Month: September 2017

First Line Friday | Week 9 | Hold the Light

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Hold the Light by April McGowan:

Unremarkable. Amber glanced out the streaming windowpane at the cityscape below her.

I’ve got an interview with April coming up soon, so keep watch!

About the Book

To an artist, the light is everything. So what is Amber supposed to do when facing blindness?

Amber spent her life adapting—first to being abandoned by her birth mother as a toddler, and then to the death of her adoptive father in her teen years. Now she’s moved past all that, loving life as an independent woman: she has a job as an art instructor and the perfect apartment.

But when a routine eye appointment reveals she’s losing her sight, life comes to a halt. Pressures come at her from all sides. Her mother, her boss, her boyfriend and her closest friend, Shannon, all have ideas about what’s best for her.

Even after her blindness counselor, Ethan, befriends her and opens her eyes to new opportunities and the possibility of a deeper relationship, one haunting question remains: How could the God she loved all her life turn everything upside down—again?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Goodreads

You can check out what these lovely FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

Bookworm Mama | Singing Librarian Books | Faithfully Bookish

Radiant Light | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names are Taken | Robin’s Nest

Fiction Aficionado | Bibliophile Reviews | Kathleen Denly

Lauraine’s Notes | With A Joyful Noise | A Baker’s Perspective

Joy of Reading | C Jane Read | Moments Dipped in Ink

Molly’s Cafinated Reads | Romances of the Cross |

Christian Fiction Girl | It’s Storytime With Van Daniker

Sprinkles and Pink | Reading Is My SuperPower | Alicia G Ruggieri

If you would like to join FirstLineFriday, contact Carrie at at Reading Is My SuperPower, Rachel at Bookworm Mama, Sydney at Singing Librarian Books, or Beth at Faithfully Bookish. And check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

#FirstLineFriday

First Line Friday | Week 10 | Grace in Strange Disguise

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line

Today I’m sharing from Grace in Strange Disguise, the debut novel from Christine Dillon:

“You have cancer.”

Acid surged in Esther’s throat. No, no, no. Impossible. She couldn’t have cancer. William Macdonald’s daughter couldn’t have cancer.

I edited Grace in Strange Disguise, which means I have already read it (and I’m anxiously waiting for my paper copy. But I’ve just had an email with the first four chapters … so it counts as my first line for today!)

About the Book

Physiotherapist Esther Macdonald is living the Australian dream, and it doesn’t surprise her. 

After all, her father has always said, “Follow Jesus and be blessed.” But at twenty-eight, her world shatters. Everyone assures her God will come through for her, but what happens when he doesn’t? Has she offended God? Is her faith too small? So many conflicting explanations. 

Will finding the truth cost her the people closest to her heart?

 

You can check out what these lovely FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

Bookworm Mama | Singing Librarian Books | Faithfully Bookish

Radiant Light | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names are Taken | Robin’s Nest

Fiction Aficionado | Bibliophile Reviews | Kathleen Denly

Lauraine’s Notes | With A Joyful Noise | A Baker’s Perspective

Joy of Reading | C Jane Read | Moments Dipped in Ink

Molly’s Cafinated Reads | Romances of the Cross | Christian Fiction Girl

It’s Storytime With Van Daniker | Reading Is My SuperPower

Alicia G Ruggieri | Susan Loves Books

If you would like to join FirstLineFriday, contact Carrie at at Reading Is My SuperPower, Rachel at Bookworm Mama, Sydney at Singing Librarian Books, or Beth at Faithfully Bookish. And check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Goodreads

Book Recommendation | Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

About Portrait of Vengeance

 

An unsolved case. A tempest of memories. The future’s at stake—and time is running out . . .

Portrait of Vengeance cover image

Gwen Marcey has done a good job keeping the pain of her past boxed up. But as she investigates the case of a missing child in Lapwai, Idaho, details keep surfacing that are eerily similar to her childhood traumas. She doesn’t believe in coincidences. So what’s going on here?

 

No one knows more about the impact of the past than the Nez Perce people of Lapwai. Gwen finds herself an unwelcome visitor to some, making her investigation even more difficult. The questions keep piling up, but answers are slow in coming—and the clock is ticking for a missing little girl. Meanwhile, Gwen’s ex-husband is threatening to take sole custody of their daughter.

