Saturday, May 30, 2015

Vines of Entanglement


Title:  Vines of Entanglement
Author:  Lisa Carter
Pages:  319
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
Jon Locklear has returned to his home stomping grounds after ten years in the Marines.  He now is a detective with the local police force, and his first case involves the former love of his life as the star witness.  He can’t believe his rotten timing as to be the lead investigator and have to deal with Laura Mabry.  Though he has never stopped loving her over the past ten years, he is sure he can’t trust her.  When she omits pertinent information on the case, though she has in her mind a good reason, the old issues of trust again plague their tenuous re-establishment of a relationship.  Jon bends his knees to the Lord he found while serving his country and begs for answers.
Laura Mabry can’t believe Jon Locklear is back in town!  He broke her heart ten years ago then left to join the Marines without a backward look.  She now has a secret she can’t let him discover or her world will be turned upside down.  She has been a widow for 1-1/2 years after the death of her husband in a car accident.  As she is the person who found the body of her assistant and was then attacked, she feels she owes it to her assistant to find justice for her.  Another body is found and Laura and her son become targets of a killer.  Laura soon learns after more interaction with Jon how wrong she was in keeping her secret from him.  Can he ever forgive her?  Can the God her aunt and mother told her about ever forgive a liar like her?  Can He protect her and her son?
In this suspenseful mystery, readers can see the hurt and angst that lies can cost.  The lies Laura has told in the past were devastating to the man she loves, and the lies told to her put her in a mood of despair and depression for ten years.  Her only bright spot was the love for her son.  Readers also can see how God can use any situation, even one that appears to be the complete opposite of what would seem a good thing, for the good of His followers.  I absolutely loved the character of Aunt Velma!  She was a riot as well as a dependable, loving woman of God who shared her mistakes and how God used them to make her better.
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Where Secrets SLeep



Title:  Where Secrets Sleep
Author:  Marta Perry
Website:  http://www.martaperry.com/
Pages:  384
Year:  2015
Publisher:  HQN
My Rating:  5+ stars
Browsing through a new books list on a website sometimes tends to draw me to a book that I might not have otherwise read.  Though Marta Perry is an established author, for me her works are new.  When I saw the title and description of this recent publication, I knew without a doubt I had to read and review it because the synopsis of the tale captured my imagination.
A young woman learns of an inheritance from a grandmother she never met, so she travels to a little town and meets with the grandmother’s lawyer.  What she thought would be a quick matter to take care of actually becomes a more complex reality that calls for Allison to make a decision.  As Allison sets out to learn what she can of this grandmother and the inherited property, unknowingly she becomes entangled in a web of mystery, becoming the center of someone’s sinister intent.
While Allison is learning about the people, businesses and town, she has to deal with issues of the heart from her past.  Nick is one of the business owners who ends up not only interested in learning Allison’s final decision about the property, but begins to form an emotional bond with her that he fights against.
The intrigue and mystery are especially spellbinding.  As the characters begin to understand Allison, the person who is out to hurt her really drew me in further.  The variety of people who inhabit the town makes figuring out who has the most to gain by Allison leaving is difficult as more people become suspects than those who can be considered safe.
When a murder occurs on the property, Allison becomes more determined to inherit the property according to the terms of the will.  The interaction between some of the characters is refreshing to imagine along with romance in the wind in a small town where everyone knows what is happening.  With the addition of the author revealing some of the pasts of her characters, it makes the plot thicken, drawing the audience into the book.  For me, this was a very enjoyable, entertaining and captivating novel which I am glad I read.  I plan on reading more of the author’s suspense with romance set in Amish towns.  Join me in entering the mysterious world where things aren’t always what they seem!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
 Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, May 29, 2015

As Waters Gone By written Cynthia Ruchti


Title:  As Waters Gone By
Author:  Cynthia Ruchti
Website: http://www.cynthiaruchti.com/
Pages:  304
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Abingdon Press
My rating is 5 stars out of 5!
What words can I use to describe a work of fiction filled with compelling characters and unexpected themes?  I read through the novel becoming emotionally involved in the scenes placed on the page which doesn’t happen all too often for me when opening a work of fiction.  However, As Waters Go By is definitely an exception!
The one thread that continued to weave throughout each part of the novel is Hope.  Not a flyby night kind of a feeling and definitely not based on the situations involved in the plot.  I reminisce what a masterpiece Cynthia has crafted to together as how various parts of the characters lives come together to speak so powerfully of what only God can be or do.  One mother a drug addict, a father incarcerated, an island in Wisconsin and an Inn owner/operator who is eccentric to the extreme words of wisdom flowing from her heart.
Characters in the novel reflect to readers how grace is a real, powerful and living gift from God.  Sometimes the conflict within the plot came from the internal tumbling of feelings and thoughts that some of the female leads experienced.  How delightfully wonderful that they took their pain and allowed God to teach them truths about themselves and then comfort others they meet.
Emmalyn Ross is the one of the female characters who is tossed about by the repercussions of her husband’s decisions.   Her journey to freedom from bondage, hurt to joy, hopelessness to hope, and short-sightedness to a broader view is deeply touching.  When she moves to an island refurbishing a cabin without knowledge of what the future held and only knowing she wanted a sanctuary is something most of us can relate too.  Wait to you read what else Emmalyn and others on that small island experience together!
Words sometimes fail to express the deeper feelings or stirrings I feel in my soul at times, like now.  All I can hope for is that you open the book and lose yourself in As Waters Gone By even if just to see what might stir within your own heart.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Long Fall (Hawk & Dove Series #3)by Penelope Wilcock

