Wednesday, October 30, 2013

GrammoWriMo...Update and Plot Link

More than 750 writers have signed up to write a single novel with us during the month of November—we’re calling the project #GrammoWriMo.

Here's a #GrammoWriMo FAQ, which describes the project in more detail. 

More than 2,000 people took a survey about the plot of this novel, and here is the resulting #GrammoWriMo Plot Overview.

Can 750+ people simultaneously write a novel? Stay tuned to find out!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Virginia Smiths' and Lori Copelands' A Bride for Noah ~ Reviewed

A Bride for Noah
Lori Copeland
Virginia Smith
Binding  Softcover 
Release Date   Oct 1, 2013 
Publisher   Harvest House Publishers 
Series  Seattle Brides   
ISBN  0736953477  


Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith, beloved authors of the Amish of Apple Grove series, team up again in an exciting new series for devoted fans and new readers.
It's 1851, and Evie Lawrence is penniless and heartbroken after a failed romance. When a kind elderly man announces his plan to move west and make his fortune, Evie jumps at the chance to go with him and start a new life. She says goodbye to the only home she's ever known and sets out for the Northwest.
There she meets Noah Hughes, a handsome young man who has gambled everything he owns on the chance to make a fresh start. Living the rugged life of a lumberjack, he too is determined to one day make his fortune. The last thing he's looking for is a why can't he get Evie out of his mind?
In this first book of the Seattle Brides series, two people learn what it means to move beyond their expectations and embrace the very best God has for them.


A Bride for Noah revolves around a young woman named Evie Lawrence. When she finds her life as a house maid unfulfilling, she takes a chance in a business partnership with her employer to start a restaurant in Oregon for the growing community of lumberjacks. Little does she know that her new “partner” is a good talker but very poor with managing money. When they get to the lumber camp, Evie and her new female companions (who came along looking for work and husbands) find that they are welcome by most of the men, but not all. In the meantime, she meets Noah Hughes, and handsome man who is helping to run the camp. They butt heads from the very beginning, but as the story continues, they find they are growing on one another.

This was a very nice story. Evie’s character was very admirable, but at times, I found her head strong ways to be a put off. I suppose in that situation, as a woman, you would have to be tough, but sometimes she came across as a know-it-all that wanted to prove herself as good or better than the men, and that bothered me a little about her. That’s just a personal opinion, though, and in no way hindered my enjoyment of the book.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Thursday, October 17, 2013

R. J. Larson's King ~ Reviewed

R. J. Larson
Pages 352
Release Date Jul 1, 2013
Series Books Of The Infinite
Series Number 3
ISBN 0764209736


Against his wishes and desires, Akabe of Siphra has been chosen by his people to be King. But what does a warrior know of ruling during peacetime? Guided by the Infinite, Akabe seeks to rebuild the Temple in the city of Munra to give the sacred books of Parne a home. But dangerous factions are forming in the background. To gain the land he needs, Akabe must forsake the yearnings of his heart and instead align himself through marriage to the Thaenfall family.

Meanwhile, Kien Lantec and Ela Roeh are drawn still closer together…while becoming pawns in a quest to gain power over the region. As questions of love and faith become tangled with lies and murderous plots, each must seek the Infinite to guide them through an ever more tangled web of intrigue and danger.


R. J. Larson continues her allegorical fantasy with King ~ with Akabe grappling with the uncomfortable weight of leadership, the requirement to marry, and his obligation to the Infinite. I enjoyed this story though not quite as much as Judge, which remains my favourite of the Books of the Infinite. Familiar Biblical themes are woven seamlessly into the tale that will intrigue and entice readers who may never have ventured into the fantasy genre before. Things moved a little too quickly in some parts, particularly with regard to the relationships between Akabe and his new bride, as well as Kien and Ela, lacking some emotional depth in the romantic elements of a story. That said, the focus in King is the fast moving plot, the impending danger, and Akabe’s struggle with seeking the Infinite’s guidance. This is an enjoyable series laced with humour, the value of friendship, and a significant yet subtle spiritual message worth exploring.

