Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Trauma Plan by Candace Calvert

Buy At Amazon
"Sidelined by injuries from a vicious assault, chaplain Riley Hale is determined to return to her former duties as an ER nurse. But how can she show she’s competent when the hospital won’t let her attempt even simple tasks? Determined to prove herself, Riley volunteers at a controversial urban free clinic despite her fears about the maverick doctor in charge.

Dr. Jack Travis defends his clinic like he’s commander of the Alamo. He’ll fight the community’s efforts to shut its doors, even if he must use Riley Hale’s influential family name to make it happen.

As Riley strives to regain her skills, Jack finds that she shares his compassion—and stirs his lonely heart. Riley senses that beneath Jack’s rough exterior is a man she can believe in. But when clinic protests escalate and questions surface about his past, Jack goes into battle mode and Riley wonders if it’s dangerous to trust him with her heart."

Guest review by Kianna Rose
The evidence of a good book is generally in how quickly one feels compelled to read it. The quicker the better - even though it is bitter sweet to reach the end, you still can't wait to get there.
The blurb sounds really interesting/intriguing, huh? Trust me, when you actually pick this novel up, you won't be disappointed. Candace is an amazing author who knows exactly how to draw in her readers. I think that the development of Jack Travis and Riley Hale was brilliant. Great characters often have troubling pasts and Jack's past surely fits that script. I felt as though his past and story brought me in and kept me reading until the last word of the book. Of course, all of the other major and minor characters personality's shined as well. Especially Bandy Biggs's character. (if you have read this book: Didn't you just love the character Bandy Biggs?)

This is the first medical drama I have read. I half expected a medical scene played out, a little something like this, "Scalpel. Scalpel. Retractor. Retractor. Surgical stapler. Surgical stapler." or maybe a load of medical jargon that forced me to look up terms in a medical dictionary. I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to read through this novel and thoroughly enjoy the plot without any unnecessary interruptions.

My favorite books are the one that tug at your heart. The ones that make you silently lift up a prayer for struggling and heartbroken characters (even though you know that they aren't real). I found myself moved by Riley's faith, her constant struggle with disability and her  finally learning to trust God and His will for her life. Jack's life story is nothing short of one trial and tribulation after another. When he accepts Christ, his character changes from a bitter, anger management issue plagued person to one who really wants God in His life. Jack learns that God's plans are not a coincidence.

This is the first book I have read by Candace Calvert and I hope it wont be my last. Her writing here emanates good use of imagery. It was peppered with humor and plenty of laughable moments. It was a page turner, plain and simple! I'd rate this book my 5 star seal of approval:)

You can purchase this book at Amazon.

**Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The National Bible Bee
Visit the Family Discipleship Challenge page by clicking on the Bible Bee icon above.

What Is the Bible Bee?
Remember childhood Spelling Bees? While we thought hard about "vacuum" and "height" we tightened our ability to spell, to accurately express ourselves with language.

What if there was a way to do that with scripture? Maybe you've had Bible Drill in your church or another program to help you memorize scripture.

But did you learn it, too? Did you recite the definition of those verses the way we did the words in Spelling Bee? Did you know what those books of the Bible represented? What the words in those verses meant? Who said them and why?

Bible Bee equips parents to dig into the Word with their kids. All material is adjusted to be age-appropriate and allow the family to study the same scripture text.

  "Nothing I do as a parent can make my family stronger than grounding them in the Word."

Monday, May 21, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Where Love Once Lived by Sid Frost

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

I have a Master of Science degree from the University of Houston and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Long Beach and worked with computers in one form or another throughout my working life. In addition to my full time job as a computer systems analyst/programmer, I taught computer science classes part time at Austin Community College. A second part time job was as a member of the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus.

I retired in May 2011 and have enjoyed having more time for singing, writing and traveling. My wife Celeste and I love to spend time on the lake, fishing and boating. I also work as a volunteer at my church library. I love books.

I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Writers League of Texas, and the San Gabriel Writers' League in Georgetown, Texas.

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

I read a variety of books, mostly Christian fiction since I am a reviewer for several Christian publishers. But for fun, I've read all Kathy Reich's Temperance Brennan books. My neighborhood book club seems to like historical nonfiction best so I end up reading more of that than I would ordinarily.

