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Monday, September 29, 2014

Deceived by Irene Hannon - A Book Review

Deceived               Irenepic
Deceived by Irene Hannon – A Book Review
     Irene Hannon is not a new author, but she is a new-to-me author.  I will be looking for more of her books in the future.  Deceived is the third book in her Private Justice series, so books one and two in the series would be a good place for me to go next, although this book read well as a stand-alone novel.  It was very easy to follow without having the benefit of having read the first two.
     Someone recently asked on Facebook if it was even possible for Irene Hannon to write a bad book.  Well, if Deceived is any indication, the answer is a resounding NO!!!  The blurb on the back leads readers unfamiliar with Hannon’s writing thinking the book will follow a very predictable storyline, but the additional comment,  one that I didn’t attend to prior to reading the book, which referred to unexpected twists and a riveting plotline  was quite accurate.  Repeatedly I found myself questioning which way the author was going to go, and leaving many things undone as I was compelled to read on and find out.
     Kate Marshall is finally turning her life back on again after losing both her husband and son in a boating accident.  She has moved halfway across the country for a fresh start, when a chance encounter with a familiar-looking boy asking for a poppysicle turned her life upside down.  She turns to former Secret Service agent turned private investigator, Connor Sullivan, to help her decide is she is going crazy or if the impossible might just be possible.  On the path to find the answer help comes from unexpected sources, and danger increases as does hope.  Kate exemplifies what it means to trust and respect God’s sovereignty even when there is the possibility that it might contradict something about which you are passionate. 
     I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Deceived for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Our Guest, Hannah Conway, author of A Wounded Warrior's Wife

On September 2nd I posted a review of A Wounded Warrior's Wife, a thoroughly enjoyable book.  Today it is my pleasure to interview our guest, the author, Hannah Conway.  After reading the interview, please post a comment and you will be entered for a chance to win an eCopy of Hannah's debut novel, or amazon gift cards, or a free photo book from groovebook. A winner will be chosen at random on September 18th. Hannah will contact the winner soon after.  

http://www.amazon.com/Wounded-Warriors-Wife-Hannah-Conway-ebook/dp/B00NE9DZV0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1410185299&sr=8-2&keywords=the+wounded+warrior%27s+wife

Hannah, thank you for taking the time to share with us about your journey as a writer and your debut novel.

Q: Please tell us about the inspiration behind your pursuit of a writing career.
A: With all my heart I believe God gave me the inspiration to pursue writing as a career. He’s behind it all! Since I can remember, writing has always been fun for me. Definitely a dream of mine to be a writer, but I guess life got in the way. Maybe I forgot that desire, put it on hold, or simply stopped dreaming, but for whatever reason, writing left my radar. Six years or so ago I felt God leading me to write again and to write with a specific purpose. So here I am.

Q: How does your writing work as a part of your ministry?
A: I've thought about this often. For many years I thought I needed some skill to be a missionary and work for God. I’m a small-town Kentucky girl. What could I do? Should I go to med school? Be a nurse? Should I teach? All of those things are wonderful ways to serve God, but I tuned out that little voice telling me to write. Words are powerful. God says His Word is living and active. God used words to form the universe and all of creation. Words tear down and build up. When God showed me that truth I no longer viewed writing as some hobby—though it’s a good one. He’s given me an assignment to write…to create stories that tell the truth of His love, forgiveness, healing, and redemption to anyone who picks up one of my books. That’s ministry. I’m not really an author, I’m a missionary.

Q: What posed the greatest challenge as you moved from idea to publication?
A: Ha! Learning to write. I had a desire and drive to write, so I wrote the first draft of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife and was so proud! I joined a critique group, got some feedback from seasoned authors and they told me, “You’re definitely a storyteller, but you need to learn to write.” What a blow, but at the same time it was encouraging. For two years I studied the writing craft, read so many books on writing my eyes almost crossed, and wrote two more drafts of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife before publication.

