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22 November 2014

Cover Reveal: Grit of Berth and Stone by Lisa Dunn

Grit of Berth and Stone by Lisa Dunn
Surge, Anaiah Press


Banished for a foolish mistake, sixteen-year-old Grit of Berth and Stone scorns the loss of her home, her honor, and her only ally. Only the weak worry about such things.

But war is brewing all across Chasmaria, and as a group of rebels pull Grit into their ranks, she begins to question what strength, courage, and honor really look like. When faced with a horrible truth about herself, Grit must either fight her way back to Thresh or live with the blood of the innocent on her hands.

Release Date:
March 17, 2015

Book Links:

Author Bio:

As a child, Lisa Dunn fell asleep to her father’s fanciful bedtime tales and played with her own story ideas during the daylight hours. She now resides in a small southern town with her husband, four children, and an ever-changing assortment of pets. Local librarians habitually thank her for their job security. 

Twitter:  @ScouterWife

21 November 2014

ARCBA Tour: The Songs of Jesse Adams by Peter

16 - 20 November 2014
is introducing

The Songs of Jesse Adams
Acorn Press


Peter McKinnon

About the Book:

Set in the turmoil of social change and political unrest of Australia during the 1960s, The Songs of Jesse Adams traces the meteoric rise of a boy from the bush – a farmer’s son who breaks away to follow his heart, his dreams and his love of music. But, as Jesse travels with his band and the crowds gather, it becomes clear that something else is afoot. This rock singer captivates and transforms a host of fans who hear his songs and encounter his touch. 

Lives are changed in unexpected ways and the enigmatic Jesse becomes a symbol of hope and freedom for those on society’s edge. But not all will celebrate the rising tide of influence of this charismatic figure whose words and actions challenge those in power – the media, the politicians, the church. In one tumultuous week this clash of ideals comes to a head – with profound consequences. 

Awash in all the protest and collapse of conservative Australia, the colour and madness that was the sixties, The Songs of Jesse Adams is a tale of conflict, betrayal and tragedy, but ultimately the triumph of love.

*Warning this book contains some language that some readers may find offensive*

About the Author

For seventeen years, Peter McKinnon held senior roles in some of Australia’s largest corporations, with a focus on human behaviour and organisational effectiveness. This culminated in his appointment in 1999 as Executive General Manager, People & Culture, of Australia’s then largest financial organisation, National Australia Bank.

In late 2006, Peter was approached to head up the global human resources function of  World Vision International(WVI), based in Los Angeles. WVI is the world’s largest humanitarian aid organisation, with over 40,000 employees in 100 different countries and countless volunteers working in highly diverse and challenging settings.

When he returned to Australia in late 2009, he committed to pursuing his creative interests more directly and began to write. ‘The Songs of Jesse Adams’ is the result.

Peter has been published in publications as wide-ranging as the ‘Age’, ‘The Australian Women’s Weekly’ and ‘4 x 4‘ magazine and regards winning a Pacific cruise for his writing as his crowning achievement in this field ! He has also written and produced several musicals.

Peter is a qualified psychologist, has studied theology, worked briefly as a minister and served on the Council of the MCD University of Divinity.

He lives in Melbourne with his wife Julie. This is his first book.

20 November 2014

Review: The Bridge Tender by MaryBeth Whalen

Not Whalen’s best

I’m going to admit two things before I start, because one in particular affected my enjoyment of The Bridge Tender. First, I thought it was a romance, because the book description I read when I downloaded it made it seem like an amusing romance about a widow finding second love. It even gave the guy’s name and occupation, so there was no mistaking what was ‘supposed’ to happen.

So when I was a quarter of the way though and the main character—the widow—hadn’t even met the guy, I was starting to get confused and a little annoyed. This wasn’t what I signed up for—dragging backstory and depressing introspection (yes, I get that she’s a widow. But I thought this was a romance, which means she’s supposed to be past her grief and ready to move on). I went back and checked the book description, and it had changed to this:
On their honeymoon, the new Mr & Mrs. Ryan Shaw made a pact: No matter the sacrifices along the way, one day they would return to Sunset Beach, North Carolina—this time to buy their own home.
But that dream was not to be. Seven years into a beautiful marriage, Emily is left a widow, heartbroken, and way past caring about anything.
Until a man approaches her, claiming to have something left to her from Ryan. Something secret.
Unsure if she can ever embrace a new life without her husband, but even less sure about continuing to stay where she is, Emily heads to the coast to keep her end of the promise she once made.
Without delay, she becomes immersed in the lives of the locals, including the reclusive bridge tender with an unexpected past. As the community debates over building a new bridge, Emily must decide whether she will build a bridge of her own, one that will take her out of a painful past and into the new life—and new love—that her lost love made possible.
Ah. Not a romance then, which might explain why it was taking so long for the romance to get going. Although, in my defence, it still takes a long time to get into even this plot. Emily doesn’t “head to the coast” to keep her promise until a quarter of the way into the book, and it takes even longer before she really gets “immersed” in the lives of a small group of locals.

