy quickly discovers that to live, sometimes ya gotta die. But when you’re not a pro at dying, you can mess up…and sometimes to get death right, it takes. Practice.” Her friend Lester tells her to find his friend Paul in Dixie, Florida. He’d help her. Daisy feels lead to go to New Orleans to work for her brothers friend Mark Jensen. They’d never met but his brother trusted Mark and so would she. She didn’t’ want to involve Mark in her troubles. So she called herself Lily,and started working for Mark; that's when the fun and inner turmoil begin.

Daisy/Lily ends up in a place called Sampson Park. It’s a quiet place where no phones, computers, modern conveniences it’s a special place people can be and feel safe. No cameras, recorded other communication equipment or devices.

Lesters friend tells Dixie, “Wounds made simple things complex, but not hopeless.” Daisy was learning a new way to live that wasn’t comfortable. She says, “Every single atom. Never, not once in my whole life, had I dared to want it all..to rely on someone else for anything…! I’m definitely out of my mind!” Loved this authors humor.

Daisy learns that she’s not the only one running for her life. In the author notes Vicki says that Sampson Park is fictional but Shelter House isn't. It's located in the central area of Sampson Park and its services include a 24 hour hotline, crisis counseling, outreach, primary prevention and confidential housing in Okaloosa and Walton counties in FL.

This is a fun clean story with some drinking references that has no graphic killing scenes in it. I enjoyed Daisy and Mark adventure to save their lives and their touching sweet moments together too. I loved how he treated Daisy given all they went through in such a short time.

It’s a book I recommend for a laugh and some food for thought. I was thrilled to see another side of this authors writing style. It was so much fun to read and laugh! I highly recommend it.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org

Finding Hope Through Ficton Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

LONDONDERRY DREAMING by Christine Lindsay REVIEWED



Londonderry Dreaming
By Christine Lindsay
Published by White Rose Publishing/Pelican Book Group
ISBN#978-1-61116-345-2
Pages

ABOUT BOOK: Acclaimed New York artist, Naomi Boyd, and music therapist, Keith Wilson, loved one another five years ago, until her grandfather with his influence over Naomi separated them. That root of bitterness keeps them apart until a letter from Keith’s grandmother, Ruth, draws Naomi to Londonderry to find she’s too late. Ruth has passed on. After the death of his beloved grandmother, Keith has also come to Londonderry only to open the door to his past…Naomi...beautiful as ever, the girl who broke his heart.

A mysterious painting in Ruth’s attic brings up questions about their grandparents’ entwined past and their own broken romance. But more comfortable with the unspoken languages of art and music, Naomi and Keith find it difficult to share their old hurts and true feelings.

Will the majestic coastline of Northern Ireland inspire them to speak the words to bring peace to their grandparents’ memory and to rekindle love?

REVIEW: I enjoyed Christine Lindsay’s debut novel so much I was elated to receive a review copy of her latest novella sized book titled Londonderry Dreaming.

I instantly connected with Keith who flew to from American to attend his grandmother’s funeral and clean things up around her house with his siblings.  Ruth Williams (his grandmother) left him specific instructions as to who was to get what after she passed. He wasn’t there very long when there’s a knock at the door. To his surprise it’s Naomi, an old girlfriend of his. It’s been years since they’ve spoken. Naomi said she got a letter from Ruth asking her to visit. She had no idea she had passed and felt awkward being there, “I hate to intrude as such a time.”

“Don’t think of that….It’s good to see you…and know that you’ve done well. I frequently see your name mentioned in prestigious magazines.” A smile came though Keith’s voice, “Even saw you interviewed on T.V. once. I’m glad for you. You made the right decision to not marry me.”

“Naomi remembered how she broke his heart and how she lost at love. Why had Ruth Wilson brought her here now?” Keith handed Naomi the note that Ruth wrote for Naomi. It told of a painting she wanted her to have that was stored in the attic.

Keith and Naomi aren’t prepared to see who was in this painting. It was Ruth, Keith’s grandmother. Boy was she a beauty. He’d never seen this picture before. Why was it hiding in the attic? Next to the painting was a box of letters. Keith started to read them and told Naomi the content. She was half listening because she knew what her Grandfather’s art work looked like. After her inspection she determined that he painted the picture. How did that happen? He hated Ruth and the whole Wilson clan. Keith and Naomi learned though the letters that Ruth drove an ambulance during the war and Keith’s Granda served with General Montgomery in Europe. “Your grandfather served in the war too, didn’t he Naomi? So how did they all know each other? And why hide this painting all these years?” They both wanted answers.

Sandra, Keith’s sister says, “Ruth wasn’t always our grandmother. She as a woman, for goodness sake. Did ye thank you were hatched?”

