Monday, October 27, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Covert Christmas by Hope White

Welcome to CBRB, Hope! Thank you for being here! For those who were not able to enjoy your last interview, can you again give us a little information about you?

I’ve been making up stories in my head ever since I was a little girl.  I figured everyone does this, right?  Post college I became a journalist and PR specialist where I was, in fact, writing stories, but just not fictional ones.  Years later those fictional stories started creeping into my brain again, especially when my kids were little and I was balancing a freelance writing career and motherhood.  As a young mother I was mostly reading parenting books – didn’t want to mess up my kids too much. <G>  Then a friend challenged me to lose myself in a book, and dropped off a stack of fiction novels on my doorstep.  That day changed my life!  Not only did I devour them, but I also thought to myself, “So this is what I’m supposed to be doing with all the stories racing around in my brain!”  

Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading/writing and why is it your favorite? 

I read everything, mystery, romance, inspirational, non-fiction, literary fiction.  As for a favorite genre, I’d say the books featuring strong romances are usually my favorites.  The same goes for writing books.  Although my books are suspenseful with an element of faith, the romance is my priority, and the happily ever after is a must. 

Can you tell us two or three things that most readers don’t know about you?

I’m a tea freak!  Seriously, I know more about tea than the average person should know.  I’m loving green tea right now, both for the taste and the health benefits.  I just discovered Matcha – yum!  Not so much into black tea, but love herbals and whites. 

The second thing?  I love to dance.  Not in public or anything, but just around the house, with a little good music going.  Even better, I put on that Happy song from Despicable Me 2 and dance with my dog.  She loves it!

What five things do you love/like the most?

Besides God, and my family (which includes the furry family members), I’d say, tea, movies, and friends. 

If you could meet one person (besides Jesus, because who doesn’t want to meet Him!), who would you choose?

The Dalai Lama.  I saw him speak once and was struck by his peaceful and loving demeanor.  

What is your favorite Bible story?

Queen Esther.

How do you choose your characters names?

I find images of the characters online, usually actors.  Then I look at those pictures and (no laughing please) start talking to them.  Their names are naturally born from that conversation.

If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be?

Besides being a mom?  Because I’m loving that job.  I guess my dream job would be a counselor.  I love helping people work through emotional trauma.  

Do you have any books that are soon-to-be-released that we should keep an eye out for?

Not until next summer.  The third book in my Echo Mountain series will be released in June 2015.  The title is pending.

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Please tell us about the featured book.  

Here’s the blurb!

A man has been shot and left for dead on Echo Mountain, and Search and Rescue K-9 handler Breanna McBride wants answers. With no memory, all the injured man can recall is that his first name is Scott, and that someone wants him silenced. Scott knows better than to depend on strangers, yet he finds himself falling for his captivating protector. And although Breanna won't rest until she helps him piece together the rest of his past, she vows to ignore the attraction between them. But as they close in on the truth, she becomes the killer's next target. Now the pursuers will stop at nothing to ensure the pair is six feet under by Christmas. 

Can you please give us the first page?  

Sure! 

They were close, dangerously close.
Scott Becket sprinted up the trail hoping to disappear in the brush ahead.  He wasn’t sure how long he could keep up this pace considering the abuse he’d sustained at the hands of his captors.  He was lucky to have gotten away although without his backpack he wouldn’t survive long out here in the rugged mountains. 
Scott needed the perfect spot where he could camouflage himself until they passed, if they passed, because he knew they were nothing if not determined to find Scott and kill him.  After they finished what they started earlier; beat him until he admitted where he’d hidden the proof of criminal activity that could destroy them all.
As long as he had sole possession of the documentation, Scott would breathe another day or two, long enough to gather the last bit of evidence he needed to end this thing. 
Eyeing the trail ahead, he hoped he wouldn’t run into innocent civilians out for an afternoon hike.  Scott didn’t want to put others in jeopardy and wasn’t sure how far his pursuers would go to secure the information and eliminate Scott, the only person cynical enough to question their plan.
He winced at the pain of bruised ribs as he gasped to fill his lungs.  Scott berated himself for not catching on sooner.  What a fool.  Just like he was a fool to think he could get water samples to the EPA without being caught.  But then he hadn’t been thinking clearly for a while now. 
They’d distracted him with the illusion of love and happiness.  Christa had been so good too, an expert at making him feel safe and loved.  He should have known better.  Sweet, perfect women like Christa did not fall in love with damaged goods like Scott Becket.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

Check out my website: hopewhiteauthor.com  or my Facebook page: facebook.com/hopewhiteauthor

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GIVEAWAY!
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!) 
Hope has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of Covert ChristmasPrint giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Sunday November 9, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!

