Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Swiss Courier Blog Tour


Welcome to the blog tour for THE SWISS COURIER!

This wonderful story is the first collaborative effort by veteran novelists Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey, both of whom have many books to their credit as individuals. I certainly hope this is not their last collaboration.

About the book:
It is August 1944 and the Gestapo is mercilessly rounding up suspected enemies of the Third Reich. When Joseph Engel, a German physicist working on the atomic bomb, finds that he is actually a Jew, adopted by Christian parents, he must flee for his life to neutral Switzerland. Gabi Mueller is a young Swiss-American woman working for the newly formed American Office of Strategic Services (the forerunner to the CIA) close to Nazi Germany. When she is asked to risk her life to safely "courier" Engel out of Germany, the fate of the world rests in her hands. If she can lead him to safety, she can keep the Germans from developing nuclear capabilities. But in a time of traitors and uncertainty, whom can she trust along the way? This fast-paced, suspenseful novel takes readers along treacherous twists and turns during a fascinating--and deadly--time in history.

About the authors:
Tricia Goyer is the author of several books, including Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights, both past winners of the ACFW's Book of the Year Award for Long Historical Romance. Goyer lives with her family in Montana. To find out more visit her website: http://www.triciagoyer.com/

Mike Yorkey is the author or coauthor of dozens of books, including the bestselling Every Man's Battle series. Married to a Swiss native, Yorkey lived in Switzerland for 18 months. He and his family currently reside in California.To find out more visit his website: http://www.mikeyorkey.com/

Pattie's Review:

Oh my goodness! What a great book! I have been talking it up at work and at the dance studio, it's so good. It's a spy story, a thrilling thriller, a mystery, a little science--and best of all, there's enough history in it to make it absolutely plausible.

I've always loved stories from World War Two. This one is no exception.

Gabi? Love her. LOVE. HER. She's spunky, smart, and brave. She's how I imagine my grandmothers might have been, had they been in her shoes. (As it was, I had one who worked to support her siblings, and one was a single mom who worked as a welder to support her two small children).

The Swiss Courier is a collaborative effort, but it's a seamless one. You cannot tell which writer wrote which part, as has been evident to me in other collaborations. This might seem like a weird thing to say, but I think it's worth noting.

I think this is a story for many different kinds of readers.

CONTEST (and this includes CHOCOLATE!)
Psst...pass it on! Help Spread the word about #SwissCourier on Twitter and enter to win a signed copy &Swiss Chocolate!
Just tweet this: The Swiss Courier by @triciagoyer fast paced and suspenseful! Don't miss out! http://tr.im/Ahjs RT #swisscourier and we'll enter you into a drawing for 1 of 5 SIGNED copies of The Swiss Courier!

To purchase the book, click here.

To read other people's thoughts about the book, click here for the rest of the tour.

Special thanks to LitFuse Publicity Group for a review copy of this novel.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trial by Fire Review and Interview

Trial by Fire is the latest Love Inspired Suspense by Cara Putman.

About the Novel:

Her mother's house was first. Then her brother's. County prosecutor Tricia Jamison is sure she's next on the arsonist's list. But who is after her family? And why does every fire throw her in Noah Brust's path?

Noah can't forgive Tricia. Her failure to protect him on the stand the previous year meant his father's reputation was ruined. Yet every time the firefighter is near her, he's drawn to her again. The vulnerability she hides under her confident veneer surprises and moves him. Torn between Tricia's safety and his own bitterness, Noah belatedly remembers the first rule of firefighting: don't get burned.

Pattie's Review:

Trial by Fire captured me from the first page--and it didn't let go of my imagination until the very end.

Cara does a super job of fleshing out her characters and making the situations seem real without being too graphic or gritty. There is real, difficult subject matter explored in this novel; yet, she doesn't sugar-coat the situations, either. She is able to walk that tightrope, figuratively speaking, in a balanced way.

(And I gotta say, I love mysteries where I can't figure out the villain.)

Tricia is an amazing character, and Noah is a complicated man. Their romance unfolds gradually, and feels right in the end, not forced.


