Tag Archives: book review

Book Review: Weddings and Wasabi

3 Oct

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Weddings and Wasabi

WinePress Publishing (June 7, 2011)

***Special thanks to Camy Tang for sending me a review copy.***


Camy Tang grew up in Hawaii and now lives in San Jose, California, with her engineer husband and rambunctious mutt, Snickers. She graduated from Stanford University and was a biologist researcher for 9 years, but now she writes full-time. She is a staff worker for her church youth group and leads one of the Sunday worship teams. On her blog, she ponders knitting, spinning wool, dogs, running, the Never Ending Diet, and other frivolous things. Visit her website at http://www.camytang.com/ to read short stories and subscribe to her quarterly newsletter.

Visit the author’s website.


After finally graduating with a culinary degree, Jennifer Lim is pressured by her family to work for her control-freak aunty’s restaurant. But after a family blowout, Jenn is determined to no longer be a doormat and instead starts her own catering company. Her search for a wine merchant brings John into her life—a tall, dark, handsome biker, in form-fitting black leather, and Hispanic to boot. It would be wonderfully wild to snag a man like that!

Shy engineer Edward tentatively tries out his birthday present from his winery-owner uncle—a Harley Davidson complete with the trimmings. Jennifer seems attracted to the rough, aggressive image, but it isn’t his real self. Is she latching onto him just to spite her horrified family? And if this spark between them is real, will showing her the true guy underneath put it out?

And what’s with the goat in the backyard?

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 124 pages
Publisher: WinePress Publishing (June 7, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414120591
ISBN-13: 978-1414120591

Read my review HERE.


The goat in the backyard had just eaten tonight’s dinner.

Jennifer Lim stood on her mother’s minuscule back porch and glared at the small brown and white creature polishing off her basil. She would have run shouting at it to leave off her herb garden, except it had already decimated the oregano, mint, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and her precious basil, which had been slated for tonight’s pesto.

Besides, if it bit her, she was peeved enough to bite back.

“Mom!” She stomped back into the house. Thank goodness the pots of her special Malaysian basil were sectioned off in the large garden on the side of the house, protected by a wooden-framed wire gate. Jenn was growing it so that she could make her cousin Trish’s favorite chicken dish for her wedding, which Jenn was catering for her. But everything in her backyard garden was gone. The animal was welcome to the only thing left, the ragged juniper bushes. Were juniper bushes poison? If so, the animal was welcome to them.

“Mom!” Her voice had reached banshee range. “There is a goat—”

“You don’t need to yell.” Mom entered the kitchen, her lipstick bright red from a fresh application and her leather handbag over her arm, obviously ready to leave the house on some errand.

“Since when do we own a goat?”

“Since your cousin Larry brought him over.” She fished through her leather purse. “His name is Pookie.”

Jenn choked on her demand for an explanation, momentarily distracted. “He has a name?”

“He’s a living being. Of course he has a name.” Her mother fluttered eyelashes overloaded with mascara.

“Don’t give me that. You used to love to gross me out with stories of Great-Uncle Hao Chin eating goats back in China.”

Mom sniffed and found the refrigerator fascinating. “That’s your father’s side.”

Jenn swayed as the floor tilted. You are now entering … the Twilight Zone. Her parent had evoked that feeling quite often in the past few weeks. “Where did Larry get a goat and why do we have it now?”

“They were desperate.”

Actually, Jenn could have answered her own question. That goat was in their backyard right now because everyone knew that her mom couldn’t say no to a termite who knocked on the door and asked if it could spend the night.

And outside of physically dropping the goat off at someone’s house—and she didn’t have an animal trailer, so that was out of the question—Jenn wouldn’t be able to get anyone else in the family to agree to take the animal, now that it was here. That meant leaving a goat in a niece’s backyard because no one else wanted to go through the hassle of doing anything about it.

Mom said, “You wouldn’t have me turn away family, would you?”

“Uncle Percy knows, too?”

“No, not Percy.”

“Aunty Glenda?” No way. Even if Larry were thirty-one instead of twenty-one, Aunty would still dictate to her son the color underwear he wore that day—how much more his choice of pet?

“No.” Mom blinked as rapidly as she could with mascara making her short, stiff lashes stick together, almost gluing her eyes shut.

The tiger in Jenn’s ribcage growled. “Mother.” Her fist smacked onto her hip.

“Oh, all right.” Mom rolled her eyes as if she were still a teenager. “It belongs to Larry’s dormmate’s older brother, but really, he’s the nicest young man.” Burgundy lips pulled into what wanted to be a smile, but instead looked hideously desperate.

Jenn tried to count to ten but only got to two. “I know Larry’s a nice young man. If an abundance of immaturity counts as ‘nice’ points.”

“Jenn, really, you’re so intolerant. Just because you’re smart and went to Stanford for grad school …”

The name of her school—and the one dominant memory it brought up—made her neck jerk in a spasm. It had only been for two years, but that was enough. Desperately lonely after spending her undergrad years living with her cousins, Jenn had only formed a few friendships among the other grad students, none of them close. There was only one she’d never forget, although she vowed she would every morning when she got up and saw the scar in the mirror.

“Why. Do we have. A goat.”