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Author Interview and Giveaway: A Promise To Protect by Patricia Bradley

Welcome to CBRB, Patricia! Thank you for being here! For those who were not able to enjoy your last interview, can you again give us a little information about you? 

First, it’s such an honor to be on Christian Book Review, and I want to thank you for having me. I’m a former abstinence educator and live in North Mississippi. When I was 35, these people came to live in my head and they wouldn’t go away until I wrote their story. I was fortunate that Woman’s World published the story in their mini-mystery section. Thirty-four years later, my first book, Shadows of the Past, the Logan Point series, was published, and now my second book in the Logan Point series, A Promise to Protect has been released. 

Is there a particular genre you enjoy reading/writing and why is it your favorite? 

For some reason, my mind just turns to suspense whether it’s reading or writing. Romance comes in a close second, so it’s just natural for me to write romantic suspense.

Can you tell us two or three things that most readers don’t know about you? 

Three things, huh? Hmmm. I knit chemo hats and booties. I’ve been bucked off a horse more than once. I’m ADHD.

What five things do you love/like the most? 

Beside God and Jesus, my family and friends, my kitty Suzy, my church, knitting, Pilates.

If you could meet one person (besides Jesus, because who doesn’t want to meet Him!), who would you choose? 

The apostle Paul.

What is your favorite Bible story? 

I identify most with the prodigal, but I think my favorite is Esther.

How do you choose your characters names? 

The Social Security Baby names website, phone book, random generator…I look at a lot of names until one just says, this is his/her name. I’ve also changed a name mid-story if it doesn’t fit.

If you weren’t an author, what would your dream job be? 

A master potter.

Do you have any books that are soon-to-be-released that we should keep an eye out for? 

I have two books just released. September 1, Michael’s Choice from Harlequin Heartwarming, and in early October, A Promise to Protect, the 2nd book in the Logan Point series releases. 

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Please tell us about the featured book. 

In A Promise to Protect, acting Sheriff Ben Logan hasn’t heard from Leigh Somerall in a very long time, but it doesn’t mean he can get her—or their whirlwind romance of ten years ago—out of his head. When she calls out of the blue it is with a strange request to protect her brother, Tony. But when Tony dies just days later, Ben is charged with a different task—protecting Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, from the killers. But how can Ben keep an eye on Leigh if she’s doing everything in her power to avoid him? And could the secret that Leigh is keeping change Ben’s life forever?

Can you please give us the first page?

