Wednesday, August 6, 2014


MY REVIEW OF 

THE BUTTERFLY & THE VIOLIN

(Hidden Masterpiece Book One)
BY

KRISTY CAMBRON


5 Stars


AUTHOR KRISTY CAMBRON

A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest
corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.

Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the
altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. 

Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl--a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.

In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William 
Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the 
key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly 
unravel the story behind the painting's subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von 
Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and 

daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything 
when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of 
prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.

As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds 
beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in 
the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.


". . . impossible to put down." —RT Book Reviews, 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK!

"In her historical series debut, Cambron expertly weaves together multiple plotlines, time lines, and perspectives to produce a poignant tale of the power of love and faith in difficult circumstances. Those interested in stories of survival and the Holocaust, such as Eli Weisel’sNight, will want to read." —Library Journal, starred review

". . . debut novelist Cambron vividly recounts interwoven sagas of heartache and recovery through courage, love, art, and faith." —Publishers Weekly



MY REVIEW

Kristy Cambron’s story keeps echoing obstinately in my mind.  The double layering of two stories at once is done with artistic brush strokes of description that challenges other fine writers with her expertise and talent.  This is Ms. Cambron’s debut novel, excellently done is a contemporary and a historical romance dealing with two women with two very different stories involving one lost painting.


 

Manhattan art dealer, Sera James, excitedly enters the gallery she owns with great anticipation that the painting that just arrived is THE ONE she has been searching for – the one that haunted her since a child of eight seeing it in a Paris art gallery.  Her assistant Penny explains that an instant response to her ad had been made by a mysterious businessman – a financier in real estate named William Hanover III who was liquidating his late grandfather’s estate.  HOWEVER - he won’t sell the painting, but will pay an exorbitant fee to hire Sera and her gallery to help him look for the original painting.  Sera is soon flying to San Francisco at Mr. Hanover’s expense.


 

December 1942, Vienna, Austria.  Adele Von Bron, daughter of a high-ranking member of the Third Reich and whose mother is a concert pianist; is currently known as “Austria’s Sweetheart” as a violinist with Vienna’s Philharmonic.  Vladimir Nicolai, Adele’s romantic interest is a cellist with the Philharmonic, involved secretly in smuggling Jews to Switzerland.   Adele has enmeshed herself for the first time in the rescue of The Haurbech family, which failed tragically.  All of the Haurbech family except Sophie were shot and killed.  Adele is presently in her family doctor’s office in shock because her hands were badly cut by glass she had fallen on when she and Vladimir scattered.  Not knowing Vladimir’s or Sophie’s whereabouts, she told the doctor about the rescue attempt and shuddered over what might have happened if they were discovered by the Gestapo.   “This is not Austria, you know.  What we’ve become? This is not God’s path.”  The doctor replied.  Danger lurked everywhere.  Adele was scheduled for a solo performance the next evening and was concerned about being able to perform with her injured hands.  The doctor bandaged them and kept her safe that night.


 

Sera stood looking at the large estate and noticed a large white tent being constructed and a van sat to the side where workers were unloading candelabras and flowers, preparing for a big event.  She questioned aloud “Just what in the world do you do, Mr.Hanover?”  “He was in real estate.” replied a man that walked up behind her – who she assumed was the gardener.  She learned that a wedding was to take place.  Sera had been left at the alter three years before and still had not recovered from the emotional scars. Thereafter she met William Hanover the Third; only to find out he was the gardener.  He was not prepared to discuss the painting until his sister’s wedding was over.  Sera decided that a small nervous breakdown was in the making for her, but finally resolved that issue when William Hanover displayed kindness and interest in her during the wedding reception.  Oh, and he called Sera “Manhattan” – his endearing name for her.


 

The only thing our four protagonists had in common is their Christianity.  Each agonized from complex issues of their own.  In 1942 I was only 4 years old, but I can relate to the reality in some ways that others might not.  Kristy Cambron delved into WW II history and brought out the unbelievable ugliness of what Adele suffered in Auschwitz.  How can any one of us relate to being branded traitors by the Gestapo?  Vladimir’s soft and lovely nickname for Adele “Butterfly” suggests how he saw her.  Omara painted her as she knew her in the concentration camp.  Adele’s only saving grace was her talent as a violinist in the Auschwitz orchestra that played for the SS Officers.  Although Sera’s story was important to Adele’s – I would have read this book on Adele’s nightmarish story as a stand-alone.    It seemed an interruption when the chapters changed from modern day to WW II unbearable Holocaust.  Ms. Cambron’s research revealed more than 1600 pieces of art discovered in the ruins of Auschwitz and brought to my mind the recent movie of The Monument Men.  Music and art cannot be erased from world culture – although some will try.  It is part of our will to survive.


 

There is so much more that could be said about this incredible book.  Your questions will be answered in the coming revealing chapters.  But I have taken liberties already and must save the uniqueness of what Ms. Cambron has accomplished for your own discovery.  Seventy-five  reviews alone have been published on Amazon, and I am sure that will not be the last of them.  So, I leave it to you – go get this book for yourself….NOW!  You will recognize this book by its beautiful cover.  Respectful congratulations, Ms. Kristy Cambron.  We look forward to your next publication.  God most certainly plans something special for your exceptional talent.


 

In exchange for my review, I received a free copy of the book through Litfuse Publicity Group.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR......KRISTY CAMBRON.......

