Friday, August 24, 2012

Join me on a 5 Minute Friday

JOIN--at Lisa Jo formerly Gypsy Mama

"Join the club."

How many times do we use that phrase?

"I'm tired."
"Join the club."

"I don't have money to go out today."
"Join the club."

"I don't see how we can fit one more thing into our schedule."
"Join the club."

You see what I mean? We're so quick to try to identify with people's problems or issues, we are like, "Yeah, join the club...I'm there too, let's be together."

The problem is, it seems so negative. It's not an understanding of "I understand your feelings" or even a sympathetic "I've been there and survived, and so will you."  No, it's a cynical little "suck it up" kind of response.

"Join the club."

I've had enough of "suck it up" kind of responses from people. I get that a lot in the military world (interestingly, more online than in person). We need less of that and more of a sense of belonging and community, a sense of "let's live this life together, and let's pray for each other."


Wow, I don't know why I went this direction with the word "join." Guess that's what is on my heart. I'm sure it's not as nice and welcoming a post as others (I never read others' 5 Minute Friday posts till I'm done---it's the teacher in me that won't let me do anything that's remotely like cheating!), but for whatever reason it's what flowed out of my hands today.

It's even a good day! Will you JOIN me in rejoicing that we have another day on this earth to hug our families and friends? To make a difference for Jesus?

/end of 5 minutes/

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tidewater Inn by Colleen Coble

Welcome to the LitFuse book blog tour for Colleen Coble's latest novel Tidewater Inn.

About the book:

Welcome to Hope Beach. A place of intoxicating beauty . . . where trouble hits with the force of a hurricane.

Inheriting a beautiful old hotel on the Outer Banks could be a dream come true for Libby. The inn cries out for her restorer’s talent and love of history. She’s delighted to learn of the family she never knew she had. And the handsome Coast Guard lieutenant she’s met there on the island could definitely be the man of her dreams.

But Libby soon realizes that the only way she can afford the upkeep on the inn is to sell it to developers who are stalking the island. The father who willed her the inn has died before she could meet him, and her newfound brother and sister are convinced she’s there to steal their birthright. Worst of all, her best friend and business partner has been kidnapped before her eyes, and Libby’s under suspicion for the crime.

Libby’s dream come true is becoming a nightmare. Her only option is to find her friend and prove her innocence, or lose everything on the shores of Hope Island.

About the author:

Best-selling author Colleen Coble's novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, ACFW Book of the Year, RWA’s RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers and is a member of Romance Writers of America. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.

Visit her website at Twitter @colleencoble.

Pattie's Review:

This is my second Colleen Coble novel (although I'm familiar with her name from ACFW, I hadn't read her books before this summer); the first one I read a couple weeks ago was Alaska Twilight and I found it on the Alaskana shelf at the public library. I enjoyed it, and it was accurate as far as I can tell after one year living in the largest state.

I wanted to love Tidewater Inn more than I did. The premise was good, the character's profession of historical preservation is one that is fascinating, and the unsolved mysteries within the plot sounded really intriguing. However, I don't know if it was because I read a galley on my Kindle or what, but the structure of the novel seemed a bit "off" to me. It kept going back and forth between Libby and Nicole, and the real estate developers and Alec and his orphaned nephew. Not only was it jumpy, but the redemption and forgiveness seemed to come a bit too easily and smoothly for all involved {and I can't give more details because it would break the reviewer's code of conduct :) }.

I think fans of Coble will be happy with this novel, and fans of Christian romantic suspense fiction will enjoy it as well. Will I continue with the series? I'm not sure yet.

More information:

To read others' reviews, click here.

Enter Today - 8/3-8/23!
Celebrate with Colleen by entering to win a $500 gift certificate to!

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $500 gift certificate to
  • A copy of Tidewater Inn.
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 22nd. Winner will be announced at Colleen's "Tidewater Inn" Author Chat Facebook Party on 8/23. Colleen will be sharing the story behind the book, hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, and of course, there will be plenty of fun giveaways - books, gift certificates and a Book Club Prize Pack! She’ll also be giving a sneak peak of her next book too!

So grab your copy of Tidewater Inn and join Colleen on the evening of the August 23rd  for a chance to connect with Colleen and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER about Colleen's giveaway and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Thank you to LitFuse, the author, and publisher Thomas Nelson
for an ebook review copy of this novel from NetGalley for my Kindle.

