Guest Post: In His Likeness by Becki Brannen + Review of Breathless

Y’all! I’m super excited to have Becki Brannen on my blog today! She’s touring her book, Breathless, releasing through Vox Dei (my publisher) today! I’m so glad that she’s here. I read her book, Breathless, as an advanced reader, and I LOVED it! So, along with her guest post I’ll be sharing my review at the end.

In His Likeness

Becki Brannen

Well, the results are in–I’m not perfect. I’ve gone through thirty-four years on this earth and I’m still not there yet. The good news is, God doesn’t expect me to be sinless and perfect. Jesus, who died for my sins, is the only one to has walked the earth without sin. And yet, despite my sins and my flaws, God still loves me. He loves me so much that He sent His Son to die for my sins. The mercy in that action brings me to my knees in tears. Here I am, a flawed person stained with sin, but the price of that sin has already been paid. What an amazing God we serve!

A lot of nonbelievers seem to think we, as Christians, are supposed to be perfect, and hold us to the standard of not casting stones. Maybe some of us act like we’re holier than thou, but truthfully, we’re simply not. We should strive to be Christ-like, but God knows we won’t achieve a life without sin.

It is because we are not and cannot be without sin that I create flawed characters in my books. Each of them makes some mistakes along the way, because that’s real life. I feel it’s only honest to show the flaws that are so inherent to human nature. I like my characters to feel a little more real. On paper, the flaws seem reprehensible. In Breathless, Ryan’s a liar. Carly breaks a promise she made to God. Her parents are judgmental. His parents, well… they might be perfect. 😉

Look past the flaws, and you’ll see who they really are–Ryan’s an amazing guy who falls completely and irrevocably in love with Carly. He wants to love and be loved, to be cherished, to be wanted for who he is, not his celebrity status. Carly has an altruistic heart, looking always to see the good in others, even when she can’t see it within herself. God didn’t make Ryan and Carly (assuming they’re real, of course) to be perfect; He made them perfectly themselves, flaws and all.

For while we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, we aren’t perfect. That’s okay, because God made us in His own image. He made us knowing we’re sinners. He sent His Son to die for us, even though we could never deserve such a gift. He loves us even when we fall. He made us perfectly His, and that sounds pretty perfect to me.

Review:

Breathless will leave you – breathless!

Carly doesn’t have time for romance, and Ryan, as a famous movie star, wants something that is deeper and more passionate than one night stands. When Carly has a bad asthma attack, Ryan is the only one who sees, and he rushes her to the hospital. Posing as her husband, he spends all night and day with her. And what happens when she wakes up? She doesn’t know who he is. It’s refreshing, so he lies to her about who he really is. What ensues is a whirlwind romance that will leave you feeling breathless!

I loved that the characters were flawed. They dealt with very raw, very human emotions, but they also were redeemed in the end. They realized their sins and their mistakes and asked God for forgiveness. We all deal with being human, and I think Becki Brannen touched on this topic wonderfully. Her characters are human, but just like God, they learn to forgive and be forgiven.

I loved the romance between the two characters, and although it moved too quickly for me – someone who has dealt with trust issues over and over again and doesn’t like fast moving relationships – the story was still romantic and kept me up late at night reading.

I would recommend this to anyone who loves chick lit, flawed characters, and a redemption story of forgiveness.1782407_1093277034021233_2221739434324767176_o

About Breathless
What happens when an ordinary girl meets the man of
everyone’s dreams?

Keeping secrets is never easy, especially since Ryan
Spalding is on the cover of every magazine and this
year’s “Hottest Hunk under 30.” Good thing busy
lawyer Carly Sparks is so out of the loop when it
comes to celebrity affairs, or she’d realize she was in
one!

Leading man Ryan Spalding tempts Carly Sparks in
ways she’s only ever seen in the movies. She’s drifted
away from a promise she made to God as a teenager,
but Carly must rely on her faith when her relationship
with Ryan is put to the test. Will it be enough to keep
them together, or will theirs be just another failed
Hollywood romance?

