Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Scarlet Cord biblical fiction book review


The Scarlet Cord
By Carlene Havel and Sharon Faucheux
Prism Book Group, September 2014
Biblical Fiction

ISBN 978-1940099699
Print $13.99
Ebook $3.99

About the Book:
Rahab, a resourceful beauty, struggles to survive in the pagan culture of ancient Jericho. As years of harsh labor begin to lift her and her family from poverty, a foreign army threatens the well-fortified city. Rahab is forced to make an immediate decision. Will she put her faith in the fabled walls of Jericho or the powerful God of the Hebrews? Either choice may cost her life.

My review:
Wonderfully researched, beautifully written, lovingly shared…this version of the story of one of the more elusive biblical characters is a treat for those who love fiction based on short facts known about documented people.

Rahab, called by several discourteous terms in the account of Joshua’s capture of the city of Jericho. She is a sympathetic person, and perhaps her family and descendants embody acceptance and forgiveness, mercy and love in a way the pen strokes of God’s law do not.

Canaanites occupying the Promised Land were wary of the mysterious Hebrew tribes, escaped former slaves from Egypt, marching across the land, conquering mighty kingdoms in their way, worshiping an unseen and powerful force. Rumors were rampant, and when their path led through the mighty city of Jericho, only one family was destined for salvation.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer's Sizzlin' with Competition


Summer's Sizzlin'
Vote for your Fave!

Scroll through these THREE new reads and vote below
for which you'd pick up first to read while sippin' iced tea.
It'll be a tough choice! But somebody's gotta do it. May as well be you!


Almost Like Being in Love by Beth K. Vogt

She’s won an all-expenses-paid, luxurious wedding — all she needs now is the groom! Winning a destination wedding would be a dream come true … if Caron Hollister and her boyfriend, Alex were already engaged — and if her ex-boyfriend, Kade, wasn’t back in her life, causing her to wonder “what if?” when she thought she was ready to say “I do” to someone else.


Rescue Me by Sandy Nadeau

Risking her life to save him is easy. Risking her heart to give him a second chance is impossible.


River Rest by Susan Page Davis

Unable to depend on her father to heal the crumbling family, Judith is afraid to trust the mysterious neighbor, Ben, who lives with his own grief. When Ben is injured, she is the only one who can help him.


If you have trouble viewing the entire survey, click here to load a dedicated page to the survey.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Featuring the 2016 Clash of The Titles Laurel Award Winner



This year, At First Sight took home Clash of the Titles's sixth annual Laurel Award. Over the course of six weeks, the novel's first chapters were read and judged by avid readers of Christian fiction who determined At First Sight to be the worthiest to receive the 2016 Laurel Award.

Clash of the Titles extends a heartfelt congratulations to author Delia Latham for her exemplary writing. We wish God's richest blessings on her future work.

About At First Sight :

Reagan Massey has gone through a great deal of trouble to make her cousin irresistible to the visiting single minister but things get a little sticky when Reagan falls in love with Cord Phillips herself…

Cord doesn’t believe in marital bliss after seeing the mockery his parents made of their vows. He’s promised himself he’ll live as the Apostle Paul lived, dedicating himself solely to God. When his heart turns traitor, Cord has to completely rethink his position on love.

Things around Riverbend House of Worship take on some humorous, heart-touching, soul-stirring twists and turns, with Reagan and Cord so busy getting in God’s way that they can’t see the path He has laid out for them to travel…together.

At First Sight is part of the Pure Amore bundle of 12 novels that celebrate purity. Use the code Laurel2016 to receive the bundle at 50% OFF. (expires 31 July 2016)



Delia in her own words:

A born-and-bred California gal, I grew up in a little community called Weedpatch. Nope, that's not a typo. It's a few miles southeast of Bakersfield, and in the...well, I won't say how many years since I left there...Weedpatch has even found its way onto a map or two.

Writing has been my passion since third grade, when I won an essay writing contest and took home the coveted prize: a beautiful bed doll with an overstuffed pink, quilted satin skirt. Remember them? Huge, padded skirts, some (like mine) with flat cardboard bottoms to accommodate display. The doll's feet were hidden away somewhere in all that finery, never again to see the light of day. These fancy ladies were most often used as centerpieces for beds, and that's where mine went - smack in the middle of my unimposing bed in my unmatched, Salvation Army-furnished bedroom. It was the most elegant item I had ever owned, and I was one proud little lassie. (Ahem ... surely someone else remembers those dollies?)​

Winning that contest made a profound impact on my young psyche - enough so that I never stopped writing. From those first little songs and poems and (very bad) short stories, I graduated to Staff Writer for a large daily newspaper; freelanced for an upper-scale regional magazine; and finally began writing fiction...which was my goal all along.

