Tag Archive | faith

AN INTERVIEW WITH

LISA LICKEL

AUTHOR OF

BRAVE NEW CENTURY

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With the recent release of Brave New Century, author Lisa Lickel adds yet another contributing piece to her already-brimming resume. Set in Milwaukie at the turn of the century, Lickel writes of history, romance and of finding your way, even if it means blazing your own trail.
 
Blazing trails and finding her way when the path wasn’t so clear is a concept Lickel has mastered. Her career spans two decades, includes the death of a close friend in a space shuttle accident, and beyond writing to a successful pursuit into editing and mentoring. Perhaps the secret to her success can be found in the verse perched on her website’s home page: “Let us hold unswervingly to our faith, for He who promised is faithful.” ~Hebrews 10:23
 
In our recent interview, Lickel was transparent as she talked about her friend’s accident, her contributing story, Three Rings for Alice, that kicks off the Brave New Century novella, and of course, she filled me in on the impressive 160 year old house she currently resides in.
LISA
 

AUTHOR LISA LICKEL

MN-You have a fascinating bio, which includes reference to a former classmate who was killed in a space shuttle accident. How did that event contribute to your writing career?
LL-I still remember when I heard the news—I was driving and had to pull over. Hearing of Laurel’s death wasn’t exactly a catalyst, as I’d been taking the Christian Writers Guild course, but writing about it and seeing the piece published in the local paper helped me continue to pursue writing and make connections within the local publishing community.
MN-Of all the pieces that you have written, fiction and non-fiction, contributions to magazines as well as writing in the historical, romance and mystery genres, you say that your passion is inspirational fiction. What do you hope to ccomplish through your writing, especially as it relates to inspirational fiction?
LL-Fiction is almost always for recreation, for pleasure, though naturally most readers want some value for their entertainment money, whether learning about new places, customs, or taking a peek into an unfamiliar world. I hope to provide clean entertainment, maybe even some clean shock value, to show people who live in faith but still go through worldly troubles. People who practice faith have a different perspective in reaction to problems, so I show readers another path out of the woods, and hopefully make those who don’t have a faith system see that it’s not scary.
MN-You recently contributed to an anthology titled Brave New Century. Tell me a little about Three Rings for Alice and how you came up with the concept for this particular story.
LL-The story was originally written for Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents monthly newsletter that went out to their subscribers. Each newsletter contained a chapter from a serial story; no more than 500 words, one contemporary and one historical, alternating years. So, I tried writing a historical story about a young woman facing the turn of the twentieth century in the big city instead of on the prairie where so many historicals were taking place. When it didn’t sell, I re-wrote my story to pad it out a bit and put out a call for others to join me writing similarly themed stories for a potential anthology.
MN-I love your lead character, Alice. She has such spunk; I’d love to see her character alive and well in 2014. Do you think she would be more of a feminist or activist for those in poverty?
LL-Thank you. I enjoyed Alice, too, and really immersed myself in newspapers, photos, books, and reports of the era to get a feel for her personality. It was a changing time all over the world; people couldn’t rely on old family money, and women had to enter the workforce in order to survive, often even if they were married. I think she might be a social worker or at least a very benevolent business owner today.
MN-Why set your story in Milwaukee? Is there something about it that especially intrigues you?
LL-I live near that city; my concept was to show life in big cities as opposed to the prairie. Milwaukee is interesting, as it was settled by people of strong ethnicity who created neighborhoods for themselves and supported each other. It’s still the most culturally segregated city in the US, which is both bad and good. But Wisconsin was always a progressive state, and we have a rich heritage in producing goods and manufacturing. Milwaukee had a series of socialist mayors for decades into the twentieth century. When I read about building the new city hall and the modern innovations they used, I had the foundation for my story.
MN-So, tell me about this 160 year old house that you live in. I can only imagine the history connected to it.
LL-It’s a fun house, and as a historian of course I found out everything I could about it. Surprisingly it hasn’t been handed down from family to family, but each generation has been a different family coming in. It was built by a Great Lakes ship captain, then purchased by a German family who later built a hotel in a nearby city; I have a photograph of the house from that era, in 1881, when the house was already 30 years old. Then it was purchased by an Irish family who had ties to the little Catholic chapel in the neighborhood, then owned by a couple of other families who had family in the neighborhood. We bought it in the ’80s, and my youngest son learned to walk here. I’ve enjoyed it more than my husband, I think, as there isn’t a straight edge or 90-degree angle in the entire place, and we had to update the electrical and plumbing systems.
MN-What is your ideal writing location and how often are you able to go there and create?
LL-As an empty-nester I have the run of the house. I like to get up and down, move around, when I’m working, so I’m all over the place. I have a desk and a couple of chairs I’ll alternate between, even a deck. I have to discipline myself to take time for my own work as well as that of my editing clients.
MN-What is the go-to mantra that keeps you focused on your goals when life throws its many distractions your way?
LL-“It’ll be nice when it’s done.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….

