Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reluctant Smuggler Book Blog Tour and Giveaway

Fellow Northerner Jill Elizabeth Nelson's recent offering is the third in a series! And I have a lovely giveaway, again, on this blog! Can I get an amen? (amen!) Three cheers for bloggy giveaways!

Here's the lowdown on the book:

Looting of archaeological sites is big business in a thriving art and antiquities black market. When a desperate
foreign government hires Desiree Jacobs’s security company to stop the hemorrhage, she runs afoul of a deadly art-for-drugs operation. Tony Lucano risks his rising career in the FBI to dive into the international underworld after her. Before either of them can come up for air, they must navigate through a deepening murk of ruthless looters, hair-trigger DEA agents, crooked government agents, and innocent bystanders caught up in an illegal trade beyond their understanding. Even if a miracle delivers Desi and Tony from evil, will their love survive the test?

Complete with a reader’s guide, this third book in the To Catch a Thief series explores the power of hope in the darkest of circumstances.

The book can be purchased HERE from Amazon.

Author Bio:

Jill Elizabeth Nelson graduated with a degree in literature and creative writing from Southwest State University in Marshall, Minnesota. She served for three years as the senior inspirational reviewer for Romantic Times BOOKclub magazine and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Christian Writers Group, and Christian Authors Network. In 2004, she served as a Christy Award judge in the romance category. Nelson and her husband have four children and live in Madison, Minnesota.

...and, to be sort of stalker-y, I Google-mapped directions from Jill's home town to where I live, and we're only four hours apart (244 miles)! Jill, if you happen to read this, I PROMISE not to sneak up on you.

I'm giving away one copy of this book! To enter, please leave me a comment with your email OR email me with your name & email (send to freshbrewedwriter @, and remember to delete the spaces around the @). I will draw the winner after work next Tuesday, Feb. 5, so enter by noon Central time! (This giveaway is tied to this blog...not like last time!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

101 Cups of Water

101 Cups of Water is written by C.D. Baker. You can read more about the book and the author here.

From the back cover:
For every time you’ve tried too hard, fell too far, or struggled too much, the refreshing cups in this book–or reminders of God’s infinite grace and mercy–will renew you like cool, clear water after a long, dry walk on a dusty, pitted, uphill road.

“I’ve been a believing Christian since childhood,” author C. David Baker explains, “but it’s my personal failures that have led me to the deep well of Grace.”

David poured his dashed hopes, broken dreams, haunting doubts, and paralyzing fear down that well and found all that’s collected here, all he, like you, needs for living with peace, joy, and purpose: cool cups of relief, comfort, revival, and sustenance.

Because Water Is Life.
And 101 Cups of Water Will Quench Your Thirst.

added Jan. 30:
My winners were from my other blogs. Thanks so much and stay tuned for other opportunities to win!

A Soldier's Promise

Cheryl Wyatt's debut novel is entitled A Soldier's Promise. This is not your mama's cheesy Christian romance (and while I tease about cheesy, I do love them all! so it's not a diss, I promise...). And if my debut novel is even half as good as this, I'll kiss Cheryl Wyatt's feet.

So who is this Cheryl Wyatt?

Cheryl Wyatt's closest friends would never dream the mayhem she plots during announcements at church. An RN-turned-SAHM, joyful chaos rules her home and she delights in the stealth moments God gives her to write. She stays active in her church and in her laundry room. She's convinced that having been born on a Naval base on Valentine's Day destined her to write military romance.

Prior to publication, Cheryl took courses through Christian Writers Guild. An active member of RWA, FHL and ACFW, she won numerous awards with multiple manuscripts. Visit her on the Web at Sign up for her newsletter for news and chances to enter contests with great prizes. Hang with her on the web at You can also find her skittering around Steeple Hill's message boards as "Squirl" at .

And what is this book about? Let's glance at the back cover:

"My name's Bradley. I'm eight and have cancer. I want to meet a Special Forces soldier more than anything. Well, almost anything. Having a family would be nice."

U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Joel Montgomery promised to make a sick child's wish come true. Well, not the family part—not with Joel's past. And so despite vowing never to set foot back in Refuge, Illinois, Joel parachuted onto the boy's school lawn to a huge smile. But another smile unexpectedly stole Joel's heart: that of Bradley's beautiful teacher, Amber Stanton, who was trying to adopt the boy. And trying to show Joel it was time for new vows.

I asked Cheryl why she chose to write about the military, and she was gracious to give me this awesome answer:

I was raised with a great respect for our military. My father served as a Marine in Vietnam and he rarely talked about his experience there. As a youngster that set me on a quest to understand what war was like, and why Vietnam was a taboo subject in our home. I'd sneak into my mom and dad's room and pilfer through my dad's military memorandum. Pictures, emblems, anything I could do to appease the unquenchable child curiosity. I became fascinated with our military. I remember the one time my father spoke about Vietnam, was after The Deer Hunter movie came out. A contraversial documentary/movie about Vietnam.

