Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Everytime or Every time?

Everytime should never be used. Instead, it should be written as two separate words: every time. Even though words such as everywhere, everyone, and everyday are common and correct, everytime is not considered acceptable.

Monday, October 29, 2018

"Holy Roar" by Chris Tomlin (CD review)

Chris released this full studio album on October 26, 2018, along with a companion book, Holy Roar: 7 Words That Will Change the Way You Worship, which released on October 23, 2018. According to Chris, "Holy Roar is the freedom, the experience, the wonder of worship. It is seeing the church come together, hands lifted to God, pouring out our praise with an eternal song in our hearts. It's every voice together, changing the way we worship."

You have a chance to win a copy of this wonderful CD, courtesy of Propeller/FlyBy Promotions (U.S. ONLY).  You can enter by going to the Rafflecopter box at the end of this post. Giveaway ends November 1, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you for your information.
My review...

Chris Tomlin is, by far, one of my favorite worship leaders. Over the years, I've sung many of his songs at church, and they never fail to move me. I saw him in concert a few years ago, and it was one of the most inspirational concerts I've ever attended. His lyrics are so powerful, and that continue to be the case with his latest release, Holy Roar. Music is one of the ways I feel closest to God, and this album is a perfect addition to my worship time. 

While I love all the songs on this new CD, my favorites include: ""Satisfied," "Resurrection Power," and  "Praise Him Forever." Here is a sampling of the songs/lyrics:

"I count my blessings one by one
Your goodness in my life
How could I ask for more
In You I'm satisfied"
- "Satisfied"

"Now I have resurrection power
Living on the inside
Jesus, You have given us freedom
No longer bound by sin and darkness
Living in the light of Your goodness
You have given us freedom"
- "Resurrection Power"

"Let everything that breathes
Let all the earth proclaim
Great is the Lord our God
Praise Him forever
Let all that is within me
Magnify His name
Great is the Lord our God
Praise Him forever"
-"Praise Him Forever"

Buy Link: https://christomlin.lnk.to/HolyRoarQW

About Chris...

Chris Tomlin is one of the most heralded singer-songwriters in the world who has amassed an impressive body of work. He has sold more than 8 million albums, 11.3 million digital tracks with 16 #1 singles. Chris is one of only four artists ever to receive the Sound Exchange Digital Radio Award for over 1 Billion digital radio streams, others include Justin Timberlake, Pitbull and Garth Brooks. The Grammy® winner’s list of music awards include an American Music Award, 3 Billboard Music Awards, 21 Dove Awards, a BMI Songwriter of the Year Award and more. Chris’ concert tours have sold-out venues in major cities including New York City’s Madison Square Garden, The Forum in Los Angeles, Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and Red Rocks in Denver, among others. This spring, Chris marked another career milestone by launching his own imprint record label, Bowyer & Bow, in partnership with Capitol Christian Music Group.

TO CONNECT WITH THE ARTIST:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube 

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising"):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. (Note: Winner will be chosen at random through Rafflecopter.) Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor from Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

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Saturday, October 27, 2018

"The Secret of Willow Inn" by Pat Nichols Blitz Tour (JustRead Tours)

The Secret of Willow Inn blog blitz new

Welcome to the Blog Blitz & Giveaway for The Secret of Willow Inn by Pat Nichols, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours.


TheSecretofWillowInnCover Title:The Secret of Willow Inn (Willow Falls #1)
Author: Pat Nichols 
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas 
Release Date: January 10, 2019 
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Fiction

Two women fighting for their dreams, one who’s long lost hers, are united by tragedy and a long-held secret.

Pregnant with her first child, Emily Hayes is eager to help her mother finish transforming an estate into the Willow Inn and write a novel about Willow Falls’ colorful history. A tragic event threatens her parents’ plans to refurbish an abandoned hotel and transform the obscure Georgia setting into a tourist destination.

Sadie Lyles left Willow Falls a murderer who’d killed the town hero. She returns as a despised felon and seeks solace in the town’s café. Emily struggles to unite the close-knit community and becomes Sadie’s biggest advocate. She strives to uncover the truth about the crime and save her town from dying.