Title:  The Long Fall (The Hawk and the Dove #3)
Author:  Penelope Wilcock
Pages:  224
Year:  1993
Publisher:  Lion Fiction
This third book in the series follows the deepening friendship between Brother Tom and Father Peregrine as they continue their service in the monastic life to God under the St. Benedictine creed.  Even though the brothers are not to have friendships with particular brothers, this special friendship does develop.   Father Peregrine is under some stress as money is short and the list of repairs to their farm, which feeds them and provides revenue, is long.  Shortly thereafter, Father Peregrine suffers more physical tragedy, resulting in further disability on top of the injuries he sustained in book one of the series, The Hawk and the Dove.
Now, the fiercely independent and sometimes prideful Father Peregrine must depend on someone else for all his needs.  Brother Tom has trouble reconciling the man Father Peregrine has become to the man he once was and refused to visit Peregrine.  This hurts Father Peregrine tremendously as he has come to value and depend upon Brother Tom’s friendship.  Brother Tom in finally convinced to visit Father Peregrine and slowly their friendship re-establishes itself.  There are deep conversations about life and God between the two.
Negatives:  I missed the element that was present in the first two novels of the more contemporary characters of Melissa and her mother sharing these stories.  I also don’t agree with how Father Peregrine extracts a promise from Brother Tom to help him end his life when the time comes.
Positives:  I liked the touch of humor here and there sprinkled throughout the story.  I really was touched by the relationship between Brother Tom and Father Peregrine of spiritual mentor to mentee, the almost father to son aspect, as well as being able to share their deepest humiliations and struggles, making themselves extremely vulnerable while maintaining their respect and friendship for one another.
My rating is 4 stars out of 5.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Water from My Heart by Charles Nartin


Title:  Water from My Heart
Author:  Charles Martin
Website:  http://charlesmartinbooks.com/
Pages:  368
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Center Street
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5.
Charles Martin is a very gifted storyteller of the upper most class.  Before this new novel of his, I read another of his books titled, A Life Intercepted, which I really enjoyed.  Each book I have read has included an author’s note that shares his heart or reason for writing the book we readers hold in our hands.  Water from My Heart is no different in that aspect, except as I finished I was struck with how much this novel was so like a parable that it stole my breath away.
When I started the book, I wasn’t really being grabbed by the storyline, and I kept wondering where the author was going with the story.  Then, I discovered a tale told in first person by a man named Charlie Finn who for a long time in his life did many things without being aware of the consequences to others such as delivering drugs or not being open and honest with his girlfriend.  Charlie Finn loved the thrill of the hunt, the danger of out maneuvering his opponents and the adrenaline rush when danger was close on his heels.
Now, decades later, Charlie is face-to-face with the ramifications of his decisions and actions that rippled out and caused deep pain in many lives.  Charlie feels like he is dirty from head-to-toe and nothing he can do will ever help him cleanse the dirt or the wall of indifference from his heart.  How wrong he turned out to be.
At the end of the book, the author shares where the birth of the storyline came from.  It will touch you deeply as it did him if you allow your heart to be open.  Challenges to living a life indifferent to the pain, suffering and destruction in the world was recently brought to the forefront to Charles Martin’s life. Water from My Heart is not a novel I will soon forget or the call to no longer live separate from others.  While Charles Martin’s life is now moved in a new direction, impacting his family and others, I wonder how it will affect anyone willing to sit and read the book.
Take time to read and share with someone this amazing story that will show you how big God is, that He still works miracles and He is waiting for you to come as you are.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wounds of God (Hawk & Dove Series #2) by Penelope Wilcock


Title:  The Wounds of God (The Hawk and the Dove #2)
Author:  Penelope Wilcock
Pages:  187
Year:  1991
Publisher:  Lion Fiction
The second book in The Hawk and the Dove series also has the daughter, Melissa, asking her mother to tell her stories that have been handed down from generation to generation by the females in her family.  These stories center on a monastery in the early 1300s, featuring Abbot or Father Peregrine and the brothers who served with him in the monastery.  Young Melissa, who is now sixteen years old, is gaining much advice, knowledge and insight into how to live for God through these stories.
In this series of tales, we learn more about Father Peregrine and his ability or lack thereof to handle his disability and the reliance it causes him to have on others for help.  We see others reactions to his disability and a protective bond that has formed between Peregrine and his fellow brothers at the monastery.  The love Peregrine feels for his brothers he expresses in ways of humility, discipline, and putting them in a situation where they are forced to come to terms with their fear in order to allow them to completely surrender to God.
Just as in book one in the series, this second book is filled with spiritual examples with practical applications to put to use in situations and relationships.  Again, I couldn’t put the book down as I was, just like Melissa in the book, so drawn to see what Father Peregrine and his fellow brothers in the monastery were up to next.  I seemed to be always begging for another story just like her.  My heart was tugged at some of the ways Father Peregrine showed certain brothers the love of Christ by putting himself in a difficult or humiliating situations.  Readers will see Father Peregrine struggle with his pride, but remember Jesus’ sacrifice and wounds on the cross and then surrender himself to God.  I am so grateful to have come across this series that has so much to teach readers about how to live life with a God focus.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hillsong United Newest CD "Empires"



