Thursday, July 31, 2014

Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade -- One of My Top Picks for 2014!

I read Becky Wade’s novel, Meant to be Mine, earlier this summer and loved it, and when I had read the last page, I was sad I had to say goodbye to Celia and Ty, and adorable little Addie, Celia’s daughter.

I posted right away on Facebook how much I loved the book, and emailed the author saying the same. But before I could write an official review, life got in the way and I’m only now reviewing this wonderful book. If you like a romance that digs beneath the surface of its characters, involves a serious subject but also injects humor at just the right time, and includes a cowboy hero, then this book is for you.

Celia Park’s first crush was Ty Porter. That was in high school when she was shy and too afraid to make her feelings known to the hunk. Fast forward a few years to when the story begins. She’s on a getaway to Vegas with a girlfriend, and they learn that Ty is in town at a rodeo event. On a whim, they go to the arena and reconnect with him after the rodeo. Next thing she knows she’s out on the town with him and, before the night is over, they get hitched in a cheesy chapel. The next morning Celia is in shock at her new married status but already enjoying the returned feelings of attraction to Ty. Then reality hits her. Ty says it was a mistake. He doesn’t want to be married. He travels a lot and he has someone at home he plans to marry whenever he settles down.

To quote the back of the book blurb. “Five and half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so she can raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again in the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.” What is going on? She still uses his last name and this child couldn’t be his!

The next pages of the story are as wild as taking a spin on a rank bull.

As a rodeo fan and a person who never passes up an opportunity to attend a Professional Bull Rider event, I offered to read the book for a review. And I came away a new Becky Wade fan and wanting more of Ty and Celia’s story. Ms. Wade has a knack of making the reader love her characters, even one like Celia and her stubborn ways. And to give her an endearing little girl like Addie who will charm any reader’s heart into loving children, even if they don’t.

There’s plenty of rodeo scenes to please the cowboy and rodeo enthusiasts, but there is also romance and a dose of women’s fiction as well. I highly recommend this book.

About the Author:

Becky makes her home in Dallas, Texas with her husband, three children, and one adoring (and adored) cavalier spaniel. Her CBA debut, My Stubborn Heart, was a finalist in both the RITA and INSPY awards.  Undeniably Yours kicked off her Texas-set Porter Family series.  Her newest contemporary romance, Meant to Be Mine, has just hit shelves!

I was given a complementary copy of this book by the publisher for purposes of review. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Miting - A Unique Amish Novel That Will Have You Thinking

I first met debut author, Dee Yoder, when we shared an agent. Over those years I became intrigued with her heart for the Amish and concerns that many of them had not truly found a personal faith in God. Her husband comes from Amish stock and, together, they have reached out to young Amish that have chosen to step away from their Amish roots because of all the rules and regulations, etc.

Even though I'm not a fan of Amish stories, I couldn't wait for Dee's new book, The Miting, to come out because I knew she would delve into areas that many of the Amish novels today don't. Just days after receiving my copy of her book in the mail, I began reading it and couldn't stop until I'd finished the last page. The next thing I did was email Dee to ask her when the next book was coming out.

Leah is seventeen and Amish. Like many her age, she has lots of questions, but the temporary flight of freedom known as rumspringen is not the answer for her. She does not desire Englisher fashion, all-night parties, movies, or lots of boyfriends. Leah is seeking to understand her relationship with God, to deepen and broaden her faith by joining a Bible study hosted by an ex-Amish couple. She wants to know why Amish life is the only lifestyle her family accepts, why the church has so many rules, and . . . most disturbing, how godly men can allow her best friend to be abused in her own home. In the pressure-cooker environment of church and family, Leah is not allowed to ask these questions. When finally she reaches the breaking point, she walks away from the Old Order Amish life that is all she has known. Though adapting amiably to the Englisher world, Leah is tormented with homesickness. Returning to the community, however, entails a journey of pain and sorrow Leah could never have imagined. The miting--shunning--that will now be Leah's unendurable oppression every day is beyond her most devoted attempts to believe or understand. All the bishop and her family ask is that she abandon her practice of reading the Bible. Is that a price she is willing to pay?

I loved how Dee treated the Amish in her story with great respect even though the story portrayed Leah's family in a difficult light. Leah never stopped loving her family even though she came to the conclusion she had to leave them if she was ever going to know the truth she was seeking.

