Friday, February 26, 2010

Somewhere to Belong - Contest

Title: Somewhere to Belong
Author: Judith Miller
ISBN: 978-7642-0642-9

From the back cover:

Johanna Ilg has lived her entire life in Main Amana, one of the seven villages settled by devout Christians who believe in cooperative living, a simple lifestyle, and faithful service to God. Although she's always longed to see the outside world, Johanna believes her future is rooted in Amana. But when she learns a troubling secret, the world she thought she knew is shattered. Is this truly where she belongs?

Berta Schumacher has lived a privileged life in Chicago, so when her parents decide they want a simpler life in Amana, Iowa, she resists. Under the strictures of the Amana villages, her rebellion reaches new heights. Will her heart ever be content among the plain people of Amana?

My take:

I love books that surprise me. :o)

This book managed to encompass so many elements at once. It is a coming of age story. One of the girls is a young woman, the other a teenager and both grow more into their "skin" as the story progresses. Thrown together because Berta needed someone responsible to train her, neither girl could foresee how much they would need each other for the trials ahead of them or how close they would become.

It is also a story of family ~ what that means and why it is important. It examines how those bonds hold us together, what can break them apart, and if they can be mended again. I can't think of a more important topic. And it's a story of romance (gotta have that) and what makes that a real love or not and how to tell. And of course the love God has for all of us.

The author pulls all of this off because she invests so much in the characters of Johanna and Berta. Although on the surface the girls may seem near opposites, neither girl is one dimensional and both are easy to love. Johanna is the obedient, responsible daughter. However she sneaks fashions magazines from her brother in from the outside and hides them in her room and she longs to visit the world outside her village borders. Berta rarely thinks beyond her next opportunity for fun and despises anything resembling work. When told she can't wear her pink skirt to work in the kitchen, she puts it on underneath the plain skirt so she can still wear it without anyone knowing (or so she plans). She does try to make others happy and cares about people's feelings far more than even she's willing to admit. She has a natural gift for cheering people up as well. Both face adversity, mystery, and being lied to by people they have trusted. Both really want to know where they fit in. How they come through the journey is something to behold.

Judith Miller has done an excellent job with this book. If you enjoy sweet romances, Amish fiction ( This isn't about an Amish settlement, but there are similarities), or just good story lines, this may be a good book for you to try. I'm going to help too. I'm going to giveaway my copy to one lucky winner. March 5th (midnight central time) is the last day to put in your name.

The normal rules apply: No entries outside of the United States, no entries where it's forbidden by law, and your odds depend on the entries. You get an entry for commenting on the book, another for becoming a follower, two if you already are a follower and another 4 if you put this giveaway up on your blog and let me know about it. You only need to comment once to let me know how many entries you deserve (unless you decide to post it later and then come back - that's fine too).

Thanks and good luck! I'll announce the winner on the 6th.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bliss (Happy 101) Award

Thank you so much to my awesome friend Renee at Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot for this very sweet award and all her support.

The rules for this Bliss (Happy 101) Award are that I must list 10 things that make me happy, then pass it along to 10 other bloggers.

Things I <3
1. God
2. Family
3. Friends
4. Books - Especially romances ~ lol
5. Writing
6. Chocolate
7. My Computer/Internet
8. Homeschooling my son
9. Learning
10. Researching information on the internet

Some of the Blogs I <3
(This is hard because we know all the same people - lol)

1. Julane at Inspiration from the Commonplace Julane is my critique partner, mentor and friend. Her blog is so thoughtful, inspirational and encouraging. It challenges us to look at ordinary things in life around us from a heavenly perspective.

2. Linore at Woman of Faith Linore Rose Burkard is an author you may recognize. She does sometimes share information for her books on her blog (especially if one has debuted recently) but this blog is mostly a devotional that is practical and encouraging.

3. Michelle at Edgy Inspirational Author Blog Michelle Sutton is not only a great author and a very nice person, but she does fabulous reviews and hosts weekly giveaways.

4. Beth at Weavings does thoughtful reviews and participates in many of the other games and contests having to do with reading. Her blog is always fun to read and though she is a very nice person, she is honest in her reviews.