Title:  Empires CD
Author:  Hillsong United
Twitter:  @HillsongUnited

Instagram:  @HillsongUnited

Year:  2015
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5.
Music is a very powerful medium that can translate the soul of a person in any number of directions.  Prayer is also a powerful and perhaps under used weapon in a Christian’s arsenal for spiritual warfare that occurs whether we “see” it or not.  Recently I watched a video of Hillsong as they performed on a morning show with one of the songs on their newest album, which is titled “United”.
Lyrics that speak truth and that resonate with a listener’s hearts with the truth can be easily remembered by the musical score.  Together, both lyrics and musical notes aid, encourage, remind, and more that as believers we need to look up, surrender or act upon the Spirits nudging.  What resonates within your soul?  What strikes your heart, causing you to move beyond the moment?
The album “United” is rich beyond my mere attempt to share with you.  I can testify that one song in particular moves me deeply and is a mixture of rejoicing along with petition.  No one lives a life without hurt, disappointment, discouragement or a soul that yearns for a touch in a place within that only God alone can reach.  The song I have listened to most repeatedly is called, “Touch the Sky”.  Go ahead and Google the lyrics.  What beckons you to listen to the musical score that enriches the lyrics?
Allow yourself to close your eyes, recline, lift up your arms and lose yourself in a moment of worship and adoration to the King of Kings, the Lover of your heart.  Listen to songs and be transported to a place of sole focus on God and God alone without distraction.  Look out of yourself and up, not down at others.
I can turn off the CD and the music still plays within my soul at the same time the lyrics are going through my head.  One phrase that sticks out of my favorite song on the album is a petition that asks God to “come sweep up in Your love again”.  Man, is that powerful or what?  I want more of Him, and being a finite creature I want the Infinite God to come and sweep me up in His love that is so different than anything I can ever know here on earth.
So join me and others in listening to the album “United” and share with others your favorite song.  Let the testimony as to why it’s your favorite encourage someone else.  There may just be a person you share this CD with who is struggling or something else and hears what these lyrics say and walk away with a heart restored.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

The Hawk & The Dove by Penelope Wilcock

Title:  The Hawk and the Dove (The Hawk and the Dove #1)
Author:  Penelope Wilcock
Pages:  174
Year:  1990
Publisher:  Lion Hudson
Melissa loves a good story and one day begs her mother to tell her one.  Soon one becomes several and the stories that follow create teachable moments between a mother and her daughter.  These stories are set in the early 1300s in a monastery in England.  The main character is Father Columba or Father Peregrine as he is known by his monks behind his back.  He arrives at the monastery to take the lead role as Abbot after the former Abbot dies a natural death of old age.  When he arrives he is 45 years old, tough, demanding, but fair.  He earns the respect of his monks, but not their affections.  He holds himself away from much personal interaction.  He appears somewhat aloof and standoffish.
After a while, tragedy strikes Father Peregrine and he is forced to become more dependent on and vulnerable to his fellow monks.  This vulnerability and humility endears him to his monks and they grow to love him.  His thorn to bear creates in him a new awareness of how he should treat others as Christ would treat them.  He gives so much more of his heart now.
I absolutely loved the premise of the stories of Father Peregrine being handed down from generation to generation.  This generation of telling begins with a mother passing the tales along to her young teenage daughter.  The tales impart a wealth of spiritual truths as well as wisdom in dealing with human foibles, idiosyncrasies and sins against others.  I was captivated by the tales of humility, complete reliance on God and reading about those who longed to be like Christ no matter the cost to themselves.  I’ll be reading the second book in the series next and can’t wait to get started!
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Monday, May 25, 2015

Lori Benton's latest historical novel: The Woods Edge


Title:  The Wood’s Edge (The Pathfinders #1)
Author:  Lori Benton
Pages:  400
Year:  2015
Publisher:  WaterBrook
This story takes a look at our nation beginning in the 1757 and continuing to the moment when the Revolutionary War begins.  It blends a great deal of historical research with a fictional story of one soldier and the decision he made that changed two families’ lives forever.
Reginald Aubrey is fighting for his life and that of his wife as the French and Indians invade the British fort where he has been serving.  A truce was declared, but the Indians are uncontrollable and begin killing and looting.  Reginald has just checked on his wife, who has just given birth to their first son as the fort comes under attack.  He finds her asleep with their son, but makes a grim discovery.  He then is faced with a choice, one that is made rashly with consequences that will be felt for years to come.
Good Voice is a young white woman who was taken captive by the Indians as a toddler.  She has no memory of her life before becoming one of the People.  She is married to a fierce warrior named Stone Thrower.  During the battle for the fort, she is separated from her husband and taken captive to the fort by the British.  She escapes after several hours, but on the way back to her husband makes a devastating discovery that will haunt her.
It took a bit for me to really get into the story, but once I did, I was hooked until the end!  The time period is one I find interesting, so that made the story more enjoyable for me.  The journey of the Native American family to find true peace with the only One who can give it was stunning.  Their whole-hearted faith in the face of struggles was humbling to me.  There wasn’t a character I didn’t like; they all were ones I could relate to as far as emotions are concerned.  I eagerly kept reading because I cared how the characters’ stories progressed.  I can’t wait for the second book in the series titled, A Flight of Arrows to be released in 2016.
My rating is 5 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Tested by Fire by Pat Patterson


