Ибо так возлюбил Бог мир, что отдал Сына Своего Единородного, дабы всякий верующий в Него, не погиб, но имел хизнь вечную.
While I receive many books in exchange for review, I am never required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my very own.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Author Interview: Cara Putman

Today there's a very special guest on the blog, author Cara Putman. (She's totally amazinggggg!) Over Christmas break I read one of her books for the first time and I was hooked. I'm oddly attracted by suspense books that focus more on the lawyer/court side of things than the police side, although I enjoy both. Today, Cara's going to tell us more about her latest release and her upcoming release.

Cara, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I'm so excited for today!

What do you love most about your newest release?

Flight Risk allowed me to explore a slightly older heroine (she’s turning 40), which allowed her to have a series of competencies while still being a growing and evolving character. The hero also had a slightly Gibbs (from NCIS) feel even though he’s a reporter rather than a crime investigator. I was also able to marry my love of journalism with the law, which made for a strong clash of independent characters. Add in my favorite city (Washington, DC), and it was just plain fun.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Savannah Daniel was originally modeled off my mentor in law school. Victoria was about five years older than me, but because she’d gone straight to law school was further along in that career. So in earlier books Savannah is the woman with the sage, steady advice. Then as I started fleshing her out for her book, she got traces of me. Since I’m in my mid forties, I added some of the questions my friends and I wrestle with. Yes we know who we are, but sometimes there are disappointments and regrets that we can allow to trap us. I wanted to give Savannah a choice on whether to move forward or stay trapped. You’ll have to read the book to see which she does ;-)

What do you hope readers take away from the story?

The theme in a nutshell is how do we find truth in a fake news world? Truth matters. Even more today. But why does it matter? The Bible couldn't be clearer that the truth sets us free, so it is worth the hard work of confronting it and mining for it.

What is your next book going to be, and what can you tell us about it?

I’m in the second round of edits for Lethal Intent right now. In Lethal Intent, the heroine Caroline Bragg has started a new job with a start-up that works in pharmaceutical/oncology research. There’s suspense, romance, and a bit of tension, plus a passel of cute kids because her boyfriend runs a foster group home. I LOVE the interactions he has with the kids. As a former NFL football player, the kids show his teddy bear side.

What is the absolute best thing about being an author?

Getting to partner with God in creativity. I don’t mean for that to sound all woo-woo. But we are created in God’s image. The first part of his image that’s displayed in the Bible is Creation. I think we get the idea you have to have a special call to be creative: be an Einstein or Van Gogh or Dickens. But we all have pieces of that in us. When I’m writing, I get to actively partner with God in that part of my personality.

Do you have any pets who are your muses while writing? 

As I’m answering this, our new puppy is running around the patio next to me. Our cat Simba is the inspiration for Jaime’s cat in Delayed Justice. The pets actually become active representations of their owners in that one. As the pets move closer to each other (a dog and cat), you see the owners take steps toward each other. Brandon has a cat, Frodo, in Lethal Intent, but I need to give him a bit more screen time. Note to self as I work through the edits :-)

Since the time she could read Nancy Drew, Cara has wanted to write mysteries. In 2005 she attended a book signing at her local Christian bookstore. The rest, as they say, was history. There she met a fellow Indiana writer Colleen Coble. With prompting from her husband, Cara shared her dream with Colleen. Since those infamous words, Cara’s been writing award-winning books. She is currently writing book 33 and dreaming up future books, not hard when she sees what-ifs everywhere.
Cara Putman is an active member of ACFW and gives back to the writing community through her service on Executive Board. She has also been the Indiana ACFW chapter president and served as the Area Coordinator for Indiana.
Cara is also an attorney, full-time lecturer at a Big Ten university, active in women's ministry, and all around crazy woman. Crazy about God, her husband and her kids that is. She graduated with honors from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Go Huskers!), George Mason Law School, and Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. You can learn more about Cara at www.caraputman.com 

Thank you, Cara, for giving us a peek into your world today!

Thursday, May 21, 2020

CelebrateLit Tour: Review: Oliver's Moving Day by Vicky Sluiter

It’s moving day, and five-year-old Oliver is excited for the adventure ahead. He is full of questions as, along with big sister Edith, Mommy, and Daddy, Oliver moves from The Big City to The Country.
He has never been to The Country and has only seen pictures in his books. What will it be like? Where will they live? Will there be lots of people and tall buildings? Join Oliver and his family as they wave goodbye to The Big City and journey through the suburbs and into The Country. Will Oliver have his questions answered? Read along and find out!
Click here for your copy!
Oliver's Moving Day is a sweet little story that won't take long to read. If you're about to move, I think your children would be really excited to learn what it will be like. Oliver's Moving Day answers many questions that children have when going through a big transition like moving. The characters of Oliver and his family are sweet and lovable. Pre-schoolers and kindergartners especially will be attracted to the story. Although the illustrations aren't my favorite, I still think children will enjoy this book, and I'll be putting it on my shelf when I get my own classroom. 4 Stars! 
I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit in exchange for my honest and fair review.

