Archive for Review

Paula Rose Michelson’s Review of Hope by Joyce Mitchell

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Bravo, Joyce Mitchell for this masterfully written thought provoking work, which I recommend to all! Using impressionable teenagers this drama is filled with passion, compassion, a heroine, a hero, and shows us the confusion many believers face about whether or not their salvation was really real. Through her fiction, the author shows us the paradox of the Christian faith as each teen grapples with the questions of doubt, fear and faith concerning this issue.

Neither preachy or teachy, the author sets the stage for us to choose to self-examine, pray, beseech, rejoice, praise, or praise.

Hope

About the Author of the Book:

Joyce Mitchell

♥Joyce Mitchell has written several books for both children and adults:
Selfish Little Bob, Selfish No More! The ‘Fishy’ Adventures of Gus, Toby and TooToo (series-Big Tales 1-4) Just Little Old Me, Goldie and Garth (Books 1&2), Thanks Lil Ren, TooToo Goes on a Field Trip, Toby the Trout:Lil Sister Tippy, Telling Time with Dinosaurs, Snowman’s Noggin and Neck Award, HOPE, Unheard Cries:Rock Store Rebel, Petals from the Past

♥Rock Store Rebel is her debut novel (5* Readers Favorite)HOPE (5* Readers Favorite)

♥She lives with her husband in west central Georgia.

♥Please visit her @ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joyce.l.mitchell.3

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Joyce5577

WordPress Blog: http://rockstorejoycebooks.wordpress.com/

About the Author of the Review:

Paula Rose Michelson

As a Messianic Jew, I wanted to write about life, love, choices, and forgiveness. I researched what befell the Jews baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition. When I began writing, Naomi started talking to me.

Though her story is unique, Naomi’s issues of fear and hiding are universal. Having an extensive background in recovery as a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor, worked with The Rubicon Center, and founded LAMB Ministries in 1988 to mentor women suffering from trauma and abuse, I know the issues Naomi has are those seen in anyone who is masking their real pain. That is why six inspirational romances were written, three of which have been published.

I continue to mentor women like Naomi the way God mentored me, and recently published my first of seven Christian Self-Help books stemming from this work. My joy in having had an issue ladened life until Christ freed me is that it equipped me to write books and articles to encourage and show God’s mercy, love and forgiveness.

Paula Rose Michelson’s Review of Sin, Secrets, and Salvation by Lynn Hobbs

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Bravo! Biblical Christian Recovery in a Fictional Context!

Sins, Secrets, and Salvation

For those who are being abused in Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, Susan (the heroine of this story) becomes an important mentor and role model. For as the reader watches Susan becomes strong enough to leave her abusive, demeaning husband, allowing the reader to take their own journey and claim victory in Messiah! My prayer is that those reading this book who need to do as Susan did discover that blessings can be theirs as they work though their situation and more-so after the abuse ends.

As someone who works with and writes about the abuse of girls and women, and knows that Gods Words is the only healing balm I can offer, I was delighted and surprised to that find author, Lynn Hobbs and I are on the same page. Surprised because for several years, I have found Christian authors setting up situations where biblical solutions happened but found that the use of Scripture was spars or lacking. And delighted to see that in each instance in this well-crafted story, the characters `sweet spot’ the spot they will treasure and never want to leave is reached when worldly issues that cause incredible pain became Christ’s gain.

If you think Christian books are pabulum and have nothing to offer you by way of reality, compassion, or a real world view, in author Lynn Hobbs’ Sin, Secrets, and Salvation you will discover a real life gripping drama that can be shared and discussed with your daughter, mother, best friend, or someone you suspect may be experiencing what Susan does.

About the Author of the Book:

Lynn Hobbs

 

The Texas Association of Authors awarded Lynn Hobbs 1st Place in Religious Fiction in 2013 for Sin, Secrets, and Salvation.

The Texas Association of Authors awarded Lynn Hobbs 1st place in Religious Fiction for 2014 for River Town.

Worldwide Who’s Who awarded Lynn Hobbs “Professional of the Year 2012-2013 in Authorship.” While inclusion in Worldwide Who’s Who is an honor, only a small selection of the 500,000 members in each discipline are chosen for this distinction.

About the Author of the Review:

Paula Rose Michelson

 

As a Messianic Jew, I wanted to write about life, love, choices, and forgiveness. I researched what befell the Jews baptized into the Catholic faith to survive the Inquisition. When I began writing, Naomi started talking to me.

Though her story is unique, Naomi’s issues of fear and hiding are universal. Having an extensive background in recovery as a Chemical Dependency – Lifestyle Disorder Councilor, worked with The Rubicon Center, and founded LAMB Ministries in 1988 to mentor women suffering from trauma and abuse, I know the issues Naomi has are those seen in anyone who is masking their real pain. That is why six inspirational romances were written, three of which have been published.

Paula Rose Michelson’s Review of Ark of Rest by Jimmy Garland

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Ark of Rest

An incredible literary accomplishment! A modern masterpiece! Ark of Rest by Jimmy Garland is a heartfelt insightful MUST READ for any who wonder what might precede the end times spoken of in Scripture. Beginning with the times we are living in, the author shows us how the rapture might occur as he weaves our 12st century technologies and way of life, the reality of rural America, the FBI Special Cult Unit, science fiction, biblical prophecy, and personal choices made by those who believe in themselves and those who know and trust God. This astounding wordsmith takes the reader on a never imagined journey where people who chose to either believe in themselves or Gods only anointed Messiah, Jesus deal with events as they unfold leading them to their final, eternal destination!

Where other authors have shown a possible fulfillment of the end time prophetic Scriptures in such notable works as the Left Behind Series, Pastor Garland’s masterpiece, not only shows a uniquely spirit-filled view of the rapture, but while looking back in anguish, the non-believer experiences ever increasing agony over choices he wished he could undo, the faithful Pastor looks back at his life and faith failures in horror but instead of hearing condemnation sees how God used those situations to draw people to himself.

About the Author of Ark of Rest:

Jimmy Garland

Jimmy A. Garland is the middle child of five. He grew up in the North Georgia Mountains on a small farm.

