Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Escape to Manawa! ~ The Ride of Her Life by Lorna Seilstad ~ Review

I’m just a bit sad as I write this review. Why? Because book three in the “Manawa Summers” series has come to an end. A very satisfying end, but an end none the less, thus the part of me that is sad.

            Once you’ve traveled to Lake Manawa, Iowa, you will never want to leave. Having spent three books there, felt the sand between my toes, the sea breeze on my face and made friends with Marguerite, Emily and Lilly, I promise you I will be visiting again and again and again…

            Lilly is the star of “The Ride of Her Life” and the poor woman definitely has a ride – and it’s not all roller coaster thrills. A budding romance that might require more daring than she’s willing to chance, in-laws that should (I’m sorry) be hung by the toes for the torture they put their former daughter in law through and the cutest little boy you will read about in today’s Christian fiction.

            The novel is darling. I love the characters. The romance. The little boy (yes, I know I already mentioned him, read the book and you’ll know why). The setting is truly escape-worthy. Tension abounds, along with the scent of flame-torched fried chicken. Nick is a stand-out hero, one I really wanted to see get his happily-ever-after. Perfect.

            A hidden escape that becomes an intimate gathering of all that makes a good novel so incredibly enjoyable. Escape to Manawa Island, you’ll be so glad you did!

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

            **Available May 2012 from Revell, a division of Baker publishing.**

More about the novel...

The only man pragmatic Lilly Hart needs in her life is a six year old. Widowed two years ago, Lilly leaves the shelter of her intrusive in-laws' home to stand on her own and provide for her young son by working for the summer as a cook at Lake Manawa. However, her in-laws find that life utterly unsuitable for their grandson, and when a row ensues, a handsome stranger--who designs roller coasters, of all things--intercedes on her behalf. Still, Lilly is not about to get involved with any man, especially this cocky (though charismatic) gentleman. Little does she know she is about to begin the ride of her life.Filled with delightful characters and the romance of summer, 

The Ride of Her Life is another supremely entertaining story from the witty Lorna Seilstad. Readers will laugh out loud and sigh contentedly as they spend the summer of 1906 in Lake Manawa.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Giveaway! Homefront Hero by Allie Pleiter!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Allie Pleiter, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

Most people who meet me for the first time are surprised that I really am six feet tall.  This makes me laugh, because why would I make that up?  My very favorite was when I got off a plane in Texas and was met by a driver who took one look and said “Well, aren’t you a tall drink o’water?”  I admit, it’s useful when being collected in airports by people I’ve never met--the chances of two six foot brunettes getting off any given airplane are pretty slim.  Unless, of course, I happen to be flying with a women’s basketball team :).

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

The best thing about writing for Love Inspired is that I can cover a host of genres.  I’m an eclectic gal in both my reading and writing tastes.  I’ve written first person chick-lit, historical, contemporary, women’s fiction, category, single title, and non-fiction.  I read all those, too.  The only thing I’ve never been drawn to--as a writer or a reader--is horror, mystery, or suspense.  I like my literature happy!

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

“Get out of your own way.”  Studying craft is good, and a serious writer should never stop trying to improve, but in every book comes the point where you just put all the craft and research and technique behind and simply tell the story.  Every time I attempt to write “better,” it comes out worse.  When I let the story take over, all the skills I’ve acquired work in service to that tale, and things come out splendidly.  I definitely feel this was the case with Homefront Hero--this was one of those books where everything came together to take things up a notch for me as a writer.  That’s tremendously satisfying, especially when readers come up to you and say, “it’s the best thing you’ve ever done.

5 things you love?