5. K.M. Weiland at Wordplay has a wonderful blog filled with not just written blogs but also video and audio that is designed to help writers become more skilled. Her "lessons" are fun, short and not intimidating in the least - yet they do have lots of good information.

6. Janna at Cornhusker Academy has a really nice blog and seems to pick a lot of the same books I do (or want to). I can't argue with great taste. lol

7. MaryLu Tyndall at Cross and Cutlass This is another blog where she does share about her books every so often, but she reviews other books, offers, giveaways, shares devotionals... It is an interesting blog to read. Just like her books, you never quite know what to expect - but you always know it's going to be good.

8. Camy at Camy's Loft Camy fills her blog with posts about chocolate, book contests, reviews, excerpts... you name it. And every single post has her signature wit, style and sense of humor. I love visiting her blog.

9. Dineen at Kitten Come From Eggs Besides the most unusual name for a blog ever, this has to be one of the places that most touches my heart. Dineen's ministry is for women who are in unequally yoked marriages - spiritually. Each time I visit her blog I come away stronger and refreshed - and ready to be a better wife to my husband - even though we are both Christians. Hers is such an important ministry and I think it can touch a lot of people.

And I can't pick a 10th ~ so I'm leaving it at that. :o)

Thank you all so much ~ and thank you again Renee, for this award.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Captain's Lady

Title: The Captain's Lady
Author: Louise M. Gouge
ISBN: 978-0-373-828326

From the back cover:

Captain James Templeton's orders from General Washington are clear. His target: Lord Bennington, a member of George III's Privy Council. The assignment: find Bennington's war plans. The risks: the future of the East Florida Colony, Jamie's life... and his heart. In spite of the dangers of their hopeless situation, he's fallen in love with Lady Marianne Moberly, Lord Bennington's daughter.

Desperate to protect his country, Jamie carries out his orders with a heavy heart. But Marianne's persistence is a challenge he never expected. With love and faith, they must navigate troubled waters to win their future together.

My take:

You all know how much I love regencies. Look at this cover, can't you just imagine it in any Austen movie?

I finished it and ran to the computer to tell you all how much I loved this book! Everything you could ask for in a historical romance is bound up in this one story. A forbidden romance, gripping characters, an interesting story, action and adventure... Maybe they should make it into a movie. :o)

You have your hero ~ Captain James Templeton. He's brave, noble, willing to sacrifice his own desires for a greater cause. He has men who respect him, a sense of humor, honor, is handsome and gives in to his heart just enough that we get a few of those touching moments where stolen kisses show his weakness for our leading lady.

Then there is the lady herself ~ Miss Marianne Moberly. She's pretty, intelligent, and though she operates within the bounds of society ~ she's feisty enough that you know she breaks those rules when she deems it necessary. She also has an extremely strong sense of justice, love for children, does charity work, but is strong willed. This is no fainting wall flower or airhead. Her quick thinking saves the lives of many people.

The author also did a magnificent job with her brother Robert, the lush who reforms after accepting Christ. He becomes a good friend of Jamie's and is encouraged to by him to find a good occupation and then marry the woman he wants, Grace ~ whether or not his father approves.

Then there is Marianne's father, Lord Bennington, who never seemed to be able to approve of any of his sons no matter what they accomplished. His severe manner kept everyone in the household on edge except his wife and Jamie. He reminded me a bit of a bear that had been wakened before his hibernation cycle was finished.

Many times what God asks us to do is difficult and scary. The author really helps us feel the anguish Jamie goes through as he struggles with whether he is doing the right thing or not. He feels real affection for Marianne's family and doesn't like being deceptive. He also believes 100 percent in the cause of the American colonies.

I could see him in my mind, and Marianne next to him trying to convince him to ask her father for her hand in marriage. He knows her father would never approve, and he doesn't know whether she would last without her fine house and servants, or what she would think of his "rebellious" beliefs. Their struggle was one I imagine could very well have happened in our history. It did happen on these pages quite convincingly.

