Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by Joyce Magnin

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow

(Abingdon Press - September 2009)


Joyce Magnin


Joyce Magnin is the author of short fiction and personal experience articles. She co-authored the book, Linked to Someone in Pain. She has been published in such magazines as Relief Journal, Parents Express, Sunday Digest, and Highlights for Children.

Joyce attended Bryn Mawr College and is a member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship. She is a frequent workshop leader at various writer’s conferences and women’s church groups.

She has three children, Rebekah, Emily, and Adam; one grandson, Lemuel Earnest; one son-in-law, Joshua, and a neurotic parakeet who can’t seem to keep a name. Joyce leads a small fiction group called StoryCrafters. She enjoys baseball, football, cream soda, and needle arts but not elevators. She currently lives in Havertown, Pennsylvania.

The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is her first published novel.


The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow is the story of an unusual woman, Agnes Sparrow. No longer able or willing to leave her home, where she is cared for by her long-suffering sister Griselda, Agnes has committed her life to the one thing she can do-besides eat. Agnes Sparrow prays and when Agnes prays things happen, including major miracles of the cancer, ulcer-healing variety along with various minor miracles not the least of which is the recovery of lost objects and a prize-winning pumpkin.

The rural residents of Bright's Pond are so enamored with Agnes they plan to have a sign erected on the interstate that reads, "Welcome to Bright's Pond, Home of Agnes Sparrow." This is something Agnes doesn't want and sends Griselda to fight city hall.

Griselda's petitions are shot down and the sign plans press forward until a stranger comes to town looking for his miracle from Agnes. The truth of Agnes's odd motivation comes out when the town reels after a shocking event. How could Agnes allow such evil in their midst? Didn't she know?

Well, the prayers of Agnes Sparrow have more to do with Agnes than God. Agnes has been praying to atone for a sin committed when she was a child. After some tense days, the townsfolk, Griselda, and Agnes decide they all need to find their way back to the true source of the miracles-God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow, go HERE.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this debut novel by Joyce Magnin. She has the knack for creating quirky and memorable characters, which this novel offers aplenty. You'll experience small town life in all it's "ho hum-ness", but you'll also be thrown for a loop when the unexpected comes to town.

I liked Agnes, but I have to say that Griselda was my favorite character. Although Griselda was loyal to a fault to her sister, I was glad to see her get a chance to spread her wings a bit. More Bright's Pond books are coming and I can't wait to see what happens next for her.

I felt that the ending to this book was perfect...and as you yourself read the last line I'm sure you'll agree it couldn't have ended any other way.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fields of Grace by Kim Vogel Sawyer

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Fields Of Grace

Bethany House (October 2009)


Kim Vogel Sawyer


Best-selling, award-winning author Kim Vogel Sawyer is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, singer of songs and lover of chocolate... but most importantly, she's a born-again child of the King!

A former elementary school teacher, Kim closed her classroom door in 2005 to follow God's call on her heart to write and speak. Now blessed with multiple writing contracts with Bethany House, Barbour, and Zondervan Publishing, Kim enjoys sharing her journey to publication as well as the miraculous story of her healing from a life-long burden of pain and shame.

Kim's gentle yet forthright testimony lends credence to the promise of Ps. 117:2--"Great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever."


Will their Mennonite faith be shaken or strengthened by the journey to a new land?

With their eldest son nearly to the age when he will be drafted into military service, Reinhardt and Lillian Vogt decide to immigrate to America, the land of liberty, with their three sons and Reinhardt's adopted brother, Eli. But when tragedy strikes during the voyage, Lillian and Eli are forced into an agreement neither desires.

Determined to fulfill his obligation to Reinhardt, Eli plans to see Lillian and her sons safely settled on their Kansas homestead--and he's equally determined that the boys will be reared in the Mennonite faith. What he doesn't expect is his growing affection for Lillian--and the deep desire to be part of a family.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fields Of Grace, go HERE.