8538024About Becki Brannen
Becki Brannen is a thirty-something writer born and raised in
the heart of Georgia. Her debut novel, Breathless, is the result
of NaNoWriMo 2011, having been written in just twenty-nine
days. Becki primarily writes “chick lit with a Christian twist,”
marrying one of her favorite genres with her Christian faith.
Her life verses are Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 41:10. Becki and
her husband have twin daughters and a poodle, Sophie.

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ARC Review of Disenchanted by Janet Ursel

Hey guys! It’s been a while since I posted reviews of books I’ve read, simply because I didn’t really have the time, but I’m making time for this one. I’ve recently gotten into fantasy novels, and that’s probably because I was hired to proofread three of them. I fell in LOVE with those books (Leeland Artra’s Golden Threads Trilogy). But that’s neither here nor there at the moment. It was one of the reasons that I decided that I wanted to read Disenchanted when I was offered up a chance to read the ARC.

Disenchanted ecover

Disenchanted is a fantasy novel that focuses on a few characters, but mostly on Blayn. Blayn is a special kid who grows up into an even more special man. He works his way up the wizard ladder with his Truesight and to Grand Wizard. But along the way, Blayn falls in love and marries the woman of his dreams, yet he has to keep her a secret due to the wizards. They don’t believe in marriage, but Blayn is a bit different.

While all of this is happening, black wizards from the North are threatening to take over the lands, placing spies in the land and working their black magic.

As a means to find help take care of a black wizard within the Grand Wizards where Blayn and his family are, he is sent on a mission to recover a book to help with that. In his studies of this book, he discovers a God he never knew existed.

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of this novel. For the first forty percent of the book, I wasn’t sure which direction this was going to take, especially with it being a Christian novel about wizards and magic. But boy, once I started to see what was going on, I couldn’t get enough! This novel will keep you on your toes, trying to figure out how it would end, and it will show you the power of God in a world where God had been forgotten for hundreds of years. True love, between God and humans and humans and humans, will prevail, and so will the power of God. If you love Christian fantasy novels, this one is for you!

I gave this a hearty 4 of 5 stars!! Disenchanted will be available on the same day as my short story, Before We Say I Do, on July 14th! Mark your calenders folks!

What’s Disenchanted about?

In this Christian fantasy, one young wizard with a hunger for wisdom and some dangerous secrets finds himself pitted against another ready to reach for power with the darkest forces possible.

Wizards have never in the history of Coventree, renounced Wizardry. But Blayn Goodwin finds himself growing detached from the practice of Wizardry, even as he rises through the ranks to become the youngest member of the Supreme Council. He has lost interest in the usual gods in favor of a god without a name, not that he makes that fact public.

Edgar Savile has his own traitorous secrets and kidnaps Blayn’s eldest son to prevent Blayn from probing into them. Meanwhile the Supreme Wizard, suspicious of Edgar, sends Blayn to retrieve an ancient book from the Other World, hoping it will arm them against Edgar’s treachery.

What Blayn finds is not what anyone expects, and threatens to tear Coventree’s fraying system apart at the seams.

About Janet Ursel:

10487608_10152520063428048_6660781773769100773_nAfter raising five children and one husband, Janet came to the obvious conclusion that writing novels was an essential part of the recovery process. So she writes. In whatever she writes, she aims for a deep honesty and a respect for the complexity of all human beings, from the most virtuous to the most depraved. Except, of course, when she’s just having fun.

In addition to acquiring the husband and children, Janet also picked up a number of languages along the way, along with a rather diverse, some would say fragmented, resumé. She’s waited tables, cleaned furnaces, taught English as a Second Language, been a pastor’s wife in a small church (a job in and of itself), sold life insurance and mutual funds, developed market forecasting models, and spent some years homeschooling. She loves music and gardening and animals and kids and food and travelling and life in general.

You can connect with Janet on her website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Goodreads.

