Most of the books I review are given to me by the author or their publishing company and sometimes the library! I’m not required to post a good review.
However, my momma raised me to to say nice things, and if I can’t then I shouldn’t say anything. I’ve adopted that policy for my reviews. If I don’t like the book doesn’t mean it isn’t someone else’s favorite.
I am required by some strange law to let you know that I didn’t buy the book.
A moving story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.
Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.
Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.
Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration.
The Noticer is a little book with a quite cover featuring a brown suitcase. It should be neon green screaming buy me and change your life because it packs a lot of information—life changing information.The first time I read it, yes I read it twice and intend to read it again—it’s just that good, I gasped as the concept of perception suddenly seemed not only possible but necessary.
As Jones travels through Andy’s life noticing things Andy could change to make his life and those around him better it seems so simple and yet many of us do not do those things. I’m one of those people.
In one chapter Andrew’s explains how we speak in dialect to each other and how we can learn to listen and understand other’s language. He also gives word pictures of the animal kingdom to further understanding of the people you interact with. This is where I decided this is a book to be bought not borrowed or loaned out. Not only can I use this information in my personal life I can use it when I write. It’s a two for one book for me!
Reading this book could possible save a marriage, a life, a relationship with a child or if you work with large groups of people you will find a way to work with them as well. And it isn’t hard, there aren’t seventeen steps you have to follow to make it happen! One small thing can make a huge difference in a person’s life that could affect the outcome of a generation or generations to follow.
This is a work in progress. Or should I say works in progress? I have so many things I want to make with this fabric from clothes, to quilts, to covering pizza boxes! With only one day a week to play in my sewing space things do not get made as fast as material gets purchased.
I’m a work in progress too. I’m learning about social media marketing and would love to take Maria Andros’s course, but that’s to much money right now, so I will plod along looking through every free thing I can find on the web. I’m also still working on my latest manuscript as of yet not sold. I have to wait on God’s timing for that and it’s not easy!
The winner of the Daisy Chain Book is Deb (South Moon.) Deb you’ll be hearing from Mary soon so watch your email. Thank all of you wonderful people for leaving comments about the review.
April 8, 2009 01:03:57 Posted By Care Putman ***NOTE: Sara Mills, whose new book Miss Match (to follow the first release, Miss Fortune) from Moody Press, has just lost her husband to a heart attack. Please pray for her and her children as we help her promote her new book. Thanks to Cara Putman for allowing us to use her excellent interview. You can find Sara at http://www.saramillsbooks.com/.
Miss Fortune and Miss Match are delightful books set in NYC in 1947. Tell us how you got the idea for Allie and these books…
I got the idea for Miss Fortune in the middle of the night, when all good ideas come to me:One sleepless night I was watching The Maltese Falcon and I started to wonder how different the story would be if Sam Spade had been a woman. She’d never have fallen for Miss Wunderly’s charms and lies. She’d have been smart and tough and she would have solved the case in half the time it took Sam because she wouldn’t spend all of her time smoking cigarettes and calling her secretary Precious.The thought of a hard-boiled female detective got my mind whirling.I paused the movie and sat in my darkened living room thinking about how much fun a female Sam Spade could be. Intrigued but not yet ready to dash to my computer, I changed disks and put on Casablanca (my all time favorite movie ever). The sweeping love story, a tale full of hard choices and sacrifice was what finally made the whole idea click in my mind. If I could just combine the P.I. detective story of the Maltese Falcon with the love story from Casablanca, and make Sam Spade more of a Samantha, I could have the best of all worlds.
These books are so good, I wish I’d written them. How did you set the stage to capture that gritty PI feel without being dark?
I find that a lot of PI stories are gritty and dark, focusing on the worst of the humanity, and while I wanted the Allie Fortune mysteries to be exciting and tension-filled I didn’t want them to be stark and hopeless.One of the things I tried to do to counteract the darkness was to give Allie a multi-layered life. She has cases, relationships, friends and family, all of which I hope combine to make the stories textured, rich and full of life.
Allie is a character I’d love to have coffee with. What did she teach you while you wrote these books?
Allie was a great character to write. One of the things I learned from her was that human relationships (man/woman, mother/daughter, friends) are complicated and full of unspoken rules and expectations. Allie is a rule-breaker at heart and it complicates her life on a regular basis. One of the storylines I loved most is Allie’s relationship with her mother and how it grows and changes and how it’s shaped her.Another dimension of Allie’s character that really taught me a lot was her willingness to do whatever was needed to help those she loves. There is no price on that kind of friendship and it’s a characteristic I’d like to see more of in myself. Okay I admit it, I’ve got a bit of a friend-crush on Allie.
LOL.One last question: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would that be and who would you take with you?
If I could go anywhere right now I’d head to Monterey, California (I’m writing a book set there right now) and I’d plant myself on the beach with a notebook, writing my story as the waves crashed. Sounds like my idea of heaven on earth. There’s something about the wind-shaped Cypress trees and the crash of the surf in Monterey that calls to me. I don’t know why, it just is.
I’ve asked a good friend and writer, Elaine Stock to post her review of Mary E. Demuth’s new book on my blog.
DAISY CHAIN by Mary E. Demuth
DAISY CHAIN takes the reader back to the 1970s, a time before teenagers isolated themselves with computer games or tuned out the world with music downloaded onto an iPod. Yet, like any slice of present or past, not all is perfect or safe. Set in Defiance, Texas, DAISY CHAIN, part one of a trilogy, sets into motion the thought troubling many people: How can a good and loving God allow bad things to happen to good people?
Jed, a 14-year-old boy, lives with his tough-as-rusty-nails preacher dad, his emotionally unstable mom who gives her love the best she could, and a younger sister who at times is seized with a lisp. At times, Dad Pepper’s actions are as hard as his words. His family suffers both physically and emotionally from his abuse. A family secret, they keep this from the public eye, although a few have suspicions.
The beginning of the story sets Jed’s world upside down. The stability and probable future soul mate he has in his life, Daisy, is snatched up and away, joining the ranks of missing children. Jed’s guilt and self-blame over Daisy’s disappearance is carried throughout the story: a heavy burden for anyone, especially so young, to carry.
Jed meets and befriends some very special people. Muriel, who is fighting cancer, comes from a bizarre marital past. Hixon, who is often thought of as the town prophet, suffers through prejudice against him, and his own demons. Combined with the companionship of Jed’s young sister, and what seem to be Daisy’s whispers of faith, Jed finds the strength to stand up for his convictions.
DAISY CHAIN is not light reading, but is thought provoking, leaving the reader asking several questions about life and God, and wondering what will happen to Jed and those whom he loves. It’s well worth spending time in Defiance for a walk with young Jed down a very rough road, one we all seem to travel on at one time or another.
Reviewed by Elaine Stock
Thanks Elaine! This sounds like a book I can’t wait to read. Good news for one of you! Mary has offered to give away a free copy as long as there are ten people who post a comment! So please leave a post and MOST IMPORTANT leave a contact email address or you won’t get the book if your name is picked! You have until April 8 12:00 pm central standard time!
T.V. news Reporter, Dani Richards moves to Lincoln, Nebraska to care for her Aunt Jayne who has Alzheimer’s.
Taking her aunt to see Cats, Dani prays she won’t see Caleb Jamison, the man who stole her 16-year-old heart. Not only does she see him, she has to work with him when she discovers a dead body at the theater. Caleb is on the police force and is assigned to keep Dani safe, but can he protect her heart from him?
Deadly Exposure is a page turner. A delight to read a suspense novel that doesn’t go into grisly details. Yet, Putman gives us enough to thrill and scare us into saying “don’t go in there!”
Sisters Hannah and Dilly have a complex relationship. Hannah is the older sister who feels she has failed her sister, Dilly. The book opens with Hannah picking up Dilly from prison. Dilly has served time for a crime most of society would call horrendous,many would have great difficulty in forgiving her. But Hannah has, she feels what happened is her fault for not being there for her sister.
Lang sets the story in Central Illinois, her setting and descriptions are captured with perfection.
Hannah leaves LA and comes back to Illinois to help her sister. Hannah struggles with what she has left behind including a man she wants to love.
She has to adjust once again to living in a small town where everyone knows your business. It even takes driving for an hour to get more than the basics to make the healthy meals she has learned to love in LA.
My Sister Dilly is a heart-capturing read. Dilly and Hannah became real and dear to me and even now knowing these are just characters made up by Lang I find myself wondering how they are today.
Well done Maureen Lang for a book well written and memorable.
This is such a surprising topic. Where did the idea come from?
One day I was talking to my sister-in-law whose son attends a school for special needs children. She told me about a woman who worked there who had recently gone through a terrible ordeal, beginning with the night she tried to take her own life and that of her severely handicapped daughter—and failed on both counts, thank God. Despite the fact that they both survived, the intent was there and she went to prison. What could allow a person to commit such a terrible act? My sister-in-law knew this woman to be kind and considerate, and so concerned for her daughter’s welfare that she took a part-time job at the school just to be near her daughter to watch over her safety. She must have been terribly desperate to do what she did.
