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Apr 30, 2012
Surrender the WindSurrender the Wind by Rita Gerlach
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very enjoyable story set in the years following the Revolutionary War. The story starts in Virginia at the end of the war with Seth Braxton surviving a close encounter with some British soldiers. At the end of the war, Seth finds out he inherits an estate in England, the estate his sister was taken to when the war started. He plans to go to England, see to the welfare of his sister, and return to America. That is... until he meets Juleah. Love and conspiracy follow and complicate all his plans. And those British officers he encountered? They show up again. No spoilers here, but read the book! I highly recommend it.
Apr 21, 2012
Her Rodeo Cowboy (Love Inspired) (Mule Hollow Homecoming, #1)Her Rodeo Cowboy (Love Inspired) by Debra Clopton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


A fun romp around the barrels in this rodeo romance. Though neither is looking for love, Montana and Luke run smack-dab into it. I love how clueless Luke is at the beginning. So very... male. But with the help of the local "posse" of matchmakers, he gets it figured out. The interaction between Montana and Luke is fun and feisty. A good read to relax and unwind with, suitable for any age interested in romance.
Apr 16, 2012
Journey's EndJourney's End by Dora Hiers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Journey's End is a suspenseful tale of romance and law enforcement.  Chelsea lost her husband, an undercover police officer, and three years later, his killer's son appears at her shelter for needy teenagers.  U.S. Marshal Trey Colten arrives to keep her safe from the kid's father.  Their relationship heats up quickly but she wants nothing to do with another man in law enforcement. 

Well written and entertaining to the end, with a few twists I didn't expect.  Dora Hiers does a nice job with the romance in this story.  It's fun, tense, and heats up enough to keep the reader interested but is still suitable for teenagers on up.  I highly recommend it!
Apr 12, 2012
Lynnette Bonner is joining me for the Christian Writer’s Blog Chain today and our topic this month is JOY. She is enjoying the release of her second novel, High Desert Haven. Lynnette is also a member of Christianwriters.com and is known by the username Zanzibar. It’s a joy to have you here, Lynnette!

Thanks for having me, Pegg! :)

During the process of writing, editing, and now releasing High Desert Haven, what brought you the most joy and why?

Wow, that is a hard question to answer. The writing of High Desert Haven was spread out over several years – I had started the book, and then took a break from writing, but picked it up again after my boys went off to school. I think I’d have to say the day I wrote the last line brought me the most joy! That is always such a feeling of accomplishment. I just turned in the 4th book of the series a few days ago and with each successive story I keep thinking, “Completing this book is going to be easier than that last one,” but each time I’ve been let down, so far! :)

High Desert Haven is a romance so there must be some joyous moments for your characters. Describe a joyful moment Nicki Trent experiences. Share an excerpt if you like.

There is a key moment of joy toward the end of the book, but to share that one would be to give too much of the story away, so I will share this excerpt from early on in the book. Dominique Trent (Nicki) has lost her husband to a mysterious riding accident. A man has come to apply for the job, but she really doesn’t know much about him. She’s trying to run her ranch mostly alone, and needs someone she can trust by her side. Is this man trustworthy? She needs to be sure. There’s that moment of elation when she discovers he’s a believer, like she is.

This section starts out during a conversation she’s having with Tilly, her neighbor who comes over to help watch Nicki’s son. (And to see Nicki’s handsome, young, ranch hand, Conner. :) )

