Sunday, April 13, 2014

What Follows After by Dan Walsh

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800721209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800721206

This book is also available as an e-book.

In October 1962, Colt Harrison and his little brother, Timmy, hatched a plan. They would run away from their Florida home, head for their aunt's house in Savannah, Georgia, and refuse to come home until their parents got back together. But things go terribly, terribly wrong. Colt's mother and father must come to grips with years of neglect and mistrust in order to recover their beloved sons, their love for one another, and their broken marriage. 
In this emotional story, Dan Walsh takes readers on a journey to rediscover the things that matter most in life--love, truth, and family.

My take on this book:
What Follows After by Dan Walsh grabbed my attention from the first pages and didn't let go until the end! I felt compelled to know what would ultimately happen with this family!
Scott Harrison and his wife Gina have been living a lie, they have pretended they are still together when actually they have been separated for ten months, they  even have their sons lying about their situation. While Scott hoped that Gina would change her mind, he really isn't sure that she even loves him anymore. When Colt and Timmy decide to run away in the hopes of changing things at home, but something goes wrong. Will Scott and Gina realize what is really important in time to save their family?

A suspense filled, edge of your seat page turner is what I found with What Follows After. The author writes an emotionally charged story that had my emotions all over the place. The historical significance of the story was very well done, I felt like I was getting a true glimpse of the early 1960's, and the tension that was felt. It was quite interesting to see the cultural differences from the 60's verses now, especially the role women were expected to play. An inspirational story that reminds the reader what truly is important. Fans of family drama,that weaves together suspense and allows the reader to feel as if they have been on an emotional roller coaster will find this a must read. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Young Women of Faith Bible by Susie Shellenberger

    NIV Young Women of Faith Bible, Hardcover, Printed Caseside  -     Edited By: Susie Shellenberger
    By: Susie Shellenberger
  • Age Range: 8 and up 
  • Hardcover: 1696 pages
  • Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310730864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310730866

The study Bible that's just for girls! This Bible is filled with engaging features that will help you learn more about yourself and your relationship with God. Designed to encourage you to develop a habit of studying God's Word, you'll discover how relevant the Bible can be to your everyday life. Weekly studies and many of the side notes are also linked to the women's study Bible, the NIV Women of Faith Study Bible, allowing you and your mom to share God's Word together. Features include: Weekly Bible studies apply biblical truths to life Side notes address difficult passages and offer historical and cultural insights Journal captures other girls' experiences or struggles along with space for you to record your own 'I Believe' statements of faith and foundational beliefs 'Memory Challenges' are verses worth remembering 'If I Were There . . .' include Bible stories that place you in the Bible character's situation.

My take on this Bible:
Truly the perfect Bible for girls! The bright, colorful cover is pink with flowers, what's not to like about that! Some of the features of this Bible include a pretty presentation page that includes a scripture verse about having confidence in the good work God is doing in their life is something that all young ladies need to be reminded of. There is also a my story page that allows the user to document when they became a Christian, the people that have supported them and how, along with a place to document Bible verses that they have been blessed by. The text is the easy to use NIV version, and each book of the Bible has an introduction that provide several basic facts, such as who wrote it, where it took place and why it was written. There are fifty-two full page Bible studies that will lead the user thru several Scripture passages while helping the user to understand how they apply to their life, the neat thing about this feature is that it is linked to the Women of Faith Study Bible so mothers and daughters can study together. Statements of faith are found in the I Believe readings, and popular verses are highlighted for memorization. One of my favorite features had to be the journal, which is a place for the user to read what other girls experience or struggle with, there is also space to jot down personal thoughts! All in all a well rounded Bible that is sure to be a hit for the younger set. What a wonderful gift for that special young lady. Geared toward users 8 years old and up.

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review.

Sincerely Yours ~ A Novella Collection

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Revell (April 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800722043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800722043

This book is also available as an ebook.

In this collection of brand-new historical novellas from four outstanding storytellers, four young women find their lives altered after each receives a letter that sets her on a new path toward a changed life--and perhaps lifelong love. From a Hudson River steamboat to a lush drawing room, from a carousel carver's workshop to a remote and controversial hospital, readers will love being swept into the lives of four young women who are making their way in the world and finding love where they least expect it.