Monday, September 21, 2009

One Imperfect Christmas by Myra Johnson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

One Imperfect Christmas

(Abingdon Press - September 2009)


Myra Johnson


Making up stories has been second nature to me for as long as I can remember. A select group of trusted friends back at dear old Mission High waited eagerly for the next installment of my "Great American Spy Novel" (think Man from Uncle) and my "All-American Teen Novel" (remember Gidget and Tammy?). I even had a private notebook of angst-ridden poetry a la Rod McKuen.

The dream of writing persisted into adulthood, although it often remained on the back burner while I attended to home and family and several "real" (read paying) jobs along the way. Then in 1983, while recovering from sinus surgery, I came upon one of those magazine ads for the Institute of Children’s Literature. I knew it was time to get serious, and the next thing I knew, I'd enrolled in the “Writing for Children and Teenagers” course.

Within a year or so I sold my first story, which appeared in the Christian publication Alive! for Young Teens. For many years I enjoyed success writing stories and articles for middle-graders and young adults. I even taught for ICL for 9 years.

Then my girls grew up, and there went my live-in inspiration. Time to switch gears. I began my first women's fiction manuscript and started attending Christian writers conferences. Eventually I learned about American Christian Romance Writers (which later became American Christian Fiction Writers) and couldn't wait to get involved. Friends in ACFW led me to RWA and the online inspirational chapter, Faith, Hope & Love.

So here I am today, still on this crazy roller-coaster ride. Still writing. Still hopeful. Writing, I'm learning, is not about the destination, it's about the journey. My current projects are primarily women's fiction and romance . . . novels of hope, love, and encouragement. Novels about real women living out their faith and finding love in the midst of everyday, and sometimes not so everyday, situations.


Graphic designer Natalie Pearce faces the most difficult Christmas of her life. For almost a year, her mother has lain in a nursing home, the victim of a massive stroke, and Natalie blames herself for not being there when it happened. Worse, she's allowed the monstrous load of guilt to drive a wedge between her and everyone she loves-most of all her husband Daniel. Her marriage is on the verge of dissolving, her prayer life is suffering, and she's one Christmas away from hitting rock bottom.

Junior-high basketball coach Daniel Pearce is at his wit's end. Nothing he's done has been able to break through the wall Natalie has erected between them. And their daughter Lissa's adolescent rebellion isn't helping matters. As Daniel's hope reaches its lowest ebb, he wonders if this Christmas will spell the end of his marriage and the loss of everything he holds dear.

If you would like to read the first chapter of One Imperfect Christmas, go HERE.

Watch the trailer:

My thoughts:

I always love it when Christmas fiction starts to hit the shelves each fall. I'm the kind of person who loves a good Christmas book no matter the time of year, so I was really excited to see this title offered through CFBA and just had to read it.

One Imperfect Christmas is what I'd call a double layered love story, because it tells the love story of not only of Natalie and Daniel, but of Natalie's parents Bram and Belinda as well. The mischief woven throughout the story was also a delightful addition. I did find myself getting melancholy at times during the book when the story focused on Belinda dealing with her stroke and I credit that in part to the author giving a realistic portrayal of Belinda's suffering and also to the fact that my mother is a stroke victim (she has made pretty much a full recovery in the last seven years - just a small amount of residual effects linger, thank God), and my grandmother passed away earlier this year not long after experiencing a stroke. I could also see my dad in Bram, as he seemed to experience being "lost" during the days just after my mother's stroke, the same way Bram did with Belinda. And while I did experience the sadness while reading the book, I think it made the ending a bit sweeter. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I think it'd be a perfect addition to your holiday reading this year.

Winner of "Kiss Me Again"...

is Tami! Congrats to you - and thanks for the comments everyone.

Blessings...and happy reading!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Want a chance to win three weddings and a bar mitzvah

Be sure to check out the David C. Cook Fiction Blog for a great interview with author Melody Carlson, and be sure to sign up at this link to win a copy of her latest novel three weddings and a bar mitzvah by September 21.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dawn's Prelude by Tracie Peterson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Dawn's Prelude

(Bethany House - October 2009)


Tracie Peterson


Tracie Peterson is the bestselling, award-winning author of more than 70 novels. She teaches writing workshops at a variety of conferences on subjects such as inspirational romance and historical research.