I love Jan Karon books. My latest favorite Christian writer is Davis Bunn. I've previewed his last two books and will preview the next two also. I like Charles Martin's books (Wrapped in Rain, The Mountain Between Us).

My featured book today is Where Love Once Lived which many people think is a romance because of the title. It is a love story and it's structured like a romance in that there are male and female protagonists and the point of view alternates between them. But there's more than the love story. It is also about how Brian finds the love of God once again.

I wrote The Vengeance Squad in first person, in one person's viewpoint because I felt that was the only way it would work. I didn't think about genre at the time I wrote it, but now I call it a Christian mystery/suspense/thriller. Note to writers: You'll have a better chance of finding an agent or a publisher if you decide on the genre before you write your book.

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

Where Love Once Lived is based in part on my previous wife's life. She was a Stephen Minister, elementary school teacher, and musician who spotted people in trouble and did her best to help them. She loved the book, but made me leave out some of it so as not to hurt anyone. She died from pancreatic cancer before the book was published.

The Vengeance Squad is not about my life, but it is about the grief I suffered after my wife's death. The story itself is fictional. The feelings are not.

What five things do you love/like the most?

Wow. This is a tough one. I'm inclined to find some important stuff to list here, but what comes to mind is pizza and chocolate, not together of course.

Off the top of my head: God, family, country, music, and a good book. Don't read that as country music. I meant the United States and music. My favorite music is choral music.

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

I would like to meet Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm old enough to have lived when there was segregation in my part of the country and I knew as a child it was wrong. I admired what Martin Luther King, Jr. did, but I'd like to ask him if he is pleased with the way things turned out. From all I read of him I think his goal was equality, and we are not there yet.

In Where Love Once Lived you'll find an interracial marriage and discussions of equality.

What is your favorite Bible story?

My favorite story is Jonah and the whale. Sometimes I think about why God puts us into situations we don't like. My next book gets into this area more.

How do you choose your characters names?

The male protagonist in Where Love Once Lived is a bookmobile driver. For a long time I didn't have a name for him. I used the initials BD for bookmobile driver. Before the book was finished, I found a long-lost friend on the Internet and we began to communicate and get to know each other again. His name is Brian Donelson, so BD became Brian Donelson. I have since visited him in Rowe, Massachusetts, which is one of the locales in The Vengeance Squad.

Other than that, I try to pick names that sound right for the character and that are not too similar to other characters in the book. Sometimes I use names of friends or family members. I named the mayor in Where Love Once Lived after my sister in an early draft, but she didn't like it because the character was overweight and my sister is as slim as she was in high school.

There are times I don't the name to match anyone I know, so I use the fiction name generator that's available online.

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

I've been a computer programmer, teacher, performer, speaker and writer. All were ideal jobs. If I had to pick something else, I would find a job that involves a lot of travel. I've been to 27 countries and have spent more than a year outside the United States, but every time I go somewhere I love it. I especially like staying in one place for a long period rather than going to many places in a brief amount of time. In January of this year we were in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands for two weeks, long enough to go to church twice and sing with the choir after rehearsing with them.

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

I am working on my third bookmobile book. It is a sequel to Where Love Once Lived. There are some cross-over characters from The Vengeance Squad as well. It is tentatively called Mourning Prayers and I hope it will be out by September.

Please tell us about the featured book.

Buy At Amazon

Where Love Once Lived follows a man at a crossroads as he seeks to regain the love of his former college sweetheart.

Forced to leave Karen by circumstances beyond his control, Brian returns to his hometown after 30 years to find Karen doesn't want to deal with the memories of his painful and unexplained departure. She has worked hard to put her love for Brian behind her and rebuffs his advances. Brian can see that winning her over again isn't going to be as easy as he had hoped, but he's willing to do whatever it takes.

I was inspired by my faith in God to create Where Love Once Lived. The importance of a relationship with God is a major theme in the book. In the novel, Karen's faith in God grew stronger after Brian left, leading to fulfilling work as a lay minister. As she becomes reacquainted with Brian, Karen begins to share with him the strength that can come from faith. Brian, who had turned away from God, eventually comes to realize that the void in his life was not just the loss of Karen but also the loss of God.