Author Bio- Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin writer who lives with her husband in a hundred and sixty-year-old house built by a Great Lakes ship captain. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Her novels include the Buried Treasure mystery series (The Last Bequest, The Map Quilt and The Newspaper Code) and the Fancy Cat Mystery Meow Mayhem; as well as the award-winning romance, Meander ScarA Summer in Oakville co-authored with best-selling author Shellie Neumeier, Healing Grace, Brave New Century, a historical anthology, an anthology A Wisconsin Harvest, Vol II, and The Last Detail. She has penned dozens of feature newspaper stories, short stories, magazine articles and radio theater. She is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin magazine and loves to encourage new authors. Lisa also is an avid book reviewer and blogger, a freelance editor, a writing mentor, and blogger. She is married to a high school biology teacher, and they have two sons and daughters in law, grandchildren and a grand-kitty.
You can connect with author Lisa Lickel at her website and on Facebook.

Meet Our Journalist

MARYMary is an avid reader, writer, editor and self-proclaimed advocate for the authors that make Christian publishing the great industry it is. She supports publishers by interviewing authors and promoting their new releases, as well as upholding a standard of ethics that defines the word “Christian”.  Her passion is to see the publishing business excel by promoting literature that speaks to our generation without compromise. Mary is the host of Marysworld Internet radio talk show, maintains a website affiliated with several publishers, and is a member of the Evangelical Press Association. (EPA) 

             Mary Nichelson
                                                            Mary’s World Website & Blog      Friend Mary on FB

MY REVIEW

 An anthology!  Actually, my first anthology review of four unique delightful novellas revealing a few significant chapters from the lives of four young women experiencing life changes through God’s grace during the time period of the early 1900’s.

 

Lisa Lickel authored Three Rings for Alice.  The title lead me to think of rings worn on fingers, however my thoughts were modified when I read this amusing story of telephones ringing, mystifying the young lady Alice with an intriguing voice she hoped to meet.  Alice was an emerging modern woman of her day, among the first women to work as the secretary to the Mayor of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Orphaned as a child, she is forced to make her own way, vowing to never marry….but….the fellows interested in marrying her are uninteresting.  Is it possible to fall in love with a voice over the phone?  Ms. Lickel displays her expertise to write a completely entertaining story.

 

Forgiven, written by Paula Mowery and set in Knoxville, Tennessee is a sweet classic story of Henry Smith and Jessie Lee Capelle, two young people falling in love at first sight.  Neither is aware that a tragic historic event involving both their fathers will come to light causing tumultuous interference to their engagement to marry.  Henry’s mother, widowed and losing a son in the past tragedy, has her mind set on Cassandra to become Henry’s wife.  The twists and turns in this romantic mystery kept me awake late.  A satisfying read that you will surely enjoy.

 

Kathleen Rouser brilliantly wrote The Pocket Watch – about Isabel Jones, an orphan, and  Dr. Daniel Harper so attracted to one another through an accident that the possibility of marriage to one another could cause tremendous scandal over this forbidden union by God and society of Detroit, Michigan.  Two inanimate objects, first a pocket watch lost, and a ring cause possible ended destiny for this beautiful couple in love.  Ms. Rouser has written a fascinating story with a blend of great characters – you won’t want to miss this read.

 

A Flame of Hope, composed by Teena Stewart is an ignited story of love during the disastrous San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Petite Lily McMinn works in her family’s mercantile and eagerly anticipates the visits of handsome Policeman Gideon Light who often drop by for lunch at the mercantile’s refreshment deli.  This couple is just beginning the blessing of a real love relationship when the earthquake occurred.  Gideon becomes the hero for Lily and her family. Learning to live through a deathly time for others is greatly challenging to all involved in this story.  Ms. Stewarts descriptive penning of events is excellent and enlightening as to how God works through dire situations to deepen faith.

 

Each of these authors encompasses the imagination to extend their writings to complete novels, if they had so chosen.  Their novellas are absolute breath takers, in that the wonders of compassion, forgiveness, new faith, soul searching and turn of the century occurrences for women to express their individuality has been well researched and expressed.  Lisa Lickel, Paula Mowery, Kathleen Rouser and Teena Stewart – you have glorified our Lord through your finely penned hands.  Thank you for bringing tears of emotion to my eyes.  To me, when I cry over a story, that’s a sign of a great writer.  We all need a good cry once in a while….after all, God does gather our tears in jars.  He understands why we shed them.  My prayers for each of you are that He will continue to bless you with words for readers to find praiseworthy.

All the above originally was published in The Wordsmith Journal Magazine in the past three months.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

MY REVIEW OF

JOYFUL: RETURN TO SUGARCREEK

by

SHELLEY SHEPARD GRAY

5 STARS

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BOOK DESCRIPTION……..

A young Amish couple gets a second chance at love in New York Times bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray’s final book in her Return to Sugarcreek series.

Randall Beiler is doing his best to put his family and the farm’s needs first, even forsaking love. But though he tries, Randall knows he needs help caring for his younger siblings and keeping the house together.

