Monday, June 27, 2011

Working It out

Working It Out
By Abby Rike
About the book:
In 2006, Abby Rike lost the life she knew and loved when her husband and two young children were killed in a car accident. Devastated and numb, she shut down. For nearly three years she walked through life like a spectre, present in body only. As she descended, so did her health.

Fortunately, Abby was not alone. She had loving parents, supportive friends, and a faith that continued to sustain her. Little by little she found the courage to return to life. Joining The Biggest Loser proved a catalyst for the physical and emotional changes she needed to make. In fact, against all odds Abby gained strength, courage, wisdom, and continued her steadfast relationship with God. Instead of anger, she found herself slowly but steadily healing. She lost a hundred pounds but gained hope.

In this riveting book, Abby tells her story--from her joyous life before the accident to the unbearable pain that followed it and her eventual emergence as a woman reinvigorated by her faith in God. Today Abby's resilience and positivity are a testament to the power and importance of faith in the darkest hours

My Thoughts:

Few people allow others to see into their heart; Abby Rike opens hers to the world. This book is a true journey of love, loss and hope reaching deep into the heart of Abby Rike. Abby gives the world the opportunity to know her, her husband Rick, beautiful Macey, and dear baby Caleb.

For most it is hard to comprehend how anyone who has found meaningful love in one’s life to continue to find strength and praise in God once that love has been taken. Yet Abby uses her beliefs and trust in the Lord to share with others how to overcome such loss and make a difference in not only her life but in the life of anyone willing to take the time to learn from her life story. Life gives and takes away. The key to making it through is understanding where to turn for strength and who to guide you through.

Abby went through great suffering, pain, and loneliness with the loss of her family but the choice she made at the crash site is what has helped her be successful. Abby’s journey isn’t done because God isn’t finished with her yet.

Favorite Quote:

“Sometimes we can’t change the world in the snap of a finger, but just by changing one little thing in someone’s heart changes the world for that person. And when we change the world for one person, the domino effect begins.”

* I received this book free for review from Faithwords Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group*
Rating : 5 carats
Visit Abby Rike's website Buy the book

Monday, June 20, 2011

Double Take

Double Take: A Novel [Book]

Double Take
By Melody Carlson
About the book:
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could switch your life with someone else for just one day? Readers will live the one-week experiences of a bored Amish girl and stressed out socialite when they decide to switch places in Double Take.

Spring break has arrived. It’s her senior year, and Madison VanBuren is fed up with her surroundings and the pressures of life. Stressed out over choosing an Ivy League school that will please her parents, their marital problems, and her boyfriend's pressure, Madison gets in her car and drives west.

Meanwhile, eighteen-year-old Anna Fisher wants to escape the so-called simple life--which for her consists of caring for younger siblings, sewing, cooking, and gardening--and she's well aware that her future will simply be more of the same with a man she doesn't love.

Madison and Anna stumble into each other in a small town. Realizing their looks are uncannily similar, they both think their lives are boring. Thinking the grass is greener on the other side, they make a decision that will transform them forever and switch lives for one week.

Readers will love this funny and provocative tale of switching places from bestselling author Melody Carlson. As they get a glimpse and understanding of these two very different worlds. They may find themselves happy to be just who they are, and where they are

My Thoughts:
  I was really excited to read this book; there is a lot of Amish fiction out there and a lot of contemporary fiction but none combining both settings.

Madison Van Buren is a wealthy teenager is New York City is on Spring Break and frustrated with her life. She longs for peace but doesn’t know how to find it.

Anna Fischer is a sweet Amish girl deciding whether she wants to fully commit herself to Amish ways.

In a chance meeting the girls realize they look enough a like to switch places and explore the other side of life. Seeing as they both want out of they have it’s a win-win, or is it?

Melody Carlson does a great job of showing the surprises of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes and what it can teach you. Some of my favorite scenes where when the girls were learned something about the other culture and how it made them view their own lives.