I’m in love with the moon! A Review of The Sun’s Rival

If you follow this blog, you’ve probably seen Danielle E. Shipley around here, or you’ve heard me talk about her awesome books! I somehow missed the ARC call for The Sun’s Rival, The Wilderhark Tales Book Five. But, being the awesomeness that Danielle is, she sent me a copy of the book. I wasn’t asked to do a review, but I’m doing one anyway because I’m in love with the moon!

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This is my favorite thus far. Seriously.

Let me explain. In the previous books, I simple adored Edgwyn, and I thought there wouldn’t be anyone who would ever compare to him. Boy was I wrong!

The story begins with Edgwyn telling his daughter, Laraspur, about a rival between the Sun and Moon over a beautiful princess. Flash forward a few years and Laraspur is of age to meet men and marry. She feels over-shadowed by her beautiful sisters and doesn’t think that anyone could ever love her because she isn’t pretty enough. To her surprise, after a party at her sister’s palace celebrating the birth of her sister’s twins, two young suitors show up, asking Laraspur’s hand in marriage. Two weeks follows where she is being wooed by the young men, but she finds herself drawn the one who is under the shadows of his brother. There, she finds that she has more in common with him than she thought, and everything changes. She falls in love with him. But, her younger sister contracts Lunacy because of something one of the brothers does, and Laraspur and her brother are on a journey to the Sky.

My review ends here because I don’t want to give too much away, but I’m in love with the Moon! I’ve always wanted to moon, and now, I just want him more!

Beautiful work – yet again – by Ms. Shipley!

If you’d like to purchase your copy of The Sun’s Rival you can do so on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And I would get it now because Book Six is coming soon! (The cover reveal is Monday, and I can’t wait for y’all to see that amazing cover!)

Children’s Book Spotlight and Review: The Boy Who Cried Wolf by Caldric Blackwell

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The Boy Who Couldn't Cry Wolf cover

SYNOPSIS

Six-year-old Byron Woodward is a werewolf who can’t howl. Determined not to embarrass himself after being chosen to lead a full-moon ceremony, he embarks on a mission to learn how to howl. He learns a lot about howling during his journey, but more importantly, he learns a valuable lesson about believing in himself.

Where to Purchase The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf

Amazon – Kindle
Amazon – Paperback
Barnes & Noble
*Borrow free with Kindle Unlimited & Amazon Prime*

Emerald’s Review:

3 1/2 – 4 STARS

The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf is an interesting take on the boy who cried wolf, being the opposite that is. It’s a cute story about a werewolf who can’t howl, and the young wolf searches for advice on how to howl before the full moon when he’s chosen to lead a ceremony. Eventually, he learns an extremely valuable lesson about discovering how to do things his own way and learning to be himself. Worrying only held him back.

The illustrations aren’t scary, but I wasn’t overly impressed with them. My six year old niece liked the book, and seeing how it’s in her age group, I think the author really hit the nail on the head.

Overall, I enjoyed the moral of the story, and after reading it a second time, I came to realize that it is a good story and appropriate for kids four to probably eight.

 

THE AUTHOR

Caldric’s Website /  Twitter Goodreads / Facebook 

caldricCaldric Blackwell realized he loved reading when he read about a bunch of people (with single-syllable names) and their pets (also with single-syllable names) in kindergarten.

Exposure to a host of great authors while studying at the University of California, Santa Barbara inspired him to begin writing fiction. Although he began writing short stories for adults, he eventually migrated to writing children’s books. His debut work is an early chapter book titled The Enchanted River Race. His next release is a picture book, The Boy Who Couldn’t Cry Wolf.

Outside of writing, Caldric enjoys hiking, gardening, and playing a variety of string instruments. Caldric currently resides in California.

Follow the entire tour HERE

Hosted by Worldwind Virtual Book Tours

The Pinkaboos: Bitterly and the Giant Problem Review and Spotlight

 
Helping Children Fight Fear Since May 2014!
 
 

 

 
Be Sure to Check out the Fearless Giveaway Below! Enter just by commenting!
(see details below this post)
 



This is going to be the best year ever for best friends Bitterly, Abyssma and Belladonna as they are starting a new school year at Fright School! As young frights they’ll learn how to chase aware the fears of little human girls by entering their dreams and teaching them how to overcome nightmares. 