 To appease her father, Rachel, a VP in his Atlanta real-estate-development firm, relegates her acting dream to secret performances for imaginary audiences. After meeting charming, flirtatious Charlie Bricker, manager for Willow Falls’ future vineyard, she vows to break free from her father’s control.

The tragedy and Willow Inn’s secret past launch Emily and Rachel on a collision course with destiny and truth.  

PREORDER LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon


As far back as Emily Hayes could remember, her heart yearned for a sister. She directed her earliest requests to Santa Claus, which made Christmas mornings a confusing blend of excitement and disenchantment. Later she bargained with God. He disappointed her too. When she learned where babies came from, she petitioned her mom with promises to keep her room clean and be the best sister in the whole-wide world. Nothing worked. At some point the pleas stopped, but the lingering desire left a hole in her heart.

Thursday morning, she stepped outside the white-columned-home converted to a hospital and traced her ultrasound image with her finger. It wasn’t at all what she’d expected. She pressed her hand to her chest to ease the fluttering sensation, slipped the photo in her jeans pocket, and texted her husband. Have results. Meet me in the park in five.

A cool breeze nipped her cheeks and rustled the new crop of leaves on the mature willow-oaks lining Main Street. She dropped her phone in her purse, pulled her sweater tight, and crossed the two-lane road to the sidewalk fronting a grand estate. White columns extending from a railing supported the roof over the wide, front porch. The home was weeks away from final transformation to the Willow Inn, thanks to her parents' first effort to save their town from a slow, painful death. 



Pat Nichols is proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

During the spring, summer, and early autumn of her life this side of heaven, she and her high-school-sweetheart husband struggled and triumphed through life’s peaks and valleys. They raised two children, welcomed four grandchildren—one is with the angels—bought a Corvette, and ticked off every item on their travel bucket list. Now approaching her winter years, she ignores the minor aches that come with age and is grateful she can still paint her own toenails and dance with her hubby.

Following twenty-five years in six different management positions with an international beauty company, Pat launched career number two as a novelist and freelance editor. She chose women’s fiction to honor her daughter’s strength in the face of significant health issues and the loss of a child. Her corporate experience, working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life, inspires her to create stories about women who confront challenges in the pursuit of their dreams.

Although she writes five days a week, she and Tim—her best friend and number one fan—continue to celebrate their fifty-plus-year marriage. They lead a small group, volunteer for church guest services, participate in two social organizations, and spend time with family and friends. She thanks God for the blessings that brought her joy and the challenges that continue to strengthen her faith, skills, and resolve.

Pat was born in Illinois, grew up in Orlando, and has called Georgia home since the eighties. She lives in an Atlanta suburb, is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Word Weavers, Christian Pen, and Gwinnett Church (a campus of Northpoint Ministries).  

CONNECT WITH PAT NICHOLS: website | Facebook | Twitter

The Secret of willow Inn giveaway


(1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card from the author.  

Enter via the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Giveaway will begin at midnight October 27, 2018 and lasts through 11:59pm November 3, 2018. Open Internationally. Void where prohibited by law. Winners will be notified within a week of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead for a full list of stops!

Friday, October 26, 2018

"Secret Past" by Sharee Stover ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Sharee is here to share a bit about her latest release, Secret Past.  She publisher has offered to give away a hard copy of the book (U.S. ONLY) or an electronic copy (outside the U.S.).  You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends November 2 , 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.)  Here's Melanie...

Leslie, thank you for having me here today. I am so excited to share the development of Secret Past, my debut novel with Love Inspired Suspense. The story is currently a stand alone, but I’ll admit, I love Katie and Daniel, so they might just pop up somewhere else someday! Stay tuned!

The book focuses on Katie Tribani’s façade of a life. As the story opens, Katie is dealing with the loss of her mother. She doesn’t get time to grieve before she’s thrust into the protection of US Marshal Daniel Knight. He warns her that the father and brother she’s never known have discovered her location and they’re coming for her.

Every reality in Katie’s life tumbles down as Daniel whisks her away to safety. Katie has no one left to verify Daniel’s story, and this stranger is her only hope of uncovering the truth before her family kills her.

Katie’s in for a series of surprises and must decipher who is telling the truth.

