Sunday, July 29, 2012

COTT: June Release Clash

Hostess: Gail Pallotta
Summer’s the perfect time to spend a day by the shore, an afternoon on a lake or several hours in a hammock with a good book. The June releases featured are brand new and offer a great variety in selection. They include a boy’s book, contemporary and historical romance, western mystery, and romantic suspense. The presses are small and traditional. Find your favorite summer reading spot to enjoy these books. Then use the voting box below to let us know which you’re likely to read first. 

Three boys have their hands full with a raging river, a crusty prospector, his gold mine, a gang of claim-jumping outlaw bikers, and a desperate river escape on their makeshift wooden raft. Think that’s the worst that could happen…well it isn’t.

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore disguises herself as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, to land a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. In her wildest dreams, she never imagined having to add a second character to her repertoire in the form of Lavinia's dazzling niece, Jessie . . . or considered the problem of losing her heart to Steven Pierce, who has no idea that the woman he’s falling in love with doesn’t exist.

With her father’s death, Anna Newfield loses everything—her home, her inheritance, and her future; she had nothing left but her faith. Major Edmond Grenville longs to rescue her, but loving her means going against his family’s rigid control and perhaps losing his entire future.

Amid murder, mystery and mayhem, Deputy Chief Ryan Fitzgerald and Free-lance journalist Meghan Henry must set aside their personal hurts in order to work together, risking their lives to solve a murder, catch a killer and rescue a baby before it’s too late. And in the process discover that the biggest, most rewarding risk of all is love.

Filipa Beltran is tired of living out her parents' dreams, while Nathan Cross would give anything to make his late father proud. When a childhood friendship blossoms into romance, can this couple find common ground as they search for contentment in their God-given gifts?
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Author LOVE TURNS THE TIDE available from Awe-Struck E-Books Web site: Blog: Splickety magazine, issue 1.1

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Welcome to the World!!

I've been away from my computer for a few days for a most excellent reason...I have now met my grandson! After waiting about 8 1/2 months (we've known for about 7 months), I was able to meet and hold little Zane Eugene Leon M.!! I am so proud of him, his mommy, and his daddy. He is absolutely *perfect*!!

He was born at 11:54 pm on Monday night and was 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 18 1/2 inches long. He just looks adorable blowing bubbles for his daddy!!

I knew he had some hair but didn't really get a great glance of it (have to keep them warm, you know!) until yesterday when I visited with him. Check out all the beautiful hair!!

Because we are such a cool family, my brother-in-law made my husband (on left), myself, and my father-in-law these uber cool shirts!! One cool grandpa, one cool nonnie, one cool great grandpa! My daughter was excited to see our shirts and then she found out that she and her husband also had cool proud mommy, one cool proud daddy!! We have requested a "one cool baby" onesie so that we can all match at church Sunday evening for a large family picture. There will probably be an aunt and uncle one made too for my younger children.

This is such an exciting time for us all. If I disappear for awhile, it's probably because this little boy and I have bonded pretty tight and we need to see each other as often as his mommy and daddy will let us!! :)

Thanks for letting me take a few minutes to brag on the newest love in my life! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

COTT: Huge Summer Reading Sale

Clash of the Titles has a BIG week coming up! 

Wednesday marks the beginning of our June Releases Clash, hosted by the lovely Gail Pallotta. She'll introduce you to five amazing new books, so get your voting finger ready.

Saturday, we'll announce the three finalists in the 2012 Laurel Awards. Our judges have been raving about the books, saying they wished they had more than just the first two chapters. Remember, this year's judges are readers like you, who have no connection with the writing or publishing world. You could be one of them! If you're interested in being a judge for the upcoming Olympia Award, please email us at contactcott(at)gmail(dot)com.

Our current judges are still sending in their score sheets, but by Saturday, we'll have the final tally!

In the meantime, we'd like to pass along that Astraea Press is having a HUGE Summer Sale. Almost all of their stock is available for $.99 on Kindle and Nook. To whet your appetite, here are five titles from their Inspirational line. The sale lasts until the end of July, but get your e-books today, before you forget!

