Monday, April 14, 2014

A Beautiful Story ~ A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert ~ Review

There are many reasons why, as a reader, I should not have cared for Ivy. Reasons I would agree with and could say she is not the easiest heroine to cuddle up with on a rainy day. But, to know Ivy, to read about her life, is truly to love her.

Characterization through this book was in a word: stellar. Davis is a rugged, tormented kind of hero. Wearing the weight of the world on his shoulders and yet holding a love for Ivy he cannot allow himself to express or explore. A hero who denies himself for the best of the heroine becomes a character every girl dreams after.

When characters are this complex, you can’t rush where they start the book to where they end it. Every moment must be believable and every moment was. The writing is rich and textured, layered with meaning and emotions, beauty and depth. The title is truly perfect for the book. Beauty is fleeting. Loveliness is here but a moment, the heart, the soul of a person, pure or rotten is lasting.

Ivy’s transformation is like the unfolding of a beautiful flower. But I think it was the power behind Davis’s forgiveness and heart transformation that tugged at my emotions the most.

Two thumbs up beginning to end. A truly beautiful story.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the author for my copy to review.

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More about the novel...

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten
years in and she's learned a sacred truth -- appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows -- so when it starts to unravel, she'll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother's bridal wear line -- an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.


           



Giveaway! A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Katie Ganshert, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

I’ve always loved writing, all the way back to my elementary school days. But I’d say what officially started the journey was a trip to Kenya eight years ago. I came home from that trip with a story that refused to be ignored. So I sat down and I wrote my first novel. It’s safely tucked away on my hard drive and will never see the light of day, but it’s what led me down this publishing path.

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

Can I cheat and give you a trilogy? My all-time favorite novels are Francine Rivers’ Mark of the Lion series. I’ve never had a character impact my faith as powerfully as Hadassah before. I re-read them at least once a year.


If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

I would go back and tell my pre-published self to appreciate her lot. I know, I know. That’s kind of weird. But it’s truth. I think as authors, we are constantly striving forward. We are pressing hard toward the goal of publication. And when it happens, it’s magical. It truly is. But holy buckets of ever lovin’ gravy, is it ever a lot of work. The stakes feel higher. The self-doubt and insecurity doesn’t go away. I wouldn’t trade where I am for the world, but I would like to go back and enjoy the time I had before the pressure got so real.

5 preference questions:
Homemade or take-out?

Take out. Only because we rarely get it. We’re on a budget in the Ganshert household, which means eating in most of the time.

Email or snailmail?

Email. Snail mail is fun, but email is quick and convenient and free.

Online shopping or Black Friday deals?

No contest, online shopping. I think Black Friday deals is about as appealing as taking a pliers to my toenails.

Books or movies?

Movies when I’m on a deadline and my world is consumed with whatever story I’m working on. Books when I’m between manuscripts.

Note-taker or memorization?

Um…..attentive listener who can paraphrase? I don’t really take notes when people are speaking. But I wouldn’t say I’m great at memorization either.    

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

I promise I am not just saying this because this is the book that’s currently releasing, but A Broken Kind of Beautiful. It has long been my personal favorite. I am so passionate about Ivy’s journey and the core message of this novel. It is truly the story of my heart.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Twitter: @KatieGanshert


Thank you for being with us today! 

Readers, enter to win Katie's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on April 25th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Adventures in Singledom

What’s more fun than experiencing an awkward singles night? Why, blogging about it of course. Because if one can’t laugh at one’s circumstances, one might as well have company to link arms with and share the laughter.

I’ve never attended a singles group before. Being from a small town where I wasn’t involved with any of the local churches (see this post), this whole concept was one I was familiar with, and yet foreign at the same time. But getting together with a singles group? Sounds like a great way to get out and meet new people in an area I’m not familiar. Plus,
Photo Credit
one single girl can never be too willing to get out in safe environments and actually meet guy—people. *wink* *wink*

Oh, was I in for a surprise.

Let me preface this by saying I was forewarned, but I’m getting ahead of myself and a good storyteller never jumps ahead of the dramatic curve.