I knew the story had enough drama to be recorded in a book, but I didn’t want My Sister Dilly to be an exploration of such desperation and lead to something so bleak. I chose to start the story long after the event takes place, in fact just when Dilly, the woman who tried what this woman did, is just being released from prison for child endangerment. What she wants most of all is to be reunited with her special needs child, but of course that’s not easily accomplished given her history.
I also wanted to lighten up such dark subject matter by incorporating a romance, which is where the sister component comes in. Hannah is the narrator for most of the story, and she’s given up the only man she could ever love to return home to take care of Dilly. Of course, throughout the book both sisters grow in ways neither expect.
I know you live in Central Illinois. I live in Southern Illinois and often drive through CI to visit my son in Chicago. There isn’t much there. What do you do for fun in the winter?
Actually Central Illinois is where my husband grew up, and we visit there often to be with family still living there. I actually live in the Chicago area, so you’ll have to let me know when you’re up here!
But I do know a little about how busy everyone is in Central Illinois, year round. People tend to be more community-oriented, so there are a lot of social gatherings with family or church members. Vacations tend to be in those cold months rather than during the time of year during planting, maintaining crops or harvest time. One of my brothers-in-law raises hogs, just as the family does in My Sister Dilly, so that’s a year round commitment that keeps them busy all the time. Just try planning a family gathering on any given weekend and you’re bound to have other engagements to compete with!
Describe your writing room.
I absolutely love where I write! My husband worked very hard to make it everything I hoped it would be. When we moved into this house over ten years ago, the study had a lot of potential. Twelve-foot ceilings, tall windows, double door entryway. But it was plain, with only a single set of old bookshelves completely overwhelmed by all the books our family has collected.
So we designed the room for a whole wall of built-in shelving, both for books and things I need to store like mailing envelopes and postcards I have printed, as well as for family things like games and paper records we need to keep.
So one wall is completely shelving, top to bottom, and it’s beautiful! My husband also added French doors, new flooring and a lovely shade of dark green to the walls. The room turned out to be everything I hoped. (Thanks, honey!)
I did try to find a desk I liked, something new and beautiful to match the wonderful shelving, but I’m such a stickler I couldn’t bear to part with my plain old desk that’s exactly the right height and size. So here I am, in my old chair at my old desk. Happily surrounded by all of my books!
You have a very intense pig farm scene in My Sister Dilly, what experience do you have with pig farming?
As I mentioned above, my husband’s brother raises hogs. What an experience! Actually it made research very easy. A few years ago they were devastated when some of the slats broke that hold the pigs above the manure pit below. They lost several pigs. I think most people know farming is actually a pretty dangerous profession, from the equipment to the sheer level of manual labor. But when I learned the fumes from the manure pit could kill someone (or not, depending on how it’s maintained and the fluctuating level of various chemicals associated with decay and fecal matter) I knew I wanted to include their really terrible (but dramatic!) experience into this book.
I had plenty of first-hand help advising me on the details to have the scene as authentic as possible!
Best writing advise you’ve ever followed?
Someone told me a very long time ago that persistence is as important to success as talent, and I’ve found that to be so true. I tell that to people all the time now. Keep at it!
What makes you happy?
I think the key to happiness is learning how God wired you. The passions He gives us usually coincide with the gifts He also gives. My passion for writing makes it easier to keep at it because I want to write all the time and obviously the more we do anything, the better we become. That enthusiasm makes it easier to want to improve. It seems pretty clear to me He’s wired me to write, and I’m happiest when I’m doing that.
Thanks for letting me stop in for a visit. This was fun!
Thanks for letting us peak into the writing of your story and your writing room! It sounds amazing!
What about the regency period first caught your attention that made you want to write about it?
I fell in love, so to speak, with the Regency from reading Austen and Georgette Heyer. I’ve only read (I’m almost embarrassed to admit) about five or six of Heyer’s many regencies–I still have a lot of them waiting. But I knew I wanted to be able to entertain like her, and do it with a Christian perspective. It was something that hadn’t been done yet, at the time. I totally wanted to be able to express some spiritual truths that God had taught me in a fun package like a regency, while being true to the era, to my characters, and to my readers. I researched and read and read and read, and all of that reading just fascinated me more with the period.