1.    Coffee
My love of java is legendary.  Every morning, and every afternoon around 2pm, there’s a cup of coffee somewhere in my vicinity (or there’d better be...)
2.   Chocolate
I have loved chocolate since forever.  I can barely keep the stuff in the house because I have absolutely no willpower and evidently a very unforgiving metabolism.
3.   Mocha (that’s coffee and chocolate together)
Starbucks and Steak N Shake are my favorite purveyors of the stuff, to be sure. Oh, and those chocolate covered espresso beans Trader Joe’s sells...those are awesome, too.
4.   Knitting
I’m an obsessive knitter.  I have a knitting blog, and many of my books contain knitting characters.  For me, it’s the perfect antidote to a long day of staring at my computer screen.  When it’s my turn to go, I hope they find me slumped over either my laptop or my needles.
5.   Adventures
I truly look at life as an adventure.  I’m an adventurous person, and I think God has a unique adventure planned for every life that involves particular risks and dares to help us grow into the brave person He wants us to be.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

It’s quite simply the most fun you can have and still call it “work.”  I love to go on research “adventures”--and have had some doozies.  Raging extrovert that I am, I love to go out and meet readers, visit bookstores and yarn stores, and interact with people who love books and knitting as much as I do.  I can travel anywhere in the country (and maybe even the world) and strike a deep, fast connection with someone when talking books or knitting.

Places for readers to learn more about you?

My website is the best place to start:   
You can also visit my knitting blot at

Thank you for being with us today! 

Readers, here is your chance to enter to win Allie's latest novel!

Please leave an email adddress! 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- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on June 8th.
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(@) 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tangles and Twists of the Human Condition ~ After All by Deborah Raney ~ Review

In the conclusion to the Hanover Falls series, I found a story riddled with the human condition. A sweet and tender love story that must test the odds. And a cast of characters, I couldn’t help but care for. It’s like stepping into real life, with a divine purpose to entertain.

            I have to chuckle *just* a bit since a great deal of the scenes were centered around a meal of some sort with the characters; what is it about food and socialization? (wink) But it’s one thing that gives the novel its charm, because it carries a rich undertone of real life, while giving the reader characters they can cheer for, situations that keep us worried and wondering how they will outsmart their problems.

            Having read all three books in the series in the order they were released, I have to say “After All” has been my favorite. It ties up some loose ends from books one and two, gives us snapshots of past characters lives and moves on with the third widow of the Hanover Falls Homeless shelter’s fire.

            A quick read, but a fulfilling one, as it tangles and weaves life and family situations in Susan and Pete. Wonderful little subplots that keep the story focused.

            A great way to end a good series. Now, this reader wants to know…what’s next?

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

More about the novel....

Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband, David, and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. 

But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave. A secret that changes everything she thought their marriage had been. For the sake of their sons, can Susan forgive the unforgivable? 

Andrea Morley lost her closest friend in the fire. But she has no right to mourn him. Instead, she must forever grieve in silence—because her dearest friend was someone else’s husband. 

Peter Brennan carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Hanover Falls’ fire chief, he was responsible for the brave firefighters who lost their lives that awful November night. 

Can he ever shake the feeling that he should have somehow prevented the tragedy? As he tries to rebuild the team at Clemens County’s Station 2, it seems he might find comfort in the arms of the woman he least expected.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Be a Mary Newton

Inspiration for this post Part 1 and Part 2.

We've all sung Amazing Grace in church. Many of you probably count it as the theme song for your spiritual walk. And we can all say without pausing to think that John Newton was the author of that powerful song.

But how many can say his wife's name? How many people know that she was down on her knees, begging God to bring the man she loved into His fold while John was sailing the seas, enslaving those of another color into a life of bondage? How many people really know the story behind Amazing Grace?

Photo Credit ~ Microsoft Office
Mary Newton was desperately close to becoming an old maid (I must be old by their standards, 20 is not old-maid people), but the man she loved didn't share her faith. A sailor of the seas, John Newton was a foul human being. But Mary wouldn't give up. Wouldn't stop hoping that her love would call him back.

But she wasn't naive. She knew she couldn't save him. Only God could. A day did not go by that she wasn't before the throne of God, praying for the man she loved. 

And because of her faithful prayers and devotion to her Lord and faith, countless generations have thus been impacted.

If you read my Dancing, Dating and Waiting series, you know that the initial thrill of someone showing an interest in you is like a druggies' high. But in the back of your mind during the entire time is the niggling reminder we so often want to shove away and simply enjoy the endorphins of the moment.