When his brother offers pretty Elizabeth Nolt a job taking care of the house and cooking for the family, Randall is furious—and guilty about the way he once broke Elizabeth’s heart. But when he learns that Elizabeth and her grandmother are struggling to make ends meet, he knows the offer, no matter how painful, is the right thing for everyone.

Elizabeth wants to refuse—to stay far away from the man who hurt her—but she needs the money. Though she vows to protect her heart, spending time in the Beiler household makes Elizabeth realize that, while she’s older and wiser, her love for Randall still burns strong.

Randal, too, seems to want something more. But does he want Elizabeth because he truly loves her—or because he needs a housekeeper? If Randall sincerely wants something more, he must find a way to show Elizabeth—or risk losing his chance at love forever.

Joyful includes a P.S. section with a letter from the author, discussion questions, and a teaser from her next book.

MY REVIEW

When I realized this was the third book in this series, I was surprised that I did not know about the first two in the series.  Shelley Shepard Gray is an exceptional writer.  Her stories are easy to follow and she eloquently expresses the feelings of the characters whether negative or positive. 

 

It was easy to understand Elizabeth’s confusion as to Randall’s feelings toward her.  She had far more maturity than Randall.  Randall seemed to be short sighted, which is comprehensible in the way he felt so much responsibility for his siblings.  He believed he did not have time for romance and dropped Elizabeth without being able to explain with honesty his purpose in doing so.  In my estimation, he made thoughtless decisions in many areas as well as being insensitive toward Elizabeth as well as his siblings.  Elizabeth put her whole heart into caring for her grandmother.  Since her mother had remarried after her father’s death, she seemed to leave Elizabeth to her own devices to earn money enough to care for herself and her grandmother.  Randall’s brothers devised a plan to bring Randall and Elizabeth together, hopefully reuniting them and help Elizabeth earn money.  Elizabeth’s patience with Randall and willingness to do her finest job is to be marveled.  Frankly, I lost patience several times with Randall and wondered what Elizabeth saw in him in the first place.

 

The two sub-plots were interesting, but I felt a bit frustrated whenever we were drawn away from Elizabeth’s story.  Although I could identify with Judith and Ben wanting to adopt James as their own child – I have three adopted children and could never give either of them up – I had empathy for James’s mother as well.  Pippa’s story was sweet and not long, but there was more I would have liked to learn about her and Bud’s story.  Perhaps Ms. Gray has in mind another story for her in the future.

 

Overall, I liked this story very much.  There are a lot of surprises and definitely much soul searching.  Ms. Gray’s imagination proved lively as she added fun and on again, off again chances for romance between Elizabeth and Randall.  You will need to read this story for yourself to find out all the answers you want to know.  You will fall in love with Elizabeth’s grandmother and her expressions of wisdom.   Particularly interesting are the discussion questions at the end of the book.   Even though I had not read the first two books in this series – Joyful is a stand-alone story.  Is there real joy in the end?  That’s for you to find out.  I am so thankful that God gives writers such splendid inspirations to write about.  You will never be bored with a book written by Shelley Shepard Gray!

 

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…….

Shelley GrayShelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

SHELLEY SAYS……

I grew up in Houston, Texas, went to Colorado for college, and after living in Arizona, Dallas, and Denver, we moved to southern Ohio about ten years ago.

I’ve always thought of myself as a very hard worker, but not ‘great’ at anything. I’ve obtained a bachelor’s and master’s degree…but I never was a gifted student. I took years of ballet and dance, but I never was anywhere near the star of any recital. I love to cook, but I’m certainly not close to being gourmet…and finally I love to write books, but I’ve certainly read far better authors.

Maybe you are a little bit like me. I’ve been married for almost twenty years and have raised two kids. I try to exercise but really should put on my tennis shoes a whole lot more. I’m not a great housekeeper, I hate to drive in the snow, and I don’t think I’ve ever won a Monopoly game. However, I am the best wife and mother I know how to be.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that in God’s eyes that is okay? That from His point of view, we are all exceptional? I treasure that knowledge and am always so thankful for my faith. His faith in me makes me stand a little straighter, smile a little bit more, and be so very grateful for every gift He’s given me.

I started writing about the Amish because their way of life appealed to me. I wanted to write stories about regular. likeable people in extraordinary situations-and who just happened to be Amish.

Getting the opportunity to write Inspirational novels is truly gratifying. With every book, I feel my faith grows stronger. And that makes me feel very special indeed.

http://www.shelleyshepardgray.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ShelleyShepardGray/timeline.

 

MY REVIEW OF 

SHENANDOAH DREAMS

(Third in the Winds of Change series)

by

LISA BELCASTRO

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Tisbury, Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard.

“It’s just a dream,” Melissa Smith whispers as she stares into the intense eyes of a man dressed in Colonial clothes, as though stepping out of an American Revolution movie set. A school chaperone with Holmes Hole Elementary, she’d boarded the old schooner Shenandoah for a weeklong educational sail. But they aren’t visiting Plimoth Plantation, the Boston Tea Party Museum, or the Concord Bridge reenactment. They’re sailing the waters around the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Yet, when she awakes in Cabin 8, the captain claims to be Isaiah Reed, who sailed the original Shenandoah in the eighteenth century.
He cannot possibly be real, Melissa thinks. And traveling back in time is impossible. But days pass, and she’s still in 1770. What if Isaiah, who is simply too handsome to be real, is real? What if the fire he ignites in her from barely a touch isn’t in her imagination? Can a dream last for weeks on end? If so, how will she find her way home…to the twenty-first century? And can she bear to leave the one man who has captured her heart, when everything in her longs to stay?

