Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Sweethaven Summer by Courtney Walsh

When I close a book with a sigh and immediately start searching the volume for some hint of things to come,  I know that the story is still resonating. The characters are still settling into my heart and I long for more.

Courtney Walsh's A Sweethaven Summer had that effect on me.  It is the story of a group of girlfriends who join forces in Sweethaven, Michigan in the summer of 1983, full of hope and dreams that are bigger than life.  Suzanne is the leader, and creative mastermind behind the Scrapbook that they use to document their summers on the lake together.  The group disbands in 1987 when Suzanne becomes pregnant with baby Campbell and is abandoned by her parents.

Twenty-four years later Suzanne loses her battle with cancer and Campbell begins searching for her father.  The journey leads her back to Sweethaven, the lakeside town which may hold the missing pieces of her mother's life.  If she could get some answers, then maybe she might be able to believe that she wasn't just some cosmic accident whose appearing simply ruined lives.

What she discovers is far more than basic biology.  She finds a place that feels like home and friends who are willing to go the distance.  That hopes and dreams never die and there is no statute of limitations on forgiveness.

A Sweethaven Summer is a lovely, warm hug of a book that you'll want to share with your own special friends; who knows- you may find yourself reconnecting with someone from your own life...
It's possible.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Sweethaven Summer
Guidepost Books (February 7, 2012)
Courtney Walsh


Courtney Walsh is a published author, scrapbooker, theater director, and playwright. Her debut novel, A Sweethaven Summer, will be followed by two additional novels in the series. She’s also written two papercrafting books, Scrapbooking Your Faith and The Busy Scrapper. Courtney has been a contributing editor for Memory Makers Magazine and Children’s Ministry Magazine and is a frequent contributor to Group Publishing curriculum. She works as the PR Manager for Webster’s Pages from her home in Colorado, where she lives with her husband and three kids, who range in age from 4 to 10. Courtney drinks entirely too much coffee.  


Suzanne's daughter, Campbell, journeys there in search of answers to her questions about her mother's history.Suzanne's three friends-Lila, Jane, and Meghan-were torn apart by long-buried secrets and heartbreak. Though they haven't spoken in years, each has pieces of a scrapbook they made together in Sweethaven. Suzanne's letters have lured them all back to the idyllic lakeside town, where they meet Campbell and begin to remember what was so special about their long Sweethaven summers. As the scrapbook reveals secrets one by one, old wounds are mended, lives are changed,

and friendships are restored-just as Suzanne intended.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Sweethaven Summer, go HERE.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Terri Blackstock's "Downfall" : Suspense with a Woman's Touch

Terri Blackstock
Author Terri Blackstock thrills once again with Downfall, the third book in her Intervention series published by Zondervan.  Downfall can be read as a stand alone, but I'm thinking you'll want to read books one and two: Intervention and Vicious Cycle.

Downfall focuses on Emily, who is celebrating two years of sobriety from the drug addiction which sent her family- mom Barbara and brother Lance straight into the jaws of evil to rescue her.
Needless to say, the experiences of the last two years have left them all a bit shaky in the trust department and eager for a fresh start.

The silver lining for Barbara is her relationship with Kent Harlan, Atlanta homicide detective and devoted friend who happens to be the reason the family packs up and moves to Atlanta.  Kent is hopeful for a new beginning of his own and is delighted that Barbara would risk moving all the way from Missouri to be near him... He carries a ring around in his pocket, waiting for the perfect moment to pop the question for goodness sakes. :)

But all is not well in Atlanta.  Emily finds herself at the center of a bizarre murder plot in which she is both would-be victim and prime suspect.  Lance is having trouble fitting in at his new school and his only friend is keeping some unsavory company.   Barbara just wants to regain a sense of normalcy and peace.

So... will Emily be able to maintain her freedom from drugs and regain her mother's trust?  Will Lance stand strong in the face of danger and peer pressure?  Will Barbara and Kent's relationship stand the test   of explosions, fires, murders and accusations?  Will Barbara's decorating firm get the big job?

Terri Blackstock keeps you turning pages at lightening speed.  I don't know how she does it, but she manages to weave a thread of grace through it all.

Terri Blackstock is a New York Times bestseller. (
Please check out her website which is full of exciting information.

I think you'll fall in love with her too!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

Into the Free, the debut novel by Julie Cantrell had me free falling into the world of Millie Reynolds from scene one.
In 1936 Millie is nine years old.  She is full of spunk, possessing clarity of thought and wisdom of the ages, passed down somehow- perhaps through her Choctaw lineage- and landing like wings upon her shoulders.

Her ability to understand the truth about people, their foibles and strengths helps her to survive the hand she has been dealt- her life- rife with secrets, sins, and dreams deferred.  Millie's father rides the rodeo and her mother has simply tuned out due to the abuse she has suffered, losing herself in music, books, and her "medicine".