As Gwen’s past and present collide, she’s in a desperate race for the truth. Because only truth will ensure she still has a future.

My Review

A Portrait of Vengeance is the fourth Gwen Marcey novel, following When Death Draws Near, The Bones Will Speak, and A Cry from the Dust. Each novel centres on a crime or series of related crimes, with an underlying thread about Gwen’s relationship with her teenage daughter (not good) and her ex-husband (even less good).

But Portrait of Vengeance was unique in that it gave some of Gwen’s own personal history.

This gave an insight into the person she has become, and showed us what she has overcome–not just the breast cancer and divorce we learned about in the earlier novels, but something of her childhood and upbringing.

As Gwen investigates the disappearance of a native American child from a small town in Idaho, she finds details which are similar to her own childhood memories. Is the person behind this disappearance the same person who destroyed her childhood? And what happens when the memories don’t make sense.

I don’t want to say too much, because it’s impossible without giving away spoilers. If you’ve read the previous Gwen Marcey novels, you’ll want to read this—it’s the best yet in terms of both the characters and the suspense. If you haven’t read any Gwen Marcey novels yet, and you enjoy Christian thrillers from authors such as Colleen Coble, then you’ll want to read this—but you might want to start with When Death Draws Near.

Recommended for those who enjoy fast-paced thrillers with great characters.

Thanks to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Carrie Stuart Parks

Carrie Stuart ParksCarrie Stuart Parks is a Christy finalist as well as a Carol award-winning author. She has won numerous awards for her fine art as well. An internationally known forensic artist, she travels with her husband, Rick, across the US and Canada teaching courses in forensic art to law enforcement professionals. The author/illustrator of numerous books on drawing and painting, Carrie continues to create dramatic watercolors from her studio in the mountains of Idaho.

Find Carrie Stuart Parks online at:

Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Bookbub

Click below to buy Portrait of Vengance:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Kobo

You can read the introduction to Portrait of Vengance below:

Introducing Dr Richard Mabry

Author Interview | Dr Richard Mabry

Today I’d like to welcome author Dr Richard Mabry, to share about his new release, Cardiac Event. Richard says:

Richard MabryI’m a retired physician who, in addition to writing, is a husband and grandfather, plays (and enjoys) golf, and does the hundred-and-one other things that retired people do.

Now I’m writing what I call “medical suspense with heart.” My novels have been finalists for the ACFW Carol Award, Romantic Times’ Best Inspirational Novel and their Reviewer’s Choice Award, have won the Selah award, and been named by Christian Retailing as the best in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. My latest novel is CARDIAC EVENT, which has been given a 4 1/2 star rating and a “Top Pick” by Romantic Times. I’ve also published three novellas, the latest one DOCTOR’S DILEMMA.

Welcome, Richard!

We’ll start off with some quick questions so we get to know you a little better.

What is your favourite fruit?

Seedless green grapes (because I can grab a handful as I go by).

Which is your favourite season?

Spring (For those of you living where there aren’t four distinct seasons, let me recommend Texas. Sometimes we get all four within a day or two.)

New Zealand has the same problem. It’s supposed to be spring at the moment, and today has had bright summer sunshine and thundering winter rain.

Where is your favourite place?

I’ve been fortunate enough, in my days as a practitioner and later a medical school professor, to go all over the world, teaching and lecturing. But now I agree with the line from the Wizard of Oz—There’s no place like home.

What is your favourite Bible verse?

I hang on to Jeremiah 29:11, because I know that, however dark things look, God has a plan for all of us.

That’s probably my favourite as well.

What’s something funny or quirky that not many people know about you?

I’ve gotten to know a number of sports figures—former big league baseball players, professional football players, well-known golfers—and none of them asked for my autograph. Can’t understand it.

Funny!

Now, let’s talk about your book, Cardiac Event. Here’s the description off the back cover:

Cardiologist Dr. Kirk Martin continually crosses swords with Dr. Cliff Hamilton, so he is surprised when Hamilton asks him to care for him after a heart attack. When he is ready for discharge, Hamilton is found dead in his hospital bed, and Martin is suspected of murdering him.

After another doctor is found shot to death, Martin’s girlfriend, nurse Janet Rush, reminds him to be careful because he may be next. Can he save his own life while searching for the identity of the real murderer?

What inspired the plot of Cardiac Event?