The US Marshal’s Witness Protection Program is quite fascinating and has an interesting history. I wanted to write a story that showed how instrumental the US Marshals are in the protection of those witnesses. Although I’d read several books with characters in that predicament, I needed more facts. That sent me on a research journey which can be dangerous, because for me, I start out Googling one topic, and before you know it, I’m all over the place. Occasionally, I end up on Pinterest and DIY projects which have absolutely nothing to do with my research, but it’s fun. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case in this particular story. I wanted facts, and what better way to find those than to start with the program itself?

I found great information right on the US Marshals website including the fact that the program has been around since the early 1970s. I also searched pictures, movies, and books, and somewhere along the line, I came upon a black and white picture of a child with his mom in a story about the program. That’s when I started to play “what if.”

What if my heroine was placed in the program as a child and grew up always under protection? If that was normal, if her family didn’t want her to know the truth … as an adult, how would that effect a person? When is a good time for a parent to tell their child the truth? And that posed my target question: What if you’d been raised in witness protection and never known it?

From there, Katie developed into a strong, intelligent, green-eyed beauty who’s determined to find the truth about herself.

The funny thing is, I had been watching a lot of the show, Quantico at the time I was writing Secret Past, and Katie and Daniel both took on the physical attributes from two of Quantico’s characters.

Research doesn’t happen just at the beginning of the book. It occurs all the way through and sometimes long before the story is ever conceived. Such is the case with this novel. Nearly two years before the conception of Secret Past, I’d gone hiking with a friend in Manitou Springs, Colorado, and she recommended we do the Manitou Incline. I can honestly say that was one of the toughest, most rewarding adventures of my life. Strangely, halfway up, an idea for a shootout scene came to mind, and it easily worked its way into Katie and Daniel’s experience.

I also work to ensure my scenes are accurate, so my law-enforcement husband has endured some creative research, too, including me tying him to a chair to see if he could escape.

That’s the messy history of Secret Past. For those who haven’t read it, I hope you’ll get a copy and enjoy Katie and Daniel’s journey. Thanks again, Leslie, for having me on your blog!

Thanks for stopping by, Sharee, and sharing the "story behind the story." I'm sure my readers will enjoy learning how Katie and Daniel's story came to life. 

(I rated it 4/5 stars.)

About Sharee...

Colorado native Sharee Stover lives in Nebraska with her real-life-hero husband, three too-good-to-be-true children, and two ridiculously spoiled dogs. A self-proclaimed word nerd, she loves the power of the written word to ignite, transform, and restore. She writes Christian romantic suspense combining heart-racing, nail-biting suspense and the delight of falling in love all in one. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and Nebraska Writer’s Guild. Sharee is a two-time Daphne du Maurier finalist and the winner of the 2017 Wisconsin Fabulous Five Silver Quill Award. When she isn’t writing, Sharee enjoys reading, crocheting and long walks with her obnoxiously lovable German Shepherd. Visit her at www.shareestover.com.

Where you can find Sharee online...

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Writing Prompt Wednesday

If you're feeling stuck in your WIP (work in progress) or just want to shake things up a bit, here's something different to try today:

I always wanted to be just like my gram.

Happy writing!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Monday Motivation

"Cut out all the exclamation marks. An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own joke."
— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

"Jesus, Our Perfect Hope" (365 Devotions) by Charles Stanley

My review...

I’ve never read anything by Charles Stanley in the past, but I’ve heard wonderful things about him. So, when I saw this devotional, I thought it’d be a good time to check him out, as I really enjoy devotional books. While I haven’t finished the entire book, I have read enough to know that this book will make a great addition to my daily time with Jesus. I also love the fact that this book is a year-long devotional, and I plan to use it as such.

Stanley’s latest is to help the reader find the one, true source of hope: Jesus. It’s a hope that will never fail, no matter what struggles we may encounter. The book is beautifully designed, with an imitation leather cover that is padded and a ribbon bookmark. The pages match the cover with their color scheme. As with other devotional books, Stanley’s contain a title, a Bible verse, the devotion, and a prayer. The entries are written in a way that is easy to understand. Each reading is one page, so they are short enough to fit easily into a busy schedule. There is also a “wrap-up” comment at the end of each page with a reminder of why the reader’s hope is in Jesus. Topics addressed include staying hopeful when change doesn’t occur quickly, staying focused on Jesus through the difficult seasons, and remembering that God will fulfill His promises to us.

