Thursday, March 31, 2011

FIRST: No Safe Haven by Kimberley and Kayla R. Woodhouse

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:

B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
***Special thanks to Julie Gwinn, Trade Book Marketing, B&H Publishing Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHORS:


Kimberley Woodhouse is a wife, mother, writer, and musician approaching life with a positive outlook despite difficult circumstances. Her previous book,Welcome Home: Our Family’s Journey to Extreme Joy, chronicles her daughter’s extremely rare health issues and how the Woodhouses received an amazing gift through the ABC television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Kim and her husband have two children and live in Colorado.


Kayla Woodhouse is a teenage author whose life-altering medical condition (a nerve disorder that prevents the body from regulating its temperature or sensing pain) has not stopped her love for swimming. She is home schooled and has an adventure blog called Dragon Claws, Dog Paws, Swimming Laws.


Visit the Kim's website.

Visit the Kayla's blog.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

A young widow and her physically challenged daughter survive a plane crash in the Alaskan mountains but must puzzle together how it relates to the recent death of their husband and father.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433671166
ISBN-13: 978-1433671166

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


JENNA

The plane dropped like a 3000 pound stone.

     Jenna Tikaani-Gray braced herself with one hand, and held a warm, foam cup away from her body with the other as they jostled along. These pockets of air were turning the flight into a wild ride at the fair. Good thing she loved those rides almost as much as she loved flying, because they were dropping again. Down, then up, then down again, until the sky turned to silk and the plane sailed along.

     At least the turbulence hadn’t spilled the coffee.

     After a long, slow sip, Jenna released a sigh as their small de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver, left the bowl of Anchorage, Alaska, and lifted into the clear blue sky above. The mountains around Anchorage always produced a bumpy ride, but she’d managed to pass coffee to Hank and their other passenger without mishap.

     Only one more leg of the journey and they’d be home.

     A beautiful hand reached across the seat, welcoming her embrace, and she smiled at her twelve-year-old daughter, Andrea. Such a sweet kid. Jenna had definitely been blessed from above with her only child. Andrea had been through such trial and heartache, yet faced the world smiling.

     Jenna squeezed her daughter’s hand as the radio buzzed and crackled.

     “Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November”--Departure Control came through the channel loud and clear.--“I’m getting no mode C on your transponder. Squawk 2-3-7-5 i-dent.”

     Hank, the pilot, replied, “Roger. Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November i-dent…”

     “Negative radar contact. Maintain VFR. Do you have another transponder?”

     “Roger. I’ll switch to backup.”

     Jenna leaned over the side of her seat watching Hank flip the switch from transponder A to B. She waited for word from Departure Control.

     “Still negative radar contact. Can you maintain VFR?”

     “Roger that, Control. No problem.”

     That was strange. How could both transponders be malfunctioning? She furrowed her brow. When they returned to North Pole, she’d have to get it checked out. Good thing Hank was an experienced pilot. Since Marc’s death, Jenna  had hired him to pilot their plane, and knew he could handle whatever might happen.

     Andie pulled on her arm, bringing Jenna’s attention from the cockpit back to her daughter.

     “Mom?”

     “Yeah, sweetie?”

     “What does VFR mean?” Andie’s fascination was clear on her face.

     Jenna felt the tension ease from her own features as she leaned close to Andie, a little thrill rippling through her body. How she loved talking about flying. “Visual Flight Rules. Hank filed an IFR flight plan—Instrument Flight Rules—but the transponders must be malfunctioning, so the tower is instructing him to fly VFR, meaning visually. If we didn’t have a clear day, that would make flying VFR trickier, sometimes impossible.”

     “Is it safe to fly VFR?”

     Andie must have noted her reaction earlier. Jenna had never been good at hiding things from her inquisitive child.

     Jenna noticed the other passenger glance back at them from his seat next to the pilot, and she held back a frown. The rough flight could explain the man’s lack of a smile, but what caused the fierce look he shot them? Jenna cocked her head, questioning the man with her silent stare. A poke from Andie brought her back to the question.

     “Yes, sweetie. It’s perfectly safe.”

     “Just checkin’.” Andie giggled, squeezed Jenna’s hand, and turned to look out the tiny window next to her seat.

     The man watched Jenna as she faced forward once again. Something in his intense gaze pulled at her, but she couldn’t discern what. She’d been so excited about going home that she hadn’t paid attention when they were introduced. His first name was . . . Cole? Ugh. Good job remembering the details, Jenna. Marc had taught her better than that.

     Well, whether she could remember his name or not, something about this guy bothered her. She just couldn’t put her finger on what.

     Forcing herself to break the connection, she slid her chin left and tried to focus on the scenery beneath them. Greens and blues melded with the white of melting snow. This was her favorite part of flying. Watching the beauty of God’s handiwork skim below her.

     The two men up front spoke in hushed tones, bringing her attention back to their puzzling guest. Hank approached her before the flight asking if they could take another passenger, and she didn’t mind since the added income would be to her benefit. But who was this guy? And why, if he were just another tourist, was he so serious?

     Closing her eyes, Jenna attempted to dispel her concerns. Think about the amazing news from Andie’s neurosurgeon instead. The results were far beyond her expectations, and for the first time in many years Jenna allowed herself to dream big for her precious child. So much tragedy and hurt could now be replaced with hope. The future was brighter than ever.