 

MY REVIEW

 

“WOW, I thought as admired the covers of all three books in this series – they are lovely.”  That was before I read the book description on the back cover and noticed it said Melissa traveled back in time.  This reviewer is not a fan of time travel novels, but I love history. 

 

Being a land-lubber all of my life, I was not familiar with boats of any kind.   My family did sail on the SS United States when we returned from Germany ending my husband’s military assignment in Germany in 1962 – but all the terminology about sailing was foreign to me – especially on a schooner as large as the Shenandoah.  Like Spike, Melissa’s cat – I was unsure about what to expect on Melissa’s trip on the Shenandoah, but instead of complaining, began reading anyway despite my views of time travel.

 

During the first few chapters I was getting acquainted with Melissa Smith, who was enjoying being single after divorcing her abusive husband.  She had no intention of becoming romantically involved again – if ever!  She was well liked by the Holmes Hole students she taught and excited about spending her fifth summer as chaperone on the annual Shenandoah trip for the graduating fifth graders from each of the five island elementary schools.  Being a camera buff, she took many pictures of each trip and used them for making note cards as well as scrapbooks for each class.

 

On her way to board the Shenandoah Melissa contentedly thought about this two-hundred year old wonder that had been reconstructed and remodeled before Melissa was born.  It had been purchased by Captain Roberts in 1958 and now was a sleek tall ship with a black hull and long masts.  This year Melissa was staying in Cabin Eight, the only cabin which was left in its original state.

 

The first night Melissa had a vivid dream about a person named Adam replying “Ye must be relieved the Townshend Act has been repealed.”  Followed by a reply, “Aye, Adam, we must all be grateful, though the cost was dear.  Five men, five families.  I fear the violence has only yet begun.”  She had the sensation of falling….falling into a black hole.  I think that is as far as I will take you because now it really becomes interesting.   I will tell you that Melissa endures these dreams for two nights and wakes up in 1770 aboard the original Shenandoah and the story becomes intensely attention-grabbing.

 

Okay, okay….now I am a fan of time travel!  Not wanting to give any spoilers, I won’t tell you about Melissa’s life in the 1770’s – you won’t be freaked out…but you will enjoy a history lesson well researched by Ms. Lisa Belcastro and cleverly turned into twists and turns that I totally believed.  Faith in God was as real in 1770 as it is today.  Melissa said her prayers often before 1770, but besieged God with frequent prayers after falling through the black hole.  I will confess her prayers became confusing then….she was not sure for what to pray!  The ending was unexpected.  Lisa Belcastro did an exceptional job with this third novel and now if you will excuse me – I must read the first book in this series, Shenandoah Nights.  I’ll be back in November to report on that novel.  In the meantime, keep reading and thank God for writers like Lisa Belcastro.

 

LISA BELCASTRO

LISA BELCASTRO

ABOUT THE AUTHOR………

Lisa Belcastro lives with her family on Martha s Vineyard. She was inspired to write Shenandoah Nights, the first in the Winds of Change trilogy, while chaperoning her first of two school summer trips with her daughter, Kayla. The weeklong adventure, sans electricity, Game Boys, iPods, and modern conveniences, kindled her imagination to dream of an altogether different voyage. Lisa pens the cuisine column for Vineyard Style magazine. She has worked as a staff and freelance reporter and photographer for The Chronicle of the Horse and as assistant editor at The Blue Ridge Leader.

She has written articles for USA Today, Dressage (London), USA WEEKEND Magazine, The Blue Ridge Leader, and Sidelines.

https://www.facebook.com/lisa.belcastro.5

MY REVIEW OF CHILD OF MINE

BY BEVERLY LEWIS & DAVID LEWIS

 

http://www.amazon.com/Child-Mine-Beverly-Lewis-ebook/dp/B00GHXRVUQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1406138504&sr=1-1&keywords=child+of+mine+by+david+and+beverly+lewis

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Flight instructor Jack Livingston has been raising his eight-year-old adopted niece, Natalie, since the accident that took her parents’ lives. When he travels, Natalie is tenderly cared for by her Amish nanny, Laura Mast, who loves the little girl as her own.
  
Eight excruciating years ago, Kelly Maines’s baby was kidnapped. Determined to find her child, Kelly has tirelessly pursued every lead to its bitter end. And now, with the clock ticking, one last clue from a private investigator ignites a tiny flame of hope: Just a few miles away lives a young girl who matches the profile. 
 
Can this be, at long last, Kelly’s beloved daughter?