My take on this book:
Sincerely Yours is a collection of four novellas that can be read as a stand alone, making it easy to pick this one up spend an hour and then go back later to read another story, although in my case I read the book in one afternoon because it the stories were just that good. There are a couple of  things that ties each story together one is the heroine gets a letter that alters the course of her life, and the time frame in which each story takes place is also another common factor. There is no way for me to say which story was my favorite because I really enjoyed each one. The historical settings come to life with each story, but it was each heroine that really made these stand out stories for me. One heroine finds herself in a dilemma, she just might lose her inheritance if she doesn't marry, while another is desperate to get away from the man whom her brother is in debt to. One is willing to put herself in danger to save a loved one, and one heroine has a secret that is about to come to light. Each story has Christian themes woven in, and romance is a sure bet. While each story is novella length the author's don't scrimp on detail, providing for a rich satisfying read. What a wonderful way to sample each author's writing. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Fulfilled ~ The NIV Devotional Bible For The Single Woman~

    Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman Hardcover, Black  -
  • Hardcover: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Special edition (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310407133
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310407133

Fulfilled: The NIV Devotional Bible for the Single Woman provides what no other devotional Bible product can deliver---the full text of the NIV Bible paired with heartfelt, practical, entertaining, and inspiring biblical insights from Christian women who understand the unique joys and challenges of living single. Single women today can feel lonely and isolated in a world that often feels as if it's been designed for couples. Fulfilled offers insightful and encouraging notes by a variety of women writers---some names you'll recognize and others will be new to you---that will encourage your heart by helping you recognize that you are a Christian woman who just happens to be single, either by circumstance or by choice. And this gives you the freedom to do what other women cannot. Fulfilled uplifts and inspires single or virtually single Christian women to become powerful voices for Christ. You will discover new insights, new perspectives, and a growing life in Christ. Features:* Full NIV Text * 104 Devotions written by Christian, single women authors* Profiles of single women in the Bible* Scriptural index* Encouraging Scripture verses highlighted * Topical index for single women* Presentation page

My take on this Bible:
My first thought when I picked up Fulfilled was what could be so different about this Bible that it is specifically geared to single women. Well the first thing that caught my eye is the pretty cover. Inside though it was the devotionals that are geared toward single women that really make this a unique choice if you are selecting a new Bible. A few features of the Bible is the easy to use and understand NIV translation, a presentation page is something that I always look for whenever I purchase a Bible, there are 104 thought, provoking, as well as inspiring devotionals, powerful quotations about single topics and issues by some well known authors including Maya Angelou,Kay Arthur,and Louisa May Alcott name a few. Nineteen profiles of single, Biblical women whose stories will inspire while providing spiritual insight for the reader's daily life. There are also 200 highlighted scripture verses that touch on topics that single women might encounter from time to time. I love the topical index,and found the index to the devotionals quite handy, because it made it easy for me to find devotionals that spoke to me. The size of this Bible makes it easy to carry, and the print is big enough to make it easy to read. A perfect gift but also a wonderful Bible to use as a daily devotional. Even though I am not a single woman I really enjoy the features of this Bible, and found myself relating to the devotions and quotes. 

A complimentary copy of this Bible was provided for review.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Aundy~ A Sweet, Historical, Mail Order Bride Romance~ by Shanna Hatfield

  • Series: Pendleton Petticoats
  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1484966287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1484966280

This book is also available as an e book.

Desperate to better her situation, Aundy Thorsen agrees to leave behind her life in Chicago to fulfill a farmer's request for a mail-order bride in Pendleton, Oregon. When a tragic accident leaves her a widow soon after becoming a wife, Aundy takes on the challenge of learning how to manage a farm, even if it means her stubborn determination to succeed upsets a few of the neighbors. 

Born and raised on the family ranch, Garrett Nash loves life in the bustling community of Pendleton in 1899. When his neighbor passes away and leaves behind a plucky widow, Garrett takes on the role of her protector and guardian. His admiration for her tenacious spirit soon turns to something more. He just needs to convince the strong-willed Aundy to give love another try.

My take on this book:
Aundy, by Shanna Hatfield takes readers back to 1899 and introduces us to Twenty-One year old Aundy Thorsen. Aundy's  life in Chicago hasn't been the same since the death of her beloved fiance Gunther. She longs for a change so when she reads an ad in the paper from Erik Erikson, a farmer from Pendleton, Oregon stating that he is looking for a mail order bride Aundy decides this might be the what she is looking for, after corresponding with him she travels west. She is married right off the train, but an accident occurs that leaves her a widow within days of becoming a wife. When she learns that Erik has left his ranch to her she decides to stay even though she knows nothing about running the ranch. The Nash family lives next door and are more than willing to take Aundy under their wing, soon though feelings start to spark between Aundy and Garrett, thing is Aundy is convinced that she is bad luck where men are concerned, can Garrett change her mind? 