Believe it or not, sometimes doctors get cross-ways with each other, and some of those enmities run deep. I started wondering, “What if one of those doctors was called upon to treat another in a life-and-death situation?” Then I took it further. “And what if the other doctor died?” That was the basis for the novel.

Sounds exciting! I’m about to start reading it, and will review it in the next week or so.

You’re a retired doctor, and you write medical thrillers. How much of your former life do you bring into your fiction?

I don’t have the advantage some people think I have, because I rarely incorporate a scenario I’ve experienced into my novels. However, I do have an advantage because I speak the language and know how doctors will react in certain situations.

Do you ever find yourself tempted to change medical fact to ensure a better story? How do you strike the balance between getting the details right, and writing a thrilling medical thriller?

Most of the time I stick to accepted medical facts, because if I don’t, someone who is in active practice will let me know. I can recall one time when I “invented” a disease and a treatment, and I got a number of queries from people who’d read Miracle Drug and wondered if they should be vaccinated for that potentially fatal infection.

I get the impression medical science is always changing. How difficult is it to stay up-to-date—both as a practicing doctor, and as a writer?

It’s very difficult. I haven’t been in active practice for more than a decade, but I still keep my license current and read the literature. Most of my research now is done on the computer, and I do a lot of it with each book.

What do you find is the easiest part of the writing and publishing process? What’s the hardest?

The hardest part? Coming up with a scheme for a new novel, without repeating myself. The easiest part for me? Revising after an editor has made suggestions. Notice I didn’t say anything about marketing and publicity. I was doing most of that myself, even when I worked with a publisher, so that hasn’t changed much when I “indie-released” Cardiac Event.

Interesting! I’ve heard a lot of authors say they loathe the editing process, so it’s good to find someone who doesn’t.

What impact does your faith have on your writing?

I tried writing novels that contained a “call to commitment” or showed a step-by-step “road to salvation,” but that didn’t work for me. Rather, what I do is portray real people—believers, skeptics, and searchers—in real situations and try to show how God can work in their lives.

I think you do a great job with that! Some authors can make that call to commitment or road to salvation work, but it’s hard to do without coming across as preachy.

What’s your favourite fiction genre, and why?

I read—and have read for years—mysteries and detective stories. They allow me to use my powers of deduction (if the author plays fair), and serve as a wonderful get-away from the problems we all face in everyday life. Besides, I can occasionally “borrow” one of the ideas I read there.

What book (or books) are you currently reading?

Although I will often take a break to read a new book, I find myself time after time re-reading the work of the author whose writing I admire: the late Robert B. Parker. He’s able to paint a picture, using simple, declarative sentences, a picture that lets me be a part of the action. I have to skip some of the language, but then again, I have encountered it on the baseball diamond and golf course, so it’s nothing new.

What’s next for you?

I’m doing the final edits on a novella that I’ll release about December 1. Surgeon’s Choice is about an engaged doctor who wonders if another doctor is behind a series of mishaps that he’s encountered. Then, when people start dying, he really gets worried.

Next year will see the release of my next novel, Guarded Prognosis. In it, a young surgeon gets a call from his father who has just received a potentially fatal diagnosis. The older man doesn’t want his son’s medical help, though. He simply wants a pledge of his assistance in ending his own life.

Finally …

Where can we find Cardiac Event online?

The e-book is only available from Amazon in Kindle format (although there is a free app, available from Amazon, that allows it to be read on computers). The print book is available from Barnes and Noble, and eBay.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble |eBay

Where can we find you online?

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Thank you, Richard! It’s been great to meet you, and learn more about Cardiac Event.

Readers, what question would you like to ask Richard? Let us know in the comments! Meanwhile, you can read the introduction to Cardiac Event below:

Forgiveness was being offered freely, because Christ loved her enough to pay the ultimate price.

Book Review | Reunited by Danger by Carol J Post

Amber Kingston had no intention of attending her school reunion until she got a Facebook message from Ramona Freeman, one of her best friends at high school. Mona begged her to go, so she did. Only it’s announced at the reunion that Mona is dead. And four others from her class got the same Facebook message and came to the reunion … and now one of them is dead.

It doesn’t take long to realise a serial killer is on the loose, out to kill the six friends for their part in the death of another of their schoolmates. It’s part I Know What You Did Last Summer, part Ten Little Indians, but with a Christian influence.