Contemporary Romance

Paxson Taylor’s recent relocation to St. Louis leads her to a life different from what she’s experienced in the past. Through her work with a small charity, she meets and attracts the attention of professional baseball player, Sebastian Quinn. Flattered, Pax tempers her desire for the handsome playboy with her need to serve her God—a God Seb doesn’t believe exists. Through unspeakable tragedy, they grow closer and with disappointment, drift apart. How can two people from opposite ends of the faith spectrum reconnect when they need each other most?

$.99 on KINDLE
$.99 on NOOK

2012 Selah Award winner in youth fiction
Middle grade historical/adventure

Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German troops invade, she knows it will never be the same again. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and Cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it. With the right tools and a little help from a boat named, Trina, they'll be off the island in no time. When things start going wrong, Lizzie wonders about God's plan. From the looks of it, He might expect them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

$.99 on KINDLE
$.99 on NOOK

THEN SENTENCE by Elaine Cantrell
Contemporary Romance

How could he do it! How could her father bring into their home the guy who burned the church? Yeah, it was an accident and her dad’s a minister, but if he wanted to save this man’s soul, why didn’t he go to the prison to do it?  And no matter how cute the criminal is, no matter what anyone says, she doesn't watch him all the time. Nice girls don't fall for guys like Clint.  Do they?

$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK

THE MULLIGAN MAN by Monique O'Connor James
Short Story

When six kids are at a party, partaking in a little too much fun, one of them is killed. The Mulligan Man, a character straight out of folklore appears offering them the chance to fix all the wrongs. In order to complete the deal, the teenagers must find out the truth of what happened, perform a random act of kindness, and become friends.
If they meet these stipulations, he will allow them to bring their friend back from the dead. In the process they learn not to judge, to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and that love can bridge even the boundary of death.
$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK

THE PECULIAR PRINCESS  by Christina Graham Parker

Sent back four hundred years to reclaim her birthright as Princess of Dresdonia, Lexy Newberry discovers the only thing harder than living without electricity is guarding her heart from the perplexing Lord Lukas Reynard.

$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Beckon by Tom Pawlik

BeckonBeckon by Tom Pawlik
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm really at a loss for words when it comes to describing this new release by Tom Pawlik. I mean this the best way possible because this book is just...amazing!!

First, the reader meets Jack, an anthropologist, on a journey to find out what happened to his dad twelve years ago. After his death, Jack was going through his father's belongings and found journals of his research about an ancient Indian tribe. Why didn't his dad ever come back? Jack sets out to find out what might have happened.

Elina Gutierrez is looking for her cousin who disappeared a few weeks ago. She is a former police officer who is searching for her cousin, wondering why he never wrote to report about the new job he acquired.

George Wilcox is searching for a cure for his wife Miriam's illness.

What lengths would you go to find and/or save the one you love?

This book is full of mystery, adventure, gruesome spider like creatures, and an interesting tribe of people. Imagine being lost in a cave that is illuminated by some form of algae to find yourself being confronted by spiders larger then Humvees and tribal people out to kill everything they see moving. Not only that, you witness a very peculiar and grotesque ceremony that these tribal members carry out.

I don't normally get scared or even have chills running through my body when watching "scary" movies or reading books. However, this one kept me up at night! Tom Pawlik has a very interesting way with his characters and I'm pleased to say that he finally got to me! :) I've been looking for a book like this for quite some it just needs to be made into a movie. I would recommend Alan Rickman to play Thomas Vale for added creepiness! :)

Read this book today...but beware, it will stick with you...possibly for eternity!

Many thanks to Tyndale  for the review copy to read in exchange for my honest thoughts and feelings.

View all my reviews

Monday, July 16, 2012


It is with great pleasure that I let you know that Ronie Kendig is the Christy award winner of the contemporary romance category for Wolfsbane!!!! I knew you could do it Ronie!!! CONGRATS!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

COTT Article

*guest post by Michelle Massaro

At Clash of the Titles, we're interested in the Christian Fiction that's making a splash, flying onto the scene in a burst of attention-grabbing technicolor and gripping our imaginations. Every month we're seeing batches of new stories hit the shelves and here's one that has also hit our hearts.

Dineen Miller's The Soul Saver recently competed on our website and garnered a lot of attention there. We just had to know more about this book and its author. Here's what we discovered...

About Dineen Miller:

Dineen Miller readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. It’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories are of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

She is the co-author of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and the author of The Soul Saver.



