Thursday, May 19, 2011

Holy Guacamole!

Welcome to the Holy Guacamole! blog tour, sponsored by Glass Road PR.


Holy Guacamole

Debut authors Dan and Denise Harmer deliver a thrilling food-lover's adventure in Holy Guacamole. The culinary tale hurtles a television chef and a washed-up sports writer into a harrowing escapade that may cost them their lives.

When Trace Domingo is accepted into Chef Bonnie Miller's culinary boot camp, a life-threatening journey into Bonnie's past unfolds. In a vulnerable moment, Trace discovers part of Bonnie's closely-held secret. She hasn't yet decided to trust the "bootie" when a crisis makes the choice for her. The pair embark on a race against the clock across southern California and northern Baja in Mexico.

Laced with local references, historical sites, and culinary delights, Holy Guacamole is a fun summer beach read.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book go to support the ministry of Outside the Bowl.

Pattie's Review:

While I enjoyed the book after a while, it did not immediately capture my attention. However, I pressed on so that I could review the book for Glass Road (who generously sent me a copy for review). The story really did pick up after a while.

Part of the issue with my enjoyment is that I generally don't connect with male narrators right away. The narrator, Trace, seemed like a nice enough guy with a desire to learn to be a chef, and of course he has a crush on Bonnie the chef, but beyond that, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to read his story. Besides, I wasn't sure what attraction these two shared beyond their love for food. They have a wild and bumpy ride, and that's not just a metaphor.

If you love foodie things, you'll like this story. If you have a heart for missions to Mexico, you will enjoy the latter part of the story (can't break the Reviewer Code and say more than that!).

Thank you to Glass Road PR for a review copy of this novel.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fade to Blue

My review is at the end. Thanks so much for visiting and reading!
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Fade to Blue
B&H Books (May 15, 2011)
Julie Carobini


A word from the author:

I grew up as Julie Navarro, in a family of truly right-brained individuals. Among us you’ll find writers, artists, and musicians, all of us willing to talk about the arts at a moment’s notice.

Over the years, I’ve published several hundred articles and stories in magazines and books, including Aspire, Decision, Expecting, Focus on the Family, Key Magazine and God’s Abundance: 365 Days to a Simpler Life. As I wrote, I found a common theme cropping up: my family, the sea, and God’s timely work in the lives of those around me.

Maybe it was time to incorporate those interests into novels, I thought.

And so I did. Not once, but twice. Both times, God shut both doors and windows. So I continued to write and dream and raise my kids with Dan. Eventually I decided to write romantic seaside novels, and that’s where I found my voice.

When I’m not writing, marketing, or editing for others, I’m driving my kids around town, imagining that my mid-sized SUV is actually a sleek sailing yacht.


Suz Mitchell is the determined dreamer we should all be and won't allow her ex-husband Len's jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah's life. An accomplished artist, she moves with her child across the country to California's central coast and lands a sweet job restoring priceless paintings at the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the ocean.

To her utter surprise, a serious old flame, Seth, is also now working at Hearst and jumbles the dreams inside Suz's heart. While sorting out the awkwardness of their past split and current spiritual differences, a repentent Len shows up eager to restore his family.

Suz must learn to let God be the true restorer of all that once seemed lost.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Fade to Blue, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

While I did like this book, I have to be honest and say it is not my favorite Julie Carobini novel (That would be Chocolate Beach). Suz is a likeable enough heroine, but it does seem a little unreal that everyone she meets is charmed by her. However, I do identify with her being harder on herself than others are on her. I'm that way myself.

I wonder, too, if perhaps I would have had a little more invested in the characters if I'd read the first two in this Otter Bay series. This is book three, and while I think there was enough backstory about Suz's brother Gage and his Callie to get the general idea, I do think I might have missed some things about Suz in that book.

