Saturday, September 24, 2011

Darkspell Launch Spookfesta

Join author Elizabeth Mueller all month for a cool countdown to the launch of her fantastic YA paranormal Darkspell on October 31, 2011. With sneak peeks at chapters and illustrations and fun contests, this is a Halloween countdown launch you won't want to miss!

Click on the book cover above or go to:

to take part in some spooky fun!


Winter Sky believes she is everything ordinary... until she is kissed by Alex Stormhold.

As seer of Stormhold Coven, Alex is sworn to be Winter's protector against the darkness that hunts her.  Violently thrust in a magickal realm she always thought impossible, she stumbles upon a disturbing secret of her own.

Will love prove thicker than magick?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Honor by Jaimey Grant

5 *****

Reviewed on September 21, 2011

Before Jaimey Grant’s Honor, I had never read a modern Regency romance and, save for a few classic authors such as Jane Austen, I’ve never been a big romance novel reader at all. So I was beyond pleasantly surprised by just how much I loved this beautiful story and to find I absolutely could not put it down until I read the last word.

The novel opens with Lady Verena Westbridge fleeing her home so as to escape being forced into marriage. At first it seems that, perhaps, she is simply a strong-willed woman who disdains the customs of her day, but as her story unfolds, it becomes clear that her desire not to marry has a much more tragic foundation than only that of wishing to avoid a relationship with the loutish noble her father has chosen for her. Hiding her true identity and working as a housemaid, she is rescued from the unwanted attentions of one of the homeowner’s guests by Lord Connor Northwicke, who befriends Verena despite her efforts to dissuade him. When the truth of her station is discovered, however, Verena is forced to accept Connor’s offer of marriage to save her from her father’s terrible choice of husbands. It is only then, as she struggles with her new role of wife, that an understanding of her fears of marriage are brought to light, Connor’s patient attempt to earn her trust allowing her to slowly reveal the abuses she’s endured in her past.

The depth and sensitivity with which the author portrays the horrific pain and humiliation Verena has suffered and the realistic depiction of her heartrending journey toward healing are exceptional, as is her portrait of both Connor’s gentle patience and terrible frustration as he tries to help Verena overcome her fears. This story offers the best and truest type of romance, for me, as Connor’s desire for Verena is born of real love, not simply physical attraction. Despite his natural human passions, his respect for Verena as a person and his longing to be with the woman he loves for everything he sees in her, gives Connor the strength of will to help her heal so she might know love in its fullness as well. Although the romance is not steamy in the sense of being graphic, there is definitely no lack of passion in this story, and both Connor’s frustrated desires and Verena’s conflicted feelings are extremely palpable and very moving.

A beautifully-written and well-crafted story, I highly recommend this novel to any reader looking for an amazing historical romance which shows why there is no true love without honor for the beloved. I eagerly look forward to reading more works by this talented author.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable

5 *****

Reviewed on September 18, 2011

Stealing Jenny by Ellen Gable is a terrifyingly realistic suspense story that could be ripped from the headlines, but it’s also a beautiful life-affirming novel that offers so much more.

Jenny Callahan, a devout Catholic mom overjoyed by the imminent birth of her sixth child after three heartbreaking miscarriages, stands on the bus stop with her young son, waiting for her daughters’ return from school. When she’s approached by a woman offering to share some maternity and baby clothes, she accepts, with no idea of the terrible ordeal she and her family are about to face.

Flawlessly transitioning between Jenny enduring her captivity at the hands of the disturbed woman who means to steal her unborn child and her distraught family trying to hold to their hope she will be rescued, author Ellen Gable offers another amazing portrait of the power and gift of faith in the most horrific of circumstances.

As is the case in all of her novels, in Stealing Jenny the author again excels at smoothly weaving the Catholic understanding of marriage and family – the sanctity of life and the precious gift of children and the sexual relationship – into a moving story of real people facing real world challenges and traumas. The characters of Jenny, her husband, Tom, and their children, as well as those of the unbalanced kidnapper, Denise, and the police officers who search for Jenny, are developed wonderfully. Through the family’s present suffering and glimpses of both the joys and sorrows Jenny and Tom have experienced throughout their relationship, the reader descends into this nightmare with them, but is also lifted up by the Callahan family’s faith and hope in God and by the strength He imparts in the very love which unites them.

Another powerful novel from a favorite author that I highly recommend to all suspense readers, especially those who appreciate not only exceptional storytelling, but the depth and meaning in a novel whose creativity is so perfectly intertwined with its spirituality.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Witch Tree by Karin Kaufman


5 *****

Reviewed on September 13, 2011

Karin Kaufman’s suspenseful mystery, The Witch Tree, is, hands down, one of my favorite novels this year for a host of reasons, not the least of these being the outstanding writing.