Title:  Tested by Fire
Author:  Pat Patterson                                                                                                                                                  
Pages:  480
Year:  2012
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5.
What an incredibly suspense-filled story full of action, danger and choices that have both here and now consequences along with eternal!  The characters are a mixture of those refusing Christ, coming to the end of themselves before seeing their need for Christ and others taking the gospel message into dangerous territory.
The action shows the battle that takes place here on earth to save lives and those who take them without any thought afterwards.  Then, the broader picture shows readers the battle that wages over the soul of every human being.  Paramedics Jim and Sid were partners until Sid was killed by a gang member which ignites the war within Jim.  Jim was already struggling with alcohol before coming on duty and any moment he had free.
Though the turf war includes land, drugs and getting others involved, it also involves the internal struggle within each character as to their personal beliefs.  When the one gang’s leader decides to up the ante and go after Jim personally, this begins to heighten the danger to Jim’s life.  I became glued to the story quickly, losing myself in the emotional grip that some of the characters displayed.  Plus seeing how the characters wanted to really know what God wanted them to do or how to act in various situations made the story quite realistic.
I don’t know if the author is even writing anymore as I couldn’t find an updated website or a newer book by Pat Patterson.  I think I can say it would be a shame if he never published another work of fiction such as Tested by Fire as his having worked as a paramedic and his working knowledge showed up brightly in the tale.
Please take time to read Tested by Fire as it is so enthralling and share it with someone you know who also likes these suspenseful pieces of fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Covered Deep


Title:  The Covered Deep
Author:  Brandy Vallance
Pages:  403
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Worthy Publishing
She must win the contest.  Bianca Marshal has entered a writing contest with the winner receiving an all-expense paid trip to the Holy Land.  Bianca now lives in rural Ohio and the year is 1877.  She is 25 years old and her mother is hounding her to marry anyone, but make it soon!  Bianca is holding out for a love match, but in her small town her choices are limited.  She just knows that if she can win this contest, God is going to lead her to meet her future husband somewhere along the way.  She does win the contest along with three others.  She travels to England to meet her host.  She also meets the three winners.  She meets one man in particular who immediately garners her attention and affection.  As the trip progresses, she falls more and more in love with Paul.  He appears to be the perfect man for her and Paul feels the same for Bianca.  However, Paul has a devastating secret that he is keeping from Bianca.  It is something that happened over two years ago before he became a Christian.  He hopes Bianca will never find out, but their host for the trip is constantly saying or doing something that aggravates Paul so he contemplates leaving the tour.  What would Bianca think of him if she were to ever learn his secret?
This story plumbs the depths of forgiveness and presses the limits of faith.  Can Bianca’s proclaimed faith stand up against deception and cruelty?  Can she truly forgive as she has said she would?  It has a very interesting premise that partially remains hidden for most of the story.  The host of the trip is a very desperate, lonely and manipulative man.  He has done many criminal acts, but this time he has put himself in the position of observing how the four contest winners interact with each other.  They each share a connection, but how?  You’ll have to pick up a copy of the book to find out, but I’ll tell you it is very intriguing how the author has assembled the cast of characters and how the plot plays out.
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Friday, May 22, 2015

In Firefly Valley


Title:  In Firefly Valley (Texas Crossroads Book #2)
Author:  Amanda Cabot
Website:  https://www.sff.net/people/amanda.cabot/
Pages:  368
Year:  2105
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 4 stars out of 5.
When I started reading In Firefly Valley, I wasn’t sure whether I liked it or not.  At first, it seemed to be uneventful with a lack of adventure or excitement.  I pressed through till the end and I am glad I did as the plot began to thicken along with some adventure and suspense.  While romantic novels aren’t usually my first choice, every now and again I look into one to discover what is behind the cover.
Amanda Cabot’s series allows readers to peek inside the heart and lives of the fictional characters and town in the Texas Crossroads series.  When I started book two, I hadn’t read the first book in the series, which at times would handicap a reader’s appreciation for the story.  However, this book was an exception.  Amanda includes enough information about the prior events in the characters’ lives to help readers move along to the current setting.
Much of what the story brings is how forgiveness and moving forward takes time.  Another theme is focusing on how to help others and the fact that it takes more than one to accomplish the follow through of taking a dream and making it a reality.  I think too it shows clearly that money isn’t the answer to what our hearts desire, but really what we do want is a close walk with the Lord.  I also liked the one character who remained faithful to her husband even when he left her years prior as we as her continual prayer for him.
The novel is one that is good for a couple afternoons or evenings to serve as a relaxing escape.  It points to the Lord consistently as the One we really need above anyone.   I think the challenge some may face is looking at their relationships or marriage and comparing it with this or any work of fiction.  If any reader sees a character quality or a reflection in the book or what they desire to be their reality, pray and leave it with the Lord.
Like the book reflects in a fictional way, we all have a part or job to carry that God has for us.  It is what brings Him glory and us ultimate fulfillment.  Thanks to Amanda Cabot readers can put their feet up and enjoy a Christian work of fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus

Title:  Shadow of the Mountain (Exodus Book #1)
Author:  Cliff Graham
Website:  http://cliffgraham.com/
Pages:  304
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5
Simply put the novel was thrilling, exhilarating and tantalizing!  Sometimes when reading a work of fiction based on a person referenced in the Bible the story comes up short of any semblance of reality.  Here though readers must dig in their heels and travel back to a time when a man named Caleb lived and fought for Yahweh.
There is very little known about Caleb in the Bible, so the author’s book is purely fictionalized as far as how Caleb lived his life before the Exodus.  However, the ancient ways and living conditions come through as they should be very realistic, not masking over the brutality that was part of daily life and death in the ancient world.
The one lesson or should I say challenge I came away with is to think less of retirement, awaiting death and more of being an active participant in God’s plan.  In the story, Caleb is being sought by his nephew to share his stories even though most of them are included in the sacred writings.  Nothing though replaces hearing and reliving history through the voice of the loved one listened to.  Here too we are challenged again to take time to hear the stories from the past of tragedy, sorrow, triumph and joy.  These stories all had the single purpose of hearing how the Lord worked, changed people and turned something meant to be evil into good for His glory.
I sure hope many take time to read a fresh approach to sharing fictional tales.  I couldn’t help but become engrossed in Caleb’s fictional life, envisioning him telling the next generation of what he lived through.  I truly look forward to the next installment in this series.  Though I am not sure who the main character will be, I truly believe it will again capture my imagination!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible

Title:  How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible
Author:  Keith Ferrin
Website:  http://keithferrin.com/
Pages:  160
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Bethany
My rating is 4 stars out of 5
As I sat down one night to read this nonfiction book, I wondered what I was going to encounter because I needed some encouragement.  Well, in some of the book I felt encouraged and in other areas challenged, which is also something that helps me grow in Christ.  Some of what the author shared via his 10 tips I was actually already doing, but my journey to learning the tips was different.
There are a total of 10 tips and then something I didn’t expect…an accompanying Bible study after each chapter to help guide readers in going deeper.  In other words, the book is not just reading the 10 tips but includes helpful questions to spur thinking as to how each of us can put whatever God highlights for us into practice.
I thought the author made an excellent point of how we as Christians tend to not discuss or look forward to reading the Word, but spend a lot of time avoiding it or complaining about reading the Book.  His reasons for why we tend to do that I thought were something most people can identify with along with the fact the author owns his own failings to read consistently.  I think when we come to a place where we are ready to change books like this one help us learn some ways we never thought of or forgot.
One thought the author mentions was how to laugh or have fun with God, not in an unholy way but like we do with our human relationships.  This was a new concept to me and I am not sure I am able to exactly do that not because I don’t laugh but due to more of deep joy I receive when I sense He has spoken to me via His Word.  I think of my relationship with God as being on a different plane than my human relationships, though I can see why he uses this analogy in the book.
So, for me, like most books I glean what I sense God wants me to know at the moment I am reading or meditating on what I learned as I read.  That which doesn’t apply now or maybe never I just let go of and take each day as God gives.  I hope you read discerningly and with an open heart too!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Donn Taylor's Novel: Rhapsody in Red


Title:  Rhapsody in Red (A Preston Barclay Mystery #1)
Author:  Donn Taylor
Pages:  364
Year:  2008
Publisher:  Moody Publishers
Professor Preston Barclay teaches history at a small Midwestern university.  His friends call him Press, but he has few of those.  Most faculty shun him as he is not afraid to say what he thinks and stand up for what he feels is right.  He is a widower in his mid-fifties with a college age daughter.  His wife died about three years ago and he has stopped going to church due to his overwhelming grief, which he still experiences sometimes more deeply than others.  He hasn’t lost his faith, but he isn’t practicing it either.  He becomes involved in a murder investigation when a fellow colleague, Mara Thorn, asks for his help confronting another teacher.  They go to confront this teacher and find her murdered.
Press and Mara soon find themselves among the suspects and begin their own investigation to find the murderer.  The captain in charge of the investigation is someone from Preston’s past and has a personal score to settle with Press, so he finds any and every excuse to keep Press as the prime suspect.  As Press and Mara continue to ask questions, more and more threats are made against them.  Then, they are on the run for their very lives.  Mara is in her mid-thirties with an aversion to being touched and is very much in control of herself.  She was raised in a very strict religious environment that claimed to be Christian, but in truth didn’t practice what the Bible says, which in turn has soured her on Christianity.  She says she is now a Wiccan, but will these beliefs sustain her when she is on the run? 
This is an excellent mystery filled with witty dialogue, sarcastic wit; some laugh out loud moments for readers as well as some really awful puns!  I loved it and hope there are many more Professor Barclay novels that come from the mind and pen of Donn Taylor.  I liked seeing the coming out of the fog of grief to return to an active faith-based life, his fight against political correctness when that violates his religious freedoms and the different songs that play through his mind at various times.  I am a big mystery fan and am so excited I’ve found a new author with a great talent for this genre.  This one is definitely a book readers will want to buy for their collection.  Great job Donn!!
My rating is 5 stars out of 5.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Stranger's Secret


Title:  A Stranger’s Secret (Cliffs of Cornwall #2)
Author:  Laurie Alice Eakes
Pages:  327
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Zondervan
David Chastain arrives in Cornwall in a most unconventional fashion…as the sole survivor of a ship wreck.  He is nursed back to health by Morwenna Penvenan.  David had set out from his home where he works as a boat builder to find out more information about his father’s sudden death a month ago after his father left secretly with all the money the family had been saving.  His father died in a place where he was not supposed to be and if David can’t find the answers he seeks, the family boat building business could very well go under.  Did his beautiful rescuer have anything to do with his father’s death?
Morwenna Penvenan is a young widow with a small child, trying to hold on to his inheritance, but is losing the battle.  She has little money, no means to earn any and a surfeit of pride that refuses to allow her to ask her grandparents for help.  She is the target of a local group of ship wreckers and most believe she is part of the group due to her rebellious actions of the past.  However, since her marriage more than two years ago, Morwenna has tried her best to live as a Christian.  She discovers David’s battered body on the beach and takes care of him.  While he heals, she wonders what he remembers of the ship wreck and if he can tell her anything that might lead to their capture.  She is desperately trying to get investors to invest their money in the flooded tin and copper mines on her land so she can make some money to provide for her son and his future.  Does David really remember nothing about the ship wreck as he claims?
This story has a good mystery, but doesn’t move too fast.  There isn’t a lot of action until the couple of chapters with most of the story focused on the developing relationship between David and Morwenna.  I liked the setting and Morwenna’s dedication to her son.  David also was a good example of a man trying to live by the Christian principles taught to him by his parents.  I could certainly relate to Morwenna’s pride and stubborn streak!  I also liked reading about her struggles to live a new life as a Christian amidst a whole village that knew about her past; it made her character so much more realistic.
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review of "Lake Surrender"