Favorite Quote:

“But Madison felt certain that God appreciated simplicity. Because that was where she found him and that was where she was determined to remain”

*Available June 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.*
Rating: 4 carats
visit Melody Carlson's wesbite
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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hollywood Ending

Hollywood Ending
By Lucie Simone

About the book:
Trina Stewart needs cash. Fast. She’s barely got enough dough to keep her fanny off the streets, let alone any spending money on Sunset Strip. And her job teaching English as a Second Language is seriously lacking in both pay and glamour. But not just any job will do. She’s after a real Hollywood job. The kind that makes her $100,000 in film school debt and ten years in Tinsel Town not seem like such a big fat waste of time and money. But a girl can’t fritter away all her time fretting over her next paycheck, can she? Certainly not when a man like Matiu Wulf, a s Maori from New Zealand, parks his oh-so-fine self in the apartment above hers while he takes his best shot at Showbiz.

If only Matiu didn’t seem so… repelled by Trina. Really, though, it’s Los Angeles that Matiu finds so revolting. He’s only in L.A. to get some scene design experience to beef up his resume, and then he’s headed back to New Zealand to follow his dreams in peace, thank you very much. That’s his plan, anyway, until he falls hard for Trina…and Trina falls under the spell of a toothy-grinned wannabe actor who charms the pants right off her.

With Matiu on a mission to win Trina’s heart, and Trina on a mission to nail down that ever elusive Hollywood job, these two soon discover that when love gets tossed in the mix, life in Tinsel Town isn’t all red carpets, after parties, and celebrity gossip.

My Thoughts:

This book is a quick, glitzy read about trying to make it in the film industry all while staying true to oneself.

The main character, Trina, has a lot of spunk and is bubbling over with wit. Her quest to pay off her film school debts and decide whether or not she wants to date her neighbor, Maitu, definitely kept for a curious plot. While the main characters offered a lot to the story many of the supporting characters acted in ways which seemed forced throughout the book.

Favorite Quote:

"Even Juliet's tropic-inspired surroundings couldn't soothe the prickles beginning to form under her skin."

Rating: 3 carats
Visit Lucie's website Buy the book

An Interview with Lucie Simone
1. What inspired the idea for your book?
Hollywood Ending was inspired by my own experiences trying to get ahead in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. While finishing my masters at a top film school, I taught English as a Second Language, and once I graduated, I found it very difficult to actually get a job in my field. I also wanted to write a story that depicted the Hollywood that I know and love. It’s more than just celebrities! And it’s got a lot of charm, if you know where to look. Many of the characters in Hollywood Ending are also based on people in my own life, whether that be a waiter, an ex-boyfriend, or my best friend.

2. If your book were a movie, who would you want to play the main characters?
Good question! I think for Trina, I’d love to see Ginnifer Goodwin in the role. She wouldn’t even have to wear a wig since Trina sports a pixie just like Ginnifer’s. She’s super cute and sassy like Trina, but also capable of portraying real emotional depth. As for Matiu, gee, I don’t know! The producers might have to head to New Zealand for him since he’s Maori, and whomever were to portray him would have to embody all that exotic manly charm with a Kiwi accent.

3. Which character interested you most while writing?
All the major characters were really fun to write, but the one that most intrigues me now is Trina’s best friend, Juliet. She’s facing a major life change and has some issues regarding love and men that she has to work through. Luckily, I’ll get to explore her character more in depth soon because she’s getting her own book!

4. You’re in line at Starbucks, what are you ordering?
A tall, non-fat, 4-pump Chai Latte. (I like it spicy!). If I’m hungry, I might also get a piece of Very Berry Coffee Cake. Yum!

5. What are you currently working on? What is next for you?

Right now, I’m in the middle of writing my second novel, Picture Perfect, about a TV producer whose soon-to-be-ex-husband and former assistant launch a smear campaign against her, which leads to a grisly murder and targets her as the main suspect. It’s Hollywood at its most scandalous best! I also just released my short story, A Taste of Italy, for the Nook and Kindle. At 99 cents, it’s a steal!

Monday, June 6, 2011


By Robin Jones Gunn

About the book:
This book includes a short story about Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen. In the note below, Robin explains the re-release of this frequently requested novella.

“Rediscovered” is such a great word. It makes me think of that happy moment that comes when you open a suitcase and out tumbles a tiny shell you picked up on the beach on your last vacation.

My husband and I recently moved. In the middle of the packing of my old nest I found the original floppy disc where I stored this book when I first wrote it in 1995. It was a lovely rediscovery moment. My agent and I agreed that this book went out of print too soon. The team at Waterbrook/ Multnomah Publishers jumped onboard and agreed to make “Departures” available once again.