The story opens with genealogist Anna Denning finding the body of one of her clients, to whose home she has gone in order to deliver a copy of her family tree. It’s apparent the woman has been murdered, and when the victim’s husband finds Anna in his house, he is convinced she’s the perpetrator of the crime. From there, the tension mounts, as Anna discovers that it was not the victim who requested her own family tree, but the owner of a new age occult store called ‘What Ye Will.’ The danger grows more deadly still when Anna’s research into why this self-proclaimed witch secretly employed her services makes her the woman’s number one enemy.

Author Karin Kaufman has crafted a fascinating mystery-suspense around the modern phenomenon of neo-paganism in The Witch Tree, her well-researched story dispelling some common myths about the “historical” roots of Wicca and its relationship to true witchcraft. However, though this theme is an essential aspect of the story, it is not the only one, and the author leaves it to the reader to make his or her own decision on the validity of neo-pagan claims. Just as vital to the story are the universal themes of love and loss and the human tendency to seek escape from a painful past – which can lead to the search for new gods or to an injured faith in the personal love of the more traditional one. All of the well-drawn characters in this novel are real people – from protagonist Anna Denning, still struggling with the grief of losing her husband only a few years into their marriage to the embittered antagonist who searches for self-identity in all the wrong places. This isn’t a book filled with good and evil stereotypes, but with human beings making choices as they struggle with very real challenges in life. The novel’s spirituality is a subtle one – there for those who believe a story lacks without it, as a person’s worldview is fundamental to his or her character, but not thrust on those who are only looking for an exciting mystery. For this reason, I found The Witch Tree to be simply a marvelously-written story that offered all the things I like best in a novel – tightly-woven plot, believable and sympathetic characters, terrific suspense and beautiful writing. I eagerly look forward to reading more works by this talented author.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Damascus Road by Ellen C. Maze

5 *****

With Damascus Road, author Ellen C. Maze continues her fascinating Corescu Chronicles, and in this fantastic sequel to The Judging, readers are not only plunged into darker twists and turns, but into some profound and thought-provoking spiritual questions as well.

Mark Corescu, horrified by how he has used the excuse of judging the wicked acts of sinners to justify satisfying his bloodlust, has fled to a remote location in Europe to protect humanity, leaving newly-made vampire, Paul Black, without his mentor. For this, Paul blames Tony Agricola, and his revenge on this man of God who helped open Mark’s eyes is a most terrible one. Despite his repulsion and Paul’s constant torment, Tony succeeds in convincing Paul to feed his bloodlust on only him and preacher Big John Jenkins, who reluctantly agrees in order to keep others safe and for reasons of his own. But Paul and Mark have left a trail of bodies that have set two detectives on a mission to solve the mysterious case and, finally, Tony and Paul are forced to flee to Germany in search of Mark, with the abandoned woman who loves him, Hope Brannen, hot on their heels. But will finding the ancient vampire really lead to the answers they each seek?

Damascus Road is another amazing story by Ellen Maze that doesn’t just offer non-stop suspense and fascinating characters, but also provides an extremely unique way to look at human spiritual dilemmas. I loved the development of the characters Tony and Paul in this sequel. It’s possible to sympathize with the two in both their strengths and their weaknesses and their complex relationship is absolutely spellbinding. Even when Paul’s cruelty and constant sarcastic barbs and Tony’s often too patient suffering soul make the reader want to shake them, it’s still impossible not to feel for them and see them as simply human – fallible and redeemable, both. The questions their story poses about selfishness and self-sacrifice, temptation and faith offer great depth, raising a suspenseful paranormal horror story to a wonderful piece of speculative fiction, as do the challenges and struggles of new characters, Big John Jenkins and the pursuing detectives.

Another excellent work by an author who has become one of my favorites for her incredibly imaginative and well-written stories that don’t just entertain, but give me so much to think about. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Corescu Chronicles. If you haven’t read any of her two series or short stories yet, don’t miss out!

Friday, September 2, 2011

ECFL Blog Tour Last Stop: Nike Chillemi

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, they say, and today is the final date in the 2011 Hot Summer Reads with Edge Tour.  The tour finishes on a great note, though - a visit with author and Grace Awards founder, Nike Chillemi, at:

Nike's four featured books are the exciting crime fiction and thriller novels:

BURNING HEARTS (Sanctuary Point Series), Revenge, K-I-L-L FM 100 and The Clouds Roll Away (Raleigh Harmon Series).

I hope everyone found some great summer reads on the tour.  If you haven't had a chance to check out all the stops on the tour, summer doesn't officially end until September 21, so be sure to visit:

for the entire list of authors, books and blog links.

Thank you so much to Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers for letting me participate.  My TBR list is full of fantastic new reads!

A happy holiday weekend to all!