Interview with the Author:

Thanks for joining me today, Cara!

How difficult was this book to write in terms of Tricia's past? It seems to me that it might be painful to get into her head and heart.

You know, I didn’t expect for Tricia’s story to take the turn it did. I was writing the courtroom scene and knew there was a past between Tricia and Adam, but thought it was “limited” to domestic violence. As I wrote the scene, the words came out of her mouth that left me sitting there staring at the screen and asking God if that was right. It was. It is tough to dig deep to write scenes with that kind of emotion to them.

Why a firefighter as a profession for Noah? Why not have him be a fire examiner already?

The hero needed to have weaknesses and fears. Originally, I thought about making him part of an elite FEMA team in Lincoln, then realized the knee injury nixed that. But the knee injury highlighted the need for him to do something else. And being a fire investigator gave him the opportunity to continue to fight fires…if he could outlast his trainer.

I was thinking that many boys dream of being firefighters when they are boys. When I was a girl, I dreamed of being a teacher (which I did for almost ten years). What did you dream of being when you were a girl?

For about a day in third grade I dreamed about being a nurse. But even at that relatively young age, I knew I was too prone to fainting to be much good. Then I decided I wanted to be a journalist – and worked at a TV station for two years in college. Then that morphed into politics – and I worked on a campaign fulltime out of college and then in the non-profit conservative world of DC. But as I was diving into politics, I realized I loved law – so took the detour of going to law school. I also wanted to be a professor and have had the opportunity to teach classes at George Mason University School of Law and Purdue University. It’s been fun to see how God has stitched all of these experiences together.

It was nice to revisit Dani and Caleb. Was it fun for you to show a bit of their future after the end of "Deadly Exposure"?

I so enjoyed that! It was also fun to end the book on the up note of their relationship. And with the next book that I see in my mind, the familiar characters would play supporting roles much like Dani and Caleb did here. I don’t know about you, but I love revisiting characters I came to love in one book – even when they aren’t the stars of the next show.

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

I’m working on a series that ties my two loves together: World War Two and suspense. I also have a legal romantic suspense series under consideration at a house. I don’t know if that door will open, but I would love to write this series for them. I am also seeking God right now and asking Him what He has next for me. We were challenged at ACFW by Debbie Macomber to dream impossible dreams. And for someone who’s always dreamed big, it struck me how far I had moved from that. So I’m back to asking God what His dreams for me are, so I can line mine up with His.

Thanks for stopping by, Cara! I'm so glad you did!

Thanks so much for having me, Pattie! I really enjoyed coming by.

To read the first chapter of Trial by Fire, go here.

Special thanks to Cara for the review copy of her novel, as well as for taking time to answer my interview questions.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday Felicities

Friday Felicities for October 23:

  • a luscious day off to lounge in my pj's
  • and clean
  • and go see Larry the Cable Guy - thank you Larry for the tickets!
  • books
  • even though I have too many...
  • my girls, and I have just the right amount of those!
  • tote bags
  • coffee, of course
  • cell phone texts with encouragement and scripture verses

Writing Thought for Today

"The secret to being a writer is that you have to write. It's not enough to think about writing or to study literature or plan a future life as an author. You really have to lock yourself away, alone, and get to work."
~Augusten Burroughs~

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Random Wednesday Thoughts

Good morning to my few but faithful readers!

I haven't been blogging a whole lot lately. I struggle with the desire to write in a public forum, and yet for many reasons I must keep a lot of my life private. The ghosts of past fears and wrongs done to me online also continue to haunt me years later, cautioning me to think and rethink posts in my head.

Another reason? The insecurity of knowing I am not the writer I want to be, or that others are, often silences my fingers and my voice. That is a type of fear, I think. Not at all in keeping with my theme of being brave.

So, as my thumb has continued to heal, typing has gotten easier for me. I am grateful to the Lord for that, and a good doctor who reassured me I was taking good care of it (as he also took pictures of the poor prodded thing with his BlackBerry!).