Can you please give us the first page?

Karen felt loved on Tuesdays.

She was fifty-three and divorced with a college-aged daughter at home who’d probably flee the nest soon, leaving Karen to live alone. She’d missed her chance for happiness. Still, she wasn’t sad. Teaching and her volunteer work as a lay minister, hospital chaplain, and member of her church choir fulfilled her. To be honest, she wanted more. She wanted the special kind of love she felt on Tuesdays.

She glanced at the clock on the wall as the familiar knock sounded. The third graders snapped to attention, turning their heads in unison toward the door. Today was the day. Every Tuesday about this time for the past six weeks, a fresh bouquet of flowers arrived. Karen opened the door and felt a rush of warmth when she realized today would be no exception.

Peeking around the blooms with his usual grin, his black curls poking out from under the well-worn blue cap that sat too far back on his head, the deliveryman thrust the vase toward her.

 “Morning, Ms. Williams.”

“Good morning, Sam. It must be Tuesday.” She took the flowers, admiring this week’s selection of red roses. Her friend, Cathy, warned her to be cautious because the flowers might be from a stalker, but Karen didn’t think so.

“Yes, ma’am, ‘tis.”

Sam wasn’t much for words, but his facial expressions said it all. He knew something she didn’t know, and his eyes bragged about it.

“You can’t tell me who’s sending these, right?”

Intriguing! You have me hooked. Where can readers learn more information about you?

Twitter: @sidneywfrost

Sid has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of his book Where Love Once Lived. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available internationally.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using

Author Interview and Giveaway: Washed Under the Waves by Gloria Clover

Welcome to the CBRB, Gloria! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I'm married with Springer Spaniel and make my home in western PA. I've been a reader all my life.  Three cheers to moms who read that bedtime story.   I like puzzles and word games and things that don't take coordination. I first published in 1997, but wasn't one of those writers where things just fell into place for me after the first hard sale.  In fact, there have been two times in my life when I completely laid down the dream of writing. After the last time, God impressed upon me that writing is my spiritual act of worship to Him.  (Writing, not publishing.)  So with that in mind, I take joy in the publishing opportunities that open for me, and try not to stress over the ones which do not.

I attend Emmanuel Christian Church where I work in Prayer Ministry, American Heritage Girls, Kids Day Camp, and various teaching, learning, and serving opportunities as they arise.  I am the director and registrar for a one day annual writing conference we hold here in western PA. I teach writing workshops.  I do some freelance editing.  I participate in two local writing critique groups and an online one.  I'm a member of ACFW and the Christian PEN.  Currently, I'm working with Desert Breeze Publishing to offer a futuristic romance series called Children of the King.  The first book in the series, Washed Under the Waves, came out last August, and the second, The Fire Starter, will be available this August.

When did you first discover that you loved writing?
I was twelve when I decided that I wanted to write novels for a living.  But like many authors, I have some of the stories that I wrote from the time I could print letters clear through to my first completed romance novel when I was nineteen.

I rediscover my love for writing every time a finish a rough draft. Finishing a novel, knowing it is good -- even if it still needs a few tweaks -- that's an amazing high.

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

Christian.  Romance.  Speculative. Contemporary.  I've even written one mystery.  But all have the centered premise of a love relationship.

Why, you ask.  Because something in my heart thrills to showing that God writes the best story for each one of us.  That when we see God working behind the scenes in a fictional character's life, it helps us to see Him working in our own lives too.  So I write to encourage people to seek God, to know He is good and able, and that we can trust Him even in the crisis, the dark moment, or the climax of our lives.

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

I haven't overcome it yet -- knowing the full will of God and writing out of the assurance that I am in His will.  I struggle with reconciling genre romance which seems to glorify man with the message of Christ's love.  I struggle with how much sensuality to include in my novels.  I sometimes wonder who God intends my audience to be, and if I should even be concerned about that.  I still have lots of obstacles to overcome.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

As I said earlier, writing has always been a part of my life.  Even when I wasn't actively writing, I was in the blue funk over not being able to write.  So quitting writing would probably change my life more than writing.