Tony Jackson shouldn’t be dying in a ritzy hotel room in downtown Memphis on a hot July night.
He shouldn’t be dying at all.
“Who shot you?” Sheriff Ben Logan pressed a blood-soaked towel against the victim’s chest. The left sleeve of Tony’s Armani suit had bullet holes where he’d lifted his arm in defense. Otherwise the bullet would have killed him instantly.
This meeting wasn’t supposed to go this way. Tony would show up, deliver his information. Ben would save the day.
The coppery scent that hung heavy in the air turned his stomach as Tony’s life drained away, his blood staining the plush white carpet. Ben cradled Tony’s head and glanced toward the opened door. Where was that ambulance?
Tony wrapped his fingers around Ben’s wrist, and Ben leaned closer to the man he couldn’t keep from dying. “Stay with me, man.”
“Tell Leigh . . .” Tony’s breath grew shallow. “I’m . . . sorry.” The grip faltered.
“Hang on, buddy.”
Sirens. Ben snapped a look behind him to where a few people had gathered in the hallway. “Tell them to hurry.”
“Your dad . . .” Tony closed his eyes and took a shuddering breath then coughed, blood gurgling in his chest. 
Ben jerked back to the dying man. “What about my dad?”
“I’m sorry . . . should’ve told . . .” He coughed again. “Something . . . got to tell . . . Blue . . . dog . . .”
“Don’t die on me.” What did Tony know about his dad’s shooting?
“Both know . . .” Tony’s voice faded.
Ben eased the man’s head up. “Stay with me. Tell me who did this to you.”
Tony closed his eyes, then his lips moved, and Ben strained to hear.
“Protect . . . Leigh.”
“Come on, man, you’ll—”
Tony’s eyes popped open, the light in them fading. “Promise . . .”
Ben couldn’t escape the haunting gaze. “I . . .” The words lodged in his throat.
Tony tightened his fingers on Ben’s wrist. “Say it.”
“I . . .” He swallowed. “I promise.” The grip eased as Tony slumped in his arms and slipped into eternity.
A low moan escaped Ben’s lips. He dropped his head, sending a prayer heavenward as Tony’s death settled in his chest like lead. He’d let him down. Just like with Tommy Ray. Ben pushed the thought aside. Revisiting the past wouldn’t bring either back.

Where can readers learn more information about you?


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GIVEAWAY!
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!) 
Patricia has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of A Promise to ProtectPrint giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Sunday November 9, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Chain of Mercy by Brenda Anderson

Welcome to Christian Book Review Blog, Brenda! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you for welcoming me, Aizess! I’ve been married to Marvin for 27 years, and I’ve been a full-time mom for 22 of those years. An empty nest is lurking in our near future. We live in a suburb of northern Minneapolis, MN with our three kids (two in college and one a recent college grad) and one sassy calico cat. My dream is to live in an A-framed log home looking out over Lake Superior.

When did you first discover that you loved writing? 

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Even back in grade school I wrote plays that our class put on for the school. Writing a book had always been a dream, but it wasn’t until nine years ago that God got a hold of me and said, “I gave you this gift. What are you going to do with it?”

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

I tend to be a serious person, and my favorite novels have always been those that deal with the gritty side of life, so when I put fingers to keyboard, that’s what came out. My books aren’t light, but they show God’s love shining through the darkness.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

My greatest obstacle is myself. First in convincing myself that writing wasn’t a waste of time, then in learning that rejections aren’t personal. I’m blessed to be surrounded by a family of supporters. My husband is my biggest cheerleader, and our kids and parents are close behind. Having their constant encouragement makes it much easier to overcome obstacles.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Absolutely. One of the biggest blessings is meeting new people, people who totally “get” your passion for writing. With writing, I’ve been forced out of my safe, introvert bubble by traveling alone to conferences around the country and pitching my stories to industry professionals. Definitely out of my comfort zone.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

My favorite verse has to be “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13 – 14. When I’ve had those moments of wanting to quit, I just have to read that verse, and I keep pressing on.

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Jane is such an unusual heroine. She isn’t attractive, wealthy, or athletic, attributes that seem to draw the reader, yet she is a true hero. She’s gutsy, intelligent, wise, and passionate. The story is dark, yet it offers hope.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

In 2012, my contemporary romance was a finalist in the ACFW Genesis contest. At the conference that year for the banquet, all finalists entered the banquet hall before the rest of the attendees. As I’m entering the room, rushing toward a table, I felt my panty hose start to slither over my hips and creep down my legs. Pretty soon I was waddling toward a table, praying the hose would stay above my knees. I grabbed a table and sat, wondering if I’d have a chance to sneak to the rest room. When the rest of the attendees entered, my critique partners joined me at the table, and I whispered to Shannon, telling her my problem. She told me to slide them off. No one would notice. So, I slipped them off and Shannon tucked them away in her purse. I was not surprised to find that episode detailed in one of Shannon’s published novels.  

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Please tell us about the featured book.

Chain of Mercy is the first novel I ever completed, so it holds a very special place in my heart. It’s the first in the four book Coming Home series. Here’s the back cover copy:

Manhattan businessman Richard Brooks was at the top of the world, drunk with success, wealth, and women, and he proudly lived that prodigal lifestyle, until one disastrous evening, when that world came crashing down.

