Fab Four Book Picks

Book reviews by the Fab Four and our Fab Friends

Friday, March 31, 2006

IN THE ENEMY'S SIGHTS By Marta Perry



IN THE ENEMY'S SIGHTS By Marta Perry
Publisher: Steeple Hill
Line: Love Inpsired Suspense # 19
ISBN: 0-373-87359-X

This is book four in Steeple Hill's newest Faith at the Crossroads series.

From Marta Perry's Website:

Forced home on medical leave from active duty, Air Force captain Kenneth Vance is at loose ends until he's asked to help provide security for Montgomery Construction, which has been targeted by an enemy who wants to destroy the Vance and Montgomery families.

Doing so brings him into close contact with high school classmate Julianna Red Feather, now a canine search-and-rescue specialist.

He's intrigued with the woman she's become, but with a madman on the loose, he's soon in the battle of his life. And Julianna finds she must risk everything to save him and his family.


I enoyed this story on many levels. The action scenes were exciting, and Marta made me feel as if I were the one weaving around sawhorses and piles of lumber being pursued. (get the book and you'll know which scene I'm talking about. Wink. Wink.) I didn't have to excercise today because several parts in this book kept my heartrate up. Having grown up around Zuni Indians and turquoise, the description in this story brought back some fond memories for me. I recently finished editing one of my mss, which I feel has my weakest heroine in it. That said, I was in awe of Marta's ability to develop characters with strengths, AND flaws, but not to the point the characters seemed unlikable or weak. Character voices were distinct, and I really, really liked this heroine. She was courageous. I even loved the dog. Ken is heroic and a true protector. A perfect match for Juli. I could see the story happen like a moving pucture, yet there were no long stints of narrative that bogged the story down. I love how Marta writes lean, and to the point. BRAVO!!!

Check out Marta Perry's Website www.Martaperry.com to see other books she's written.

Go to www.SteepleHill.com to check out past and upcoming books by this author, and in the Faith on the Line series, and to order copies online.

Steeple Hill also has a book club where you can have them delivered to you. Info on the eHarlequin site.



Squirrel

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Son of Perdition

SON OF PERDITION
by Louise M. Gouge
Book Three of Ahab's Legacy

The Civil War has ended but Timothy Ahab's battle for survival has just begun. Timothy is a handsome sea captain determined not to sail the disastrous course that destroyed his infamouse father, Captain Ahab. Certain of his own goodness compared to the man he both hates and admires, Timothy feels his good works are salvation enough. But after he is tragically wounded during a Civil War sea battle, his all-consuming rage at God launches him on a bitter journey all too reminiscent of the father he vowed not to be like. Will Timothy learn the lessons his father ignored? Will childhood sweetheart Jemima show him the account of his father's ill-fated voyage in time? Can Timothy accept that both he and his father have misunderstood the merciful, loving nature of God? Don't miss this stunning conclusion to the Ahab's Legacy Series: Ahab's Bride; Hannah Rose; Son of Perdition

Great book! With the first page you are drawn into the world of Hannah and Timothy. (I will attempt not to drop any spoilers.) Beautifully written and lovingly crafted, the story is dramatic, wrenching emotion (and several chuckles) along the way. You can feel the angst that young Timothy experiences, along with the rest of the characters (sweet Jemima being one of my favorites) as they are so real. The theme of our need for God runs throughout as well as addressing our belief that we can somehow earn our salvation (through pride and arrogance).
Accurate historical detail is woven through the story unobtrusively, proving that she knows her era as well. I would recommend this to anyone who loves women' s fiction, historical, romances or historical romances. This is definately worth the time to read.
I also highly recommend the other two books in the series even though each can stand on it's own, the richness and beauty of the story is increased by each one you read.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Interview with Mike Yorkey and book giveaway!

How special am I? Mike Yorkey gave me an exclusive, Camy-style interview (okay, some questions aren't mine, but keep reading the interview) about his new book, BY THE SWORD co-authored with Rick Myatt.

In this modern thriller, underground Islamic extremists force religious conversions to create a region free of Christian and Jewish influence. Those who won't convert to Allah and follow Mohammed are dying in terrorist acts or mysteriously disappearing. Amber Robbins, a top U.S. reporter in the Middle East, feels no one is safe until she can expose the radical intolerants.

We're also giving away a copy of BY THE SWORD. If you want to enter to win it, leave a comment (at the end of this blog post, click on “comments”), giving your name and saying you want to enter.

If you post anonymously or if your email address isn’t on your blogger profile, please leave an email address or website where I can contact you (use this format with the brackets: you [at] yahoo.com). International readers are welcome to enter!