Here are some of the reminders of why our hope in Jesus is never misplaced:

·        My hope is in Jesus because He is awesome and deserves all my praise.
·        My hope is in Jesus because He is working in the unseen.
·        My hope is in Jesus because He sees my full potential and helps me reach it.
·        My hope is in Jesus because He never fails me.
·        My hope is in Jesus because He’s worthy of my trust.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher as part of the BookLook Bloggers program, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

"A Gathering of Sisters" by Darla Weaver (Read with Audra blog tour)

An interview with Darla Weaver,
Author of Gathering of Sisters

Once a week Darla Weaver hitches up her spirited mare, bundles her children into the buggy, and drives six miles to the farm where she grew up. There she gathers with her four sisters and their children for a day with their mother. In Gathering of Sisters: A Year with My Old Order Mennonite Family (Herald Press), Weaver writes about her horse-and-buggy Mennonite family and the weekly women’s gatherings that keep them connected. On warm days, the children play and fish and build houses of hay in the barn. In the winter, everyone stays close to the woodstove, with puzzles and games and crocheting. No matter the weather, the Tuesday get-togethers of this Old Order Mennonite family keep them grounded and centered in their love for God and for each other, even when raising an occasional loving but knowing eyebrow at each other.

The rest of the week is full of laundry, and errands, and work that never ends. But Tuesday is about being sisters, daughters, and mothers.

Q: Gathering of Sisters tells about getting together weekly with your mother and sisters. Tell us a little bit about your family.

There were five of us sisters, growing up together with our four little brothers in the white farmhouse our parents built. The nine of us kept this five-bedroom house brimming with life, and crowded with both happiness and some inevitable sadness. We did a lot of living and a lot of learning in that house.

And then we all grew up.

I was the first to leave. On a warm and sunshiny day in September 2000, after the leaves on the lofty silver maples had faded from summer-green and before they wore brightly flaming autumn shades, I was married to Laverne Weaver. It was the first wedding in that mellowing white house we all called home. Four more were to follow in the next several years. Except for my youngest brother, we’ve all left home. Most of us live close, but one brother lives in Alaska.

Q: Why did you decide to make an effort to get together once a week?

That left Tuesdays. Tuesday really was the perfect in-between sort of day to spend with Mom and my sisters. On Tuesday the five us sisters still come home. We pack up the children—all eighteen of them during summer vacation—and head to the farm.

We go early. I drive my spirited little mare, Charlotte, and she trots briskly along the six miles of winding country roads. Regina and Ida Mae live much closer. They married brothers, and their homes are directly across the fields from Dad and Mom’s farm. They usually bike, with children’s noses pressed against the bright mesh of the carts they tow behind their bicycles. Or they walk, pushing strollers over the back fields and up the lane. And Emily and Amanda, who also married brothers and live in neighboring houses about five miles away, come together with everyone crammed into one carriage.

Q: Do all the kids enjoy Tuesdays as well?

The children love Tuesdays. On warm days they play on the slide and the swings in the cool shade of the silver maples, jump on the trampoline, run through their grandpa’s three greenhouses, ride along on the wagon going to the fields where produce by the bushels and bins is hauled to the packing shed. They build hay houses in the barn and explore the creek. The boys take poles and hooks and bait and spend hours fishing and playing in the small creek that flows beneath the lane and through the thickets beside the pasture fence. They catch dozens of tiny blue gills and northern creek chubbs, most of which they release back into the water hole, a deep pool that yawns at the mouth of a large culvert, to be caught again next week. They work too, at mowing lawn, raking, lugging flower pots around, or anything else that Grandma needs them to do, but most often Tuesdays on Grandpa’s farm are play days.

Q: What do you do when you are all gathered together?

Every day is different, yet every Tuesday follows a predictable pattern that varies with the seasons. Winter finds us inside, close to the warmth humming from the woodstove, absorbed in wintertime pursuits which include card-making, crocheting, sewing, puzzles—jigsaw, crossword, sudoku—and reading books and magazines. But as soon as spring colors the buds of the maples with a reddish tinge, we spend more time outside. The greenhouses are loaded with plants, the flowerbeds full of unfurling perennials, and the grass is greening in the yard again.