“It’s only for a few days—”

“We don’t know a thing about how to take care of—”

“They’re easy—”

“Besides which, this is Cupertino. I’m sure there are city laws—”

“It’ll be gone before anyone notices—”

“Oh, ho, you’re right about that.” Jenn strode toward the phone on the wall. “I’m calling the Humane Society. They’ll take it.” Although they wouldn’t provide a trailer to transport it. How was she going to take the goat anywhere, much less to an animal shelter?

Mom plopped onto a stool and sighed. “That boy was so cute. His name was Brad.”

There went her neck spasming again. But Brad was a common name. She grabbed the phone.

“Such a nice Chinese boy. Related to the Yip family—you know, the ones in Mountain View?”

The phone slipped from her hand and bungee-jumped toward the floor, saved only by the curly cord. She bent to snatch it up, but dizziness shrouded her vision and she had to take a few breaths before straightening up.

“Oh, and he went to Stanford. You two have something in common.” Mom beamed.

No. He wouldn’t.

Yes, he would.

“Brad Yip?”

Mom’s eyes lighted up. “Do you know him?”

Sure, she knew him. Knew the next time he came for his goat she’d ram her chef’s knife, Michael Meyers style, right between his eyes.

Book Review: The Monster In The Hollows

21 Sep

Janner Wingfeather’s father was the High King of Anniera. But his father is gone. The kingdom has fallen. The royal family is on the run, and the Fang armies of Gnag the Nameless are close behind.

Janner and his family hope to find refuge in the last safe place in the world: the Green Hollows—a land of warriors feared even by Fangs of Dang. But there’s a big problem. Janner’s little brother-heir to the throne of Anniera-has grown a tail. And gray fur. Not to mention two pointed ears and long, dangerous fangs. To the suspicious folk of the Green Hollows he looks like a monster.

But Janner knows better. His brother isn’t as scary as he looks. He’s perfectly harmless.

My Impressions:

The Monster in The Hollows by Andrew Peterson is the third book of the four book Wingfeather Saga.  The novel for young adult readers (really middle readers) is full of adventure, quirky characters, odd places and sights — perfect for its target audience.  I didn’t read the first 2 books and that was a mistake. Although I could follow the story without problem, there was a lot of back story that I didn’t know — and wanted to!  So, I guess I would recommend starting at the beginning to avoid any confusion or disappointment for not being in on the story from the start.  The books would make excellent family reading time choices.

The Wingfeather family find themselves in the land of Green Hollows after their escape from numerous foes.  Mom, Nia, is queen mother of the Shining Isle of Anniera that is now burning from the attacks of Gnag the Nameless and his minions. Her three children, Janner, Kalmar and Leeli are strangely gifted and hence are being hunted by Gnag.  Unfortunately Kalmar, now the King of Anniera following his father’s death, has fallen under the spell of the Fangs of Dang and now sports the fur, ears, snout and tail of a wolf.  As can be expected the people of the Hollows are either fearful, suspicious or determined to be rid of Kalmar.

One of the characteristics of Green Hollows is the abundance of fruit. Fruit-bearing trees and vines grow everywhere, including through the homes and other buildings in the nation.  The Hollish people love their fruit — they nibble on it all day as well as include it in their meals and in their bibes or drinks.  And while the people are generous and big-hearted, who play and fight big, there seems to be an absence of spiritual fruit.  Hollish men, women and children can be described as burly, fun-loving, brave and willing to stand up for their country, but gentleness, kindness, self-control, patience, etc. seem to be in short supply.  So, it seems, is grace and mercy.  And the lessons learned are costly.  While not really an allegory, The Monster in The Hollows can and will spark discussions about loyalty, perseverance and tolerance and the triumph of love.  I look forward to the next installment to discover the final chapter in the fight for the Shining Isle.

Recommended for middle readers, young teens and their parents.

To see what others on the CSSF Blog Tour are saying about The Monster In The Hollows, follow the links below:

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart 
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
Eve Nielsen  (post will be later this month)
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White

(I received The Monster in The Hollows from Bozeman Media.  Any opinion expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Kiloton Threat

20 Sep

Taken from what could be tomorrow’s headlines, Kiloton Threat is a novel that explores the frightening potential of nuclear weapons in the Middle East today. Out of the house churches of rural Iran, a Christian masquerading as a Muslim gains the confidence of a high-ranking leader in the Iranian nuclear program and opens his eyes to Christianity. The man’s newfound faith stirs his desire to flee to the West, taking with him intelligence that would allow Coalition forces to neutralize his nation’s devastating capabilities. But no one in such a position could ever escape unnoticed.

Enter Blake Kershaw, a highly trained U.S. Special Forces officer who has already made extraordinary sacrifices for his country that include faking death and losing his true identity. His mission to infiltrate Iran and extract the high-value defector strains the relationship with the woman he loves— one of the few people on earth who knows his real story. With even more intensity, it shows the price that must sometimes be paid when political correctness fails and a man has to stand up for what is right.



LTG (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin, author of Danger Close, spent thirty-six years in the United States Army, some of them as an original member of Delta Force, the worldÕs premier Special Operations unit. His life reads like an action-adventure film; Boykin helped capture Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, hunted notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar, served in Vietnam, Iran, Mogadishu, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and worked with the CIA.

Tom Morrisey, coauthor of Danger Close, is an internationally known adventure-travel writer and all-around wordsmith. A rock climbing and backcountry ski instructor, certified cave diver, and NRA handgun competitor, he is also editor-at-large for Sport Divermagazine and author of the award-nominated novelsYucatan Deep and In High Places.