I was appreciative of the glossary at the back of the book. Was that your idea or Harvest House’s to include it?
It was my idea, but my editor was equally “for” it. I had put a glossary on my website, but readers find it much easier to look at the back of the book to find out the meaning of a word rather than have to get online.We’re going to put another glossary in the sequel, The House in Grosvenor Square. Not just for new readers, but because there’s some new regency words and slang I got to put in the book, that weren’t in the first.
With which Jane Austen character do you most identify?
Hmm, interesting question. Probably Emma for being well-meaning but blowing it!
What are some of your favorite research books for the regency period?
Even though it’s more Victorian than Regency, Daniel Poole’s “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew,” is very interesting. Not detailed enough, but it’s a great overview. I also like biographies of George IV (the Regent), the letters of Jane Austen, and memoirs from the period. Looking up old periodicals is priceless, too. Another book, The Regency Underworld, came in handy for a lot of the information I put inside The House in Grosvenor Square. So far there is no one book that really covers everything in a way a writer can use. So you just pick up bits and pieces, and more bits and pieces from different sources.
What words of encouragement would you like to offer others wishing to write in a subgenre that isn’t currently popular with Christian Publishers?
I’m not an editor working for a publisher, or an agent, so I can only tell you what I think will work. Write an excellent book, an irresistible book—it doesn’t have to be popular to get contracted. It just has to be very, very, good. If you can get a few key people to believe in your work, the work itself will convince everyone else.
Thank you for having me today, Diana! Remember, if you get a minimum of ten unique commenters, you can pick a winner for a free copy of Before the Season Ends!
Thanks so much Linore! Remember post a comment and leave an email for me to contact you if you are the winner of this fabulous book! You must post a comment before Jan. 4–12:01 central standard time.
here’s my review of Before the Season Ends.
Before the Season Ends by Linore Rose Burkard is a delightful read. Burkard does indeed fill the gap left by Jane Austen. This Christian regency read takes you to England, 1813. Ariana Forsythehas the fortunate chance to come out into society because of a rich childless aunt. Arinna hasn’t been raised like most of the young girls having their season. Gossip make her uncomfortable as does putting yourself as more important than others.
Arianna Forysythe is someone you would desire as a best friend. You root for her throughout the book. She has several misadventures, which throws her into the path of Mr. Monray.
Mr. Monray is the new Mr. Darcy! He is of course most desirable and uncatchable by any of the girls having their season; he has even managed to escape others in previous season. Then Ariana falls into his world and everything begins to tilt for him.
This book had many moments of well-written humor.
The faith aspect of this book is well done as well. Ariana’s faith is real and her actions are consistent with that faith.
I’m looking forward to the next regency by Burkard.
Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this great book!
The Unseen is a supernatural thriller and it reaches the standards set long ago by Steven King. Lucas is a man without a past, or at least he doesn’t remember much of his youth. Only one phrase sticks in his mind like an irritating mosquito buzzing in his ear, Humpty Dumpty had some great falls.
Lucas lives everywhere and nowhere. He finds empty places to set his mementos he’s gathered in a certain pattern, and that becomes home to him; for awhile. He longs to make connections with other people, he feels a need but doesn’t seem to understand it. So he finds ways to create peepholes to watch others in office buildings. When they are gone for the night he takes a small memento of them. On a rare occasion someone will meet eye to eye with him without really knowing he is there. That’s when he feels a real connection with that person.
Lucas has only formed a loose relationship with the woman he works with, Sarea. He’s never called her or even dated her. He’s only pretended to smoke a cigarette with her in the back alley behind the restaurant where he washes dishes. Sarea has given him her phone number in case he should ever need help. He stores it in his pocket.
Everything changes in his world when someone discovers his living space. He is invited to join a group that is like him, the Creep Club. The difference between him and the Creep Club is they go into people’s homes and tape them. Lucas doesn’t want to join them. Once he makes that decision, his life takes a wild ride.
You know that feeling you get when there is no one around and yet you feel like someone is watching you? Read this book and you’ll really be creeped out! I so am changing my locks on my doors! Do not read this book before you go to sleep—‘cause you won’t sleep!