Aundy is a story that pulled in in and kept me reading, because it was like a breath of fresh air where mail order bride stories are concerned. Sure there is romance, but there is also humor, as well mystery and suspense that surrounded the goings on at the ranch.   Aundy was such  a strong character, full of pluck,but with a kind heart, that helped those less fortunate than herself, it was so easy to become invested in her life and want the best for her.  I could easily envision the plights that she found herself in.  Garrett was a true gentleman, such a help to Aundy and the love story between the two was touching and sweet. The character of Nikola, the shepherd and his dog Bob really gripped my heart, I was so glad that he found his way to Aundy's ranch. The author's attention to detail brings not only the setting but the characters to life as well, but it was the plot twists that kept me glued to the pages of this one. Fans of good clean historical romance that is rich in detail will certainly enjoy Aundy, but anyone looking for a sweet mail order bride tale filled with a few twists will be pleased as well. 

Reviewed for

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin ~ Litfuse Blog Tour with review and giveaway

    Maybelle In Stitches
  • File Size: 1441 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (March 18, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IBJP64C

Maybelle In Stitches | A Quilts of Love book.
Maybelle Kazinzki can’t sew. She was after all, the only girl in the seventh grade Home Economics class to sew the zipper in the neck hole of the A-Line dress they were supposed to make. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house she gets the crazy idea to finish it—somehow, come heck or high water. She thinks it will help fill the lonely nights while her husband, Holden, is serving overseas during World War II.
Her recently departed mother’s quilt is made from scraps of material Maybelle traces back to her mother’s childhood, her grandmother’s childhood and her own childhood. She tries to add one of Holden’s stripes to it but the sewing is not going well and neither is her life. After receiving some harsh news, Maybelle’s faith falters and she puts the quilt away and stops trusting God. But God is faithful- no matter what. And it’ll take a group of neighborhood women armed with quilting needles to help Maybelle believe that.
My take on this book:
Imagine being married for just a few weeks and having your husband go off to war, well that's just what happens to Maybelle Kazinski. The year is 1943, and Maybelle's husband Holden is off fighting in the war while she is at home doing her part by taking a job as a welderette in a shipyard. She lives with her mother, but when her mother suddenly dies, and then earth shattering news comes about Holden Maybelle's faith is tested.Thing is Maybelle isn't alone, there are several war wives and widows in the neighborhood, including her friend Doris. When Maybelle decides to finish the quilt her mother was working on, the scrap pieces in the quilt remind her of faith and family. 
I really enjoyed the historical aspects of Maybelle in Stitches. From the unconventional job that Maybelle worked to the way that the ladies at the Yard pulled together to support each other this book was so easy to get into.  Rich detail really brought the story to life, I could just imagine the emotional upheaval that so many of the characters faced as they worried about their loved one off at war.i also got a sense for the day to day life of the characters and the bond that formed between the characters. I found the few letters that Maybelle and Holden wrote at the beginning of the story to be a joy to read, and I only wish there might have been more of that. I thought the author's notes at the end of the story shared interesting details about the shipyard and really piqued my interest to read more about it. The discussion questions makes this a perfect selection for a group read.  Great historical detail, a faith based message,and characters who were faced with very real problems makes this another great installment in the Quilt of Love Series. 
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Joyce MagninAbout the author:
Joyce Magnin is the author of the Bright’s Pond novels, including the award-winning The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow. A member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship, Joyce is a frequent workshop leader and the organizer of the StoryCrafters fiction group. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Don’t miss this month’s Quilts of Love book, Maybelle in Stitches, by Joyce Magnin. Maybelle can’t sew. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house, she gets the crazy idea to complete it.
Joyce is celebrating the release with a $200 Modcloth giveaway. Enter today for a chance to spruce up your spring wardrobe!
One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Modcloth gift card
  • Scraps of Evidence by Barbara Cameron
  • A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
  • Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 19th. Winner will be announced on April 21st on the Quilts of Love blog!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Summer of Joy by Ann H. Gabhart

  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0800731700
  • Publisher: Revell (February 15, 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B85A97A

This book is also available as an e book.