But when Bitterly, the most promising fright, is faced with a school bully and some nightmares of her own, she finds help from the last place she expected-the little girl whom she has sworn to protect. Pinkaboos is an empowering new chapter book series for girls and young readers (6-9) that presents the challenges of childhood through the thrilling and magical world of the Pinkaboos. 



Praise for the Pinkaboos chapter books from the author of Monster High: “Facing fears has never been so much fun. The Pinkaboos are ah-dorable!” -Lisi Harrison, author of The Clique, Alphas, Monster High, Pretenders.

(Chapter book for ages 6-9)

Review:

I tried reading this with my five year old niece, but after the first chapter, she decided it wasn’t for her. So, as it suggests, the book is for kids six and older.

I think I would have to give this book a 4 star. I liked it, but I wasn’t overly fond of it. It seems a little weird for such young kids, but then again, Monster High is pretty popular, so what do I really know? 😉

I loved the message behind it, though. Bitterly is a Pinkaboo, but she it’s being used as a taunt against her by a bully who went from fright to nightmare. Bullying is a serious problem in schools these days, and it’s important for kids to understand that they shouldn’t let the bullies upset them. They’re perfect they way they are, and I get the feeling that this book will help with that. Just as Bitterly learns to become a fright and accept her title as a Pinkaboo, I think kids will be able to relate to that.

Yes, the tagline is about fighting fear, and I think that’s exactly what this shows.

Would I recommend it to kids in this age group? Yes, if the monsters wouldn’t weird them out.

 

 

 

PURCHASE THE PINKABOOS
 
 
Laura Gosselin – After receiving her undergraduate degree in English from Cal State University Long Beach in California, Laura Gosselin completed her MFA at Stony Brook Southampton. She has since served as a reporter for a local newspaper in New York, an editor for a national magazine in Vancouver, Canada, as well as senior copywriter for a marketing firm. She currently lives in southern California with her husband and daughter where she works as a creative consultant for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.
 
Jake Gosselin completed his undergraduate degree in Anthropology at the University of Toronto before heading to New York where he finished his MFA in English and Writing at Stony Brook/Southampton College of Long Island University. He currently lives in Southern California where he works as an author, freelance writer and website producer for FourSeasons.com.
 
Connect with The Pinkaboos Team at their:

 

** AWESOME GIVEAWAY **
 

 

 
One lucky reader will win a Kindle along with a Kindle copy of The Pinkaboos!
For a chance to win the Kindle,  share your best anecdote on how your child overcame fear!
 
-We don’t need a novel, just simply share how your little hero conquered their biggest fear or helped someone else conquer fear..-
 
In addition to the Kindle, each blog on tour will be giving away 5 copies of The Pinkaboos: Bitterly and the Giant Problem just for leaving a general comment below!



And don’t forget to leave a way for us to contact you if you win!

 
 
 

Guest Post: New Stakes in a Book Series

With Ms. Danielle Shipley’s release of The Wilderhark Tales Book Three, The Seventh Spell, I’ve invited her over to share about writing a series.  She’s talking about amping up the stakes in the series!  Congratulations on your new release and welcome, Danielle!

When I set out to write the sequels for the first Wilderhark Tale, one of the first steps for each new book was to ask myself a vital question: What sort of trouble would the characters have to face this time?

Yes, I needed to know which characters would feature in the spotlight, and which sets of fairy tales would get my creative spin; all of that was important from Book One. But when it comes to a Book Two – and to a Book Three, Four, and beyond until a series’ end – the author’s chief task is to figure out how to keep the overarching story stretching longer without sagging in the middle. To keep things new in the face of familiarity, and exciting even after the readers have seen much of what’s there already in the preceding volumes. For that to happen, the characters need new chances for great gain, or new risks of great loss. In other words, stakes.

