Saturday, March 23, 2013

Mind of Her Own By Diana Lesire Brandmeyer

I received this book from Tydale House Publishers through Tyndale Blog Network for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.



Book Description:

     Who knew making dinner could change your life? Louisa Copeland certainly didn’t. But when the George Foreman grill fell out of the pantry onto her head, resulting in a bump and a mighty case of amnesia, Louisa’s life takes a turn for the unexpected. Who was this Collin fellow, claiming she was his wife? And whose kids are those? Her name couldn’t be Louisa. Why, she was the renowned romance writer Jazz Sweet, not a Midwestern mom of three. Struggling to put the pieces together of the life she’s told she had, Louisa/Jazz may realize that some memories are better left alone.



My Thoughts:

     Mind of Her Own is the first book by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer that I have had the opportunity to read and what a book!  When I read the description of this book I knew I had to request it, because it just stuck with me.  Louisa Copeland is a Mom and a Wife who spends her days taking care of her family. One night while making dinner she has an accident. A grill falls on her head in her pantry. When she wakes up she isn't Louisa, she is Jazz Sweet.   She has no recollection of Louisa or her family.  Jazz is an author from Florida, who is single, and has no children.   Now she has a husband and children. As she takes part in Lousia life, she makes it her own but no one is sure she will ever remember who she is or who her family are.

I truly enjoyed this book and really felt a kinship with Louisa.  Louisa was unhappy in her life, hiding her true self, and her true passions. Mind of Her Own is a fast paced, colorful story that really touched me.  Diana Lesire Brandmeyer writes a beautiful story about an unhappy marriage, unhappy life, transformations, and falling in love again.  I found myself unable to put this book down, it truly drew me in.  The characters were great, real people with not so perfect lives. I found myself laughing and crying in parts.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Fiction. I look forward to reading more by Diana Lesire Brandmeyer. I give this book 5 stars.












Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Return of Cassandra Todd By Darrel Nelson

I received this book from Glass Road Media and Management for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

When the popular girl whose friends bullied him in high school suddenly reenters his life, little son in tow, Turner Caldwell must put the past behind him if they are to survive.
 
Turner Caldwell works at a local motel as a handyman while attending college full-time. On his way to class one day, he is shocked to see Cassandra Todd and her young son in town. The sight of her brings back powerful memories of being bullied in high school—she was the popular head cheerleader and he the target of her friends’ mean-spirited pranks.
 
When Cassandra and her son check into the motel where he works and she asks for his help in eluding her abusive husband, he finds himself entangled in a dangerous drama that will require him to forgive and draw on every skill he has if they are to survive.


My Thoughts:

The Return of Cassandra Todd is Darrel Nelson's second novel and WOW is it an awesome piece of work.  His first book, The Anniversary Waltz, really grabbed me and I fell in love with it.  In this new book, Cassandra Todd has returned to her hometown with a small boy in tow.  Turner Caldwell, a former classmate of Cassandra's and the brunt of the bullying in their high school, sees Cassandra going into the bank and is shocked. He loved her in high school but could never tell her.  That night Turner comes back to the motel where he lives and works to find a job for him. He goes to the room and finds Cassandra and her son there.  Cassandra and Turner do not talk much, just idle chit chat. The next day things become very complicated, Cassandra's husband, Brad, former high school football star, is looking for her and her son because Cassandra left to get out of their abusive relationship.Cassandra looks to Turner for help and he cannot refuse her. 

WOW!!! I loved this book.  As I stated I fell in love with The Anniversary Waltz from almost the beginning and with this book it is the same thing. I found myself unable to put the book down from all the excitement, suspense and intrigue going on in this novel.  This book had me at the edge of my seat, not knowing how things would turn out.  Darrel Nelson highlights two big issues in this book, bullying and spousal abuse.  I am glad to see how Darrel Nelson showed the long lasting effects bullying has on people, hurt that stays with them forever even.  He also did a great job with the topic of spousal abuse especially putting in his story about shelters, restraining orders and the reality of their effectiveness in many cases. He also show the bravery that Cassandra had, to go the steps she needed. I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend this and The Anniversary Waltz for your must read list.  Cannot wait for Darrel Nelson's next novel!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Widow of Saunders Creek By Tracey Bateman

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program for no charge in exchange for my honest review of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


Book Description:

A grief that knows no boundary.
A love without any limit.
A need that doesn’t end at death. 