I think you’ll enjoy having an opportunity to pop in to see what happened with Christy and Sierra during a summer season that was full of changes for both of them. As I went through the restored manuscript while sitting in my new nest after our move, I felt as if I were visiting with old friends. The stories still bring a smile. I hope you’ll have the same experience as you read “Departures”.

My Thoughts:

In the prologue Robin Jones Gunn writes, "Rediscovered is beautiful word" as she talks about the moment she came across two stories she wrote years ago but had somehow packed away. After reading "Departures" I have to say discovered is also a beautiful word!

"Departures" is two novellas, one about Christy Miller and the other Sierra Jensen, the two characters who catapulted Robin Jones Gunn into the heart of teenage girls over 20 years ago. Now a whole new generation is discovering Christy and Sierra.

Both the stories were a lot of fun. The novellas center around the girls (Christy and Sierra) learning what to put behind them in order to grow as a person.

Robin Jones Gunn has a wonderful way of writing a fun story and wrapping in nuggets of great advice as you turn the pages just like opening a present.

After reading these two stories, I want to go back and reread the entire Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen series because their personalities and stories put a smile on my face.

Favorite Quote:

"Sierra made another mental note that while going down the river of her life, at times she would have to be still while everyone else was busy with what they were instructed to do. That didn't mean that she was being left out, but that rather, for that place and time, she was supposed to sit."

*I received this book free for review from Waterbook-Multnomah Publsihers*
Rating: 5 carats

Visit Robin Gunn's website Buy the book

Friday, June 3, 2011

An Interview With Karen Kingsbury

                                                   Karen Portrait by Dan Davis Photography

About Karen:
USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America's #1 inspirational novelist. There are nearly 20 million copies of her award-winning books in print, including several million copies sold in the past year. Karen has written more than 50 novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists.

Karen's newest novel, Unlocked, released Oct. 12 and has stayed in Amazon's top fifty for the past few weeks. Unlocked debuted at No. 3 on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Another recent and popular title of Karen's is Shades of Blue - the story of a 28-year-old ad executive who is six weeks away from marrying the girl he loves. But as he prepares for his wedding, something brings up his past girlfriend - a girl he dated in high school. He realizes he can't go forward and say, "I do," until he goes back to Holden Beach, finds the girl he loved back then, and tell her he's sorry.

Karen's novel Like Dandelion Dust is the subject of a major motion picture currently in theaters. Like Dandelion Dust stars Academy Award winning Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper, along with Cole Hauser and Maxwell Perry Cotton. The film has received more than 30 awards in the Film Festival Circuit including numerous Best Picture awards. Several of Karen's books are currently under theatrical development.

1.Where do you get your story ideas?

 I get my ideas from life happening around me, mostly. The news, the radio, a conversation, a trend, a contemporary struggle of some sort. Obviously the war is very contemporary, and the issues are those facing all Americans . . . that sort of thing. But most of all, my ideas come from the Lord. He puts the picture in my head, the whole story. It’s very visual. I’m just responsible for getting it onto paper.

2.What are the steps you take when you write a new book?

 First I take an idea that God has placed on my heart, and I find a title. Next I flesh out the characters. I name them, give them biographies, strengths, weaknesses, etc. I figure out how the story will change them, make them stronger, and how God will be glorified in the process. Finally I write a very detailed chapter outline. From there, I write the book.

3. Which of the books that you have written is your favorite and why?

 Each of my books is special to me so that’s a tough question to answer. Each story was placed on my heart by God, and comes with a theme or storyline that God has used to change the lives of various readers.

4. You've said, "Christian fiction is more powerful than other fiction." Could you expound on this?

   Christian or inspirational fiction is more powerful because the characters can be fully developed. In mainstream fiction, readers can only learn about a characters physical, intellectual, and emotional traits. But with inspirational fiction, readers can learn about the character’s spiritual traits, as well. In this way, readers are identifying with these books like none others. I’ve trademarked my fiction – Life-Changing Fiction™ because I hear from hundreds of readers every week who say God is using these novels to change their lives. That’s more powerful than books written for sheer entertainment value.

5. You were a reporter for the LA Times & LA Daily News long before you were a novelist. What first drew you to journalism?

  I knew from fifth grade on that I wanted to be an author, but I also understood that not everyone can become a novelist. Journalism was my back-up plan. It was something I loved to do, and it was a job I could take to any place in the world. The camaraderie of the newsroom is something I still miss, but no question my work as a reporter opened doors for me to become an author

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