Keith replies, “It just makes me wonder what else I don’t’ know about Gran or Granda, for that matter.”

“ and I wonder, “Noami said, “why my grandfather had such a long-standing dislike of the entire Wilson family.. She thinks to herself, “Was I a fool to let Keith Go? Maybe this was an opportunity for the two of them to put things right for the sake of their grandparents, whatever the offense had been…”I’m sure we’ll find the answers soon and bring peace to the situation.”

Keith couldn’t help but think there might be more too and felt comfortable encouraging her, “Art is a calling, as well as a business. It wasn’t your grandfather who gave you that calling.”

Naomi replied, “God’s proven what He wants to do though my life…at least as far as my art is concerned.”

Old feelings start to surface. Could they give each other another chance? Maybe solving the mystery in the attic would give both of their families peace and a little more.

I enjoyed Christine’s characters Keith and Naomi and was hooked in by this mystery! Enjoyed reading how they put all the pieces together. I highly recommend this delightful story and this authors other books! You won’t be disappointed.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org

Finding Hope Through Fiction Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

SMITTEN BOOK CLUB /KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY AND REVIEW

Smitten Book Club
By Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter
Published by Thomas Nelson
ISBN#978-1-4016-8716-8
378 Pages

Back Cover: The century-old Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship is no ordinary book club choice. But for the little book club in Smitten, Vermont, it might be their best pick yet!

The thick, leathery tome Heather pulled out of the dusty cardboard box was definitely coming home with her. Not only was The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship an appealing curiosity by virtue of its title; it was also written by Smitten, Vermont native Pearl Chambers, a local gentlewoman from three generations back.
Little did Heather know the repercussions this little curiosity would have on her and her friends’ romantic exploits.

When Heather and her fellow book club members begin passing the book around, their respective interpretations are unleashed on their respective love lives . . . for better or for worse. Is it a mystery? An idealist fantasy? An intimation of Jane Austen? As romantic love finds its way to each woman, the Guide proves itself both surprisingly prescient and hilariously irrelevant.

Review: I’m thankful for a review copy of a book that introduced me to the town of Smitten and it’s very special book club. Colleen Coble, Kristen Billerbeck, Diann Hunt and Denise Hunter, team up to write the third book in the Smitten series. If you haven’t read the other books before this one fear not, you won’t feel lost. There are four parts to this novel that are written by each of the author focusing on a different lady from the book club, who all live in the town of Smitten.

Love by the Book by Colleen Coble, Shelved Under Romance by Kristin Billerbeck, A New Chapter by Diann Hunt, and Happily Ever After by Denise Hunter. Each one of these segments give the reader peeks at a few of the book club meetings where they discuss the book, the treasure hunt and let’s not leave out match making! Grin!

The book starts out with the community and the book club ladies helping Molly deal with the loss of her firefighter husband. The whole town has pitched in to help her pay for her husband’s funeral and navigate running her husband’s business.

Donations of books are dropped off at the library where one of the book club members works. Heather discovers a book in good condition and bursts our laughing when she shares the title with her book club friends. Check this one out, “The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship by Pearl Chambers…She claims the reader who understands these patterns and uses them will find true love.” The gales laugh at her statements and one of them tells the others Pearl Chambers was a local author who was pretty famous back in her day.

They all sit down to laugh about more of Mrs. Chambers’s ideas about courting and a letter drops out of the book. It’s a letter Pearl wrote to her daughter Beatrice Chambers. It states, “…your grandmother found a gold mine in the hills, and left the clues to its location in this book!...signed your loving mother.”

Could this be true? The group starts to look at this book in a whole new light. It was fun to see this group of ladies go on a treasure hunt that they hope will help Molly and her son, Noah in their situation.

Molly is a member of the book club that is not faithful to read the book every month. Her friend Gage asks Molly a question, “So let me ask…if you’re not much of a reader – why a book club?

“I like to read- sort of, when the genre’s right and the author’s good and the books’ not, you know too thick or boring.”

“And Venus aligns with Mercury under a crescent moon?”

“She made a face, “Fine. It’s not about the books. It’s about girl time. Friendships. Community. Happy?”

I’ll Amen that! Book club has meant this to me over the years too!

This book is a light hearted fun read. Each section of the book deals with one girl in the book club, a different relationship issue and how they go about trying to uncover clues to help them find the buried treasure! Would they find the pot of gold? Will each lady in the group learn from Mrs. Chambers about love and apply it to the situation they find themselves in? Would they uncover a true “…treasure, the real kind, the lasting kind…” that might just be in there own backyard in the town of Smitten?”

Grab a copy of this sweet romance story with a few twists to find out the answers to the above questions. The authors do a great job of harmonizing their writing styles. It’s seamless.