 February 15, 2008

The of 1964 certainly was eventful, but it's nothing compared to what's coming to the Brooke family and to Hollyhill, Kentucky. David finally gets up the nerve to pop the question to Leigh and wedding plans are in the making. But the past is coming to call on many in Hollyhill, threatening to destroy the relationships that everyone thought were so strong. Two people--one David thought was gone for good and the other no one's ever heard of--are making their way to the small town and promise trouble.
This complex and well-written story is the perfect conclusion to the Hollyhill story. With true-to-life family drama, refreshing humor, and lovable characters,Summer of Joy will delight readers.

My take on this book:

Plenty of changes are taking place during the summer of 1964 in Hollyhill, Ky, people and relationships will be tested, someone just might be getting married, and a young teen is trying to cope with the many changes that are taking place in her life! A story of family and faith, rich characters are a delight to know, but it's the small town feel of the story that I love. I felt like I was drawn back in time and could easily envision the town of Hollyhill, where juicy gossip often spreads like wildfire,and longstanding tradition can't easily be changed. While I have read the entire series, I felt like the author provided enough background information that this could be read as a stand alone work. Anyone who enjoys family drama, along with a few relevant topics for the time period will certainly enjoy taking a trip to Hollyhill Ky.

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Worth Her Weight In Gold by Lynn Lovegreen

  • File Size: 188 KB
  • Print Length: 39 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Prism Book Group (March 6, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00IUU5C50

Ada Weiss is content to sing with her family at the new Juneau Opera House. But when she meets miner Tom Hickok, she wonders if there's more to life than the stage. For Tom, Ada is more precious than all the gold in the Treadwell Mine, but he doubts a regular guy has a chance with a beautiful singer. When a mob threatens to run their friend China Joe out of town, Ada and Tom work together and learn what their true characters really are.

My take on this book:
Worth Her Weight In Gold by Lynn Lovegreen is a clean historical romance that takes readers to Juneau, Alaska Territory in 1886. Tom Hickok finds himself drawn to Ada Weiss, the beautiful woman who sings with her family at the Juneau Opera House. He can't imagine her ever wanting anything to do with him though because he is just a simple miner who works as a powder monkey for the Treadwell Mine on Douglas Mountain. The love of piano music draws them together, but it takes standing up for a friend to show them just how much in common they really have! 

I really loved this novella, the sweet old fashioned romance between Tom and Ada was refreshing and such a delight to read.The descriptive writing really brings the setting as well as the characters to life. From the Opera House to the descriptions of the mine I found myself easily drawn in.It was easy to see that the author did her research where the historical aspects of this novella was concerned, she  brings to life the  discrimination that was going on in the mine and in the town, it was easy to understand why Ada and Tom decided to take a stand and help their friend!Ada and Tom were such nice characters,it was truly a joy to watch their story unfold. A good clean read that provides rich historical detail, along with a sweet romance. While the ending was all that I hoped for I really was left wanting to read more about Tom and Ada. Worth Her Weight In Gold by Lynn Lovegreen is the perfect read for anyone looking for a quick yet satisfying historical romantic read. Ms. Lovegreen is a new to me author, but I highly anticipate reading more of her work!

Reviewed for

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Service Station Angel by Lisa J. Schuster

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Outskirts Press (November 27, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1478723998
  • ISBN-13: 978-1478723998

Sometimes God places you in a situation of great perplexity, but you perceive His intentions are premeditated and purposeful. Do you trust His lead? "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." - Psalms 37:7 (NIV) Ernie Price is a middle-aged, humble-hearted man who owns and operates a service station in a rural Midwest town in Upper Michigan, back in a time when full service was the only service, and you got your windows cleaned and your tires pumped for free. Ernie's life has been a reflection of God's love, giving of himself fully and graciously to people in the community and his church. Whether as music director for the children's choir or hosting the yearly Christmas party for the less-fortunate children in town, Ernie impacted lives and was loved by many. When trouble rocks the small town and Ernie is physically incapacitated to offer his help, the community is left to pick up the pieces, mourn, and move on, while Ernie wrestles with the spiritual questions of his accident: My glimpse of heaven is for what purpose on earth? Why do I feel compelled to help this stranger know the love of the Lord? Who is this stranger anyway? "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love." - Ephesians 4:2 (NLT). Faith, family and friends inspired me to write again and God nudged me to publish my first novel, Service Station Angel. I believe the words in this book are my service to you, so that you may find joy and comfort during a season of time when you need it most. May your hand reach up towards His so that you may touch another with Jesus' abundant love. Share His love often and build the heavenly kingdom!