Corrie Saunders grew up in a life of privilege. But she gave it all up for Jarrod, her Army husband, a man she knew was a hero when she vowed to spend her life with him. She just didn’t expect her hero to sacrifice his life taking on an Iraqi suicide bomber. 

Six months after Jarrod’s death, Corrie retreats to the family home her husband inherited deep in the Missouri Ozarks. She doesn’t know how to live without Jarrod—she doesn’t want to. By moving to Saunders Creek and living in a house beloved by him, she hopes that somehow her Jarrod will come back to her.

Something about the house suggests maybe he has. Corrie begins to wonder if she can feel Jarrod’s presence.

Jarrod’s cousin Eli is helping Corrie with the house’s restoration and he knows that his dead cousin is not what Corrie senses. Eli, as a believing man and at odds with his mystically-oriented family members, thinks friendly visits from beyond are hogwash.  But he takes spirits with dark intentions seriously. Can he convince Corrie that letting go of Jarrod will lead to finding her footing again— and to the One she can truly put her faith into?



My Thoughts:

The Widow of Saunders Creek is the first book by Tracey Bateman that I have had the pleasure of reading.  Corrie Saunders gave up her life of wealth to marry her true love, her hero. Jarred was in the Army and sent over to Iraqi. There he was killed, sacrificing his life to save others.  Eventually Corrie decides to move into a home that her husband had inherited to feel closer to him. As she settles into this home Corrie starts to feel a presence that she believes is Jarrod's.  Jarrod's cousin Eli is helping with the house repairs and he doesn't believe the presence felt is Jarrod but something dark.

The Widow of Saunders Creek is a great story.   This story has suspense, romance, and even some humor at times. Tracey Bateman writes of the supernatural with a Christian perspective, which I truly liked. The characters were well developed and real people experiencing real life. Tracey Bateman writes with authority about the supernatural, the Missouri Ozarks, and good vs. evil. This book grabbed my attention from the start and I had a hard time putting it down. I recommend this book  to those who like suspenseful reads dealing with the paranormal and good vs evil. I cannot wait to read more from Tracey Bateman. I give this book 4 stars.

Grave Consequences: Grand Tour Series #2 By Lisa T. Bergren

I received this e-book from Litfuse Publicity for no charge in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.




Book Description:

The Powerful, Epic Romance Continues
For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future—her very life—depends on the decisions she’ll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her new found family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone’s plans in danger.
And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences.


My Thoughts:

     Grave Consequences is the second book in Lisa T. Bergren's series, Grand Tour.  I had the honor of reading book one so I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to read and review Grave Consequences, had to wait patiently!  Grave Consequences picks up the Kensington and Morgan families right where they were left off in book one. They have survived their attack and were on their way to get out of France, as far away as possible.  As they continue on their journey, Cora is hearing contradictions to what her and Wallace Kensington agreed to before she left Montana, she is also hearing things that start to cause her to fear what will happen.  Through this journey the families experience many ups and downs and still having fun. Cora does a lot of  soul searching and connecting with her siblings and their friends. Cora begins to feel accepted by her siblings but not sure how she will be accepted when she goes back home to Montana. 
     I enjoyed Grave Consequences very much. It is a fast paced story that has a little bit of everything in it. Grave Consequences offers romance, suspense, action, history, and faith that rounds off the whole story.  Lisa T. Bergren keeps her readers guessing to the end.  Lisa T. Bergren writes with such authority on Europe, touring, different modes of transportation in this time period, family dynamics of the different classes of people, and the many aspects of mining.  I couldn't put this book down, it kept my interest straight through to the end.  The characters are well developed, complex creatures who gave me cause to pause and really get to know them and their situations.  I enjoyed learning more about the previous characters and then getting to know the new characters and how they tie to the old ones.  I have enjoyed this series and will have to patiently wait for the next one.  I suggest that readers read "Glamorous Illusions" first because you definitely miss important facts jumping right in to "Grave Consequences".  I give this book 4.5 stars! 
  
Celebrate the release of Grave Consequences with Lisa T. Bergren by entering to win an iPad Mini!