Be wise. Be careful. Be prayerful.

It's so hard when you have a dream...and the other side doesn't meet the challenge of your faith. Interpretation: discouraging.

How many times do you think Mary Newton wanted to give up? Marry the guy her parents wanted for her? Stop praying, stop hoping and just get on with life? Probably more times than you and I can count. 

I want to be a Mary Newton. She didn't pray for her future, that John would come to Christ and save her from spinsterhood. She prayed for him. That God would grab hold of his attention and devotion. If she was part of his plan, then she would rejoice. If she wasn't, she would still rejoice.

Maybe you have a situation in your life that needs prayer. Maybe you have a person you know that needs a faith that will stand through the storms of life and time. Mary prayed for years for John. But she never gave up.

I don't think she probably knew the impact her faithfulness would have on so many people. We may never know what our prayers are doing for those who need them most. But we should never give up.

My we walk in her footsteps. Sink to our knees. And rise a Mary Newton.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Amazing Dance World Glimpse ~ Tour de Force by Elizabeth White ~ Review

“Tour de Force” is a magnificent glimpse into a world of tutus and frills and pointe shoes. It’s always a wide-eyed view of the human condition and how far someone will go to get what they want.

            If ever someone, who has no coordination and can’t be graceful if she tried, wanted to experiment in the world of ballet, this book would be the ticket. Detail, research and understanding of that world really brought it to life. I thought I might be in New York looking through the window of the high rise dance studio (though that sounds uncomfortable…)

            I will say in that great research, I got a bit lost in all the characters were trying to do to save their careers and dance studios. I think a better personal understanding of how the dance world works would have been helpful on my end.

            The love story is sweet, but I would have liked it to take a greater precedent. I felt it slipped into the background through the middle to two-thirds of the book.

            I would have liked to get to know Gilly better. I found her a bit closed off to the reader and I wanted to really dig into what made her tick as a character. I could say the same for Jacob too.

            But overall, it’s a good book and one I’m glad I tried on for size.

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

More about the novel...

Gillian Kincade is a rising New York ballet star. When Jacob Ferrar casts Gilly in his compelling ballet, it seems like a match made in heaven. But unexpected challenges and career conflicts soon have the couple questioning whether they're truly following God's direction.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway! Wish You Were Here by Beth Vogt!

Welcome to Writing for Christ Beth Vogt, it is great to have you here! Do you have an interesting fact about yourself the average reader probably doesn’t know?

 I have a twin sister, Brenda. I’m the oldest by four minutes. We’re fraternal twins, which means we don’t look a thing alike – except we’re both female. We didn’t get to have any “twin” fun growing up because we couldn’t even convince people that we were sisters, much less twins.

Do you have a favorite genre to read/write?

 I write what I love to read: inspirational contemporary romance. But I also enjoy historical romances and the occasional romantic suspense.

Do you have a nugget of writing advice that has completely changed how you view writing?

I learned so much along the way to Wish You Were Here being published. One nugget … hhhmmm.
I love what Susan May Warren teaches about emotional layering. You identify the main emotion in a scene and then think of a time when you experienced that emotion. Then you journal about that time in your life. After that, you go back and write your scene, utilizing what you uncovered while you journaled. It’s a powerful technique to add more emotional depth to your characters.

5 things you love?
1.      God’s lavish grace. I love The Message version of Romans 5:1-2 We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand – out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
2.      Laughter. It’s my all-time favorite sound. I one time had a little pottery jar labeled “The laughter of children.”
3.      My family. I truly believe my husband and my family are the best gift God ever gave me. The best.
4.      Quiet. This is a change for me. I used to have to fill up silence with noise: the radio, the TV … something. But I’ve come to appreciate when the house is quiet. It’s restful.
5.      My girlfriends. Because, you know, a gal just needs her girlfriends.

What do you enjoy most about being a published author?