Title:  Lake Surrender
Author:  Carol Grace Stratton
Website:  http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Stratton/e/B007N7NZ1O/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0
Pages:  280
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
My rating is 5+ stars out of 5
In the story, we are introduced to a woman who is losing her job, has two children with one being autistic and a looming divorce.  The woman’s name is Ally and on top of all these changes, she must move as she is unable to keep her home with her diminishing income.  A single aunt invites Ally to come to Michigan until she can figure out where life is going.
As I read this fictional story, I could easily imagine the stress of being a single parent on top of having a special needs child.  Ally’s daughter, Kylie, loves her brother and feels the responsibility to help with him, losing out on some of her own activities at the young age of 12.  I found it interesting that the family had no spiritual life whatsoever and didn’t at first even feel the need for God.  Only when they all come to certain points in their journey through the maze of job searching, starting over, finding a place to settle and more were their hearts open to even hear about Jesus.  I thought this is pretty much reflected in the lives we witness in our sphere of doing life.
The further I read, the more the tale developed and a mystery began to emerge around the camp grounds in Michigan where Ally resided.  The straight forward manner in which Ally speaks to others brings some high praise from people and conflict with others.  When the camp in Michigan needs a cook, Ally takes the job without any former experience.  It was intriguing how her character handled the inner thoughts and feelings about her new level of employment.
Towards the end the climax rises as Ally must decide if she is going to live out her faith or instead hold on to unforgiveness in her heart.  Sometimes in real life children have a way to help us choose what is right whether by challenging questions they ask or an action they take.  The theme of selfless service, forgiveness and owning one’s own shortcomings is enlightening and rarely seen in some novels I have read.  The book was enjoyable to sit and read and at times caused me to reflect on growing up with one of my siblings who is a special needs person.  God used my sister to touch my heart and life in a way no other person can and that too is a truth reflected in the tale.  Thanks Carol for writing a heart-gripping novel with compassion and care in showing how families may or may not stay together when raising a person who has special care needed their whole lives.  Also for showing us that we cannot do anything without leaning completely on our Lord!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Under a Desert Sky


Title:  Under a Desert Sky
Author:  DiAnn Mills
Pages:  316
Year:  316
Publisher:  Summerside Press
Tahoma Benally is a Native American of the Navajo tribe.  He has recently returned to his Navajo community to practice as a doctor after spending ten years in Chicago training for this career.  While in Chicago, he discovered God and Christianity.  He has yet to tell his parents or community of his beliefs for fear they will shun him or that he will embarrass his parents.  He soon meets the new guest at Ghost Ranch, Eva Fortier and becomes instantly smitten, but what can he offer a wealthy, white woman?  He tries to keep his distance emotionally, but with his carrying out of his father’s vow to Eva’s father he is constantly near her, weakening his resolve.
Eva Fortier is sent to Ghost Ranch to hide from the people who killed her grandfather.  She has been raised as a rich socialite with all the finest things money can buy.  On the ranch, she learns a new way of life that she never thought she would embrace, but she does.  She meets Tahoma and falls head over heels in love, but does he return her feelings?  She has a job for the first time, which she loves.  She is a gifted teacher and longs to someday teach others.  She also finds God at Ghost Ranch amidst her emotional turmoil and the constant threat of death dogging her heels.
This is a heartwarming romance set in the mid-1930s that covers betrayal, deception, murder, newfound faith, prejudice, love, and many other themes.  The two main characters of the story show our human frailties while seeking spiritual solutions, maybe not first off just like we do sometimes they turn to others first.  They realize that only God has complete control over every situation in our lives.  The transformation of Eva was a wonder to behold.  I look forward to reading more novels by this talented author.
My rating is 4 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Saturday, May 16, 2015

As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters #3)


Title:  As Love Blooms (The Gregory Sisters Book #3)
Author:  Lorna Seilstad
Website:  http://www.lornaseilstad.com/
Pages:  320         
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Revell
My rating is 5 stars out of 5
Loran Seilstad is a new author to me and reading this novel was an introduction into her writing style and her love of telling a story.  The series revolves around three sisters who, after losing their parents, make a promise to always support each other’s dreams.  The novels in the series order are When Love Calls, followed by book two, While Love Stirs, and ending with As Love Blooms.
I read a lot!  Just ask my family anytime of the day what I am doing and more than likely they let you know I have my nose in a book…again.  In As Love Blooms, women are marching for the suffrage movement and finding a balance between running a home, having a family and taking care of a home.  The youngest sister, Tessa, is fun-loving, thrill-seeking, and a living life on the edge kind of gal who wants her sisters to see her as a grown woman no longer a little girl.
Reese is a man who can tend a garden much like his father, but lacks the ability to bring creativity to his planning of fauna and shrubs.  When Reese meets Tessa, it seems together they bring something the other lacks in horticulture along with a possible friendship.  Throughout the book I so enjoyed seeing how close the sisters’ love for each other brought both tears and gladness when tied to the life experience of the others.
If you haven’t read the other two novels before reading this one you would still enjoy it as much as I did, although I do plan on reading the other prior books now.  There are many themes in the book such as faith, decisions, and supporting family, praying and going through life trusting above all the Lord.  When one night Tessa turns up missing, the whole family pulls together including Reese to piece together the clues to her possible location.  Another trying time for Tessa is learning the hard way that no true friend would ask another to do an action considered unethical.
Tessa is a character I can relate to in many ways like her love of learning something new or doing something just because it was wrong, dangerous or unladylike.  However, Tessa does it anyway.  I love that indomitable spirit that seeks to soar, learn and enjoy life!
So grab a copy or perhaps during the summer join a book club that is reading the book or series.  You will enjoy the story of the Gregory sisters.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Maggie Bright