Connect with Delia online:


Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Fiction from Victoria Minks


About the Book:
Fourteen year old Olivia Wilkerson is left desolate and grieving when her patriot father passes away. Directed by his will to be placed in the care of an old friend, Olivia is forced to venture away from all she’s ever known to make her new life among people who are strangers to her. 

Unaware of the new responsibility about to be thrust on him, Jonas Carmichael lives the life of a reclusive in an attempt to ignore the painful memories of the past. His heart has grown hard and bitter over the past thirty years of solitude, and his hatred towards people has only multiplied. 

Suddenly burdened with Olivia, Jonas’s only burning desire is to shove the girl off on somebody else. But Olivia, still suffering from her loss, is only looking for someone to love her as her father did-- and soon realizes that there is more to Jonas than meets the eye.

With the Revolutionary War pressing closer around Jonas’s secluded bubble of safety and threatening to burst it at any moment, Jonas discovers that there are choices to be made--choices that will not only affect himself but those around him as well. 

Book information
Inspirational historical fiction
Trade Paper ISBN: 978-0996993821

Ebook coming soon

Buy on Amazon

My review:
This young lady connected with me in plenty of time before her release to ask if I'd be interested in helping her promote her new book and possibly review. I really should stop hesitating over DIY author requests, as Ms. Minks proves.

Jonas and Olivia is on the surface a simple story about orphaned hearts healing together through a special faith and unconditional love. There is angst, natural grief and a fair amount of grumping from each of the principal characters as they adjust to their changing lifestyle; for Jonas it's a thirty-year wake-up; for Ishmael, the silent servant, it's a journey of several years, and for Olivia, the catalyst character, it's a mere few days. A lot can happen in a fortnight.

Minks shares the theme of her historical novel well in her summary, so I won't elaborate. The story is told through multiple viewpoints, but primarily through Olivia and Jonas's perspectives. I hadn't reread the summary and mistakenly thought the story might be a romance until I realized Jonas was a contemporary of her father and not a romantic figure despite being portrayed as almost a Heathcliff-type character, but that was my fault. Olivia might be an orphaned teen, but even in grief and fear, her maturity shows others who have more reason to feel alone through choice or circumstances that we are never abandoned. As a historian I also scrambled to fact check a couple of aspects of daily life and was pleased to see that all was very much in order.

For such a young author, Minks has done extremely well, showing an understanding of story and character, an excellent grasp of language, grammar and punctuation with only minor lapses I don't even count on mature writers to display, myself included. Well done. Recommended for those who love daily life in the Revolutionary War era in American history, and for any age reader, probably avid readers preteen and up.

A brief interview with the author

Victoria, what do you love about this book? 
I love the characters. Maybe Jonas the best, but they all have a special place in my heart! 

Share two things you learned while writing it.
Well as far as writing goes, probably that sometimes you need to take a step back and actually pay attention to your characters, to dig a little deeper. And an important life lesson I learned: To stay dedicated and focused on what God has you doing right now, even when you might want to do other things or you get annoyed with what you're supposed to be working on.

What you hope readers will tell others? 
Oh you know, I've never thought about this! I hope that people who read my book will say "It seemed so real" or "They're the kind of characters that you can't soon forget". But that's a lot to ask. ;) I'd be satisfied with a "I thought it was a pretty nice read" too. 

What you're working on next? 
I have a few things planned. The next one to be published will probably be another Revolutionary War book. It's about a young midwife and involves lots of secrets and twisty subplots. The theme is how courage comes in many different forms, and how we must stand for right even if we stand alone. 

That sounds fascinating, Victoria. Thanks for sharing with us today and congratulations on your books. Victoria is also the author of a short story collection titled The Wind Chimes and Other Christmas Stories, available from Kindle for .99.

About the Author:
Victoria Minks is an everyday teenage MK in Japan, with oodles of daydreams and ideas. She loves historical fiction, chocolate, music, horses, and old books, and firmly believes that there is whimsy and beauty in any day. She was saved at age 5 and desires to write for God's glory. visit  www.victoriaminks.com.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Giveaway New Romance Through Raging Waters with Renee Blare

If Mother Nature has her way, Timber Springs will never be the same... 