Amber was a bad girl at school, but everything changed that night when Landon died.

Now she’s a local cop, serving on the local police force with her protective older brother. They investigate the case with the help of Caleb Lyons, another member of her high school graduating class, now a detective.

As Amber and Caleb try to stay one step ahead of the murderer, there is also a mutual attraction between them. But Amber feels she isn’t good enough for Caleb. And Caleb refuses to marry a cop, which means their internal emotional and spiritual journey is as good as the external plot.

Reunited by Danger is a fast-paced suspense novel. It’s Love Inspired Suspense, which means it isn’t long—which is good, because it’s almost impossible to put down once you start (I read it in an evening and finished right on bedtime … perfect).

Recommended for romantic suspense fans.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review.

About Carol J Post

From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special events decorating company, Carol’s resume reads like someone who doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. But her one constant has always been her love for writing. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and enjoys sailing, hiking and camping. Her daughters and grandson live too far away for her liking, so she pours all that nurturing into caring for three fat cats and one spoiled dog.

Find Carol J Post online at:

Website | Twitter | Goodreads

Click below to buy Reunited by Danger:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook | Koorong

What's your favourite tear-jerker novel?

Bookish Question #25: What’s your favourite tear-jerker novel?

What’s your favourite tear-jerker novel?

As I said last week, I’m not a big fan of tear-jerker novels (and it seemed about half of you agreed with me, and the other half love them!)

I like happy endings … and novels that make me cry don’t always have happy endings. Some tear-jerkers do manage to have happy endings. More have emotionally satisfying endings—endings that feel right as a reader, even if the characters don’t get to live happily ever after.

Others have frustrating endings.

These might be the reason I avoid tear-jerkers—I’m afraid of the frustrating ending e.g. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes (which I haven’t read, but I know the ending because my daughter read it and got very cross and shouty when she finished it).

Contrast that with The Fault in Our Stars by John Green or My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult, where the endings were sad but felt right (although I heard they changed the ending of the movie, which would ruin it).

But the reviews of some novels are so good that I’m prepared to overcome my natural reluctance and give them a go. I have a few of these on my to-read pile, waiting for me to be in the right frame of mind to read them (whatever that is).

Two Christian novels come to mind as real tear-jerkers in a good way.

This first is Carry Me Home by Dorothy Adamek. I’ve had the privilege of staying with Dotti in her beautiful Melbourne home, and she shared with me her story of how she got into writing fiction. I knew I’d have to fight off the tears in reading Carry Me Home, and I mostly succeeded. But I don’t want to say more, because … spoilers. Click here to read my review of Carry Me Home.

The other book that comes to mind is a young adult novel, This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof. It’s probably more a novella than a full-length novel, but it manages to pack a lot of punch in that small package. I can’t remember who recommended it to me (Dorothy Adamek, perhaps?), but whoever it was didn’t warn me I’d need tissues. But I did. You have been warned. This is not the novel to download as an audiobook to listen to during your morning commute.

What about you? What’s your favourite Christian tear-jerker novel?

For those of you who do like tear-jerker novels, here are some of the suggestions from the ladies in Avid Readers:

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti

Beneath a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney

Even Now by Karen Kingsbury

Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli (which I reviewed last week)

Hold the Light by April McGowan (which I’m currently reading)

Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

Life After by Katie Ganshert

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (click here to read my review)

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers (a classic)

Safely Home by Randy Alcorn

Shattered Justice by Karen Ball

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers (especially the Author’s Note at the end)

The Lady and the Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

The Space Between Words by Michele Phoenix (which I’ve recently reviewed)

First Line Friday | Week 8 | Jewel of the Stars: Earth’s Remnant

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to open the book nearest you and share the first line. Today I’m sharing from Jewel of the Stars: Earth’s Remnant by Adam David Collings:

Les Miller refused to teleport without his hat.

Yes, it’s sci fi. I admit it: I love sci fi. I don’t read a lot, because there isn’t a lot of Christian sci fi out there. But I’ve watched a lot of sci fi on television over the years: Star Trek, Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Terminator, Heroes … yes, I’m a fan.