Ephesians 1:18 has become a cornerstone verse for a new non-fiction book she's been working on -- its also become a cornerstone in her life. The verse reads, "I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints."

Tracie and her family live in Belgrade, Montana.


Newly widowed Lydia Sellers discovers that through an unforeseen fluke, she is the sole recipient of her husband's fortune. But instead of granting her security, it only causes strife as her adult stepchildren battle to regain the inheritance for themselves.

Lydia, longing to put the memories of her painful marriage behind her, determines to travel to Alaska to join her aunt. Lydia's arrival in Sitka, however, brings two things she didn't expect.

One is the acquaintance of Kjell Bjorklund, the handsome owner of the sawmill. Second is the discovery that she is pregnant with her dead husband's child. What will this mean for her budding relationship with Kjell? And what lengths will her stepchildren go to reclaim their father's fortune? Lydia soon finds her life--and that of her child's--on the line.

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

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY: Kiss Me Again by Barbara Wilson

About Kiss Me Again:

Do you ever wonder why marriage can seem like the end of intimacy and sexual desire instead of the beginning?

Ever wonder why it was so hard to resist sex before marriage—and so easy to resist it now? If so, you’re not alone! Many married women genuinely want to feel more desire toward their husbands…and can’t figure out what went wrong. But there’s good news. In Kiss Me Again, Barbara Wilson shows how powerful “invisible bonds” from past relationships can cause heartache, disappointment, and distance for couples in the present. Then—with sensitivity, honesty, and hope—Barbara walks you step by step toward healing…and a rekindling of the closeness and passion with your husband that you really want.

You don’t have to live any longer with confusion, disappointment, resentment, or shame. You can rediscover desire. You can say Wow! again.

With assessment tools, write-in exercises, and gentle guidance, Kiss Me Again offers a biblical plan for rekindling the closeness and passion women long for in marriage. Because no past is beyond the reach of God’s healing touch.

In Kiss Me Again, Wilson:

· Shares her own story of healing and renewed desire
· Helps women forgive themselves and their husbands for past choices
· Shows readers how to break free from “invisible bonds”
· Explains God’s plan for helping a husband and wife to re-bond
· Includes conversation helps for both wives and their husbands
· Helps couples reignite the passion that they thought was lost

About Barbara Wilson:

Barbara is the author of The Invisible Bond and former director of sexual health education for the Alternatives Pregnancy Resource Center in Sacramento. She speaks nationwide to youth and adults with her message of sexual healing, and she teaches frequently in the women’s ministry at the multi-campus Bayside Church in Northern California. Barbara and her husband, Eric, have been married for twenty-eight years.

My thoughts:

Kiss Me Again is a very thorough and informative guide to healing the hurts of a sexual past, and the use of personal examples is key to the message of the forgiveness that can be found in that healing. I definitely saw some things in a whole new way, and it helped me to understand things on a whole deeper level. The ten-week study guide in the rear of the book, which also includes a great deal of Scriptures, looks to be a great way to easily manage the wealth of vital information provided in the pages of this book. I think Kiss Me Again would be a valuable resource not only for those wanting to be free of the sometimes overwhelming feelings that sexual baggage can bring into a marriage, but for anyone who works in women's ministry.

Would you like a chance to win a copy of this book?

I have the privilege of giving away one copy of Kiss Me Again, thanks to Multnomah Publishers. If you'd like to win and you're a US resident, please leave a comment that INCLUDES YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION (you at yoohoo dot com) by midnight Sunday (September 20th, 2009), and I will announce/contact the winner on September 21st.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Winner of "Stray Affections"

According to the sequence the random sequence generator spit out (1,4,3,2), today's winner is the lovely CeeCee!

Thanks so much for stopping by everyone, I really appreciate your taking time to comment.

Have a great week - and happy reading!

Tidings of Great Boys by Shelley Adina

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Tidings of Great Boys

(FaithWords - September 8, 2009)


Shelley Adina

Award-winning author Shelley Adina wrote her first teen novel when she was 13. It was rejected by the literary publisher to whom she sent it, but he did say she knew how to tell a story. That was enough to keep her going through the rest of her adolescence, a career, a move to another country, a B.A. in Literature, an M.A. in Writing Popular Fiction, and countless manuscript pages.