The story is good, suspenseful enough but not too scary, and we do figure out the bad guy pretty early on - the twist is, we don't know how and why he's the bad guy, and what he is really after, until the end. The ending is satisfying, but felt rushed to me - maybe a little more time taken with the falling action and denouement would have made it a little bit more believable to me instead of boom, it's over, the bad guy is locked up.

The spiritual lessons of divorce and forgiveness are well-played out and addressed. Both of these tend to be touchy subjects, and the author handles them well without giving a black-and-white answer to a very gray subject area.

Overall, a solid new novel from Carobini, with plenty of grace.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Dining With Joy

What do you do with a cooking show host that can't cook?

You cover it up, apparently. Because Joy's the host of her own show and she can not seem to make any edible food. Her father's legacy and cooking show empire is at stake, so she and her crew continue the charade.

Enter Luke, the cook at the Frogmore Cafe (which readers of Rachel Hauck will recognize from previous novels), who is keeping Joy's secret while creating the dishes that will make her famous.

As always Rachel Hauck puts likeable heroines in impossible situations and lets the story and the romance play out. She does a great job of letting Joy's cover-up unravel with the help of one gleeful nemesis Wenda Devine, a rival cooking show chef.

The love story is well played and the spiritual lesson about truth and truth-telling is clear without being preachy. I enjoyed this novel.

Originally written for Christian Bookworm

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Yes, I skipped it

I don't know how many people noticed that I skipped the third day of the blog tour for Wives of Faith. Why?

It's hard to think of 11 things that are amazing about myself.

I was raised not to brag, or call attention to myself by my clothing or makeup or hair. I guess that tendency to try and fade into the background, at the same time wanting to make a difference in this world, has led to me quietly doing my work without much fanfare. And when someone wants to give me a little fanfare, I brush it away like unwanted eraser dust.


But I can brag on my husband and girls all the livelong day. :)

CFBA Presents an Unlikely Suitor

My review is at the end :)
This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
An Unlikely Suitor
Bethany House (May 1, 2011)
Nancy Moser


Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty inspirational novels. Her genres include contemporary stories including John 3:16 and Time Lottery a Christy Award winner, and historical novels of real women-of-history including Just Jane (Jane Austen) and Washington's Lady (Martha Washington). Her newest historical novels are Masquerade and An Unlikely Suitor. Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She’s earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives Sister Circle Seminars around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She is a fan of anything antique—humans included. Find out more at and and her historical blog:


New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she's designing her 1895 summer wardrobe. Grateful for Lucy's skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship.

One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry an Italian dressmaker working to support her family?

Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn't love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better?

And Lucy's teenage sister, Sofia, falls for a man well above her social class--but is he willing to give up everything to marry a woman below his station?

As the lives of three young woman--and their unlikely suitors--become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness?

If you would like to read the first chapter of An Unlikely Suitor, go HERE.

Pattie's Review:

I really enjoyed this latest Nancy Moser novel. I have been a fan of hers since the days when I reviewed "The Invitation" for Multnomah, and I've enjoyed each of her books I've read ever since.

I particularly liked the characterization, and how she is able to climb into a historical time and place and make it seem almost like I'm there with the characters.

Highly recommended.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

11 Things To Do in Alaska

Wives of Faith - Connecting, Encouraging and Supporting Military Wives

List 11 fun things to see or do in your current or upcoming duty station.

I have found that this is something common with military families--making a list of things to do while you're living where you are. One of the first good pieces of advice I was given when my husband went active duty, is to be a tourist where you are: visit the historical sites and learn as much as you can while you're there.

So, we made a list for North Dakota when we moved there...and two things I didn't get to see were the Northern Lights and moose. But we saw the western North Dakota Badlands of Teddy Roosevelt fame; the Medora Musical; Grand Forks and Fargo; Winnipeg, Manitoba--including the Royal Winnipeg Ballet; the Red River of the North that flows north (yeah, it's weird to stand next to a body of water flowing the wrong direction!). You get the idea.