Reviewed by: Rel Mollet

Monday, October 14, 2013

Kate Lloyd's Pennsylvania Patchwork ~ Reviewed

Pennsylvania Patchwork
By Kate Lloyd
Release Date Jun 1, 2013
Publisher David C. Cook
ISBN 0781408733
Publishers Description

ONE HEART. TWO LOVES. ONE CHOICE.Seattle native Holly Fisher is smitten by Lancaster County, its simplicity and her long lost relatives. In the sequel to bestselling "Leaving Lancaster," Holly embraces the Amish culture, learning to slow down to see what - and who - really matters. Meeting the family that her mother had kept hidden from her, Holly comes face to face with her real life and blood legacy. She also falls for the charming Zach, a handsome Mennonite veterinarian who is everything she's ever wanted in a husband: confident, kind, successful, and authentic. And Zach proposes marriage. Is this too soon? Is this the right choice? Mother and Amish grandmother think she's rushing into too much of a lifestyle change. Holly is in love with Zach and that precludes everything. Until she meets an attractive Amish man. And an old suitor shows up. "Pennyslvania"" Patchwork" is the moving, richly told story of one woman's heart, her faith and trust, and the choices she makes. Never easy, but one choice can change your destiny.


Pennsylvania Patchwork is the sequel to Leaving Lancaster. It picks up where book one left off, with Seattle native Holly Fisher leaving her city home and moving to Lancaster county, where her parents are originally from. Her mother, Esther, after having left the Amish church with Holly’s father, Samuel, has returned and is preparing to rejoin the Amish church and marry Nathaniel, a wonderful Amish man. In the meantime, rumors start spreading that Nathaniel’s first wife, who was thought to have drowned, is still alive, while Esther receives a mysterious package from a man claiming to have known her first husband, Samuel, whom she thought was killed in Vietnam. Holly, on the other hand, is engaged to Zach, a Mennonite veterinarian. However, when controversies from his past arise, Holly begins to wonder if they are meant to be together. In the meantime, Holly is being pursued by Armin, Nathaniel’s younger brother, and a former boyfriend from Seattle.

It took me a little bit to get into the story, simply because it had been a while since I had read book one, however once my memory came back on the original story, I had a hard time putting it down. New twists and turns kept the storyline very interesting, and while I was surprised at some of the turns, I wasn’t disappointed. This was a great sequel to the first book.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers

Friday, October 11, 2013

Susan Call's A Search for Purple Cows ~ Reviewed

Purple Cows and Other Miracles
Susan Call
Release Date Jul 1, 2013
Publisher Ideals Publications
ISBN 0824934415

Back Cover:

A wife and mother’s amazing journey out of domestic abuse into a life fully restored. A whimsical comment from a kind stranger, “Be sure to search for purple cows,” brings hope to a woman and her children fleeing from a life filled with trouble. Susan Call reveals how painful a relationship can be when love deteriorates into a cycle of abuse and betrayal. Her moving memoir chronicles how she first met her husband, a handsome, stylish, generous man whom she worked with. Their life seemed idyllic—they had a beautiful home and everything a family could desire. But soon, Call was tormented by her husband’s alcoholism, domestic abuse, and infidelity. God found her in the midst of her pain and showed her that a journey toward Him was possible even in the most unthinkable circumstances.


A Search for Purple Cows follows Susan Call’s journey to a life of freedom in Christ. It relates how her fears and insecurities trapped her in a spiritual and emotional prison and led her into a dysfunctional, abusive marriage. It also details how, through a budding faith in Jesus, she was able to escape her hopeless life and find wholeness in Him. However, the story doesn’t stop there. Purple Cows goes on to tell how Susan struggled to provide for her children and make a new life for them, and how, as a part of that, she found the strength to forgive her ex-husband. Susan’s testimony is as challenging as it is encouraging, and truly points to the incredible power of God to bring freedom and healing.