My take on this book:
Ernie Price lives in the tiny town of Hubbell, Michigan, a man who had his heart broke once upon a time and never fell in love again. He really didn't have time though, because he took care of his parents until their death. Then he filled his days running the local service station and his evenings volunteering at the church, or working to repair toys so that he can give them to the less fortunate at Christmas. He is always looking for ways to help others, his kindness is truly a testimony of his faith. When crime comes to the tiny town, something happens that allows Ernie to get a glimpse of Heaven, but he is given a choice, whether to stay or to return to earth to take care of unfinished business. What will Ernie's decision be?

Service Station Angel by Lisa J. Schuster is a book that grabs the heart and doesn't let go. A story set in the small town of Hubbell, Michigan, about a wonderful man named Ernie Price. It's a story that transported me back to simpler time to a small tight knit community where everyone is sincerely cares about each other. I really felt like I had stepped back in time, and became a part of the community as I read this story. The people, their emotions, and their faith was so real, I could feel their hurt and heartache, but I could also feel the love and strength in this community. She truly captures the essence of small town living.  Ernie was such a remarkable character, I felt like he truly lived his faith, and probably never met a stranger, I also felt a bit sad for him though, because as busy as he was during the day and evening, when he came home he was all alone. As the story unfolds Ernie's life intertwines with the many secondary characters we are introduced to, including the so called villain of the story. I say so called, because I really didn't want to like the person who had brought crime to Hubbell hurting those dear people, but the author allowed me to understand why he did what he did, allowing me to feel compassion for a hurting soul! An emotionally stirring story that hearkens to a simpler time and place. While a work of fiction, there is no way not to be spiritually uplifted by reading Service Station Angel by Lisa J. Schuster. 

reviewed for

Monday, March 24, 2014

Then Like The Blind Man ~ Blog Tour with review and Giveaway!!

Then Like the Blind Man 7Title: Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story
Author: Freddie Owens
Publisher: Blind Sight Publications
Pages: 332
Language: English
Genre: Historical Fiction/Coming of Age
Format: Paperback & eBook
A storm is brewing in the all-but-forgotten backcountry of Kentucky. And, for young Orbie Ray, the swirling heavens may just have the power to tear open his family’s darkest secrets. Then Like The Blind Man: Orbie’s Story is the enthralling debut novel by Freddie Owens, which tells the story of a spirited wunderkind in the segregated South of the 1950s and the forces he must overcome to restore order in his world. Rich in authentic vernacular and evocative of a time and place long past, this absorbing work of magical realism offered up with a Southern twist will engage readers who relish the Southern literary canon, or any tale well told.
Nine-year-old Orbie already has his cross to bear. After the sudden death of his father, his mother Ruby has off and married his father’s coworker and friend Victor, a slick-talking man with a snake tattoo. Since the marriage, Orbie, his sister Missy, and his mother haven’t had a peaceful moment with the heavy-drinking, fitful new man of the house. Orbie hates his stepfather more than he can stand; this fact lands him at his grandparents’ place in Harlan’s Crossroads, Kentucky, when Victor decides to move the family to Florida without including him. In his new surroundings, Orbie finds little to distract him from Granpaw’s ornery ways and constant teasing jokes about snakes.
As Orbie grudgingly adjusts to life with his doting Granny and carping Granpaw, who are a bit too keen on their black neighbors for Orbie’s taste, not to mention their Pentecostal congregation of snake handlers, he finds his world views changing, particularly when it comes to matters of race, religion, and the true cause of his father’s death. He befriends a boy named Willis, who shares his love of art, but not his skin color. And, when Orbie crosses paths with the black Choctaw preacher, Moses Mashbone, he learns of a power that could expose and defeat his enemies, but can’t be used for revenge. When a storm of unusual magnitude descends, he happens upon the solution to a paradox that is both magical and ordinary. The question is, will it be enough?
Equal parts Hamlet and Huckleberry Finn, it’s a tale that’s both rich in meaning, timely in its social relevance, and rollicking with boyhood adventure. The novel mines crucial contemporary issues, as well as the universality of the human experience while also casting a beguiling light on boyhood dreams and fears. It’s a well-spun, nuanced work of fiction that is certain to resonate with lovers of literary fiction, particularly in the grand Southern tradition of storytelling.