“As a child I struggled at school. My siblings made good grades, and I struggled to pass. I was called lazy, stupid, and a dreamer as I battled to spell and write. When my parents bragged about the other siblings’ intelligence, they would turn to me and say, ‘Well, Jimmy has common sense.’

“In the second grade, I jumped from reading children’s books to novels. My older brother finished a fiction chapter book, and I begged the school librarian to let me read it next. James and the Giant Peach took me to an amazing world of imagination. I never looked back as a hunger grew that could only be fed by being immersed in a book. In High School, I passed English each year during the Literature half of the class mostly by oral participation.

“In elementary school, I got into a lot of trouble for having to sharpen my pencil. As an adult, I learned that when I broke a pencil’s lead, I misspelled words. Today, I am so thankful for the word processor’s spellchecker with the results of no broken pencils.

“While attending Bible College, I realized I struggled with a writing disability. I could read and understand very well, but to put things on paper was agony. The letters and words got scrambled, and I never got out the communication I desired.

“The writing of Ark of Rest was a personal challenge to accomplish the impossible. The idea for this book grew during my seminary days as I studied various Bible doctrines and read fiction to entertain my mind.”

Jimmy has earned a Bachelor of Arts from Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and a Master of Arts and Master of Divinity from Liberty University.

With his wife, Vanessa, he has served as pastor of churches in Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia since 1998. They have one son, a daughter-in-law and two cats.

About the Author of the Review:

Paula Rose Michelson

As the wife of Pastor Ron Michelson, Paula Rose Michelson, who is also is a field missionary with Chosen People Ministries, a writer of Messianic Bible studies and stories, I must share that this novel about an important topic was so well written that I gifted my husband a kindle download. I look forward to the discussions we will continue to have long after the book has been read.

Paula Rose Michelson’s Review of Hidden Creek (Running Forward Book 3) by Lynn Hobbs

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Title: A Template for the Christian Life!

The third book and final book in Lynn Hobbs’ Running Forward Saga is a template for how we Christians can handle the joys and sorrows of life when we rely upon the Lord.

Here we meet characters who are not concerned to let others see their joy in Messiah, and this, I believe, was the authors’ purpose in writing the two books that preceded it, for if we don’t see the struggles and experience all that Susan had to deal with this book might seem trite. Instead, having skillfully laid a foundation of pain, abuse, divorce and all that each of these issues entailed and there negative impact on our heroine we would not be able to walk and rejoice with her as she fully lives this life while looking forward to the next, blessed to know that her pain is being used by God to help others as she reaches out to them.

Author, Lynn Hobbs has not given us a ‘Pollyanna’ look at life in this sage. And because there are still issues…battles with sin and self as well as the consequences of poor choices in ‘Hidden Creek’, this is a real and uplifting read, I do recommend. http://amzn.to/1DQ0W0f 

About the Author:

Lynn Hobbs

The Texas Association of Authors awarded Lynn Hobbs 1st Place in Religious Fiction in 2013 for Sin, Secrets, and Salvation.
The Texas Association of Authors awarded Lynn Hobbs 1st place in Religious Fiction for 2014 for River Town.
Worldwide Who’s Who awarded Lynn Hobbs “Professional of the Year 2012-2013 in Authorship.” While inclusion in Worldwide Who’s Who is an honor, only a small selection of the 500,000 members in each discipline are chosen for this distinction.
A winner in the 2013 “Fifty Great Writers You Should Be Reading” contest, by The Author’s Show.com, Lynn was a finalist in the 2012 contest, a winner in 2013, and interviewed on their national radio program in the Christian category. She is National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) 2011 winner having completed the task of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.Lynn is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, East Texas Christian Writers, Pens: Crosswords Christian Writers, Texas Association of Authors, North East Texas Writers Organization, past treasurer (2011-2012) of East Texas Writers Association. GFWC-Texas Federation of Women’s Clubs- Marshall Chapter, and a Life Time Member of World Wide Who’s Who.

Lynn is a published songwriter and published poet of over twenty years.Her novel, Sin, Secrets, and Salvation debuted January, 2012 as book one of the Christian fiction “Running Forward Series”. Follow Susan Penleighs victory, through scripture, over a shaky marriage. Unequally yoked to a non-Christian husband, Susan Penleigh faces modern family issues.

Book two, River Town, debuted December, 2012, and continues with the main character moving to Texas during the 2011 historic drought and wildfires. From an arrogant boss at a high school, to troubled teens; Susan Penleigh’s actions are a compelling page turner for both men and women. A powerful faith and family saga.

Book three, Hidden Creek, debuted December 19, 2013. Two women, two men, fight the wages of sin. Who heals? Who follows God’s will? Four journeys, four friends; turn the page , let the story begin… Suspense builds as new characters emerge. Unexpected surprises, exciting twists and turns…and lessons learned make Susan’s world come alive. Through many struggles, does Susan’s faith prevail? Will this family ever bond together?

The award-winning Running Forward Series is concluded in Hidden Creek; a morally strong, and inspiring novel. Reader will have a clear understanding of a Christian viewpoint by the actions of Susan Penleigh in each book.

A new novel, and a collection of short stories are works in progress.
Recent first place award winner for short story “The Shoe Fit The Wrong Sister” published April 2012 East Texas Writers Association “The Roughdraft” newsletter. Received second place award winner for short story, “The Song That Changed Everything,” published in May 2012 ETWA “The Roughdraft.” June 2012, for short story. “Escape” published in “Angie’s Diary” a great online magazine. Go to Angie’s Diary.com, or Lynn’s website http://www.LynnHobbsAuthor.com and click on “other writings” to read them.

Retired from the Texas Public School system, Mrs. Hobbs was secretary to the high school principal. Lynn Hobbs received her paraprofessional certificate and completed 312 hours of credited workshop hours at Region VII in Kilgore, Tx. for Karnack I.S.D. including training for CTE and Peims Coding, Dropout/Peims Leaver, RSCCC Student Peims, RSCCC Discipline, Peims Student Data, TREx-records exchange, RSCCC Attendance Accounting, Tx. Gradebook Trainers, Para Institute, RSCCC Attendance Letters, Homeless, Peims Edit Plus, Nurses Conference, RSCCC Scheduling, Special Education, PID Enroll Tracking, Excel, Word, Power Point, File management, Peims Discipline Administrator, Windows Vista, Windows XP, CPR, etc.
A native of Houston, she moved to East Texas in 1962. Married; two sons, their spouses, three grandchildren, and one dog complete the family. When not writing, Lynn enjoys reading, church activities, scrap-booking, canning, quilting, and houseplants.
Join her uplifting Christian blog on her website at http://www.LynnHobbsAuthor.com Lynn may be contacted at LynnHobbs.Author@gmail.com She loves hearing from her readers and is available for speaking engagements.
Follow on twitter, @LynnHobbsAuthor, Lynn Hobbs Author Page on Face Book, Lynn Hobbs timeline on Face Book, and Goodreads Author Page.

Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of Courting Cate by Leslie Gould

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(Book 1 in the Courtships of Lancaster County Series)
Courting Cate

In Paradise Pennsylvania, Cate Miller is known more for her sharp tongue and fiery temper than her striking appearance.  Her sweet and flirty sister Betsy on the other hand seems to have attracted most of the bachelors in Lancaster County.
But the sister’s wealthy father  has made one hard and fast rule;  older Cate must marry first  before younger Betsy can even start courting.  Unfortunately untamable Cate has driven away  every suitor – until Pete Tregor comes to town that is.  Prodded by the men of the area Pete turns his attention on winning Cate’s hand.  But is his interest true or is there a scheme at play?
MY REVIEW
of
 COURTING CATE
by
LESLIE GOULD
Leslie Gould’s brilliant idea of an Amish twist on Shakespeare’s “Taming of the Shrew” shows her unique creativity and talent to the highest degree.  My interest was quickly drawn into the story with eager anticipation as to what would happen next.

My first impressions toward Cate’s personality were a bit negative as I found her irritating and stubborn, causing her own problems for the most part.  That is…until I learned that her problems were very real to her, trapping her into an existence brought on by her mother’s death giving birth to her younger sister, Betsy.  Cate was turning shrewish through the responsibilities thrown on her to raise her sister and help with her father’s business, let alone the duties and chores of being of the Amish faith in the household where she lived with her father and sister.Leslie’s story became more enthralling as I could easily relate to Cate’s ever changing moods caused by frustrations, dashed hopes, self doubts and ongoing problems with those around her causing her feistiness.  Her defensive side could quickly change to a soft heart, compassion, understanding, empathy and sympathy to another’s predictaments and situations; and as quickly again to a hot temper and harsh judgments toward other characters she disliked.Cate was hurt deeply by the betrayal of her betrothed when he dumped her and married another.  She was left without the hope of a marriage and children at an age when young Amish women were already married and having families.  She had decided to accept her lot in life and make the best of her situation when things began changing faster than she was able to adjust to them.Reading was the joy in Cate’s personal life, and dreaming of becoming a writer.  Of course, she day dreamed of marrying, romance, and all the things she had missed, but found it best to avoid these thoughts as they were much too depressing.

Betsy, Cate’s younger sister, was young, beautiful, spoiled, sweet, manipulative and very interested in a fellow……..and then – the crux of the story changed dramatically.  Their dat set a hard and fast rule that Cate must marry first before allowing Betsy to be courted.

Then, a young handsome Amish man arrived in Paradise, Pennsylvania from New York state that caused Cates heart to flutter, however unsure as to his motives when he began to show signs of wanting to court her – she suspected he might be a “gold digger” and wanted her dat’s wealth for himself.

The plot thickens and gives the reader much to laugh and cry about.  The metamorphosis in all the characters one way or another was incredible and only enabled through faith in God and wanting to do His will.  Leslie developed each character thoughtfully and I loved her approach to bring them alive in one’s mind.

Overall, I give Leslie’s Courting Cate a 5+.

Readers, get this book, you’ll love yourself for it!

Leslie Gould
LESLIE GOULD is the co-author with MINDY STARNS CLARK of the #1 bestselling The Amish Midwife and The Amish Nanny.  She is also the author of numerous novels, including Garden of Dreams, Beyond the Blue (winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice for best inspirational novel of 2006) and Scrap Everything.  She holds an MFA in creative writing from Portland State University and has taught fiction writing at Multnomah University as an adjunct professor.  She resides with her husband and four children in Portland, Oregon.  Learn more at www.lesliegould.com

Interview of Marlayne Giron and Review of “In Plain Site” by Marlayne Giron

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IN PLAIN SITE 

BY 

MARLAYNE GIRON

At the age of 22 (In 1982) Marlayne was inspired to write The Victor by a line in an Amy Grant song called: “Fairytale” (from her Father’s Eyes album). The particular verse in the song which inspired the idea was: “two princes wage the battle for eternity but the victor has been known from the start”. The verse made her imagine an evil “Baron” in black armor and knight in shining armor crossing swords over “maiden in distress”. She wrote the story in her free time at work on an IBM Selectric typewriter and at home on a Smith Corona Portable.

Marlayne rewrote the story over the course of almost 30 years and made many attempts to get it published for several years but after a 4-year bout with ulcerative colitis that resulted in major surgery, then infertility then the adoption of her daughter and the demands of having to work full-time to pay the bills, she gave up on her dream of The Victor ever being published until April of 2008 when Tate Publishing called to offer her a contract.

The Victor was released on April 14th of 2009 and many doors have opened up for her to get the word out on her book. One of which being that as a direct result of her former employment with John Styll at CCM Magazine 28 years ago (who is now currently President of the Gospel Music Association), both he and Amy Grant now have copies of The Victor and Marlayne’s personal copy has been autographed by Amy Grant herself.

Marlayne Giron

Welcome, Marlayne, I’m so pleased to be getting better acquainted with you. While reading In Plain Sight, I knew I wanted to know you better – it was a fun read and certainly a deep thought provoker.  I admire your imagination and bravery to write an Amish story intertwined with space aliens, what thoughts and ideas of yours instigated such an idea?