Richard flees to Minneapolis where he repairs ancient boilers instead of solving corporate problems, and he's determined to live the solitary life he now deserves.

But Executive Sheila Peterson has other plans for the handsome custodian. Richard appears to be the perfect match for the no-strings-attached romance she's after, but she soon discovers that he's hiding more than the designer clothes in his closet.

Can you please give us the first page?

“The good news is that the company only lost a million this quarter.” Richard Brooks smirked at his assistant and slapped the quarterly report down on her desk.
“That’s the good news?” Verna stopped typing and turned to him, propping a hand on her hip, her Southern accent always a welcome sound in this sea of nasal New Yorkers. “Young man, in my day people didn’t make a million dollars, much less lose it. Now, tell me, if that’s the good news, what’s the bad?”
He stared at the Picasso print above Verna’s desk. Reminded him of his life. “It looks like we’re going to have no choice but to close the Phoenix plant.” How had he missed the unmistakable signs of its mismanagement? Now, because of his lack of foresight, hundreds of people would lose their jobs. In all his years in New York City, he’d never made such a costly blunder.
“Goodness. And you’re blaming yourself. I can see it in those beautiful blues of yours.”
“I should have seen it coming months ago. All the signs were there.”
“It just so happens you’ve had a few other things on your mind lately.”
The muscles in his cheeks tightened. “I’m not paid to think of other things.”
“You stop putting yourself down. It’s time I see that gorgeous smile again.”
He chuckled. “Happy?” Only Verna could make him smile under these circumstances.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

They can find me at:

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GIVEAWAY!
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!) 
Brenda has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of Chain of MercyPrint giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday October 11, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Book Review: Truth Be Told by Carol Cox

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"Sometimes the truth can be dangerous. . . 

When Amelia Wagner takes over her father's newspaper in 1893 Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have serious consequences. Her father's revealing articles about the Great Western Investment Company have caught the attention of the wrong people, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements.

Determined to find out the real story, Amelia begins her own investigation. She's joined by Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company, a man Amelia finds both perplexing and intriguing.

What they uncover stuns them both--and has far-reaching implications for not only Ben and Amelia but all of Granite Springs. Can they reveal the truth before the enemy finds a way to silence them for good?"

     After reading and enjoying Love In Disguise by Carol Cox, which made it to my 2012 Top Ten Books list, I was excited to delve into Truth Be Told. Written in simple, down-to-earth prose, I was easily transported to 1800s Granite Springs, Arizona––a quaint western town rife with interesting townspeople.

     Amelia Wagner is a woman determined to continue her father's legacy of truth by reporting only the truth. It was refreshing to see her commitment to integrity––to the point that she was willing to print a retraction of her deceased father's articles on Great Western if she discovered they were untrue. Ben was a gentlemanly hero and his spiritual journey, similar to Jonah's story in the Bible, was uplifting. Amelia and Ben's romance was humorous, at times, and filled with pockets of tension, due to their separate loyalties and Ben's initial deception. Seeing their evolving romance was sweet.

     I enjoyed the mystery and suspense surrounding Great Western––the owner, Owen Merrick, and his partners-in-crime were good villains. The other secondary characters were a great addition, as well. From Jimmy, the enthusiastic paper boy, to Clara, Amelia's new friend, they added an extra layer of depth to the story. I especially liked Homer, the former partner of Amelia's father, because of his kind, fatherly attentiveness. 

     I enjoyed Carol Cox's latest addition and give it 4 out of 5 stars. If you're hunting for a western with a truth seeking journalist, a dosage of mystery and suspense, and a dash of romance, try Truth Be Told. Plus, you'll learn how to run an 1800s newspaper and experience an edge-of-your-seat ending.

** Thanks to Bethany House publishers for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given. **

Monday, September 22, 2014

Author Interview and Giveaway: Rebels by Jill Williamson

Welcome to Christian Book Review Blog, Jill! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! My name is Jill Williamson. I’m the author of twelve books, most of which are fantasy novels of some kind. I live in Eastern Oregon, where there are more deer and cows than people.