I will say that being a writer and getting involved in writing activities and projects as helped me to be able to speak in public.  I'm sure it helps me to express myself and to choose words that can convey my meaning more clearly than if I didn't write.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?

Bunches of scriptures are running through my mind: Nothing can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.  I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world.  My life verse: Pray for me also that whenever I open my mouth words would be given to me to make known the mysteries of Christ.

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

I've read a lot of great books.  I think one of the recent ones I've enjoyed the most is Jill Williamson's From Darkness Hid.  I just finished The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy.  Wow.  Slower than my normal story preference, but wow.  I love it when a book ties together in all its layers.

One that I read years ago that comes back to haunt me every so often is Tina Forkner's Ruby Among Us.  As I was reading that novel, I distinctly remember thinking, "There is nothing she (Tina) can come up with that is going to make this character's actions acceptable to me."  Then she did, and I realized once again what a sneaky devil we war against.  Books like that are cool.

Ohh! I've been wanting to read The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy.
What’s the funniest/quirkiest thing you’ve ever done?

I don't know that this really rates as funny or quirky, but it's a story I don't mind telling on myself.  Some years ago my sister gave me an M&M dispenser as a gift -- the kind that is filled with M&Ms and has a little slot that a person can open to get a few M&Ms at a time.  I like all flavors of M&Ms, but I prefer regular and peanut butter ones.  I kept the dispenser on my desk and nibbled as I wrote during the day.

Soon, I realized that I had to give up peanut butter M&Ms in the dispenser.  It wasn't an occasional nibble.  I was wolfing down M&Ms.  When I told my sister that I would have to put away the dispenser for a while or quit buying peanut butter M&Ms, she asked why.  I responded with this profound statement.  "Because I eat them like candy."

I actually chuckled at that story:) Please tell us about the featured book.
Buy At Amazon

Washed Under the Waves is the first in my Children of the King series from Desert Breeze Publishing.  The gist of the series is that it's set in the unknown future at a time when the King sends out his children to reclaim his lost lands.  The land that he is reclaiming is the Archepilgeo of Solomnus, a group of islands unknown to us at this current point in history.  Each story deals with a different island, a different romantic couple, and a different deception that keeps the people from seeking the King.

In Washed Under the Waves, Undae Island has been untouched by the outside world except for two times after the original settlers. So though the story is set in the future, Undae has a medieval, ancient feel.  Prince Geoffrey is the first of the King's children sent out.  An overachiever, Geoffrey wants desperately to succeed ... and he doesn't understand why the King has asked him to arrive disguised as a tutor rather than the prince he is.

Tayte, the ruler of Undae, is a wonderfully naive character whom I had a blast writing when it came to her relationship with her prince and her understanding of men in general.

The tag I've been using for this book is:

Tayte Bashan knows she's to wait for the prophesied prince, but what's a lady to do when she falls in love with the tutor sent to prepare her island for the prince's arrival?

The second in this series comes out in August, 2012 and it is called The Fire Starter.  Celosia Island is only a bit more modern than Undae because its rulers have worked hard to keep it separated from the "evil" technology of the outer world.  Prince Valryan Molan knows that he's been sent to marry the Princess of Celosia, so he agrees with her father and marries her by proxy when she doesn't show up for the wedding.  That really doesn't make for the best start in their love relationship.

Can you please give us the first page?

Here's the first page from the Fire Starter:

Amaryllis Filippopoulos lay in the hayloft hours after her father’s second squad of warriors had left the estate grounds empty-handed. She’d sleep here if necessary. They would not find her. They would not take her to this latest dastardly farce of a wedding. Always, she would outsmart them.

And she would never marry.

Her father knew she wouldn't. Why couldn't he accept it like the man he'd once been? Age seemed to steal from men what marriage stole from women.

Electra, her bodyguard and best friend, dropped into the hay at her left. "Rasmus waits in the ferns beneath your apartment. He must believe you are in the castle."

"Rasmus is a boulder at best. A twice dead cow otherwise."

Electra laughed softly. "I know -- dried in the udder and no longer breathing. Amy, you're cruel."

Amaryllis allowed the nickname only because of the rational explanation Electra had given her the first time she'd used it. "Princess Amaryllis Filippopoulos, if I must address you formally, the danger will have struck before I complete your name."