Writing fiction is one of those things I put behind the door marked “Never,” as in “I would never write fiction.” And I’ve found some of the best things in my life have been behind the door marked “Never.” I love connecting with other writers and celebrating their successes and walking the writing road with them. Nobody “gets” you like another writer.

Places for readers to learn more about you?
Website:   (  And this is where my blog, In Others’ Words, is located too. My blog is all about quotes.

Thank you for being with us today! 

Readers, here is your chance to enter to win Beth's debut novel!

Please leave an email adddress! 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- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

Thanks for coming by to enter! Contest ends on June 1st.
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(@) 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Story Snapshot...

I love my latest story. A story of hope and redemption and family. Three things I love to write about. :-) I decided to do something different today (okay to cover the fact I completely forgot to write an original post. ;-) and share a scene within my novel. And since I BEAT my personal deadline and finished edits on Wednesday, I thought this might be a fun way to celebrate with a Story Snapshot


“So…what do you like to do?” Ellie gripped the steering wheel, the left-hand blinker filling the silence where the girl should have spoken. She tapped the wheel with her forefinger and waited for the light to turn. And waited. And…waited.
            This did not bode well.
            “I don’t do free time.” Cassie picked at a loose thread on her jeans and quickly gave a snapping jerk. She twisted the thread around her forefinger.
            “Okay. What would you do if you had free time?”
            She shrugged and stared out the window.
            The light turned green. Finally. Ellie stomped the gas a bit more than necessary and accelerated through the light.  Three blocks. Just three blocks and they would be home and she could call her sister. She should have called her in the first place when she agreed to watch the girl. Angie would have ideas of what she could do with her.
            “My sister lives a few blocks down from me. She has twin girls.” She heard the smile in her own voice when she mentioned her nieces and glanced over at the girl.
            “Good for you.” Her breath fogged the window.
            “You know Cassie, I know what it feels like to be abandoned by someone you love.”
            “Why, your mom leave too?”
            “No, my husband died.”
            Cassie looked her direction, her eyes wide.
            “We were only married a few years.” Ellie slapped the right hand signal.
            “What did he die from?” Her voice was a whisper.
            “Cancer. By the time we found out it was too late.”
            “I’m sorry.”
            Ellie pulled into her driveway, pushing the button to open the garage door. “Me too.”
            “What did you do?”
            Ellie turned the key in the ignition and faced Cassie. “What do you mean?”
            “What did you do to God?”
            “I…I haven’t really talked to…God.” Not since Mark died.
            “I haven’t either.” The car door popped and echoed in the still of the garage. “What’s the point, right? I mean, it doesn’t seem like He really cares.”
            The pre-teen jumped from the car and slung her backpack over her shoulder, shutting the door before Ellie could respond. And she wanted to. She wanted to call the girl back and tell her He did care. That trusting God did matter. But the words were like pebbles in a narrow-mouth jar. Falling to the bottom and sinking out of reach. She would only sound like a hypocrite.
Photo Credit Microsoft Office
            Cassie thumped the glass of her closed driver’s window with the back of her forefinger. “Can we go in? I need to use the bathroom.”


I'd love for you, as readers and writers, to share a snapshot of what you are currently reading (or writing) this Friday. We're all about books around here....don't be shy. ;-) Happy Friday and thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Pursuit of Lucy Banning by Olivia Newport ~ Review

I often enjoy a quick weekend read when I’m swamped with reviews and need to catch up quickly. So while I quickly read through “The Pursuit of Lucy Banning” I was impressed with the intricacies of the plot that kept the story evenly paced and me always curious to see what would come next.

            Lucy is a strong heroine. She is focused on her dreams, but the world she lives in isn’t ready for the storm of her motivations. As a reader I couldn’t help, but want to see her strike out on her own and make a way, but what I also appreciated that in her forward thinking, she was respectful of her parents slow understanding of her dreams.

            Charlotte’s story intrigued me the most and is such a unique position for the women of her time. What happens to her in coming books is definitely a selling point.

            I wanted more page time with the romance between Lucy and Will. I thought it was pretty quick and to the point, I wanted to watch it mature a bit more. Some of that could be word/page count restriction or just taking time to flesh out Lucy’s story.