     Instinctively, she reached for the dog tags around her neck. If only Marc could’ve been there. He’d been distraught when, as a toddler, their daughter was first diagnosed. But the additional diagnosis two years ago just about broke the man. He’d never quite recovered, and his demeanor had forever changed. The once crazy adventurer—a man full of life and laughter—closed himself behind a stone wall of protection.

     She’d fought long and hard to penetrate his defenses, but taking care of Andie had become their focus, taken all their energy. When their daughter went in for brain surgery a year ago, the walls between them finally fell as they cried and held one another in the surgical waiting room. But Jenna never had the chance to discover what drove her husband to such emotional extremes. The accident happened before Andie was released from the hospital.

     Opening her eyes, she blinked back the tears threatening to spill down her cheeks. Stop it! This is no time for tears. It’s a happy day.

     They would move on from here.

     She turned to gaze out the window. How long had she been lost in her memories? And, for that matter…where were they? Leaning closer to the glass, she searched for familiar landmarks. The scenery wasn’t right.

     Before she could open her mouth to speak to Hank, brisk movement in the cockpit drew her attention to the two men up front. Seeing a tangle of arms shoved her heart into her throat.

     Hank was fighting the passenger!

     The man grabbed Hank’s arm and—a gun! Hank had a gun!

     Before Jenna could move, Hank jerked his arm free, took aim, and shot the radio. Glancing at Andie, she ripped open her seatbelt. Her daughter’s eyes widened and her mouth hung open as Jenna yanked the belt off her and shoved her over the seat toward the rear of the plane. She climbed after her frightened child, signaling her to crouch in the floor. As Jenna hunched over her sweet daughter, she hugged her tight, whispering calming words in an attempt to shield her from the horror of the scene unfolding in front of them.

     The plane plunged and veered to the west.

     Heart thundering, Jenna monitored the scuffle through a crack between the seats and prayed for wisdom and safety. What was happening? And why? Arms wrestled and tangled—the passenger pushed upward, almost hovering over the pilot. What if he killed Hank?

     As the plane teetered and shuddered, Jenna felt the panic rise in her throat. Surely God wasn’t going to let Andie die, not after all she’d survived already.

     The man rammed a fist into the pilot’s face. Though Hank tried to fight back, he soon crumpled under the intense blows. Hank wore an evil smirk as he croaked out the awful words: “You’ll…never make…it…alive…”

     The same fear that stole her breath rushed into the passenger’s face. What did Hank mean? Was it a threat to the passenger? Or to them all?

     Determination stretched taut over the man’s rugged features as he threw Hank to the floor behind him, and climbed into the pilot’s seat. “Tie his hands!” He tossed a small cord to Jenna.

     He fought to level off the plane, then glanced back in her direction. His breaths were ragged and his eyes bore a glassy sheen. He looked different… unfocused. Dare she depend on him? After Hank’s words, Jenna wasn’t sure about anything. It was all happening too fast.

     Grabbing Andie, she hauled herself back over the seat and fumbled with the cording. It was a good thing Hank was unconscious, as her knots needed work. She darted a glance toward the cockpit, and decided to strap Hank back in. Their landing could be really rough if this guy didn’t know what he was doing, and she wanted their former pilot to be in decent condition to go to jail.

     “Leave him!” Even though his upper lip was sweaty and he looked slightly green, his glare could burn a hole through steel. “You two buckle up!” He turned back to the controls.

     Minutes passed.

     Jenna bowed her head in prayer.

     “This may be bumpy, I don’t know…what they did to…your plane…” The man’s words grew more and more slurred. “I’m not feeling…so… hhhoo…”

     In a matter of seconds, he slid down his seat and slumped over the yoke, arms limp at his sides.

     Time stood still. She could hear her lungs taking in air, watched Andie’s eyes widen in fear, felt the plane dive forward, but Jenna couldn’t move. God, Help me! Spare my daughter, please Lord!

     Andie screamed. “Mom!”

     In a split-second, Jenna’s survival instinct kicked in. Bolting up, she grabbed Andie. “It’s going to be okay, baby.” She slid a hand down Andie’s cheek. “I need you to help me move this guy, and then I want you to grab Hank’s headset and buckle up in the co-pilot’s seat. Can you do that?”

     Without waiting for an answer, she squeezed Andie’s shoulder and climbed over seats into the cockpit. Adrenaline pumped pure strength through Jenna’s veins as she moved the bulk of the man who had tried to save them.

     Or kill them.

     She shook her head and shoved his solid, muscled frame over the seat. Jenna motioned for Andie to help strap him into another seat. Hank was sprawled, with his legs at an odd angle, but she had bigger concerns at the moment. Like landing the plane.

     Andie grabbed Hank’s headset, dashed back to the front, and climbed into the seat next to her. .

     Jenna took a deep breath and turned to the controls as Andie buckled in. She looked through the windshield--and gasped.

     Denali—“the high one”—the tallest mountain in North America, loomed before her. They shouldn’t be anywhere near the Alaska Range, and yet here they were—flying straight into the South Face.

     “Your seatbelt, Mom!”

     Jenna’s hands gripped the yoke tighter. No time for a seatbelt. She needed control of this plane.

     “Mom!”

     “It’s okay, honey. Calm down.”