But let me just ask something: does this kind of stuff only happen to me?? (some of you might remember this story where the guy asked for my number at the barn dance. I’m obviously a magnet for these kind of encounters…)

So imagine me: Saturday night. New church (which I really like, I might add). Nice jeans. Cute “Life is Good” purple jacket. Hair down. I’m ready for a good time. I park in the church parking lot, pass a few people leaving from the Saturday afternoon service, greet the preacher on his way out the door. I navigate my way to the room where the singles are gathering (without getting lost—things are looking great!).

I pause in the doorway. Yep, there is the sticker with my name on it. I slap it on my purple sweatshirt and tentatively step into the room. Did I find the wrong room? I glance down at my tag. Nope, that’s my name.

Except…everyone in this single’s group could…could be my parents. And my grandparents. And….my great grandparent.

I was the youngest member of the single’s game night by (wait for it)…seventy six years.

I’m not kidding.

Okay, maybe I am a little bit. He was the father of the lady coordinating the event. But still.

A few grins, a few winks, a few shoulder nudges as the new girl on the street corner of the singles group. So I chatted, stuffed a brownie in my mouth, played a few games, chipmunked my cheeks with a cookie, played another game and then it was time for yep, you guessed it ice breakers.

You know the ones. Where you stand in a line and hold hands and pass a hula-hoop across your body and linked hands without breaking the line? So that was actually a game and not an ice breaker, but it might as well have been the icing on the evening.

My hands are usually always clammy. It’s not fun. It’s not pleasant. It just is what it is with me. Period. And well…standing there, holding hands, as we closed out this fun and yet-oh-so-awkward evening, one of the attendees turns to me and says, “your hands are sweaty”.

Why yes, sir they are. I prefer clammy, personally, but whatever.

All fun and games aside and lest you think it was a horrible and traumatic experience, it was a good evening. A fun time of laughter and games and I’m glad I went. But let me ask this question again: do things like this only happen to me? Because I’m starting to think that’s the case.

I’m single. Proud of it actually, though I look forward to the day I get to marry “Mr. Right”. But until that day, I’ll plan on having fun and sharing these awkward, interesting, laughable events. Because hey, one can’t be alone in their awkward singleness can they?*

Just, next time, I’ll look for that asterisk that is next to the word “singles” and hope I find one that is actually more around my age range.


*please note this event happened before I wrote this post. I could very well be traumatized for life in putting myself out there for these potentially awkward situations that I seem to attract.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Giveaway! A Plain Man by Mary Ellis!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Mary Ellis it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story world?

Because now as I walk my dog around the neighborhood talking to myself, the neighbors say ‘there goes that writer’ instead of ‘there goes that crazy lady.’ All I had to do was pass out copies of my first book.

What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

I know you’ll hear this a lot, but only the Bible has changed my life. I have lost my fear of sickness and death that can rob you of peace, especially as we age. The Bible has given me true direction in this life and joyful hope for the next.

If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

Stop fretting over the little details. All we can do is write the best books we can, and promote ourselves as time allows. We can never do it all, and we will go crazy if we try!

5 preference questions:


Homemade or take-out? Homemade, as long as someone else is doing the cooking!
Email or snailmail? I love getting real cards and letters from friends, family and fans, but for work related tasks…it’s email all the way!
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Neither one. I actually went fishing during the last 2 Black Friday sales. I don’t like crowds. Although I do some shopping online, I still prefer a day trip to the mall or discount store. And I try to shop at local mom-and-pop’s as often as I can such as hardware stores, clothing boutiques, and independent bookstores.
Books or movies? That’s another tough one…what’s up with you, Casey?? I guess I must say movies because I have very tight writing deadlines. Reading as this point in my life isn’t as relaxing as going to the movies. Plus, there’s that buttered popcorn to consider!
Note-taker or memorization? Finally, an easy question! Note-taker all the way. If we had to rely on my memory, we would never get to a single social event of have a stitch of normal food in the house.             

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

I guess it would be The Quaker and the Rebel, which released in January. It was my first book written twelve years ago, and then rewritten last year.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

I can be found on the web at:  http://http://www.maryellis.net//

Thank you for being with us today!  


Thanks so much for inviting me!!!

Readers, enter to win Mary's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on April 18th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Saga to Making New Friends: Yay or Nay?

