Archive | April 2013

LOVE AT ANY COST –  BOOK ONE

AUTHOR JULIE LESSMAN

AUTHOR JULIE LESSMAN

BOOK ONE

Fooled by a pretty boy once,

 shame on him.

Fooled by a pretty boy twice,

shame on me.

Jilted by a fortune hunter, cowgirl Cassady McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who just as soon hogtie a man as look at him … until Jamie MacKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well lassoes her heart. But when Jamie discovers the woman he loves is poorer than him, Cassie finds herself bucked by love a second time, sending her back to Texas to lick her wounds and heal her heart. In her absence, Jamie discovers money can’t buy love, but love built on faith can set a heart free, a truth he discovers a little too late … or is it?

THE SERIES

“Heart of San Francisco

From the glitter and glamour of San Francisco’s Nob Hill and Napa wine country, to the seedy dance halls and gambling dens of the Barbary Coast, “The Heart of San Francisco” series is a study in contrasts between the haves and have-nots, and barriers between rich and poor that only faith can transcend.

The story of the McClares, a wealthy political family in 1902 San Francisco, not only highlights the struggles of faith and heart of three cousins, but of the matriarch of the family as well, Caitlyn McClare. A widow of strong faith and beauty, Caitlyn butts heads and hearts with her handsome brother-in-law Logan McClare, the fiancé who betrayed her before she married his brother. In a breathtaking city where the Irish were predominant in the early 1900s and wielding power in both politics and wealth, the story of the McClares is a glimpse into beauty and degradation, poverty and promise during a riveting time in our nation’s history.

MY REVIEW

Beware!  This book is highly combustive!  Be warned of flying sparks that will ignite your passion and warm your heart.  Julie Lessman is no less, and by far more –(less is more) skilled than ever shaping and sculpting the clay of this story into fine porcelain.  Julie’s novels are true classics in the making.  By the time you finish this fantabulous story – you will understand Julie’s title,  Love at Any Cost, proving it can blaze upward to expensive heights.

We all remember and love the O’Connor family in Boston, and now we enjoy being in beautiful San Francisco at the turn of the twentieth century and meet the McClare family with much unrevealed history.  Prepare yourself for future shock and don’t say you weren’t warned.  Julie takes you deeper into suspense and mystery than usual and you’ll be pulled in like taffy with delicious scenes of life’s trauma and drama in the life of the McClares.

Cassidy McClare, spirited personality in more ways than one, deep faith in God and gutsy in a prideful Texan cowgirl way, steps off a train in San Francisco during May, 1902 and immediately is knocked on her behind, literally by Jamie McKenna.  Thus begins the story with Cassidy’s first thought “Sweet thunderation – deliver me from pretty men!” of which she has a proclivity.  Cassidy, just burned when Mark her pretty boy fiancé’ in Texas broke their engagement when he learned that her family oil wells had dried up, their cattle sold, and their ranch up for auction – leaving the Texas McClare’s much less wealthy and a disadvantage to the purpose of the engagement, in Mark Chancellor’s plans.

Julie writes in vivid Technicolor, dialogue witty and humorous, evocative and eloquent and plot within plot that tantalizes ire and empathy toward characters at the same time.   Ms Lessman gives each individual in the cast a definite personality with their own thoughts italicized conveniently for the reader.  A great style!  We were introduced to all through vast description from Rosie the housekeeper and Hadley the deaf butler, right down to Miss B the family pet parrot.  Jamie McKenna is definitely a “pretty boy” who considers himself the last coke in the desert to a wealthy woman looking for love.  Julie does a great piece of work with Jamie’s story.

Julie Lessman writes from her personal relationship with God.  How could anyone not understand who He is from her words of praise telling of his holiness and grace?  Will those prayers of the believers for the unbelievers be answered?  There is true test of wills of everyone in this story that lead to miracles and big changes through prayer and faith.

You might have noticed the main storyline hasn’t been outlined in this review, in fear of inadvertently adding spoilers.  I can say again to prepare for shocks and sparks flying in the last few chapters that are not the usual Julie Lessman style – at least not in prior series – and I am favorably impressed with Julie’s sparkling imagination in this novel.  I hope to see more in her future writings.  I’m not telling any secrets, I’ve pleasantly devoured this book and I know them all.  I’m sure Miss B knows them all too, and she’s not telling!

ABOUT JULIE LESSMAN…….554228_10151156574747449_361685248_n

Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction.”

Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2012 and 2011 Readers Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Historical Fiction Author of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #4 Novel of the Year and #3 Series of the year. She resides in Missouri with her husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter and is the author of “The Daughters of Boston” series—A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. Book 1 in her “Winds of Change” series A Hope Undaunted ranked #5 on Booklist’s Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010.

http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/

http://www.julielessman.com/from-the-heart/

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Well, friends – there you have it!  The best novel thus far by writer Julie Lessman.  I sincerely hope you will enjoy what you’ve read above and be encouraged to get a copy of the book and be blessed enough to scorch the clothes off your back.  LOL!  Just kidding about being scorched….so I hope you’ll feel the desire to read this book of Julie’s and love it as much as I do.

Blessings Today and Every Day…..