Jewel of the Stars isn’t heavy on the Christian element, but the author is a Christian and it’s clearly written from a Christian world view (with the possible exception of the invading aliens. The Bible doesn’t have invading aliens, but they are pretty much compulsory in a good sci fi story).

About the Book

The Cruise is Over

Haylee was more confident designing starships than raising an autistic child. Now she just wants a relaxing holiday with her family. But when Earth falls to an alien armada, she knows life will never be the same again.

Les was just a cruise ship captain. Now, he must rise up and become something greater, if he is to keep his crew and passengers alive.

Braxton never wanted to leave the space navy, but now, taking a cruise is the only way to feel the stars around him. This crisis may be his ticket to regaining the life he thought was gone forever.

Can they overcome their differences and save everyone on the ship?

If they reach unexplored space, they might yet survive, but an unstoppable enemy stands in their way…

Earth’s Remnant is the thrilling pilot to an episodic space opera, Jewel of The Stars, by Adam David Collings. Join the crew as they fight for survival against the wondrous backdrop of the unknown. What else will they find hiding among the stars?

Join the adventure today.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Goodreads

You can check out what these lovely FirstLineFriday bloggers are sharing today:

Bookworm Mama | Singing Librarian Books | Faithfully Bookish

Radiant Light | Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

All the Book Blog Names are Taken | Robin’s Nest

Fiction Aficionado | Bibliophile Reviews | Kathleen Denly

Lauraine’s Notes | With A Joyful Noise | A Baker’s Perspective

Joy of Reading | C Jane Read | Moments Dipped in Ink

Molly’s Cafinated Reads | Romances of the Cross |

Christian Fiction Girl | It’s Storytime With Van Daniker

Sprinkles and Pink | Reading Is My SuperPower | Alicia G Ruggieri

If you would like to join FirstLineFriday, contact Carrie at at Reading Is My SuperPower, Rachel at Bookworm Mama, Sydney at Singing Librarian Books, or Beth at Faithfully Bookish. And check out my previous FirstLineFriday posts.

#FirstLineFriday

Share your first line in the comments, and happy reading! And tell me … do you read or watch sci fi?

Quote from Freedom's Ring

Book Recommendation | Freedom’s Ring by Heidi Chiavaroli

For Liberty and Freedom

Freedom’s Ring is a dual-timeline romance set in Boston. The modern story follows Anaya, a victim of the Boston Marathon bombing, which left her afraid to run and suffering guilt over her niece’s injuries. The historical story follows Liberty, a single woman alone in 1770’s Boston, left to raise her son after being raped.

Both women have their traumas to overcome.

Anaya responds by withdrawing—from her family, and from running. Liberty also runs away, but that’s understandable in a time when society had definite opinions about unwed mothers, no matter the circumstances.

What connects the two women is a ring, which Liberty stole from her employer, and which Anaya is given by the stranger who rescues her after the bombing The present story shows Anaya and Brad meeting and seeking to find the story behind the ring—Liberty’s story.

It’s an engaging and intriguing timeslip story.

Freedom’s Ring the difficult task of making each timeline as compelling as the other. Recommended for fans of dual timeline novels, especially those with a patriotic American feel.

Thanks to Tyndale House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Heidi Chiavaroli

Heidi ChiavaroliHeidi Chiavaroli is a writer, runner, and grace-clinger who could spend hours exploring Boston’s Freedom Trail. She writes Women’s Fiction and won the 2014 ACFW Genesis contest in the historical category. She makes her home in Massachusetts with her husband, two sons, and Howie, her standard poodle.

Find Heidi Chiavaroli online at:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads| Pinterest | Twitter

Click below to buy Freedom’s Ring:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | Christian Book | Koorong

You can read the introduction to Freedom’s Ring below:

Author Interview - Janet Ferguson

Author Interview | Janet W Ferguson

Today I’d like to welcome author Janet Ferguson, to share about her new release, Magnolia Storms.

Janet W Ferguson

Janet W. Ferguson grew up in Mississippi and received a degree in Banking and Finance from the University of Mississippi. She has served as a children’s minister and a church youth volunteer. An avid reader, she worked as a librarian at a large public high school. She writes humorous inspirational fiction for people with real lives and real problems.

Janet and her husband have two grown children, one really smart dog, and a few cats that allow them to share the space.

Welcome, Janet!

Hi! I’m super-excited to be your guest!