 

MY REVIEW

When I found that over 160 reviews had been written about Beverly Lewis and David Lewis’s recent novel, Child of Mine, I wondered if one more review would be needed.  What could I possibly add?  Indeed, this is an intriguing story!  Many a book by Beverly Lewis has kept me captivated, however the addition of her husband David Lewis changed the complexion of the writing of Beverly just a skosh.  This pair added several dimensions I had not noticed in other Beverly Lewis publications.  The authoress Lewis has written exclusively about Amish, but there was only one tie-in Amish person in this story, Laura, which will be explained momentarily.

 

For instance, I was caught up in the mystery involving a kidnapped baby Emily by her druggie of a daddy and sold to the black market.  His drug overdose following this inhumane action was well deserved, in my estimation.  However, the long eight year search for her daughter, made a bit easier through funds from a compassionate couple and a private detective, was exhausting and led nowhere.  The story begins with Kelly Maines resorting to tricking an eight year old girl in an attempt to get her DNA, only to find the child not to be Emily.  Of course, the hunt continues.

 

Next, we are introduced to Jack Livingstone who is a flight instructor and owner of Higher Ground.  Jack, a bachelor, is raising his 8 year old niece since a tragic accident that took both lives of Nattie’s adoptive parents.  He depends on Laura Mast, a shunned Amish woman, to help raise Nattie.  Then we have San, Jack’s sister, who bedevils him all the time about finding a wife.  He dates a few women, but fails to find one he could fall in love with.  Enter Kelly Maines, who is immediately attracted to Jack and especially to Nattie.   A love relationship begins between Jack, Kelly….and Nattie.  In the meantime, why was Laura shunned?  We learn of Jack’s childhood  – is this the reason he can’t trust women?   Kelly begins to see things from a different spiritual light.  Their relationship grows and suddenly changes to disaster.  Is Jack in love with Laura?  Jack wishes there could be romance for them – but finds he pushes Laura far away.

 

How far would Kelly go to find out if Nattie is her child?  My opinion is perhaps prejudiced, because I have three adopted children and I would go the lengths for each of them.  This story hit close to my heart.  It details every emotion possible on both sides of the story.  There is mystery – written in clean beautiful lines.  Nattie is adorable, however precocious at times, possibly due to high intelligence and living with grown-ups.  The story is a bit long, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it after finishing the book.

 

Of course, this reviewer skipped over all the flowery words felt while reading this exclusive story, because I only wanted to hit a few of the high spots to interest the readers.  Anyone who has not heard of Beverly Lewis and her exceptional writing, just is not a reader.  There is another author I have added to my list – David Lewis – who did a wonderful job of co-authoring with his wife.  I hope to see many more fascinating books written by this dynamic duo.  The ending is not as predictable as you might think.  God does work in mysterious ways – as shown in this emotional story of Child of Mine.  His grace is sufficient, indeed.

 

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

 

“Heartwarming scenes, well-developed storylines and realistic characters combine in this tale of a mother’s love.” -RT Book Reviews

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS…….

 

Beverly and David Lewis

Beverly & David Lewis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beverly Lewis, raised in Pennsylvania Amish country, is a former schoolteacher, an accomplished musician, and an award-winning author of nearly ninety books for adults and children, many of which have appeared on bestseller lists, including USA Today and The New York Times. Her novel The Brethren won a 2007 Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction. Writing memorable stories set in Amish farmland brings Beverly continual joy and inspiration. Her own family heritage is Old Order Mennonite, but she has many dear friends among Amish communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Indiana. Beverly and her husband, David, live in Colorado

http://www.beverlylewis.com/

 

David Lewis is the co-author (with his wife, Beverly Lewis) of the bestselling Sanctuary. Coming Home is his first solo novel.   An accomplished keyboard artist and piano teacher, was born in Minnesota and raised in the Midwest. He co-wrote the bestseller Sanctuary with his wife Beverly. They make their home in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains enjoying their three grown children and one grandchild.

 

 

 

 

 

MY REVIEW OF

A SENSIBLE ARRANGEMENT

(A LONESTAR BRIDES, BOOK  I)

by

TRACIE L. PETERSON

AUTHOR TRACIE L. PETERSON

1544618_746510535388936_39347214_n5 STARS

Five Stars

Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.

Answering an advertisement for a “Lone Star bride,” she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn’t know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her….Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience. 

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake’s yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty’s dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.


What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways…
and dreams and secrets collide?

 

BARB’S REVIEW

 

A fun story with a bit of seriousness, Tracie L. Peterson certainly can write a great tale of excitement, drama, romantic mystery, and shadowy incidents, mixed with dreams of being somewhere else in time and geography.  There is an old adage of “be careful for what one wishes for” throughout the message of this book.

 

Widowed and childless Marty Olson wanted to escape from memories of tragically losing her beloved husband, and leave Texas forever where she owns and lives on a ranch.    Jake Wythe, a Denver banker, singed around the edges one last time from romance, places a newspaper ad for a Texas woman to marry in name only.  Jake is in need of a wife to satisfy the bank board members determined notion that his promotion puts him in a higher level of Denver society.  Marty answers the ad on complete acceptance of Jake’s terms.   Unknown to Marty, Jake, a native Texan longs to return to the Lone Star state and run a ranch. 