     “But, Mom…” Andie gripped the headset. “Can you save us?”

     Two weeks of flight ground school and one lesson didn’t quite give Jenna the know-how she needed to get out of this alive. “I’m gonna try, Sweetie.” Oh, God! Show me what to do!

     Pulling up on the yoke, she tried to level out the small aircraft. “Honey, I need you to set those four dials on the radio controls to 1-2-1-5. That’s the emergency frequency. 1-2-1-5. Okay?”

     Andie nodded and didn’t hesitate to obey. The kid had been through brain surgery and a lifetime dealing with a rare physical condition. Her hands shook as she sucked in a deep breath and started turning the knobs. “Okay, Mom.” Nervous blue eyes met hers as she handed over the headset. “It’s set.”

     Slamming the headset onto her head, Jenna winced. Careful. Breathe. Andie’s relying on you. “Mayday! Mayday! Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November needs emergency assistance. We have no pilot aboard capable of flying this plane. Mayday! Mayday!”

     Crackling, hissing, static, and then silence.

     “Mayday, mayday! Juliet Kilo 3-2-6 November requesting emergency assistance!”

     Nothing.

     Andie’s sweet voice filled the cabin as reality set in. “Mom, the radio’s dead. Hank shot it. Why would he do that, Mom?” Tears quietly streamed down her daughter’s face.

     “Baby, I don’t know, but I have to try to land this plane. Put your head between your knees right now and cover your head with your arms.”

     Her brave little trooper obeyed, and Jenna prayed for guidance. Taking a firm grip on the yoke, she tried to turn the plane. The rudder barely responded. Something was wrong with the ailerons. What had she forgotten?

     Okay, Jenna, think. Cut your descent. Flaps down. What else can I do? Oh, God, help me remember! Help me think. There was no avoiding it: they were going to crash. She needed to strap herself in. Fumbling with one hand made it all the more difficult. “Andie, help me with the buckle.”

     She had to steer away from Denali. Sultana stood to her left, towering in all her glory. If she could just get close to Kahiltna glacier, she might be able to land there. But they were too high on the mountain. She’d have to find a different place and soon. With all her might, she worked the yoke to turn west, but the mountain face rushed toward her at a terrifying pace.

     Not much time left.

      Lifting the nose up, she prayed for the snow to be deep enough to cushion their landing. It was all she could do. The plane barely responded to her attempts to turn it, and they raced toward the steep mountain side.

     With one last cry for help, Jenna lurched as the plane dove toward the side of the mountain. Letting go of the yoke, she flung her arms over her daughter’s body inhaling Andie’s sweet scent: Citrus shampoo and a sweetness all her daughter. But she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the scene.

     Metal crunched. Glass shattered and peppered her arms. The plane creaked and groaned as they impacted Sultana’s unyielding side. The sound of screaming metal surrounded them, and Jenna knew. The mountain had  ripped the wings from the fuselage. Her breaths seemed hours apart as the plane pummeled the snow-packed earth underneath them.

     Another desperate prayer formed in her mind—only to be blotted out when everything went from the brilliant white of the snow to deep black.


ANDIE

What’s that?

     Air crossed my face like someone breathing beside me. Then something rustled next to my hand.

       Wind. I feel wind. My thoughts began to clear. Why would I feel the wind inside an airplane? Memories flooded my head and chills raced up my spine. Something wasn’t right. I tried to shake off the foreboding, but the slight movement sent piercing pain screaming through my head.

     Ow! Okay, that’s weird. I wasn’t used to feeling pain.

     I placed a hand on my head and put slight pressure to it. Slowly, I opened my eyes.

     Oh! Bright light. Wiggling within the tight confines of my seatbelt, I just about conked my head on some sort of thingy hanging in the air above me. Everything was a blur and I felt like I was spinning. Why am I spinning? The sun shone bright, and I rubbed my eyes. The spinning stopped.

     Weird.

     The seat belt straps were cutting off the circulation on my shoulders and squeezing the living daylights out of my stomach. I fumbled with the straps and wrestled with the buckles. Finally, I managed to unlatch them—and fell, landing on my shoulder.

     Ow.

      I was on the ceiling of the plane. Hanging . . . upside down? No wonder my head hurt. I was just glad I didn’t land on it.

     I rubbed the sides of my head to try and clear my fuzzy mind, then climbed on my hands and knees through a hole that at one time must have been the windshield. Moving only made my dizziness worse.

     “Ouchy!” My head started to hurt. Really hurt. What was the weird, zinging pain? Wait…pain? Fear swirled through me like a hurricane. The last time I felt pain, they told me I needed brain surgery. Tears slid down my icy cheeks before I could stop them. Lord, please no! No. No. Not again, God I can’t handle this, it’s too much.

     Panic bubbled up inside of me. Stumbling, forcing one foot in front of the other, I kept going. I wiped away the tiny droplets feeling grit and dirt covering my face. I looked down at my upturned palms. They were covered in dirt—

     And blood.

     Lots of blood.

     Oh, great. Spots danced in front of my eyes as the dizziness overwhelmed me.

     And then there was nothing.


The stinging on the back of my head made my eyes pop open. The sky loomed above me, and if I hadn’t known better I would have said it looked threatening. How long was I out? The pain was still there, but at least my brain wasn’t so fuzzy.

