Friday, June 28, 2013

Paige Torn by Erynn Mangum

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Paige Torn

(TH1NK - May 1, 2013)


Erynn Mangum


A few things about her:

So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!


Everyone knows they can count on Paige Alder. But between volunteering at church, putting in overtime at work, and helping her best friend plan an anniversary party, she's lucky to grab a cheese stick for dinner. Paige can't even remember the last time she had a few minutes to relax or dig into God's Word. Then she meets laid-back Tyler, an attractive, Jesus-loving guy. Will he be able to help Paige get her priorities on track?

My thoughts:

How many of us Christians in our day to day busyness find ourselves too busy to make time for God? Sure we may be serving Him by serving others, but how can we show others who God is if we don't even take the time to get to know Him. Paige Alder - friend, co-worker, church volunteer - faces this dilemma in the first book of this new series by Erynn Mangum. With barely any time to herself between all the things she obligates herself to, her spiritual life is a little lacking. Enter Tyler, a swoon-worthy hero, who helps Paige see that saying "No" once in a while isn't a bad thing.

This book would make a great read for any Christian - not just the twenty-something target audience. We all need a fresh perspective from time to time and I think this book would make any reader take a closer look at their priorities when it comes to balancing time with God and day to day commitments. The give and take between Paige and Tyler really bring the message home in a way that is both insightful and humorous.

The only thing in this book that kind of rubbed me wrong is that I felt it was a little hard to believe in a church that passes out 2500 bulletins a week, that Paige would be the only person available to help. I realize that the point of the story was for Paige to over-obligate herself, but a church that big would have a whole lot more folks on staff and I'm sure volunteers as well. I go to a church of around 20 people and there is no one in my congregation that is called upon to do that many jobs.

I did enjoy this book immensely and am looking forward to see what happens in the next book, Paige Rewritten, which hits shelves in October.

My thanks to CFBA and TH1NK for generously providing a copy for review.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Paige Torn, go HERE.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie S Calhoun

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Pieces of the Heart

(Abingdon Press - June 1, 2013)


Bonnie S. Calhoun


Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year,” President of (CAN) Christian Authors Network, and Appointment Coordinator for both the Colorado Christian Writers Conference (CCWC) and the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference(GPCWC).

For the last six years she has taught workshops in Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, and creating Social Media promotions at both CCWC, and GPCWC, and in 2011 at the Montrose, Pa Christian Writers Conference. She also taught a Facebook workshop at the 2012 ACFW conference.

Bonnie and her husband live in a log cabin in upstate area of New York with a dog and cat who think she’s wait-staff.

Her sites are:


Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their “happy-ever-after” grows proportionally as the quilt expands.

But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?

My Thoughts:

I have thoroughly enjoyed the books in the Quilts of Love series and this one is no exception. The tagline for the series "Every Quilt has a Story" is quite apropos, especially for this title, as the story includes experiences shared from the author's father during his time of military service in World War II. I also applaud Bonnie for making the effort to construct her own Pinecone quilt that serves as the centerpiece for this book, as her family had a Pinecone quilt that was sadly destroyed by a hurricane in the 1970s.

I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of World War II history from the African-American perspective. The segregation and harrowing mistreatment of African-American members of the military is not something I was very familiar with. Reading about it in the pages of this book was not just eye-opening but heartbreaking as well.

My favorite character was Grammy. Having her share her time and wisdom with Cordelia even while living with a daughter-in-law she didn't always see eye-to-eye with was quite admirable. I liked that she was able to leave Cordelia with a legacy of prayer. A legacy that would see Cordelia through her darkest days as Bernard returns fighting a war unlike the one he left behind - with mental adversaries unwilling to let him go.

One of my favorite quotes from Grammy was "learn to look through their meanness to see their pain". This applied to more than just one character in this book and I'd say it is an essential part of prayer...not everyone by their actions is worthy of our prayers, but those are usually the ones who need them most.

Overall, I really enjoyed this story...a story of love, forgiveness, and sowing seeds of prayer even when the harvest doesn't come quickly or in the way that we expect.

My sincerest thanks to CFBA and Abingdon Press for generously providing a copy for my honest review.

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

Monday, June 24, 2013

Christy Awards Winners 2013


New Awards Debuted

ST. LOUIS, Mo.—The 2013 Christy Awards honoring and promoting excellence in Christian fiction were
presented at the Renaissance Grand in St. Louis, Mo., tonight.
The 14th annual awards presentation highlighted the role of literary agents in the advancement of
Christian fiction. Steve Laube of The Steve Laube Agency emceed the event, and Chip MacGregor of
MacGregor Literary Agency presented the keynote address. Additionally, long-time literary agent Lee
Hough was honored with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Christy in a moving tribute.
The Christy Advisory Committee debuted the Christy Hall of Fame by inducting authors Lynn Austin,
winner of eight Christy Awards, and Karen Hancock, winner of four Christy Awards.
The event also premiered the Christy Book of the Year Award, showcasing the novel that had the greatest
impact when placed against a set of criteria that includes literary quality, sales, and life impact. A jury of
three people read the year’s nine Christy Award winners and identified Into the Free by Julie Cantrell
(David C Cook) as best exemplifying those factors.

The Christy Advisory Board is happy to announce the 2013 Christy Award winners.

(Media release courtesy of Wynn-Wynn Media)

Lifetime Achievement Christy

Lee Hough

Christy Award Hall of Fame Inductees

Lynn Austin (8 Christys) & Karen Hancock (4 Christys)

First Novel
Book of the Year

Into the Free - Julie Cantrell (David C Cook)

Contemporary Standalone

Not in the Heart - Chris Fabry (Tyndale House)

Contemporary Romance

The Breath of Dawn - Kristen Heitzmann (Bethany House)

Contemporary Series/Sequel/Novella

You Don't Know Me - Susan May Warren (Tyndale House)


Flame of Resistance - Tracy Groot (Tyndale House)

Historical Romance

Against the Tide - Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House)


Rare Earth - Davis Bunn (Bethany House)


Soul's Gate - James Rubart (Thomas Nelson)

Young Adult

Child of the Mountains - Marilyn Sue Shank (Delacorte)

Congratulations to all the Christy Award Winners for 2013.

Find out more on the web:
Christy Awards
Lee Hough - Alive Communications
Lynn Austin
Karen Hancock
Julie Cantrell
Chris Fabry
Kristen Heitzmann
Susan May Warren
Tracy Groot
Elizabeth Camden
Davis Bunn
James Rubart
Marilyn Sue Shank
Bethany House - A Division of Baker Publishing Group
David C Cook Publishing
Delacorte Press - A Division of Random House
Thomas Nelson
Tyndale House Publishers