I was challenged to write an Amish fiction in order to get a book contract because it is the hottest genre in Christian fiction. I am a Southern California native and have only been a tourist to Amish communities (Lancaster, PA) three times. Most Amish authors live near the Amish communities and know them or have family members who are/were Amish and I am none of them, but I figured how hard could it be? I have a general idea of what they do and don’t do and used the internet to research what I didn’t. I had no idea what I was going to write when I started. The seeds for the story actually came as a running joke at a writer’s conference I attended where an editor was commenting on the speculative fiction he publishes and said he wasn’t interested in the “buggy and bonnet” manuscripts unless they were…oh…maybe Amish Vampires from outer space (said tongue-in-cheek). I came up with the back cover teaser first and used that as my plot guide. I also married ideas from C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet, Romeo and Juliet, and the book cover from The Host by Stephanie Meyers and the movie Signs.

You and those you read are certainly of unique mind, some of that is challenging to understand.  What interested you in this particular genre and era?

I had never read Amish fiction and always wondered what the big deal was. In preparation for writing my book I bought a couple of Amish books and read them.  I quickly realized that they were basically G-rated romance novels about a sect of people that we “Englisch” find fascinating for their simple, self-sufficient and content lifestyle.  It was more or less a “challenge” to see if I could do it.

You certainly met that challenge with In Plain Sight.  How did you research for this book? That alone must have been a major undertaking!

Most of it was pure imagination. I did use Pennsylvania Dutch glossaries of common phrases that I mixed into the dialogue and found several Amish information sites on the internet.

What part of In Plain Sight did you enjoy writing the most and why?

The scene where the brothers go to the banker’s house to borrow the ham radio to contact their people. This was the point at which the inspiration had finally clicked in and I was actually giggling out loud when I wrote this scene. Also the auction scene was a lot of fun.

Oh, those were some of my favorites also –  I love that kind jolly banker….a bit like a Santa character.  LOL!  He certainly developed a quick affinity for Amish treats that so amused me. I also laughed aloud.  The dialogue between the twins was very well done, as was the fantasy time travel scenes.  Fascinating.  Where do you get the ideas for your books?

The Victor was inspired from an Amy Grant song 30 years ago called Fairytale and Make a Wish was a compilation of 35 short stories where I granted wishes for real people so the ideas came directly from the people (and the Lord) for whom I wrote the stories.

After many arduous years of trying, your book The Victor was published and quite successful.  Please tell us a bit about it’s message and what was most important for you to convey to the readers.  I definitely want to read The Victor and have added it to my TBR’s.

I was raised a nonreligious Jew who didn’t want to be witnessed to, go to church or read the Bible. The Lord got to me through watching Jesus of Nazareth on television by reaching my heart through my emotions. I gave my life to the Lord right in front of the television set. That is the goal for The Victor; to reach people emotionally with the Gospel in a fiction story where they are identifying with the protagonist who represents Jesus. To demonstrate through The Victor that the good news is the “ultimate” love story and how we are the object of His love. It was written to share the Gospel in a nonthreatening way with others who don’t want to be witnessed to, go to church or read the Bible.

Marlayne, that is so touching and fascinating, and I want to talk a bit more about that, but first tell us about your other writings.

Make a Wish is a truly remarkable book. It is the only book that was a gift for other people in which the recipients felt like they had heard from God and were blessed to the point of tears. I was even happily surprised at the reactions of readers who didn’t know anyone in the stories I wrote.  Their reactions can be read in the reviews on Amazon but I can tell you that were  all pretty emotional, which I also found very gratifying. I have a fourth book almost ready to go but don’t know when I will ever be able to get it into print now that I am working full time.

That can certainly be an obstacle to writing, but I have a feeling that the Lord will work that situation for good and it will be completed when the time is right.  Marlayne, out of everything you have written, do you have a favorite and why?

The Victor is my “love child” and baby. I labored over that book for decades and never thought I would ever get to see it in print; much less read and appreciated by total strangers.

Miracles do happen!  When did you know you were called to write?

I truly feel that The Victor was divinely inspired and got the idea in 1982 when I was 22 but I have been writing since I was age 12. I never went to college so it is safe to say that my writing abilities are a ‘gift’ from the Lord as well as a result of all the books I have read. I was a voracious reader as a child.

Marlayne, I can see you’ve had some major challenges as a writer?  Please tell us how you overcame problems, or what you are doing to change it?

The greatest challenge I have had as a writer is the publishing industry itself. I had two traditional publishers interested in The Victor and In Plain Sight. They loved my writing,  they liked the stories,  but because I had self-published and had not sold 5,000+ copies on my own (it’s much harder than anyone realizes) they did not want to take a chance on me. It seems like they no longer care about how good the stories or writing are; they just want authors to already have a large platform. It discouraged me so much that I have just decided to give up on it all.

Oh Marlayne, I vehemently hope you don’t give up altogether, you’re too talented and imaginative of a writer and the readers would suffer the loss.  Discouragement is a big killer of what can be – so I’ll be praying this will change for you – again, when the timing is the Lord’s.

Ok, I’m always curious about writers development of characters and wonder – what character is most like you in your books or have you written yourself into your stories?

I suppose there is a little of me in all my characters; after all; I am making up their reactions and dialogue.  I did put my mom and brother in law as minor characters in my third book, In Plain Sight.

Now you’ve got me wondering about who your mom and brother are in this story – I’ll have to return and read it again.  LOL  Marlayne, back to a bit about you, please tells us how you first came to faith in Jesus and your salvation experience?

My entire family is Jewish. I used to attend a reformed Temple in her youth and observed the high holy days but it was mostly done out of a cultural obligation to Judaism rather than devotion to God. Like many Jews, I was raised with an anti-Christian/anti-Jesus “bias” and was taught that it was the height of betrayal to my Jewish heritage to “convert”. Growing up I had little to no interest in “religion” and at the age 13 considered myself an atheist. At this time the “Jesus Movement” was in full swing and I found myself a “prime target” for the “Jesus Freaks”. I soon learned that if I just prayed the sinner’s prayer with them they would go away not only happy but quicker! I came to faith in Jesus as Messiah as a direct result of watching the television film, “Jesus of Nazareth” by Franco Zefferelli in 1977. From that moment on I began to read the Old Testament and discovered that believing in Jesus was the fulfillment of my Jewish faith and not a betrayal of it

How does your faith influence your writing?

It is my desire to reach the lost for the Lord with my writing and to bless 
those who already believe who are struggling and suffering. 

Do you have a favorite scripture?