Into the Free has garnered well-deserved praise.  It is a gem worth seeking out.  If you love excellent writing and a story full of surprises this one's for you.  You will LOVE free falling Into the Free.
Oh, did I mention that a sequel is in the works?
(Read on for more information from the publisher!)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Free
David C. Cook (February 1, 2012)
Julie Cantrell


A speech-language pathologist and literacy advocate, Julie Cantrell was the editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and currently teaches English as a second language to elementary students. She has been a freelance writer for ten years and has published two children’s books. Julie and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm.

Julie served as contributing editor to MOMSense magazine and wrote content for Mothers of Preschoolers, Intl. for nearly a decade. Additionally, she has contributed to more than a dozen books. Into Th Free is her first book.  


Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.

For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

Watch the book video:

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Free, go HERE.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Sixty Acres and a Bride
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Regina Jennings


A Word from Regina:

See me laughing. That’s what I do when someone calls me an author. Yes, it’s always been my dream, but I still can’t keep from giggling over it.

Other things I am – a Christ-follower, a wife, a homeschooling mother of four, a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, and a voracious reader.

Getting reading time isn’t easy. Seems like my family does more than our share of traveling. My husband is an insurance adjuster (I know, save the hate mail) and travels with the catastrophe team often. That’s allowed us to see a lot of the United States. True many times it’s in the middle of a hurricane or blizzard, but after spending three weeks in a hotel room with six people, you’ll brave anything to get out and see the sights – no matter how damaged they might be.

We also serve on the Missions Team at an amazing church, so we break out the passports frequently. Highlights include singing at a leper colony in India, holding church inside a Mexican prison and showing the Jesus film to a tribe in Senegal who’d never heard the gospel.

But I don’t have to go far away for unusual. My family provides plenty of colorful material with their love for practical jokes, pithy observations and strong agricultural roots. Because of the family business, a significant chunk of my life has been spent at sale barns and auctions – often behind the scales where I weigh pigs. I like to think of myself as a “redneck bluestocking” but I brought an entire marketing team’s discussion to a screeching halt when I said those words, so you didn’t hear it from me.

When I have spare time I love to talk books and quirky characters (real  and fictional).  


With nothing to their names, young widow Rosa Garner and her mother-in-law return to Texas and the family ranch. Only now the county is demanding back taxes and the women have only three months to pay.

Though facing eviction, Rosa can't keep herself from falling in love with the countryside and the wonderful extended family who want only her best. Learning the American customs is not easy, however, and this beautiful young widow can't help but catch wandering eyes. Where some offer help with dangerous strings attached, only one man seems honorable. But when Weston Garner, still grieving his own lost love, is unprepared to give his heart, to what lengths will Rosa go to save her future?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Sixty Acres and a Bride, go HERE.

Once in a Blue Moon Bay

"You know big brother, what's his name is right, you can't go home again."- Sally to Charlie Brown after they realized that the city had built a parking lot over the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm
(Written on the wall of wisdom, Waterbird Bait and Grocery, Moses Lake, Texas by Me- Cheryl Klarich)

Welcome to Lisa Wingate's new novel, Blue Moon Bay!
The characters in Blue Moon Bay must figure out if they can, in fact, go home again.  This is especially true for Heather Hampton, architect of mega complexes and re-inventer of her own life.  Only the direst of circumstances could call her back to her family home where many dark memories await- the most menacing being her father's death in the family farmhouse.

Heather does not want to be reminded of the feeling of the square peg in a round hole awkwardness of not belonging in the teeny tiny place known as Moses Lake, where her childhood was cut short by a stray bullet, the pressure of  caring for her artsy and incapable mother and helping her little brother get through the crazy times.  No, when Heather left Moses Lake, she never looked back.

Of course all that is about to change... Read the publisher's information (previous blog) below for more mystery and a darn good story. ;)

Friday, February 10, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blue Moon Bay
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Lisa Wingate


Lisa Wingate is an award-winning journalist, magazine columnist, popular inspirational speaker and a national bestselling author of sixteen books.  Her first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, is in its eighteenth printing from Penguin Putnam.  Tending Roses is a staple on the shelves of national bookstore chains as well as in many independent bookstores.

Recently, Lisa’s Blue Sky Hill Series, set in Dallas, received national attention with back-to-back nominations for American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year Award for A Month of Summer (2009) and The Summer Kitchen (2010).  Pithy, emotional, and inspirational, her stories bring to life characters so real that readers often write to ask what is happening to them after the book ends.

Lisa is one of a select group of authors to find success in both the Christian and mainstream markets, writing for both Bethany House, a Christian publisher, and NAL Penguin Putnam, a general market publisher.  Her bestselling books have become a hallmark of inspirational fiction. Her works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Picks, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, Crossings Book Club, American Profiles and have been chosen for numerous awards.

When not busy dreaming up stories, Lisa spends time on the road as a motivational speaker. Via internet, she shares with readers as far away as India, where her book, Tending Roses, has been used to promote women's literacy, and as close to home as Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the county library system has used Tending Roses to help volunteer mentors teach adults to read.  Recently, the group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with Bill Ford, Camille Cosby, and six others as recipients of the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life.