This book was simply a pleasure to read. I flew through the 228 pages in a matter of hours, and I will definitely re-read it in the future. The mistakes that led Susan to enter into a manipulative, volatile marriage are so relatable. As a reader, I could totally understand her struggle. The lies that kept her trapped in an abusive relationship were the coping mechanism that she used to survive, and any one of us would likely fall into the same deception. Yet, in spite of how common the trap she fell into was, her escape from it was truly remarkable. God pursued her unrelentingly and proved himself so faithful in her life. He protected her, guided her, and even challenged her as she began to trust more deeply in Him. As the story unfolded, I was reminded that God still performs miracles in our lives, if only we will stop and recognize his hand at work. Susan encourages her readers with the metaphor of “searching for purple cows.” She explains how that phrase has come to mean so much more to her than was originally intended, saying that “Too often in life we limit ourselves to what can be seen, and we define what is possible by the limits we have experienced… Choose to believe with childlike wonder in what lies ahead, rather than focusing on what you’ve left behind. Only then can you in earnest being your own search for purple cows.”

Reviewed by: Shea Nolan

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Julianne Donaldson's Blackmoore ~ Reviewed

By Julianne Donaldson
Shadow Mountain


Kate Worthington knows she can never have her heart’s desire and so believes she will never marry. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore on the cliffs above the seashore, where she must face the truth and the man that has kept her heart captive.


You know those rare books that you keep glancing at the page number as you read, wishing it would magically stop increasing so that the story would never end? BLACKMOORE is one of those. Delightful. Consuming. Altogether a keeper on my shelf that I’ll pull down to read every few years or so because it’s just that good.

At first I wasn’t sure I liked the way the story jumped between past and present. It seemed a bit disjointed. But after I got used to it, and as the story developed, I could see how the format was integral in explaining and fleshing out the tangled relationships between the Delafields and Worthingtons, and especially between the heroine and hero, Kate and Henry.

I totally identified with Kate. Her dysfunctional family. Her demanding, controlling mother. Her struggle for self worth in a cultural environment that only gave a female worth according to a good match. She is a believable character who you’ll end up cheering your lungs out for.

Henry is a stalwart young man. I love how willing he is to allow Kate to be herself no matter how much it hurts him. Their love story is a beautiful picture of giving, reminiscent of O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi.

The tension for the first kiss between Kate and Henry builds and builds until you think you can’t possibly stand it any more and then in one all-glorious instant when the planets align and you’re certain this will be the most passionate memorable kiss in all of history—bam! The stupid little sister walks in on the intimate moment and blows it out of the water. Don’t panic, though, like I did. When they Henry and Kate finally do carry out their magic moment, oh yeah, it is well worth the wait.

If you love Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, you’re going to adore BLACKMOORE. I look forward to more from author Julianne Donaldson.

Reviewed by: Michelle Griep

Monday, October 07, 2013

Brandilyn Collins's Dark Justice ~ Reviewed

Dark Justice 
Brandilyn Collins 
B&H Books 
 October 1, 2013 


If I’d had any idea what those words would mean to me, to my mother and daughter, I’d have fled California without looking back.

While driving a rural road, Hannah Shire and her aging mother, who suffers from dementia, stop to help a man at the scene of a car accident. The man whispers mysterious words in Hannah’s ear. Soon people want to kill Hannah and her mother for what they “know.” Even law enforcement may be involved.

The two women must flee for their lives. But how does Hannah hide her confused mother? Carol just wants to listen to her pop music, wear her favorite purple hat, and go home. And if they turn to Hannah’s twentyseven- year-old daughter, Emily, for help, will she fall into danger as well?

Pressed on all sides, Hannah must keep all three generations of women in her family alive. Only then does she learn the threat is not just to her loved ones, but the entire country . . .

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Dark Justice, HERE.


 Brandilyn Collins's Dark Justice is a whiplash read. From the first page Collins begins building tension as the reader is introduced to the main character, Hannah, and her mother who is fading into dementia. The opening pages are a mere shadow of Hannah's trials. As Hannah and her mom head for home after a relaxing weekend away, trying to forget that the future holds a lot of confusion and sadness, they happen upon a wreck. 