You have a week to comment--I'll pick a name out of a hat next week Monday, April 3rd. (BTW, you can post a comment and NOT enter, too.)

Interview with Mike Yorkey:
How did the idea for this book spark?


My church pastor, Rick Myatt, and I began talking about writing a novel in the spring of 2000, based upon our mutual love for thrilling fiction. I wanted the lead character to be an investigative reporter who chases after a major, global-changing story. I had done some investigative reporting for a small-town newspaper when I started my journalism career, and I'll never forget how my job was on the line when I investigated the tax judgments and liens filed against the most powerful politician in the county. Fortunately, the story stuck, and voters recalled him eight months later in a special election.

Rick and I were also interested in the Middle East and how that part of the world would play out in these modern times. We began fashioning a plot, but we wanted to include many plot twists because that's what we liked when we read a thriller. We came up with a terrorist event to open the book that we called "The Passover Massacre," which took place in Jerusalem and involved the middle-of-the-night killing of 74 innocent Israelis. We placed our investigative reporter, Amber Robbins, at the scene of the crime, and then we worked on fashioning a plausible plot that involved Iran pulling the strings. Remember, this was more than a year before September 11.

Who handled the research? Plot line? The actual writing?

I handled the research and the actual writing, although Rick wrote bits and pieces of dialogue because he had a good ear for pious "religious" talk. Rick was great in talking out loud on the plot line . . . if we have this person do that, then we can do this . . . we really haven't had any readers predict what happens in By the Sword, which is great since the last thing we wanted to do was write a predictable novel.

How do you think 9/11 affected the way publishers and readers view your story?

September 11 was huge-and didn't help us at all. As the Twin Towers lay smoking in ruins, we were 75 percent done with By the Sword. Rick and I looked at each other and shivered. While our novel was not prophetic in terms of Osama bin Laden, it certainly seemed very plausible in light of the new global situation. We stuck with our view that Iran would play an increasingly larger role in Mid East events, and we've watched with amazement to see that happen, especially after the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Getting back to 9/11, Rick and I hustled and finished our novel by December 2001. When our agent sent it out, the response was . . . underwhelming. In fact, no one wanted to touch a novel with a major terrorist act, and publishers were wary of how much interest Americans had regarding the turbulent Middle East.

We got rejected by every CBA publisher doing fiction. Some acquisition editors were forthright in their reasons behind the rejections, and we listened to them. One pointed out how the manuscript was not ready for prime time because of its writing quality. I took those criticisms to heart. I studied books on writing fiction. I rewrote scene after scene. I combined characters and simplified a few plot threads. I avoided any narration and stuck to action. I eliminated flashbacks. I tightened up the prose and reworked the dialogue. I reworked plot details based upon the Iraq war and new global realities. I paid two fiction editors to give the manuscript a hard edit. After more than two years of rewriting, I felt the novel was ready to be resubmitted in 2004, and I found a few publishers more welcoming. I was a happy fellow when Broadman & Holman greenlighted the novel-with our original title-in the fall of 2004.

Writers often find that their books mirror real life in ways they never anticipated. Have you seen this happen with By the Sword?

Very much so. Rick and I are blown away with the new president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and how he's moving the country toward nuclear weapons. He's also denied the Holocaust and wants to wipe Israel off the map. Lots of saber rattling. In By the Sword, we have Iran purchasing a nuke submarine from the Russians, intent on international havoc. Keep in mind that we originally wrote this more than five years ago. Scary.

How has writing fiction differed from non-fiction? Which do you find harder to write?

Fiction is definitely more difficult and more pleasing to write. Readers can tell when amateurs are writing fiction. I'm sure the manuscript we finished in 2001 was pretty amateurish. But we learned from our mistakes and have written a pleasing, professional book that is entirely plausible while still keeping readers turning pages. In other words, I had a ball writing a book that I would want to read.

What's next for both of you in terms of writing?

I’m currently writing a ton of books for Jordan Rubin, author of the best-selling health book, The Maker’s Diet. I collaborated with Jordan on his new book, The Great Physician’s Rx for Health and Wellness, which came out in January and is selling well. It’s been great working with Jordan; he’s passionate about trying to get folks to eat better and take better care of their bodies so that they’re more available for ministry and their families.

I’ve also been kicking around some ideas with Rick Myatt for a sequel to By the Sword, and Tricia Goyer and I have actually plotted out a World War II thriller involving the German’s desire to build the first atomic bomb. Tricia has three World War II-era novels out, so she’s carved out quite a niche for herself.

What's the one best piece of advice you'd like writers to know?