When did you first discover that you loved writing? 

I think I discovered it in tenth grade. We were assigned to write a short story. And mine was about twenty pages and not even half done. My teacher finally made me turn it in. But I didn’t start writing books with the intent of getting them published until 2004, when I was twenty-nine years old.

Why do you write the type of books that you do?

Because they are the kind of books I most like to read.

What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

For me it was completing that first book. It took me three-and-a-half years. And I overcame it by writing and writing and making myself write until I finished it. And going through that process is so important for a new writer. New writers tend to start lots of stories, but finishing one is a major milestone and learning experience.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Sure. I don’t have time to scrapbook anymore. *grin* Writing has given me a voice in this world. I’m an introvert and don’t do well with people. (If you met me at a conference and disagree, it’s because I’m comfortable with other writers. I feel like I’m with my people.) But in every-day society, I’m quiet and withdrawn. But writing gives me a voice, and that has made a huge difference in my life.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

There are so many. I really can’t say there was only one. But one of my favorites is Philippians 4: 6-7. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Is there a book you’ve read that has been truly spectacular?

So many! If you mean recently, I’ve become slightly obsessed with Brandon Sanderson. His book The Rithmatist was so much fun! But so was Steelheart. And so was Mistborn. And so was Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. So … yeah.

What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I don’t know about ever, but this past June my friend and co-author Stephanie Morrill was unable to attend a conference we usually attend together. So I printed out her picture and put it on a stick and carried it around with me. 


Please tell us about the featured book.
Rebels is the third and final installment of The Safe Lands trilogy. We last left Mason and Omar, sentenced to liberation. And now readers will finally find out what that means! Here is the back cover copy:

The remnant of Glenrock has been scattered. But they are not beaten.

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The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth.

Levi watched his brothers’ public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive, He is forced to focus his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands’ newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar’s old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi’s new role be enough?

Meanwhile, Jemma’s sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the “Safe Lands’” children … but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar’s illness could be fatal.

If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands’ lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die.

Can you please give us the first page?

Chapter 1

Levi woke to the sounds of chaos. Footsteps thumping through the house. Giggling toddlers. Screeching children. Women unsuccessfully shushing.

He rolled over. No sign of his wife. She must be up already and keeping the children out of the room.

It all came back then: Mason and Omar had been captured. Mason had been shot in the leg. Omar had been beat up by General Otley.

At least Otley was dead now. But what would become of his brothers?

Outside the room, someone banged against the door, followed by an ear-piercing squeal.

Levi wondered what time it was, but this room had no clock. This was no way to remain inconspicuous to neighbors. Not in a place where children live only at the boarding school.

When he’d finally laid down that morning—after having seen his brothers captured and after Nash had brought Shaylinn, the medic named Ciddah, and Kendall’s baby boy to Zane’s house—there had been over fifty bodies crammed into the small dwelling in the Midlands. They’d covered the floor, sleeping side by side and head to toe.

Now all of them seemed to be wide awake and filled with energy.

Levi slid out of bed and opened the door. Three little girls ran past, nearly knocking him over, filled with shrieking giggles. They all met at the end of the hallway, colliding like cornered chicks.

“Give it back!” one yelled. “I found it!”

Then they ran back toward him.

He reached out and caught the first. It was Eliza’s Kaylee, a rhinestone butterfly pinched between her fingers. The other two stopped behind her, and she pulled her hand close to keep her treasure away from her pursuers. “No running in the house, Kaylee,” Levi said. “And you must keep your voices down.”

Where can readers learn more information about you?

Website/blog: www.jillwilliamson.com

Other blogs: www.GoTeenWriters.com –a site where I teaches about writing.


Readers of Jill Williamson FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/745051488841927/ 


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GIVEAWAY!
(This giveaway is only open to followers of Christian Book Review Blog, so be sure you are a follower!) 
Jill has generously offered to giveaway a print copy of RebelsPrint giveaway is available to U.S residents only. Giveaway ends on Saturday October 4, 2014 at midnight (Eastern time). Thanks for coming by to enter!

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