Grave-Consequences-Bergren

One "grand" winner receive:
  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • Grave Consequences and Glamorous Illusions will be pre-loaded onto the Mini!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced on March 25th at Lisa's website.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

 

 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Today is the Day!!

Today, March 1, 2013, is the official release date for MaryLu Tyndall's newest novel/series Forsaken Dreams!! Check your local bookstore or online store for this highly anticipated book. I can't wait to sit down and read it!

Here are some websites of my other crew members about this book. Check them out, they are awesome.

http://redemptiondrawsnear.blogspot.com/
http://montanamade.weebly.com/tell-tale-book-reviews.html
http://poetics-of-life.blogspot.com/
 http://thoseweremythoughtsexactly.blogspot.com/
http://www.burtonbookreview.com/
http://randarog.blogspot.com/
http://www.patiacuzzi.com/
http://www.elvamartin.com/
http://enjoyingthewritingcraft.blogspot.com/
http://jessiegunderson.com/
http://lmbartelt.wordpress.com/

I didn't get a chance to list everyone's in our crew but here are some! 





Check out Forsaken Dreams, book one in the exciting new Escape to Paradise fiction series by MaryLu Tyndall!

Embark on a seafaring adventure as a disillusioned colonel and a hopeful widow seek a fresh start on the shores of Brazil. Colonel Grant Wallace cannot leave his once precious Southern homeland fast enough. After witnessing the death and destruction of the Civil War, he charters a ship and sets sail for the pristine shores of Brazil, eager to start afresh in a new land. Widow Eliza Crawford boards the ship NewHope harboring a dirty secret and a blossoming hope within her heart for a new life away from old memories. But once at sea, troubles abound. Will Grant overcome his demons of bitterness and rage? Can Eliza find the peace she longs for?

ISBN 978-1-61626-596-0
$12.99
5.5" x 8.375" / 320 pages / Paperback

Get to Know the Author!
MaryLu Tyndall, a Christy Award Finalist, and best-selling author of the Legacy of the King’s Pirates series is known for her adventurous historical romances filled with deep spiritual themes. She holds a degree in Math and worked as a software engineer for fifteen years before testing the waters as a writer. MaryLu currently writes full time and makes her home on the California coast with her husband, six kids, and four cats. Her passion is to write page-turning, romantic adventures that not only entertain but open people's eyes to their God-given potential. MaryLu is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Author Q & A:
1. How would you describe your new series Escape to Paradise?

An adventurous, romantic tale about a group of Confederates, wounded in both body and soul, who flee the destruction of the South after the Civil War for greener pastures in Brazil, but who find much more than they bargained for, both on the trip there and once they arrive.

2. What inspired the storyline for your new series?

History. Nearly three million Southerners migrated from the devastation of the South following the Civil War. Close to twenty thousand of them went to Brazil where the Emperor welcomed them with open arms, the farm land was plentiful, and the temperate climate mimicked their own weather back home. Though most ended up returning home, several thousand remained, and their descendants still live there today. Their struggles to create a new Southern Utopia in the heart of Brazil make for a fascinating story!

3. How is this series different from your previous series?

Escape to Paradise is like nothing I’ve ever written before. The six main characters, the hero and heroine in each book, have a huge presence in each of the three books, so by the end of the series, the reader will know them all really well, as well as several of the secondary characters. Secondly, and more importantly, this series contains a lot of supernatural elements—curses, angels, visions, demonic battles—which I have not put in any of my other books.

4. What type of research did you have to do for Forsaken Dreams?

Surprisingly, not much has been written about this particular historic event. I did find a couple of great books on Amazon. I was also able to locate some original source material, which is a researcher’s dream: three journals written by actual Confederates who traveled to Brazil. Then of course I studied the flora, fauna, cuisine, customs, religion, climate, topography, and history of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. I tried to talk my  husband into funding a trip to Rio (For purely research purposes, of course) but he wasn’t buying it! J I also studied the Civil War, clothing and customs of the time period, and, in particular, of the South.
5. What are the most interesting facts that you learned while researching and writing Forsaken Dreams?
There is a city in Brazil called Americana, which was founded by migrant confederates in the late 19th century.  To this day, the inhabitants still speak a mixture of English and Portuguese and celebrate American holidays by playing “Dixie”, while some of the local women dress in big-bustled skirts for dancing.  President Carter visited the city in 1972, after discovering its little known history, and he was reportedly brought to tears by the American influences he found there.