Have other people read your work and be bold enough to let your friends or acquaintances know that they can tell you what didn’t work, or where they lost interest, or what you could do to improve the manuscript. We probably had 20 people read By the Sword in various mutations, and we learned something from each round.

Is there anything about the writing journey that you wish you'd done differently?

Rick and I should have plotted By the Sword in greater detail before we started writing in earnest. That was inexperience. We had a great idea and ran with it, while everything worked out in the end, it took us a while to get there. By that I mean rewrites and rethinking where we were going. We combined some characters, simplified a plot thread or two, and rewrote scenes where we thought we were “telling” instead of “showing” through action.

Maybe it’s good that I didn’t know how hard it would be to find a publisher. I always felt if I could just get someone at a publishing house to read the manuscript . . . to compare it against what they published or what they received over the transom . . . then we would have a good shot at winning a publishing offer. But acquisitions editors are so swamped with manuscripts that it was very difficult and time-consuming to get someone to sit down and stay with the novel. Again, I know how important the first 50 pages are, and our novel starts out with a bang and keeps up the heat . . . but even getting people to read those first 50 pages was a chore.

Do you have a special Bible verse that inspires you?

Yes, it’s Proverbs 22:17-19 (New Living Translation): “Listen to this wise advice; follow it closely, for it will do you good, and you can pass it on to others: Trust in the Lord.”

That helps keep me going because in the writing game, where you wait and wait and wait for answers to come and decisions to be made.

What is the predominant theme in By the Sword? What do you want readers to take away from it besides a heart-pounding, exciting read?

Our underlying theme is that there may come a time when Islamic elements have the power to demand that you either convert to Islam or be killed. Actually, this is already happening in parts of the world, including Malaysia. We have no idea here in comfortable America that Christians are being martyred because they will not renounce their faith. I salute them and recognize them, and By the Sword helps tell their story. I’ve been told by readers our story of Davood and Mrna, a pastor-and-wife couple in Iran, brought them to tears. (Sorry, I can’t give away more!)

Thanks for the interview! Any parting words?

Yes, thanks for the attention and helping to get the word out. By the Sword has been six years in the making, and there were times when Rick and I looked at each other and said, “Well, shall we admit that no one wants to publish it and try something else?” We persevered because we believed in the message, and since the Lord knew the best timing, if that timing involved that the novel never be published, then I was fine with that. But now that By the Sword has reached bookstores, we’re thrilled to start hearing back from readers who tell us that we kept them turning pages to see what happened next.

Camy here: Thanks, Mike!

Anybody read this book yet? What did you think? Any suspense readers who are itching to pick this one up? (Enter the drawing!)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Heather's Sarcastic Saturday

T-Boned...

Raise your hands if you thought I was fixing to be talking about steaks. LOL Oh, a T-Bone would be good right about now, unfortunately I think it would be murder to chew it.

For future reference, getting T-Boned by a car… hurts. LOL Riding along minding my own business, and boom. Yeah, yeah before y’all freak, I’m fine. Sore, jaw stiff, chipped tooth. And before the freaks in my life ask, yes the paramedic was cute, no I didn’t flirt with him. Was kinda busy holding my jaw. LOL.

Let’s talk about crazy traffic and crazy drivers. Those two seconds you save by whipping around the car in front of you… does that really make a difference in your life? Especially considering at the stop light two blocks down that car that you made an idiot of yourself to whip around…pulls up next to you. I mean come on. That’s insane. I know, I know, when Krispy Kreme has that Hot sign on you wanna get there fast.

So give me your thoughts on crazy drivers and crazy traffic… and oh, are you one of those? LOL

Friday, March 24, 2006

FAIR WARNING by HANNAH ALEXANDER





Title: FAIR WARNING by HANNAH ALEXANDER
ISBN: 0-373-78559-3
Publisher: Steeple Hill-Romantic Suspense (Trade) 2006

FAIR WARNING folks...this Hideaway Novel is an intense tale with captivating characters who weaved their way into my heart....and my sleep. Couldn't go to sleep until I finished it. Sucked immediately in to this fast moving plot, I flew through the pages, engrossed until the very end. I felt Willow Traynor's struggle as if she were a close friend. I felt for her as she remembered her mother's mental disorder, and heartache for her brother's grief that caused him to pull away from God. Graham will knock your socks off, ladies. The killer hit me blindside, too. If I say more, I'll spoil this wonderful read for you. GET THE BOOK whereever books are sold.