The second thing was my fault entirely. I misunderstood the title. The ‘bridge tender’ refers to the person who looks after (tends) the bridge, not a tender moment concerning a bridge. My bad.

As a result, I found the plot dragged, Emily was depressing and introspective, and I didn’t enjoy The Bridge Tenderas much as I’ve enjoyed other novels by Marybeth Whalan.

Would I have enjoyed it more if I’d read this blurb instead? Maybe, but I found myself waiting for something unexpected to happen. It did, but it took a long time. Emily was a distant character all the way through, and while I could empathise with her as a widow still grieving the loss of her husband, it wasn’t exactly fun reading. This distance also worked against her in the second half of the story, where she was becoming more involved in the lives of the locals, as the distant viewpoint never made it feel like she was truly “immersed”.

However, the writing was solid and I liked the way the Christian message was woven subtly throughout the novel. But I’ve enjoyed other Marybeth Whalen books more (I think my favourite is She Makes It Look Easy, for the way it shows us it’s what inside that counts, not outward appearance, and that being 'perfect' isn't all it's cracked up to be).

Thanks to Zondervan and BookLook Bloggers for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Marybeth Whalen at her website.

18 November 2014

Review: A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley

Even Better than her Debut

I enjoyed Patricia Bradley’s first novel, Shadows of the Past, but I enjoyed A Promise to Protecteven more. Both are set in the small town of Logan Point, near Memphis, but you don’t need to have read Shadows of the Past in order to read this. While I have read both, I have to admit I’ve read so many novels in between that I don’t remember the details.

Ben Logan has stepped into his father’s shoes as Sheriff of Logan Point, and trying to find out the truth behind his father’s shooting. Tony Jackson said he had information, but now Tony’s been shot, is bleeding out, and asking Ben to protect his sister. Ben agrees, despite his uneasy relationship with Leigh.

Dr Leigh Somerall left Logan Point ten years ago, basically run out of town by Sheriff Tom Logan, who didn’t see her as a suitable girlfriend for his son. Now she’s back with her son, working in the Emergency department of the local hospital and staying with her brother, Tony.

Ben and Leigh are both hiding secrets, Ben about his fear of children, and Leigh about why she broke up with Ben all those years ago, and married so quickly afterwards. There’s nothing like a good secret to keep the pages turning, and these work well. When will they admit they are still attracted to each other, and confess to what’s holding them back?

Intertwined with these secrets is the bigger suspense plot. It soon becomes apparent that Tony’s shooting isn’t an isolated incident. The only question is: who is the next target? Ben or Leigh? And why?

Overall, A Promise to Protect is the perfect blend of romance and suspense, and I’ll be looking out for the next in the Logan Point series. Recommended for fans of Dee Henderson, Dani Pettrey, and Irene Hannon.

Thanks to Revell and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Patricia Bradley at her website.

17 November 2014

Review: Deceived by Irene Hannon

Irene Hannon at Her Best

Three years ago, Kate Marshall lost her husband and four-year-old son in a boating accident, and Kevin’s tiny body was never recovered. She’s now re-established herself as a career counsellor for abused women in St Louis, Missouri, far away from the rugged New York coastline which stole her family. But one day she hears a small blond boy at the mall asking a man—his father?--for a Poppysicle, a word she’s only ever heard Kevin use. She loses the boy in the crowd, and when the police aren’t interested, she approaches Phoenix Inc, an upmarket firm of private investigators, for help.

Connor Sullivan is immediately attracted to his new client, something he’ll have to ignore if they are working together. She has a strange story, but one that bears investigating. The more Connor investigates, the more he comes to believe that Kate is right, and the more he wants to see of her. But can they find out the truth before their search is discovered?

I’ve found the last couple of Irene Hannon romantic suspense novels I’ve read a bit flat. There was nothing technically wrong with them, but they didn’t have that spark of inspiration and originality I remember from her earlier books. I’m relieved to report that Deceived is back to Hannon at her best. Okay, the first meet between Kate and Connor was probably more corny than cute, but the suspense plot was excellent (and the romance worked nicely).

It’s an ambitious plot. Was the boy on the elevator Kate’s son? If so, is the man with him involved? How exactly does a four-year-old “drowning” victim resurface as a seven-year-old half a country away? Where has he been for the last three years? Who took him? And why?

At the same time as Kate and Connor are searching for the truth, we see Greg and Todd Sanders, to all outward appearances a loving father and son. This, in my view, is the real strength of Deceived, because Hannon hasn’t depicted a cliché “villain” but a likeable and well-rounded character that I sympathised with. After all, if Kate is right, Greg and Todd are about to have their worlds ripped apart. Writing likeable antagonists is a real skill, especially when it comes to their motives, and I commend Hannon on the way she dealt with Greg’s backstory. When the full story came out, it all seemed horribly plausible. Recommended.

Thanks to Revell and Netgalley for providing a free ebook for review. To find out more about Irene Hannon, visit her website.