I hope you'll put The Captain's Lady on your wishlist.

I was sent a copy by the author for review. Although I am thankful, it didn't influence my review at all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Ultimate Story

All week long I have been a bit distracted. I haven't read as much, gotten as much work done on my edits...

I would venture to guess you might have been too. You see, just like most romance readers, writers love anything that has to do with strong characters, driven motivations, passion, and those stories behind the stories that make you care more about people. By now I bet you know what has captured my attention. If not, let me put you out of your misery. lol

Almost nothing has as much ceremony as the Olympics and it is easy to understand. These athletes, their families and coaches have all given a lot of time and energy towards one goal: coming here and competing against the best of the best. The represent their nation, their hometown, their family, their coach, and a ton of other people who have invested in them when they stand up there.

There are also the "stars" of the show. We have a few of them on Team USA. One of the most colorful is Shaun White. Some sports figures do become well known like Shaun and have money, houses and the whole bit. He also is widely seen to be a trendsetter. I have to admit I thought he would be arrogant and self absorbed. What I found when I learned more about him was a very good ambassador for his sport, a person who just loves what he does and gets a thrill out of the challenge and continually trying to better himself, plus someone who is involved in relief efforts in places like Africa.

There is something else I think makes a person unique, how they handle winning (& losing). One of the most disputed medals awarded was men's figure skating. I'm a big fan of figure skating so I was on the edge of my seat. Evan Lysacek won. He was a humble winner and dedicated the win to the people who supported him. He was overwhelmed and emotional. He also praised Plushenko and talked about how well he had skated and congratulated him on not just this silver medal but all his accomplishments.

In the meantime... Plushenko starts talk about how with the old scoring system there's no way he wouldn't be the gold medal winner. He jumped up on the gold platform before taking his rightful place, and later said there should be no way that Evan won without doing a quad - (even if he did everything else better). The Russians "awarded" him a platinum medal, told him his silver was really gold and are making comments about how Evan may have won this but he will soon be forgotten and Plushenko will be remembered forever. Sour grapes anyone?

Even with all the whining, Evan has refused to talk badly about Plushenko. I think he's got a lot of class and I commend him and think he truly deserves that gold medal. Congrats, Evan.

Not all the stories that touched my heart were from Team USA. I couldn't help but be moved by this pair. Zhao Hongbo and his wife Shen Xue from China were married in 2007. They were supposed to retire but her husband talked her into coming back for one more chance to compete for the gold. So they have been living in a dormitory ( in different rooms) and eating cafeteria food so they could continue train and come to the Olympics. Now at 36 and 31, and having obtained their dream for themselves and their country, they said they want to go home and start a family. I know all the athletes sacrifice so much, but I can't imagine a husband and wife choosing to live apart.

Almost done. :o) I saved the story of Lindsey Vonn for last because she exemplifies what a lot of these athletes do and stand for. Lindsey trains and works hard to be the very best that she can be. She is willing to compete through the pain. She won gold skiing on one leg practically! I find that kind of skill, courage and determination so admirable ~ and many of the Olympians have it (though maybe not quite to the degree she does. lol)

We listened to the stories of not just this injury but her prior ones, and I confess it would be enough to talk me out of skiing. Not her. She just continues on, sometimes just hours after an incident.

I also saw compassion for others in her. This is a determined competitor, but not a cutthroat person. She's the kind of person who shows her every emotion on her face and when that skier started to fall, she was worried. Then she hit again and Lindsey became overwhelmed and hid her face like she couldn't bear to watch her get hurt.

In this picture you can also see that despite the fact that she had to favor one leg, she was exhausted at the finish. These athletes don't leave anything on the table. Many of them collapse after they're done because they give it everything they have. It's the only way to accomplish their goals.

Yes, I've been a little distracted by the Olympics. I've also been inspired and challenged. Have any of the athletes or their stories touched you especially?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Meander Scar

Title: Meander Scar
Author: Lisa Lickel
ISBN: 978-1-934912-23-2

From Amazon:

Love can heal even the deepest scars …

After seven years with no clue as to the whereabouts of Ann Ballard’s missing husband, nearly everyone presumes him dead. Now forty-something, Ann is ready for her stagnant life to flow again. Then one day, a dark-haired younger man from her past shows up on her doorstep offering a river of hope in place of tears.