Shortly after beginning The Victor, I asked the Lord for a confirming scripture that this book was inspired by Him and Psalm 45 popped into my head. I looked it up and the first verse said: “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” My jaw just dropped. I sign that verse at all my book signings, it is the url for my blog and it is my tagline.

Have you imagined writing stories about Biblical characters – a woman, perhaps?

I often thought of writing a story about a young woman who knew Jesus growing up and loved him from afar since she was a child only to undergo a series of tragedies that result in her being the woman caught in adultery and thrown at his feet for judgment.

Has any particular person, author or otherwise been a literary inspiration to you? 

J.R.R. Tolkien. I read The Hobbit and entire Lord of the Rings in a single weekend and then once a year every year after that for decades. The man was an absolute genius and his work was a masterpiece.

What book have you read that stands out as your favorite? Did that book or any book impact your life in any way?
The Lord of the Rings and Hans Christian Anderson fairytales had a big impact on me. The fairytales taught me compassion, the virtues of perseverance, honesty, faithfulness and empathy.

You have a great appetite for reading, so what is your favorite comfort food? 
Noodle Kuegel. The recipe is one of my very first blog entries.  By the way, the Amish food recipes mentioned throughout the book are in the back of the book. 

Are you an introvert or an extrovert?

Both; it really depends upon the situation. At book signings I have to be an extrovert. I go up to total strangers in my medieval costume with a basket full of candy and bookmarks and chat bookstore customers up until I talk them into buying a book. I find it really fun to be the center of attention and talk to a crowd of people about my books but at a party I’m a total wall flower unless I am lip synching to music as part of the entertainment.

Do you enjoy other hobbies other than writing? What do you and your family enjoy doing in your leisure time? 

I love to cook (and I look like it). When I was much younger I used to draw, take ballet, ice-skate, stamp, scrapbook and sew but all of that has fallen by the wayside. I’m either too poor, too old or don’t have enough time. The only creative outlet I have left is cooking because we have to eat. 

If a movie was made about your life or the protagonist from this story in particular, who would you want to play the lead role and why? 

I would like a total stranger to play the lead characters in In Plain Sight. As far as me, my husband thinks Sally Field and I have no clue. 

Hmmm, I would consider that a compliment…Sally is a great actress.  Marlayne, Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book. 

It will leave you really wondering hard about the ‘what if’s” posed in the story-line.

What is next on your writing agenda? 

Maybe a second Make a Wish type book once I have enough short stories compiled.

This has been a fun and interesting chat with you, Marlayne.  I love your answers, you are a very interesting lady   I am very impressed with your background and interest in writing what many aren’t brave enough to attempt.  I know I don’t feel capable of your style, but that’s what keeps all of us ready for the challenge.  Your faith in God is solid – and it definitely shows your faith in yourself  depends completely on Jesus.  Believe me, God isn’t done with showing you and the readers that He isn’t finished with you yet….so be ready for what he’s planned to bless your life with excitement and greater success.   Are you prepared to give us your recipe for Noodle Keugel?  Perhaps you can share that with us on your next visit unless it is listed in the back of the book where you mentioned the Amish recipes are listed.

Now, let’s allow our friends and followers know what I really thought about In Plain Sight!  Thank you for being here and keep us posted from time to time about what’s going on in your authoring career.  Oh, and be sure to bring your Noodle Keugel recipe!

 MY REVIEW OF “IN PLAIN SIGHT”

In Plain Sight   

Marlayne Giron wrote a note inviting me to read and review her newest novel. Amish stories are among my favorite reads, but little did I realize what I was in for! After I accepted her invitation, there was doubt and skepticism as to which one of us was crazy –  in my thinking anyway. Presently, I am honored and grateful to Marlayne for the pleasure.

As the story opens, Jacob Lapp has begun the early daily chores and as daylight began he was badly shaken at what his eyes saw, and his mind couldn’t believe. He was horrified to see that his entire corn field had been flattened in a precise circular design. Disbelief caused various thoughts to emerge in rapid succession until he could only surmise that the stories he’d heard about crop circles might be factual. He had never seen anything like this and decided to take the matter to the Bishops immediately.

As I began the next chapter, I was a bit confused as to who the Protagonist of the story was. I soon found out the Esh family, especially Rebecca, were the main characters the story extended around; although Jacob is importantly blended into the story as is the Amish faith and culture.

As Jacob Lapp was taking in the mysterious happenings on his farm, nineteen year old Rebecca Esh was helping her mother prepare breakfast in the Esh family kitchen. All seemed normal as every other day when Rebecca’s wandering thoughts were interrupted by a silver flash as she glanced out the kitchen window and saw a strange blue beam above the hill behind the barn. “Surely she had imagined it…it couldn’t possibly be what she thought it was. “Time to stop reading science fiction novels and stick to Beverly Lewis she thought.” She did long for romance and adventure, it seems, proven by the number of books on the shelves in her room.  We learned that Rebecca has a good sense of humor among all her qualities – but if this story was heading in the direction I imagined – Rebecca might be in for a shocking change or two in her near future.

Marlayne Giron is an imaginative writer and courageous to put the Amish culture and aliens from outer space into an equation that adds up to a sensitive spiritual story beyond any I’ve read.  I felt some of Marlayne’s writing was a bit Disney-ish where the time travel sequences between Rebecca and Seth were concerned;  however, important to the flow of her story. Her style is fresh and of a generation much younger than I, and that is why I kept an open mind throughout and was entertained. Her story brought out my emotions and I felt a lot of joy emanating from her words, as well as the sorrows. Ms. Giron added humor that caused me to break out laughing where lifting the scene was essential.  Especially the kind banker and how the twins duped him into allowing them in his home to use his radio equipment.  I wonder if he gained any weight with all those Amish pastries the twins used as persuasion for his help?  Those twins!  Sometimes they went a bit far trying to help.  I found it quite delightful. This lady knows how to write.

Back to this fascinating story…..the next day is a barn raising for a newly married couple in the community. Every family is involved in the preparations from food to physical labor. When the meals have been served, many times the women and young girls participate in quilting – as do the Esh ladies. In fact, one of the fun parts of this book is about a quilt fashioned by the Esh mother and daughters.  The day of the barn raising, Rebecca undergoes strange feelings,  hears bothersome hums, thinks someone is watching her and at times is rendered mute. THEN!!  The first “Amish” twin makes his presence known to Rebecca and mesmerizes her with his silver eyes and handsome prince-like appearance.  The second twin makes his appearance a bit later, and we learn how alike and different the twins are from outer space, as here on earth. Whew, can you tell I’m really getting into Marlayne’s story?

