Monday, October 16, 2017

A Writer's Review of Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen


First of all, and probably because I'm a published author and pay attention to more publisher related things, I knew from almost the day I heard about this book that it was written for a secular publisher. That said, I still looked forward to reading it because I love Julie Klassen's writing. She's always been one to write her historical romances involving a little more of the messiness of life, so I went into reading Lady Maybe fully expecting much of the same, but perhaps on a different level--which as it turns out, was exactly what I got. 

There are many things about Lady Maybe that are nothing like a Bethany House (her usual publisher with which she used to also edit for before her debut released) historical romance novel. But I didn't go into reading it expecting it would be, and quite possibly that is a major factor in why my response to the book is so different than what it's been for many of her faithful inspirational followers. 

I loved this book. It's the first book I've read for pleasure in about two years (my own last book contract came as I'd just found out I was pregnant with my second son--so I spent my 2nd trimester writing a book, the 3rd RECOVERING from doing so while pregnant + having a 2yo running circles around me, and then because I have two little boys and I'm trying to write my own books, I just haven't had much time until now). And I read it in about a day's time, losing much valuable sleep. 

Lady Maybe ended up being very different from the usual kind of books I enjoy reading, and this has nothing to do with the romance.  It was the level of mystery and intensity throughout the plot that really had me reading. The romance part of the story definitely took the back seat (in more ways than one), so much so that I wasn't sure who the hero of the story actually would end up being until the last few pages. 

There were three character POVs mentioned in this novel--one character had one chapter near the beginning, one was the heroine and the other had a number of chapters in the latter half of the book. Which is another "not normal" way of writing a story--but it worked. And I think a lot of the reasoning behind going with the publisher she did probably had a lot to do with things like this, and not strictly because of the complicated messy relational issues between the characters. 

And yes, wow it was complicated. And messy. And interesting and compelling. Klassen's way with words was perfect, as always. She pulled me in and didn't let go, planting little seeds throughout the novel that only made sense at the end. These are the reasons I loved it. 

Although the characters are not perfect--by far--there is a ton of Christianity in this secularly published book. I do think it might have been a good idea to use a pen name in having this book published, since I know it can be found in Christian bookstores and in The inspirational sections of libraries solely based on her name and other books from Bethany House. I think Lady Maybe has a bit lower ratings (compared to most of her other books) simply because most of her readers read it assuming it would be like the rest of them. But don't be fooled by the low-star ratings. Yes, there is a lot of mess in this book, but it is still a really good, well-written novel that teaches lesson after lesson about grace, forgiveness, second chances and how God can take a huge mess and still bless those who love him despite the fact that they don't deserve it. Isn't that real life every day? 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Indy Area Multi-Author Book Signing at B&N!

If you happen live around central Indiana, I'll be at the Barnes & Noble in Greenwood, Indiana (just south of Indy) this Saturday with a few friends of mine! There will be a Question & Answer time as well as time for us to sign books! Check out this Facebook Event Page for more info! Hope to see you there!


Monday, March 20, 2017

THE ELUSIVE MISS ELLISON BY CAROLYN MILLER | BLOG TOUR AND KINDLE AND A CUPPA GIVEAWAY

The Elusive Miss Ellison        (Kregel, February 2017)
Handsome appearance counts for naught unless matched by good character and actions.
That’s the firm opinion of not-so-meek minister’s daughter Lavinia Ellison. So even though all the other villagers of St. Hampton Heath are swooning over the newly returned seventh Earl of Hawkesbury, she is not impressed. If a man won’t take his responsibilities seriously and help those who are supposed to be able to depend on him, he deserves no respect from her. In Lavinia’s pretty, gray eyes, Nicholas Stamford is just as arrogant and reckless as his brother–who stole the most important person in Livvie’s world.
Nicholas is weighed down by his own guilt and responsibility, by the pain his careless brother caused, and by the legacy of war he’s just left. This quick visit home to St. Hampton Heath will be just long enough to ease a small part of that burden. Asking him to bother with the lives of the villagers when there’s already a bailiff on the job is simply too much to expect.
That is, until the hoydenish, intelligent, and very opinionated Miss Ellison challenges him to see past his pain and pride. With her angelic voice in his head, he may even be beginning to care. But his isn’t the only heart that needs to change.
These two lonely hearts may each have something the other needs. But with society’s opposition, ancestral obligations, and a shocking family secret, there may be too many obstacles in their way.
Fans of Georgette Heyer, Lori Wick, and Julie Klassen will enjoy the spirited exchanges between the bluestocking minister’s daughter and the bruised war hero as they move past pride and presumption to a humbled appreciation of God’s grace and the true strength of love.