Q: Many authors focus on a particular genre while others write across several genres.  Where do you see yourself along that spectrum, and why?
A: Good question. I had to stop and think a bit! I write in Women’s Fiction which has strong elements of romance. However, I have all sorts of science fiction and historical fiction stories swirling in my head. I’m going to have to say I’d like to be able to eventually write across several genres. If there is a story in my head I have to write it no matter the genre and I think other authors would lean toward agreeing with me.
                                             
Battles Raging Within Are The Ones You Must Fight To Win
Army wife, Whitleigh Cromwell, struggles after an unexpected deployment during the height of the Iraqi war sends her husband, Collier Cromwell, away for another year. Their lives tumble down a path marked with strife, and fatalities, crippling their faith when Collier brings home a war of another kind leaving Whitleigh wondering if some wounds are beyond God’s ability to restore.
Q: Do you think we will meet Whitleigh, Collier, and Linc again in a future novel?  How attached are you to these characters?
A: You know, I think that is very likely. J I am crazy attached to these characters. I know they are fictional and I made them up, but they’ve become very real to me, and I hope readers will feel the same.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
A: Join the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and find a critique group of two or more writers or create your own. It’s good to be able to share your work with others you can trust, who will give you honest feedback in a loving way to help you grow as a writer. I also encourage writers to read. Read books in the genre you want to write and read books about the writing craft.

Q: What would you most want your readers to know about Hannah Conway?
A: Know that I am a follower of Christ. I’m someone who said yes to what God wanted them to do. I’d like for my readers to ask God how they can serve Him—no matter how big or small they think it may be—and then go for it.   
 http://www.amazon.com/Wounded-Warriors-Wife-Hannah-Conway-ebook/dp/B00NE9DZV0/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1410185299&sr=8-2&keywords=the+wounded+warrior%27s+wife
Q: Tell us when and where we can get our hands on a copy of The Wounded Warrior’s Wife?

A: Right now you can preorder an eCopy on Amazon.com and Smashwords. The novel will release on Sept. 22nd anywhere fine books are sold! Bookshelf space at local bookstores is a battle, so if you don’t see The Wounded Warrior’s Wife at your local bookstore or library simply request they stock it! Simple as that!

We really appreciate Hannah's taking the time to be with us here.  If you would like to learn more about Hannah and her current projects and  speaking engagements, check out her blog at http://www.hannahrconway.com/.
You can connect with Hannah via
Email:             authorhannahconway@gmail.com
Web:               www.hannahrconway.com
Twitter:          www.twitter.com/hannahrconway                 #thewoundedwarriorswife
Pinterest:        www.pinterest.com/hannahrconway

Don't forget to comment below to have a chance at those great prizes!

I have to include my favorite Hannah picture.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpratrick – A Book Review

     The thing that most impresses me about Jane Kirkpatrick’s writing is her meticulous research and the care she takes with the authenticity of her story.  Any assumptions that she makes are logical and supported by research.  The author’s note in A Light in the Wilderness provides information allowing the reader to differentiate between known facts and details added for the benefit of the story.  Ms Kirkpatrick provides the logic behind assumptions that were made, supporting the added details. 
     In this story I learned about Oregon’s exclusion and lash laws.  At a time when existing and potentially new states had to decide whether to be slave or free states, these laws attempted to eliminate choosing by excluding people of color from the population.  While the laws were not consistently enforced and were repealed and reinstated in a variety of versions, there were times when people of color were to be lashed twice a year until they left the territory.  Oregon entered the Union as a free state, but had an exclusion clause in its constitution until 1926, although it was largely unenforced. 
     After moving from Kentucky where she was most likely a slave to Missouri where she was likely given her freedom, our heroine, Letitia, married, in a private ceremony and without the benefit of a license or an official, Davey Carson, a white widower.  Through mutual consent and inspiration they traveled the trail to Oregon, enduring many hardships, and making a life together.  While Davey did not always understand Letitia’s needs, especially her need to feel safe as a free black woman, and was not always able to reconcile her needs with his own desires, he did truly care for her and probably took her opinions into account more than many husbands of the day. 
     Letitia was a light in the wilderness to many as she comforted and coached mothers as their babies entered this world, and as their loved ones were birthed into the next.  As Letitia said, “Tending and mending used threads of many colors.”  Her candle was lit from the flames of those who loved, accepted and befriended her, those who nurtured her from being someone who tried not to stand out, to one who wanted to fit in, to being someone with the courage and faith to stand up for what was right. 
     The most amazing transition in Letitia was in where and how she found freedom.  Initially she longed to be free from slavery.  That granted, she longed to be free of the fear of being placed back into slavery and of being oppressed by a small minded majority.  Later she found freedom in how she chose to look at life, how she chose to remember things, how she chose to forgive and show grace.  She found a type of freedom many would be blessed to find today.
     For those readers who enjoy historical fiction, those who long to see good triumph over evil, and those who root for the underdog, I would highly recommend A Light in the Wilderness.  Letitia’s light will warm your heart.  I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing A Light in the Wilderness for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Wounded Warrior’s Wife by Hannah Conway – A Book Review

