Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun (Blog Tour)

Thunder
by Bonne S. Calhoun
Stone Braide Chronicles series, Book 1

About the Book
In post-apocalyptic America, Selah Chavez is crouched in long grass on a shore littered with the rusted metal remnants of a once-great city. It is the day before her eighteenth Born Remembrance, and she is hunting, though many people refuse to eat animal flesh, tainted by radiation during the Time of Sorrows. What Selah's really after are Landers, mysterious people from a land across the big water who survive the delirium-inducing passage in small boats that occasionally crash against the shoreline. She knows she should leave the capture to the men, but Landers bring a good price from the Company and are especially prized if they keep the markings they arrive with.

Everything falls to pieces when the Lander Selah catches is stolen by her brothers--and Selah wakes up the next morning to find the Lander's distinctive mark has suddenly appeared on her own flesh. Once the hunter, Selah is now one of the hunted, and she knows only one person who can help her--Bohdi Locke, the Lander her brothers hope to sell.

With evocative descriptions of a strange new world that combines elements of scientific advances, political intrigue, and wilderness survival, Bonnie S. Calhoun weaves a captivating tale of a world more like our own than we may want to admit.

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

About the Author
Bonnie S. Calhoun is Owner/Director of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, owner/publisher of Christian Fiction Online Magazine, Northeast Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), and the ACFW ‘2011 Mentor of the Year.”

She loves to write, but it doesn't make her happy unless there are the three B's...body count, blood, and blowing things up. She also has mad skills at coding HTML, and website design. And she lives in a log cabin in the woods with fifteen acres and a pond full of bass, though she'd rather buy fish at the grocery store. Bonnie shares her domain with a husband, a dog, and two cats, all of whom think she’s waitstaff!

Bonnie S. Calhoun Online

The Prequel
My copy of Thunder just arrived on Monday, so I haven't had a chance to read it yet. However, I did read the prequel short story, Tremors, last month and thought it was fantastic! You can download it for free (here) if you want to get a little background info on the series before you dive in. As for my thoughts on Tremors, here's a short review ...
Tremors is a short prequel to the forthcoming Stone Braide Chronicles. I enjoyed getting a sneak peek into this series and meeting some of the characters who I'm sure I'll be reading more about in the rest of the series. Selah is going to be a great main character. She's bold and a little angsty, which is always a fun combination. Selah's parents and brothers were interesting as well. I was also surprised (pleasantly!) at how much action was incorporated in these 28 pages——an arranged marriage, a murder, and some serious subterfuge.

I think it's important to note that this is a prequel and pretty much leaves readers hanging. I assume that Thunders (the first book in the series) will pick up where Tremors leaves off. I'm extremely curious to see how this series will play out. Great beginning! [4 stars]

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford (Blog Tour + Review)

The Sea House
by Elisabeth Gifford
Available April 2014
St. Martin's Press
320 pages



About the Book
Scotland, 1860.

Reverend Alexander Ferguson, naive and newly-ordained, takes up his new parish, a poor, isolated patch on the Hebridean island of Harris. His time on the island will irrevocably change the course of his life, but the white house on the edge of the dunes keeps its silence long after Alexander departs. It will be more than a century before the Sea House reluctantly gives up its secrets. Ruth and Michael buy the grand but dilapidated building and begin to turn it into a home for the family they hope to have. Their dreams are marred by a shocking discovery. The tiny bones of a baby are buried beneath the house; the child’s fragile legs are fused together – a mermaid child. Who buried the bones? And why? Ruth needs to solve the mystery of her new home – but the answers to her questions may lie in her own past.

Based on a real nineteenth-century letter to The Times in which a Scottish clergyman claimed to have seen a mermaid, The Sea House is an epic, sweeping tale of loss and love, hope and redemption, and how we heal ourselves with the stories we tell.

My Thoughts
The Sea House is a unique book ... making it a bit difficult for me to wrap my brain around and giving words to my thoughts. (It's not often I say that!)