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Discuss this book in our PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads by clicking HERE.

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Freddie Owens 7A poet and fiction writer, my work has been published in Poet LoreCrystal Clear and Cloudy, and Flying Colors Anthology. I am a past attendee of Pikes Peak Writer’s Conferences and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and a member of Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver, Colorado. In addition, I am/was a licensed professional counselor and psychotherapist, who for many years counseled perpetrators of domestic violence and sex offenders, and provided psychotherapy for individuals, groups and families. I hold a master’s degree in contemplative psychotherapy from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado.
I was born in Kentucky but soon after my parents moved to Detroit. Detroit was where I grew up. As a kid I visited relatives in Kentucky, once for a six-week period, which included a stay with my grandparents. In the novel’s acknowledgements I did assert the usual disclaimers having to do with the fact that Then Like The Blind Man was and is a work of fiction, i.e., a made up story whose characters and situations are fictional in nature (and used fictionally) no matter how reminiscent of characters and situations in real life. That’s a matter for legal departments, however, and has little to do with subterranean processes giving kaleidoscopic-like rise to hints and semblances from memory’s storehouse, some of which I selected and disguised for fiction. That is to say, yes, certain aspects of my history did manifest knowingly at times, at times spontaneously and distantly, as ghostly north-south structures, as composite personae, as moles and stains and tears and glistening rain and dark bottles of beer, rooms of cigarette smoke, hay lofts and pigs. Here’s a quote from the acknowledgements that may serve to illustrate this point.
“Two memories served as starting points for a short story I wrote that eventually became this novel. One was of my Kentucky grandmother as she emerged from a shed with a white chicken held upside down in one of her strong bony hands. I, a boy of nine and a “city slicker” fromDetroit, looked on in wonderment and horror as she summarily wrung the poor creature’s neck. It ran about the yard frantically, yes incredibly, as if trying to locate something it had misplaced as if the known world could be set right again, recreated, if only that one thing was found. And then of course it died. The second memory was of lantern light reflected off stones that lay on either side of a path to a storm cellar me and my grandparents were headed for one stormy night beneath a tornado’s approaching din. There was wonderment there too, along with a vast and looming sense of impending doom.”
I read the usual assigned stuff growing up, short stories by Poe, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,The Scarlet LetterThe Cherry OrchardHedda Gabler, a little of Hemingway, etc. I also read a lot of Super Hero comic books (also Archie and Dennis the Menace) and Mad Magazine was a favorite too. I was also in love with my beautiful third grade teacher and to impress her pretended to read Gulliver’s Travels for which I received many delicious hugs.
It wasn’t until much later that I read Huckleberry Finn. I did read To Kill A Mockingbird too. I readBastard Out of Carolina and The Secret Life of Bees. I saw the stage play of Hamlet and read The Story of Edgar Sawtelle too. However, thematic similarities to these works occurred to me only after I was already well into the writing of Then Like The Blind Man. Cormac McCarthy, Pete Dexter, Carson McCullers, Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Conner and Joyce Carol Oates, to name but a few, are among my literary heroes and heroines. Tone and style of these writers have influenced me in ways I’d be hard pressed to name, though I think the discerning reader might feel such influences as I make one word follow another and attempt to “stab the heart with…force” (a la Isaac Babel) by placing my periods (hopefully, sometimes desperately) ‘… just at the right place’.
Freddie Owens’ latest book is Then Like the Blind Man: Orbie’s Story.
Visit his website at


My take on this book:

I have to say that my favorite part of this story had to be the southern dialect! The author certainly brings his characters to life with a realistic twang that certainly allows me to imagine them living in Kentucky in the 1950's. The story is told thru the eyes of nine year old Orbie. Orbie finds himself being left with his grandparents in Kentucky while his mother Ruby heads to Florida with her new husband Victor, and Orbie's younger sister Missy. Truly a coming of age story that really allows the reader to visualize the characters and setting. When Orbie arrives in Kentucky he is filled with hate, hate for blacks, a prejudice that his grandparents don't condone. He also hates his stepfather and is very unsure of God. It was interesting to see him grow and change as he spends time with his grandparents, feeling the unconditional love that they had for him. I will caution that Obie sometimes uses foul language but for me it allowed me to understand his character and the hurt he was hiding behind all of the anger. A great story that stayed with me long after I read the final page! 