My Impressions: 

Kiloton Threat, the newest book by William Boykin and Tom Morrissey, is a fast paced suspense novel with the very real and frightening premise of a nuclear capable Iran.  The twist is the conversion of a key nuclear scientist to Christianity and his conviction that he must do what is necessary to stop the race to launch.

Blake Kershaw is a former Special Forces officer who is dead to all his family and friends, but very much alive in his role as a deep cover operative in the CIA.  He is given the mission to extract the nuclear scientist from Iran in order to stop Iran from firing on Israel.  Blake is a dedicated and patriotic character who sees the sacrifice he is called to make as necessary for the welfare of not only the U.S. but the world.  Willing sacrifice is the overall theme of this novel.  From loyal servants to assistant secretaries to top army officers in both America and Iran, sacrifice is shown to be not only the noble thing to do, but the only thing.

I am not really familiar with anything military, but the descriptions of procedures and equipment by the authors seem to be authentic.  That, along with breath-holding suspense, should appeal to those who like military fiction.  But don’t worry if you are like me, the details are not overwhelming to the story or too difficult to picture.  And it is refreshing to see American military forces and the CIA as the good guys!  Overall, I really liked Kiloton Threat and look forward to more stories featuring Blake Kershaw and his entourage of dedicated patriots.


(I received Kiloton Threat from Beverly Rykerd Public Relations in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Chair

19 Sep

When an elderly lady shows up in Corin Roscoe’s antiques store claiming to have a chair made by Jesus Christ, he laughs her off. But after she delivers an ancient looking chair made of olive wood three days later—with a cryptic message attached to it—he begins to wonder.

Corin’s world shatters as he searches for the truth about the artifact, and the unexplained phenomena that seems to come from it. And he’s not the only one who will do almost anything to possess the power that appears to surround the chair.



From The Author’s Website:

James L. Rubart — I love God, my wife, my sons, writing, speaking, playing guitar, and golf, in that order. And I dabble in photography. 


Movie: The Matrix & It’s a Wonderful Life

Book: The Chronicles of Narnia

Place: Wapato Lake, WA

TV show: LOST

CD: Darrell Evans- Freedom

Food: Artichokes & crab

Person: My incredible wife


Grew up: Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Spokane.

College: University of Washington (Go Dawgs!)

Day job: Since ’94 I’ve been an ad agency/marketing company owner. Check it out here: Barefoot Marketing

Favorite memories: they come from jumping off cliffs with my boys, long walks & talks with my wife, and going deep with friends. Enough about me. Shoot me an e-mail and tell me about you.  jim@jimrubart.com

My Impressions:

In James L. Rubart’s third book, The Chair, the reader is again asked to stretch his thinking and imagination to engage in a story that is mysterious, suspenseful and full of questions about faith and healing.  Corin, the owner of a struggling antiques store, is brought an older than old chair by a mysterious woman who states only that he has been chosen to own it.  Immediately, strange things happen and stranger people enter his life.  Corin is faced with the possibility that an artifact that may have been crafted by Christ has the ability to heal.

As Corin struggles with his own demons — guilt and fear — he is compelled to protect the chair from others that want to possess it.  As he discovers the powers it has, Corin faces greater dangers from people who are very serious about gaining control of the potential power of the chair.

James Rubart has crafted a suspense-filled novel for the thinking man.  There are plenty of twists and turns, betrayals and danger, but the underlying themes of who needs healing and who or what heals give the reader much more to contemplate. Not all who call for healing get it.  Or do they?  If you want to think about what you’ve read long after you’ve turned the last page, then pick up a copy of The Chair.



(I received a copy of The Chair from B&H Publishing in return for a review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)




Book Review: The Queen’s Gamble

12 Sep

Young Queen Elizabeth I’s path to the throne has been a perilous one, and already she faces a dangerous crisis. French troops have landed in Scotland to quell a rebel Protestant army, and Elizabeth fears that once they are entrenched on the border, they will invade England.

Isabel Thornleigh has returned to London from the New World with her Spanish husband, Carlos Valverde, and their young son. Ever the queen’s loyal servant, Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels. Yet Elizabeth’s trust only goes so far—Isabel’s son will be the queen’s pampered hostage until she completes her mission. Matters grow worse when Isabel’s husband is engaged as military advisor to the French, putting the couple on opposite sides in a deadly cold war.

Set against a lush, vibrant backdrop peopled with unforgettable characters and historical figures, The Queen’s Gamble is a story of courage, greed, passion, and the high price of loyalty . . . 

Barbara Kyle is the author of the Tudor-era “Thornleigh” series of novels, which have been published internationally: The Queen’s Captive, The Queen’s Lady, and The King’s Daughter, praised by Publishers Weekly as “a complex and fast-paced plot, mixing history with vibrant characters.” Her new novel, The Queen’s Gamble, will be released on 30 August 2011.

Barbara previously won acclaim for her contemporary novels under pen name ‘Stephen Kyle’, including Beyond Recall (a Literary Guild Selection), After Shock and The Experiment. Over 400,000 copies of her books have been sold.

Barbara has taught courses for writers at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations. Her popular series of video workshops “Writing Fiction That Sells” is available through her website. Before becoming an author, Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the U.S.

Visit www.BarbaraKyle.com.