About the Author

Vicky Sluiter has had a passion for reading since she was four years old. She started with the back of cereal boxes and moved on to everything else, including books, magazines, and t shirts. As a wife and mom, gramma to five boys, and the proud owner of a bearded dragon named Elliott, she has learned what boys like Oliver want to read. You can follow Vicky’s blog and book reviews at vickysluiter.com.

More from Vicky

I love writing children’s fiction because children are so much fun. So lively and expressive. You never really know what will happen when a child is involved but usually it will involve laughter. I have five grandsons so have experienced this many times over the years. The boys are ages 5 yrs to 14 yrs. Being at different stages the house is full of fun when they are all together. The youngest adores the oldest, and it’s reciprocated even if he won’t admit it. The middle three enjoy hanging together and getting into mischief. This Gramma loves every second of it!
The idea for a little guy on a farm was birthed when I was taking classes in writing fiction for children 30 years ago. I grew up on a hobby farm in farm country so the setting was pretty natural for me. And all the neighbors were boys so that’s what I’m used to. I could drive a tractor and bale hay right along with them. Having Oliver move from The Big City to The Country was inspired by my three youngest grandsons. That’s what they did and when they come to visit me they get excited to see the tall buildings in The Big City. And yes, they actually use that phrase. They are thoroughly convinced that Oliver’s Moving Day was written about them. In a way it was!
I’m so glad I didn’t give up on my dream. It was temporarily set aside, but in the right season it bubbled to the top again. Never let go of your dreams!


To celebrate her tour, Vicky is giving away the grand prize package of a copy of the book and toy truck!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

A Twist of Rapunzel Blog Tour: Review: Misfortune by Kendra E Ardnek

The day she was born, her kingdom fell, and so she was branded the daughter of blood and misfortune and locked away. Now a dragon plagues the land and her curse may be the only thing that stops it.
But is she really cursed?

This is the first time I've read one of Kendra's books and I can tell you, it's not gonna be the last. In a very short amount of time (Really, it won't take you long to read, and you might be a tiny bit put out that it isn't longer since you'll get to love the characters) Kendra brings you into a world that puts a little bit of the fantasy into reality. There are some very specific similarities to the book of Daniel, too. The characters didn't have long to catch my heart, but do it, they did! From the sweet prince to the dear Daughter of Blood and Misfortune, there was so much personality. My favorite by far was Misha, though. You'll probably find at least one or two parts that really stick it to you (I may have sent a picture of one of the paragraphs to a friend with the caption "Called out")  I loved how well Kendra made me run the gamut of emotions- from outrage to teary eyes to laughter. This is a definite recommend from me!


I received a copy of this book from the author, but the opinions are wholly and honestly my own.

Check out the rest of today's blog tour:
May 17 
Kendra E. Ardnek - Rapunzel and the Story of Daniel 
Books, Life, and Christ – Kirsten Fichter 
Live. Love. Read – Misfortune 

Saturday, May 16, 2020

A Twist of Rapunzel Blog Tour: Review: Diamond by Kirsten Fichter

Diamond leads a quiet life with the woman she calls Mother. There isn’t much to pass the time save for excursions in the forest and one-sided conversations with her pet rabbit, Hobie. Men are cruel beings who care only for themselves and must be avoided at any cost. After all, Diamond’s own father gambled her away once. What other terrible fates might await her if people knew she existed?

Seth Stendahl is an alchemist with a middling proficiency in the Rohesian tongue. After growing up with and surviving six sisters, there shouldn’t be anything too difficult for him to master – except maybe breaking his leg and being locked in the top of a ruined watchtower.

This is Rapunzel with a twist like you’ve never seen it before.

Guys, you have no clue how much I love these Once Upon a Twist Tales. Details from the original fairy tale, a few Disney nods, and so much Kirsten magic combine to make stories that capture the heart and imagination. In Diamond, there was so much to wonder at... I've only been dying to read it since I read Spindle Dreams (BTW Awesome book! You should read that one too, and it'll help a little with this one since they sorta got intertwined...) I love how Kirsten gave actual plausible explanations for everything that happens to Diamond/Rapunzel and Seth, her tower-bound friend. Kirsten has a way of taking the magic out and replacing it with her own wordy brilliance. The plot was great, of course, and even had a nice little subplot bunny hopping around, but what really gets me are the characters. Every one of them had me asking for more. Motives and desires and just a real-life-person-ness brought Diamond, Seth, Dalv, and even Mother drew me in and trapped me. It was one of those one-sitting reads, and I can't wait to read it with my sisters. (We're currently reading The Rose and the Balloon out loud together, but we hope to read Spindle Dreams and Diamond too before the end of the summer. Julie especially is very invested... who knew 7-year-olds were so ensnarable?) I do hope that I don't speak French like poor Seth speaks Rohesian... Oi! (Although, he didn't do poorly for learning such a difficult language!)
Bottom line: If you're looking for a magically non-magical twist on one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time... Stop looking and start reading! With a cute cover, a great plot, and so many characters to love (or love hating), Diamond has it all!
I received a copy of this book from the author, but all opinions expressed are my own honest views.