Freddie Owens is giving away a Kindle Fire HD!

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive the Kindle Fire HD.
  • This giveaway begins January 24 and ends March 28.
  • Winner will be contacted via email on Monday, March 31, 2013.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!


                Then Like the Blind Man banner

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (April 15, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731494

Western North Carolina, 1787 ~ To escape a threatening stepfather and an unwanted marriage, Tamsen Littlejohn enlists the aid of Jesse Bird, a frontiersman she barely knows, to spirit her away from Morganton, North Carolina, west beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Trouble pursues, as the two men intent on seeing her recovered prove relentless in their hunt. Trouble awaits in the form of a divided frontier community. Across the mountains the State of Franklin has been declared, yet many settlers remain loyal to North Carolina. Chaos reigns, thwarting Tamsen and Jesse’s hastily cobbled plan to keep her safe. 

With her pursuers ever nearing, the region in turmoil, neighbors grown suspicious of her presence, Tamsen’s safety is soon put in greater jeopardy. Gaining the freedom she longs for will mean running yet again, to the most unlikely refuge imaginable—the Cherokees, a people balanced on the knife edge of war. 

But the biggest complication may prove to be Tamsen’s growing bond with her knight in greasy buckskins, Jesse Bird. Falling in love was never part of the plan.

My take on this book:
Tamsen Littlejohn's stepfather has plans for her, he wants her to bring his social standing up by having her marry into a wealthy family, but that isn't what she wants and decides to leave home and enlists someone she barely knows to help her. Falling in love is the last thing on her mind, but sometimes the heart has other ideas.

I loved the page turning adventure that pulled me in from the beginning with this story, but it was the strong characters that really kept me reading, because I really had to know what happened! Tamsen learns more than a few secrets about her family, but also learns a bit about herself as she decides to run instead of doing her step fathers bidding. Her unlikely hero is Jesse Bird, a character that was so atypical of my image of a mountain man! I really think he was my favorite character in the story. Anyone who enjoys historical romance, with a definite christian theme running through it will certainly enjoy this one,I know that I did!

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

Murder Simply Brewed Vannetta Chapman ~ review

  • Series: An Amish Village Mystery
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310326168
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310326168

This book is also available as an e book.

Spring has arrived in Middlebury, Indiana, and Amber Wright can see profits in sight for her collection of Amish artisan shops—until she receives a call that Ethan Gray is dead. Hurrying over to A Simple Blend, she finds a single hole in the front window and Mr. Gray dead from an apparent heart attack. All the money is still in his register. Hannah Troyer takes over the shop’s duties, and she and Amber become fast friends as well as amateur sleuths. The police believe Gray’s death to be a by-product of vandalism, but Amber and Hannah aren’t so easily convinced.
Old Testament clues that don’t add up, a neighbor who is pulled into the midst of the investigation, a town with secrets to hide, and blossoming romance—all will combine to push Amber and Hannah into unfamiliar roles in order to solve a mystery and bring peace to the Amish community.

My take on this book:
Murder Simply Brewed takes the readers to the tiny town of Middlebury, Indiana. Hannah Troyer has just arrived for work at the quilt shop at the Amish Artisan Village, when she realizes that she doesn't smell any coffee brewing over at the Simple Blend coffee shop so she goes to see what might be wrong. What she finds is store manager Ethan Gray, slumped over dead, of what looks like a heart attack. When Amber Wright the general manager of The Village asks Hannah to take over the shops duties, the pair become friends, and it doesn't take long before some of the other workers at the various shops start getting odd messages. Amber starts believe that Ethan's death wasn't a simple heart attack, but what could have happened, and why?

Amish mysteries are one of my favorite genre's to read, and Vannetta Chapman has a great knack for weaving some great ones! Murder Simply Brewed has a nice romance, actually there are two romances going on with this one, we have Amber and Tate, along with Hannah and Jesse. It was nice to see romance develop with a young couple as well as a more mature couple.There were  several plot twists that really kept me guessing and interesting characters that become friends as I got to know them! I loved the setting of the story, and an Amish Artisan Village would be like a small slice of heaven for me to visit!  Fans of Amish fiction are going to love this story, but anyone who enjoys a well written, page turning mystery will also find this "cozy" mystery a delight to read. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.