     Ok, Andrea, do something. Those words seemed to help me push myself to a sitting position. I took deep breaths to calm the shaking that had taken over my body. One more breath, then  I reached my left hand back under my long black hair to touch the scar on the back of my neck to see if it was intact. The familiar bumpy groove greeted my fingers. I pulled my hand back with a sigh, but avoided looking at it. I didn’t feel the stickiness of blood…well, not on that hand. That must mean no blood or wounds were on my scar. But my sticky right hand haunted me, as if something fierce--like a giant, abominable snowman--lay on top of the blood, waiting to gobble me up.

     The fainting happens every time. I hate blood!

     Ok, Andie, just don’t think about it.

     My surroundings came into focus. Snow, more snow, boulders, glass, the airplane… Uh-oh. The airplane. Hadn’t I been in the airplane? Or had I dreamed that? I glanced around—then wished I hadn’t.

     Some sort of big, metal part was smashed against a rock face and the tail-rudder-thingamabob had completely fallen off and lay on the other side of the crash. There was no sign of the wings and the windshield was shattered in a million pieces that lay sparkling on the snow as they reflected the sun’s light. And lying in the middle of it all . . .

     Mom!

     I ran over to her. She was under one of the wings. Well, partly under one of the wings, covered in blood. Lots of blood. All over her legs. Her jacket was torn and had blood on it too.

     “Mom! You have to wake up, Mom!” I shook her shoulder in an attempt to wake her. It didn’t work.

     The blood…   I pulled in air, then looked away before I threw up, and almost passed out again.  That’s when I saw the man who fought Hank.

     More blood.

     Again, I jerked away, my stomach churning. Too much. Too much fear. Too much loneliness. Too much blood. I couldn’t do it. Walking away, I trudged through the snow, and sat—well more accurately, fell—on the ground. Tears spilled down my now soggy face, quickly turning to ice and sparkling on the snow as a scratchy voice inside my head said the most awful truth.

      They’re dead. You’re all alone.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

Vicious Cycle (Intervention, #2)Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Drugs can create a vicious cycle of use and abuse. This book will have your head spinning as you jump into the lives of Jordan, Lance, Emily, Barbara, and Kent!


While this is the second book in the series, I do not think you will find yourself missing out on the backstory. The author did a great job of weaving that into the story so you never feel like pieces aren't coming together. I do want to go back and read Intervention though!


I have never been so intimately close with someone who is actively doing drugs so I couldn't always readily identify with the thoughts going through the characters. However, I can see the pain and anguish that one goes through when dealing with someone who is an addict. This book could potentially give hope to someone who is an addict (even though this is a work of fiction!).


Thank you to Zondervan Publishers and Terri Blackstock for providing this copy for review. I'll be passing along my copy to my friend Kandi!


View all my reviews

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CFBA: False Pretenses by Kathy Herman

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
False Pretenses
 
David C. Cook (March 1, 2011)
 
by
 
Kathy Herman
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.


She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.  

ABOUT THE BOOK  


Zoe Broussard loves the life she and her husband Pierce have built in her beloved Louisiana hometown. She owns a thriving Cajun eatery in South Louisiana and is married to the love of her life.


But it’s about to become hell. One day, out of the blue, she receives a series of anonymous notes that sends her life into a tail spin. Five simple words, “I know what you did.”  Zoe has a secret so terrible it could leave the business in shambles and tear her marriage apart. Unbeknownst to anyone, even Zoe’s husband, Pierce, she has a past—a past she had covered so well she never thought she would have to confront. How could anyone know what she did?  Can she find the courage to face her past?

If you would like to read the first chapter of False Pretenses, go HERE.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Special Assignment: Baby by Debra Webb

Special Assignment: BabySpecial Assignment: Baby by Debra Webb
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's been awhile since I've read a Harlequin romance novel. I can see that not much has changed over the years! It's ironic that no matter what author's name is on the front cover, the story is pretty predictable.


I'm not saying that I didn't enjoy this book. It had a decent story line. Court is responsible for bringing down this Neely guy who is determined to take down everyone in the city. Court's job is to play the part of good militia soldier while in truth he's an undercover agent.


Sabrina (Brin) is busy doing everything she can to keep the family ranch afloat while keeping an eye of her teenage brother who is quickly forming alliances with Neely. Why can't he see he's not a good guy to be around?


Court sees Brin again...it's been so long. Does she still love him? He her? Can Court give up everything he loves for Brin...and their child?


Warning: This book has some strong language and detailed sexual intimacy.


View all my reviews

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Review: Bound by Guilt by CJ Darlington

Bound by GuiltBound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the most inspiring book I've read this year! CJ Darlington is a master at the craft of writing! At the age of 15, she wrote her first book Thicker than Blood. Jerry B. Jenkins noticed her talent too, especially after winning his First Novel contest!


Roxi has had a rough life. At the age of eight, the fast lane became too slow for Roxi's mom and she was sent to a foster home after an unfortunate accident left Roxi scarred for life. Bouncing from home to home, no one ever wanted Roxi long. After doing some time in Juvie, Roxi's mom's cousin Irene was located and agreed to take Roxi in. Irene, Diego (her son) and Roxi took some pretty exciting adventures around the country in their RV. They went to places Roxi had never dreamed of seeing in person! Irene was also using these kids though to help support their travels. They would seek out old, antiquated, first edition books and lift them from the hands of the bookstore owners. It wasn't until they happened upon The Book Barn that Roxi started to REALLY feel shame and guilt over her "profession". One fateful night changed it all.