Are you rushing to buy Marlayne Giron’s book yet? Why not? If I said much more about this intriguing story – I might tell you too much and spoil your entire reading experience of In Plain Sight. This is a very well written, educational, and thought provoking story that will cause you to wonder more about this vast universe and about who the alien’s King is. When we, people of faith, think about the wonders of the world, how can we not ponder the first chapters of Genesis  – is our God the God of the universe or only the God and father of the planet we live on?  Marlayne has made an important point of truth that I pray all her readers will determine correctly.  A space ship crashing in an Amish corn field is unlikely…..but then only the God of the universe knows the likeliness of such a happenstance.  Who am I to question?

Paula Rose Michelson’s Review of Gathering Storm by Y. I. Lee

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This Captivating Enthralling Magical Medieval Fantasy is a MUST READ!

Gathering Storm

Entering abruptly into a stressful reality, the prologue read so much like a part of the fiction that only upon seeing “Chapter One” did; I realize I hadn’t been where I thought I was! And knowing Y.I. Lee books are like this, I dove into the read and couldn’t gobble the words up fast enough for the author juxtaposes tension artfully and seamlessly as the author wove reality and allegory into a fantasy beyond any I have read since finishing my read of Y. I. Lee’s “Through a Glass”, which was the first book in this saga.

Here, I found myself simultaneously at odds than righted as the story wove its magic around my heart while transporting me to a place so real that it rivaled any fiction fantasy set in Medieval times because I felt I was there. There is so much to praise about this book, but not wanting to not spoil the book for others, I will focuses on the subplot of intrigue and deception that ensnares an unwitting innocent and kills the sister of our hero, who is also the sister of the villain. Aghast at what has transpired the villain must blame another. And herein he seals his doom. However, restitution of the unwitting servant shows that God is Lord, though the Prince, upon marrying his true love, will become King.

For Christian’s who love stories within stories this is a must read yet so well done that Y. I. Lee has again left me wanting more, and as an author of fiction, I do not say this lightly, for I seldom read other fiction authors work unless I know it will take me where this authors work does. Well done indeed, author Y. I. Lee! I eagerly await the next book in your amazing saga!

About the Author:

Y I Lee

Yvonne was born in Swindon Wiltshire, the eldest of three children.
From a young age her greatest joy, was to curl up with a good book. And over time she naturally progressed into writing.

At the age of ten, she ambitiously attempted her first novel, but quickly gave up. However, the seed was planted. And in the coming years, in between a successful singing career, she continued to put pen to paper.

Yvonne’s genre is Y/A Fantasy. ‘The Shadowed Valley’ her first book was published Sept 29 2011.

Followed by ‘A Rat and a Ransom,’ published 23 Jan 2012.

Her third novel ‘Through a Glass’ is in the process of being re-edited, and is due to be published in Oct 2012.

Yvonne lives in Warwickshire with her husband Keith.

Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of “Springtime in Savannah” by Gail Warner

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MY REVIEW

ON

SPRINGTIME IN SAVANNAH

BY

GAIL WARNER

It seemed a normal spring morning in Savannah until Jonathan Rayburn heard an angelic voice on Monterey Square. Within moments of setting eyes upon the exceptionally beautiful Keri McGuire, he welcomed her to his beloved city and into his heart. In the days ahead, his faith is severely tested because of one homeless man and a civil lawsuit. Daniel Stanton, a busy attorney in St. Augustine, arrived at Mrs. Quinn’s home, questioning why his father’s client has requested his legal advice. One portrait upstairs caught his attention; one nearly identical portrait in the music room captured his wishful thoughts. Never in his life had he been so disappointed when he actually met the granddaughter from Milwaukee. While Laura Martin challenged his ethics, he prayed to be a man of conviction.

 

MY REVIEW

It was a surprise to me that more reviews hadn’t been written on this beautifully composed story about Springtime in Savannah by Gail Warner.  Truly, this story does not stand alone – but of several stories skillfully intertwined to keep the reader drawn in.  Each story has the possibility of being complete as one – but to include so many well defined characters, each with different personalities and problems, was done with proficient cleverness by Ms. Warner.

The author went deep into research on the history of Savannah, as well as interesting facts that I would never have known without reading this novel.  At times, I felt I was reading a travelogue which made the scenery in my mind vivid through the color of illustrious scripting.  The story is lengthy – and never boring.

What can I say about this story that wouldn’t add spoilers to future readers?  My heart was warmed by the conversions to faith in Jesus.  Some of the characters were idiosyncratic and unlikeable.  I fell in love with those characters that were fun in spite of themselves.  My compassion lay with the emotionally and physically abused with admiration for their passion to change their lives through Christ.  The love interests were enthralling and romantic.  Budding romance was proven unpredictable in the length of time and adversities the couples faced.  I sensed this author was emotionally involved with her characters, as I also felt.  Her characters and situations were so real that I found myself praying for those in the story that continued to sin and live evilly.  It felt silly to pray – Gail had already decided their outcome!  Will there be hope for these individuals in Gail’s story?  You’ll be amazed as you watch God working in the lives of all under the pen of Gail Warner. 

Ms Warner shows herself a person of deep faith in God; in tune with reality of our world today and historically, and that she is intelligent and capable of sculpting words with such an inspiring touch.  Gail is an accomplished author that I will follow and look forward to her future publications.  Whew, I got through this review without spoilers….so if you want to meet the characters, learn the answers, take a guided tour of Savannah – history included –  you’ll need to get you own copy!

MEET AUTHOR GAIL WARNER

Gail Ann Warner

Gail Warner’s parents joined the family of God five years before she was born, and they faithfully attended a large rural Nazarene Church named Richfield, near Flint, Michigan. For thirty-five years, Gail’s varied roles as a minister’s wife brought her great fulfillment and opportunities to witness for Christ. With fond memories, she recalls the years in a parsonage setting, where she and her husband, Richard, raised three outstanding daughters. Gail finds joy in traveling with their family, singing in a quartet, working in her flower garden, participating in Beth Moore Bible studies, and connecting with friends on Facebook. Though she is a five-time cancer survivor, she thanks God for giving her good health. Gail lives with her husband in Illinois, but because of Eugenia Price’s novels, she has a love for historical places.