Squirrel/Cheryl Wyatt

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Web of Lies

Web of Lies by Brandilyn Collins

An oval window into semi-darkness. The sudden image shimmers, undulates at its edges.A small room comes into focus.On the concrete floor, a barely visible figure hunches, head down.“Interesting thing about spiders.” A man’s voice scratches out a whisper. “Many can’t even bite humans. Their jaws are too weak. Then there are the deadly ones . . . ” A low chuckle. “Who but an expert can tell them apart?” The figure on the floor shudders and slides backward. “You want to be careful of moving.” The whisper again, chilling in its feigned empathy. “They’re all around you . . .” A nightmarish vision. A murder in broad daylight. How are they connected? After witnessing a shooting at a convenience store, forensic artist Annie Kingston must draw a composite of the suspect. But before she can begin, she hears that Chelsea Adams wants to meet with her—now. Chelsea Adams—the woman who made national headlines with her visions of murder. And this vision is by far the most chilling. Chelsea and Annie soon find themselves snared in a terrifying battle against time, greed, and a deadly opponent. If they tell the police, will their story be believed? With the web of lies thickening and their lives ultimately at stake, who will know enough to save them?


Awesome book! Once you crack the cover on this one the action doesn't stop. In this, the fourth book of the Hidden Faces series, Annie Kingston meets Chelsea Adams from Eyes of Elisha and Dread Champion. Three different types of POV's are woven into a story that is superb.

When the sisters, Jenna and Annie witness a crime....things start to move, incredibly fast. The plot is wonderfully complex, but seamlessly woven in throughout is the spritiual thread making this one exciting book, nail biting, seatbelt book.

You will need to make sure you have the nightlight and extra bulbs. And if you're like me, you'll want to sleep with the 9MM under your pillow...just in case.

Run and buy this book for heart pumping, can't put down thrills. Brandilyn's best one yet.

Monday, March 20, 2006

A FAMILY FOREVER by Brenda Coulter

A FAMILY FOREVER by Brenda Coulter

Book description:
Devastated by the accidental death of her fiancé just three weeks before their wedding, violinist Shelby Franklin has just learned she carries his child. She can't give up the baby, but the only way she can keep it is by accepting a shocking proposal of marriage from a man who doesn't seem to like her very much.

Bike shop owner and semi-pro cyclist Tucker Sharpe owes Shelby more than she will ever understand. Determined to protect her and his brother's child, he presses Shelby to marry him. He insists that if they make an honest effort, God will bless their marriage and teach them to care for each other. But can it really be that simple? Can two people will themselves to fall in love?

Excerpt from A FAMILY FOREVER

Pammer here:
I loved this book! I never doubted Brenda, ever since I read and reread and reread her first book Finding Hope. I knew this new one would be good. I waited for this one.

The way she described things so well I could see it on the screen in my mind. One description of Tucker working in his workshop made me laugh outloud because it was just like my husband. :0) I laughed and I cried. I yelled at the heroine and got mad at both of them. I still find myself thinking of them now and again and wondering how they are doing! LOL. I had the worst time getting anything else done until I finished the book.Run get this book. This one will go on my "Hands off Keeper Shelf".

Feel free to visit her blog or website, both delightful sites. Have a great night!

Camy here:
I liked Brenda’s debut novel FINDING HOPE (which won a billion awards or something like that, but you know, she’s modest about those) so I was eagerly anticipating this, her sophomore release. She also has a hecka funny blog (“No Rules. Just Write.” Isn’t that a terrific title?) where she expounds on whatever strikes her fancy.

Before I read the book, several people mentioned they didn’t care much for the heroine but absolutely adored the hero. They said it sounded more like the hero’s story than the heroine’s. So I admit I had some preconceived notions before I cracked the spine.

I disagree with all those people (I must be a rebel at heart). I loved the heroine Shelby. She’s very real and not sweet. She’s prickly and hormonal and irrational and emotional. Just like me! How can I not like someone just like me? Yeah, she did a few rather stupid things, and there are places she went where I don’t know that I’d go, but I was totally feeling her personality and her character.

I think in that sense, Shelby stands out as a unique inspirational romance heroine. She’s a character that not everyone will love. But I think that the readers who relate to her will really connect to her.

Tucker...yeah, he’s dreamy. He’s also a bit too perfect at times. Like when he gives an expensive bike helmet to the kid who stole a bike from his shop. Cute, but...I was waiting for Tucker to whoop the kid’s butt halfway across the state. His actions in the novel are definitely in-character, and he’s very consistent throughout the story, which is nice to see. I just would have liked to see more grit and grime in his personality.

I don’t think this was Tucker’s story. He wasn’t annoyingly perfect, but he was a little too with-it for this to be his story. It was definitely Shelby’s emotional and romantic journey.

There are some scenes and some lines that made me tear up. Really. It’s true, I cry pretty easily when I watch movies and read books, but Brenda has some fabulously poignant lines that are worth the cover price right there.