MY REVIEW

Actually, this is more than just my review of The Elusive Miss EllisonI had the wonderful opportunity to read this debut novel with the option of endorsing it to my readers and my reader friends! You'll find my official endorsement in the front few pages of the book, and I cannot recommend it enough! If you love my books, you will likely fall in love with Carolyn Miller's as well! It was such a joy to read! And here is my official endorsement for when the book comes out in a few months! I'll be buying a paperback of this book for my keeper shelf! 

"Lovers of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer will be delighted with Carolyn Miller's debut novel, The Elusive Miss Ellison--especially readers who want to know more about the hero's journey to adoring their regency heroine. This new author's beautifully written book is definitely worth reading!"--Dawn Crandall, award winning author of The Everstone Chronicles


*** by the way--some of the digital ebook versions are FREE RIGHT NOW! Go get it!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Carolyn Miller lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her husband and four children. A longtime lover of Regency romance, Carolyn'’s novels have won a number of RWA and ACFW contests. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Australasian Christian Writers.








GIVEAWAY!


Settle in for a cozy night of reading with a cuppa 

and a Kindle from Carolyn!

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on March 22. The winner will be announced March 23 on the Litfuse blog.



Friday, March 3, 2017

A Writer's Review of Making Marriage Beautiful by Dorothy Greco





Book info


What makes a marriage beautiful? Honesty? Compatibility? Physical and emotional intimacy?

All of these are important, but there's one component that determines the quality and longevity of a marriage more than anything else: a willingness to grow.Because a wedding joins together two imperfect people, all couples experience disappointment, conflict, and pain. How husbands and wives respond to these challenges determines the kind of people they will become and the kind of marriage they will have.


Making Marriage Beautiful reveals how the pursuit of Christ results in profound transformation for both the individual and the marriage. Rather than offering clich├ęs and formulas, Greco relies on candor, humor, and real life stories to bring encouragement and wisdom to all couples, regardless of whether they have been married four weeks or forty years.


 Learn more and purchase a copy.


                               My Review.                              

Marriage is sometimes a messy thing. Especially when babies (finally, I might add) come along. Especially when your little family makes a move away from easy suburban life to live in a really old fixer upper in the middle of the country. Especially when the mommy is an author who wants to write... but can't. Especially when the mommy has ADD.


Let all this happen in the spanse of 12 months and it's one whopper of a YEAR-11.


So, I signed up for this book.


Me, who used to actually mentor young engaged couples on preparing for marriage. But let's face it--being married for the first five years was somehow easier than being married for the last six. I'm not sure why, but it's just how it's been for us. I've known other very-long-married couples tell of having the worst years as their first, so I guess it's different for everyone.


Yeah, I signed up for a marriage book.


Not that my marriage is bad, I just thought maybe I could use a little perspective now that we've been married for almost 12 years.


To get down to it, this was an interesting book to read. I liked that it wasn't only fr M her perspective, but that she involved her husband a lot of the time. I believe it had good things to say in an encouraging way and that it was filled with good reminders for couples who might have become distanced because of busy-ness and life changes.


                                       Author info.                                   
Dorothy Greco and her husband, Christopher, have spent their entire twenty-five-year marriage helping men and women create and sustain healthy marriages. They have served numerous churches in the Greater Boston area for thirty years. Dorothy's writing has been featured in "Relevant Magazine," "Christianity Today," "Sojourners," and "Her.meneutics." She is a regular contributor for "Gifted for Leadership," "Today's Christian Woman," and "Start Marriage Right."