Check out the other awesome posts happening today on the blog tour!
May 16 
Kendra E. Ardnek – Top 10 Rapunzel Retellings. 
Dreams and Dragons – The Daughter of Blood and Misfortune 
Rambling Rose – Kendra 
Live. Love. Read – Diamond 

Friday, May 15, 2020

A Twist of Rapunzel Blog Tour: Author Interview: Kendra E Ardnek

Today, the author of Misfortune has graciously done an author interview. I'm so glad to have Kendra here today! I hope you enjoy getting to know a little more about Misfortune through this interview. Be sure to check out the other stops today which will be linked at the bottom, and don't forget that I'll be reviewing Diamond and Misfortune in the next two days! It's been a blast.

Thanks so much for coming today, Kendra!

1. What was the best part about working on Misfortune?
Getting to weave two very different stories into one cohesive whole. I think I did a pretty good job, but I'll let readers be the judge of that.

2. What was the biggest struggle with Misfortune?
I actually lost the first three chapters immediately upon writing them! I was able to recover only the first, and it took me forever to recover the motivation to power through and rewrite those chapters and power through the rest of the story.

3. Who is your favorite Misfortune character? Why?
Misha. I like mysterious old grandfather mentor characters who know a lot more than they let on.

4. What inspired you the most in the writing of Misfortune?
The word count meter? I had a story I wanted to write, and so I wrote it. Quite a bit of it on an exercise bike, actually...

5. Which of your characters is most like you?
Delshad, maybe? It's a very small cast and it didn't receive any self-inserts this time. I suppose I wrote the daughter of blood and misfortune to represent anyone who has ever felt like they're unworthy for any reason, and that's something that I have struggled with at several points in my life. We are worthy in the eyes of God, every one of us.

6. Which character was the hardest to write?
Also Misha. I just always find it to be a bit of a struggle when I write characters who were real people - in this case, he was based on Daniel. He's not the real Daniel, hence the name change, but still ...

Also writing a character that didn't have an actual name was difficult, especially since Delshad refused to refer to her as the daughter of blood and misfortune. 

7. What is the hardest part about self-publishing? What are the biggest rewards?

I have to do everything myself - but it puts me in direct relationship with my readers and I retain full creative control, so ... win win!

So much fun! Thanks, Kendra!

May 15 
Kirsten Fichter – The Girl Named Diamond 
Live. Love. Read – Kendra 
Rambling Rose – Misha 
Light and Shadows – Misfortune 
Madi’s Musings – Diamond 

Thursday, May 14, 2020

A Twist of Rapunzel Blog Tour: Character Interview: Diamond

Today it's our pleasure to have Diamond, from Kirsten Fichter's newest release (Happy Birthday a day late!) Diamond here for an interview. Diamond is the main character in book three of the Once Upon a Twist Tales series, and I know you'll enjoy getting to know this Rapunzel heroine!

Without further ado, here is Diamond!

Hello, Erica! Thank you so much for having me on your blog today!
I think it is so exciting to be here!

1. How would you describe your childhood? 
I’m not sure I know what most people’s childhoods look like, but I think mine was pretty quiet. I had a lot of fun, though; there were animals to watch in the woods, and berries to eat, and on rainy days I read through Mother’s books. 
2. What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you so far?
I enjoy animals, especially small ones, and I’m always looking to help them out when I can. Animals get hurt in the woods a lot, especially with our resident bear roaming around. Thanks to Mother’s medical book, I know how to bandage wounds and (mostly) set broken bones. Unfortunately, when my rabbit Hobie broke his leg and I tried to set it, the bone didn’t set quite right, and now the poor creature limps badly. He doesn’t complain about it, but Mother says it was an embarrassing moment for me. She says I have a soft heart and doesn’t think I should waste time helping animals. 
3. What is your most treasured possession?
 My pet rabbit, Hobie, that I mentioned in the last question. He’s very sweet even though he doesn’t enjoy cuddling much. He also doesn’t like the pink ribbon I’ve tied around his neck, but I think it makes him look very nice. 
4. Which talent would you most like to have? Why?
I think I’d like to be a medical expert… I think they’re called doctors? Or nurses? I enjoy helping animals and making them feel better, so I think I would enjoy helping people out, too. Taking away pain, making them smile. I don’t know any people, besides Mother, so I’m not sure if I could actually do it right. 
5. What do you most wear on your feet (dress shoes, boots, gym shoes, socks with holes in them, slippers, etc.)? 
I normally wear my boots when walking through the woods, but in our cave I like to go without shoes. The stones tend to wear my shoes out too quickly, and Mother doesn’t appreciate that. 
6. What three words best describe your personality?