Heather Hampton returns to Moses Lake, Texas, to help facilitate the sale of a family farm as part of a planned industrial plant that will provide the area with much-needed jobs. Heather's future fiance has brokered the deal, and Heather is in line to do her first large-scale architectural design--if the deal goes through.

But the currents of Moses Lake have a way of taking visitors on unexpected journeys. What was intended to be a quick trip suddenly morphs into Valentine's week--with Blaine Underhill, the handsome banker who just happens to be opposing Heather's project. Spending the holiday in an ex-funeral parlor seems like a nightmare, but Heather slowly finds herself being drawn into the area's history, hope, and heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blue Moon Bay, go HERE.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Song of My Heart
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Kim Vogel Sawyer


Kim Vogel Sawyer is the author of fifteen novels, including several CBA and ECPA bestsellers. Her books have won the ACFW Book of the Year Award, the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award. Kim is active in her church, where she leads women's fellowship and participates in both voice and bell choirs. In her spare time, she enjoys drama, quilting, and calligraphy. Kim and her husband, Don, reside in central Kansas, and have three daughters and numerous grandchildren.


Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job.

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Song of My Heart, go HERE.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In Too Deep
Bethany House (February 1, 2012)
Mary Connealy


Mary Connealy writes romantic comedy with cowboys. She is a Christy Award Finalist, a Carol Award Finalist and an IRCC Award finalist.

The Lassoed in Texas Series, Petticoat Ranch, Calico Canyon and Gingham Mountain. Petticoat Ranch was a Carol Award Finalist. Calico Canyon was a Christy Award Finalist and a Carol Award Finalist. These three books are now contained in one large volume called Lassoed in Texas Trilogy.

The Montana Marriages Series, Montana Rose, The Husband Tree and Wildflower Bride. Montana Rose was a Carol Award Finalist.

Cowboy Christmas—the 2010 Carol Award for Best Long Historical Romance, and an Inspirational Readers Choice Contest Finalist.

The Sophie's Daughters series. Doctor in Petticoats, Wrangler in Petticoats, Sharpshooter in Petticoats.

She is also the author of; Black Hills Blessing a 3-in-1 collection of sweet contemporary romances, Nosy in Nebraska, a 3-in-1 collection of cozy romantic mysteries and she's one of the three authors contributing to Alaska Brides with her Carol Award Winning historical romance Golden Days.  


In 1866 Colorado, Ethan Kincaid agrees to a marriage of convenience with the same casual disregard he gives every decision. Audra Gilliland, young mother of two, accepts his proposal because she wants to stop being a burden to her newly married stepdaughter. And suddenly both of them are in far deeper than they'd planned.

Ethan doesn't expect Audra to affect him so profoundly, and when she begins to, he's terrified of the pain he's felt before when someone he loved was seriously injured on his watch. He's determined that his new wife will do as he says so he can keep her safe from the dangers that lurk on their ranch. Audra has been cared for all her life by one man or another--and they've done a poor job of it. Now she's planning to stand up for herself. And her new husband had better agree or get out of her way!

What will it take to transform two wayward hearts fearful of getting in too deep into two trusting hearts ready to risk falling deeply in love?

If you would like to read the first chapter of In Too Deep, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Ruth's Redemtion: Some Thoughts

I was intrigued by the idea of a novel which centered around the lives of slaves- not my usual fare- but then again author Marlene Banks takes on this uncomfortable and ugly blemish of American history with grace, dignity and authenticity.  She tells a great story of love, and redemption in which the characters reflect the story of Ruth (loosely) but in a refreshing way.

Ms. Banks knows her history and tells a wonderful story.  So I just thought I'd say so.

Good job Moody publishers.  :)

My earlier post gives more information.  Read the first chapter!! :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ruth's Redemption
Moody Publishers/Lift Every Voice (February 1, 2012)
Marlene Banks


 Marlene Banks has worked 30+ years combined in nursing and the business arena.  Her goal as a writer is to create inspiring, gripping and realistic stories with an emphasis on African American literature.  She believes her gift and desire to write is from God and desires to use it to fulfill His purposes.  Marlene lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where she is a member of Bethel Deliverance International Church.


Set in the 1800s, Ruth's Redemption, is an unusual depiction of the lives of slaves and free blacks in pre-Civil War America. Bo, a main character, was educated while a slave. He was given his freedom and now owns a farm buying slaves for the sole purpose of giving them their freedom.

Bo is also a man of God and widower whose life is destined to change when he meets the proud and hard-hearted slave girl, Ruth. Ruth has known nothing but servitude and brutality since being separated from her mother at age thirteen. Purchased and sold primarily for breeding, Ruth struggles to adjust to life outside of bondage. She wants no part of Bo's Godly devotion. Yet Bo is unlike any man she's known and her experiences with him will leave her forever changed.

A gripping slave era novel, Ruth's Redemption is a story of love, forgiveness, and redemption. Set against the backdrop of the Nat Turner Rebellion in Tidewater, Virginia, this novel shines the light of God's unconditional love in the darkness of a culture's cruel socially accepted inhumanity.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ruth's Redemption, go HERE.