We’ll start off with some quick questions so we get to know you a little better. I highlighted questions you could leave out if you want to make it shorter.

What is your favourite fruit?

So hard, because I love food! I’m going with watermelon, especially the ones grown in Smith County, Mississippi.

Which is your favourite season?

I’m a summer girl! I like warm weather.

I agree! Snow is pretty to look at, but too cold for my taste.

Where is your favourite place?

The warm weather above goes with my favourite place—the beach! Most any beach with the summer sun will do! I often go to Fort Morgan, Alabama, and read my favourite novels on the shore.

Then you’ll love New Zealand. We have miles of beaches.

What is your favourite Bible verse?

Not sure how to pick just one, but I focused on Isaiah 61 in my first series. Each book took a part from the chapter as a theme.

  • Book 1: Beauty for ashes
  • Book 2: He binds up the broken hearted.
  • Book 3: He frees the captives
  • Book 4: They shall be oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord.

What a great idea!

I love the thought of how God heals our broken, messed up places. That’s the focus of my writing. Mostly because my own life has been pretty broken and messy at times, and I needed to grasp hold of His promises.

It’s a reminder we all need to hear sometimes. 

What’s something funny or quirky that not many people know about you?

Now, I have a lot here I could add, but I’ll go with being deaf in one ear. I’m constantly circling people to get them on “my good ear,” so I can hear them.

Now, let’s talk about your book, Magnolia Storms. Here’s the description off the back cover:

Maggie Marovich couldn’t save her father or her home from Hurricane Katrina, but she’s dedicated her life to meteorology so she can warn others when the monster storms approach. Except…she works three hours inland and rarely risks returning to her childhood hometown of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Both her single-parent sister and the ship pilot Maggie once loved refused to leave the Coast, despite Maggie’s requests. Now a hurricane’s headed toward Mississippi, and Maggie’s sister is seriously injured, leaving Maggie little choice but to head south—into the storm.

The water and tides flow through Josh Bergeron’s veins, and he can’t imagine giving up piloting—even for the love of his life, the infuriating Magnolia Marovich. He tried to move on without her, marrying and having a child. But after his wife abandons him and his little boy, his career choice is threatened by the weight of his parental responsibilities. Moving next door to Maggie’s sister and sharing their child care seems like the perfect set-up. Until Maggie blows back into town.

Being forced to lean on Josh for help washes up the wreckage in Maggie’s faith. Where was God during the destruction of Katrina? Why do some prayers seem to go unanswered? Between the hurricane looming in the Gulf and another gale raging in her heart, can Maggie overcome her past and find the trust to truly live?

Your tagline is Faith. Humor. Romance. Southern Style. What does “Southern Style” mean when it comes to fiction?

The Deep South in the U.S. is known to speak more slowly, do life a bit more slowly…in a bit more relaxed way. We use the word y’all and have quirky phrases, and we’ve fried most any food you can think of. The South is famous for friendliness and hospitality, like we’re all one big family.

We wave at people in the neighbourhood and around town, when driving, whether you know them or not. We’ve often been trained in particular manners, like saying yes ma’am and no sir to anyone possibly older than us. It’s just a certain flavour that permeates the area where I live.

I had heard you were famous for your fried food. It sounds great to me … waistline? What waistline?

How does this relate to Magnolia Storms? I see plenty of room for faith and romance in that book description, but humour? (Humor?) How does that fit in?

In my real life, I often joke during hard times, or find humour in the midst of despair at some small thing. Maybe some silly thing happens during a crisis, like my cat chasing its tail, which breaks up the moment. I believe laughter helps get us through in dark situations, so I plug in a bit of comedic relief for my characters and my readers—a little romantic comedy amidst deep issues.

What inspired the plot of Magnolia Storms?

Researching the port of Mobile, Alabama, for my book Blown Together, I emailed a college friend who is a ship pilot. When he answered my questions, he also included of videos ship pilots transferring from their pilot boat to larger vessels to guide them into the mouth of the Mississippi River. It was fascinating and beautiful and exciting. I knew right away, I had my next hero!

Here’s a video (You might want to turn off the sound of the heavy metal music):

That brings Josh’s work in Magnolia Storms to life.