SPRINGTIME IN SAVANNAH GROUP PAGE – https://www.facebook.com/groups/SpringtimeinSavannah/

Springtime in Savannah

Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of “The Time Under Heaven” by Laurinda Wallace

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The Time Under Heaven

Time seems to be against missionary Ruthanne Carroll. Suddenly faced with a life threatening illness, she reluctantly returns to the U.S. from a small Maasai village in Kenya. Once she reunites with her sisters Elizabeth and Melody, she clearly sees God’s hand leading her to uncover a guilty secret from her past.

A journey to uncover the truth leads them through sometimes dangerous circumstances and battles with old hurts. Each find their faith and relationships challenged as they reach a crossroads where the choices are healing and reconcilation or bitterness and defeat.

Laurinda Wallace’s debut novel is an uplifting tale about family and faith, a sweeping story of three women coming to terms with their shifting roles as daughters, sisters, or mothers. Join her indelible characters on a journey of discovery and reconciliation as the steady, inexorable rhythms of life play out. – Rosebud Communications

MY REVIEW

Laurinda began her story one lead character at a time…first was missionary Ruthanne Carroll in a hot and humid waiting room of Doctor Hawkes office in the village of Maasai, Kenya in Africa. The scene was easily imagined with Ms Wallace’s vivid description of the village people in their colorful native garb and beads, flies, sweaty bodies, sick and whimpering children and a very nervous Ruthanne waiting to hear the results of the MRI she had taken. She did not receive news she wanted to hear, instead what the doctor reported to her would change the entire course of her life and her sister’s lives immediately.


Melody, the youngest sister, is not blessed with the finer things of life she wishes for. Her husband Dennis is her biggest problem and is not employed in a job or otherwise at taking care of tasks and chores at home. They live the seamier side of life with little money, but find funds to provide for cigarettes and beer. Their loveless marriage is full of volatile arguments, rough abusive comments, and daily exhaustion on Melody’s mind and body through her work as a nurse’s aid in a home for the elderly. Melody has no faith in God, due to the upbringing her father imposed upon her. She could see nothing loving about Christianity as her father demonstrated. Have her dreams of becoming an RN fading into forever?

Elizabeth, the middle sister, and her husband Tom are parents of two grown children Paul and Corinne. Elizabeth is romantic about gardening and knew each flower’s fragrance by memory.  The past years of happy marriage and family life had been undaunted with major problems until recently when Tom and daughter Corinne had a major blowup over her boyfriend Trevor. Corinne fled to parts unknown with her choice sweetheart. They did enjoy being grandparents and Elizabeth often cared for her grandbabies while their mother, Sonya worked.  Elizabeth now knew unusual stress and even resentment toward Tom for being so unreasonable and chastising of Corinne, causing her disappearance. Elizabeth and Melody were close, but the relationship wasn’t always easy due to Melody’s co-dependence on Elizabeth’s kindness. Their lives were quite opposite in Christian belief and lifestyle – and their knowledge of Ruthanne’s life was almost nil.

All three sisters were raised by a strict protestant minister with constant and continuing negative attitudes toward his daughters; a weak submissive mother with her own problems of no real identity of herself, although artistic and creative in nature. She tried to protect her daughters from their father’s temperament to show loving support. Their relieving grace came from grandparents that were affectionate, understanding and provided positive reinforcement of help. The sister’s best memories were of time spent with their fun inspired grandparents, especially grandma, at their beach home in Cape Cod. The people of their formative years are now gone, but the memories are still ever present.

It was Ruthanne’s phone call to Elizabeth informing of her arriving soon in the States because of her health that began the highly active changes in everyone’s lives. Ruthanne is facing major problems of loss in the area of her ministry where she has made her home from a young age….everything becomes uncertain. Secrets of each sister were now in danger of revelation. Coincidences, which I prefer to refer to as Godincidences began happening as paths crossed and God’s plans for each character took them in different directions physically and emotionally in a miraculously cohesive nature.

Among the multitude of Laurinda’s stylistic finer points was allowing the reader to hear the thoughts of each character easily….learning more of who they really were by the time the story ended. I can’t leave out one of my favorite persons in this story – Nan, the Southern Lady – a key friend to all with so much insight into the problems and situations each sister was growing through. She added fun and humor with unconditional love. Was she actually an angel in disguise? It made me wonder.

Ms Wallace’s characters are excellently developed. She obviously loved each character and developed traits insightfully into each one. I became more endeared to each sister as the chapters flew by. This story spoke deeply and emotionally to me of like problems throughout my lifetime of raising children, serious health issues and working toward improved marriage relations, and more – I easily became personally involved.  Laurinda adds enticement into her writing flow that is highly entertaining.

Faith in God, choices, secrets, mistakes, redemption, change and growth; the core concept of this story is scripturally based on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. I pray you will keep these verses in your consciousness as you read Laurinda’s novel A Time Under Heaven. Every verse provided a story line into each sister’s search. So, there is a time for searching and revealing in all seasons of our lives. How many secrets have been kept to haunt each character? Laurinda brings to my own personal thoughts these times and seasons of my life.

The Time Under Heaven is a true reminder that life cycles in sameness – the problems and crises are not new…only to each generation. My favorite quote “If God brings you to it – He’ll bring you through it.” is proven true once again through Laurinda’s insightful writing about human and spiritual nature. This story ended just as it was beginning. Is it possible Laurinda has in mind a continuation story for this family?  Thank you Laurinda Wallace for sharing your faith and delightful writing with us. Friends, for an engrossing read – do yourself a favor and compliment the author by getting your copy now. You will both be blessed!

About Laurinda….

Laurinda Wallace

Living in the high desert of Arizona, Laurinda writes both fiction and non-fiction. Her novel, The Time Under Heaven and devotional, Gardens of the Heart are available. Mysteries are coming in 2013.
Biography

Laurinda is a native of the snowbelt in Western New York and left the snowy weather for the sun and mountain views of southeast Arizona in 2003.
A graduate of Houghton College, New York, she’s made a career in administration.