I got to attend church on Sunday. Some of you might be cocking your head and thinking, “got to?” See, I haven’t attended a church in over 14 years. Yes, you read that right. My family and I did home church because there wasn’t a church we truly felt we could attend in my home town. So when I moved to the thriving metropolis of Denver, I knew the first thing I wanted to do was find a church. A church I could come home to amongst the pews. Hug the friends I see as I walk through the doors and spend time before and after the service visiting. A place I could lift my arms in praise to a Savior who died for me. A place where I could be spiritually fed by a pastor who preached the Word of God.

Photo Credit
I had been craving this place. This sanctuary. A spiritual home I have never had. But see, I have this small problem (and most of you probably aren’t going to believe me when I say this but…) I’m shy. I’m not terribly outgoing. I’m MUCH more comfortable in my own house, in comfy clothes and a good novel close at hand. I’m content hanging out with fictional people and not chatting with near strangers when I don’t know if we even have a thing in common.

So you can imagine my dilemma to be in a strange place, where I only know a handful of people and none of those handful go to this church and I’m sitting here on the edge of my pew and hoping someone sticks out their hand and introduces themselves (besides the part of the service when you turn around and smile at a perfect stranger and shake hands and say “good morning.”)

I seriously sweat this part of the friend discovery. I mean, I know, you don’t meet people unless you introduce yourself around. How else is that supposed to work? Um hello, blonde hair.

So do I stick out my hand and offer my name to a stranger who looks half-way presentable and I’m interested in meeting? Nope.

*slicking away in shame*

And what it really comes down to? I’m scared. Nervous. Worried. Yep. Worried. Worried it’ll be a waste of my putting myself out there. They (whoever “they” is—we’ll pretend it’s a cute 6’, dark haired guy; not really, but it’s fun to pretend. ;-) won’t remember me next time, find me annoying and go out of their way to avoid me.

I’m jealous. Jealous of the friendships amongst my peers or the friendships that just seem to click by two people being put together in the right place at the right time. I guess my blog is a day to lay all my flaws out there. Because really, it’s only more harmful to sit on the edge of the pew, avoid the crowd and study the edges of my toes when someone smiles my direction.

Why can’t I stick out my hand and say “great to meet you, I’m Casey and I’m brand new here.” Because that takes vulnerability. An opening up and allowing other fallible human beings into our lives, even just a little bit. And vulnerable is not something I do well or easily.

So I’m standing here, gulping back my fear, worry, jealously, putting out my hand, not to yank it back, and introduce myself to someone I don’t know. I’ll let you know how it goes…


Oh help.

Tweet: What freaks you about making friends? Is it the vulnerability or the fear? @C_Herringshaw http://ctt.ec/1jpNt+

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sing for Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck ~ Review

“Sing for Me” is a debut novel set in an era that is rife with corruptness in a time that made falling in love and pursuing your dreams an impossible thing.

I couldn’t help but feel a great deal of empathy for Rose who is burdened to care for her disabled sister, wanting to sing because that is the desire God has laid on her heart and falling for a forbidden love, one her family, especially her father and definitely all of society is not going to accept or tolerate. It was hard to read and know how much Rose wanted to grow above these society expectations and I definitely saw a part of her character deepen and grow throughout the book.          

I, unfortunately, did not fall in love with the story like I really wanted to. I think it was a style element more than anything which is not the fault of anyone and no one’s problem, except for my own personal taste. There were elements that moved slowly and much of the action and elements repetitious, however, that being said, this is primarily a literary novel and while I consume many of these type of novels, this one just didn’t 100% move me. I still encourage readers to give the book a chance for the emotional impact it does have the reader.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.

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More about the novel...

When a good church girl starts singing in a jazz club and falls for the music—as well as a handsome African American man—she struggles to reconcile her childhood faith with her newfound passions.


Raised in the Danish Baptist Church, Rose Sorensen knows it’s wrong to sing worldly songs. But Rose still yearns for those she hears on the radio—“Cheek to Cheek,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”—and sings them when no one is around. 