Aside from the crying, I did a lot of laughing while reading this, too. The snark and sarcasm from Brenda’s blog saturates this book, moreso than in FINDING HOPE. The humor kept the story snappy, refreshing, and fast-moving.

As for audience, I don’t think a younger crowd would necessarily get into some of the particular types of child-rearing and marriage issues in this story. In my opinion, it seems targeted more for the late 20’s and 30-something crowd. I’m sure a teen or college-aged student would enjoy it, but I think an older reader would more appreciate the conflicts, the emotional swings, the plot twists. A younger reader would definitely appreciate the snark.

Get this book before it goes out of print! Love Inspireds don’t have as long a shelf life as other books, so get this while you can. The is easily one of the best inspirational romances I’ve read in a long time.

Bookshelf alert! Can you find the spine of this book on the bookshelf picture in the background?

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Heather's Sarcastic Saturday

To structure or not to structure....

You know what’s sad? When you’re a sarcastic person and you can’t write sarcastic on demand. What’s up with that??? It’s not like I have to write this long post or anything. Nooo because if it’s to long than we won’t keep your interest… and we gotta keep your interest, that’s the whole reason for having this blog, right? So I need to be sarcastic on demand.

Here’s the deal, I can write about ANYTHING I want… no structure. YAY. I’m a SOTP writer, I HATE structure. Structure gives me a headache. I break out in hives and my brain ceases to function. So why pray tell when I can write about anything I want on here I freeze up?

Oh! Speaking of SOTP and structure… have you seen some of these people that write and they have to have everything sooooo structured before they start? Everything in order. They like to know crazy things like what the heroine carries around in her purse… I don’t know about you but knowing what my heroine lugs around in her purse does not help me write her story. Now maybe if I was a nut and I wrote suspense this would help because I would need to know what kind of weapon she carried…pistol, knife, mace, rope, etc etc

Then there are the freaks that love to use excel to plot out their whole stories. And scene indexes!!! Those are like some medieval torture device to me… and that’s with the book already written!! LOL

So tell me, structure or no?

Friday, March 17, 2006

ALONG CAME LOVE by Carrie Turansky



ALONG CAME LOVE by Carrie Turansky
Steeple Hill Love Inspired
ISBN 0-373-87363

www.steeplehill.com

www.carrieturansky.com


TAKEN FROM BACK COVER:

PAST SECRETS...
After years of hiding from her past, single mom Lauren Woodman had finally returned to her Vermont hometown with her young son in tow. Reconnecting with her family and friends was Lauren's goal, until a snowstorm brought a mysterious stranger to town--and into her life.

PRESENT LOVE...
Wes Evans was struggling to find the path to God's love and forgiveness, after his work as a missionary in the Middle East made him question his calling. But his search for redemption threatened to hurt the one person who could heal his heart and soul...


FROM CHERYL:
I read ALONG CAME LOVE in one sitting. The story flew by and I forgot I was supposed to be reading it for review. LOL! I really enjoyed this book! I love how Carrie portrayed the character of Toby. She had me laughing on more than one occasion. Another thing I really liked about this book, is the author's setting and sensory descriptions put me RIGHTTHERE with the characters. I couldn't find one spot where I felt pulled out from the story as a reader. I really liked Wes, he's a strong hero in many ways. (Read the book to find out. Grin) Lauren is spunky with a great sense of humor. Wonderful example of a mother, too. I loved her. Storyline intriguing...I always love a good snowstorm as a story catalyst. Faith element woven well. It inspired me to dig deep in my own life. I love when a fiction book does that. I WANT ONE OF TILLEY'S APPLE--WALNUT MUFFINS!!!!! I know a book is good when I'm dying to eat something one of the characters wanted....only I can't put the book down 'cause it's better than food. As my hips can attest....that HARDLY ever happens.

Overall GREAT read. GO GET THIS APRIL RELEASE BOOK whereever books are sold.

This would be a great story to pick up for your study group too. There are some thought-provoking questions in the end.

If you'd like to win an autographed copy from the author, post a comment for this blog post....and we'll draw names next Friday, one week from today. Deadline for entry will be Noon on Friday. Please leave a way we can contact you--either your blogger profile, website address or your email[at]email.com (with the brackets to prevent spammers).

Happy reading!

Squirl

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

In All Deep Places

IN ALL DEEP PLACES by Susan Meissner

back cover:
Luke could understand that God would purposely place humans on a planet with limitations...but that he would also instill in every person a tiny longing for heaven; a longing designed to blossom. He even began to feel that tiny longing stir within his own heart and soul. It all made sense except for one thing.