   “So? Who is he?” Tilly got back to the subject at hand, gesturing out the window.
   “He has come to apply for the foreman job.”
   Tilly peered out the little circle again. “Wait until I tell Janice. If he stopped in town, I bet she talked him into a corner. She always talks too much when she gets nervous. And you know how she gets around good looking men.” She glanced at the man out the window one more time. “He does have blue eyes, doesn’t he?” Tilly’s nervousness over the gunfire was making her own tongue run from the middle.
   “Sí.” Nicki took another sip of coffee, trying to push the thought of those alluring blue eyes from her mind. “Pero, no es oro todo lo que reluce.”
   Tilly turned toward her with a puckered brow. “What?”
   “All is not gold that glitters. You don’t have any idea what he is like. Just because he is fine-looking doesn’t mean that he is kind and loving. Nor that he loves our Savior, no?” Nicki spoke the words to Tilly but inwardly realized that she was preaching herself a sermon.
   Tilly wrinkled her nose. “I suppose you’re right.” But she quickly returned to high spirits. Her face brightened and she said animatedly, “It will give Janice and me something to talk about, though. It’s not often that strangers come through town, much less ones as good-looking as him. And the very day he arrives, you are shot at and he saves you!”
   Nicki smiled at Tilly’s adolescent romanticism. “Better than me being shot at and him not saving me, yes?”
   Tilly chuckled.
   Stepping over to the rag rug where Sawyer played with his pile of blocks, Nicki squatted down, ruffling his hair. For a time she closed her eyes, enjoying the feel of his little head beneath her hand, thanking God she was still here to enjoy it. When she opened her eyes he was staring up at her. She smiled. “How is Mama’s big boy this morning?”
The eighteen-month-old grinned at her, banging two blocks together. “Hi, Mama! Watch dis.” He stacked the two blocks on top of each other, adding a third, his tongue held between his teeth in concentration, then joyfully knocked over the tower.
   “Wow!” Nicki said enthusiastically. “Can you do it again?”
   “No.”
   Nicki shook her head at his independent spirit. If she hadn’t asked for a repeat performance, he probably would have contented himself with doing the same thing over and over all morning. But since it had been her suggestion to do it again, it no longer sounded like fun.
   A knock sounded on the door.
   Tilly moved to open it as Nicki seated herself at the table, trying to compose her thoughts. What questions do I need to ask? I don’t know the first thing about running a ranch, so how do I know what to ask him? He might not even want the job after what he’s seen.
   Jason was taller than John had been. For where there had been plenty of room for John’s head, even in this low-ceilinged building, Jason’s hair almost touched. He curled the brim of his hat into one hand, tapping it against his leg. Tilly traded him the hat for a cup of coffee, and he thanked her warmly. A blush skittered across her cheeks, but he didn’t seem to notice. His gaze was fixed on the little boy playing on the braided rug, a sudden tenderness in his eyes.
   Nicki watched as his sorrow-filled glance flickered from Sawyer, to the floor, into his coffee, and then back to the baby, finally settling on her face. “I’m so sorry for your loss, Mrs. Trent.”
   Nicki could barely speak around the lump that suddenly formed in her throat. “Thank you.”
   Jason looked back to Sawyer. “I lost my father when I was just a little older than he is, my mother a few years later.”
   “I’m sorry.”
   A sad light was still in his eyes as he pulled out a chair and seated himself. “It worked out. I don’t know if I would ever have come to serve the Lord if I hadn’t been raised by my grandmother.”
   Even as elation surged, Nicki heard Tilly give a little gasp from where she stood by the stove. So the glitter might have a little gold in it.

Joy can sneak up on you sometimes, and find you in places and in situations you don’t expect. How does joy surprise Nicki and Jason in your novel?

Neither character was in a position of looking for love, yet love sort of sneaks up on both of them in this book. For Nicki, it is the joy in finding love for the first time – even though she’s been married before. For Jason, it is the joy in second chances from a God of mercy who doesn’t hold our past mistakes against us.

What type of comment from someone who reads High Desert Haven would bring you the most joy?

“I loved this book so much I’d like to buy 100,000 copies so I can give one to everyone I meet!”

Oh, not that kind of comment? :)  Hey, who wouldn't like that kind of comment?!
No, seriously, my whole purpose in writing is to hopefully help others to see that God loves them unconditionally and has good things for them. I think the comment with regard to my first book Rocky Mountain Oasis that brought me the most joy was from a woman who had never read a Christian fiction book before. She was a manager at my local Borders store, which has since shut down. She wrote up a promotional poster and displayed my book in the center aisle of the store for a few days. The gist of what she said was that the story remained with her long after she turned the last page, and gave her a lot to think about. Oh what joy! If my book was her first tiny seed of introduction to God and His goodness… I’ve prayed for her often, since that time. Don’t know where she is, now. But God does.

So something along those lines… may people be drawn to His Truth!

Any other joyful thoughts to share with the Chain Gang today, Lynnette?

I guess just this…. We’ve all been created for a certain purpose. And our creator has set out certain rules for us to live by. When we choose to ignore those rules and do things our own way, destruction comes into our lives. Ah, but when we live the way God intended us to live, then we find True Joy.

May True Joy be yours!

Lynnette’s books are published by OakTara and are available in Christian bookstores. She has a webpage http://www.lynnettebonner.com/ where you can order a signed copy of her books! Or check it out at Barnes & Noble.

Lynnette is also offering a free electronic copy of her book to one commenter on today’s post. So leave a comment telling us about the thing that brought you the most joy this week to be entered into the drawing. Comments will be left open until Friday, April 20th and then the winner will be notified via email. Be sure to leave your e-mail address to be entered!


T
his post is part of Christian Writers’ April Blog Chain on the topic, “Joy.” Check out the other Blog Chain posts by clicking the links right.

Apr 1, 2012
When Sparrows FallWhen Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Unique story about a touchy subject that is well handled. As a former homeschooler who likes denim jumpers, wears clogs and enjoys the benefits of homesteading, there are parts of this book that could have been offensive. The story could have devolved in a bashing of homeschooling and strict conservative Christianity, but it didn't. It points out the extremes and how they can effect those involved.

The characters are likeable, believable and individual. Not a small task when there are so many children involved in one story! I found it refreshing to read a story that wasn't about the only child. Writing a full family situation is challenging, but it makes the story just that much richer.

I highly recommend this book for someone who wants a good story that is different from a boy-meets-girl romance but still has a good romantic element to it.