Facebook pages:

GoodReads author page:

The Soul Saver Booktrailer:

Q & A with the Author

1. What inspired the story for The Soul Saver?

My own life. I wanted to write a fictionalized account of how God can work in amazing ways in our lives when we trust Him. The Soul Saver is that story—of how Lexie Baltimore desires to love her unbelieving husband in the way God is calling her to and the battles she faces with the enemy because she’s on the front lines praying for the salvation of her

husband. I wrote this book for all the Lexies out there, to encourage and remind them that we’re not alone. God is there working in ways we can’t even imagine!

2. A suspense novel in the Christian industry can often be difficult to write. What helped you overcome those obstacles?

Staying true to the message I felt God calling me to write. I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in 2008 and by the end of the week, I left with a clear understanding that God wanted me to write this book. I stayed faithful to that calling and trusted God to find a place for it. Some in the industry either had reservations with the issue of being spiritually mismatched or with Tobias, a demon, who is simply a tool I used to show the spiritual warfare that is common in spiritually mismatched marriages. At one point I wondered if I would have to take him out, but my amazing agent, Rachelle Gardner, encouraged me to hold true to my story and she was right. The right timing and publisher did come along. I will be forever grateful to Barbour Books for giving The Soul Saver a chance.

3. What made you want to write in this specific genre?

I love intricate stories and characters. Suspense wrapped with the supernatural is something I’ve always loved to read. The amazing thing is, we live in a world full of suspense and the supernatural every day. My favorite stories have and always will be of the miraculous, of how God has provided, made His presence known, saved a lost soul because that is what’s really happening around us if we just take the time to notice it. God loves to wow us. I hope I can do a little of that to my readers too. They deserve it.

4. Do you have any future projects going on?

I have a novella coming out in August, A Love Meant to Be, that’s part of a collection titled Rendezvous in Central Park. I have the distinct privilege and honor of writing with Ronie Kendig, MaryLu Tyndall, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, three seasoned and very talented authors. I love this story because it’s a tribute to my father, a Vietnam vet who passed away in 2010. These stories span from the Civil War to WWII to Vietnam to present day conflict in Afghanistan.

About The Soul Saver:

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out
On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

What others are saying:

“Deep, compelling, a beautifully written story of faith, hope, and the saving power of love. Dineen Miller hits home with this debut novel. The Soul Saver will stay with you for days after reading the last page.”

                    — Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of Havah: The Story of Eve

“When you combine stellar writing, intriguing characters, and a fascinating plot the result is a story like The Soul Saver. It’s the kind of novel I wish I had written.”

                    — James L. Rubart, bestselling author of ROOMS, Book of Days, and The Chair

Links to purchase The Soul Saver:



The Soul Saver Booktrailer:

*Michelle Massaro is a 2012 Genesis Finalist and Assistant Editor with COTT. She loves to connect, so stop and see her on Facebook at

Friday, July 13, 2012

Road to the Christy's: Ronie Kendig and Wolfsbane

It is my distinct honor and privileged to showcase Christy nominee, Mrs. Ronie Kendig and her book, Wolfsbane. If you have never read any of Ronie's work, I strongly encourage you to do so! Ronie and Wolfsbane are nominated for a Christy in the Contemporary Romance category. Of course, I'm really hoping Ronie wins this award. She is up against Susan May Warren (My Foolish Heart) and Lisa Wingate (Larkspur Cove). I can only speak volumes of awesomeness about Ronie, not only because she is my favorite author, but also because I have not read these other two books! 

I'm hoping to have an opportunity to feature Ronie on here soon so you can get to know her better. However, she just had a huge move across the country and I'd like to give her awhile to get adjusted. After all, she JUST recently found her boots that were missing! A girl MUST have her boots!! In the meantime, please check out all of Ronie's books! She is amazing!! :) 

Best of wishes to you and Wolfsbane, Ronie! I'll be watching/listening the Christy's from home on July 16!!

The following is a blog post from May 11, 2011...

Son of a Batch of Cookies! This is the best Ronie Kendig novel yet!

Wolfsbane (Discarded Heroes #3)Wolfsbane by Ronie Kendig

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this third installment of the Discarded Heroes series, Canyon "Midas" Metcalfe keeps having flashbacks of that horrible day when it all went wrong. Why can't he seem to get it right? Why do men seem to be so stupid at times? It should have been a simple mission and he just had to blow it all.