Think of your favorite series in books, television, or movies. Oftentimes, the heroes will save the day, the world, or the entire universe by the end of the first big chunk of story – and that could, possibly, hold up as a quite satisfying end. But then the defeated villain comes back for more, or a new bad guy rises in the old one’s place, or maybe everything the heroes thought they’d fixed turned out to make things ten times worse, and now they’ve got to fight for their futures all over again, with more hanging in the balance than ever before.

Sometimes the stakes build and escalate. Other times they start fresh on a different tack entirely. They can be as big as the fate of all mankind, or as personal as the ordinary highs and lows of a loved one. It’s not the size that matters; it’s the novelty of each additional crisis that keeps a series lively.

So while I say, “I’m so sorry,” to my Wilderhark cast for everything I put them through in Book Three, The Seventh Spell, to my readers I say, “Hold onto your hats, kids. The stakes just soared sky-high.”

Review: 5 0f 5 stars

The Seventh Spell is probably my favorite Wilderhark Tale thus far. Because if you think that in the previous two books that the characters had it bad, wait until you read this one! Ursula, our dearest Sula, has to call in the Anarchanwitch in order to, well cast a spell for reasons I won’t spoil, and of course, there are always repercussions.

The spell that the Anarchanwitch casts is her seventh spell, and it messes up everything! All six spells that she has cast previously comes unraveling, and they all mesh together, making Edgwyn, Rosalba, Ursula, and Villem fight to right the spell before they’re stuck in the past and in their ways before the previous curses were lifted.

I love that we have at least three different journeys happening at once in The Seventh Spell. Each character has to come face to face with their pasts and trying to find the ones that they each love. It’s an epic journey of overcoming curses, spells, and love being the answer to them all! And, like with book 2, Edgwyn is my absolute favorite character, but I have to say, I really loved Gant o’ the Lute, and I hope that he will show up in more of Ms. Shipley’s works!

If you love fairy tales, it’d be a shame if you missed the Wilderhark series by Danielle Shipley, especially The Seventh Spell. My only complaint is that this book wasn’t long enough!

About the Book: 

 

A witch’s attempt to cast one spell too many

casts everyone touched by her previous spells into chaos.

Scattered throughout each other’s pasts, Sula and Edgwyn, Villem and Rosalba,

and the rest of magic’s affected have a single chance to break this last enchantment

before their “happily-ever-after”-s cease to have ever been.

 

The Seventh SpellSeventh Spell Cover, front

Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales

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An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;

A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;

Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –

All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

 

You’ve heard the stories –

of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel;

of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball;

of frog princes, and swan princes,

and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

 

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

 

Book Details:

Full Title: “The Seventh Spell (Book Three of The Wilderhark Tales)

ISBN: 978-0-9891846-2-5

Genre: Young Adult Fairytale

Length: Novella (219 pages)

Release DateFebruary 5th, 2014 (TODAY!)

Availability: Paperback (Amazon.com) and eBook (Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com)

Add “The Seventh Spell” to your Goodreads shelf today!

Author Photo, Danielle E. ShipleyAbout Danielle:

Danielle E. Shipley’s first novelettes told the everyday misadventures of wacky kids like herself. …Or so she thought. Unbeknownst to them all, half of her characters were actually closeted elves, dwarves, fairies, or some combination thereof. When it all came to light, Danielle did the sensible thing: Packed up and moved to Fantasy Land, where daily rent is the low, low price of her heart, soul, blood, sweat, tears, firstborn child, sanity, and words; lots of them. She’s also been known to spend short bursts of time in the real-life Chicago area with the parents who home schooled her and the two little sisters who keep her humble. When she’s not living the highs and lows of writing young adult novels, she’s probably blogging about it at www.EverOnWord.wordpress.com.

 

Interview with Author G.e. Johnson and a Review

Guys, I’m thrilled to introduce to you author, G.e. Johnson.  She’s a dear friend, extraordinary author, and wonderful Christian woman. 

Welcome to my blog, Gerria!  I’m so thrilled that you’ve decided to join us.  Let’s start with you telling us a little about yourself.