Former neighbor Mark Roth has secretly loved Ann for years. A respected attorney, he’s returned home to help Ann face down disapproving family members and the legal maneuvering of her likely deceased husband’s family—while quietly winning her heart.

When the hidden truth of Ann’s situation turns their lives on end and another tragedy strikes, the two must come to terms with family, faith and the depths to which true love can run.

My take:

I read a lot of romance novels. Sometimes I can predict where the story is going before the first chapter is over. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy the trip ~ it just means it's not always very surprising where I go. This book is nothing like that.

It is a rare book that includes older characters. Then you have the whole issue of their age difference (11 years) and whether they will be able to overcome everything that comes with that themselves - and how their families, friends, churches, and co-workers will respond. Mark proves his love in large and small ways ~ all of which help make this one of the most romantic books I've read in a while. Most of what he does shows respect for her as a person; caring for her needs above his own wants and desires. That shows love more clearly than anything else I know.

There is also passion here. I like a romance that builds and shows how two people in this fallen world need to... fight their desire. Although the author doesn't spend lengthy passages on scenes, you know that these two are attracted and have chemistry. It isn't one-sided either - both of them feel the attraction.

The characters are wonderful. From her getting nervous and forgetting how many scoops of coffee she put in, being insecure and doubting if Mark's feelings will go away or are really more a substitute for a mother's love, plus her guilt and wonder if her husband is still alive, Ann is a complex character that never seems to feel quite comfortable in her own skin.

Mark shows up on her doorstep after years away and a failed engagement all because he couldn't forget his feelings for her that bloomed as a nineteen year old. Now he's a successful lawyer with a faith in God and he's determined to try for the one thing missing in his life ~ the woman he's loved since he was that young man.

This was a fantastic love story with a bit of mystery to it. I really enjoyed it and I think you all will as well.

The author provided me an electronic copy for review and I am very thankful for that. It did not influence my review at all. She did say that the book is available in print from the publisher and not just e-book format.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Carousel Painter

Title: The Carousel Painter
Author: Judith Miller
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0279-7

From the back cover:

When Carrington Brouwer receives the enviable job of painting carousel horses for a factory in Ohio, she believes her future is secure. But after an expensive necklace disappears from the home where she's been staying, she's caught up in a search for the truth that puts her entire livelihood--and her developing relationship with the factory manager-- at risk. Can she lead police to the real culprit before she loses everything?

My take:

You know, God has a way of weaving every aspect of our lives together in ways we would never expect. I just had a long conversation about about how people read these romances in order to escape the every day troubles they face and yet... let me be transparent with you once again... this book captured me in a way I had never thought possible.

It's not the first time it's happened. I think Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss was the first one that spoke to me where I was at and encouraged me to move forward ~ in the fictional realm. I still like to read it every so often.

What Judith Miller has done in this book is create a character, Carrington (Carrie), who isn't without faith but doubts why God would put good people through such hard trials and not rescue them. She doubts her strength to endure those trials and wonders why her prayers to change both her circumstances and her person have not been answered.

As someone who battles chronic pain, whose husband was laid off through no fault of his own, and who sees so many of her friends and family going through the same thing... I have to admit some of the same questions have come to my mind. What Carrie learns is that just as God loves us unconditionally, we can't base our love for Him on what He does or doesn't do. His plans may not always seem to be what we would pick and things may look pretty grim. Even their worst punishment - death - is really a reward for those who love God. We get to be with Him. We just need to keep trusting, keep believing, and not let them steal that one thing from us that really matters ~ our faith.

Despite my mini-sermon, this is a nice romance with interesting characters. This author also does a wonderful job of not painting them as perfect cut outs with no dimension. As I noted, Carrie struggles with her faith and is prone to giggles when nervous. Our hero, Josef, has a temper problem ~ and a very cute German accent. He is touchy about it though. lol Carrie's best friend, Augusta, can't stand up to her mother and is prone to judging people by their social status. Then you've got the woman running a boarding house who can't cook.