Abby is still reeling over her divorce and the fact that Michael doesn't let her see Kat as much as she'd like. She's so upset about it all that she twists the mayor's wife's hands a little too much during her arrest and finds herself with a two week suspension from the police force. Now what will she do with her time?


Hunter and Christy have their whole lives ahead of them. Everything is going well with the business and their wedding plans are coming together nicely. Love is all they need to survive and they have plenty of it. The only dream being squelched right now is that Hunter's dad will hear nothing of expanding and adding in a coffee shop!


Jan and Keith are drowning themselves into their work after their son, Trae, was killed. Can they ever open their hearts again and find a way to move on? Their ranch is their life but at what cost to them?


This book weaves together the lives of all these people through a series of twists and suspenseful turns. It is a hard book to put down for any length of time! This book demonstrates unconditional love in times when it's not deserved or even possibly wanted. Forgiveness is also demonstrated in ways beyond imagine and the character of Gordon, even though small, is not insignificant in this story.


Will Roxi find peace or forever be....Bound By Guilt?


Thanks to CJ Darlington and Tyndale House Publishers for providing this review copy to read. To learn more about our author and to read other opinions, check out the post from Tuesday.


Happy reading my friends!



View all my reviews

Friday, March 25, 2011

CFBA: Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
Vicious Cycle
 
Zondervan (February 22, 2011)
 
by
 
Terri Blackstock
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  
Terri Blackstock is a New York Times best-seller, with over six million copies sold worldwide. She has had over twenty-five years of success as a novelist. She sold her first novel at the age of twenty-five, and has had a successful career ever since.

Besides entertaining her readers, Terri tackles issues that she hopes will change lives. Her recent book, Predator, was inspired by her experiences on Facebook and Twitter, and her concern that people posted too much personal information about themselves. The book deals with an online predator who uses social networks as his playground. She hopes the book will change readers’ online habits. Her New York Times best-seller, Intervention, was inspired by her own personal struggles with a daughter on drugs. In the book, a mother hires an interventionist for her drug-addicted daughter. But on the way to treatment, the interventionist is murdered, and the daughter disappears. Barbara, the mother, sets out to search for her daughter. Terri modeled Barbara after herself, and poured many of her own emotions and experiences into that character. As a result, many families experiencing drug addiction have written to thank her for telling their story and giving them hope. Vicious Cycle, Book Two of the Intervention Series, releases February 22, 2011. She’s currently working on Book Three.

Other recent books include a stand-alone novel called Double Minds, as well as Last Light, Night Light, True Light and Dawn’s Light (from her acclaimed Restoration Series). She is also known for her popular Newpointe 911 Series and Cape Refuge Series. Terri makes her home in Mississippi, where she and her husband Ken are enjoying their empty nest after raising three children.
Terri has appeared on national television programs such as “The 700 Club” and “Home Life,” and has been a guest on numerous radio programs across the country. The story of her personal journey appears in books such as Touched By the Savior by Mike Yorkey, True Stories of Answered Prayer by Mike Nappa, Faces of Faith by John Hanna, and I Saw Him In Your Eyes by Ace Collins.



ABOUT THE BOOK


When fifteen-year-old Lance Covington finds an abandoned baby in the backseat of a car, he knows she's the newborn daughter of a meth addict he's been trying to help. But when police arrest him for kidnapping, Lance is thrust into a criminal world of baby trafficking and drug abuse.


His mother, Barbara, looks for help from Kent Harlan---the man whom she secretly, reluctantly loves and who once helped rescue her daughter from a mess of her own. Kent flies to her aid and begins the impossible work of getting Lance out of trouble, protecting a baby who has no home, and finding help for a teenage mother hiding behind her lies.

In this latest novel of suspense and family loyalty, bestselling author Terri Blackstock offers a harrowing look at drug addiction, human trafficking, and the devastating choices that can change lives forever.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Vicious Cycle, go HERE.

Watch the Book Video:



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Introducing: Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington

TitleTrakk.com Blog Tours Presents:

Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House

Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit               in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books               from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen               the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night,               both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice,               the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness         set them free?

I am posting this now just in case I can't make it back online before the end of the week. My deepest apologies to Ms. Darlington and Tyndale House. I have not yet had the opportunity to read this book. I do hope to make it my weekend read after I finish up some grad school homework! In the meantime while you patiently wait for my review of this new release, please read my review of Thicker Than Blood, Ms. Darlington's debut book in this series!

Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
--Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author

C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
--Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles

This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
--Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild

Watch the book trailer:




About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site www.TitleTrakk.com with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website www.cjdarlington.com

QUICK LINKS:

Monday, March 21, 2011

CFBA: No Safe Haven by Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse




This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
No Safe Haven
 
B&H Books (March 15, 2011)
 
by
 
Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse
 


ABOUT THE AUTHORS:  


A devoted wife and mother, Kimberley Woodhouse is a third generation Liszt student, she has passed down her love of the arts to hundreds of students over the years.


About fifteen years ago, Kimberley began writing seriously. Songs, plays, short stories, novels, picture books, articles, newsletters - you name it - she's written it. It wasn't until a dear friend challenged her to "do something with it", that she pursued publication.