One day, Rose’s cousin takes her to Calliope’s, a jazz club, where she dis­covers an exciting world she never knew existed. Here, blacks and whites mingle, brought together by their shared love of music. And though Rose wor­ries it’s wrong—her parents already have a stable husband in mind for her—she can’t stop thinking about the African American pianist of the Chess Men, Theo Chastain. When Rose returns to the jazz club, she is offered the role of singer for the Chess Men. The job would provide money to care for her sister, Sophy, who has cerebral palsy—but at what cost? 

As Rose gets to know Theo, their fledgling relationship faces prejudices she never imagined. And as she struggles to balance the dream world of Calliope’s with her cold, hard reality, she also wrestles with God’s call for her life. Can she be a jazz singer? Or will her faith suffer because of her worldly ways? 

Set in Depression-era Chicago and rich in historical detail, Sing for Me is a beautiful, evocative story about finding real, unflinching love and embracing—at all costs—your calling.


            

Monday, March 31, 2014

Giveaway! Life Support by Candace Calvert!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Candace Calvert, it is great to have you here! So you’re a writer? What made you decide to start creating characters and story worlds?

I’m delighted to be here, Casey—always great to connect with you and your readers.
To answer your question, I was always a fan of make-believe. The kid who daydreamed, doodled, and lived to create “through the looking glass” scenarios with siblings and friends. Writing is a validation of that quirk—and a really good excuse to continue it into adulthood!


What is the one title that has significantly impacted your life?

In addition to the Bible . . .


To carry on with my previous answer, I’ll pick a children’s fiction title: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White. I was so caught up in that fictional world! It spun my imagination like . . . a web. And, in truth, made me sob in my spaghetti plate. I finished reading the story just as I was called to the dinner table.  It’s important to me that my hopeful fiction touches readers’ emotions—laughs, tears, and sighs.


If you could get a do-over when it came to learning this whole thing called writing, what would you go back and tell yourself?

Don’t  pressure yourself to “get it done, be published”—that isn’t validation as a writer. Much the same way it’s vital “ . . . to be still and know” in our relationship with God, it’s important for writers to take the time (while working at learning craft, of course) to really discern where this journey is leading them. When hard work, passion, and calling combine, it’s a blessing worth waiting for.


5 preference questions:

Homemade or take-out? (Grin) You’re asking a “foodie”—hand me my apron, please!
Email or snailmail? What, no texts? Seriously, I do all the fast things, but receiving handwritten cards and letters is a beautiful thing. I love sending handwritten notes to readers.
Online shopping or Black Friday deals? Online. I don’t see shopping as a contact sport.
Books or movies? Books.  With popcorn.
Note-taker or memorization? Memorization—unless an idea wakes me up. Then I’ll actually jot a few pertinent notes via the computer.
               

Yes, I’m asking you to play favorites…which of your books is your favorite, published or unpublished? And if this is your debut novel, has your favorite been published yet?

(Please plug the other books’ ears wouldya?) My favorite, so far, may well be my current release, Life Support. The story issues are important to me, and these characters really wrapped themselves around my heart.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

Readers can find me hanging out on Facebook and Twitter—and I’m always available through the contact page on my website. My blog, Authors’ Galley, is a fun mix of authors and food. Here are those links:

Thank you for being with us today!
Thank you for hosting me, Casey and friends—enjoyed it! 

Readers, enter to win Candace's book here!

Please leave an email address! If I draw your name and there is no email, you will not win.

For extra entries:
~Be a follower
~Be a subscriber

Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- Random.org. I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on April 11th
Attn Readers! If you're struggling to leave a comment on my blog, please email your comment entries (in ONE email) and I will submit it for you. But PLEASE only do this after you've failed to leave a comment. My email is: caseym.writer(@)gmail.com 

FTC Rules

According to new FTC rules I must let you, the reader know, that all views shared on this blog are strictly my own. Books to review are either provided for me by the author, publisher or ones I have purchased and I am under no obligation whatsoever to present anything, but my true opinion on any product. I receive no monetary compensation for anything written on this blog. Any giveaways on this blog are provided by the author/ publisher and I am not responsible for any views they express in their work or on this site. Giveaways are void were prohibited and chances of winnng are based on the number of applicants. A random winner is draw when a book is given away.

 
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