Why couldn't everyone be so rational?

"I'm disgusted Father's trying again so soon. Just three months ago he tried to marry me off to that dense mass he swore was a nobleman."

"Your father grows anxious. He knows his time is short."

"He could live for another twenty years." She ignored her friend's pitying look because they both knew her ninety-six-year-old father had aged drastically in the last five years. Then another thought struck her. "Burn it," she exclaimed. "Electra, if you are still here, who has he taken to stand in proxy for me this time?"

"As I refused to say the vows the two times I stood in for you, I would guess your father finally accepts my allegiance lies with you, even though he is high lord of Celosia." She rubbed away a piece of brown grass that poked into her chin. "Zoe, I would guess. He's taken Zoe."

Zoe, her best maid. The one who worked quickly and efficiently without sound. The one whose wage went to feeding her four younger brothers and sisters. Zoe would not have the courage to refuse saying the vows.

"It doesn't matter. The proxy vows will disintegrate quickly enough when the marriage isn't consummated."

From the corner of her eye, Electra sent her that shrewd, pitying look Amaryllis detested. "You hope," her friend murmured. "I've already warned you I am not prepared to kill a man just because he had the misfortune of agreeing to marry you."

 "I can elude a man." Of that, Amaryllis was confident.

Gloria has kindly offered to giveaway an eBook copy of her book
Washed Under the Waves. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. 
For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Tweet +1
~Post on Facebook +1
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Book Review: The Dublin Destiny by Jill Twigg

Buy At Amazon
"Can an introverted ugly duckling be God’s perfect match for the most eligible bachelor in town?

Running from imminent danger back home, shy, awkward Irishwoman Rylee Shannon flees to small town, USA, forced to live under the protection of unfamiliar family friends.

Prompted to protect her, the McLellans arrange the marriage of Rylee and their son, Patrick, one of Georgia’s most prominent and handsome doctors.
Willing yet hesitant, the two marry. But bound by her wallflower personality and unruly looks, she fails to make any connection with Patrick.
While Patrick is away on a long-term medical mission trip, crossing off days until the annulment, Rylee is determined to change—both inwardly and outwardly—to win the affections of her husband. Battling rumors and echoes of her past, she wins over Patrick’s family and friends with her amiable personality and perpetual state of embarrassment.
Patrick returns home to find his wife transformed into a beautiful, confident woman. When he realizes that God’s arrangement of the marriage was intentional and permanent, Patrick begins to see his wife in a different light.
But as their feelings develop, their relationship is continually derailed by Rylee’s unusual habits and stubborn pride. As Rylee’s good-natured presence begins to change the lives of the McLellans, they are also determined to conquer Rylee’s inhibitions and alter her eternity.
Patrick’s protection turns to affection, but Rylee’s past threatens to collide with her future. You won’t want to miss Patrick and Rylee McLellan fight to discover The Dublin Destiny in this captivating tale of secrets, romance, forgiveness, and divine love."
The Dublin Destiny was an enchanting story that I thoroughly enjoyed. First of all, Jill's writing was phenomenal. So smooth and unique. It's hard to describe. The best I can do is liken her writing to one of my favorite 1800's author: Isabella Alden (Grace Livingstone Hill's aunt).

Second, the story-line kept me turning the pages. It (the story-line) was different because it was a modern day marriage-of-convenience story- something usually seen in historicals. And Rylee's transformation from "Ugly Duckling" to "Beautiful Swan" was fun to watch. The scene where Patrick returns home (he was away on a mission trip during Rylee's transformation) and doesn't recognize her was especially enjoyable.

Third, Rylee's secret added an element of suspense that kept me on my toes. I was completely in the dark until Rylee revealed her secret to Patrick. The secret allowed me to understand Rylee more and to understand some of her behaviors better.

Fourth, I enjoyed that the book was completely Christ-centered. Jesus was at the center of almost all of the character's lives. Last but not least, I enjoyed the humorous moments in the book. I am almost certain that whenever I think of Lucy (Patrick's mother) I'll never forget to exclaim "My Stars!"