My Impressions:

The Queen’s Gamble is the 4th novel in Barbara Kyle’s series featuring the Thornleigh family set amid the intrigue and danger of the Tudor era.  If you haven’t read the first three, don’t despair.  You won’t feel like you are missing any information, but you may feel like you should go back and the get the other books just to experience the adventures of this intrepid family.

Isabel Thornleigh Valverde is back in England with her Spanish husband and young son to help her mother escape execution any way she can.  But the mail being what it was (and perhaps still is), her mother has been pardoned and the family rewarded by the new monarch, Elizabeth I, for their service to their crown and country.  But the Queen faces threats from the north as reformers seek to take control of Scotland from the French.  England is called to support the Scottish as Spain tries to decide whether to enter the fray.  Isabel gets caught up in Elizabeth’s schemes and is soon on her way to Scotland to deliver aid and spy as best she can.  And to add to the danger, her husband, Carlos, is representing Spain as a observer and liaison to the French army.

While historical figures show up in this novel full of deception and betrayal, the action is almost all Isabel and her family.  Any fan of Tudor England will be sure to enjoy The Queen’s Gamble.  And while this is a story set in the Elizabethan age, the Queen doesn’t always come off in such favorable light.  Please note: there are instances of adult situations, language and dialogue.  (This is not a Christian novel.)

Monday, September 5th

Guest blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner

Tuesday, September 6th

Book reviewed at Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, September 7th

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

Thursday, September 8th

Book spotlighted at Books, Products and More!

Friday, September 9th

Book reviewed at Broken Teepee

Monday, September 12th

Book reviewed at By the Book

Book spotlighted at The Plot

Tuesday, September 13th

Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Character interviewed at The Plot

Wednesday, September 14th

Book reviewed at Always with A Book

Thursday, September 15th

Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book!

Friday, September 16th

Book reviewed at Cheryl’s Book Nook

Monday, September 19th

Interviewed at Paperback Writer

Tuesday, September 20th

Book reviewed at The Muse in the Fog Book Review

Wednesday, September 21st

Book reviewed at Books, Belles, and Beaux

Thursday, September 22nd

Guest blogging at Literal Exposure

Friday, September 23rd

Book reviewed at Debbie’s Book Bag

Monday, September 26th

Book reviewed at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, September 27th

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Wednesday, September 28th

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Thursday, September 29th

Book reviewed at The Book Connection

Friday, September 30th

Book reviewed at Life in Review

Book reviewed at CelticLady’s Reviews

(I received a copy of The Queen’s Gamble from Pump Up Your Book.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: The Edge Of Grace

8 Sep

When Caryn Becker answers the telephone on most Saturday morning, it’s generally not a prelude to disaster. Except this time, her brother David’s call shifts her universe. Her emotional reserves are already depleted being a single parent to six-year-old Ben after the unexpected death of her husband Harrison. But when David is the target of a brutal hate crime, Caryn has to decide what she’s willing to risk, including revealing her own secrets, to help her brother.  A family ultimately explores the struggle of acceptance, the grace of forgiveness, and moving from prejudice to love others as they are, not as we’d like them to be.

Christa Allan — A true Southern woman who knows that any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, The Edge of Grace is Christa’s second novel. Her debut women’s fiction, Walking on Broken Glass, released in February from Abingdon Press. She is under contract for three more novels that will release in 2012 and 2013. She has been teaching high school English for over twenty years, earning her National Board Certification in 2007. The mother of five adult children and the totally smitten Grammy of two granddaughters, Christa and her veterinarian husband, Ken, live in Abita Springs, Louisiana.

Visit her website at www.christaallan.com.

You can connect with Christa at Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/ChristaAllan.Author.

My Impressions:

I was somewhat hesitant about reading The Edge of Grace by Christa Allan. Allan presents the controversial topic (at least in Christian circles) of homosexuality and the question can you be Christian and gay?   I was not sure how the topic would be presented and was anxious about giving an honest review. But Allan has penned a thought-provoking novel that is more about love than doctrinal debate.

Caryn is a widowed, single mom struggling to keep her family above water both financially and emotionally.  She has given up on God since the death of her husband and is handling things on her own.  In the midst of her struggle, her older brother David drops a bombshell.  His wedding is off and he is gay.  Caryn is not only uncomfortable with David’s news, but sees it as yet more evidence that God is not involved in her life.  As Caryn’s life becomes more and more out of control, she receives the news that David has been attacked because he is gay. Now she has to face the facts of her brother’s life and her own perceptions of who God is.

Allan has written a novel that is not preachy or in your face on either side of the homosexuality question.  Her characters’ struggles are real.  This is not an advocacy book at all, but rather a story of what love looks like.  One character points out that God can take care of the what ifs and whys; all we need to do is love and trust.  Another character points out that Christians often exclude from church the ones that need to be there.

I think The Edge of Grace is perfect for a book discussion group.  It promises a deep discussion of what it means to love one another, even when that other is walking a path we don’t understand or approve of.   And the question of whether one can be Christian and gay, may be replaced with can someone be a Christian and _____  (you’ll have to fill in the blank).