 

Marty is quite adept at telling little fibs that create larger problems that spin into a web of hurt and misunderstanding for loved ones and new friends.  She does not tell her sister and family the truth about going to Colorado – only that she plans to visit friends.  This time, a lie of omission.  Shades of Annie Oakley!   Marty takes a stage coach into Denver and becomes a pistol-packing damsel to save the lives of the passengers and drivers from a stage robbery.  Our heroine soon becomes the talk and news sensation of Denver and awes the society she has joined as Mrs. Jacob Wythe.  The character quality in Marty’s habit was disturbing to me, however I surmised Ms. Peterson had sensible reasons for this flaw.  We will find Marty’s redeeming qualities in other area of her character concerning orphans.

 

Much is going on with the newlyweds – will love blossom now that Marty and Jake are secretly attracted to one another?  How does Marty, married to a rich banker, handle being included with society wives and living a lie as a new bride?  Is Jake suspected as being part of the scheme of missing funds at the bank?  The stories developing around the household servants are entertaining and humor provoking.  It seems the only real friend Marty has in Denver is Alice, her lady’s maid.  But, what does Alice have to do with information about the missing funds?  Why was she attacked to be robbed of something she knew nothing about?

 

The plot continues to thicken.  Marty becomes anguished over Jake’s intentions of returning to Texas and how she can keep the truth of her ranch from him.  We learn throughout the story that God is in control.  The truth will out, but what happens?  There are some loose ends in the story, however I believe there is purpose in this gifted writers tactics.  Ms. Tracie Peterson has successfully written many books, of which The Sensible Arrangement is my first read.  You have made an impression on my reading tastes, Ms. Peterson, I anticipate reading the next book in this series as well as the many others you have written.  Your faith in our heavenly Father and His love for you brightly shine through your pen hand.  You are indeed blessed.

 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

 

 

MEET AUTHOR TRACIE L. PETERSON…..

Tracie Peterson is an award-winning, best-selling author of over 95 books. Having given her heart to Jesus at the young age of six, Tracie has always felt called to some form of ministry, and writing fulfills that mission field.

Tracie received her first book contract in November, 1992 and saw A Place To Belong published in February 1993 with Barbour Publishings’ Heartsong Presents. She wrote exclusively with Heartsong for the next two years, receiving their readership’s vote for Favorite Author of the Year for three years in a row.

In December, 1995 she signed a contract with Bethany House Publishers. Tracie now writes exclusively for Bethany House Publishers. She has co-written with a variety of authors including Judith Pella, Judith Miller, James Scott Bell and her daughter Jennifer.

Throughout her writing career Tracie has found time to speak at writer’s conferences where she has a special heart for new authors. She is often joined by her husband Jim, whose background in history offers new authors insight into research. Besides teaching at conferences, Tracie also at one time managed Barbour Publishing’s Heartsong Presents book line – overseeing the production of 52 books a year. Tracie teaches at women’s conferences around the country and shares her testimony and insight for Christian living through the eyes of an author passionately in love with her Heavenly Father.

Tracie was awarded the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for 2007 Inspirational Fiction and the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award from American Christian Fiction Writers. Her books have won numerous awards for favorite books in a variety of contests, including USA “Best Books 2011” Awards, best Religious Fiction for Embers of Love!.

Making her home in Montana, this Kansas native enjoys spending time with family–especially her three grandchildren–Rainy, Fox and Max..

For information on having Tracie speak at your event – contact Noelle Buss at Bethany Publishers/Baker Books.

 

http://www.traciepeterson.com/

 

Hi Friends,

Life gets more complicated by the day, it seems.  No less busy either.  My hubby Jack and I are flying to Portland, Oregon next week to spend Mother’s Day with my 95 year old mother.  What a blessing to still have her with us!  Personally, I am facing a few health issues that are in the process of being resolved which will prove to be time consuming.  With eight grown children between us – there’s never a dull moment in our family…..always new situations to face and pray through.  Recently, we’ve been saddened by the loss of two family members, a beloved uncle and a dearly loved cousin.  I guess what I’m saying a mouthfull to get to the point that all this busyness will keep me away from my blogs and writing for a while.  Happy Mother’s Day to all of you ladies with children and mothers to celebrate.  We’ll be in contact again soon.

Stay Blessed,

Barb

 

 

MY REVIEW ON

WHERE COURAGE CALLS

BY

JANETTE OKE & LAUREL OKE LOGAN

Courage Cover

Her courage

and her heart

will be tested in ways

she never expected 

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father’s wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she’d feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don’t even speak English. There isn’t even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth’s heart is torn between two young men—both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she’s had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?