Danielle has been trapped in the confines of a horrible beast for way too long. His tirades are intolerable and she has to get out. And she does...can she recoup from all the horrors of living like this for so long?

A courtroom makes all the difference. Imagine that! Will justice be served?

I have been waiting patiently anxiously biting my nails off screaming at the author, Ronie Kendig for months to get this book released!! I love her style of writing as she makes the characters seem SOOO incredibly real! I do believe this particular story of Canyon to be the most real yet. Some of my favorite scenes were the ones of the family get-togethers, just because it reminds me of certain people and how they act (I was waiting on a food fight...) and those in the thick of the battle (just because I like that kinda stuff!)I wanted to jump into this book so bad and escape reality for awhile. Yep, that's how good this story is! I was able to escape reality (you can't put this one down....I dare you to try it! It won't work!) for a few short hours to learn Canyon's story. It tore at my heart, ripped it at the seams, to the point that I had to stop reading long enough for a good therapeutic cry.

Kudos to Ronie for another fantastic adventure with the Discarded Heroes. I am even more anxious now for Firethorn (release date 2012) but at the same time, it is bittersweet. Firethorn will be the last book in the Discarded Heroes series and I look forward to a happy ending (*hint* *hint* Ronie!). 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

COTT Clash Winner!!

Congrats Katie!! I was pulling for you to win this one! :) If ya'll haven't checked out Katie's book yet, Wildflowers from Winter, I promise it's a good one! :) 

Today's host: Jennifer Slattery

This has been an exciting clash! Two debut authors--Katie Ganshert with Wildflowers from Winter and Dineen Miller with Soul Saver--entered the ring, sparring with three of Christian fiction's greats, the very talented, multi-published Deborah Raney, Martha Rogers, and Lynette Eason. Talk about an exciting clash! 

This competition was very close. Soon after we opened the poles, our two debut authors rose to the top. The victor won by one vote

You, our ever-faithful readers, have spoken.

The winner of our May Release Clash is ....

Katie Ganshert with Wilflowers from Winter! Congrats, Katie! You've been automatically entered in our prestigious Laurel Award contest and sent directly to Round 2.  

Wildflowers from Winter:
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany’s vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away.

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn’t seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she’s not even sure exists?

Read the first chapter here

Praise for Wildflowers from Winter
“Katie Ganshert knows how to wring the heart of a scene in order to place her reader within a character’s pain and wonder. Wildflowers from Winter is a romantic beauty-from-ashes story – and a promising series starter from this debut author.”
- USA Today

“In this novel rich in details and well-thought-out characters, Ganshert offers something for everyone: romance, secrets, a few laughs. The reader will come away with the knowledge that even in the arms of grief, hope emerges after loss.”
- Romantic Times 

“Themes of loss and redemption, believable characters, and a realistic view of life’s challenges make this debut a worthwhile, gut-wrenching read. Recommended for fans of Francine Rivers.”
-Library Journal 

Buy the book at: 
Amazon: Paperback Kindle

Get to know Katie:
Katie Ganshert was born and raised in the Midwest, where she writes stories about finding faith and falling in love. When she’s not busy plotting her next novel, she enjoys watching movies with her husband, playing make-believe with her wild-child of a son, and chatting with her girlfriends over bagels. She and her husband are in the process of adopting from the Congo. You can find her online at her blog and on Facebook.  

Q & A with Katie 

If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Hands down, I wish I could apparate like the witches and wizards in Harry Potter. In case you don’t read those books, apparition is the ability to think of a place you want to go and *poof* you’re there. Do you know how amazing that would be? Seriously. No more spending time in traffic. No more paying for gas. No more ears popping in planes. And if I wanted to write a story set in Novosibirsk, Russia, do you know how easy it would be to research? Okay, so maybe my editor is happy I can’t apparate. 

If you could witness any event in history, which event would you choose?

Something to do with Jesus. Either His birth or His resurrection. I don’t think I could handle His death.  

If you could be an animal, what animal would you be?

I’d be an octopus. They don’t have many predators, do they? Or maybe a jelly fish. Something where I could explore the depths of the ocean and meet Nemo. I also want to know if mermaids are real.

What was your favorite book growing up?