The Dublin Destiny was a lovely and memorable read. I give it 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Thanks to Wild Card Blog Tours for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, which I have given.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: Cowgirl Trail by Susan Page Davis

Welcome to the CBRB, Susan! It’s great to have you back! Can you please share a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been writing fiction since 1999, and my first book was published in 2004. Before that I worked for a newspaper. I’m a wife, a mother of six, grandmother of eight. I spent most of my life in Maine, but have also lived in New York, North Carolina, and Oregon. Now I live in western Kentucky.

What is your favorite book that you have written?
That’s mean to ask me to pick one. I like Cowgirl Trail a lot. I think that whatever I’m writing at the moment is usually my favorite, and right now that’s a mystery story with no title yet.

Is there a character from one of your books that you’re particularly fond of?

I really like Carlotta in Cowgirl Trail, and I’m thinking of writing her story in a new book. She’s a rancher’s daughter and very proud of her heritage, but she also has a big heart.

What was your journey to publication like and how long did you write before you were published?

I started trying to sell fiction in 1999. I sold several short stories in the 2001-2004 period (Woman’s World, Grit, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine…). In 2003, Heartsong Presents bought my western, Protecting Amy, and they published it in the fall of 2004. In the interval between selling and publishing, I gained an agent. Heartsong also published my second book. After that I started selling to other publishers as well as doing more Heartsongs. I now have about 40 published books. It hasn’t been easy, but I love it.

What people have inspired you on your writing journey?

My husband, my son Jim and daughters Amy and Megan; Jim and Tracie Peterson, who were my first editors at Heartsong; other authors and friends.

Are you currently working on anything new? If so, what is it?

Yes, I’m doing a couple of mystery books, and I hope to be writing another Texas book soon.

What are you currently reading?

Sixteen Brides, by Stephanie Whitson, and several nonfiction research books.

How has your relationship with Jesus affected/influenced your writing?

Buy At Amazon

Absolutely. Some of my books have a clear gospel message. In others it is a more subtle Christian worldview or attitude, but my faith is always there in my heart, so it does affect my presentation of the stories.

Please tell us about the featured book, Cowgirl Trail.

In 1884, Maggie Porter returns to the Rocking P Ranch. The sanatorium was not able to save her mother and now her father’s health is failing. When the cowboys walk off the job leaving no one to drive the cattle to market, ranch foreman Alex Bright cannot convince the men to stay. Maggie is desperate to save the ranch, and she turns to the town’s women for help. The new cowgirls must herd, rope, and drive the cattle to market. Unfortunately, some of the strikers resent their actions and want to liven up things on the cattle drive. Maggie can’t believe Alex, whom she always admired, would cause trouble for her family. Can she forgive him and accept his offer of help when trouble comes?

Can you please give us the first page?

“The princess wants to ride this morning. Saddle up her horse.” Jack Hubble, the ranch foreman, clapped Alex on the shoulder and walked past him into the barn.
    Alex shot a glance toward the house, but the boss’s daughter hadn’t come out yet. “Uh. . .which horse?”
    “Duchess, of course. Come on, I’ll show you her gear.” Jack strode into the tack room, and Alex hurried after him.
    “That’s the chestnut mare out back?”
    “That’s right. Here’s Miss Maggie’s saddle.” Jack laid a hand on the horn of a fancy stock saddle with tooled flowers and scrollwork on the skirts.
    “She doesn’t ride sidesaddle?”
    “Nah. Maggie’s been riding like a boy since she was a little kid. Her father lets her get away with it, so don’t say anything.”
    Alex nodded. His own sisters rode astride around the home place, and no one thought a thing about it. Why should he expect the boss’s thirteen-year-old daughter to behave differently? But he had. Maggie Porter was a pretty girl, blond and blue-eyed. She’d looked like a china doll on Sunday morning, wearing a pink dress with gloves and a white straw bonnet when the family set out for church in the buckboard.
    “Here’s Duchess’s bridle.” Jack placed it in his hand.
    “Just saddle the mare and take it out to her?” Alex asked.
    “Get your horse ready, too.”
    Alex stared at him. “Me? You mean I’m going with her?” He’d been hired at the Rocking P less than two weeks earlier. Now wasn’t the time to argue with his foreman, but it seemed a little strange.
    Jack laughed. “You’re low man around here. Oh, the fellas don’t mind, but it gets kind of boring. It’s an easy morning for you. And Maggie’s a good kid. Let her go wherever she wants on Rocking P land, but make sure she doesn’t do anything dangerous. Where’s your gun?”
    “In the bunkhouse.”
    “You’ll want it today, just in case.”
    “In case of what?” Alex’s first thought was Comanche, but the tribes were now confined to reservations—his parents had followed the saga of the Numinu with special interest.
    “You never know, do you?” Jack said. “Snakes, wild hogs, drifters.”
    “All right. How long does she ride?”
    “As long as she wants, but get her home by noon. Her mother gets fretful if she’s late for dinner.” Jack looked him up and down. “Oh, there’s one other thing.”
    “What’s that?”
    “Maggie’s young, but she’s starting to notice you boys. Don’t do anything to give her ideas.”
Intriguing! Please give me more:) Thank you for being here, Susan. Where can readers learn more information about you?