MY REVIEW

FIVE STARS 

While anticipating the honor of writing a review for Janette Oke and Laurel Oke Logan’s novel When Courage Calls, I pondered if my words could give proper merit to such creative teamwork from these two superb authors. As a long time reader of Janette Oke – often relating her skilled gift to Laura Ingalls Wilder, I perceive the same in Laurel Oke Logan. I am sincerely humbled to be reviewing this work of perfection

 

Beth Thatcher touched me deeply – she had the true heart of a missionary, with a spirit of kindness within a soul full of God’s Holy Word.  All those wonderful characteristics plus courage to venture into the unknown enabled her to face challenges with belief that she could be the impetus to change things through her deep faith in God.  Beth made a daring decision to accept a position as the school teacher in remote Coal Valley, an indigent mining area in Western Canada.  Beth finds herself in a bit of culture shock without the conveniences of home and wealth she had been privileged to know in Toronto. One of my favorite characters, Molly, the boarding house owner where Beth lived, was delightful and quite appropriately written into this beautiful story.  Oh, but then there is Frank…. and the children…..and the unlikely school room…and the Italian miners – there is no end to the unique quaintness versus durability of the people of Coal Valley.  When Beth played her violin and enthralled the community to envision the miracle of Christmas…. my heart felt the glory. When you read this story and find out why Beth’s violin played a part in a huge surprise, you will soon realize there are many surprises in store to keep the pages turning.

 

Edward Montclair and Beth were lifelong friends, however Beth considered him an annoyance and was not intending to gratify their mothers’ presumptuous plans that the two would one day marry.  Beth’s exhaustive train ride from Toronto to Coal Valley had some unpleasant and unpredicted surprises; in a bizarre way concerning Edward.  Beth envisioned no dreams of romance then or after arriving in Coal Valley.  However, this is a love story in my estimation about how God’s love can turn hopeless situations to promising.  It is no surprise that the authors created the characters of this story to breathe and come alive on the page.  Sensational writing includes the vindictive and evil side that plagues the community with mystery.  When the hint of romance comes into the story with Royal Canadian Mountie Jarrick (Jack) Thornton, my own heart palpitated a bit and wondered if Beth would have secret thoughts about this warm and charming Christian believer.

 

Before I forget myself and deluge too much – you can find out from the back cover an excellent synopsis of this solid story, as well as peruse many fine written reviews as to why you should acquire this book and read what’s between the covers for yourself.  Interestingly, I learned When Courage Calls is a special companion story to Hallmark Channel’s “When Calls the Heart” TV series.  You know you are getting the best when you see it on Hallmark.  Where have I heard something like that said before?  Unfortunately, I have not seen or read the prior episodes of this series on the Canadian West.  Through further information, I found this series of seven books was republished in 2005 with updated covers.  These novels will be added to my library as time permits.

 

It is my hope that the Ms. Janette Oke and Ms. Laurel Oke Logan will write another novel in this series continuing the story of Beth and answer all my questions about what happens next.  My curiosity is as real as my admiration for the authors.  Thank you ladies, for blessing your readers through Beth’s story.  I feel blessed having the pleasure of reading it.

 

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

JANETTE OKE & LAUREL OKE LOGAN

JANETTE OKE & LAUREL OKE LOGAN

Janette Oke Celebrated for her significant contribution to the Christian book industry, Janette Oke is the recipient of numerous awards. Her novels have sold more than 30 million copies and are beloved by readers around the world. Janette lives with her husband, Edward, in Alberta, Canada. 

Laurel Oke Logan is the daughter of Edward and Janette Oke, is the author of “Janette Oke: A Heart for the Prairie,” as well as the novel “Dana’s Valley,” which she co-wrote with her mom. Laurel and her husband have six children and two sons-in-law and live near Indianapolis, Indiana.

JANETTE OKE:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Janette-Oke/1125821954198

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/o/janette-oke/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4049.Janette_Oke

LAUREL OKE LOGAN:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laurel-Oke-Logan/1394770507453866

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/437781.Laurel_Oke_Logan?from_search=true

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/authors/laurel-oke-logan/1000

http://www.novelcrossing.com/author/1867/laurelokelogan

DARE TO LOVE AGAIN 

by

JULIE LESSMAN

AUTHOR JULIE LESSMAN

AUTHOR JULIE LESSMAN

Spunky Allison McClare is determined to be a fearless, independent woman. But when she takes a notion to explore the wild Barbary Coast, she quickly discovers she’s no match for the unsavory characters that haunt the dark streets.
 
Detective Nick Barone would rather do almost anything than teach this petite socialite self-defense, but it seems he has little choice. Sparks fly every time the two meet until a grudging friendship develops into something deeper. But is he just a fraud like all the rest of the men Allison’s cared for? Or is he the one who will let her dare to love again?
 
Award-winning author Julie Lessman brings the glamour of Gilded Age San Francisco to vibrant life in this journey to find a love that never fails.
 