A warm spring and early rainstorms melt the snowpack. Spring runoff compounded by the storm of the century sends Timber Springs into a tailspin.

Tossed into the role of rescuer, local pharmacist Paul Fitzgerald must face his past before the whole world falls apart. While he fights to contain the beast around him, he finds his steadfast control slipping through his fingers. And life…everyone’s life…hangs by a thread once again. 

She isn’t a hero. Melissa Hampton has her own demons to battle. After she learns of her mysterious beginnings amidst her mother’s keepsakes, she faces more than just the river rushing outside her door. Now, she must discern friend from foe…but as waters rise and tension climbs within Timber Springs, she needs to rise to the challenge or lose the only man she's ever loved.

Can two people find each other through raging waters? 

$3.99 eBook
Buy on Amazon 

A brief interview with Renee

Renee, what do you love about this book?
I love the pace of Through Raging Waters. Some may say that it’s fast-paced, but I can tell you from experience that my life is like this book. I rarely have time to breathe. I rely solely on the Lord for my peace and strength and this book is a clear reflection of that.

Share two things you learned while researching this book.
I wrote a lot of Through Raging Waters from personal experience but I researched a lot of the helicopter scenes. I discovered quite a bit about how they are used in logging operations as well as rescue. They are extremely versatile pieces of equipment. Some don’t even have keys, but others do…mainly for the doors.

Introduce us to one of the characters.
I’d like you to meet Ashley Morrison or Ajax as she prefers to be called. Ajax is an old pharmacy classmate of Paul Fitzgerald’s. She’s also his deceased fiancee’s sister. Ajax brings quite a bit of baggage with her to Timber Springs when Paul calls her to town as relief for the pharmacy while he gallivants off to the mountains. And that baggage is very, very heavy.

What are you reading now?
I’m actually reading biblical fiction more now. It’s kind of strange but the stories of biblical times have really piqued my interest.

What’s next for you?
I’ve accepted a promotion at the pharmacy I work for and I’m busier than ever. We’ve relocated in my wonderful state. I’m still unpacking boxes as we speak! I’m also releasing two novellas this year! In addition, I’ve broke ground on Book 3. As you can see, life is never dull around the Blare House. LOL What’s NOT next?

Renee has offered to give away an electronic copy of Through Raging Waters to one of our guests. I'll draw from those who comment on the morning of July 26 by noon.

About Renee:
Raised in Louisiana and Wyoming, Renee started writing poetry in junior high school. After having her son, a desire to attend pharmacy school sent her small family to the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and she's been counting pills ever since. While writing's her first love, well, after the Lord and husband, she also likes to fish and hunt as well as pick away on her classical guitar.

Nestled in the foothills of the Wind River Mountains with her husband, crazy dogs and ornery cat, she continues to serve her community as a pharmacist while penning her Christian stories any chance she can get. She loves to interact with readers and invites you check out her website, blog, and social media.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Featuring: Mail Order Surprise by Lucy Thompson


About the book:
Colorado, 1881. Lydia Walsh is on the run. The quiet rancher she marries and expected to find safety and protection with turns out to have three siblings, next to nothing to live on, and is a crack shot who may or may not be one of the states best cattle rustlers.

Beau Harding wants to keep his family together and do the right thing by them. His mail order bride comes with her own set of baggage: two more mouths to feed and empty hearts begging him to fill. The job he took for some quick money gets him thrown in jail for rustling, and then to clear his name he takes on another job--and learns that his wife may have been the one plotting his family’s downfall all along.

What COTT voters had to say:
~Waiting to get a chance to read it Lucy
~Lucy Thompson, Great title, great cover!
~Mrs. Lucy Thompson, we wish you the best.
~Lucy Thompson is not only a wonderful author but I've been blessed to being able to get to know her through Facebook. God bless you Lucy. Hope you win.'
~Lucy Thompson, loved the book.
~Beautiful cover picture and a great book Lucy Thompson!
~YAY Lucy Thompson. Keep up the good work!
~Lucy Thompson, I can't wait to read your novel Mail Order Surprise. It is the next book I will read. All the best for your future releases.

About the author:
Lucy Thompson is a stay-at-home mum to five precocious children by day and a snoop by night, stalking interesting characters through historical settings, and writing about their exploits.