Monday, September 5

Book reviewed at Legacy of a Writer

Tuesday, September 6

Guest blogging at Book Reviews by Molly

Wednesday, September 7

Interviewed at Blogcritics

Thursday, September 8

Book reviewed at By the Book

Friday, September 9

Book reviewed at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews

Monday, September 12

Guest blogging at Backseat Writer

Tuesday, September 13

Book reviewed at Back Seat Writer

Wednesday, September 14

Book review & book giveaway at Life in Review

Thursday, September 15

Book spotlighted at Book Marketing Buzz

Friday, September 16

Book review & book giveaway at A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews

Monday, September 19

Guest blogging at Mad Moose Mama

Tuesday, September 20

Book reviewed at Mad Moose Mama

Wednesday, September 21

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Thursday, September 22

Book reviewed at From the TBR Pile

Friday, September 23

Book reviewed at Five Alarm Book Reviews

Monday, September 26

Book review & giveaway at All I Ever Read

Tuesday, September 27

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

Wednesday, September 28

Book reviewed at Bluerose’s Heart

Thursday, September 29

Book reviewed at Celtic Lady’s Reviews

Friday, September 30

Chat with Christa at Pump Up Your Book Live! September Authors on Tour Chat/Book Giveaway Party!

(I received The Edge of Grace from Pump Up Your Book in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Fairer Than Morning

2 Sep

In 1826, Ann Miller travels to Pittsburgh with her widowed father and two young sisters, only to find that a mysterious man has pursued them all the way from Ohio. Is Ann’s father just a circuit minister, or is he hiding something that may endanger them all?

Will Hanby indentures with a Pittsburgh saddler maker, only to discover that his master is a cold-hearted tyrant. After years of abuse, Will becomes a prisoner of his own mind. But then lovely Ann Miller comes to stay next door and her compassion lights a long-dark part of Will’s soul. His renewed courage puts his life in jeopardy as he begins to assist fugitive slaves. Will’s murderous master and Ann’s questions about her family may keep both of them bound in the shadows forever. Or will they find freedom-together?

As the child of a career military man, Rosslyn Elliott lived in four states and two foreign countries before she graduated from high school. She attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in English and Theater Studies. After five years working first in corporate New York City, then as a schoolteacher, she entered the Ph.D. program in English at Emory University and finished her dissertation in 2006.

Her study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction.

Rosslyn lives with her husband and daughter in the southwestern United States.

My Impressions:

Fairer Than Morning is the first installment in the Saddler’s Legacy series by Rosslyn Elliott.  And if this book is any indication, readers are going to have lots of wonderful reading ahead!  Because it was billed as historical romance, I was expecting a light romance set amid the trappings of the early 19th century.  I was very pleasantly surprised to find a richly written novel exploring the dark theme of slavery — physical as well as spiritual.

Will Hanby has put himself voluntarily under the authority of Master Jacob Good in order to learn the trade of saddlery.  What he finds is a nightmare world of physical and emotional abuse.  With 2 1/2 years left of his indenture, Will encounters Master Samuel Miller and his daughter Ann.  Perhaps there is a way out of his bondage before he loses everything, including his life. Ann Miller knows her father is a circuit preacher and master saddler, but his work with the underground railroad is a well-kept secret until their trip to Pittsburg.  She is sure she knows what real love is, until faced with suffering and sacrifice.   Will love (God’s love) win out at the end?

I appreciated the well-drawn characters, the historical research and the subject of bondage that Rosslyn Elliott so skillfully sets forth in this debut novel.  And I am anxious to find out the rest of the story as it unfolds in the next books.  An added bonus to this series is that the main characters actually lived!  I love an historical novel with its foundation in fact.  Pick up Fairer Than Morning; I think you’ll love it.


To see more reviews, please click HERE.

To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Rosslyn is giving away a Kindle Prize Package and a Custom-Made Historical Reproduction Dress! Sigh…romantic. 

One winner will receive:

* Kindle with Wi-Fi

Fairer Than Morning (for Kindle)

To enter just click one of the icons below. But, hurry, giveaway ends on 9/19. Winner will be announced on 9/20 at Rosslyn’s Book Club Facebook PartyDetails and official rules can be found when entering the contest.

During the party Rosslyn will be chatting with guests, hosting a book chat about Fairer Than Morning & historical fiction, testing your trivia skills, and giving away books and gift certificates (Amazon, iTunes, Starbucks). She’ll also be giving away a $200 gift certificate toward a FABULOUS custom-made period dress from Recollections

(I received a copy of Fairer Than Morning from LitFuse Publicity.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Book Review: Blue Skies Tomorrow

24 Aug

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

About Sarah Sundin (from the author’s website)

Although I come from a home wallpapered in books, I only briefly envisioned myself as a writer, when my sister and I co-wrote Funny Dancing Fruits and Vegetables complete with crayon illustrations.

Then I discovered science. I loved learning about the intricacies of God’s creation, so I studied chemistry in college, and then got my doctorate in pharmacy—not a typical career path for a writer.

In pharmacy school, I met my husband, Dave. We settled in northern California and were blessed by three bright, funny children—Stephen, Anna, and Matthew.

Then on January 6, 2000, I woke from a dream so intriguing I had to write it down. I proceeded to write a really bad 750-page contemporary Christian romance. Burn-it-when-I-die bad. But the Lord used it to call me into writing. I joined a critique group, attended writers’ conferences, and joined American Christian Fiction Writers. These all taught me about the craft of writing and the publishing industry, and introduced me to writers, editors, and agents.

I first submitted the manuscript for A Distant Melody in 2003, and over the next five years I accumulated a pile of “good” rejection letters from editors and agents. Finally in 2008, a submission at Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference led to the sale of the Wings of Glory series — A Distant Melody (2010), A Memory Between Us (2010), and Blue Skies Tomorrow (August 2011). In 2011, I received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards.