It's been a cool and wet fall here in the northern plains, not the warm-cool combo I grew to love in the Missouri I consider my home state. The leaves fell while still green, so with few exceptions it hasn't been a pretty autumn here, after a much cooler and still wet spring and summer. I still try to find beauty where I can, and enjoy the sun during the moments it chooses to shine.

As a landmark birthday approaches, I have been challenged by more than one person to make a "bucket list" of sorts. I have not done that, playing the avoidance game I'm becoming so adept at doing. So I avoid, and I wait, and I avoid some more.

I continue to journal my spiritual walk, and on the days I miss, I can feel it. On the days I begin in the Word, it's just that much better. Funny how that lesson keeps on giving.

I will be writing during National Novel Writing Month again this year. I can't seem to back down from that challenge. Beginning a new Word document each November 1st has become a tradition. I've only reached the 50K goal once, last year. But what a great exercise in discipline and in writing.

I don't write as often as I should, and I still feel as scattered to the four winds as ever in terms of narrowing my focus. I can either beat myself up about it (bad) or choose to be a "jane-of-all-trades-mistress-of-none" kind of woman.

And those are my random Wednesday thoughts! Thanks for reading my blog, and I hope to have more to offer in the days and weeks ahead.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Yes

No Excuses

After reading this, I know there are no excuses.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

O2: Breathing Fresh Life into Faith

Welcome to the blog tour for Richard Dahlstrom's latest book O2: Breathing Fresh Life into Faith.

About the book:

Your physical body needs oxygen in order to survive. Inhale, exhale ... one leads naturally to the other. Inhale too long and you feel as if your lungs will burst. Exhale too long and you get light-headed.

The same rhythm is essential in the life of faith. You inhale life-giving strength from God through things like prayer, study, solitude, and silence. You exhale generosity, hospitality, and service to the poor. If you try to do one without the other, you won't last very long.

This fresh perspective on the classic disciplines of the faith will empower you to process the oxygen of the Spirit. Discover how you can develop a balanced spirituality that reflects the life of Jesus and keeps your faith growing stronger.

About Richard:

Richard Dahlstrom is Senior Pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, WA, in the heart of the city, among university students, young professionals, families, the homeless, and the elderly. He is also a popular teacher in North America and Europe for the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers. He holds a M.Div. from Talbot Theological Seminary. Find out more about Richard at: http://raincitypastor.blogspot.com/

Fun Stuff:

Watch a video about the book: http://www.conversantlife.com/life-with-god/o2-breathing-new-life-into-faith

Read the first chapter
: http://www.conversantlife.com/files/resource_downloads/O2.pdf

Study Guide: http://www.conversantlife.com/files/resource_downloads/O2%20Discussion%20Questions.pdf

Contest: The contest for this blog tour is:

Win a signed copy of 02 for yourself! There are two ways to enter! The winners will be announced 10/26.

  1. Jump over to Pastor Richard’s blog “Pastoral Musings from Rain City” (http://www.raincitypastor.blogspot.com/ ) and leave a comment between October 5th and October 24th. Just say hi or tell Pastor Richard what you liked about his book, or share with him how you’ve experienced ‘new life’ in your faith!
  2. Tweet this: @raincitypastor Pub. Weekly voted Breathing New Life into Faith as top 10 book in 2008 check it out! http://tr.im/Au8q #02

Visit other blogs on this tour:
Blog tour schedule:
http://www.litfusegroup.com/latest/current-blog-tours/92-02-breathing-fresh-life-into-faith-by-richard-dahlstrom-blog-tour

Pattie's Thoughts:

I didn't finish the book yet, but it's a very readable and easily understandable book. I never equated the Christian life with something so simple as breathing, something we all do involuntarily most of the time. It's a simple metaphor, but it works. The book holds much truth within its pages.

Special thanks to Harvest House Publishers for the review copy of this book and the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour. Also thanks to Amy at LitFuse.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Slow Burn Review

A Slow Burn is the second in the Defiance Texas trilogy, written by Mary DeMuth.

This is a belated book review, and I feel I should tell you why. This is, again, another tough book to read. It was difficult emotionally to get through this book, and while I allowed myself ample time, I found myself avoiding it. Why? Well, let me give you the premise:

She touched Daisy's shoulder. So cold. So hard. So unlike Daisy.

Yet so much like herself it made Emory shudder.

Burying her grief, Emory Chance is determined to find her daughter Daisy's murderer-a man she saw in a flicker of a vision. But when the investigation hits every dead end, her despair escalates. As questions surrounding Daisy's death continue to mount, Emory's safety is shattered by the pursuit of a stranger, and she can't shake the sickening fear that her own choices contributed to Daisy's disappearance. Will she ever experience the peace her heart longs for?

The second book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, this suspenseful novel is about courageous love, the burden of regret, and bonds that never break. It is about the beauty and the pain of telling the truth. Most of all, it is about the power of forgiveness and what remains when shame no longer holds us captive.



As I was reading this book, my oldest daughter began planning her 13th birthday party. I look at her in all her graceful-dancer, wavy-haired glory, and I cannot fathom the pain of losing her like Emory lost Daisy. And yet, Mary DeMuth dragged me kicking and screaming (figuratively speaking) into Emory's world and what it would feel like.

It was not a pleasant journey, I must say.

So, the review. This novel is wonderfully crafted and beautifully written. It's a compliment to an author, I believe, when she can, through her prose, evoke such a strong emotional response from the reader. In the first book, I felt anger. (To read my review of the first book of the trilogy, go here.). In the second, I felt sadness and grief and infinite loss. My heart is still heavy.

I don't feel as if I can talk much more about the novel without giving away significant plot points, which is the number one sin among book reviewers. It's Emory's story, and Hixon's too. And I'll leave it at that.

Many of the reviews and endorsements of both Daisy Chain and A Slow Burn have thrown in the word "redemption." Those reviewers found redemption in these two novels, and that's fine. Perhaps my understanding of redemption is different from theirs. I don't take the word redemption lightly at all, and frankly, I don't see redemption. Not yet, anyway. I'll give Mary the benefit of the doubt and look forward to the third book, which according to the teaser, appears to be from Ouisie Pepper's point of view.

Mary is known both for her moving fiction and her nonfiction parenting books. She's one of those rare authors who can write both and write them well.

To purchase on Amazon, please click here.

Special thanks to Zondervan for the review copy of this novel. I appreciate it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

In the Interest of Full Disclosure

Here is my disclosure statement regarding books and reviews.

I receive a free copy of each book I review for the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance in exchange for posting the blog tour post and a review.

In other cases, occasionally I receive books from the authors themselves, or from another independent marketing agent hired by the author or publisher. Each post will disclose that information.

Sometimes, though, I have purchased the book with my own money not earned at this non-earning, independent, composed-by-me-unless-stated-otherwise blog, and I choose to review it here.

I strive to write honest reviews of the books I read. I will be kind in my critique, and I will be honest. I feel that's in the best interest of all.

Henceforth, from this date forward, I will do my best to acknowledge which reviews were compensated with a copy of the book, and which were not, per new FTC guidelines.

My blog is not monetized or commercialized through Amazon, and the only money I have earned was less than ten dollars through the sale of the Blog Planning Kit (advertised in the right column).

Updated 1 October 2014 from a statement originally dated 5 October 2009.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Thursday, October 01, 2009

A Slow Burn

Book Two in the Defiance Trilogy, A Slow Burn, releases today. I'll be reviewing this on my blog very soon...so stay tuned! I'm about halfway through, and WOW. (I'd be done, but I had to stop and read Susie Warren's The Great Christmas Bowl this week too. I'm over-booked--ha.)

Read the first two chapters of A Slow Burn here.

You might remember I had a strong emotional reaction to book one, Daisy Chain. That review is found here. So far, A Slow Burn is just as emotion-packed, but in a different way. Gritty as a Texas summer, painful as a mother's heart can ever be...but so well-written I'm in awe.