In the middle of all of this there is a small mystery to be solved about missing jewelry. The romance and development of Carrie's character are the most important parts of this story though (in my opinion). It was an entertaining story with a wonderful message and a very touching romance. I also think that the story can offer a lot to people who are struggling with all that's going on right now ~ in a fun, non-threatening way.

Are there any stories that have touched your life at a particular time? Any books that helped make something clear that had been harder for you to understand or that you had resisted? Do you think books with outright Scriptures and messages or more subtle themes are better for outreach to unbelievers/hurting Christians?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Edge of Recall

Title: The Edge of Recall
Author: Kristin Heitzmann
ISBN: 978-0-7642-2831-5

From the back cover:

Tessa Young is a landscape architect who specializes in the design and creation of labyrinths. For years she has immersed herself in the healing aspects of these elaborate structures, searching for God and hoping to make sense of the nightmares that have plagued her since childhood.

When Smith Chandler, a colleague who once betrayed her, offers her an opportunity to reconstruct a remarkable Colonial-era labyrinth, she can't resist this project of a lifetime. But one evening, as dusk falls, an assailant ambushes Tessa and Smith and the real nightmare begins.

My take:

I really liked this book immensely. Start with the cover. It fit the book perfectly. The model captures Tessa's fragility, fear and yet a spark of determination as well. Tessa is a heroine that cannot be accused of being too perfect, and yet is likeable, endearing and you want to root for her. Her fear is genuine and the monsters she faces seem to come from all sides. I don't know that I'd have her strength in the same position.

The author does just as good a job with all the other major players in this story. None of them are flat, predictable or perfect. I think this is one of the best jobs of characterization I've seen in a book. They really are unique. Will the real Smith Chandler please stand up? Tessa thinks he's cold-hearted and never cared for her or her ideas. His intern, Bair believes he's still in love with his ex-girlfriend, and in front of his clients he tries to become whatever will please them and keep his career on track. Normally self possessed and controlled, he makes uncharacteristic decisions having to do with both Tessa and his old flame, Danae. Throw in that his idea of a romantic gesture is to compare her to vegetables... and I think you've got a unique leading man.

I'm a character and romance person. I don't want to give anything away, but I loved that the romance is not held off until the end. It isn't resolved (they don't get married in Chapt 2), and they face lots of conflict and have obstacles to overcome ~ but the idea and the tension... the sparks... that is there from almost the very beginning. You watch it grow and evolve to see where it will lead. I think it is a much more realistic romance than one where they share a single kiss at the end and then get married and live happily ever after.

I already mentioned the main characters, and the extras are just as good. She keeps you guessing right up until the very end who you can trust and who might be trying to hurt Tessa. That's partly because of how she writes the story, and partly how she reveals the characters to us. Not one is all good or all bad (just like us) ~ and depending upon what we choose to dwell on, that may be how we see that person.

This is an older book, but it was well worth reading. I'm a huge fan and I hope if you haven't read this that you'll consider checking it out.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Winner in my Character Pic Contest!

I posted a blog about my main characters and asked you all to pick which photos you thought best represented them. There were clear winners for Abigail & Adam overall in the voting. lol I also have a winner for a free book.

For Abigail, the winner is Michelle Williams ~

I am very pleased with this choice. I've actually had a lot of fun with pictures this week. I have a picture of Abigail's car hanging up too.

Moving on to our hero, the clear winner there was Charlie Bewley~

I picked a different pic because this one shows him with slightly lighter and longer hair (just imagine it not sticking up)... but the other one shows him with a "nicer" look on his face. He's cute though and the ironic thing is that the graphic artist was just playing around with pictures and found one that looked an awful lot like him ~ so you all must have great taste. :o)

As for the winner of my contest ~ that would be..... {drum roll} Renee from Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot. I'm going to give her the choice of three books: Snow Angel, Love's Pursuit, or Havah. Hopefully she hasn't read all three of those. Thank you to everyone for participating and reading about Abigail and Adam. Thank you for your prayers for my writing {and my husband's job} and please don't stop. :o)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Prayer Request

I usually keep this blog to book reviews and giveaways, and I don't want you to think I'll change that. But we spend so much time talking back and forth that I consider you true friends. I also know many of you will pray and I need those prayers now.