We made a list for San Antonio as well: The Alamo (and yes, we remember it); the Riverwalk; art museums (the girls & I have visited all of them); my friend Teri and her family. That was pretty much it, I guess. We've enjoyed our time here but are ready to go to less crowded, cooler climates.

That brings me to our upcoming duty station, and my personal list of 11 things for ALASKA! {with updates as of March 5, 2012}

Here they are, in no particular order...

  1. I really, really want to see the Northern Lights. I wanted to in ND, but the few days a year they were visible from that location, it was either storming, or cloudy. {Done! January 2012}
  2. See moose. I've read there are over 1000 resident moose in Anchorage, so I'm sure I'll see them around. {Done! Several times. So awesome!}
  3. See bears. Yes, I know they are dangerous and you should not leave trash out because they'll dig in it, and that they are scary, but I do want to see them.
  4. I would love to take a whale-watching trip to see the beluga whales in the wild.
  5. Mountains. Seeing real mountains with snowcaps. I've been a Midwest girl since 1979 when we moved away from California. I've lived in Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and North Dakota. Hills, yes. Prairie, definitely. But no mountains! {Done! Day #1, actually. July 2011}
  6. Visit the Alaska Native Heritage Center and learn about Alaskan culture. It will be fascinating. For that matter, any museums of any kind while we're there. The geek in me loves this stuff.
  7. See part of the Iditarod next year, if we can. AWESOMENESS. {Oops! Missed the ceremonial beginning because I thought it was in the afternoon.}
  8. We won't be up there for the summer solstice this year, but I want to stay up and see the longest day of the year next summer, so far north that the sun will barely set before it rises again. Ditto the winter solstice, where the day is very, very short. I'm sure I won't miss that one...
  9. See a glacier.
  10. Pan for gold.
  11. See the salmon swim.
Of course, we'll have our normal busy lives--school, work, chapel, ministry. But if we can do these things while we're there, it will be fun.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thursday, May 05, 2011

11 Things I Love About Being an AF Chaplain's Wife

Wives of Faith - Connecting, Encouraging and Supporting Military Wives

List 11 things in 2011 that you love about being the wife of a soldier/sailor/airman/marine/coast guardsman/national guardsman/reservist!

  1. My husband's home more often as a chaplain than he was as a pastor (deployment is different, but TDYs are about the same for him as when he went to conferences or conventions.). It's awesome.

  2. He gets to rotate his on-call times with his coworkers. When he was a pastor, it was just him, 24/7, year in and year out.

  3. Having professional movers pack us up and move us out! It's just one less thing to deal with when moving.

  4. My husband looks REALLY good in his dress uniforms. Mmmmmm!

  5. I can choose my level of involvement in the chapel. I don't know if it's just my experiences or that I've matured into myself more now, but if I don't want to be involved, I just say no. I don't feel nearly the level of obligation that I did when my husband was single-staff pastor of a small rural church. Of course I support my husband's chapel ministry, but *I* choose what I want to do and feel gifted in. That freedom is precious to me.

  6. We are financially a whole lot better off now than when we were in church ministry.

  7. PWOC. I could not be a part of Protestant Women of the Chapel if he wasn't in the military. I love this organization!

  8. New friends, old friends, ALL friends. I treasure each friend I make in my heart. Good thing God made my heart flexible enough to stretch to include each one, and they span the globe now.

  9. Being a military wife has opened up a whole new culture for me--and new writing opportunities are opening up for me as well.

  10. I'll just go ahead and say it: moving so often helps me purge. Packrat me is sometimes sad, but minimalist husband is glad. And in the end, I'm glad too.

  11. My girls are having so many more opportunities for activities, for learning, for service, for travel, and to grow as young ladies, than they ever would have if we'd stayed put at home.

blog carnival!

Visit each day over the weekend for our Top 11 lists!

Review: The Dinner List

The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle My rating: 4 of 5 stars I heard about this novel last month. It sounded great, because who hasn't m...