Between writing and driving kids to soccer and karate, I work one evening a week as a hospital pharmacist, teach Sunday school to fourth- and fifth-graders, and teach women’s Bible studies. I enjoy speaking to school, community, women’s, historical, and church groups. Visit my speaking page to see a list of topics.

The Lord has called you for a purpose. If He gave you a dream, persevere and never give up. If He gave you the dream to write fiction, then write! Read as much as you can. Join a critique group, attend conferences, and join American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Keep reading, keep writing, keep submitting, and learn from all you do. The Lord’s plan may or may not include publication, but His plans are always good!

You can also visit Sarah at her blog, just click HERE.

Q&A for the Wings of Glory series.   

My Impressions:

Blue Skies Tomorrow is the last installment of Sarah Sundin’s Wings of Glory series.  What a shame!  This is such a great series, that I am sorry to leave the wonderful characters that she has created.  But don’t worry, Sarah has another series in the works (more on that later).  Beginning with A Distant Melody and continuing through A Memory Between Us, this series follows the three Novak brothers and their exploits during WWII.  All are pilots with the the Army Air Force and face dangerous missions with great faith and courage. They also meet women that tug at their hearts.  The series brings to life the days of WWII — the hopes, dreams, and fears of the Greatest Generation.

In Blue Skies Tomorrow, Ray Novak is a pastor at heart who finds himself kicked out of his flight instructor position to a desk in a supply facility.  His doubts about his character emerge and are tested in the new role he finds himself in — a desk bound pilot in a safe assignment while others, including his brothers, are facing the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  Could it be true what others whisper; is he a coward?  Helen Carlisle keeps the home fires burning with her work with the Red Cross, Junior Red Cross and various drives and morale boosting shows with which she keeps busy.  Her role is set for her — grieving widow dutifully keeping her husband alive not only for her son, but the town as well — but it is a mask she wears to appease the town and her guilt.  When Ray and Helen bump into each other, they instantly feel a spark of attraction, but also the fears and hurts they have kept hidden so well threaten to come to the surface as well.  In just one night, their course seems set — Ray heads off to a combat assignment in England and Helen returns to the home of her late husband.  But for both of them a nightmare life takes over.  Will they ever find the light of day and each other?

Blue Skies Tomorrow kept me turning the pages.  Both Ray and Helen are thrust into threatening situations from which there seems no escape.  Yet they find the courage and the faith to take the steps necessary not only to persevere, but to come through victoriously.  Ugly things are exposed by Sundin — prejudice and injustice within the Navy, emotional and physical abuse — but she proves that things that flourish in the dark, cannot stand when exposed to the light of day and the light of God’s truth.  It is a wonderful thing when an author creates characters that come to life within the reader.   I felt Helen’s despair, and I lived Ray’s desperation.  Billed as “historical romance”, Blue Skies Tomorrow is so much more —  a wonderful story of two people who find the courage to face their fears and to reach towards what God wants for them.

Highly Recommended.

To read more reviews of Blue Skies Tomorrow, click HERE.

Sarah is hosting a giveaway to celebrate the release of Blue Skies Tomorrow, just click on the image below.  Enter 8/22 – 9/22!

Sarah is at work on a new series — 

WINGS OF THE NIGHTINGALE Series (coming in 2012 from Revell)

In this series, three World War II flight nurses discover friendship, love, and peril in the skies and on the shores of the Mediterranean.

In Every Letter (working title), September 2012 — Loner Mellie Blake longs for adventure as a flight nurse, while Army engineer Lt. Tom MacGilliver tries to overcome the legacy of his infamous father. In North Africa and Sicily, Mellie pioneers air evacuation while Tom builds airfields under fire. Will their anonymous correspondence unlock their true identities?

To Every Shore (working title), June 2013 — Lt. Georgie Taylor loves her job as a flight nurse, but the goals of pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson are frustrated at every turn. As Georgie and Hutch care for American soldiers in Sicily and Italy, tragedy brings them together. But will their differences keep them apart?

With Every Beat (working title), June 2014 — Flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, but C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper is immune to her charms. Throughout Italy and southern France, as she evacuates the wounded and he delivers paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them where they don’t want to go.

(I received Blue Skies Tomorrow from LitFuse in return for an honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Mailbox Monday

22 Aug

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.  Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia of A Girl and Her Books and is being hosted by Staci of Life in the Thumb this month.



Here are the books that arrived in my house last week:


For Review:

Falls Like Lightning by Shawn Grady.  When hotshot smoke jumper Silas Kent gets his own fire crew, he thinks he’s achieved what he’s always wanted. But a lightning-sparked fire in the Desolation Wilderness of the Sierra Nevadas has his team in a plane before they can even train together.  Pilot Elle Westmore has been called up to drop the crew into the heart of the forest infernos. A single mother of a mysteriously ill six-year-old, she can’t imagine her life getting any more complicated.



Free From Kindle:

Hurricanes in Paradise by Denise Hildreth.  Since starting her new job at a Paradise Island resort, Riley Sinclair feels the pieces of her life finally coming together—until she discovers that some guests arrive with their own demons, fears, and secrets. With a hurricane headed straight for the island, will Riley and three women find healing—and friendship—through the storm?