            I was impressed that (except for a bit in the romance department) the two stories of Charlotte and Lucy seamlessly came together and my investments as a reader were not overly torn. An enjoyable debut novel!

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

            **Available May 2012 from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group**

More about the novel...and an interview with the author!

Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?

Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

*How did The Pursuit of Lucy Banning get started?
I have Chicago suburban roots, but I had not heard of the Prairie Avenue Historical District until a friend of mine became a docent at the Glessner House Museum on Prairie Avenue. This house preserves the flavor of Chicago’s gilded age when the neighborhood was full of wealthy powerhouses of industry. As soon as my friend began his training, he saw the potential for the setting of a story. He is not a fiction writer, but he knew my interests. It did not take us long to cook up story ideas about a daughter of a privileged family who engaged with the changing social climate of her time.

*Will we know what happens to Lucy after the end of the book?
Charlotte Farrow is a secondary character in The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, and she will have her own full story next. The Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow will release in January. After that comes Sarah Cummings, who is introduced during Charlotte’s story. Lucy Banning and her family appear in all three books. Even though the main characters will change, readers can follow the next several years of Lucy’s life.

*Is any part of you sorry to be finished writing The Pursuit of Lucy Banning?
Yes! I’ve been living with Lucy for three years now. I feel I know her well. Lucy has a part in the two stories to follow, and these are still in the editorial pipeline so I’ll have opportunities to visit with her again over the next few months. Beyond that, I have a picture of what happened in her life and know that she found happiness and meaning. And that brings me pleasure.

*If someone else were sitting at your desk right now, what would they see?
A visitor to my office would see multiple attempts at organization, some of which are actually useful! I have several racks for folders and papers, and only I know what qualifies for which rack. I insist on colorful, fun folders. A couple of binders hold manuscripts in progress or research. I expect a visitor would be curious about the various notes I have taped up around my desk, some of which are information I refer to because I can’t remember otherwise, and some of which are inspiration, both to keep my writing on task and my heart in a settled place. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

SCORE!! Winner, winner!!! ~ My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade ~ Review

You know that book you fall in love with and don’t want it to end, each page should NOT bring you closer to the ending and even though you have a dozen other books demanding a review, you keep dragging your feet on finishing this one, because you just don’t want it to end? That is more than just a long run-on sentence; THAT is my unadulterated emotion about “My Stubborn Heart.” I flat. Out. Loved. It.

            Fitting into this novel was like stepping into a Cinderella fairy tale…and the glass slipper didn’t pinch a bit. What reader wouldn’t adore Kate? She’s tiny, but mighty, with a sense of humor and a persistence that grates on Matt, but boy did I love her! She is a simply endearing heroine.

            Ladies, be still your beating heart, because Matt is the perfect, tall, dark and brooding hero we all seem to gravitate to in fiction. Why the tortured ones anyway?? Matt has got SO many dimensions to him. Not just a world-class athlete, he’s gentle, sweet and loving. I loved watching his faith transform him.

            What else? Hmm, humor. STELLAR writing quality. Vivid emotions and descriptions. I wanted the book to go on and on and on…

            I will admit to being disappointed in a couple crass word choices. Not something I was expecting and it cringed my heart.

            Overall, five star read! Emotionally evocative in SO many ways. And yes, call caps just isn’t good enough this time around. Totally awesome. Sigh.

            This review is my honest opinion (I mean come on, why ELSE would I use so many words or ALL CAPS???). Thanks to the publishers and Litfuse for my copy to review.

More about the novel...and contest info!!

Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can't help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can't quite put her finger on. He's clearly wounded--hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light...whether he likes it or not. 

When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?


Win a Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™ in Becky Wade's My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and RSVP for FB Party {5/24}! Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™
  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate
  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on May 24th. Winner will be announced at the "My Stubborn Heart" Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting an book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

So grab your copy of My Stubborn Heart and join Becky on the evening of the May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via Facebook Enter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun.
RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 24th!

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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