Visit my website at:

Susan has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of her book
Cowgirl Trail. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Tweet/Post on Facebook +2
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends on Wednesday May 23, 2012 at midnight (Eastern time). Winner will be chosen using

Book Review: Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

Buy At Amazon
"When big-city life threatens the safety of one of their children, Brad and Darlene Henderson move with their three teenagers from Houston to the tiny town of Round Top, Texas.

Adjusting to small-town life is difficult for the kids, especially fifteen-year-old Grace who is coping in a dangerous way.

Married life hasn't always been bliss, but their strong faith has carried Brad and Darlene through the difficult times. When Darlene takes a job outside the home for the first time in their marriage, the domestic tension rises.

While working with special needs children at her new job, the widowed father of one of the students starts paying more attention to Darlene than is appropriate. Problem is, she feels like someone is listening to her for the first time in a long time.

If Darlene ever needed God . . . it's now."

Need You Now is a beautiful yet somewhat heartbreaking story. Beth writes with such emotion! My heart was pained to see the turmoil Darlene and Grace were going through.

Beth created characters that I quickly grew attached to. Personally, it was rather hard to relate to them because of their circumstances, but I'm sure that many people can benefit from reading about their hardships. I especially enjoyed the character Layla. Her spiritual journey was satisfying and Beth threw an unanticipated twist to the story that left my heart heavy.

The plot galloped along at a steady pace. The storyline continually enticed me to read "just one more page." This story was slightly different than the ones I usually read in the sense that Darlene was already married and had a family- but I enjoyed the change greatly. I especially enjoyed seeing Brad and Darlene's marriage.

One thing in particular irritated me and that was Darlene and Brad's spiritual and parental life. They did not discipline their children at all and were not actively involved in their children's lives. So much so that in one scene Brad finds something questionable in Grace's room and she replies with "why were you in my room (not sure if I'm quoting exactly)?" I must say, however, that Darlene does seem to have a closer relationship with Jesus towards the end of the book. Also, some of the scenes with Grace were somewhat creepy.

Need You Now was an emotional roller-coaster and a page turner. Despite the "irritating" things mentioned above, I would still recommend this book for it is highly interesting and a wonderful change from the usual genres available in the Christian market. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. It can be bought at Amazon.

** Much thanks to the B&B Media for supplying a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Author Interview and Giveaway: A Wedding Transpires On Mackinac Island by Cara Putman

Welcome to the CBRB, Cara! Thank you for being here! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I live in Indiana with my husband and four children. I’m crazy defined as an attorney, teacher at my church and homeschool coop, and contract lecturer or adjunct faculty at a local community college and Big Ten University. I’ve loved reading and writing since I was a teen. In the way God works, that’s all been training for writing books. An honors graduate of the University of Nebraska and George Mason University School of Law, I love bringing history and romance to life. 

When did you first discover that you loved writing?

When I was about 14 and spent a lot of time writing short stories and trying my hand at novel writing. Then I started college at 16, married at 21, and went to law school while working full time. Writing took a back stage until 2005.

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

I love the WWII time period. To me writing books that highlights the history of that time is a way to honor a generation I greatly admire. I also love to write contemporary romantic mystery/suspense, because I love stories that keep me guessing as a reader.

I love WWII stories! What was your greatest obstacle in writing and how did you overcome it?