Shelley is a world traveler and pop culture junkie with an incurable addiction to designer handbags. She writes books about fun and faith--with a side of glamour. Between books, Shelley loves traveling, playing the piano and Celtic harp, watching movies, and making period costumes.


Finals week is approaching and Mac is still undecided on where to spend the holidays. Normally she'd go home to Scotland, but spending two weeks alone in the castle with her dad isn't as appealing as it used to be. So she invites Carly, Lissa, Gillian, and Shani to join her for the holidays!

Mac is determined to make this the best Christmas ever. She even decides to organize the traditional Hogmany dance for New Year's Eve. If she can get her mother involved in the dance, maybe her parents will finally get back together.

But when Mac and the girls arrive in Scotland, they are faced with bad news: the castle is falling apart and Mac's parents are struggling financially. Not only that, but Shani is in big trouble with Prince Rashid's royal family. Can the girls find a way to celebrate the holidays, get Mac's parents back together, save the castle, and rescue Shani from her relentless pursuers? There's only one way to find out...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Tidings of Great Boys, go HERE.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Blog Tour & GIVEAWAY: Stray Affections by Charlene Ann Baumbich

About Stray Affections:

The last thing that Cassandra Higgins expects out of her Sunday is to be mesmerized at a collectors’ convention by a snowglobe. She’s enjoying some shopping time, with husband Ken at home tending their brood of four young boys, when she’s utterly charmed by the one-of-a kind globe containing figures of three dogs and a little girl with hair the color of her own. She can’t resist taking the unique globe home– even if means wrestling another shopper for it!

The beautiful snowglobe sparks long-dormant memories for Cassie, of her beloved Grandpa Wonky, the stray she rescued as a child, and the painful roots of her combative relationship with her mother, “Bad Betty” Kamrowski. Life in Wanonishaw , Minnesota is never dull, though, and Cassie keeps the recollections at bay, busy balancing her boys, her home daycare operation, and being a good friend to best pal Margret. But after a strange–flurrious, as Cassie deems it–moment happens with the remarkable snowglobe, Cassie and the people she loves are swirled into a tumultuous, yet grace-filled, and life-changing journey.

With the quirky, close-knit Midwestern small-town feel that made Charlene Ann Baumbich’s acclaimed Dearest Dorothy novels so popular, Stray Affections invites you to experience the laughter and the healing of second chances.

About Charlene Ann Baumbich:

Charlene Ann Baumbich is a popular author and speaker and an award-winning journalist. In addition to her Dearest Dorothy series of novels, she has written seven nonfiction books of humor and inspiration. A bungee-jumping, once motorcycle-owning grandma and unabashed dog lover, Charlene lives with her husband and rescued dog Kornflake in Glen Ellyn , Illinois . She loves telling stories, laughing whenever possible, and considers herself a Wild Child of God.

Be sure to check this out:
Charlene's introduction to Stray Affections on YouTube

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book - from the clever title to the satisfying end where the reader will discover that the love of a good man and a good dog (or dogs) can change the most unchangeable heart. This book would make a lovely gift for any fiction-loving, canine-adoring friend in your life. Be sure to check out the edible extras in the back of the book, too...yum-o!

Would you like a chance to win a copy of this book?

I have the privilege of giving away one copy of Stray Affections, thanks to Waterbrook Press. If you'd like to win and you're a US resident, please leave a comment that INCLUDES YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION (you at yoohoo dot com) by midnight Sunday (September 13th, 2009), and I will announce/contact the winner on September 14th.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Justice Game by Randy Singer

About The Justice Game:

After the target of an investigative report storms a Virginia Beach news studio, he executes one of the anchors on live television before the SWAT team is able to take him down. Following the victim’s funeral, her family files a lawsuit against the gun company who manufactured the killer’s weapon of choice.