“With memorable characters and an effervescent plot that’s as buoyant as it is entertaining, Dare to Love Again is Julie Lessman at her zestful best.”–Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of A Lasting Impression and To Whisper Her Name
 
“Nobody pens a more splendid romance than Julie! The expert on dazzling dialogue, engaging characters, and wonderful romantic plots with a twist wins my heart over every time.”–Maggie Brendan, author of Heart of the West and The Blue Willow Brides series
 
“Julie’s ability to thread romance and longing, deception and forgiveness, and lots of humor are unparalleled by anyone else in the Christian market today.”–Rachel McRae, LifeWay Stores
 

BARB’S REVIEW

♥♥♥♥♥  FIVE STARS  ♥♥♥♥♥

Applause!  Applause!!  Applause!!!  Julie Lessman just keeps on writing a new favorite to replace an older favorite and a yet older favorite.  Personally, I hope it never ends!  My recent visit with the McClare family in 1903 San Francisco was so much fun even though we faced some fiercely intense moments sitting together in the parlor on Caitlyn’s loveseat praying and waiting for one crisis to subside before facing whatever came along next. Reading one of Julie’s novels is a marvelous release mechanism…..all my giggles over Lessman-style humor released endorphins that caused me to feel great; or releasing pent up emotions through easy tears that flowed along with Caitlyn’s.  All those tears caused an enormous pile of tissues for Rosie the housekeeper to sweep up with an audible “tsk tsk,” and slight shake of her head.

Dare to Love Again is the perfect title for this Julie Lessman novel.  The title is a story in itself, so to speak, because Allison, the eldest daughter of Caitlyn McClare, has been jilted and left disappointed four times causing a jaundiced eye toward romantic love.  The hunky lead hero Detective Nick Barone becomes the big dare for Allison.  Nick will not allow himself to dare fall in love with a rich Nob Hill debutante.  Both characters are well equipped with mixed emotions about each other and their sparring is comical and typical of independent personalities.  Brother-in-law Logan McClare continues to dare hope that his widowed sister-in-law Caitlyn would dare love him as she did in their youth and accept his proposal of marriage.  Will Nick and Logan dare to believe in God?  Ms. Lessman brings her characters so close to taking the dares and so far away again; that I do not attempt to dare guess what happens next.  

Julie Lessman stories encompass everything from romance, danger, bad guys, good guys, secrets, smells, tastes, vivid scenery, laughter, mystery, trauma to a fascinating script.  Most importantly being the lessons learned through human error, confession, forgiveness, and accepting God’s love.  Warm feelings among some characters occur where negative attitudes had been the mode.  Certain new personalities added to the story are quite endearing….fall in love with La-di-da, and Miss Penny.  Who gets nauseous riding the streetcar?  What do animal crackers have to do with anything?  Some shocking information is revealed about members of the McClare Clan in this second episode of The Heart of San Francisco series.  Historical facts and location research appear as a natural part of Ms. Lessman’s innate writing gift to render the beauty in words meaningful.  She writes page turners for avid readers who would not dare put her book down.  There is no less in Julie Lessman.  She owns it all where word art is involved.    

It is not this reviewer’s intent to detail excess information about the characters and subject matter, the back and front cover is capable of drawing reader interest.  Revealing too much might prevent one from an intriguing read and my intent is for curiosity to take the dare and enjoy my personal recommendation. Julie Lessman has caused me to fall in love with San Francisco all over again.  

Through her faith in our loving Abba, Julie Lessman dares to write as she does.  Dare I ask Julie why she has won many awards and trophies?  She will give our Lord all the credit.  Ok, the dares are dropped….anyone taking bets that Julie’s next story will be the most read yet?  My bet is yes, it will….and winner take all! Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

ABOUT JULIE LESSMAN…….

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.

Websites:  
http://www.julielessman.com

http://seekerville.blogspot.com/

NOTES OF INTEREST FROM JULIE ABOUT HER CHARACTER PERSONALIZATIONS…..

Angi Griffis, gave me a great idea. You see, she’s currently reading Dare to Love Again and asked me if I had any pix of celebrities I had pegged to play Alli and Nick. And, OF COURSE, I do and can hardly believe I haven’t posted them before now! So … without further ado, here are the shots I pictured while writing the story.

Allison McClare:  Alli McClare is petite with curly black hair in the typical Gibson Girl style of the day, usually up, as indicated in the 2nd pic below. She has eyes that are a very deep green with creamy, porcelain skin. She is fun and adventurous and has a flair for drama. She wants to be an independent woman so she learns jiu-jitsu and carries a large hat pin to protect herself when she takes a notion to explore the Barbary Coast. She has a dry sense of humor, is down to earth and doesn’t trust men because she’s been engaged and brokenhearted by three men who were fortune hunters and frauds.

The first pic is what I sent to Revell of a model whose name I do not know, and the next four model pics are the model Revell hired who actually appears on the cover of the book.

Visit Julie’s  Journal Jots to see the pictures   http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/

Next … we have Detective Nick Barone, or as Alli calls him, Mr. Ga-roan! Nick Barone is a six-foot-four Italian and 30 years old with green, almost hazel eyes and dark hair that tends to curl. I see him as a the unnamed model below or a younger George Clooney. He is a no-nonsense, hard-nosed plain-clothes detective with a hair-trigger temper and an axe to grind with the upper class. He’s smart, good-looking and a bit on the grouchy side, but ALWAYS has his shoes polished and animal crackers in his pocket (and on his breath).