My sympathy and prayers go out to Diann Hunt’s family as they morn the loss of Diann right around Thanksgiving 2013. Praying her community is pulling together to love them through just like the town of Smitten did for Molly in this book.

I highly recommend this delightful read. It has good discussion questions and it also has a peek into the fourth book in t his series called Secretly Smitten.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins www.bookfun.org 
The Book Club Network Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com 

FRIEND ME by John Faubion - Kindle HDX Giveaway and REVIEW




ABOUT AUTHOR: John Faubion has spent many years in Asia as a missionary with his family. Since returning to the United States, John has worked as a senior software developer for a large appliance chain. He teaches an adult Sunday school class and enjoys writing and driving his 1949 Packard automobile. John lives near Indianapolis with his wife, Beth, and their daughter.

Back Cover: “You’re afraid you are becoming unfaithful, aren’t you?”

Scott and Rachel’s marriage is on the brink of disaster. Scott, a businessman with a high-pressure job, just wants Rachel to understand him and accept his flaws. Rachel is a lonely housewife, desperate for attention and friendship. So she decides to create a virtual friend online, unaware that Scott is doing the exact same thing. But neither realizes that there’s a much larger problem looming. . . .

Behind both of their online creations is Melissa, a woman who is brilliant— and totally insane. Masquerading as both friend and lover, Melissa programmed a search parameter into the Virtual Friend Me software to find her perfect man, but along the way she forgot to specify his marriage status. And Scott is her ideal match. Now Melissa is determined to have it all—Scott, his family, and Rachel’s life.

As Melissa grows bolder and her online manipulations transition into the real world, Scott and Rachel figure out they are being played. Now it’s a race against time as Scott and Rachel fight to save their marriage, and their lives, before it’s too late.

REVIEW:
Friend Me By John Faubion
Published by Simon and Schuster
ISBN#9781476738727
339 Pages

Review: I’m thankful for the review copy of this riveting, page-turning, novel. It’s an insightful tour through cyber space that shows just how easy it is to be sucked into an addictive secret world. This author shows the potential for wicked abuse of a secret Virtual Friend and how quickly this secret breaks down the family and a society as a whole. This book also shows readers how easy it is to take your virtual friend anywhere you go and how in this case it can be a “fatal attraction.” for real in Scott and Rachel’s situation!

I’m glad they had an interview with the author in the back of the book. The author was asked “When do you think Scott became unfaithful in the story? Answer: …when he as asked which he wanted a “male or female friend?” Scott replied “female”. At that point, he’d crossed over. He became unfaithful…when a husband chooses some women other than his wife as his confidant, companion, or female best friend; he’s turned down the road of infidelity.”

He goes on to say, “…we live in an age where people choose to exist in virtual worlds…we need to focus on real people, real lives. Real friends. Real love.”

This author pens a heart racing suspense drama that’s all too real. He talks about the seductive side of on-line friends that compromise our virtues one key stroke at a time. This author explores the definition of reality, morality, the imagination, and how our perception affects our heart and our personal relationships forever.

The story opens up with Melissa, the creator of Virtual Friends website. She has a dark side with an unbelievable past. I was nervous in the beginning of this story because this was the author’s debut novel and I didn’t know how creepy he would get. It’s dark in the beginning and in parts, very realistic and gives readers insight on how easy it is to get on a road in life that’s a fast track to losing everything they hold dear. Everyone is tempt-able, no one’s perfect. We need help and encouragement to keep the main thing the main thing in our lives, relationship with God, real people and real love. God is there to heal our hearts and situation no matter what we fall into.

I liked how this author tactfully dealt with these sensitive issues. He conveyed the message and/or situations without being too graphic. I liked that. This author has a faith message that’s natural to the story. It’s not heavy handed but makes you think. It shows how fast life can unravel and how God can heal deep hurts if you give him a chance.

There are discussion questions in the book that will get everyone talking. This would be a fascinating book for a book club pick. At the back of the book it has a page called Bonus Features its ideas for your meeting that will enhance your book club experience and further the discussion of this book.  The internet has affected our lives in so many good and bad ways. This book shows how we must guard our heart, mind and emotions. It’s easier than ever in the privacy of your own home or car to go to the dark side.

I would avoid talking about this book in a public setting as sensitive issues most likely will surface. This is a must read for our cyber culture society. This book will rock your world and give you hope in navigating uncharted territory on the web. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to this author’s next book. Friend Me is a story you’ll be reminded of every time you sit down at your computer! John Faubion is an author to watch.

Nora St.Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
Finding Hope Through Fiction Blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
Book Fun Magazine www.bookfunmagazine.com