A whispered request from the wounded man turns their lives upside down and inside out as they are put into a cat and mouse game that will require every ounce of Hannah's strength and courage. When Hannah's daughter Emily gets involved the stakes zing higher. And the body count grows. The resolution offers a peek into an uncomfortable place for anyone concerned about the reality of terrorism or our dependence on anything outside of God. 

This is a terrific edge of seat read that may cause the reader to lose some sleep. Collins has loaded the novel with realistic characters who are facing the things that many face on a daily basis, and a compelling and comforting message. 

 Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Diana Sharples's Running Lean ~ Reviewed

Running Lean
By Diana L. Sharples
Pages 400
Release Date Aug, 2013
Publisher Zondervan Publishing
ISBN 0310734975

In this YA debut from author Diana Sharples, love, self-esteem, and trust meld in a compelling story. Still reeling from the loss of his brother in Afghanistan, Calvin Greenlee pours himself into fixing his motorcycle and spending the rest of his time with his girlfriend, Stacy, who always has the right words to say. But when Stacy starts losing weight---a lot of weight---it's clear she has problems of her own. Calvin is determined to cure her---but could that only push Stacy further into danger?


Diana Sharple’s debut novel centers around Calvin and Stacey, two teenagers dealing with tragedy and emotional turmoil. The passing of Calvin’s brother as a soldier in Afghanistan leaves him with a hole in his life. A dark incident in Stacey’s past now leaves her with deep emotional scars, along with serious self-image problems. So Stacey and Calvin mutually fill the emptiness in their hearts with each other. However, Stacey’s self-image problems morph into a life-threatening eating disorder. Calvin tries to be the knight in shining armor, but she pushes his concerns away, in denial. Ms. Sharples does a fantastic job of portraying both characters, writing from the two viewpoints. Readers feel sympathy for Stacey, though they can’t help but yearn to shake Stacey out of her denial, longing for her to listen to her caring boyfriend. Though somewhat monotonous in places, this book is a strongly written novel,and enlightens the reader on the perils of eating disorders. It is a story of hope, but doesn’t fail to portray how hard it can be for friends and family when someone they love suffers through this disorder.

Reviewed by: Priya Mellott

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Margaret Daley's Severed Trust ~ Reviewed

Severed Trust (Men Of The Texas Rangers V4)
By Margaret Daley (Author)
Release Date Oct 15, 2013
Publisher Abingdon Press
Series Men Of The Texas Rangers
Series Number 4
ISBN 1426761864
The day Sadie Thompson finds her high school student, Lexie, asleep in class and can't wake her is the day she realizes how entrenched a prescription drug ring is in her school. As Sadie is pulled into doing something about the growing problem, she becomes involved with Ethan Stone?a Texas Ranger who suspects the drug ring reaches far beyond the high school. Helping Lexie recover from the overdose, Sadie feels she is making a difference?until the 16-year-old's best friend dies from the apparent mixing of various prescription drugs. Lexie doesn't think her friend took her own life, but her relationship with her Uncle Ethan is precarious and she doesn?t know if either he or Sadie will help her discover the truth.


Severed Trust is an intense read! It revolves around the mysterious death of a popular high school football player. Throughout the story, we learn about drugs and pill parties, the betrayal of friendships, and drugs being stolen from the elderly in a nursing home setting. Texas Ranger Ethan Stone has returned home to be near his sister and niece, only to find himself right in the middle of the investigation. It hits home when someone attempts to murder his niece, who has just but trying to help a friend caught in the middle of the whole mess.

This was a great read. I had a hard time putting it down. The story just kept building, and more things were thrown in the mix so you really didn’t know how it was going to turn out. When I finished the book, I was so surprised at the ending. I honestly had no idea where it was going. If you like something that’s going to keep you on the edge of your seat, this is a great book to read.

Reviewed by: Sarah Meyers