The lawyers for the plaintiff and defendant—Kelly Starling and Jason Noble—are young, charismatic, and highly successful. They’re also easy blackmail targets, each harboring a personal secret so devastating it could destroy their careers.

Millions of dollars—and more than a few lives—are at stake. But as Kelly and Jason battle each other, they discover that the real fight is with unseen forces intent on controlling them both

My thoughts:

Randy Singer is always good for gripping legal suspense and The Justice Game is no exception. Gun control, shadow juries, blackmail...lots of behind the scenes happenings that will keep you turning pages. I had at least four people pegged for the blackmailer...and each one was wrong...and my being wrong makes this book just right. Randy is certainly at the top of his game in this one, as I think this is one of the best legal thrillers I've read in quite some time.

Review copy generously provided by Debbie Lykins at Side Door Communications.

Find out more on the web:
Randy Singer
Side Door Communications

Friday, September 11, 2009

Danger at the Door by Michelle Sutton

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Danger At The Door

(Desert Breeze - September, 2009)


Michelle Sutton


Michelle Sutton, otherwise known as the Edgy Inspirational Author, is Editor-in-chief of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, a member of ACFW, a social worker by trade, and a prolific reader/book reviewer/blogger the rest of the time.

She lives in Arizona with her husband of nineteen years and her two teenaged sons. Michelle is also the author of It's Not about Me (2008) and It's Not About Him (Sheaf House 2009). She has nine other titles releasing over the next three years.


Upon her fiancé's death, Laney became a recluse who only left her home for emergencies. She managed to survive - barely - on food delivery service and her work-at-home job. When she tries to move on from her grief, the commemorative meal she orders is ruined. However, it leads to an unlikely friendship with an attractive man, Bojan, who speaks little English.

As he befriends Laney he continually says the wrong things, but he doesn't give up trying to win her trust. Meanwhile, she has this strange feeling of being watched and wonders if she's losing her mind.

Complicating things further, every time she leaves her house something bad happens, confirming that she is safer at home. Can Bojan convince Laney she'll be safe with him, or will his presence put her in further danger? Will he be able to protect the woman he loves before it's too late?

If you would like to read the Prologue and first Chapter of Danger At The Door, go HERE.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Creative Madness Blogoversary...with Giveaways!

A big congratulations to Margaret over at Creative Madness on her 2nd Blogoversary! She's celebrating by having some fabulous giveaways, so be sure to click on the link below to pop over to her blog and congratulate her, spread the word about her blogoversary giveaways, and sign up for some giveaways yourself.

Creative Madness 2nd Blogoversary Celebration

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just Between You and Me by Jenny B Jones

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Just Between You And Me

(Thomas Nelson - September 1, 2009)


Jenny B. Jones


I write Christian fiction with a few giggles, quite a bit of sass, and lots of crazy. My novels include the Katie Parker Production series and So Not Happening. I would also like to take credit for Twilight , but somewhere I think I read you’re not supposed to lie.

When I’m not typing my heart out (or checking email), I teach at a super-sized high school in Arkansas.

My students are constantly telling me how my teaching changes their lives and turned them away from drugs, gangs, and C-SPAN.

Okay, that’s not exactly true.

Since my current job leaves me with very little free time, I believe in spending my spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits such as:

-watching E!
-updating my status on Facebook
-catching Will Ferrell on YouTube and
-writing my name in the dust on my furniture

I’d love to hear about you, so drop me a note. Or check me out on Facebook.


The only thing scarier than living on the edge is stepping off it.
Maggie Montgomery lives a life of adventure. Her job as a cinematographer takes her from one exotic locale to the next. When Maggie's not working, she loves to rappel off cliffs or go skydiving. Nothing frightens her.

Nothing, that is, except Ivy, Texas, where a family emergency pulls her back home to a town full of bad memories, painful secrets, and people Maggie left far behind . . . for a reason.

Forced to stay longer than she intended, Maggie finds her family a complete mess, including the niece her sister has abandoned. Ten-year-old Riley is struggling in school and out of control at home. The only person who can really handle the pint-sized troublemaker is Conner, the local vet and Ivy's most eligible bachelor. But Conner and Maggie keep butting heads--he's suspicious of her and, well, she doesn't rely on anyone but herself.