Friday, August 10, 2012

5 Minute Friday: Connect

CONNECT--at Lisa Jo formerly Gypsy Mama

Connections are so important.

I see my ministry as one of connection--connecting with women, connecting women with each other, and making sure that as far as it lies with me, no one is ever alone.

I think it's one of my ministries---especially on Facebook. Say what you will about that social networking site, but I've seen time and again how connections are made within my small but growing circle of acquaintance.

I'm not bragging, I'm just saying.

I have also made an effort this year to connect--really connect--with my girls. My goal is to look each of them in the eye at least once per day, tell them I love them, and give them a hug.

Sometimes this is not as easy as it might seem, and as both of them are in the throes of adolescent hormones and growing and learning about people and relationships and gaining and losing friends in this transient military life we live. I often feel like life is lived just like the previous run-on sentence: full speed ahead, act before thinking, jump into each day, speak before thinking. I don't like it much, and I'm trying to change, to live life with more purpose. Some days it works, some days it doesn't.

Make an effort today to connect--either here with me or in your own house--or with a friend across the street.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Failing Forward?

I know someone out there in cyberspace will read this and think, Get over yourself, already. And maybe I do need to get over myself. But I also need somewhere to be real, and this would be that place.

I've had this blog for several years now, and for the past few months it's really been about writing exercises and book reviews. But I also tried a couple of challenges: photo a day through July, and Bible in 90 (ok, really 99) Days. I quit the photos about July 8th, and I'm still weeks behind in the B90Days challenge.

Instead of concentrating on all that I've accomplished this summer, I look at those failed attempts (as well as the uncompleted list of summer tasks) as well as all my weak moments of the deployment, and all I see is a big fat F for failure.

My friend Sara said she'd been reading a book by John Maxwell called Failing Forward, and on a whim I looked through my husband's books and found it. (He had to move offices right before his deployment as his assignment changed for the upcoming year, so his books are now downstairs as his new office has no bookshelves.) It's now in a stack of about fifteen books I'd wanted to read this summer, but - you guessed it - I haven't yet finished.

I think it's one I will need to read. While goals are worthwhile, I tend to berate myself badly if I don't finish them.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Blog Tour: Love Finds You in Mackinac Island

Welcome to the blog tour for 
Melanie Dobson

About the novel:

As the Gilded Age comes to a close, Elena Bissette's once-wealthy family has nearly lost its fortune. The Bissettes still own a home on fashionable Mackinac Island, where they will spend one last summer in the hope of introducing Elena to a wealthy suitor. But Elena is repulsed by the idea of marrying for money. 

Quickly tiring of the extravagant balls, Elena spends most evenings escaping back into Mackinac's rugged forest. There she meets Chase, a handsome laborer who shares her love for the night sky. The two begin to meet in secret at an abandoned lighthouse, where they work together to solve a mystery buried in the pages of a tattered diary.

 As Elena falls in love with Chase, her mother relentlessly contrives to introduce her to Chester Darrington, the island's most eligible bachelor. Marriage to the elusive millionaire would solve the Bissettes' financial woes, and Elena is torn between duty and love.

About the author:

Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside's Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense).

 Melanie received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Liberty University and her master's degree in communication from Regent University. Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years.

 Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction. For more about Melanie Dobson and her books, visit

Pattie's Review:

I've seen quite a few of these titles published in the past few years, but I have not yet read any of them until now.

I thought the story was very sweet, and I enjoyed it. It was a nice read, and while the reader is in on a few secrets from early on, the main characters themselves are not, which causes some confusion and hurt feelings. Never fear, however, all turns out right in the end.

My favorite part of the story was, of course, the main character Elena. I appreciated her kind heart, her caring for the family's servant Jillian, her mother (even when she drove Elena a bit nuts with all the marriage talk), the soldiers, and even her sensitivity to gossip amongst her social set. I also liked her love of astronomy and seeing God in the universe.

Overall, I would recommend this novel to fans of sweet Christian romance set in a lovely location.

Celebrate with Melanie by entering her Kindle Fire Giveaway!

Find out what the reviewers are saying here!

One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Signed copies of Melanie’s Love Find You books: Love Finds you in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa, Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa, and Love Finds You in Liberty, Indiana.
But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/4/12. The winner will be announced on 8/6/12 at Melanie's blog!

Just click one of the icons below to enter! Tell your friends about Melanie's giveaway on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from LitFuse and Summerside Press for review.

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...