Saturday, January 28, 2017

THE MARK OF THE KING BY JOCELYN GREEN | BLOG TOUR AND FIVE-BOOK GIVEAWAY



{ABOUT THE MARK OF THE KING}
The Mark of the King
(Bethany House, January 2017)
Sweeping historical fiction set at the edge of the continent
After being imprisoned and branded for the death of her client, twenty-five-year-old midwife Julianne Chevalier trades her life sentence for exile to the fledgling 1720s French colony of Louisiana, where she hopes to be reunited with her brother, serving there as a soldier. To make the journey, though, women must be married, and Julianne is forced to wed a fellow convict.
When they arrive in New Orleans, there is no news of Benjamin, Julianne’s brother, and searching for answers proves dangerous. What is behind the mystery, and does military officer Marc-Paul Girard know more than he is letting on?
With her dreams of a new life shattered, Julianne must find her way in this dangerous, rugged land, despite never being able to escape the king’s mark on her shoulder that brands her a criminal beyond redemption.
{MY REVIEW}
I've been following this book ever since Jocelyn Green announced it had been contracted and would be releasing in early 2017. And although I didn't know a thing about it, I couldn't wait to read it simply because it was hers.

What I found in the pages of The Mark of the King was a story brimming with raw struggles, yet always pointing to hope. It's set from 1719 to 1722 and follows the heroine, Julianne, through some very hard times. There are quite a few POV characters along the way, which isn't usually my favorite thing, but it worked for this book. I think my favorite character was Captian Marc-Paul Girard because of the bond he allowed to grow between himself and a "marked criminal" despite his penchant for law-abiding and justice.

This is a serious book. It is extremely well-written and basically BEAUTIFUL. Although there are many things in the book that seem unfair, it is written to be very true to the times the characters lived in. The Mark of the King will be sure to please fans of Lori Benton and Laura Frantz, but even if you don't read a lot of pre-revolutionary war novels, this one is one to add to your reading pile. 
Jocelyn Green
{MORE ABOUT JOCELYN GREEN}
Jocelyn Green inspires faith and courage as the award-winning author of ten books to date, including “Wedded to War,” a Christy Award finalist in 2013; “Widow of Gettysburg”; “Yankee in Atlanta”; and “The 5 Love Languages Military Edition,” which she coauthored with bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman. A former military wife herself, her passion for military families informs all of her writing as well as her numerous speaking opportunities. Jocelyn graduated from Taylor University with a BA in English and now lives with her husband and two children in Iowa.
Find out more about Jocelyn at http://www.jocelyngreen.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

YOU’LL BE ON THE EDGE OF YOUR SEAT AS YOU TAKE THE JOURNEY TO THE FLEDGLING 1720S FRENCH COLONY OF LOUISIANA IN JOCELYN GREEN’S NEW BOOK, THE MARK OF THE KING. AFTER BEING IMPRISONED AND BRANDED FOR THE DEATH OF HER CLIENT, TWENTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD MIDWIFE JULIANNE CHEVALIER TRADES HER LIFE SENTENCE FOR EXILE, WHERE SHE HOPES TO BE REUNITED WITH HER BROTHER, SERVING THERE AS A SOLDIER. TO MAKE THE JOURNEY, THOUGH, WOMEN MUST BE MARRIED, AND JULIANNE IS FORCED TO WED A FELLOW CONVICT. WITH HER DREAMS OF A NEW LIFE SHATTERED, JULIANNE MUST FIND HER WAY IN THIS DANGEROUS, RUGGED LAND, DESPITE NEVER BEING ABLE TO ESCAPE THE KING’S MARK ON HER SHOULDER THAT BRANDS HER A CRIMINAL BEYOND REDEMPTION.


Enter to win a copy of The Mark of the King from Jocelyn. Five winners will be chosen! Click the image below to enter to win. The winners will be announced February 7th on Jocelyn’s blog!

In case my post isn't connecting to the giveaway correctly (I'm posting from my phone until I get a my dead laptop replaced soon), here is the link: https://promosimple.com/ps/afa3