For bestselling mystery author Luke Foxbourne, an uncharacteristic bout of writer's block is the least of his worries when his father's stroke pulls him back to his hometown to run the family newspaper. Soon, Luke's disturbing childhood memories of the house next door--and Norah, the young girl who lived there--began to resurface.


Norah was a blonde wisp of a girl who grew up beneath a perpetual cloud of misfortune. Luke's childhood promise to protect her was an unrealistic one, as tragedy continued to strike in ways that caused him to question God's goodness.


When Luke decides to tell their story, a soul searching memoir ensues. But how will it end? Norah moved away years ago, taking with her any hope of closure for Luke. Determined to know the truth, Lukes seeks her out to find the answers to this real life mystery solved in all deep places.


I loved this book! I couldn't put it down.

Having said that, I would also like to say, that this is not my normal style of books. But this one was so well crafted, so well plotted, the characters so interesting that I found it impossible to not read "just a little more". I laughed and I cried all my mascara off.

Susan is a great story teller. The story ceases to be words and you are suddenly there with the characters, smelling what they smell, hearing what they hear. . .I now look forward to reading her other books.

If you like Women's fiction or just a good story? I recommend In All Deep Places.

Monday, March 13, 2006

WOUNDED HEALER by Donna Fleisher

This is Donna Fleisher, who is just WAY COOL. I met her the first year I went to Mt. Hermon. I sat at Karen Ball's table next to this woman who immediately turned to me and said, "Hi!" Well, who can ignore a conversational opportunity like that?

After I talked her ear off, she mentioned the rather minor fact that she had arrived at the conference and been toppled over by Karen Ball, who offered her a contract--right there at the conference!--based on Donna's manuscript submission (the editorial review or critique service offered to all Mt. Hermon attendees). Talk about making her conference special!

This is the manuscript that floored Karen Ball from page one--and let me tell you, it floored me, too!

WOUNDED HEALER by Donna Fleisher (Homeland Heroes, book 1)

From the back cover:
Flooded with panic, two words burst through Erin's mind: GET HELP. She ran for the door, but someone grabbed her, twisted her arm behind her. Erin's shriek was smothered by a cold, clammy hand. "Shhh--" Breath tickled her ear--" Just take it easy . . ."

Surrounded by the oppressive sand, heat, and tension of Operation Desert Storm, soldiers Erin Grayson and Christina McIntyre shared a special bond. But when an ugly secret from Chris's past shattered without even a good-bye.

Four years have gone by since that day in the desert, but Chris has spent her entire life running from the past, hiding her deepest secrets from those who care for her most. And now tragedy has ripped apart her life. She sees no hope in tomorrow.

Overcoming her own anger and doubt, Erin rushes to Chris's Colorado cabin. When Chris's fear of God and Erin's faith in him collide, they are involved in a different kind of war that only one of them can win. As Chris wrestles with grief, fear, and ghosts from the past, Erin fights to pull her from the brink of self-destruction. She will not lose Chris again.

Chris's life is at stake…as well as her soul.

Camy here:
This amazing novel starts off with a suspenseful bang, but it's a deeply emotional book on friendship and trust. It's a more unusual women's fiction novel, involving more action than I've seen in other books, but I enjoy that aspect of this.

The writing grabbed me by the throat. Powerful, vibrant, gritty.

Characterization is deep like still waters. Everyone is unique, whether it's the protagonist or someone with only ten pages of screen time. Chris is vividly three-dimensional, strong and memorable. Erin is consistent and markedly different from her friend. I would have liked to see more grit in her, also, but it almost doesn't fit with her softer personality.

The faith element is a major story thread, and it's done with a skilled hand, one of the best I've seen in Christian fiction. Chris's struggles are honest and real.

My biggest objection was the overprotective, hostile nature of Erin's husband. I felt angry and disgusted at how he jumps to conclusions about Chris, which would naturally feed her rebellious nature. But I guess that also means the writer did her job, since I care about Chris and feel strongly about Scott. I also see how the author is setting the scene for the next book in the series, WARRIOR'S HEART, where Chris and Scott are the main protagonists.

It also bothered me how everyone around Erin sympathizes with her and feels sorry about how Chris hurts her. No one even thinks about the underlying issues Chris is dealing with--they all rally around Erin, treat her like the victim, bemoan her loyalty to someone who lashes out at her. Erin cries a LOT. However, my bias could also be because I relate more to Chris--wounded and angry--than Erin, who's had less trials in her life.

The author's experiences in Desert Storm lend authenticity to the flashback settings. I felt as if I were there, in the helicopter, in the barracks.

This is a great story with memorable characters.