In summer, while the garden and fields burst with produce, the breezy shade of the front porch calls. It wraps around two sides of the house and is full of Mom’s potted plants and porch furniture. We sit there to shell peas, husk corn, or just sip a cold drink and cool off after a warm stroll through the flowers.

Then autumn echoes through the country, the leaves flame and fall, and we rake them up—millions of leaves. Where we rake one Tuesday is covered again by the next, until at last the towering maples stand disrobed of leaves, their amazing seventy-foot branches a wavering fretwork against a sky that is sullen with winter once more.

Now onto some frequently asked questions about life in Mennonite communities.

Q: What does daily life look like for a Mennonite?

In some ways being a Mennonite is not so different from being anyone else. We have one life to live, we work to make a living, take care of our families, make time for the things we enjoy, eat, sleep, pay our bills and taxes. Some days are better than others as for anyone else.

In other ways it’s vastly different from the culture around us. Partly in the conservative way we live; perhaps even more in the way we look at life.

The most important goals for most of us are: Faith in God and in his Son who died on the cross for sinners; growing into a closer walk with him; learning to love, serve, and obey his commandments. These beliefs help shape our lives as we grow older.

Old Order Mennonite life is family-oriented. It centers around our church, our families, our schools and neighborhoods. It has been said, “Destroy the home and you destroy the nation,” which has been proved true in various eras of history. God’s plan for one husband and one wife, working together to care for their children, is a most important foundation for our lifestyle.

But, of course, we are far from perfect. Although the majority of us strive to live lives that demonstrate a faith and love and steadfastness rooted deep in God and his word—the Bible—we make plenty of mistakes too. Stumbling and falling and getting up to try again, praying that God will help us do better tomorrow, is a part of life, too.

Q: Do Old Order Mennonites believe in the new birth?

Of course. We believe the Bible truth: “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

It is when one believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God that God’s Spirit comes into one’s heart. It is by repenting of and turning away from our sins that they can be forgiven. It is by faith in God’s power, and asking in prayer, help us break away from sin’s strongholds. And it is because of that new birth that we desire to live a life that God can bless and sanctify.

But those who grow up in Christian homes may not always be able to pinpoint a certain day or year when their new birth occurred. To say, “When were you born again?” is a little like asking, “When did you grow up?” Sometimes there is a specific date to remember. Just as often there isn’t, because we grew so gradually into the awareness of our need for a personal Savior.

Was there ever a time I didn’t know and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came to die for my sins? If so, I can’t remember it. I did have to come to the place where I was willing to accept that for myself, acknowledge all the sin in my life, and turn to God for help and forgiveness. That day came, gradually. When I asked Christ into my heart to be Ruler there, it led to more years of growing up, and into what it means to be one of his disciples.

When I was born physically I still had much to learn. When I was born again spiritually I had just as much to learn about living a Christ-centered life. I’m still learning about it. I imagine I’ll be learning more for as long as I live.

Q: What could a visitor expect at one of your church services?

Church services last around 2 to 2 ½ hours and are in the Pennsylvania Dutch dialect, although the Bible reading is done in German. They begin with everyone singing together. One of the ministers then has a short sermon, which is followed by silent prayer. Then a second minister explains a chapter from the New Testament, or part of a chapter that he had selected and studied previously. Services are closed with an audible prayer, more singing, and the benediction.

It’s a special time of singing, praying, and worshiping God together with our congregation, and is full of encouragement and inspiration.

Q: Throughout most of the country, we would find most businesses open at least part of the day on Sunday. Would we find any businesses in your community open on Sunday?

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt though labour and do all thy work” (Exodus 20:8-9).

When Sunday comes around, those of us who own businesses do close them, and most of our work is put aside. Sunday is kept as a day to go to church to worship God, then spend it socializing with family and friends. It is a day to get together for meals, visit families who have a new baby, or just relax at home.

Sometimes when it’s warm we go fishing or hiking at nearby state parks or in our own woods. Sometimes we go on picnics or visit the neighbors. In the evening, the youth group gathers at one of their homes to play volleyball, sing and eat.