She enjoys meeting new people from all over the world and learning about the craft of writing. When she can be separated from her laptop, she is a professional time waster on facebook.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Carlene Havel and Love Keeps No Wrongs

St. Paul took a whole chapter in I Corinthians listing various hallmarks of love. Rather than attempt a pat definition, he revealed some of love’s many facets, turning it over and over as one might a brilliant, perfectly-cut diamond.

Since love is such a broad topic, let’s zero in on one aspect—romantic love. When a special person makes the heart beat faster, regardless of the season of life, we begin to question our emotions. Am I in love? How will I know when it happens? How can I be sure when it is the real thing? Living a few years teaches us romantic love is accompanied with tender feelings, but that “gushy” feeling alone is not enough to stand the test of time. Love is more. Real romance involves two people who care enough for each to put the other ahead of themselves. In a “me first” instant gratification world, that kind of commitment is rare. Yet it is the kind of giving, sharing love we hunger for at our very core.

Do I love him? Does he love me? A simple test would be to consider each of the characteristics of love from I Corinthians. Are we kind to each other? Are we patient with each other? And so on.   Many heartbreaks could be avoided by thinking through that Biblical checklist, and turning away from a relationship with too many “no” answers. Another person’s love is not directly measurable.  We can’t take out a yardstick and see how it stacks up. Instead, we observe love by its impact. Oscar Hammerstein II is credited with this little rhyme that captures a singular way of looking at love:   

A bell is not a bell till you ring it.
A song is not a song till you sing it.
Love in your heart isn’t put there to stay.
Love isn’t love till you give it away.”

Prism Book Group’s “Love Is…” series takes its inspiration from I Corinthians chapter 13.  Eventually there will be a short novel that takes its theme from one of the aspects of true love. My contribution to this series is Evidence Not Seen inspired by “Love keeps no record of wrongs.” Or, if you prefer the lyrical language of the old King James translation, “thinketh no evil.” I hope those who read my story find it to be true to that sentiment.  

In the final analysis, we are left with faith, hope, and love. What a marvelous trilogy! And the greatest, of course, is love. May we all practice it faithfully, daily, unrelentingly. Love never fails.
Check out Carlene’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…

Evidence Not Seen
“Love keeps no record of wrongs…” 1 Corinthians: 13:5

Although attorney Jeff Galloway’s career is in high gear, his personal life is a mess. Just before his father returns home from a 27-year stretch in prison, his girlfriend dumps him. When a chance encounter begins to blossom into new romance, soft-hearted Melanie Clark encourages Jeff to find a way to forgive his father’s long absence.

My review:
A not-so-secret family secret leads to the lifetime estrangement of a young man from his father. Devotion to his mother justifies Jeff’s choice to keep utter disillusionment and resentment for his imprisoned dad shining bright all his adult life. Given his professional career as an attorney, Jeff has faith in the system, and there was never any hint to believe any other way than his father is a criminal, guilty of a hefty bank theft. The money was never found. When his father’s sentence is up, Jeff reluctantly collects him from jail and brings him back home where he witnesses a strangely joyful reunion between his parents. No condemnation, no shame, just joy.

Jeff’s position allows for financial comfort, and when he meets a young social worker set out to right the wrongs of society, he’s intrigued. The first chance encounter through a private office party turns into more encounters and a rescue operation for an errand of mercy and a strange connection with one of Melanie’s young clients. Jeff enjoys Melanie’s tactics to do the best she can and even attempts to overcome his lifelong unreasonable hatred of hospitals. As the two begin to spend more time together, Jeff realizes everything in his life has been an illusion. Not only is Jeff encouraged to forgive the past, he’s encouraged to look at his father from a different angle and in so doing, he is able to find and live with newfound purpose.

I loved this couple, their growing respect for each other, Jeff’s developing character and his ability to hurdle the barriers he’s set up for himself. Sometimes we have to explore why we believe what we do, not just our faith in God, but our faith in each other, even when misguided. Not everything is what it seems, and Jeff is able to journey toward a more healthy place with Melanie’s unconditional love. Told mostly through Jeff’s viewpoint with an occasional dip into his mother’s perspective, this addition to the Love Is novellas explores the theme of “keeping no record of wrongs” in a fresh and compelling way. Great short read that felt well-paced and complete.

Enjoy this short excerpt:

.     “Melanie!” The urge to sweep her into his arms was so strong he didn’t trust himself to move. “I brought you flowers,” he said at last. He half expected a smart alack response.
Instead, her brilliant smile made his knees feel weak. This can’t be happening, he thought. Is this what it feels like to fall in love?