WOUNDED HEALER excerpt

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Heather's Sarcastic Saturday

What is it about blogs?? They’re this insane addiction for some people. I know people who will stare at their own blog in complete adoration. (shhh, Camy Tang, you can find her links to the right, LOVES her blog.) Other’s write in them excessively. Then there are those like me, who have this obsessive need to read blogs. We have our favorites that we read every day… waiting with bated breath for there to be a new post by our favorite blog authors. I also have a B list of blogs that I check once a week.

Man the topic ranges for blogs!

Personal blogs… which I’m sorry those blogs that tell you and I quote, “today I washed the dishes… they was crusted over plates from the cheese omelet I made this morning for my hubby Joe Bob. He shore do like him some eggs. After I did the dishes, I watched my shows. GIRL! You won’t believe what Harley did to Beth today! It was insane! Then when Joe Bob got home, I helped him clean out the lint trap that was the highlight of my day, I tell you! That man sure can remove lint! Then we put Emmy down and she threw a tantrum… okay you get the picture. Why do we need every boring detail of your life? And what’s more, are we pathetic for reading this stuff? Yeah, okay I see it if you know the person, but if you don’t? Why people??? Don’t get me wrong, there are some personal blogs that are interesting, like mine of course, that one is pure brilliance, I tell ya! (My blog link is also to your right. LOL)

Business blogs… okay really, we want to read a blog about the special widget that knows how to spin, why?

Author’s blogs, oooh now there, there is something I can dig. If it’s about writing, I’m there. Er, well sometimes, LOL. These I’m split on, some are so great. Others, well…

Then there are the blogs that I can’t talk about… hello CBA guidelines! LOL we won’t even discuss those.

So give me some feedback, what’s your take on blogs? Why you read them, why you have one…

Friday, March 10, 2006

WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE BY MARGARET DALEY

WHEN DREAMS COME TRUE by Margaret Daley www.margaretdaley.com
ISBN 0-373-87355-7

When her DEA agent huband's plane went down, Zoey Witherspoon thought her life was over. But with two kids to care for, and another on the way, she moved back home to Sweetwater to be closer to her friends and family.

Two years later, her world was turned upside down: her husband was alive! Amnesia-striken Dane wasn't exactly the same person he'd been,--but neither is Zoey. She refused to return to the fractured marriage they'd shared--workaholic Dane had never been around--yet moving forward was a scary prospect. Would a second chance at happiness make all her dreams come true?

What I love about this book:

This is one of the books in Margaret's "The Ladies of Sweetwater Lake" series, published by Steeple Hill in their Love Inspired line.

Margaret weaves an intriguing story that starts tugging at your emotions from page one and doesn't stop until the last where she gives a wonderfully satisfying ending. I thought this book was unique in how she used married characters instead of unmarried characters who get together during the course of the story.

If you love children you will love this book.

If you love romance, you'll love this book.

If you want to see a beautiful portrayal of the sanctity of marriage held by two people longing to make their marriage work you'll love this book.

It's an entertaining book with depth, and touches on the issue of alcoholism.

I HIGHLY recommend it.

You can purchase it from Amazon.com, Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, possibly Sam's club, or visit your local Christian bookstore or Barnes and Noble or anywhere you shop for books. If they don't have it, ask the clerk to order it for you. You'll need the ISBN 0-373-87355-7.

Another way to get the book is visit Margaret's site (link above) or go to www.steeplehill.com, and navigate around the eHarlequin site until you find the buy link. If you don't want to miss the Steeple Hill collections, you can have them conveniently delivered to your home each month for the price of a pizza. It's well worth it.

If you've read the book, jump on over to www.steeplehill.com

Hit Talk at the bottom. Then click Steeple Hill to the right. Then join the discussion with the author of this book. You'll see her name and the title in the thread header.

Thanks for visiting FFBP!!! Tell your friends about us!


Squirrel/Cheryl

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

A Family Forever


A FAMILY FOREVER by Brenda Coulter
From Steeple Hill Love Inspired
Look for it in stores after February 28
or order it right now from Amazon.com
Read most of the first chapter at www.BrendaCoulter.com
Visit Brenda's blog, No rules. Just write.

From the back of the book:
A Damsel in Distress
When her fiance was killed just three weeks before their wedding, violinist Shelby Franklin's "happily ever after" dreams were shattered. The discovery of her unplanned pregnancy guaranteed those dreams would never be rebuilt.
A Knight in a Bike Helmet
Tall, husky, cyclist Tucker Sharpe promised his dying brother he'd look after Shelby. When he learned there was a baby on the way, a marriage of convenience seemed his only option. But would love for the unborn child be enough to bring them--and keep them--together?