6. What surprises do your fans have to look forward to in your new series?

An exotic locale, powerful secrets held by each character, a strong spiritual theme that runs through all three books, cannibals, evil temples, visions, angels, demons, prophecies, and a supernatural battle. Doesn’t sound like romance novels, does it? Yet, readers can still expect to find all the adventure and romance they normally enjoy from one of my books.
7. Do you have a favorite character Forsaken Dreams? Why?
Yes. The heroine, Eliza Crawford. She’s all the things so many of us want to be: Strong, Independent, Smart, Caring, Selfless. But she has a fatal flaw—one which I can relate to very much, and one I’m hoping others will relate to as well. She wants to live life on her own terms. She wants to do things her way and follow her own heart and will. She doesn’t want to be told what to do by anyone, especially God. Consequently, she disobeyed her father and ran off to marry a man who was all wrong for her, an action that cost her and others dearly. Still, she struggles with an independent spirit that refuses to submit to God, even when she knows His will is best.  Sound familiar? It does to me!
8. What message would you like your readers to take from reading Forsaken Dreams? 
There are several messages woven into Forsaken Dreams. Forgiveness, letting go of bitterness, running away from God, but I would say the main message is that submission to God and His will is the only thing that brings true happiness.
9. Most of your stories revolve around swashbuckling pirates and sea captains.  What draws you to write about them?
Actually I only have one pirate series, but a good majority of my books have several scenes set at sea. Ever since I was a child growing up on the shores of South Florida, I have loved the sea and especially the tall ships of old. To me, there’s something very romantic and adventurous about those magnificent sailing ships and the men and women who journeyed on them in search of new lands.

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10, What are some of the challenges you face as an author?
Meeting deadlines! I never feel like I can take a break and just relax when there’s a deadline shouting at me from my computer.  Other challenges come in the form of negative reviews and harsh comments, most of which I’ve learned over the years to ignore.  However, the occasional one slips through and stabs my heart. Then there’s the marketing aspect of being an author, which is most definitely my weakest skill. I’ve never been very good at selling myself, or in fact, selling anything, to anyone.  J
11. What aspects of being a writer do you enjoy the most?
The writing! Coming up with new stories and settings, and especially great characters. But my favorite part is putting those characters into impossible situations that I would never survive personally, but ones in which they must survive!  Those hours I spend at my computer with my head and my heart in a distant land, living life through my characters, are the happiest moments of my day. What a great job I have!! I get to live in a fantasy world of my own making. God is good!

12. What clubs or organizations are you involved with helping with your writing?
American Christian Fiction Writers and Romance Writers of America. However I receive most of the help I need from other writers who I’ve grown close to over the years. It’s so wonderful to have an online support group of people who understand what I’m going through and who can offer suggestions and help and who can lift me up in prayer when needed.

13. What new projects are on the horizon?
Forsaken Dreams is the first in a trilogy entitled Escape to Paradise, so I’m currently working on the last two books in the series. After that, I’ll be in God’s good favor as to what He wants me to write next. J

14. What was your favorite book as a child?
Can I have three?  The Last of the Mohicans,  The Count of Monte Cristo, and Pride and Prejudice.

15. What is your greatest achievement?
My children. Although I really can’t take credit for them turning out as well as they have. That was God. But they are my life and my true loves, and I can’t imagine my world without them.

16. What do you do to get away from it all?
Go to the beach. Although it’s not as warm here in California as it was in Florida where I grew up, I love sitting in the sand and gazing out over the foamy waves and smelling the salty air and feeling the wind on my face. It makes me realize how big God is and how small I am, yet how much He truly loves me.

17. And, finally, where can your readers find you online?
You can sign up for my e-newsletter on my website at www.marylutyndall.com, and my blog is http://crossandcutlass.blogspot.com where I post all sorts of things from book giveaways and book information to articles and devotional thoughts. I have a Facebook group called MaryLu Tyndall Swashbuckling Romance, and I’m on Twitter: @MaryLuTyndall. Hope to connect with you all!

Check out MaryLu's blog to learn more about the hero from Forsaken Dreams, Blake Wallace.