Sunday is set aside for worship, rest, and family time. It’s refreshing, both spiritually and physically, to have one day each week reserved for that. Work almost always waits. Worshiping God is first priority, then being with family.

Q: What kind of activities are your youth groups involved in?

Most of the young people are part of a structured youth group that gathers each Sunday evening in one of their homes. If it’s warm they play volleyball before singing hymns. A snack is served, unless everyone is invited for supper, then an entire meal is served. This can be quite an undertaking for the hostess, depending on the size of the group.

While Sunday evening gatherings are a regular thing, there are sometimes “work bees” during the week, when they get together to help someone who needs it. They might go to sing at a nursing home, go skating in winter, fishing in summer, or other upbuilding activities.

The majority of the young people are a part of this group and are dedicated to serving God. However, the upper teen years can be hard whether you’re Mennonite or not, and there are always some who drift away and choose not to live as part of our culture.

Q: Can you tell us about your private schools?

Parochial schools are a vital part of our neighborhoods. Three men serve as the school board for each one, and they are in charge of hiring teachers, handling the financial part of running a school, upkeep of the building, and any other need that comes up. They serve in three-year terms and are up for one re-election at the regular yearly community meeting where all directors and trustees for various things are selected.

Most schoolhouses have two classrooms and two teachers. The number of children attending each one varies greatly. Parents pay a yearly tuition which covers the teachers’ pay, books and supplies, and building repairs.

Most children start first grade in September after their sixth birthday. They graduate after completing eighth grade.

Each school day starts with a Bible story, reciting the Lord’s prayer together and singing. Lessons include, but are not limited to, reading, writing, math, spelling, English, vocabulary, history, geography, some science and nature study. Curriculum varies a little from school to school and from one area to the next, but these are the basics.

Religion is not taught as a subject. Rather, faith in God, and Christian living as based on the Bible, is woven into almost every textbook and lesson. It’s a way of life for us and can’t be separated into a single subject.

My review...

Weaver gives the reader an inside look at her family, and the Plain (Old Order Mennonite) lifestyle, in her latest release. She shares the time she spent gathering with her sisters on Tuesdays, with each chapter depicting a different month. The stories are easy to visualize, allowing the reader to feel a part of the community/family. It’s easy to see that people, in general, are more alike than they are different. Some parts feel a bit disjointed, but for someone wanting to learn more about the followers of this religion, it is informative. Bible verses and even some recipes are included. (I look forward to trying the German Pizza, page 145, Mock Ham Balls, page 247, and Walnut Frosties, page 254). There is a section entitled “A Day in the Life of the Author” which is very information, as is the Appendix, where the author provides some FAQs about the Old Order Mennonites.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy as part of the Read with Audra blog tour/from the publisher. I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

About the Author

Darla Weaver is a homemaker, gardener, writer and Old Order Mennonite living in the hills of southern Ohio. She is the author of Water My Soul, Many Lighted Windows and Gathering of Sisters. Weaver has written for Family Life, Ladies Journal, Young Companion, and other magazines for Amish and Old Order Mennonite groups. Before her three children were born she also taught school. Her hobbies are gardening and writing.

Friday, October 19, 2018

"Lethal Target" by Janice Cantore ... and a GIVEAWAY!

Janice is here to share a bit about her latest release, Lethal Target.  Her publisher has offered to give away a hard copy of the book (US ONLY).  You can enter by using the Rafflecopter link at the end of the post. (Giveaway ends October 26, 2018. If you are the randomly chosen winner, I'll contact you.)  Here's Janice...

“And yet we adore a romance in which a defiant struggle against weakness turns to a virtue, and a physical wound becomes a metaphor for the healing power of the beloved.”
Eloisa James

The Strength of the Wounded Hero

I think the wounded hero appeals to readers, especially readers of romantic suspense, for a couple of reasons. First, people like to root for the underdog. A wounded hero, someone who’s lost something or someone and who is shut down and hesitant to get involved with life again, and often doesn’t unless forced, is someone we can cheer to change. If the character is sympathetic—and usually we see flashes of virtue and unshakable loyalty in these heroes—we root for them to change, to overcome the pain. Second, the wounded hero’s story raises questions: Will the hero’s vulnerability turn into an asset? Is his or her struggle against the pain a virtue? Will true love serve to heal the hurt? Will hope triumph and the hero rise above the pain?