Title:  Maggie Bright (A Novel of Dunkirk)
Author:  Tracy Groot
Website:  http://www.tracygroot.com/
Pages:  368
Year:  2015
Publisher:  Tyndale
My rating is 5 stars out of 5
Tracy Groot’s novel is a deeply compelling work of fiction based on the historical record of the approaching Nazi troops at Dunkirk.  Yet, there is deeper story of the faith, humility and bravery shown by the civilians during a time when England faced her greatest challenges.  When youngsters hear about events, there is a certain amount of innocence still left as children often look at brighter moments in their world.  Now, as people age, those events take on a deeper meaning and spur us on to action doing whatever it takes to save our nation.  In Maggie Bright we see what the citizens of Britain did when facing demise some at the highest cost of their lives.  Yet, they continued on fighting to protect life, country and preserving it for those who are yet to be born.
Knowing Tracy’s penchant for detail and thorough research, I was drawn immediately to her novel based on events at Dunkirk.  Each step of the way contains quotes from various sources left behind for the next generation.  The tale told is a heart-gripping one where characters seem alive and my imagination allowed med to see the action through their eyes.  After I read the Author’s Note, I was simply silenced to think of the cost paid when they were engaged in WWII.
Novels like this should stir our hearts and call us to action in defense of the nation we live in as that mantle was passed to us by our forefathers.  Men went to war not because they enjoyed the job they did, but because their hope was that the next generation would have a better life and America would shine brightly!
So read this novel to understand what happened at a point in history that called for a nation to pray, and then to act as He would lead.  Above all, at the end of the novel, one spritely lady reminds us over and over again that our enemy is not flesh and blood but spiritual.  We must fight on both fronts spiritually and physically with faith as well as courage.  Why?  So we can leave behind a legacy that says we fought the good fight of faith and by His strength we too can defeat any foe who seeks to destroy America.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Atonement for Emily Adms


Title:  Atonement for Emily Adams
Author:  Susan R. Lawrence
Website:  http://www.amazon.com/Susan-Lawrence/e/B00KLS7A6S/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Pages:  264
Year:  2014
Publisher:  Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
My rating is 5 stars out of 5
Very few books in my life have caused me to sit back and really be speechless, but I am glad to say this is one story that is beyond incredible.  While this is a fictional tale, it is easy to imagine various scenarios described in the book as being somehow reality in many people’s lives.  A young married woman and her husband decide to start a family until one night an accident occurs that throws this couple for a loop along with other characters in the novel.
Whether the characters were Christians or not, what made this tale so realistic was how the pain, grief and healing took time.  I think the author did a superb job of not rushing the time it takes for healing to occur in the characters’ hearts and lives.  I also thought it realistic that sometimes in the deepest darkest night of our lives we tend to try and handle life without Him or allowing others to minister.
The most amazing part was how the author ends the novel showing how God can bring good out of tragedy, plus restores hearts shattered.  One of the mother characters in the book is a prayer warrior even when her children are adults.  When I read that repeatedly throughout the book, I kept thinking that is one job mothers never cease practicing. 
I was drawn to the story simply when I looked at the cover of the book.  For some reason I knew it was a story I had to read and it had no personal application to me as far as how the characters suffered.  I could imagine how God could and does what we can never do or see at first when we are side-swiped by pain or grief.  Yet, in time, He truly does turn our mourning into joy! 
Take a moment to sit down with this novel and see what God may speak into your heart or mind.  You just might be surprised and thankful you took the time to read it.  If you know of someone who might be blessed by the novel, consider giving them a copy as it just might spark a conversation that could lead to redemption, healing and hope!
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457

Interview of Susan R. Lawrence


1.What am I working on?
Most writers can’t leave an unpublished piece of writing be. They have to continually pick at it, like a chigger bite in an arm pit. My first novel, titled River Bend, had sat quietly on a shelf for five years. It was full of editing errors, POV violations, and happy people with no conflicts. Every so often it would nudge my mind and I’d think, “I ought to redo that.” So last winter I pulled it off the shelf, blew off the dust and began a rewrite. Once I started, I found I used almost nothing from the first write except for the basic storyline: a young man whose wife has been killed seeks healing by following her dream of establishing a restaurant along a bike trail.
I am close to writing “the end,” but it needs as much polishing as an antique silver vase that has sat in an attic for years. I look forward to doing the polishing with the help of my fantastic critique group.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My stories fall in the huge category of Christian women’s fiction. I tend to be light on the romance (although there is definitely an element of romance in all my stories) and heavy on characterization. My aim is that my readers know my characters so well, they think they see them on the street. I also try to weave in the gospel message in an unobtrusive way, so people don’t feel they are being preached at, but come away inspired.

3. Why do I write what I do?
For my entire life … well, since I could hold a pencil and compose words, I have been given ideas. It’s not an option to leave them unwritten.

