Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Protector by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

The Protector

(Avon Inspire; Original edition - June 28, 2011)


Shelley Shepard Gray


Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven. Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado. She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children. When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.

Check out Shelley's Facebook Fan page.


Everyone needs a safe place to call home...

When her mother passes away, Ella's forced to auction off her family's farm. Her father died years ago, and she could never manage the fifty acres on her own. But after she moves to town, she can't deny the pain she feels watching the new owner, Loyal Weaver, repairing her family's old farmhouse—everything Ella had once dreamed of doing.

What Ella doesn't know is that Loyal secretly hopes she will occupy this house his wife. He begins inviting her over, to ask her opinion on changes he wants to make. As their friendship blooms, Ella starts to wonder about Loyal's intentions, especially when her best friend, Dorothy, hints that Loyal is not who he seems. There's no way the golden boy of their close-knit Amish community could be interested in Ella, long the wallflower, hidden away caring for her ailing parents.

Should she trust the man she's always yearned for, or the friend who's always been by her side? When one of them threatens to disrupt the independence she's finally achieved, Ella is faced with a choice. She can protect her heart and keep things the way they've always been. Or she can come out of her shell, risk everything for the love she's always wanted, and finally have a place to call home.

If you would like to read an excerpt from The Protector, go HERE.

Bridge to a Distant Star by Carolyn Williford

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Bridge to a Distant Star

(David C. Cook; New edition - June 1, 2011)


Carolyn Williford


Carolyn Williford has authored seven books, including Jordan's Bend, Devotions for Families That Can't Sit Still, and Faith Tango, as well as numerous articles. She and her husband, Craig, live in Deerfield, Illinois, where he serves as president of Trinity International University. They have two children and four grandchildren.


It All Comes Tumbling Down

As a storm rages in the night, unwary drivers venture onto Tampa Bay’s most renowned bridge. No one sees the danger ahead. No one notices the jagged gap hidden by the darkness and rain. Yet when the bridge collapses vehicles careen into the churning waters of the bay below.

In that one catastrophic moment, three powerful stories converge: a family ravaged by their child’s heartbreaking news, a marriage threatened by its own facade, and a college student burdened by self doubt. As each story unfolds, the characters move steadily closer to that fateful moment on the bridge. And while each character searches for grace, the storms in their lives loom as large as the storm that awaits them above the bay.

When these characters intersect in Carolyn Williford’s gripping and moving volume of three novellas, they also collide with the transforming truth of Christ: Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow me.


When I first saw this book title and synopsis, I was a bit hesitant about reading it, but probably for a reason you wouldn't suspect. My trepidation came because I am terribly affected by bridges...especially large bridges over vast expanses of water and even more so by suspension bridges...even to the point of feeling physically ill. If there's any way I can avoid them, I do. But I put that reluctance aside and dove into this book.

I knew going in that this may be a sad book...knowing that the bridge would collapse and vehicles would fall to their demise. I really liked how the author separated this into three different stories, because I feel like I could make more of connection to the characters in each story by not having to skip around through each set of drama.

I did find the book sad, but not totally from the fact that each would end with a vehicle in the water. The circumstances explored in each story...familial turmoil, physical illness, and uncertainty in knowing God's will for one's life...brought tears to my eyes many times as I read. I will say this, though...the ending is fairly unexpected and tempered some of the sadness I felt throughout the book.

I really enjoyed this book, even considering my initial personal misgivings, and look forward to more from author Carolyn Williford.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Bridge to a Distant Star, go HERE.

My thanks to the publisher and CFBA for my review copy.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spring Reading Thing Wrap Up

I was hoping that by participating the Spring Reading Thing that I could really get going on my reading this year, since I'd had such an abysmal start to 2011. I guess I did pretty well since I only left two books unread, but didn't get to clear any off of my shelf.

I'd broken down my list into parts similar to the way I did in the Fall into Reading 2010 Challenge, and I include them below with a few additions. The books I completed are in bold print.

I didn't dislike a single book...and put an "*" by the ones I particularly enjoyed.

Review Books:

1. False Pretenses by Kathy Herman
2. Faithful by Kim Cash Tate
3. Deadly Ties by Vicki Hinze
4. Voyage with the Vikings by Paul McCusker & Marianne Hering
5. Attack at the Arena by Paul McCusker & Marianne Hering
6. Abigail's New Hope by Mary Ellis
*7. He Said, She Said by Cindy Sproles & Eddie Jones
8. The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

9. She Makes It Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen
10. Over the Edge by Brandilyn Collins
*11. Undaunted Faith by Andrea Boeshaar

Too Good to Pass Up (Recent releases by some of my favorite authors):

*1. Lie Down in Green Pastures by Debbie Viguie
*2. Unexpected Love by Andrea Boeshaar
*3. The Judgment by Beverly Lewis
4. Glamour by Melody Carlson
5. The Journey by Wanda Brunstetter

6. Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

7. Katy's Decision by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Finally off the Shelf (Books that I clean off my shelf during the challenge):



1. 31 Days to a Younger You by Arlene Pellicane
*2. Plain Wisdom by Cindy Woodsmall & Miriam Flaud
3. Growing Up Amish by Anna Dee Olson
4. Should We Use Someone Else's Sermon by Scott M Gibson

Throwing in some books that I pre-read for my oldest daughter:

*1. No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe
2. How to Ruin Your Life: and Other Lessons You Don't Learn in School by Carolyn McTighe

I'm sure I'll be signing up to participate in the fall reading challenge hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days, but until then I hope you all have a fantastic summer!

She Makes it Look Easy by Marybeth Whalen

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

She Makes It Look Easy

(David C. Cook - June 1, 2011)


Marybeth Whalen


Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries' fiction division.


Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.

Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.

If you would like to read an excerpt of She Makes It Look Easy, go HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Fine Art of Insincerity by Angela Hunt

About The Fine Art of Insincerity:

Three grown Southern sisters have nine marriages between them-and more loom on the horizon-when Ginger, the eldest, wonders if she's the only one who hasn't inherited what their family calls "the Grandma Gene": the tendency to like the casualness of courtship better than the intimacy of marriage. Could it be that her two sisters are fated to serially marry, just like their seven-times wed grandmother, Mrs. Lillian Irene Harper Winslow Goldstein Carey James Bobrinski Gordon George? It takes a "girls only" weekend, closing up Grandma's treasured beach house for the last time, for the sisters to really unpack their family baggage, examine their relationship DNA, and discover the true legacy their much-marrying grandmother left behind...

My thoughts:

The Lawrence sisters all find different ways to deal with life...but are they dealing with life in an honest manner? Each seems to have a sense of insecurity that they try to gloss over, hiding her true self from others (as well as herself.) I enjoyed getting to know Ginger, Penny, and Rose as individuals...and seeing things from each individual perspective went a long way in giving authenticy to the strengths and vulnerabilities that each possessed...I cared about what happened to them and saw myself in them. The nostalgic tone of the book is also quite touching as their own memories resurface and they find out who their grandmother truly was by what she left behind.

Coming from a family of three girls, this book intrigued me from the start. It caused me to reflect on my own life and the status of my relationship with my own sisters. Talk about eye-opening!

After reading this book I've done some introspection and realize that knowing my sisters on a superficial level is as bad as not knowing them at all. I really like this statement on page 298 where Ginger says, "...though I haven't loved you the way I should in the past, I'd like a chance to love you better." Can we be honest with the ones we love? We must, because our chance may be gone before we know it.

My thanks to Glass Roads PR for providing a copy for review.

Find out more on the web:
Angela Hunt
Howard Books
Glass Road PR