As Maggie humorously fumbles her way from one mishap to another, she realizes she's going to need to ask for help from the one person who scares her the most.

To save one little girl--and herself--can Maggie let go of her fears and just trust God?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Just Between You And Me, go HERE.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Blue Enchantress by MaryLu Tyndall

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Blue Enchantress

(Barbour Books - August 1, 2009)




M. L. (MaryLu) Tyndall grew up on the beaches of South Florida loving the sea and the warm tropics. But despite the beauty around her, she always felt an ache in her soul--a longing for something more.

After college, she married and moved to California where she had two children and settled into a job at a local computer company. Although she had done everything the world expected, she was still miserable. She hated her job and her marriage was falling apart.

Still searching for purpose, adventure and true love, she spent her late twenties and early thirties doing all the things the world told her would make her happy, and after years, her children suffered, her second marriage suffered, and she was still miserable.

One day, she picked up her old Bible, dusted it off, and began to read. Somewhere in the middle, God opened her hardened heart to see that He was real, that He still loved her, and that He had a purpose for her life, if she'd only give her heart to Him completely.

She had written stories her whole life, but never had the confidence to try and get any of them published. But as God began to change her heart, He also showed her that writing had been His wonderful plan for her all along!

Her other current release in the Charles Towne Belles series includes The Red Siren.


Betrayed by the man she longed to marry, Hope Westcott is about to be auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder on an island in the Caribbean. After enduring a difficult childhood in an unloving home, Hope?s search for love and self-worth have led her down a very dangerous path. All she ever wanted was to find true love and open an orphanage where she could raise children with all the love she never experienced as a child. But how can a woman with a sordid past ever hope to run an orphanage, let alone attract the love of an honorable man?

Determined to overcome the shame of his mother's past, Nathaniel Mason worked for many years to build his own fleet of merchant ships in an effort to finally acquire the respect of Charles Towne society. Ignoring the call of God on his life to become a preacher, he forges ahead with his plans for success at a distant port in the Caribbean, when he sees a young lady he knows from Charles Towne being sold as a slave. In an effort to save Hope, he is forced to sell one of his two ships, only to discover that her predicament was caused by her own bad behavior. Angry and determined to rid himself of her as soon as possible, Nathaniel embarks on a journey that will change the course of his life.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Blue Enchantress, go HERE.

View The Book Trailer:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"Waiting On' Wednesday"

Being the middle of three sisters, I just had to read this Sister-to-Sister series by Virginia Smith. It's been a great series and I've been anxiously awaiting this third book to read Tori's story. I've really enjoyed getting to know the 'sisters' and really hate to see the series end. By the way, don't you just love the cover on this one!

About Third Time's a Charm:

Tori Sanderson has the professional opportunity of a lifetime. If she can prove she's executive material, she's in line for a big promotion. But there's only room for one new account executive, and her co-worker has his eye on the job--and on Tori. Her matchmaking sisters have a handsome handyman in mind for her. But how can she consider romance when she couldn't hold on to the one man who was supposed to love her forever--her own father? The time has come for answers, and Tori decides to search out the father who deserted her twelve years ago. While Tori may find the answers she craves, will she ever be able to love again? A heartwarming story of sisters, retail therapy, and love that endures, Third Time's a Charm is the satisfying conclusion to Virginia Smith's SISTER-TO-SISTER series.

Third Time's a Charm is published by Revell and it's set to release in January 2010.

Find out more on the web:
Virginia Smith
Revell Books
Book 1 - Stuck in the Middle
Book 2 - Age Before Beauty

"Waiting On' Wednesdays" is hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. So join in - what are you Waiting On?

The Call of Zulina by Kay Marshall Strom

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Call Of Zulina

(Abingdon Press - August 2009)


Kay Marshall Strom


Of Kay Marshall Strom’s 34 published books, four have been book club selections, nine have been translated into foreign languages, and one has been optioned for a movie.