My husband's company went through cutbacks and decided to fire several thousand employees last year. My husband had won the company's top award for the past four years so we had no expectation of him being one of the people fired. However, they paid for fuel and we lived in a more rural area instead of the big city. He was fired. He was able to find another job, but it was about half his other salary. We were losing money, and we kept thinking it would get better with time. It didn't.

So he put out his resume again. This time it got picked up by a company again offering commission only, but the hours were better and my husband really thought this would allow him control his own destiny - he could work hard and be rewarded. It's not working out. He's made nothing. However we've had more expenses with this job - no benefits and no expenses covered. We even had to pay for him to travel for training and stay in a hotel.

We don't have much money left - or time. He's applying for new jobs, but it isn't looking good. We had just bought the house when he lost his first job and property values have plummeted. We owe more than the house is worth. We can't sell. We're in between a rock and a very hard place. Please pray that he's able to find a new job soon and we're able to get some money coming in. Pray that God gives us wisdom to know what to do and peace in the meantime, because I am stressed out over this.

Thank you all for taking the time to read this and for praying for my husband and family. I know there are lots of people in situations like ours. This economy is hurting so many people. I pray God provides a way for all those touched by it.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Title: Beguiled
Authors: Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0628-3

From the back cover:

Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is following the break-ins with the hope of publishing his coverage as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be the center of everything.

As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

My take:

Although I loved the cover, I don't think it fit with the contemporary setting. It almost looks as if the book belongs perhaps in the 30s or 40s.

I'm a Deeanne Gist fan. I have to say I was hoping for more of the kind of romance she usually writes. This book is much tamer in that department. I believed there was chemistry between them and it was realistic that their romantic relationship might be more appropriate once this "crisis" situation was put behind them. It even made Logan seem more noble. He obviously was attracted to Rylee. They didn't write this where he just liked her for her personality. Both of them wanted to go to the next level, but when someone is stalking you, possibly threatening your life and framing you for multiple thefts... it may not be the best time to start a new relationship.

The story itself was very good. I was hooked and finished it within two days. Since I wasn't feeling well, that was pretty fast. They were able to keep the pace high and me second guessing myself all the way to the end.

I thought the setting and characters came alive. I loved Rylee and Logan. I can picture her on roller blades with Logan keeping a safe distance from one of the bigger dogs. :o) Secondary characters like Rylee's friend and neighbor,Liz, the dogs she walks like Romeo & Toro, the mysterious Mr. Gibbon, and even the police detective Nate Campbell all come across as much more than two dimensional.

I do believe if you enjoy suspense with a touch of romance, you just may be beguiled by this one. :o)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adam & Abigail

Many of you know I'm in the home stretch of a manuscript I'm writing. The main characters for that book are named Adam & Abigail. I've been told it's a good idea to not just use your imagination, but to actually gather pictures of real people that come close to what you think your characters may look like.

Since I'm on the last round of revisions - I've thought about this before. I looked a little bit for pictures I thought might fit my characters, but not really in depth. I did brand new worksheets on my characters before starting this revision and I thought I might as well look for the pictures as well. It wasn't until last night that I thought it might be fun to involve you all in it. :o)

See, this doesn't just help me envision the characters better. It also will help me show the graphic artist more of what I mean when I talk about who and what they are supposed to look like. That means you get a sneak peak into my characters. I'm going to see who you think best fits them. Remember, these people will not be their actual cover pics, it's just a kind of guide.

Adam is supposed to be 6 foot tall and well built. He has sandy blonde hair that is short on the sides, but long enough on top that when he looks down it covers his blue-green eyes. He is very attractive, but has an open, kind of disarming look about him. He is very handsome (all heroes need to be, right?) but he has nothing of the bad boy in him, circumstances made him different than most people. He's kind of sad (especially at the beginning), young, scary smart, protective and jealous.