I highly recommend reading this book. Even if you are not a fan of Amish stories, I think you'll enjoy this story as I have. Published by Kregel Publishing, The Miting is available at your favorite brick and mortar store or on line at Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both print and ebook formats.

I received a review copy of The Miting from the publisher for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

About the Author:

Dee Yoder's fiction is based on the lives of her former-Amish friends. She is actively involved in the Mission to Amish People minsitry as a mentor, volunteer, and author. In addition to writing over eighty short stories, her coming-of-age novel, The Powerful Odor of Mendacity, won the FaithWriters Page Turner contest in 2011. Dee lives in central Ohio.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Spring Has Sprung and the Boats are Back in Lake Geneva!

The boats are visible, lined up at the docks in this shot of the beach.

I posted on The Barn Door blog earlier this week about the Lake Geneva Cruise Line's boat returning
to their summer home at the Riviera docks in Lake Geneva. What a joy it was to see pics of their beautiful excursion boat moving through waters that were finally free of ice!

Below is the beginning of my blog post. Click on the link to go to the actual blog where you can see pictures of the fleet.

As most Barn Door contributors can attest to, we in the Midwest have never been so anxious for spring as we’ve been this year, and it was very late in coming. Here in the Chicago area, just a week ago, we had another bout of measurable snow. It was mostly gone by the next day but even so, we were not happy campers!

Finally, by Easter weekend, the temperatures had warmed, and one sure sign of spring for me was when I checked the webcam that overlooks my hometown of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin’s lake front and saw  the excursion boats had returned to start another season of tours of the lakeshore. 

Read more ....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I'm Coming Out of Hibernation!! -

It's been a long and cold winter around my parts and with the Polar Vortex bearing down, I kind of put this blog into hibernation. But now I'm back and intend bring this site back to life with posts I write on other sites, book reviews, author interviews--stay tuned!

I haven't been totally off the grid as I contribute to several other blogs on a monthly basis. I thought I'd start with cross posting an article I posted at Novel Rocket earlier this week that was written by Ramona Richards, Senior Acquisitions Editor at Abingdon Press.

The Reality of an Author’s Legacy – What 
We Will Leave Behind
By Ramona Richards

Julie L. Cannon
Julie L. Cannon cared, deeply, about many things. Her family. Her God. Her art. In fact, she cared so much for God and the depth of her faith that she refused to take them out of her art. This cost Julie far more than many people realized, as she turned from releasing best-selling books with mainstream publishers to books written from her heart for the Christian market.

Read More ...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Diann Hunt - A Legacy in Grace, Humor, and Faith

I have been AWOL from this blog for about two months or so. Blame it on a packed schedule of editing my current WIP, preparing for the ACFW 2014 Genesis Writing Contest that I oversee, and life in general.

One very precious and important lady has drawn me out of hiding. Today, a number of ACFW members are paying tribute to fellow author, Diann Hunt, who recently passed away.

Diann was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer about five years ago. For a short while, she went into remission, and then it returned. I lost my best friend to the same cancer about ten years ago. Mary Ann died eleven months, almost to the day, after her diagnosis. I thought with Diann it would probably be about the same

But it wasn't.

God's timing is always what prevails, and He kept her alive for several more years. How long? I can't remember exactly, but during that roller coaster time of good and bad spells, she wrote several more books, including contributions to the Smitten novella anthologies, published by Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson. The other authors in that series are Di's nearest and dearest friends, Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Denise Hunter.

She also ministered to many, often writing emails to them from her sickbed, encouraging them in their own struggles with cancer and
other ills. Diann was not only an author and dear friend of many, but a wife, mother, and grandmother. Many are grieving, but none as much as her daughter Amber, son Aaron, and husband Jim. Please keep them all in your prayers. Christmas was Di's favorite time, and their loss will be strongly felt this Christmas.

The number of books Di wrote are too numerous to mention here but Ane Mulligan managed to list quite a few on her blog .

The covers shown here are a couple of Di's books I've not read, but ordered after she died. For Better or Worse is being made into a Hallmark movie and will be on the Hallmark channel in July! Love Letters in the Sand is set during World War II, and then later in the 50s. 

Check them and other Diann Hunt books out for yourself and maybe pick up a few to read . You won't be disappointed.