     It was an honor and a privilege to beta read this book for Hannah.  I only wish I’d read it while I was still working with soldiers’ families as her story gave me added insight into what these families must deal with. Anyone in any type of working or personal relationship with military families would be blessed by reading The Wounded Warrior’s Wife. They are not the only readers who would find a blessing here.  Those who enjoy a good, clean romance story will also be pleased with having spent time between the covers of this book. 
     While this is Hannah’s debut novel, she paces the story and used dialogue like a veteran writer.  She develops her lead characters in a manner that brings them to life. (Don’t be surprised if you suddenly find yourself praying for Whitleigh, Collier and their son, Linc.) Mental images will be painted so vividly in your mind that you will find them lingering there long after you've turned the last page: the beauty of new love, the anticipation of a loved one’s return, the heartbreak of conflict, the horrors of war, and the cleansing breath of forgiveness.
     The Wounded Warrior’s Wife is a tale of a young military wife who puts her own career and goals on hold while supporting her husband and later caring for their chronically ill child.  A wife, like many in our world today, solely bearing the weight of family responsibility on her shoulders, making it possible for her warrior husband to make the world a safer place to live. It is a tale of a young warrior who strives to protect his wife from the atrocities of war, but who sorely needs personal release from the memories that plague him. It is a tale of love and forgiveness, one of which cannot be found without the other.  It is a tale of war wounds, visible and invisible, and casualties of war, found both in the Middle East and at home. 
     Along with the author of this poignant story, debut author, Hannah Conway, I invite you into Whitleigh and Collier’s world.  You won’t leave the same as you arrived. 

Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason – A Book Review

     My husband is used to my telling him about the characters and events in the books I’m reading just like I relay information about our friends and relatives.  However, while I was reading Nowhere to Turn he got used to my starting to tell him something only to end with, “No, I can’t tell you that.  You are going to want to read this one yourself!”  I have seen several requests among the avid reader group I belong to on Facebook asking for suggestions for Christian fiction that men would enjoy.  Lynette Eason has definitely written a mystery tale that is not gender specific. 
     Nowhere to Turn is the second book in the Hidden Identity series.  I reviewed the first, No One to Trust, on my blog on January 5, 2014.  While Summer and David were indeed in this second book, they played minor roles.  Adam Buchanan, a member of Operation Refuge, founded by Summer and David and supported by the governor, steps to the forefront in this story.  While dealing with his own family issues spurred on by the circumstances of his uncle’s death, Adam puts the crisis in Danielle Harding’s life before his own concerns.  The crisis in Danielle’s life places everyone around her in mortal danger, especially those sworn to protect her and her son.
     Danielle and Simon cling to one another in a life that has been dictated by betrayal.  Everywhere they turn someone they should have been able to rely on turns on them.  Out of desperation they turn to Operation Refuge, forcing their heightened sense of distrust aside because they had nowhere else to turn.  In spite of Adam Buchanan’s promise of protection, danger seems to follow them everywhere they go.  Someone is able to track their every move, but how?  Until that mystery can be solved Danielle and Simon will never be safe from their hidden enemy or enemies.  Threats seem to be coming from multiple directions, but could they all be tied together somehow? 

     Nowhere to Turn has something for most every reader: mystery, intrigue, romance, family values. I thank Revell Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for providing Nowhere to Turn for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.  I would give this book five out of five stars for being able to keep readers awake and turning pages throughout the night.  I am anxiously awaiting book three, No Place to Hide.