The other part of the story is Hurricane Katrina. Once the levees broke in New Orleans, many people missed the fact that the storm obliterated whole towns and communities on our coastline and wreaked havoc over three hours inland. For Mississippians, time is often divided Before Katrina or After Katrina. There are still vacant lots on our coast after over a decade due to the storm surge that was up to thirty feet high in places.

Magnolia Storms is asking one of the big faith questions—where is God when bad things happen? How was that to write, and to answer?

Writing it was hard but cathartic. Prayer and God’s answers are things I’ve struggled with as my mother died from Alzheimer’s, my son went through multiple joint issues and surgeries, and other trying storms in life. I believe that if I am wrestling with my faith and understanding, at times, then perhaps others are, as well, and God helps me work through these hard issues by processing them with my characters.

Is there a particular theme or message in Magnolia Storms?

Yes! The words from Isaiah 43, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.” My heroine has an elderly aunt who is funny and provides wisdom throughout the novel. She offers this advice:

“Your faith can’t keep tossing and turning with the wind.” Aunt Ruth rubbed up and down Maggie’s shoulder. “Sooner or later, you must decide, ‘Though He slay me, still I will trust Him.’ Know that He is with you when you pass through the rough waters of life.”

Magnolia certainly has to pass through the waters. So does Josh. It’s a great message.

Magnolia Storms looks like it’s the first book in a new series. Is this the case? What can you tell us about the future books in the series?

It is a new series. I think each book will be only loosely tied by the fact that they are all set at coastal locations…I think.

The next one I’m working on deals with drug addiction, and it is set in St. Simmons, Georgia. The title will be The Art of Rivers. Addiction is such a tragic issue that touches most families these days.

How is Magnolia Storms different from your previous series? Will the same readers enjoy it?

All my books have grappled with difficult issues, but perhaps, Magnolia Storms has a tad less humour than the previous novels. The heroine is tougher and more stubborn than some of my past heroines. I like her, though. She is someone who is dependable and will get the job done or die trying.

What do you find is the easiest part of the writing and publishing process? What’s the hardest?

I love coming up with the idea for a story and creating! I hate editing and proofreading!!

What impact does your faith have on your writing?

Each time, I work through a sort of element of faith, so I’m studying, listening for messages from the Lord, and grappling to understand that piece of the puzzle. I think it helps me grow in faith.

Finally …

Where can we find Magnolia Storms online?

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | iBooks | Nook Goodreads

Where can we find you online?

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | BookBub

Thank you, Janet! It’s been great to meet you, and learn more about Magnolia Storms.

Thank you!! I’m so happy to be here!

Readers, what question would you like to ask Janet? Let us know in the comments!

Book Review | Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

An Excellent Legal Thriller

Deadly Proof is the first book I’ve read by Rachel Dylan, and I’m already looking forward to the sequel (this is the first of the Atlanta Justice series, which means there will definitely be a sequel). I love legal thrillers, and this was no exception. She’s an experience litigator herself, and that knowledge and authenticity definitely came through in Deadly Proof.

Kate Sullivan is one of many attorneys working on a class action lawsuit against Mason Pharmaceutical, who are accused of producing a migraine drug that causes brain tumours. She suspects something is afoot when a scared MPC employee contacts her, telling her the case is bigger and she has to dig deeper. She hires private investigator Landon James to investigate, and he soon finds things which make him suspicious.

The case is complicated by the number of firms involved … and by the fact the lead counsel for Mason Pharmaceuticals is Ethan Black, Kate’s longterm friend. Kate is appointed to lead the case, including the assessing of thousands of pages of evidence. It soon becomes apparent that the case isn’t going to progress smoothly … especially when “accidents” start happening.

Deadly Proof is a fast-paced legal thriller that ticks all the boxes—great characters, solid plot, great suspense, plenty of legal wrangling, and even a bit of romance … Recommended for fans of legal thrillers from authors like John Grisham and Cara Putman.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

About Rachel Dylan

Author Photo - Rachel Dylan

Rachel Dylan was a litigator in one of the nation’s most elite law firms for over eight years and now works as an attorney at one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers. She is the author of four Love Inspired Suspense novels and lives in Michigan with her husband.

Find Rachel Dylan online at:

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Twitter | Goodreads

Click below to buy Deadly Proof:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Barnes & Noble | ChristianBook| Koorong

You can read the introduction to Deadly Proof below. If you like legal thrillers, you’ll soon be hooked!