My mother and my grandmother, seeing my insatiable curiosity and relentless questions, would tell me as much as they knew about my father's experience there. My grandmother still has a letter from the military, sent to her when my father ended up MIA for a short time. They found him in a hospital in Japan and delerious beyond comprehension with malaria. He didn't even know who he was at the time. He, and they, have no idea who rescued him, or how he got to the hospital because he collapsed in the jungle as far as we know.

I recall my dad saying that movie most accurately portrayed what it was like. Then recently, when he found out my book sold, we sat around the table with family and extended family. He actually talked about his time in Vietnam more that day than in all the previous years put together. So I'm glad my book opened that up in him. The valor, the bravery, the sacrifice of these men and women captured my heart and imagination. My respect for those serving and their families soared. I started writing military stories as a way to honor them and their sacrifice to keep our country secure.

Cool, huh? I love it when authors answer my questions! She rocks!

My Review:

A Soldier's Promise has dynamic characters, a realistic and uncontrived plot, and enough real details about the military that it's completely believable (and the things I wasn't sure of, my Air Force Chaplain Hubby explained and verified for me....DUDE, Cheryl knows what she's writing about!!!).

In short, I truly and honestly enjoyed this book and it is now one of my top Love Inspired novels of all time.

What makes me all giddy is that this is the first in a SERIES!

Bring them on, Cheryl. I'm ready to read more!

PS: Cheryl is very happy with my review. Check out her comments here!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jane Austen Mini-Challenge

The details are here, but this is a mini-challenge to read & watch Austen movies.

This is great, because I have a LOT of Austen at my house. The originals, some biographies, the continuing series, what I call "Austenesque" literature, and the like.

How fun is this!

So far:

Just Jane by Nancy Moser. It's a biographical novel about our girl Jane.

I'll update as I go along :)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

How Nancy Drew Saved My Life

How Nancy Drew Saved My Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted is not the first Red Dress Ink ("chick lit") book I've read with a Jewish heroine; in fact, the heroine, Charlotte Bell, is the least "Jewish" Jewish heroine I've read from this Harlequin imprint! (Other examples would be Matzo Ball Heiress and You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs, the heroines of which are much more in tune with their Jewish heritage than Charlotte.)

The synopsis: Charlotte, a former child actress in a famous line of commercials, accepts a nanny position with the ambassador to Iceland, partly to escape her aunt's household, and partly to escape her previous ambassador boss, with whom she had a failed relationship.

I don't think you can get much more "fish out of water" than a short, brunette, Jewish woman in Iceland, where nearly everyone is tall and blond and Protestant.

Of course, with Nancy Drew in the title, you have to know that there is a mystery to solve. Because it's a Harlequin, there is a romance. Because it's chick lit, there are good friends at a bar, and a strange boss, and a failed romance to complain about.

If you are a fan of either Nancy Drew or Jane Eyre, this is definitely the book for you. So many allusions to both! If not, I still think you'd enjoy this book. It's one of the better Red Dress Ink books I've ever read, and I've read quite a few.

In terms of Jewish literature, perhaps that label only loosely applies to this book. Regardless, I am glad I read it and offer it as the first book I've completed in the challenge.

author's website:

Added: If you visit this link, you'll see that the author herself read this post on the Jewish Lit challenge blog! *swoons* I'm so happy!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Chunkster Challenge 2008

Hosted by Dana, one of my very favorite bookish friends!

4 books (1 per quarter), minimum 450 pages in length.

Annotated June 27, 2008:

Watership Down
by Richard Adams (book club selection)
I tried to read this, and it's a big fat NO. It was boring and I couldn't attend the book club, so
I had no motivation to finish.
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (also a Paperback Challenge book)
I have begun this but had to quit for a while. I'll pick it back up before long.
Lisey's Story by Stephen King
July: READING it. It's quite engrossing. I had to set it aside to do other things today, like blog and stuff.
Dawn of a Thousand Nights by Tricia Goyer

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

TBR Challenge 2008

LIST, Cemented for 2008:

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Just Jane by Nancy Moser
The Book of Dead Birds by Gayle Brandeis
The Secret of Us by Roxanne Henke
Moving is Murder: A Mom Zone Mystery by Sara Rosett
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel
Gone with the Groom by Janice Thompson
The Garden Angel by Mindy Friddle
Speak to my Heart by Stacy Hawkins Adams
Burnt Toast by Teri Hatcher

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Bee Season by Myla Goldberg
Eating the Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
The Truth of the Matter by Robb Forman Dew
Stealing Home by Sherryl Woods
Color of the Soul & Freedom of the Soul by Tracey Bateman
The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani

Paperback Challenge for 2008

12 Books in 12 Months:

1. The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out
by Neta Jackson
2. Blind Submission by Debra Ginsberg
3. Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins
4. Generation NeXt Marriage by Tricia Goyer (begun)
5. Mother of Prevention by Lori Copeland
6. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (begun)
7. Burnt Toast by Teri Hatcher
8. And Only To Deceive by Tasha Alexander
9. Just Jane by Nancy Moser
10. How Nancy Drew Saved My Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
11. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
12. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard