Sunday, February 28, 2010

PCS=stress!

PCS, for my civilian readers, means Permanent Change of Station. In other words, moving. We are moving about 1,500 miles away from where we are now.

That's a long way.

I never intended to accumulate, but I am afraid I did accumulate books while we have been here. Occupational hazard, I guess (that occupation being voracious reader and book reviewer!).

The girls (ages 13 and 10) have done a great job of downsizing their toys and belongings, I think. We've outgrown a lot of their books and games since we've been here. Last summer we had a huge sale; this year, I'm planning another.

I am stressed out, mainly because we are going to be listing our house for sale in the next week or so. That means, nice neat house. I joke my house is decorated in 21st century clutter. That's not conducive to showcasing a house :)

So, that's what's going on here at the chaplain's house. I hope to write more in the future about how we got here, and how God has worked in my life.

For now, though, I'm going back to cleaning the house.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Progress, maybe

I realized I have only posted book reviews for awhile, and I'm sorry about that. But everything else sounds whiny. Do you ever feel that way?

  • I've been so scattered.
  • I've been eBaying my mom's collections of Precious Moments and rubber stamp sets.
  • I've been falling behind in the Bible in 90 Days challenge, so much so that I'm about ready to quit...yet the Holy Spirit prods me onward. I read about half a day's assignment each time.
  • We're also getting ready for a PCS (move), and because we have to sell our house I've been sorting our belongings and parting with a lot of things. That is hard for me, as I'm emotional about my stuff.
  • I've also been reading like a fiend; hence, the book review posts. I overcommitted on book reviewing, as usual. I decided it's not always my fault. I say yes and write them on my calendar; then the publicity team assigns me a date that doesn't always match. Therefore, I've declined a lot of books lately without definite dates, or with dates that clash with my life's commitments.
  • I still have a shelf of books requiring reviews that I never wrote. Oh, I posted what was asked of me, but I have yet to read the book to review it.
  • I've also been busy with the class I'm taking. It's taken a lot more work than I first imagined.
  • Same with Wives of Faith. It's good work, though.
  • I spent quite a bit of last weekend on my daughter's applications for summer dance intensives.
Is it any wonder I'm all over the board emotionally? I need a break, but when I get one, and accomplish a lot on my to-do list, the list grows exponentially the other direction, with more items being added on.

A Soldier's Devotion

The latest novel in the Wings of Refuge series by Cheryl Wyatt is A Soldier's Devotion.

I posted about this book when it was released in January. Here's my review.

Synopsis:

from the back cover:

U.S. Air Force pararescue jumper Vince Reardon was headed to a lifesaving mission. Until a too-pretty lawyer crashed her fancy car into his motorcycle--sidelining him for two weeks. Vince can barely accept Valentina Russo's heartfelt apologies. Ever since his brother was wrongly convicted--and killed in prison--Vince has lost respect for lawyers. But wait--is that Val volunteering at his refuge for underprivileged kids? If Vince isn't careful, this lady of the law might just earn his respect and his heart.

Pattie's Review
:

Once again Cheryl Wyatt has delighted readers with a lovely military romance between two absolutely likeable people. From the opening accident to the closing happy ending, she gives us a Christian romance with our favorite Air Force PJ team in Refuge, Illinois. This time it's tough boy Vince Reardon, who finds himself falling for attorney Val Russo.

A Soldier's Devotion is a thoroughly enjoyable romance from Cheryl Wyatt and Steeple Hill.



Special thanks to the author for a review copy of this novel!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Plain Jayne

Welcome to the blog tour for Plain Jayne, the debut novel of author Hillary Manton Lodge.

ABOUT THE STORY:

Jayne Tate is an investigative reporter for a major daily newspaper. When her editor demands she take time off to grieve the death of her father and get her writing back up to par, Jayne instead follows her instincts. She's certain there's a story to uncover about the Amish, but where to start?

An initial interview with the intriguing owner of an Amish furniture store opens the door for Jayne to live with the Amish family he left behind. What she doesn't yet know is that her journalistic observations of this sincere, yet conflicted family are destined to cause reflections of her own childhood.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

From her blog:

I write Generation-Next Contemporary fiction. My books are usually center on normal people learning to live, laugh, heal, and try to understand the concept of God in a crazy world. My first released novel, Plain Jayne, is now available nationwide. The second, Simply Sara, will release in Fall of 2011. Both books are "Urban Amish," and totally not your mom's Amish books. Except for the Amish. They're still there.

Pattie's Review:

Plain Jayne really is fresh and new. Like many readers of Christian Amish fiction, I began reading Beverly Lewis when she first came out. Then it seemed like Amish fiction exploded everywhere, and it got to be too much to keep up with, and too much alike. So I stopped reading them.

This book is different. It's contemporary, yet respectful of the Amish way of life.

This is Hillary's first book, and I am glad it's the beginning of a new series. She truly gives a fresh take on Christian Amish fiction, and it's a great read. I have not yet had a chance to finish the story--I'm about halfway through, but I'm enjoying it immensely.

Links:

Hillary's blog

Hillary's author site

Huge thanks to Glass Road PR for a review copy of this book.

Update June 2010: I finished the novel after our move, for the "Spring Reading Thing" reading challenge. I enjoyed it.

Double Trouble by Susan May Warren

Welcome to the blog tour for the second in the PJ Sugar Series, Double Trouble. You can read my review of book one, Nothing but Trouble, here.

What's the story?

PJ Sugar is training to be a PI--private investigator, that is! Her boss, Jeremy, has her doing jobs she feels are not the best use of her talents. However, their new case has her playing a new and challenging role. Can she do it? Will she succeed? And how in the world does she figure out who she is and where she's going?

What did Pattie think?

Once again, I enjoyed this latest from Susan May Warren, who is a wonderful writer. PJ Sugar is a heroine with spunk, overcommitment, and a little self-doubt. Every time she said "I promise" to someone else, I knew it would backfire on her eventually.

The mystery in this book is wonderfully multi-layered. Through it all, PJ searches for her true self, and learns that even when those you love want you to go back to the way things used to be, sometimes you just can't go back. Or, you don't want to.

I love the growing relationship between PJ and Jeremy, both on professional and increasingly personal levels. He sees her as she is, not as she was, like her old flame Boone.

Tension, tension! I look forward to the next book in the series.

The Contest:

DoubleTrouble

Be sure to enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway by clicking on the ‘Double the Sass” button! Susan’s giving away an iPod prize package that is anything but troubling! Check it out!

Prize Details

Double Trouble, the brand new PJ Sugar novel by Susan May Warren, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re running a HUMDINGER of a contest!!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:

* A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
* A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
* A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
* A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
* A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
* A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
* AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)

We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on March 1st.

THANK YOU to the gals at Lit Fuse Group for a review copy of this novel.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nothing but Trouble

I joined the book blog tour for this book last spring, but didn't get the book in time to review it for CFBA. So, when it did wend its way to my mailbox, I set it on the TBR pile, and gradually it worked its way down further toward the bottom.

Until now.

Because I'm slated to review the second book in the PJ Sugar series next week (yay!), I figured I'd read the first one.

I'm so glad I did!

First of all, Susan May Warren rocks. She just does. I love her stories. I love her style, her subject, her way of throwing real life into her books. Like Susan Meissner, she puts the Twin Cities in her novels, and I love that (I don't live there, but I have family there, and we're a half-day's drive away from where we live now).

PJ Sugar is a wonderfully flawed, yet grace-filled character. She's got sass, she has a past, and she loves Jesus and desires to follow Him always. But like the rest of us, she misses the mark more than she hits it.

I truly enjoyed this book. Truly. You can click here for a synopsis, and stop by here next week for the review of book #2, Double Trouble. Part women's lit, part romantic comedy, part suspense, it's got a little something for everyone.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Testing the waters

As you can see by the title, I'm Pattie and my husband is an Air Force chaplain.

I've been reading a lot of mil-wife blogs over the past few months, and while I already blog elsewhere, I thought I might try a new blog here specifically for the military part of my life.

Sometimes it feels like translating another language when I'm talking military life. Other times I learn so much from others who have walked the path ahead of me.

Come alongside this journey with me! It's only been eight years total, and not quite four on the active duty side.

CFBA Presents The Pastor's Wife

See my review at the end :)

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


The Pastor's Wife
Abingdon Press (February 2010)
by


Jennifer AlLee






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jennifer AlLee was born in Hollywood, California and for the first 10 years of her life lived over a mortuary one block from Hollywood and Vine. An avid reader and writer, she completed her first novel in high school. That manuscript is now safely tucked away, never again to see the light of day. Her first inspirational romance, The Love of His Brother, was released in November 2007 by Five Star Publisher.



Besides being a writer, she is a wife and mom. Living in Las Vegas, Nevada, her husband and teenage son have learned how to enjoy the fabulous buffets there without severely impacting their waistlines. God is good!



ABOUT THE BOOK



Maura Sullivan never intended to set foot in Granger, Ohio, again. But when circumstances force her to return, she must face all the disappointments she tried so hard to leave behind: a husband who ignored her, a congregation she couldn't please, and a God who took away everything she ever loved.



Nick Shepherd thought he had put the past behind him, until the day his estranged wife walked back into town. Intending only to help Maura through her crisis of faith, Nick finds his feelings for her never died. Now, he must admit the mistakes he made, how he hurt his wife, and find a way to give and receive forgiveness.



As God works in both of their lives, Nick and Maura start to believe they can repair their broken relationship and reunite as man and wife. But Maura has one more secret to tell Nick before they can move forward. It's what ultimately drove her to leave him three years earlier, and the one thing that can destroy the fragile trust they've built.



If you would like to read the first Chapter of The Pastor's Wife , go HERE

Pattie's Review:

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. And before you write me off as a cynic, let me explain.

As a former church pastor's wife (and current chaplain's wife), I am unusually harsh with any books about pastor's wives, fiction or nonfiction, short or long. I know not everyone's experience is like mine, praise God, or there'd be more men out there like Nick Shepherd. (Not that I ever left my husband, but still.)

So I began this book ready to do battle with any inconsistencies or irregularities.

Happily, I can report that this is a well-written story, and it's not too far-fetched, AND it deals with real issues in a non-accusatory way, with a little humor thrown in to soften the blow.

Best of all, I liked Maura. She's real. She struggles with something every pastor's wife, whether she will admit it or not, also deals with: BALANCE. How does the pastor balance his calling with his wife? How does the pastor's wife balance her marriage with the church, who is in essence the "other woman" (the Bride of Christ)? And how in the world does she compete with God?

The thing is, we can't compete with God. God is not asking us to compete with Him and His Church. Far from it.

My husband was once a young, enthusiastic pastor, and I struggled on and off for years with how to deal with the fact that it always seemed to me like the church came first. By the grace of God alone we made it through those early busy years. So Maura and Nick's struggle is probably pretty typical of young pastoral couples.

The other important lesson Maura learns, and I had to learn as well, is this: Don't try to serve outside God's call and God's gifting on your life. It won't work. It's a recipe for disaster and burnout. Church members, don't expect her to do everything just because of her husband's position in your church. She should be like any other church member, because she IS. Also, don't expect anything out of your pastor's wife that you aren't willing to do yourself, be it kitchen work, cooking, nursery, leading Bible study, or (Heaven help me!) playing the piano.

The novel is a pleasure to read, and it passes my scrutiny (for whatever that might be worth to you).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Important message from LitFuse Group and Kitchen Chat

"A mile a minute - that is how fast your child can disappear." Haunting and truthful words posted on the website for Klaas Kids.

On Friday, February 19th, Margaret McSweeney will interview Marc Klaas, father of Polly Klaas who was kidnapped and murdered in 1993. As a legacy to his daughter, Marc founded KlaasKids Foundation to help stop crimes against children. Please tune in to Kitchen Chat with Margaret McSweeney Friday at 11:00 am CST!

KlaasKids


Here is an excerpt from Marc's journal that is posted online:


"There is nothing that can prepare one for a murder trial. My family sits as the last few hours in Polly's life are dissected, analyzed, de-constructed, reconstructed, cross-referenced and compartmentalized. The constant assault on our sensibilities by horrible revelations that defy the principles of civilization seem overwhelming much of the time. It is impossible to withstand or rise above the continual dehumanizing facts that are revealed in a constant, monotonous stream of revelation. There is no room for anything but the processing of nightmarish information. The killer laughs throughout the video tape and I want to shout, yet I must sit unflinching and stone-faced for fear of causing a mistrial. Every day my family is drawn into the world of murder, mayhem, rape and deprivation and there is no way out."

Learn about effective ways to keep your children safe from harm and find out what you can do to help stop crimes against kids. Please tune in and call in with your questions for Marc this Friday 11-12 CST on Kitchen Chat.

kitchen chat

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chaim Potok

I read in the Writers Almanac today that it's author Chaim Potok's birthday.

For the longest time, he was my favorite author. Still ranks up there. The Chosen is a masterpiece, I think. I am not fond of his Korea writings as much as his Jewish ones, but they're still absolutely poetic in their style. My all-time favorite is still Davita's Harp.

From Garrison Keillor's email:

It's the birthday of Chaim Potok, (books by this author) born in the Bronx (1929). His parents were immigrants from Poland, and he grew up in a strict Orthodox Jewish culture. When he was about 14 years old, he happened to pick up a copy of Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh, and it changed his life. He said, "I lived more deeply inside the world in that book than I lived inside my own world." And over the years, he read as much as he could, and he moved away from his parents' strict beliefs. But when he started to write fiction, he went back to his childhood, and he wrote The Chosen (1967), a best-selling novel about two boys growing up together in Brooklyn in the 1940s. One of the boys, Danny, is expected to become a Hasidic rabbi like his father, but he is more interested in Freud and psychology. The other, Reuven, is more integrated into mainstream society. Potok continued their story in The Promise (1969), and wrote about similar conflicts between religious and secular communities in many more novels, including My Name is Asher Lev (1972), The Book of Lights (1981), and a group of three related novellas, Old Men at Midnight (2001).

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Welcome!

Welcome to my blog!

Monday, February 15, 2010

a Kiss for Cade Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Lori Copeland's A Kiss for Cade, sponsored by Glass Road PR.

About the story:

When Cade Kolby rode his horse out of town hot on the trail of a wanted man, he didn't wonder how he would leave the bounty hunter lifestyle behind.

Now the deaths of his sister and brother-in-law prompt a return visit and Cade once again sees Zoe, the fiery redhead he left so many years ago. He promised Zoe he'd come back. Seeing the beauty that has grown both inside and out, watching her love the children his sister left behind, Cade wonders anew why he never did return. Yet a bounty hunter cannot form the kind of ties he now desires. Wanted men will only see his loved ones as pawns to hurt Cade.

So Cade must walk away again, this time from both the woman he loves and his sister's children. There's no other way. Or is there?

Pattie's Review:

This is a sweet Western romance. Spunky heroine, handsome hero, and a passel of cute irresistible kids. Just when I thought it was a typical story and predictable, Copeland threw in a few twists I wasn't expecting. And that is what makes this better than the rest!

One of the strengths is most definitely the plot twists. The other strength is the town full of secondary characters. Delightfully odd without being really bizarre, these characters make the town more real.

This book was originally published in the general market, but it doesn't read like it at all.

One more comment: Three cheers for Missouri Girl Lori Copeland! I claim Missouri as my home state and am always thrilled to help a fellow Show-Me State gal!


To purchase the book, click here.

Special thanks to Glass Road PR for a review copy of this novel.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Ultimate Artistic Struggle

Here it is, in a nutshell: Do you wait for inspiration, or do you just get busy?

I came across my friend Victoria's blog again today on Facebook. We became friends because our husbands are lifelong friends, and a more fascinating woman you'd be hard-pressed to find. She is a person I greatly admire because she's fearless in her work, and encouraging of everyone she meets!

Here is a quote from a recent blog entry:

For those of you who are waiting for something MORE before you start the thing you want to work on (MORE research, MORE preparation, MORE thinking or reading about it…) just. get. started.

I can’t stress enough that TIME is of the essence. The time to begin is now. You can’t do the work if you don’t have SOMEthing to work ON — that means marks on the page, strokes on the canvas, words on the page, SOMEthing to edit and revise. One of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, once wrote a great essay about how, as a writer, all of his IDEAS for writing were these perfect pink smiling Gerber babies in his head. He could think about a piece of writing and it was ideal, shining, perfect in its abstraction… but when he wrote it down, yikes! It globbed out onto the page like roadkill, all disjointed and mangled, never eloquent or well stated. And then, his written monstrosity would haunt him, not at all the Gerber baby of an idea, but manifested as a horribly deformed creature who dribbles and leers from the shadows…

I adored that description the moment I read it! It summarized EVERYthing I always felt about my writing… but also held a valuable truth: you can’t do the WORK of something, until you have something tangible to work ON.

Write it down, sketch it out, get started… and then let the work begin!

Good stuff!

I choked

I really wanted to enter the Kindle contest tied in with Mary DeMuth's blog tour. I had two stories to choose from.

But I choked.

So much for being brave . . .

and kudos to those 80+ people who didn't.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Walking on Broken Glass Blog Tour

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Walking on Broken Glass


Abingdon Press (February 2010)


by


Christa Allan






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:





Christa Allan, a true Southern woman who knows any cook worth her gumbo always starts with a roux and who never wears white after Labor Day, weaves stories of unscripted grace with threads of hope, humor, and heart.



The mother of five and grandmother of three, Christa teaches high school English. She and her husband, Ken live in Abita Springs, Louisiana where they play golf, dodge hurricanes, and anticipate retirement.







ABOUT THE BOOK



Leah Thornton's life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But already sloshed from one-too-many drinks at a faculty party, Leah cruises the supermarket aisles in search of something tasty to enhance her Starbucks—Kahlua and a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice shatters the facade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears.



When her best friend Molly gets in Leah's face about her refusal to deal with her life, Leah is forced to make a decision. Can this brand-conscious socialite walk away from the country club into 28 days of rehab? Leah is sitting in the office of the local rehab center facing an admissions counselor who fails to understand the most basic things, like the fact that apple juice is not a suitable cocktail mixer.



Rehab is no picnic, and being forced to experience and deal with the reality of her life isn’t Leah’s idea of fun. Can she leave what she has now to gain back what she needs? Joy, sadness, pain and a new srength converge, testing her marriage, her friendships and her faith.



But through the battle she finds a reservoir of courage she never knew she had, and the loving arms of a God she never quite believed existed.



If you would like to read the first chapter of Walking on Broken Glass, go HERE

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Never Say Never Blog Tour

Welcome to the KCW Communications Blog Tour for Lisa Wingate's novel Never Say Never!

About the Book:

Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence. And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the wind blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.

Interview with Lisa Wingate:


1. How did you develop the initial story idea/plot line for this book?

Some book ideas you search for, and some just blow in on the wind. For the past several years, dating back to Hurricane Katrina, we in Central Texas have been the recipients of massive hurricane evacuations. These massive exoduses of people, pets, and belongings are frightening, frustrating, challenging, and at times oddly wonderful. When so many are on the road seeking shelter, the worst, but also the best qualities of humanity come to the surface. Hurricane evacuations truly provide times when we ask the question, "Am I my brother’s keeper?" In answering that question, we’ve enjoyed amazing moments of friendship and fellowship, family reunions, and chances to share a food and space with strangers from other parts of the country. We’ve traded stories and recipies, laughter and tears.

One thing we’ve learned about hurricanes, living here, is that the paths are never predictable. Storms waver, hesitate, speed up, slow down, and sometimes change course unexpectedly. Evacuations needs can change and develop quickly. What better way for the beauty shop girls to find their inner strength and to show Daily hospitality, than for their cruise plans to land them smack in the middle of a sudden and chaotic hurricane evacuation?

2. Almost every author puts a little of themselves into their stories—what did you put of yourself into this one? (personality traits, life events/jobs, settings, characters based on people you know, likes/dislikes, etc.)

There’s a bit of me in the setting, of course. I love Texas, in all its variety of cultures and landscapes, but, living in a small town, I have a particular affection for little bergs like Daily, where the coffee’s always hot, and a good slide of pecan pie can cure most ills. Having watched our little town mobilize to take in hurricane evacuees several times now, I’ve been reminded that sometimes the worst things that can happen bring out the best in people. Given the opportunity and faced with the need, regular people can rise to the occasion in amazing ways, as do the citizens of Daily in the book.

Some members of the Wingate family might also claim to recognize themselves among the citizens of Daily, Texas. I would offer the disclaimer that any resemblances are completely unintentional, but that would be a bald-faced lie. When you come from a family of great storytellers and colorful characters, there’s nothing to do but make use of what you’ve got.

3. Did you encounter any interesting challenges while writing/researching for this book? Please explain if so.

The most difficult part of working on Never Say Never was researching and reliving the devastation left behind on the Texas gulf coast last year after Hurricane Ike. While interviewing family members about their experiences during the evacuation and return, we shared laughter and quite a few tears. For those who have lived in southeast Texas all their lives, talking about familiar landmarks, heirlooms, and old family places that were washed away forever, knowing some things will never be the same, is both difficult and devastating. For those of us who have so many memories of family gatherings and vacations there, it’s hard to believe we’ll never visit the old places again.

4. Why is this book/story relevant today?

Despite our best-laid plans, we all experience storms in life—whether those storms be of a weather-related nature, or due to an illness, death, or in recent months, job loss and financial misfortune. When the parameters of life and our ability to control fate suddenly change, we’re confronted with our own helplessness and need to rely on other people and God. In a culture that values independence and self-sufficiency, it’s important to remember that we all have a common need and a common responsibility for each other and that without faith we really are alone in the storm.

About the Author:


Lisa Wingate is a popular inspirational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books, including Tending Roses, Talk of the Town, Drenched in Light, A Thousand Voices, and A Month of Summer. Her work was recently honored by the Americans for More Civility for promoting greater kindness and civility in American life. Lisa and her family live in central Texas.

Pattie's Review:

In the third of the Daily, Texas series of books, Lisa Wingate tackles a hurricane and its aftermath. Hurricane Glorietta hits the coast of Texas, forcing evacuations north, and cancelling the cruise Donetta Bradford was going on with her Daily friends Imagene and Lucy. Along the way, the three ladies are rescued by Kai Miller, a freespirited young woman who works on the cruise ship. Daily, Texas, also becomes shelter for a couple of dogs and an entire church family from the Louisiana Bayous.

I think this book addresses more faith-centered struggles than the previous two, although again the faith issues are more subtly woven into the narrative than some readers might like. Lisa Wingate is not a preachy writer. Instead, she creates humorous situations out of slice-of-life scenarios and shows how faith--and faith struggles--can play a role.

Overall, I enjoyed this third installment in the Daily series.

LEAVE A COMMENT on this post, and you'll be entered for a chance to win a grand prize package including the following:

Donetta and Imagene's Texas Road Trip Basket (approximate total value over $150)

Take a Texas road trip, without ever leaving home!

Featuring:

The Daily Texas Series by Lisa Wingate:

Talk Of the Town

Word Gets Around

Never Say Never

The Blue Sky Hills Series by Lisa Wingate:

A Month of Summer

The Summer Kitchen

Beyond Summer (a special advance copy not available in stores until July 2010)

Road Trip Snacks (Straight from Texas, of course!)

Wrap it all up with a fuzzy, fleecy Texas throw blanket for those cold nights on the road (or curled up with your books!)

Special thanks to KCW Communications for a review copy of this novel, which I will be donating to my local library.

Also published over at DCW Book Blog

Monday, February 08, 2010

Thin Places, a Memoir

Thin Places: A Memoir by Mary DeMuth

Beautiful, haunting, joyful, agonizing, stinging, loving, truthful. These are just a few of the adjectives I could use to describe this achingly wonderful memoir.

Reading this book, I feel like I understand Mary. She's honest and forthright, yet gentle at the same time. Using the "thin places" - events in her life that bring her closer to God - she shows a life redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb.

I think it's amazing for Mary to have written a memoir in this place in her life. It's like a column of Old Testament stones: a remembering. A monument that says, This is where I've been. Praise God for where He has brought me. Let my life be a remembering, an offering to Him.

As a woman who is close to Mary's age, I can strongly identify with the desire to make a difference in this world. Often I feel as if I am continually being led into ministry against my selfish will. I wonder how many women I have encountered, and will still encounter, who share some of Mary's experiences. May this book be used to minister to those women.

Media Release:

Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted and of the millions of sexual abuse and rape victims, 15 percent are under the age of 12, according to a 2007 study by the U.S. Department of Justice. Critically acclaimed author Mary DeMuth is among the millions of adults who are victims of childhood rape and are living with the emotional scars of the haunting abuse.

DeMuth bravely shares her painful story in her new memoir, Thin Places (February 2010). Repeatedly raped by two neighborhood boys at a young age, DeMuth details her traumatic and disturbing childhood in the memoir. Raised in a broken home, she lost her biological father when she was ten and was stripped of her innocence growing up in an unstable environment where drugs were commonplace.

But Thin Places is about hope and healing more than it is about the traumatic events of DeMuth’s childhood. According to DeMuth, thin places are “snatches of time, moments really, when we sense God intersecting our world in tangible, unmistakable ways.” When she encountered the true love of Jesus at a Young Life camp in high school, DeMuth’s life trajectory changed. God reassembled the pieces of her emotionally fragile self, which initiated true healing and peace.

“Folks may wonder why I’ve spent all this time looking back,” says DeMuth, “dredging up what God sees of my story, what my eyes see. Jesus says truth sets people free. This is my way of doing that—of telling the stark truth on the page so others can be set free.”

DeMuth’s desire is to see readers set free from their family secrets. In light of that, she’s started a blog for readers to anonymously share their family secrets. Since the blog launched in February 2009, over 200 survivors have emailed their family secrets for DeMuth to anonymously post, and the blog was featured on Christianity Today’s blog, Her.meneutics. For more information, visit: http://blog.myfamilysecrets.org.


Special thanks to Zondervan for a review copy of this novel, and to Tina of Blog Tour Spot for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Thoughts on a Sunday

I'm taking a few moments to blog tonight, before things get crazy around here with football and sorting paperwork and organizing my week.

Last week my husband was TDY (for my civilian readers, TDY stands for Temporary DutY, or a short trip away; in contrast, a deployment is a long trip away). So it was all I could do to work, go to school, finish my poetry projects for creative writing class (which are DONE! Hallelujah!), and even more daunting: sorting my books. Not all of them, just the ones double-stacked on one shelf (not the whole bookshelf, which I share with Chaplain Hubby--just the top shelf!) and hidden in a closet. I think about thirty books have left the house this week!

(I have this love affair with books....)

I'm still reading the Bible, but I'm quite behind in the Bible in 90 Days challenge. I'm not giving up, even though I'm tempted to do so. I will likely finish in 180! But God is an awesome, wonderful God and I've come further than ever before in reading the Bible completely through!

You'll be seeing a lot of book reviews coming up, and I'll still be over at Wives of Faith too. If you're a military wife, stop by and say hello. We have a great team of writers so it's not just me, and we are talking about Love and being God Strong this month.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

CFBA presents Never Say Never

My review at the end :)

This week, the


Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


is introducing


Never Say Never


Bethany House (February 1, 2010)


by


Lisa Wingate






ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Lisa lives in central Texas were she is a popular inspriational speaker, magazine columnist, and national bestselling author of several books. Her novel, Tending Roses, received dozens of five-star reviews, sold out thirteen printings for New York publisher, Penguin Putnam, and went on to become a national bestselling book. Tending Roses was a selection of the Readers Club of America, and is currently in its fourteenth printing.



The Tending Roses series continued with Good Hope Road, the Language of Sycamores, Drenched in Light, and A Thousand Voices. In 2003, Lisa's Texas Hill Country series began with Texas Cooking, and continued with Lone Star Cafe', which was awarded a gold metal by RT Bookclub magazine and was hailed by Publisher's Weekly as "A charmingly nostalgic treat." The series concluded with Over the Moon at the Big Lizard Diner.



Lisa is now working on a new set of small-town Texas novels for Bethany House Publishers. The series debuted with Talk of the Town and continued with Word Gets Around and Never Say Never. A new series is also underway for Peguin Group NAL, beginning with A Month of Summer (July 2008), and continuing with The Summer Kitchen (July 2009) and Beyond Summer (July 2010). Lisa's works have been featured by the National Reader's Club of America, AOL Book Pics, Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, American Profiles and have been chosen for the LORIES best Published Fiction Award. In 2009, A Month of Summer was nomiated for the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award.





ABOUT THE BOOK



Kai Miller floats through life like driftwood tossed by waves. She's never put down roots in any one place--and she doesn't plan to. But when a chaotic hurricane evacuation lands her in Daily, Texas, she begins to think twice about her wayfaring existence.



And when she meets hometown-boy Kemp Eldridge, she can almost picture settling down in Daily--until she discovers he may be promised to someone else. Daily has always been a place of refuge for those the winds blows in, but for Kai, it looks like it will be just another place to leave behind. Then again, Daily always has a few surprises in store--especially when Aunt Donetta has cooked up a scheme.





If you would like to read the first chapter of Never Say Never, go HERE

Pattie's Review:

In the third of the Daily, Texas series of books, Lisa Wingate tackles a hurricane and its aftermath. Hurricane Glorietta hits the coast of Texas, forcing evacuations north, and cancelling the cruise Donetta Bradford was going on with her Daily friends Imagene and Lucy. Along the way, the three ladies are rescued by Kai Miller, a freespirited young woman who works on the cruise ship. Daily, Texas, also becomes shelter for a couple of dogs and an entire church family from the Louisiana Bayous.

I think this book addresses more faith-centered struggles than the previous two, although again the faith issues are more subtly woven into the narrative than some readers might like. Lisa Wingate is not a preachy writer. Instead, she creates humorous situations out of slice-of-life scenarios and shows how faith--and faith struggles--can play a role.

Overall, I enjoyed this third installment in the Daily series.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Double Trouble Contest

DoubleTrouble

Be sure to enter the Double Trouble Prize Package Giveaway by clicking on the ‘Double the Sass” button! Susan’s giving away an iPod prize package that is anything but troubling! Check it out!

Prize Details

Double Trouble, the brand new PJ Sugar novel by Susan May Warren, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re running a HUMDINGER of a contest!!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a $150 SUPER SLEUTH prize package that includes:

* A brand new iPod Shuffle (perfect for those all-night stakeouts)
* A $10 iTunes gift card (we recommend the ALIAS soundtrack)
* A $10 Amazon gift card (why yes, they do sell spy pens)
* A $10 Starbucks gift card (for fuel, obviously)
* A pair of designer sunglasses (be stealthy AND super chic)
* A gorgeous scarf from World Market (can also be used as a blindfold, and/or for tying up bad guys)
* AND signed copies of both Nothing But Trouble & Double Trouble. (romance! danger! intrigue! sooo much better than Surveillance for Dummies!)

We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on March 1st.

February already?

Is it really the first of February already? Where did January go?

Well, the same struggles each day: how do I spend my time as wisely as I can, completing as many things as I can? I can't say I'm succeeding, but it's fair to say I've begun to make some changes. Good ones.

In terms of the goals for this year, a bullet list:
  • I am about two weeks behind on Bible in 90 Days. I may not make it by the end of March, but by golly, I'm doing better than I ever have in previous attempts at reading the Bible through!

  • I am finding the writing of poetry to be extraordinarily difficult. Bring on the nonfiction unit, quickly!

  • I am absolutely succeeding in writing something every day. Having a writing class helps that, and I have also been journaling in my personal journal nearly daily. Plus emails help too!

  • I am still trying to figure out how to fit in my regular writing and editing gig at Wives of Faith; some days I have it all together, but other days I get those emails that make me think I can't do it and should quit already. Praise God for Sara Horn, one of the most encouraging people ever!

  • I've only read 6 books this month; I shoot for a goal of 10 each month.

  • Facebook is too much fun and I spend too much time there. 'Nuff said.
On the plus side: I was able to contribute to Sara Horn's new book GOD Strong, and I'd encourage you to visit her site to learn more. My portion is only about a page long, but I was thrilled to share about the dead bird. Really.

I wish you all a great week!