Barb

Casa de Naomi: 

The House of Blessing Book 1

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Fifteen-year-old Naomi wants to practice her faith in public, find her uncle, and help him raise enough money to bring their family to America. To accomplish this she agrees to companion a blind, old woman whose family plans to tour Europe and settle in the United States. Her plans are thwarted when the woman passes away aboard ship, and Naomi is handed over to immigration. While she awaits her interview, an old Tía comes to Naomi’s rescue and offers to take her in. With nowhere to go and no one to turn to, Naomi agrees and unwittingly enters the country illegally.

This is Naomi’s journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation and captivity to the noble status of heiress with a mission and responsibility many would shirk placed upon her shoulders. Along the way, she contends with piercing memories, hurtful loss, jealous opponents, a devious lawyer, and a curious priest. Through each step of this journey, she guards two secrets she dare not share with anyone, not even Chaz, the man she has married. Will she keep his love when he discovers who she really is? Find out in the first book of Paula Rose Michelson’s saga, The House of Blessing.

About the Author

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Paula Rose Michelson is the founder of LAMB Ministries, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of scripture, and prayer. She leads a monthly writers group at Congregation Ben David in Orange, California, and serves with her husband, Ron, with Chosen People Ministries. The mother of two married daughters, and grandmother of seven grandchildren, when not writing, speaking, or teaching the effective use scripture, you will find Paula researching her next book or meeting with friends.

Visit Paula on FaceBook, Join her Casa ReflectionsBlog, or 

E-mail her at CasadeNaomi@PaulaWordsmith.com


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Watch for Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing book 2!

View the Trailer for Casa de Naomi: House of Blessing book 1 HERE!

Casa de Naomi can be purchased in paperback and ebook from the PublisherAmazonBarnes and Noble, and is available in audio.

 

MY REVIEW OF

CASA DI NAOMI, BOOK ONE

BY PAULA ROSE MICHELSON

Paula Rose Michelson wrote with brilliance her story of Naomi.  To better understand the Spanish mind-set toward those of Jewish birth and faith, I recommend emphatically the reader peruse the Preface regarding Sephardic Voices as well as Historical Notes.  This stunning historical information revealed intense research and study on Ms Michelson’s part that distinguish her talent and story above some others.

Naomi, being forced to live a lie by omission of who she really is, we meet as a young teenage girl beginning a peculiar lonely life in a strange new world.  Her former world in Spain created about her grievous conditions for all of Jewish heritage and faith.  This cruel and fearful prejudice against their religion forcing them to join the Catholic Church or face persecution, possibly death was a historical fact unknown to me in my naiveté that I find despicable, however vital to Naomi’s story all inclusive in Spanish Harlem.

Coming to the United States on a free passage with plans to companion the elderly lady she accompanied soon went awry when death takes the lady and Naomi is abandoned at Ellis Island.  Facing deportment and trembling in terror at the unknown, God intercedes and sends old Tia, a compassionate woman that offers to give her residence in exchange for her services without wages.  Seeing no other choice, Naomi accepts without the knowledge of now being an illegal immigrant.

Paula Rose Michelson weaves intriguing stories within stories about the residents of Spanish Harlem and their respectful adoration toward the mistress of the Villa, Tia’s friends and those employed by her to run businesses in the community knew little about Naomi.  They believed her to be just another of Tia’s “ninas” sheltered from deportation in the Villa.  Little did neither they nor Naomi know what Tia has in the offing for them all.

Eventually, mystery, suspense and intrigue grow intense when the old Tia (named Madre Vida) nears death and wills the Villa and all its responsibilities to Naomi.  Madre Vida whispered many secrets of the Villa to Naomi, and revealed to her where she could find all the instructions she would need to run the Villa as Tia did at immigration saving the little ninas as Naomi was saved.  Overwhelmed and frightened by all the turn of events, Naomi learns Tia had been planning Naomi as her replacement all along.  With her fate sealed, Naomi considers this is the mission God equipped her for and stands strong, her fear of being discovered as a Jew in Spain still a haunting cloud.  She determined with her inheritance of wealth and good reputation that no one would dare question her heritage.  She began to feel freedom.  

Alas, Padre Paul the Catholic priest and Madre Vida’s attorney Ralph Martinez become skeptical over Tia’s choice of Naomi as her successor and schemed to assure she would not be led astray. They agreed that Tia’s work must continue and decided to “marry Naomi off” to the right man with wealth and security.  They set about finding the right potential husband for Naomi.  Thus begins the sweet love story between Chaz and Naomi.  Not that this union was without complications.

Evil lurks within the Villa with the arrival of Lola – a teenage girl rescued by Naomi at the most inopportune time. Lola intended to seduce Chaz and win him away from Naomi.  Trampish and deceitful, Lola sets about snooping to find what would discredit Naomi.  During my time spent reading this script, I argued aloud at the characters, trying to change their actions and reactions until I became hoarse and even woke my husband at night with my vocal cheering and recriminations.  

The depth of Paula Rose Michelson’s imagination mingled with her knowledge of complicated truth in history made for one of the most interesting novels I’ve yet read.  The conclusion of this story is one big hook of bait the size of an anchor – and you’ll be hooked!!  You need to get Casa de Naomi, Book Two to find out what happens, or hang around until May when I’ll be reviewing Book Two!  To Paula Rose Michelson, I say WHEW, What a story!  Praise God for blessing you with compassion for such a situation.