Clear Blue Sky by F. B. Lione.  It’s the beginning of a gorgeous September in the City that Never Sleeps. Summer may be officially over, but Labor Day Weekend means ethnic festivals and dancing the streets and lots of overtime for police officer Tony Cavalucci. When crowd control gets unusually dangerous, Tony starts to wonder why he even does this kind of work. And going home doesn’t bring him any more respect. His neurotic and dramatic family disapproves of both Tony’s fiancé and his new-found faith.

All this foreshadows what’s about to come to the people of New York on September 11, 2001. Normal day-to-day events and fantastic weather lead up to the most difficult day in the city’s history. Now Tony finds himself in brand new territory. As he fights to survive and help others survive as well, Tony learns all over what faith means, what family means, and what life itself means. The author of this highly compelling novel is an ex-cop who survived the World Trade Center rescue efforts. Consequently, the storytelling throughout the book rings with authenticity. All of this makes for a fast-paced and deeply moving page-turner that is at times funny, at times horrible, and always full of humanity, compassion, and the presence of God. 


I started volunteering at a local women’s rehabilitation and training center.  Most of the women have been released from prison and stay at the center for 90 – 120 days.  They learn various skills, both personal and professional to help them to reenter the community and work force.  Among other things, we have started a book club of sorts.  We will be reading The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith.  We read chapter 1 together last week and it was a hit!  I go back today for chapter 2 or wherever they have stopped in their reading.  I have to say, the expressions on the ladies faces when we said the copies of the book were for them to keep were priceless.  This promises to be the best book club I have ever been involved with.

So I picked up a Kindle version of the book this past week.  I read it years ago, but that copy is long gone.


The African-born author of more than 50 books, from children’s stories (The Perfect Hamburger) to scholarly works (Forensic Aspects of Sleep), turns his talents to detection in this artful, pleasing novel about Mma (aka Precious) Ramotswe, Botswana’s one and only lady private detective. A series of vignettes linked to the establishment and growth of Mma Ramotswe’s “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” serve not only to entertain but to explore conditions in Botswana in a way that is both penetrating and light thanks to Smith’s deft touch. Mma Ramotswe’s cases come slowly and hesitantly at first: women who suspect their husbands are cheating on them; a father worried that his daughter is sneaking off to see a boy; a missing child who may have been killed by witchdoctors to make medicine; a doctor who sometimes seems highly competent and sometimes seems to know almost nothing about medicine. The desultory pace is fine, since she has only a detective manual, the frequently cited example of Agatha Christie and her instincts to guide her. Mma Ramotswe’s love of Africa, her wisdom and humor, shine through these pages as she shines her own light on the problems that vex her clients. Images of this large woman driving her tiny white van or sharing a cup of bush tea with a friend or client while working a case linger pleasantly. 

Book Review: Indemnity

22 Aug

Indemnity, book 2 in the Covenant of Trust series.  After years of believing Chuck’s affair is behind them, Bobbi’s marriage is tested again when Tracy Ravenna resurfaces. Tracy ’s not alone, though. Jackson Charles Ravenna is the newest student in Bobbi’s first grade class and the spitting image of her husband. When Chuck decides to pursue joint custody, they discover Jack isn’t the only secret Tracy ’s been hiding.

As Tracy ’s past begins to threaten their future with Jack, Bobbi is forced to face the unsettling truth about God’s grace. But this time, what will it cost to forgive the unforgivable?


About the Covenant of Trust Series:

A covenant is a solemn, binding agreement. God chose to unilaterally enter into a covenant with Abraham. No matter what Abraham said or did, God vowed to uphold the terms and bless Abraham. Marriage is a covenant of trust built on that example, where husband and wife promise to love each other and be faithful to each other until death. These books explore how that covenant endures.

In the background of each story, God calls the characters to enter into a covenant of trust with Him, challenging them to place unwavering trust in His sovereignty, His purpose and His unfailing love for each of them.

Paula Wiseman  (from the author’s website)  —

I was born during the Summer of Love in Ashland, KY, but I moved to Pedro, OH after I married Jon, and now we live in Robinson, IL. I graduated from Eastern Kentucky University with a bachelors degree in Chemistry. I had a teaching certificate, but went to work for Ashland Petroleum Company as a chemist in the R&D department until my firstborn came along.

I have three wonderful kids, a little dog, and a hateful cat.

I started writing almost as soon as I left my “day” job. Well, truth be told, I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I modeled my favorite stories, or wrote sequels to them. I wrote a full length novel while I was in college, and it currently resides in a dusty folder under my desk.

I pursued writing for children and sold a story to Highlights Magazine .

After a writing exercise, a plot began to form and a story began to nag at me, so in July 2005, I started work on the book that became Contingency .

In the meantime, I had several devotional pieces published in Cup of Comfort books and one in a Tyndale collection called  Life Savors for Women .

You can email at  paula@paulawiseman.com  

Follow me on Twitter or find me on Facebook   

My Impressions:

indemnity |inˈdemnitē| noun ( pl. -ties) security or protection against a loss or other financial burden : no indemnity will be given for loss of cash.

Paula Wiseman’s second book in the Covenant of Trust series, explores the long term consequences of marital infidelity.  Seven years after the affair that almost ended their marriage, Bobbi and Chuck Molinsky are faced with the unintended and previously unknown consequences of Chuck’s adultery — a 6 year old boy and his mother enter their lives again.  Indemnity explores the emotions of once again having to deal with the consequences of a broken covenant.