I’d like to describe myself as caring, quiet, and observant. Mother would
say long, blonde hair.

Diamond, thank you so much for stopping by to do this interview today!

If you want to read more about either Diamond or Misfortune, check out the other great posts happening today!
May 14 
Kendra E. Ardnek – Five Reasons to Read Diamond 
Live. Love. Read – Diamond 
Tangled Up in Writing – Misfortune 
C.O. Bonham – Misfortune 

CelebrateLit Blog Tour: Dark Water by Christy Barritt

Colton Locke can’t forget the black op that went terribly wrong. Desperate for a new start, he moves to Lantern Beach, North Carolina, and forms Blackout, a private security firm. Despite his hero status, he can’t erase the mistakes he’s made.
For the past year, Elise Oliver hasn’t been able to shake the feeling that there’s more to her husband’s death than she was told. When she finds a hidden box of his personal possessions, more questions—and suspicions—arise. The only person she trusts to help her is her husband’s best friend, Colton Locke.
Someone wants Elise dead. Is it because she knows too much? Or is it to keep her from finding the truth? The Blackout team must uncover dark secrets hiding beneath seemingly still waters. But those very secrets might just tear the team apart.
 Click here for your copy!
This was my first time getting ahold of Christy's books, and I was fascinated. It was much more engaging than my lectures, so I took a half-day break from school to dive in and obliterate this crazy-riveting suspense novel. I always love military/former-military characters, and this was no exception. And when former military people all band together to make some sort of agency, I'm a double-goner. This was the sort of book that made me want to keep reading because I wasn't willing to let any of the characters stay in danger. (Even though I was told rather decidedly that they wouldn't die while I was eating lunch, I wasn't convinced!) The story moved quickly, and I enjoyed the different POVs that made me want to read other books that seem to be interrelated. There wasn't much I didn't like about Dark Water. (Although this is one of the few books that I really wasn't a fan of the cover) 4 Stars, definitely a get-you sort of story if you're into that sort. And even I took a while to figure out who was the bad guy, which is sort of unusual, because I usually catch on pretty quick. (I also didn't realize it till halfway through, but it wasn't overtly Christian- the characters weren't praying a lot or struggling through something spiritually or anything, which they usually are in mysteries I read. Not that it's a bad thing... just very different.)

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit, but the views expressed are honestly my own.

About the  Author

USA Today has called Christy Barritt’s books “scary, funny, passionate, and quirky.”
Publishers Weekly best-seller, Christy writes both mystery and romantic suspense novels that are clean with underlying messages of faith. Her books have sold more than two million copies, and two are currently being developed as movies.
Christy’s books have won the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Suspense and Mystery, have been twice nominated for the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, and have finaled for both a Carol Award and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year.
She’s married to her prince charming, a man who thinks she’s hilarious–but only when she’s not trying to be. Christy’s a self-proclaimed klutz, an avid music lover who’s known for spontaneously bursting into song, and a road trip aficionado.
Christy currently splits her time between the Virginia suburbs and Hatteras Island, North Carolina. She loves spending time with her husband, her two sons, and her four dogs.
For more information, visit her website: www.christybarritt.com.

More from Christy

Dark Water is the fourth series in the Lantern Beach Universe. When I created the fictional island of Lantern Beach, NC, I had no idea how popular it would be. I’ve fallen in love with the people there, and they feel more like friends than fictional characters.
Dark Water is about a group of former Navy SEALs who band together to former an elite private security firm. But they all share secrets, as well as guilt over the death of their SEAL leader. In order to move on, they must find answers.
I introduced Colton Locke in the last book of the Lantern Beach PD series—Plan of Action. I knew he needed his own book and that I wanted to develop his character more. That turned into a four-book series featuring Colton and three of his friends. Blackout contains suspense, mystery, and romance—all of my favorite things!


To celebrate her tour, Christy is giving away the the grand prize package of a signed copy of Dark Water and a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

Genesis 5020, May 4
Remembrancy, May 6
Emily Yager, May 6
Betti Mace, May 7
Simple Harvest Reads, May 9 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
CarpeDiem, May 13
Live. Love. Read., May 14 (You are here)