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.