Kimberley and her family's story have been on the front page of newspapers, in magazines, articles, medical journals, and most recently her family was chosen for ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. They were also asked to share their story on The Montel Williams Show and Discovery Health Channel's Mystery ER. She has recorded three albums, and has appeared at over 700 venues. Kimberley lives, writes, and homeschools in Colorado with her husband and their two children in a truly "Extreme" home.

Thirteen-year-old Kayla Woodhouse’s zest for writing comes not only from her natural ability, but also from her love of the written word as witnessed by her voracious reading appetite. One of only a few dozen cases in the world, Kayla was born with HSAN, Hereditary Sensory Autonomic Neuropathy, an extremely rare nerve disorder. Unable to sweat, or feel pain, she’s also been through brain surgery. But even through a life of extreme hardships, her ever-present smile encourages others to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. In addition to being homeschooled and writing with her mom, she’s an amazing swimmer, and spends up to thirty hours a week in training. No Safe Haven, her first release from B&H Publishers in 2011, written with mother, Kimberley, makes her the youngest author to have a full-length novel published by a royalty paying publisher.


ABOUT THE BOOK  


Jenna and Andi Tikaani-Gray are hoping for a fresh start. Though twelve year-old Andi has long struggled with a rare medical disorder, she and her mother have finally received good news from out-of-town specialists. It's news they desperately needed, especially after the recent death of Jenna's husband (Andi's dad) in a car accident.


But as they are flying home to Alaska, ready to begin again, the unthinkable happens. The pilot sabotages their small plane and crashes into Sultana, one of the most remote and dangerous mountains in the Land of the Midnight Sun. Even worse, a winter storm is headed their way along with someone who doesn't want to save them, but to kill them.

Only one man can keep them alive: Cole Maddox, the mysterious last-minute passenger who joined them on their flight. But trust doesn't come easy to Jenna or Andi√Ďand they both sense Cole is hiding something.

A relentless tale of survival and suspense unfolds, involving military technology designed by Jenna's late husband that some would do anything to possess.

Watch the Book Video:



If you would like to read the first chapter of No Safe Haven, go HERE.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Walking with Elephants by Karen S. Bell

Walking with ElephantsWalking with Elephants by Karen S. Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

They say to never judge a book by it's cover. Had I done that, I would have passed this one up. The title is not really catchy either and it's not til the end that you can really "get" it.


This book is very every hard-working mom, wife, sister, and friend. Suze just can't catch a break out in the corporate work world but Bob won't let her stay home. He's a doctor...that is, has a PhD in Education and teaches at a local college. He gets a great idea to go on sabbatical to Australia for six months. Does he go? Yes, and that's when Suze's life falls apart. Not only does a former flame reappear in her (AND she has to work with him), the evil Wanda gets a promotion and becomes her boss and her best friend Marcia is in L-O-V-E (i.e. no longer available for girlfriend time!) Whatever will Suze do?


Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing this book to review.

Important to note: there is strong language and sexual scenes in this book.

View all my reviews

Friday, March 18, 2011

COTT: Increasing the Odds as You Climb Towards Your Writing Destination

Increasing the Odds as You Climb Towards Your Writing Destination
by Jennifer Slattery
 
Writing is definitely not for the thin-skinned, nor for those seeking instant gratification. It is one of the few jobs where the applicant can spend years, decades even, doing all the right things with nothing to show for it. So much of the writing industry is beyond the writer's control, at times it may appear to be an endless upward climb with a perpetually elusive destination. And although it is true there will be much that forever remains beyond our control, there are concrete steps a writer can take to increase their chance of success. 


The first thing a writer needs to do is develop a long-term focus. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. In fact, quite the opposite. If you want to be successful as an author, expect years of sweat and tears and start by focusing on the foundation. 


This is where contests come in. At the American Christian Fiction Writers conference last September, I reported on one of the late night agent panels, and something Kathy Helmers from Creative Trust, Inc (http://www.creativetrust.com/), said really resonated. When discussing the importance of developing a platform she said it was easier for an unpublished author to land a contract than it was for a published author with low or diminishing sales. What this means is, before you sell that first novel, make sure you have a wide reader-base to support it. 


That's where Clash of the Titles comes in. Each week, we draw readers from over nine different countries, including the Ukraine, Peru, India and Germany. Competing authors point readers to our site and search-engine friendly key-words draw even more. This ensures a great deal of exposure for all participants, which in turn, offers the potential for an increased reader-base.


We also offer authors valuable reader feedback. All contests provide great feedback, but Clash of the Titles is unique in that we provide unbiased, authentic reader feedback. Let's face it, you can do everything right technically and still pen a dud. If your characters don't grab the reader and your plot falls flat, so will your book. And although editors, agents, and traditional contest judges have learned to "read the market" so to speak, they'll never be able to dive in the reader's head. But we can, in a way. By inviting readers to choose their favorite excerpt and leave comments in our survey, we get a glimpse into their psyche. We learn what they like and what they don't.


So why would an unpubb'ed author subject themselves to a contest on Clash--one where their work will be read by thousands and perhaps even dissected line by line? Because we offer great exposure, the potential for an increased reader-base, and honest feedback. 