My greatest obstacle was finding time to write. By the time I started again in 2005, I was a mom of two young kids who worked four days a week at a law firm. Not a lot of extra time, but I quickly learned that consistent writing eventually creates a book.

Has writing changed your life in any way?

Not really…the way it’s changed it most is that I get to reach more people with the truth and ideas that God gives me. I am so grateful for that opportunity.

What Bible scripture has impacted your life the most?
Buy At Amazon

I love Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. He’s shown me that as I chase Him, He will change my heart so my desires become His. There’s no other place I’d rather be.

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

Probably one of the quirkiest things was to attend the Indianapolis FBI citizen’s academy. I loved every minute of learning more about how the FBI works.

Please tell us about the featured book.

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island.

Attorney Alanna Stone vowed long ago to avoid Mackinac Island. Although it may seem the perfect place to heal, for Alanna it holds too many memories of a painful past.

But an exhausting high profile case and an urgent plea from her parents have brought Alanna home. Moving into the house next to Jonathan Covington doesn’t help her. Jonathan may have been her first love, but he was also her first lesson in betrayal. Now Alanna must protect her privacy and her heart. Then Secrets and a murder intersect, and she’s thrust into controversy again as tragedy turns public opinion against her and potentially her family.

For years, Jonathan has stubbornly resisted the urging of his family and friends to date, believing he’s already found the perfect woman. With Alanna’s return, he begins to wonder if he’s waited too long for someone who isn’t the right one after all.

Can you please give us the first page?

Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Don’t do it.
The refrain beat a steady tempo through Alanna Stone’s mind as she dragged up the gangplank to the ferry where it rocked in the early morning light at the St. Ignace’s dock. She avoided gazing to her right in the direction of Mackinac Island. A place of beauty and peace to many, it symbolized all the harshness that could shimmer beneath the surface in a small town. She’d sworn never to return and honored that vow for eleven years.
Now? Now she abandoned her firmly held avoidance to help her parents. A wave rocked the boat, and she bobbled as she struggled to stay steady on more than her feet.
A man in the green polo that bore the Arnold Transport Company logo steadied her with a smile. “You’ll find your sea legs in no time.”
“Good thing, since the trip’s so short.”
He laughed and nodded. “About fifteen minutes.”
How could she tell him she wished it lasted fifteen months or years? That time would freeze, and she’d stay on this side of the lake?
Seagulls cawed as they took to the air and swooped around the boat.
Fifteen minutes. That’s all it took to start a new life.
Diesel fumes rolled around her as the ferry’s engines roared into gear. With a grinding stop and jerk, the boat eased away from the dock and powered across the lake. Alanna sucked in a deep breath then coughed as fumes settled in her lungs. She clenched her jaw and pivoted until she faced east as the boat pushed through the water toward the sun. She needed to face her new reality and the hidden embarrassment. All represented by one tiny spot on the map.
Mackinac Island.
In the morning light, it looked like a deep emerald emerging from the lake with the Victorian cottages and Grand Hotel popping out like embellishments against the forest backdrop.
The wind blew across Alanna’s face, misting it with a fine spray as it tangled her hair. The strands whipped around her neck, but she let the wind do its worst. Even then, it couldn’t reflect the chaos churning inside her. Tension tightened her body again. It had been her constant companion during the Menendez murder trial. The case had faded from the front page of the newspapers, and the reporters had finally abandoned their posts at her home and the office. Not the first time media had hounded her, but at least this time it involved a client rather than her brother. She’d thought she had shed the constant headache, but now it roared back to full strength in her temples.

Where can readers learn more information about you?

Readers can connect with me all over the internet…and I love to hear from fellow book lovers!

Thank you again for being here, Cara. I enjoyed interviewing you!

Cara has kindly offered to giveaway a print copy of A Wedding Transpires On Mackinac Island. Just leave a comment with your email address to be entered in the giveaway. Giveaway is available to the U.S. only.
For extra entries: 
~Be a follower +1 
~Add my button to your blog +1
 ~Post about this giveaway +2
~Tweet/Post on Facebook +2
(please leave a separate comment for each extra entry)

Giveaway ends at midnight (Eastern time) on Friday May 11, 2012. Winner will be chosen using