The unpredictable Tracy Ravenna is back with her son, Jack.  She is also back with her brand of manipulation and emotional blackmail.  What results is a tension-filled domestic drama that seems all too real.  And the characters are once again called to forgive and extend grace — even to those who persecute them.  Grace is the watchword in this novel.  So hard to accept and so hard to extend, God’s grace shines through the lives and actions of the characters.  Are they perfect?  No.  Are they struggling?  Yes. But they will bring you to a new awareness of what God expects of his children.  Not through our strength, but through His.

I read and reviewed Contingency (book 1) back in May of this year.  And I liked it.  I really liked Indemnity. Wiseman’s writing style has matured.  Her characters are more real and their dialogue more believable.  There is also a mystery underpinning the story that kept this reader guessing and turning the pages.  I look forward to reading the last book in the series, Precedent.  While Indemnity could be read as a standalone novel, I recommend that the reader start with Contingency to get the full experience, especially to understand the motivations of Tracy Ravenna.


Indemnity Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, August 1

Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking

“Expect the unexpected. Even though I researched the process, and had a decent idea of what to expect once the books published, there was much more to it. Shipping, display ads, taxes, crashing websites, blog guests, reader emails, and more. Every day brings new surprises and challenges, and except for the occasional hiccup, I wouldn’t trade any of it. With a new book releasing in the fall of 2011, it looks like the lessons won’t stop any time soon.”

Tuesday, August 2

Book spotlight & BOOK GIVEAWAY at Night Owl Reviews

“Bobbi charged across the lobby, her jaw set, fire in her eyes. Before he could react, she banged his office door closed behind her. “So help me, God, if you knew about this, Chuck, I will divorce you right now!” She threw a packet of papers across the desk…”

Wednesday, August 3

Book reviewed at So Many Books, So Little Time

“There is so much depth to this story, and forgiveness with the aid of Christ. Love can conquer even those things we think will end the relationship. I loved reading the second one in the series I can’t wait to see what the third holds.  This is a great contemporary series to read to see God’s grace modeled and how it can impact the lives of so many.”

Thursday, August 4

Book reviewed at My Random Acts of Reading

“All these questions are answered in Indemnity.  I found this book just as absorbing as the first one in the series.  I enjoyed catching up with the characters, seeing the growth of their children and learning about where their faith journeys had taken them in the seven years.”

Friday, August 5

Book spotlighted at Book Marketing Buzz

“He looked away from her icy glare and carefully turned pages. This had to be a misunderstanding, a mistake of some sort. His eyes ran down the sheet looking for “Jackson Charles Ravenna.” He immediately recognized Tracy’s handwriting. Before his mind blasted in a thousand directions, he looked back up at his wife, battling to maintain calm in his voice. “Now Bobbi—””

Monday, August 8

Book reviewed at Life in Review

“I VERY highly recommend this book. It is beautifully written and has such a powerful and positive message! I loved this family in the first book and it was nice to be able to pick up this second book with characters that I already knew and cared about. They are a very normal family that I believe most people can relate to in one way or another. It’s a very touching family drama that will pull you in and make you feel as if you’re a part of this family. Book three is Precedent and look for it coming soon. I can’t wait for the next book in this wonderful series!”

Tuesday, August 9

Book reviewed at Write to the Heart

Wednesday, August 10

Book reviewed at Ashley’s Bookshelf

“The storyline really makes you think and examine your life as you read. Very touching book.  I rate this a 5/5. You don’t have to but I would suggest reading her first book in the series, Contingency to understand all of the characters better.”

Thursday, August 11

Book reviewed at Bookworm Lisa

“I would recommend in a couple of places that you have access to a hankie or a box of tissues.”

Friday, August 12

Book reviewed at Wakela’s World

“It was definitely a very inspirational book that is well written.  I plan on getting book one to read that one through before heading onto book 3 when it comes out”

Monday, August 15

Guest blogging at The Book Boost

“Writing a book is just the first half of publishing a book. All that stuff I’d spent years learning, the how-to-write stuff… it was no help once I became a marketer. The learning curve is just as steep but with a huge time crunch added on. I learned to listen to the readers, and I noticed what they respond to. For example, we learned my readers are big Kindle fans, and they enjoyed seeing preview quotes and chapters before the book came out. Every book and audience is different, and figuring out what doesn’t work is valuable information, too.”

Tuesday, August 16

Book reviewed at The Book Faery Reviews

“I once again recommend this book series to married couples who may or may not have lived through infidelity.”

Wednesday, August 17

Interviewed at The Hot Author Report

“It was unreal. Those five years finally seemed like real work rather than just a hobby or dream. I had my daughter snap a picture of me holding it so we could post it online and show it off.”

Thursday, August 18

Interviewed at As the Pages Turn

“I start with an outline, so I have my major plot points, but it’s not etched in stone. I’m more than willing to let the characters reveal things to me and take a detour or two.”

Friday, August 19

Guest participant at Literarily Speaking’s August Book Panel

Monday, August 22

Book reviewed at By the Book

Tuesday, August 23

Guest blogging at The Book Bin

Book reviewed at Reviews From the Heart

Wednesday, August 24

Book reviewed at Splashes of Joy

Thursday, August 25

Book reviewed at Bookworm Hollow

(I received Indemnity from Pump Up Your Book in return for an honest review.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.