I loved this book! I never doubted Brenda, ever since I read and reread and reread her first book Finding Hope. I knew this new one would be good. I waited for this one.

The way she described things so well I could see it on the screen in my mind. One description of Tucker working in his workshop made me laugh outloud because it was just like my husband. :0) I laughed and I cried. I yelled at the heroine and got mad at both of them. I still find myself thinking of them now and again and wondering how they are doing! LOL. I had the worst time getting anything else done until I finished the book.Run get this book. This one will go on my "Hands off Keeper Shelf".

Feel free to visit her blog or website, both delightful sites. The links are above.Have a great night!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

MADE OF HONOR by Marilynn Griffith


This is Mary Griffith! And this is a review of her debut novel, MADE OF HONOR, a chick-lit (my fav genre!)

From the back cover:
Once, twice, ten times a bridesmaid!

I, Dana Rose, do solemnly swear to say "I won't" the next time someone asks me to be in their wedding party. My weak will has gained me a closet full of unflattering bridesmaids' dresses in various sizes to accommodate my ever-fluctuating waistline.

As if that isn't enough, the past is paying me a most unwelcome visit (my prodigal brother, my back-stabbing sis). Then there's Mr. Practically Perfect, the ex who not only married someone else, but opened the business of our dreams -- right across from my new shop! It's no wonder I've got problems! I'm thankful I've got my friends, the Sassy Sisterhood, to rely on . . .

The Sassy Sisterhood: They get by with a little help from their friends.

Camy here:
This is the first of my "terrific books" read in 2006. It's so rich, I'm having a hard time summing it up into words that make sense.

This novel is drenched in forgiveness and redemption, but without the preaching and without making me feel like an inadequate Christian for hanging onto all my own baggage. Everyone in this novel has struggles and yet also somehow finds peace with their Maker. Nothing phony or cheesy. My favorite part of this book is that everyone is so incredibly REAL.

Dana is me, hang-ups and all. It's kind of weird, seeing myself in print, but it's like Mary is telling me, "I know you, cuz you're my sistah." Although I don't have Dana's ability to concoct those yummy bath and body products--Gimme some of that Vanilla Smella!

There were points in the story where I wanted to give Dana a hug, and other times I wanted to smack her silly (what's up with her giving away all her bath and body products to her uber-selfish cousins? No such thing as a free lunch, toots.) but Dana's self-depreciating and yet fired-up personality drove the book like she was on a Harley Davidson and I was hanging onto the back and screaming for my life cuz I couldn't drink in enough of the fun.

I think that's why I like this book so much. The characters are really rich. The story opens with already a ton of past hurts and conflicts and broken relationships. I kept reading and being surprised: "She dated HIM? And he married HER? Whoa, momma!" I love it when a book does that.

I don't know how she does it, but Mary has me laughing and snorting on one page and crying on the next, which is totally unfair because I'm not a sobby person. The book is a fragrant (haha) mix of chick-lit and women's fiction, and would appeal to both types of readers.

Even though I'm not from the 'hood, the characters sucked me in like they were my neighbors, my church, my family. Although I'd really like to attend one of those "singing" church services like in the book--that sounded so cool.

Bottom line--this is such a great book. Go out and buy this. Tell your church ladies to read it. Give it to your coworkers. We're all sistahs.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Heather's Sarcastic Saturday

Welcome to the Fab Four Book Pick blog. Fab Four is made up of four great writers…
First we have Camy Tang… Loud bossy Asian chick.
Next up we have Pamela James… Pammer to those that love her.
Thirdly we have Cheryl Wyatt… nuttily enough everyone calls her Squirrel.
Last but certainly not least is Moi! Er, Heather Diane Tipton, at your service…. Hmmm Maybe that should read Heather Sarcastic Tipton.

The point of this blog is for us (Fab Four) to let you know what books out there we like… and maybe dislike. On occasion we’ll force… er ask some of our other fab friends to do a review for us.

What makes us different than other book review blogs? Well we’re all nuts of course. Oh I forgot to mention… I break out in hives if I have to write a review. So for your reading pleasure I’ll be writing a ‘Heather’s Sarcastic Saturday’ every well, duh. Saturday.

We all would like to encourage you to offer feedback on anything and everything we post… from the reviews to whatever I might come up with on Saturdays. We would like to make this a place for discussion. We, however, have been known to be delete-happy--if you cross a line you will be deleted. LOL Which trust me, with three of us writing suspense or a form thereof… there are worse things we could come up with to do to you.

Oh, come on people, we're writers, lighten up... the only thing we can do to you is all in our heads.