I have to go back to one of my favorite movies: Casablanca. I consider Rick the classic wounded hero. His heart was shattered by a woman, something that he’s never recovered from. And suddenly that woman is back in his life, at a time when the world is in upheaval, and she needs a hero. You can’t watch that movie and not root for Rick to step up, to be the hero, to set aside the hurt and do the right thing. Even after he lashes out at Ilsa, we want to see him win over the bitterness. And because eventually he delivers, the story ends up satisfying, even though he doesn’t get the girl.

In one of my favorite novels, Demolition Angel by Robert Crais, the wounds are not only emotional, but physical as well. Carol Starkey is a bomb tech shattered by an IED that killed her partner and nearly killed her. Years later, she’s still trying to hold it together, and another IED takes the life of another tech. We see the turmoil inside this detective who is hanging on by her fingernails, when this second death sends her right back to the day her partner died. And the bomber isn’t finished; more IEDs explode. Can Starkey pull it together and help catch the bad guy? We so want the answer to that question to be yes. It’s an action-packed novel, but the story is Starkey’s redemption and salvation from the specter of past tragedy.

We want to see the redemption; we want to see our hero healed and whole again, triumphing over whatever it is that wounded him. Whether the wounds be physical, emotional, spiritual, or even imaginary. A more recent movie comes to mind, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. There was no explosion or broken romance that wounded Walter; rather, life has beaten him down. His father died when he was in his teens and he was forced to grow up fast, set aside his life plans to go to work and support his mother and sister. At the movie’s beginning we see a man who has carefully and steadfastly fulfilled his obligations and let life pass him by in the process. He’s finally ready to strike out for something he wants, finally pursue a romance, but we see the struggle inside as he simply tries to send a woman a “wink.” It’s engaging and sad, and as the movie progresses, we really root for Walter to win, to break out of his shell, to find his true love and live his life.

People like to hope, and they like to see hope fulfilled. The wounded hero and his or her journey is enduring because it gives people hope and it keeps people turning pages, cheering the hero on. The wounded hero will continue to be the foundation of many great stories.

My review...

Police Chief Tess O’Rourke must confront the drug problem in her small town once again. She thought she’d taken care of things, but that was before an eighteen-year-old is found dead, likely of an overdose. She believes local pot farms are involved, as well as even deadlier drugs, which could result in even more deaths. As the anniversary of her father’s murder approaches, she continues to hold on to her anger, which is adding to the problems in her relationship with Sergeant Steve Logan. On top of everything, someone from her past has returned, and Tess doesn’t see anything positive coming out of this new development. Will Tess be able to win her war on drugs in her town before someone decides to silence her?

This is the second installment in Cantore’s “Line of Duty” series, though it could be read as a standalone. The author’s experience as a cop adds credibility and insight into the inner workings of the police force. Thankfully, for me, the mystery angle overshadows the romance, making this an interesting crime drama/police procedural. The drug epidemic is a timely topic. While there is a bit of over-detailing at times which stalls the pace, the characters are authentic and the plot realistic. To get a better grip on the characters’ history, it could be beneficial to read the books in order.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher, but I wasn’t required to leave a positive review.

About Janice...

Janice Cantore is a police officer turned writer. She retired from the Long Beach (California) Police Department after twenty-two years—sixteen in uniform, six as a non-career employee. She is currently writing romantic suspense for Tyndale House, and her upcoming release, Lethal Target, second in the Line of Duty series, following Crisis Shot, is set in a small town in Oregon. 

Where you can find Janice online...

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Tuesday Tip: Me or I?

Are you confused about when to use me vs. I? The two are not interchangeable. It's something that confuses many people.

Me is a pronoun that is used as an object of a sentence. For instance:
Grandpa took me to get ice cream. (Grandpa is the subject, and me is the object in the sentence.)

I is a pronoun that is used as a subject of a sentence. For instance:
Grandpa and I went for ice cream. (Both Grandpa and I are subjects of the sentence, and went is the verb.)