4. How does my writing process work?
I usually start with nothing more than an idea, and then I follow my characters. Sometimes they take me into situations that surprise me. Or they introduce me to someone I didn’t expect.
I am an extremely slow writer. It takes me hours to compose a few hundred words. I tell others, and maybe it’s true, that they are good words.
But I hang on to the story like a pit bull on a bone, and eventually, I write “the end.” Then comes the editing, which I enjoy. Unlike most writers, I find I need to add and flesh out scenes rather than cutting, but I don’t mind this either. After several times through, it is sometimes difficult to leave the editing and say, “This is as good as I can get it. It’s time to send this baby off.”

Then comes the scary part. My baby has left the building and is now exposed to the harsh critique of strangers. Like children who have left the nest, the only thing remaining is pray over them.

Guest Post by Author Susan R. Lawrence

Fiction with a Purpose
 
I sat at the dinner table of my friend, Bert, with tears rolling down my cheeks. Bert’s son and daughter-in-law are missionaries in Swaziland, Africa, and they were sharing stories of babies and children they met while ministering there. The AIDs epidemic has devastated this area leaving thousands of orphans with no one to care for them.
When Marcia shared how handicapped babies were wrapped in a blanket, turned to face the wall, and left to die in the hospital, my heart broke. I have a thirty-three year old son who was born with mild cerebral palsy. The thought of someone leaving him to die filled me with righteous anger.
Marcia’s husband, Scott, laid out their vision for building a village of homes for these abandoned babies, to be staffed and directed by Swaziland people. The orphans would be raised in a Christian home-like atmosphere. They’d formed a corporation, Pour International, using Isaiah 44:3 for their theme verse: For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground: I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. The land for the first home had already been purchased. They only needed funds to build it.
But what could I do? I am a retired elementary teacher, working hard at making my way in the Christian fiction world. At that time, I had only two out-of-print devotionals to my credit, and I had far more out-go than income with my current projects, including a novel I was shopping to publishers.
My husband and I left that night with our hearts full of the images of Swaziland. But, as so often happens, when we returned to our daily lives, Swaziland receded back across the ocean of our mind.
I continued work on my novel, Atonement for Emily Adams. I found a home for it at Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, and began the arduous task of editing and polishing. As the release date drew nearer, I began to realize my dream of a published novel was actually going to become a reality. People would buy my book and I would receive royalties.
And I thought again about the babies in Swaziland. I said nothing to my husband, Gary, just prayed and thought about what I was being led to do.
A few weeks later, Gary called me into the family room where he was sitting in his recliner, one of his favorite “thinking spots.”
“I had an idea,” he said. “Why don’t we take the proceeds of your novel and donate them to Pour International?”
How like our God to give the same idea to both of us! And so began our fiction with a purpose campaign. In all our marketing efforts, we partner with Pour International. I promise readers, a great read for a great cause.
Publishing and marketing in today’s market can be a monumental task. But Atonement for Emily Adams has helped to build a baby home. We’re praying for more copies to be sold, so the home can be furnished and filled with children.

For more information on Pour International go to www.pourinternational.org
To read more about Atonement for Emily Adams click on the link.


Meet Author Susan R Lawrence



Susan grew up on a small farm in the heart of Iowa. As a small child, she learned to love country life, writing stories, and her Savior, Jesus Christ. 
She graduated from Kansas State Teacher’s College and taught special needs children for thirty-three years before retiring to devote more time to writing, speaking, and storytelling.
She has published two family devotion books, contributed to three anthologies and written many articles for various Christian publications. Her novel, Atonement for Emily Adams, was released May 2014.
Susan lives with her husband, Gary, the love of her life and her best friend of forty-five years, and their short-legged Lab, Molly. She is the mother of three and grandmother of seven beautiful and brilliant grandchildren.
She enjoys spending time with family, biking, and traveling. But most of all, she loves to tell the story, the good news of Jesus Christ, in writing, in speaking, or in living. Contact Susan at: srlauthor@mchsi.com.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mesu Andrews: The Pharoh's Daughter



Title:  The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Treasures of the Nile #1)
Author:  Mesu Andrews
Pages:  367
Year:  2015
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
Anippe is the daughter of Pharaoh and sister of future King Tut, but at the age of five, her mother dies in childbirth, which Anippe witnesses.  This gives Anippe an extreme fear of childbirth that affects her choices later in life.  As a young girl, she is adopted by a trusted general of Pharaoh.  At age nine, her father dies, making Tut Pharaoh.  Her relationship with Tut changes as he is consumed with a new life as ruler of a nation.  At age 14, she is married to the Captain of Pharaoh’s Army.  She grows to love him, but fears having a baby.  She enlists the Hebrew midwives to help her maintain her deception.  After Tut’s wife miscarries a baby, he is encouraged by an advisor that the Hebrews have become too numerous and the male children should be killed to restore balance.  Tut in his grief agrees and so the very women Anippe enlists to help her are also the same women ordered by King Tut to kill the Hebrew male babies.
As the story progresses, the political machinations increase.  Anippe longs to be a mother and loves children, but her fear of childbirth still haunts her and keeps her glued to her deceptions.  Then, one day she finds a baby floating in a basket and thinks the gods have granted her wish to be a mother.  But Anippe’s lies continue, putting herself and Mehy (Moses) in danger.  What does the future hold for herself and her son?
I really wanted to like this book, but it just didn’t click with me.  I normally love historical fiction and have been fascinated with Egyptians for as long as I can remember, so I was surprised to not enjoy this book.  I didn’t like any of the characters in the story, so I didn’t really matter to me what happened to them.  I did appreciate the awesome setting and tremendous amount of research done by the author.  Book two in the series is due to be released in the spring of 2016, and I plan on reading that story as it is about Moses’ sister Miriam.
My rating is 3 stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/.  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457