Yep, it's a win-win. (And remember, we're not just for the unpubb'ed. In fact, most of our competitors are published, but every once in awhile, we open our clash to the unpubb'ed, giving our audience a chance to get to know emerging authors before they make it big.)


So, hop on over to our submissions page (http://www.clashofthetitles.com/p/test-page-1.html) to find out how you can throw your excerpt into the ring. Remember, every tweet, fb share and comment enters you in our drawing to win a free book and builds up an author who very well may be in need of encouragement.
 
Bio: Jennifer Slattery is a novelist, columnist and freelance writer living in the midwest with her husband of fifteen years and their thirteen year old daughter. She writes for Christ to the World, the Christian Pulse, Samie Sisters, and Reflections in Hindsight, reviews for Novel Reviews and is the marketing manager for Clash of the Titles. Find out more about her and her writing at http://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com

Thursday, March 17, 2011

CFBA: The Caregiver by Shelley Shepard Gray

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
The Caregiver
 
Avon Inspire; Original edition (March 8, 2011)
 
by
 
Shelley Shepard Gray
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:




Shelley Shepard Gray is the beloved author of the Sisters of the Heart series, including Hidden, Wanted, and Forgiven.  Before writing, she was a teacher in both Texas and Colorado.  She now writes full time and lives in southern Ohio with her husband and two children.  When not writing, Shelley volunteers at church, reads, and enjoys walking her miniature dachshund on her town's scenic bike trail.  








ABOUT THE BOOK  


Two lives converge one stormy night on a train headed to cleveland

Lucy is traveling by herself via train to Jacob's Crossing to help care for her cousin Mattie, recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Trying to overcome the sudden death of her husband, she's glad to get away and focus on someone else for a while.
The only other Amish people on the train are Calvin Weaver and his little sister, Katie. When their train breaks down outside of Cleveland, Calvin and Lucy band together to face the outside world. But Calvin also carries the weight of past hurts. When an altercation brings both their wounds to light, they question whether they can trust each other.
Once in Jacob's Crossing, Lucy is occupied with caring for Mattie, while Calvin does his best to run his family's farm. But they can't stop thinking about those special hours spent together. Will the bond they formed last? And will Lucy and Calvin be able to put away the pain in their pasts to recognize the happiness that is suddenly in their grasp?

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Caregiver, go HERE.


Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing this book for review. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

CFBA: In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Carroll




This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
In The Shadow of Evil
 
B&H Books (March 1, 2011)
 
by
 
Robin Carroll
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin Caroll is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage—two aspects Robin weaves into each of her books. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty years, her three beautiful daughters, one precious grandson, and their four character-filled pets at home—in the South, where else?


Robin gives back to the writing community by serving as Conference Director for ACFW. Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as RT Reviewer's Choice, Bookseller's Best, and Book of the Year. An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals!  

ABOUT THE BOOK  


Informed by the real-life fallout of the U.S. economy plus devastation caused by multiple hurricanes along the southern coast, In the Shadow of Evil casts the modern day story of a building rebound scam exposed. It begins when the body of a property inspector is found among the ashes of a burnt out Homes of Hope house. Wrapped up in this mounting case of unethical practices, supply shortages, and murder, top Louisiana homicide detective Maddox Bishop is losing his heart to a charitable contractor, Layla Taylor, whose own sister is under suspicion. He’s also about to discover a deep secret about his tragic past.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Shadow of Evil, go HERE.

Watch the trailer:




Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig

Dead ReckoningDead Reckoning by Ronie Kendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's her debut novel, however Ronie Kendig does not disappoint! This was not the first novel by Ronie that I read (I have read Nightshade and Digitalis by her previously). I loved this book as much as her others.


Shiloh is a girl surrounded by disappoint...in her father. Afterall, he watched her mother die and is quite possibly the cause of her death. Shiloh spends her time with her best friend, Khalid, and they love deep sea diving. It's not until they are on an archeological diving dig that she realizes how much she needs him. Trouble shows up and Shiloh finds herself fighting for her life as well as Khalid's.


Reese is a CIA operative who has his sites on Shiloh. She's his main objective...and he has to keep her safe. Reese finds out what a tough person Shiloh is when she lands a punch across his jaw. He thought he was prepared for anything!


What trouble is brewing in India that can destroy the world? You have to read to find that one out!


I am a huge fan of Ronie Kendig after reading two books in the Discarded Heroes series. I just recently learned those were not her first books. With that news, I had to search out this other book. There is no greater satisfaction then finding it to be available as an instant download on my Kindle! I literally could have read this book in about five hours, had I had the time to sit and devote to it. It was killing me to have to put this book down when life required me to! I love Ronie's writing style and the suspense that she writes within the books. Sometimes you never know what direction her stories will take!


I have had the opportunity to tweet with Ronie over time and have grown to love and respect her even more! She's worth checking into and picking up a great read!


View all my reviews

Friday, March 11, 2011

COTT: Shake It Up, Baby!

Shake It Up Baby, Now
 
Clash of the Titles loves to shake things up.  Recently, things have gotten fun with the opening of the sparring arena to self-published authors (leading to a quick victory for Elaine Cooper's The Road To Deer Run), and currently with a month-long Clash among six pre-published writers.  (Stop by next week for Round 3). But did you know that YOU now have control? Yep, that's right.
 