A lifelong writer, she seriously pursued freelance writing in 2005 and has been published in both print and e-publications. She contributes regularly to Christian Devotions, and has written devotions and articles for The Upper Room and Mature Living.
Her debut novel, The Time Under Heaven was released by 3-Mice Productions in June, 2012.
Active in church ministry, she teaches a women’s Bible study in a bi-lingual setting.

Favorite Books

Too many to mention. The top three are: The Bible by God, Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Website:  http://www.laurindaw.blogspot.com

A Time Under Heaven is available @ Amazon in Print and on Kindle!

Barbara J. Shelton’s Review of “A Love Surrenderd” by Julie Lessman

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A Love Surrendered

Winds of Change, #3

A Love Surrenderd

She’s hoping to find her first true love. He’s hoping to forget his.

Will her secret come between them?

Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy has moved to Boston and is embracing the city life, with a new name and wide open future. When she gets involved with a fast crowd at Ocean Pier—one that includes the handsome Steven O’Connor—she is pulled deeper and deeper into a world of rule breakers and mischief makers. She finds herself drawn to Steven and the whole O’Connor family. But a secret Annie is keeping has the power to destroy her best-laid plans.

Will Steven ever see her as more than a sweet country girl who needs protecting? And will he break her heart when he finds out who she really is?

With heart-pounding romance, intense family drama, and the emotional twists and turns Julie Lessman fans have come to expect, A Love Surrendered will ignite your senses and inspire your spirit.

JUST SAYIN…….

Time:  1932, Boston, Ma.  Prohibition was about to be repealed by the 18th Amendment.  Some concerns of that era…prohibition, politics, war and as in any year, belief in God.  The young crowd wanted good times and were expert lawbreakers to do so.  Times were hard….and that’s not exactly what Julie Lessman’s story is about…but difficult times there were.

A Love Surrendered is the third book in the Winds of Change Series.  It is the continuation of the O’Connor family saga through each of the 7 children born to Patrick and Marcy O’Connor.  Stories previously began with the Daughters of Boston Series.  The children – whose stories update naturally through each novel are: Faith, married to Collin McGuire; Charity, married to Mitch Dennehy; Lizzie, married to John Brady; Sean, married to Emma; Katie, married to Luke McGee: and Steven, the youngest and still single.  A foster daughter, Gabe (Gabriella Dawn), has appeared in Marcy and Patrick’s lives through the romance and marriage of Katie and Luke McGee in A Hope Undaunted.  This reader has enjoyed the pleasure of devouring each one of these books, except for Sean and Emma’s story which will be rectified soon.

To begin, I am including some of the summary from the back of the book to familiarize my followers with the gist of the story.  I add that this is Steven O’Connor’s story – and it is wonderful! A Love Surrendered – The very best of Julie Lessman’s writings so far in my estimation.  Julie’s stories touch my very soul in that I personally relate to many of the problems and struggles, blessings of God’s grace, and surprise events that occur without warning in this story as well as real life.

The love interest involves sisters – but that’s all I’ll reveal about that.  Steven is a Federal Agent as is his best friend Joe, which leads to much tension and comedy among the book characters.  One leading character is a natural at drawing others to Christ – which I feel is the most important factor in all relationships, real or imagined.

Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt.  She gets involved with a fast crowd at Ocean Pier – one that includes the handsome Steven O’Connor – she is pulled quickly into a world of rule breakers and mischief makers.  Annie, actually Susannah Grace Kennedy, longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents’ death. But when she falls hard for Steven O’Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is? With heart-pounding romance, intense family drama, and emotional twists and turns, each page and chapter leads to faster page turns as the story bends and shapes.

Julie’s creative use of similes and metaphors paint a vivid picture in my mind of the action in each scene.  Playing as a movie in my head, her words exploded my imagination wide open. She describes each story character in detail – from a tic in the jaw to the color of the hair on a man’s chest.

Ms Lessman has perfected the art of writing around and through a “steamy” romantic scene of passion and desire without relying on heavy emphasis of “overwriting” actions as might a secular novelist.  Smut and profanity is not found in Julie’s books. Her words don’t prompt embarrassment and shock over titillating phrases – much more educational than four letter words blatantly shouting from the page.  Julie seems to train your focus as a bystander. As a reader, I appreciated the non-explanation of spice and ginger in love scenes; my imagination works just fine in that category.

Ms. Lessman’s natural spirit of humor, effectively used in tight places, never backs the script in a corner without an opening for resolve.  She is brilliantly funny and I laughed, cried, snorted and hungered for more.  Speaking of tears reminds me of the deep emotions Julie’s story emitted from my subconscious memories, oh so many.  My throat in a constant lump, caused easy tears and prayers to emanate from my consciousness.

The expressions Julie inserts…”Sweet Saints,” “Knickers in a Knot,” “bees knees.” among others were familiar to me…although I faintly admit it.  Did they wear Keds back in 1932?  What are Sardines, Ghost Game and a couple of other unknown games kids played?   The music and movies are quite nostalgic to my early years of childhood. Even the pets had great names…Mr. Grumpy, the Basset Hound that belonged to Annie and Glory;   Cats….ah, guess you’ll need to read the book to find out.  LOL

The O’Connor grandchildren grab your heart instantaneously – and there is always one mischievous kid in the bunch that makes the others all appear angelic.  Of course, food fights and everyone loves coming to grandparents house to be pampered with their special love.

When God created Julie, he must have added teacher or preacher of His truth and Word to her genes.  Her first name could well be “Charisma” sparkling with glitz and glitter on the cover of her books.  She pulls the reader in with such light that sparks fly from every page in the name of Jesus.  I wish Julie would write an advice book for teens, young adults and even the seniors about God’s will regarding romance, engagement and marriage.

Julie Lessman

A Love Surrendered is everything Julie Lessman’s many fans have been waiting for and it ends on promises to come.  Thank you, God, for sending Julie to our time and place.  I’m so thankful we are friends, and speaking for myself, I adore you, sister Julie Lessman

A Love Surrendered is available now at Amazon for KindleAudio, and Paperback. Also available @B&N!