When Meg Jorgenson decides to leave behind her former uncharmed life in Chicago with her cheating poet boyfriend, she decides to head to her former home in Miracle, Kentucky. Her mother fled Miracle while Meg was just a child, leaving behind Meg’s father who remarried and has more children. The aptly named town turns out to be a miracle of hope and healing for Meg. She is able to pursue her dream of teaching while staying with her delightful grandmother. While Meg reconnects with her grandmother and father’s family, she also catches the attention of a young widower, Lance Bayer and his daughter, Cammy. Cammy was injured in the same car accident that took her mother’s life, but hopes to able to someday get out of the wheelchair she is bound to. During the story God is also trying to reconnect with Meg. The story is a light, delightful read as readers wonder if Meg and Vance will be able to overcome their differences, if her father’s family with accept her, and if Meg will be able to get past her doubts about God. Readers will become attached to Cammy and wonder if her dream to walk again will happen in the town full of miracles.
This book troubled me in the beginning. I do not like vampire stories. I was uncomfortable with reading a book about the ‘undead’ who feed on souls and human blood. Yet, I kept reading because the author is an excellent writer and he pulled me from page to page and into the fabric of his characters lives. Soon I was hooked. I had to know more about the Nistarim –the immortal who walk the earth left by God to protect us from mankind. Eric Wilson has to be the first author I have read that I actually put down my book and retrieved my bible to make sure he was not making up stuff. Kudos for that!
The journey of Gina Lazarescu is complicated from the moment we are first introduced to her. She is a small child, five-years-old and does not have a normal childhood. She lives in a single parent home in Romania. Her mother has an unusual method of attempting to keep her child free of sin by the use of blood letting. It is important that her mother keep her safe from the collectors (the undead.) Gina does not understand why her mother does this to her and eventually she rebels, leading to some difficult times.
The books pacing is done well, as readers we cover the world as Gina moves from one country to another.
After reading this book I have an even greater appreciation for communion. This book took me to a place in my walk of faith that I have never been and I look forward to reading the next two in this series.
Welcome Camy, thanks for taking time away from NANO (National Novel November Writing Month) for this interview. It will be short I promise! 1. How did you prepare for NANO? And are any of your books the result of NANO?
I am a plotter, so I usually spend some time before NaNoWriMo plotting the book so I know where I’m going. I typically use the book 45 MASTER CHARACTERS by Victoria Lynn Schmidt as a jumping off point for the plot and characters. And my second book in the Sushi series, ONLY UNI, was a result of NaNoWriMo!
2. How many books will be in the Sushi series?
Three books were published by Zondervan (the third book, SINGLE SASHIMI, just released last month). However, the series circles around four cousins.
3. How do you integrate scripture so naturally into your stories?
I try to have a theme song and a corresponding verse for the story before I write it. That way, as I write, the song and verse end up being woven into the scenes.
4. You left the biologist/researcher field for writing. Trish in Only Uni works in that field what was it like for you to re-visit that career, do you miss it?
It was fun, and I admit I had to go back to some of my old protocols to make sure the jargon was correct, but at the same time, I don’t miss it. I love writing more! LOL
5. Favorite writing book or writing course?
There are two courses that I always recommend to writers. For beginning writers, I suggest Randy Ingermanson’s Fiction 101, 201, or 301 courses, which can be bought online as MP3 downloads plus worksheets. (http://advancedfictionwriting.com/)
The other course is Margie Lawson’s Empowering Characters’ Emotions course. If you can take it in person, all the better, but her online course is equally good. (http://www.margielawson.com/)
6. Pen, pencil or computer?
Definitely computer! I type faster than I write, but I do admit to loving writing in my prayer journal with my fountain pen from Levenger.com. 🙂 Again, Camy thank you so much for taking time to answer my questions.
Thanks for having me here!
Please stop by Camy’s web site and read more about her and her books! Here’s my review of Only Uni!
Only Uni by Cami Tang This is Trish Sakai’s story and yet it becomes your story or the story of someone you know. Trish has truly found God, but doesn’t quite understand she isn’t required to follow man-made rules to be devoted to Him. Trish’s culture is very different from my own Midwest upbringing making this story unique for me. I enjoyed learning about her Asian culture, which is a character of its own. Tang has a fresh way of integrating the Christian message in her books. I read the last page and my desire to know became a raging fire. I want to know more about Christ and what God desires for me. With her sassy dialogue and intriguing characters Tang brings the reality of living a Christ-filled life into the real world—a world where people fumble, take wrong turns and find out they are still loved by family, friends and God.
Tangs writing is fun, engaging and encouraging. Get this book, but first if you haven’t read it get Sushi for One, then prepare for a fun evening of reading because you won’t want to put these books down. You may not even want to loan them to your friends because they are books you’ll want to read again.