Readers, want some say in what kind of excerpts COTT features?  Well, now you can send in nominations and share your favorite reads.  For doing so, you receive three free entries into any of our book drawings.  Awesome, right?  We thought so!  
 
And authors, we've given you more control as well.  Now you can send us any 500-word excerpt from your book in the new Author's Choice category.  Visit our Upcoming Clashes page for details. (http://www.clashofthetitles.com/p/submissions.html)
 
Also, please remember that following our blog, facebook, or twitter account lands you an extra entry in any drawing you enter.  Just be sure to mention it in your comment.  
 
And now we bring you the newest face on the team, Gail Pallotta...
 
Clash of the Titles Welcomes New Staff Member
 
It's my extreme pleasure to introduce to you today the newest COTT staff member, author Gail Pallotta. Gail also happens to be a previous Clash of the Titles Champion! Last November, she took the cyber-laurel for best description of nature. Go, Gail!!
 
Let's take a moment to get to know this special lady...
 
Gail’s husband, Rick, says she’s the only person he knows who can go in the grocery for a loaf of bread and come out with someone’s life story. That’s probably because she inherited her mother’s love of people and enjoys talking to them. Working as an editor and freelance writer, Gail published a couple hundred articles.


to continue reading the interview, click here (http://www.clashofthetitles.com/2011/03/voice-within.html)

article by Michelle Massaro (www.michellemassaro.blogspot.com)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

CFBA: A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell

This week, the
 
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
 
is introducing
 
A Heart Most Worthy
 
Bethany House (March 1, 2011)
 
by
 
Siri Mitchell
 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.


But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.

Her ninth novel, A Heart Most Worthy, follows prior Bethany House releases: A Constant Heart (October 2008), Love's Pursuit (June 2009), and She Walks in Beauty (Apr 2010). She Walks in Beauty won the inaugural INSPY Award for Historical Fiction in Dec 2010. Two of her novels, Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door were Christy Award finalists. Love's Pursuit was a finalist for the ACFW Carol Award.

Publishers Weekly proclaimed, "Mitchell delivers the historical goods."  

ABOUT THE BOOK  


The elegance of Madame Forza's gown shop is a far cry from the downtrodden North End of Boston. Yet each day Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana enter the world of the upper class, working on finery for the elite in society. The three beauties each long to break free of their obligations and embrace the American dream--and their chance for love. But the ways of the heart are difficult to discern at times.


Julietta is drawn to the swarthy, mysterious Angelo. Annamaria has a star-crossed encounter with the grocer's son, a man from the entirely wrong family. And through no intent of her own, Luciana catches the eye of Billy Quinn, the son of Madame Forza's most important client.

Their destinies intertwined, each harboring a secret from their families and each other, will they be found worthy of the love they seek?

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Heart Most Worthy, go HERE.

Thank you Bethany House Publishers for providing this book for review. I hope to have a review for you soon!

Monday, March 7, 2011

TLC: Walking with Elephants by Karen Bell

About Walking With Elephants

• Paperback: 210 pages
• Publisher: Literaryroad.com (August 10, 2010)
Suze Hall is at a crossroads. Her nemesis at work, Wanda, has been promoted and now will be her boss. Her husband, Bob, is leaving her and the three kids for a six-month sabbatical down under. To top it off, her best friend, Marcia, is missing in action–playing footsie with some new boyfriend!
Adding to this disaster stew, David, the gorgeous hunk who broke her young-girl’s heart, has coincidentally popped back into her life and has something she desperately needs to keep her job.
Walking with Elephants, a lighthearted slice-of-life story, brings to the table the serious work/family issues facing women today. It explores the modern dichotomy of a workplace that is filled with homemakers who still must cook, clean, carpool on nights and weekends, shop for prom dresses, and “create” the holidays—such as Suze. But it also is filled with women who have the same drive as men, have no family responsibilities, and will do whatever it takes to get ahead.
So step into the shoes of Suze Hall and commiserate over workplace politics, titillate your sexual fantasies, ride the wave of a working mother, and fall-down laughing.

About Karen Bell

Walking with Elephants is my first novel, although I am not new to writing. I was a theater critic and celebrity interviewer for a weekly tabloid in Jacksonville, Fl and I earned a Master’s in Mass Communication from Oklahoma State University. For 15 years I was an editor/writer at a major accounting firm. I also was a technical editor for an accounting magazine that published monthly. Inspiration for this novel came from my direct contact with the joys of Corporate America and the balancing act that comes with being a working mother.

Karen’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, February 1st: Scraps of Life
Wednesday, February 2nd: Laura’s Reviews
Thursday, February 3rd: Book Reviews by Molly
Monday, February 7th: Colloquium
Friday, February 11th: Hospitable Pursuits
Tuesday, February 15th: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Wednesday, February 16th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Wednesday, February 16th: Laura’s Reviews (author guest post)
Monday, February 21st: Reviews from the Heart
Wednesday, February 23rd: Proud Book Nerd
Thursday, February 24th: Confessions of a Bookaholic
Tuesday, March 1st: Debbie’s Book Bag
Wednesday, March 2nd: Books Like Breathing
Thursday, March 3rd: Clever Girl Goes Blog
Friday, March 4th: Life In Review
Monday, March 7th: The Book Chick
I hope to have a review of this book for you soon. I am behind in my reviews. My thanks goes out to the publisher and author for providing a review copy of this book.