Abigail is the same age as Adam (they are in their mid 20s). She's shorter than he is, has wavy, blonde hair that she wears twisted up at the nape of her neck for work. She's a public affairs specialist that has been hired to help Adam. She's got guts and determination - plus a curiosity that gets her into trouble. When she starts finding out that things aren't adding up at the research facility, she starts an investigation. Who knows where that will lead? She's independent to a fault. She thinks it's a strength, but it's just a defense mechanism.

And now for the candidates: The first one for Adam is Emerson Smith. And he is pictured right here -------->

This next pic is Daniel Burda.

Now for the ladies. I loved this picture of Michelle Williams. It goes with how I describe Abigail's hair exactly & she looks so young & pretty.

And this is Charlie Bewley. (The pics messed up my formatting.)

This is Diane Kruger from National Treasure. Not only does she look the part, but I can see her "acting" like Abigail as well. (down)

This is Rachael Leigh Cook (down). I like that she's pretty, but more in a girl- next-door kind of way.

So what do you think? Who makes the best Adam & Abigail? Why? Do you like covers that show faces or not? Why? I'm going to leave voting and discussion open for one week. So all comments must be placed by the 11th of Feb at midnight ~ central time. I'll announce a winner the following day of a free book just for participating in the discussion. Leave your email address if you want to be counted in the drawing for the free book. One entry per person, void where prohibited, only for those in the United States, sorry. Good luck!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Case For Love

Title: A Case For Love
Author: Kaye Dacus
ISBN: 978-1-60260456-8

From the back cover:

The Alaine Delacroix that all of Bonneterre knows is the carefully polished image she puts forth every day on her noontime news magazine program. When her parents' home and small business is threatened by the biggest corporation in town, Alaine is forced to choose between her image and fighting for the life her family has built.

Lawyer Forbes Guidry is used to making things go his way. But when he's asked to take on a pro bono case for a colleague, he'll learn that he can't control everything-- including his feelings for his new client: Alaine Delacroix.

Alaine's only option to help her family is hiring Forbes, but can she bring herself to trust the handsome, disarming charming lawyer? And will Forbes Guidry be able to make a case for love before losing his job and family? Can both trust that God will present a solution before all is lost?

My take:

I have been looking forward to this book since I read Stand In Groom, the first book in the series. There is something so appealing about a man that is not only attractive, but confident, caring, and very good at what he does. Forbes Guidry is all these things. He is the guardian of the family. His role is different than a parent. He reminds me more of the butler in the Batman movies. He offers advice, takes care of any problems they may have, steers them away from bad influences and has an uncanny knack for being right ~ all the time.

There are just a couple problems. They've grown up and don't need or want Forbes controlling their every move. Plus, Forbes may need to invest some energy into fixing his own life. He's been the most eligible bachelor for too many years in a row and he's beginning to wonder if he's incapable of loving anyone.

Alaine is desperate to make it as a "real" journalist. She is alienating her co-workers at meetings, frustrated at how they dismiss her ideas and see her as just a pretty package. When she shares her feelings with a colleague, she's told it may be that she's the one who needs to change her attitude and given a reminder to put her request before God. Had she even prayed about it?

Two strong-willed people who are very close to their families and have a lot at stake. Kaye doesn't mess around. I would love to read more, but I think this is the last in the series. If so, I do believe she saved the best for last. This romance has such tenderness and yet is intense as well. They both feel very passionately but they have a lot of trust issues to overcome and family loyalty to consider. Despite the fact you're reading a romance novel and you expect a happy ending, she does make you wonder how things are going to turn out. How can they make it work?

I fell in love with these characters right away. She did a wonderful job bringing in the whole idea of a neighborhood filled with mixed nationalities and flavors. I wanted to go there just to eat! I could hear the meeting, see the faces and smell the food in the back room. There was the whole atmosphere of community and all the blessings and problems they face together. I think that's something a lot of people can relate to now and always.

Have you ever been in a relationship that caused friction with your family? How did it work out?