Thank you so much for having me! I started writing as a teenager, mostly dabbling in poetry and free verse. Then, two years ago I published my first fiction work and I’ve been immersed in the literary world ever since. Recently, I made the switch to writing non-fiction Christian books and I love it. When I’m not writing, I spend my literary time helping other authors with marketing & promotion.

I’ve recently read your new novel, Volume One of Discovery of The Shepherd, A Study of Psalm 23, and I have to say, I’m deeply shepherdimpressed with the revelation that this first part of this study reveals.  How long did you spend in just a study of Psalm 23, each verse of it?  I’m betting it took a while.

For volume one, it took me about 2 months to put everything together. I’m actually studying as I go along because I want the revelation that I share to be fresh. For upcoming volumes, I’m giving myself a few weeks each because I would like to release a fresh volume each month until I have covered the entire Psalm.

You also studied the original meanings of the words in the Psalm itself.  How long did you spend searching original meanings and definitions?  Were you surprised at what you learned there?  

I am constantly reading and re-reading the original words and their meanings as I write. I also listen to audio recordings of the words and speak them out loud. I feel that this helps me to connect with the text and gain a better understanding of the literary voice of the writer, in this case King David. He was a very passionate, emotional man and the imagery that he uses in his writing is an awesome reflection of that. I have learned many things from the Hebrew text, but my first big discovery was that the “green” in “green pastures” is not an adjective at all in the original language. It is a noun – a living thing! This blew my mind and opened up an entirely new dimension to that verse. I write all about it in the book.

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.  I was so impressed with this study.  I’ve heard the Psalm hundreds of times before, but this study brought out so much about the Psalm I wouldn’t have seen on my own.  Were you surprised by what God revealed to you?  How did you feel while writing it?

I was a little surprised, but I must say that I went into this project with very high expectations. My desire to write bible study material came from God so I knew that there were some things that He wanted to say specifically and I was anticipating something mind blowing. My only prayer was that I would be able to capture what was being shown to me and put it into words. The revelation of God is a spiritual experience, but I have been charged with packing that revelation into the cerebral experience of reading. I feel challenged every time I sit down to work on this study, but when God gave me the assignment, He also gave me the ability to complete it and I have His help.

Okay, what can we expect from future studies of this Psalm?  Will there be more of different Psalms?  Different passages of the Bible?

The upcoming volumes of the Psalm 23 study will look just like the first volume. I am continuing to explore the original text and revealing the things that have become hidden through translation. There will also be more revelation of the ties between this scripture and the New Testament scriptures that fulfill what King David wrote. At this time, I have not been assigned another Psalm, but I do have a desire to “discover” some of the Proverbs of King Solomon as well as to write about some of the more general principals from the bible.

Snapshot_20131029_3_clipped_rev_1Where can we keep up with you and your work? 

The “Discovering The Shepherd” Psalm 23 study is being hosted by my wonderful friend and spiritual sister author Zari Banks who also writes revelatory works and teaches the word through multiple outlets. You can order an electronic copy (pdf, Kindle, or Nook versions) of volume 1 for $5 from Zari’s website at http://www.zwriteswords.org. For a limited time, those who order volume 1 will receive all upcoming volumes of the study for FREE and will have access to my closed study & discussion group! Readers may also e-mail me directly at gejohnsonmedia@gmail.com or join me on my author page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/gejohnsonfans.

Review:

5 stars

Discovering the Shepherd is literally what we do in this study.  G.e. breaks the Psalm down into individual passages (verses), gives us complete meanings of each verse, including original text and definitions.  What we see in the definitions will completely astound you, and you’ll see God, our Shepard in a new light, a bright light that will help you focus on letting God fully become your Guide, Shepard, Savior in life. 

The revelations we see in this novel astounded me, and honestly, left me speechless.  I felt God in these pages, and I could see that they were divinely inspired.  I honestly think we all need to read this study to focus on the meaning of Psalm 23.  Most of us know it by heart, but do you know it?  Do you know exactly what it means?  The answer is, yes, after you read this book, but until then, I don’t think we fully understand the importance of this Psalm.