The story is intriguing. The setting is beautiful! (Anyone want to visit Scotland with me now?!) The writing is lovely. The author has mastered a lyrical style that adds another layer to the story.

Books that go back and forth across two time periods are often to perfect. Personally, I felt that the historical storyline was better written, but I enjoyed the contemporary story as well.

Overall, I thought this was an intriguing book, and I'm interested to see what the author will deliver next.  [3.5 stars]

Please note: While this book has a redemptive storyline, it was written for the general market.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Elisabeth Gifford grew up in a vicarage in the industrial Midlands. She studied French literature and world religions at Leeds University. She is the author of “The House of Hope: A Story of God’s Love and Provision for the Abandoned Orphans of China” and has written articles for The Times and the Independent and has a Diploma in Creative Writing from Oxford OUDCE and an MA in Creative Writing from Royal Holloway College. She is married with three children. They live in Kingston on Thames but spend as much time as possible in the Hebrides.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Character Meet & Greet w/ Clayton Fincannon from The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt


I'm pleased to welcome Clayton Fincannon to i blog 4 books. Clayton is the protagonist in a new book, The Mason Jar, by James Russell Lingerfelt.

i blog 4 books: What is the most interesting thing about you?

Clayton Fincannon: My parents and brother died when I was young, so my grandpa raised me on a Tennessee horse farm. For graduate school I studied at a private university on the west coast and served in humanitarian work abroad.

ib4b: What is your occupation?

CF: Full time writer, but an amateur. I’m also an amateur rancher. People ask me to come and speak to large groups about the future of humanitarian work. All that keeps me going fulltime, and I make a living at it all along the way.

ib4b: What three words would you use to describe yourself?

CF: Passionate, lover of nature, lover of books

ib4b: What do you do for fun?

CF: Read, write, and drink lots of coffee. I pretend I’m a great horse rancher when I’m home so that the old men in town don’t give me a hard time.

ib4b: Share a favorite childhood memory.

CF: Playing with my parents and brother when they were still alive. Dad coached our basketball team, my mom loved to cuddle with me, and my brother and I use to play in the waterfall, creek, and woods behind my grandpa’s house. My parents and brother were killed in an automobile accident when I was 12.

ib4b: What is your life motto or goal?

CF: Surround myself with my loved ones and pursue what I’m passionate about. That keeps me going in a world where so many of us want to quit.

ib4b: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

CF: I wish I could be more like my friends, sometimes. A few of them are fantastic lawyers, doctors, and engineers. I know I could do that with an education in that field, but if I’m not free to create literature and be outside with the farm, I’d go crazy.

ib4b: What is your favorite food?

CF: Grilled salmon or seared tuna. Being a horse rancher from Tennessee, you’d think I’d like steak, and I do, but I try to take it easy on red meat. I’ve eaten way too much of it in my past.

ib4b: What is the most important thing to you?

CF: My loved ones and the freedom to read and write and try to make a living at it. That’s why I left everything to become a full time writer and farmer. It’s all I wanted to do.

ib4b: What's your biggest pet peeve?

CF: When people I depend on are indecisive and unpredictable.



About the Book
What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she’s ever read? “But,” she said, “it’s about you.” The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather’s desk—letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she leaves, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the young woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar.

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who wrote a book about her, and a reunion they never imagined.

Giveaway
James Russell Lingerfelt's debut novel, The Mason Jar, is hot-off-the-press and causing quite the buzz. It's even been optioned for a feature film and is in pre-production.

Catch the spark by entering James' Kindle Fire giveaway!

masonjar-400-click
 
One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 19th. Winner will be announced October 20th at James Russell's blog, Love Story from the Male Perspective


masonjar-enterbanner

Friday, September 19, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll (Blog Tour + Review)

Hidden in the Stars
by Robin Caroll
Quilts of Love series
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Suspense
Available September 2014
Abingdon Press
224 pages



About the Book
A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large—and who his next victim will be.