Her writing credits also include numerous magazine articles, short stories, two prize-winning screenplays, books and stories for children, and booklets for writers. Her writing has appeared in several volumes, including More Than Conquerors, Amazing Love, The NIV Couple's Devotional Bible and The NIV Women's Devotional Bible, and The Bible for Today's Christian Woman.

Her work also is included in a number of compilations, including various books from the Stories for the Heart series. Her best-known book is Once Blind: The Life of John Newton, which is packaged with the recently released DVD Amazing Grace. She also has written several books with her husband, Dan Kline. Kay is a partner in Kline, Strom International, Inc., leaders in communication training. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon.

As an activist against modern slavery, Kay Strom takes an indirect approach to calling attention to that issue with her newest fiction title, the first of three planned in the Grace in Africa series, set in West Africa in 1787.


Grace Winslow, the daughter of a mixed marriage between an English sea captain and an African princess, is swept up in a slave revolt after she escapes the family compound to avoid an odious betrothal.

As the truth about the fortress of Zulina unfolds, Grace begins to grasp the brutality and ferocity of the family─the capture and trade of slaves.

Despite being held for ransom, viciously maimed by a runaway slave, and threatened with death, Grace sympathizes with the plight of the captives. She is especially moved by the African Cabeto’s passion, determination, and willingness to sacrifice anything, including his own life, for his people’s freedom. Leaning on the faith of her nanny Mama Muco, Grace risks everything to follow her heart.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Call Of Zulina, go HERE

Gone to Green by Judy Christie

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Gone To Green

(Abingdon Press - August 2009)


Judy Christie


Judy Pace Christie, after working as a journalist for twenty-five years, left the daily news business to open a consulting firm that works with individuals, businesses, and churches on strategies for meaningful life and work, including goal-setting, living fully, and balancing personal and professional lives. She is the author of Hurry Less, Worry Less; Hurry Less, Worry Less at Christmastime; and co-author of Awesome Altars. Judy and her husband live in northwest Louisiana.


Lois goes from being a corporate journalist at a large paper in the Midwest to the owner of The Green News-Item, a small twice-weekly newspaper in rural North Louisiana. The paper was an unexpected inheritance from a close colleague, and Lois must keep it for at least a year, bringing a host of challenges, lessons, and blessings into her life.

When Lois pulls into Green on New Year’s Day, she expects a charming little town full of smiling people. She quickly realizes her mistake. After settling into a loaned house out on Route 2, she finds herself battling town prejudices and inner doubts and making friends with the most surprising people: troubled teenager Katy, good-looking catfish farmer Chris, wise and feisty Aunt Helen, and a female African-American physician named Kevin.

Whether fighting a greedy, deceitful politician or rescuing a dog she fears, Lois notices the headlines in her life have definitely improved. She learns how to provide small-town news in a big-hearted way and realizes that life is full of newsworthy moments. When she encounters racial prejudice and financial corruption, Lois also discovers more about the goodness of real people and the importance of being part of a community.

While secretly preparing the paper for a sale, Lois begins to realize that God might indeed have a plan for her life and that perhaps the allure of city life and career ambition are not what she wants after all.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Gone To Green, go HERE.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book. Lois Barker is such a great character - she's tough and can hold her own, but you can still see the vulnerability in her. I really enjoyed Lois' interaction with each of the minor characters in the book - and there are some doozies. The pace of the story was superb - like newspaper staff working tirelessy in its efforts to put the paper to bed.

Another thing about Gone to Green that I thought stood out is the dialogue between Pastor Jean and Lois in Chapter 15. There was such a natural progression in the conversation concerning Lois's decision of whether or not to sell the paper and leave Green, that although Scripture is used, it didn't feel 'preachy'. Pastor Jean's instructions of letting the Peace of God guide a person's decisions in life are words all of us - not just Lois - need to hear.

I've already decided that this book is to be counted among the best books I've read this year, and I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the series - Goodness Gracious Green will be released in Fall 2010 and Green Through and Through in Fall 2011.

Learn more about Gone to Green's Lois Barker as she had her own Character Spotlight at Relz Reviewz earlier this summer.

Here's a great article about Judy Christie in the Shreveport Times to celebrate the release of this book.