Hands down, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. It was the first book that swept me up and transported me into a different world. I absolutely could not put it down. I have so much nostalgia for this book that when I taught 5th grade, I read it to my students each year. The story has so much word play and symbolism that went over my head as a kid, but I can appreciate now as an adult. Plus, the message is beautiful. Don’t let the old-fashioned cover scare you off. It’s such a fun book. 

When did you start writing?

In third grade I wrote this epic, life-changing story about Mr. and Mrs. Leaf. In fact, it was so epic and life-changing, my 3rd grade teacher read it out loud to the class and everybody clapped and cheered. Okay, so maybe not. But it was at least good enough to read out loud. And so a love-affair was born. I found something I could do well. From there on out, I wrote all kinds of stories and bless my parents for being so patient, they listened as I read every single one of them out loud (sometimes with an accent).

Where do you get your ideas?

Usually in church. While most of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are listening and self-reflecting and confessing and pondering the vastness and greatness of God, I’m the weirdo who’s thinking, “This would be a great spiritual arc for my character.” 

What are three of the hardest things about being a writer?

  • Sitting in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard on days when inspiration refuses to cooperate. Talk about torture.
  • Waiting. There’s always something to wait for on this journey. And since I’m an impatient person, this doesn’t come easily.
  • Sharing my stories. Enter fear and trembling. Because what if people don’t like them?

What are three of the best things about being a writer?

  • Sitting in the chair and putting my hands on the keyboard on days when inspiration flows so fast I can’t catch it all. What a rush.
  • Waiting. Because through the long moments of nothing, I’m reminded again and again to surrender my hopes and dreams to Him.
  • Sharing my stories. Enter excitement and anticipation. Because what if people like them? 
Thank you to all of our talented competing authors who helped make this a phenomenal (nail-biting) clash! 

Voters, what hooked you most, the blurbs or the covers? For me, it was a combination, but the intriguing covers really grabbed me. ALL of these novels instantly moved to my "must-read" list.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Trinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig

Trinity: Military War DogTrinity: Military War Dog by Ronie Kendig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have to admit, when Ronie Kendig announced she was going to do a book series on military war dogs, I was afraid that I wouldn't like it. I have loved everything Ronie has written to date so why would I feel this way about this series? Well, I'm not a gigantic fan of books written about animals. I enjoy pets (I have many of them!) but I'm scared to death of dogs bigger then me!! All that being said, at this point, I believe Ronie could write an instruction manual for just about anything and I would love it!

I started this book and had a difficult time putting it down!! I don't know why I ever doubted Ronie's talent in convincing me that this was going to be a great book!!! Heath "Ghost" Daniels is a former Green Beret who acquired his military war dog (MWD), Trinity. They are asked to work for A Breed Apart, which is a training program for MWDs and their handlers. In return, they speak to troops to inspire them on the field. When an opportunity arises to go on a mission field, Heath and Trinity are all in...until the others are invited too. No one seems to trust Ghost since his accident that left him with a medical discharge and the looming diagnosis of traumatic brain injury.

Darci is an operative who is doing her best to undo a Chinese military operation. She has done many missions before and is ready for this one. However, a certain dog handler and his dog caught her eye early on during a show. The General was not happy to see her distracted so he sent her away. Only when she comes up missing do things really start to go into action.

Trinity is a beautiful dog. I'd still be scared of her but would admire her from a distance. Her job is extremely important and she misses the action that she and Ghost once enjoyed. When given the chance to get back into the field, Trinity is all in!

Trinity will capture your heart right away and will not let go until the last person is saved. I didn't realize just how important these dogs were to the military (sorry, I have a very limited scope of what our military does!). I did't realize that MWDs earned ranks along with their trainers. Trinity has a higher rank than her faithful friend Ghost. I have a much greater appreciation now of the military and the training that takes place because of what Ronie has written into her books. She is a "military brat" who extensively researches her subjects before writing on them.

My favorite aspect of this book was that Ronie incorporated another "Discarded Hero" into writing. She always maintains that these men and women in uniform are heroes. That means mountains to me!! While this is a work of fiction, Ronie has you believing that this is a real to life story. The end of the book does provide a story of someone who this is loosely based on.

Thank you, Ronie for yet another great book and for helping me to appreciate MWDs and other beautiful creatures even more!

Many thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book to review.

View all my reviews