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21‑year‑old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

My Thoughts
Hidden in the Stars packs a powerful punch in a relatively short number of pages! The premise is incredibly sad—Sophia left completely alone, injured, without the ability to speak after being brutally attacked in her mother's home. However, the author does a great job bringing people along to help push the story forward, solve the crime, and befriend Sophia. Sophia's trust in the Lord is refreshing, and her friendships with Charlie and Julian are an uplifting part of the story.

This book was emotional, intense, sweet, and a true roller coaster. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I will definitely be looking up more of Robin Caroll's books in the future. [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of 20‑plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character‑filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for ACFW. Her books have been named finalists in such contests as the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Grand Design by Amber Stockton (Blog Tour + Review)

A Grand Design
by Amber Stockton
Quilts of Love series, Book 20
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available August 2014
Abingdon Press
240 pages



About the Book
A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.

As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

My Thoughts
I was looking forward to reading A Grand Design because I'm fascinated by Mackinac Island! Unfortunately, this story did not resonate with me as a reader at all. While the characters were in their 20s, much of the time they seemed much younger. Libby is completely "boy crazy"—a term I generally think of when talking about younger teens. Also, while I understand that Alyssa experienced some trauma in her youth, her response never totally made sense to me. It was built up to be a huge, life-changing event, but then the explanation and further discussion didn't really support that. Additionally, the dialogue didn't feel genuine. At times, it was stilted and a little juvenile. It just didn't fit with the rest of the information I had about the characters.

I think the author had a good story idea and a great setting (I definitely want to visit Mackinac Island!). Unfortunately, this just wasn't the book for me. There are quite a few positive reviews of this book, so if you're intrigued by the premise, I would definitely check out some other reviews before making a decision solely based on mine. [2 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Amber Stockton is an award‑winning author, a national speaker, and a direct‑sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Celebrating Alana Terry's New Book w/ a Giveaway!

Special Discount ~ Limited Time Only
Special Time-Sensitive Giveaway! The first 25 readers who enter the giveaway below will receive a free audiobook from award-winning author Alana Terry. She's also giving away a $100 amazon card, a hundred free audio downloads, and a free ebook to anyone who signs up! 

About Slave Again: After escaping a North Korean prison camp, Mee-Kyong is hustled over the border and sold into the Chinese underworld. She vows to survive, but sheer determination and willpower won’t save her this time. Is she fated to remain a slave forever?

Slave Again is a Christian suspense novel from award-winning author Alana Terry, whose debut novel, The Beloved Daughter, won awards from Women of Faith, Grace Awards, The Book Club Network, and Readers' Favorite.

NEW BOOK RELEASE: Slave Again by Alana Terry is hot off the press, and both the ebook and paperback are at a steep (30-60%) discount!! Prices will go up soon, so grab your copy today.

 Slave Again book trailer (contains one mildly violent image)

About the Author: Alana is passionate about human-rights issues in North Korea and has devoted her writing to raise both awareness and funds to help North Korean refugees find freedom and safety. You can learn more about her work with Liberty in North Korea at alanaterry.com/link.

Check out Slave Again now before the price goes up, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!


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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant (Blog Tour & Review)

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes
by Betsy St. Amant
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available September 2014
Zondervan
320 pages



About the Book
Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

My Thoughts
What a fun book! I mean, what's not to love about reality TV, cupcakes, and romance?! All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is a light-hearted read with plenty of funny moments. At times, I was ready for the characters to just talk already! But that tension helped keep me interested in what would happen next. I enjoyed the interaction between the other contestants as well. It really helped give another dimension to the story. I was a smidge sad at how quickly the book wrapped up, but I'm looking forward to reading more about Lucas and Kat in Betsy's next book, which features Kat's sister. Readers who enjoy fun romantic stories should definitely check out this book! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Betsy St. Amant Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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