I’ve been taken with the WWII Era since I was a young girl.My grandfather was a B-17 co-pilot in the war and I remember the stories he’d so often tell. Years later, I came across the lost art of Auschwitz while studying for my undergraduate degree in Art History. I didn’t know if then, but more than a decade later, God would remind me of the heart of this book. In the wee hours of the morning in early 2013, it came alive once again.


I write WWII and Regency Era Christian fiction titles, placing first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests (Inspirational Categories)! One of those stories (which I hope will make it to bookstore shelves one day!) also became a Finalist in the 2013 Laurie contest. I’ve been a contributing author on RegencyReflections.com since 2012, and still post there with my Regency friends from time to time.

A SPARROW IN TEREZIN (Hidden Masterpiece #2) will release in April, 2015.


Kristy's Website http://www.kristycambron.com/


Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Violin-Hidden-Masterpiece-Novel-ebook/dp/B00I5QX61Q/ref=la_B00GRA12G8_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1407351880&sr=1-1





Thursday, June 12, 2014

AUTHOR KAREN BARNETT

MY REVIEW OF

OUT OF THE RUINS

Golden Gate Chronicles | Book 1 (Golden Gate Chronicles Series) 

BY

KAREN BARNETT

5 STARS

                              

Kindle Fire HDX Prize Pack Giveaway

&
Facebook Party
(See Details Below)


While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?




MY REVIEW


Karen Barnett’s story is charged with high voltage emotion encircling factual detail of the historical San Francisco earthquake in 1906. Although the characters and story are fictional, the realism rings authentic. Be prepared to experience heart jerking responses during your tour through this shocking event. Expect to audibly gasp and feel the need to pray for the situations described as seen on a wide screen movie. This is a sensational writing.

We tune in on the Fischer family near San Jose, California at a difficult time. The eldest sister Cecelia suffers from leukemia with little hope of surviving, but younger sister Abby will not accept Cecelia’s pending death. She tries to make a deal with God, but quickly loses faith as He does not answer her prayer as demanded. When cousin Dr. Gerald Larkspur and his assistant Dr. Robert King arrive at the Fischer family orchard, Abby grabs onto hope when the doctors feel their new found cancer cure can help Cecelia. Consequently, the entire family, including little brother Davy travel the distance to San Francisco where Cecelia is hospitalized. The Fischer family stays with cousin Mae Larkspur in San Francisco. Mae is one of my favorite characters throughout this story, as she is loving, full of faith in God, and a teacher of the Word.

Prior to the doctor’s assessment of Cecelia’s situation, handsome Dr. Robert King, is taking a walk through the orchard and first meets Abby hanging upside down from a fruit tree. Nope, I am not explaining that! He becomes immediately and irrevocably attracted to Abby. Abby is a strong minded, strong willed, immature 19 year old who doesn’t understand the word “no” and God made boundaries. Is this a case of striking the obvious match? Could be!

Soon to experience unmeasurable sorrow, their lives are further disastrously turned to chaos when the infamous earthquake hits San Francisco. Ms. Barnett’s unique gift for description so vivid is one of her most favorable assets with the written word. Her story is uniquely imaginative based on real facts. She writes well of the longing of a romance interrupted by of all things, a major earthquake. I repeat, be prepared for many surprises and shocks as we follow Abby through her journey of searching for loved ones and meeting new acquaintances while San Francisco burns. Karen Barnett gives us a hint of human prejudice that remained existent even during tragedy. Some incidents are merciless, however plausible during such a time as this. God’s presence is there for all – will Abby find her way to Him in her journey? Will the Phoenix show it’s courageous head out of the ashes when the flames are gone?

Since this book is part of a trilogy, I am anxious to learn of who and what survived Out of the Ruins in the next two novels. I am certain it will be as exciting as this story. I see a remarkable future for this impressive writer.

I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

About the Author
Karen Barnett is the author of Mistaken and several articles that have been published by Guideposts and other national magazines. She lives in Albany, Oregon, with her husband, two children, and three cats. For more information, visit her website KarenBarnettBooks.com.
http://www.KarenBarnettBooks.com


About Karen

God is the same yesterday, today, and forever--and yet our human story changes daily. As a writer of historical romance, I love to explore my characters' faith and how their experiences impact the way they view God.

There's nothing I enjoy more than a beautiful love story and God's devotion to His people is the best one of all. It even ends with the hero riding in on a white horse! (Revelation 19:11).

My first novel, Mistaken, released in July 2013 with Abingdon Press and my next novel, Out of the Ruins (Book 1 of the Golden Gate Chronicles) will hit store shelves in May 2014.

I was blessed to be named the Cascade Awards Writer of Promise in 2013 from Oregon Christian Writers (OCW).

Back in 2010, Guideposts Magazine printed "Birthday Wish," a story I wrote about my son and a very special prayer. I am represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Agency.

I grew up in Washington and went to college at Valparaiso University in Indiana, followed by graduate study in Geosciences at Oregon State University. Fueled by a fascination for God's creation, I worked several years in outdoor education--as a naturalist at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, a seasonal ranger at Mount Rainier National Park, and as Park Naturalist at Silver Falls State Park in Oregon.

I live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with my husband, two children, three furry felines and an attention-hungry dachshund. When I'm not writing and blogging, I enjoy playing guitar, hiking, decorating bizarre birthday cakes, and dragging my kids through boring history museums.




Karen Barnett's
OUT OF THE RUINS
"Hope" 
Kindle Fire HDX Prize Pack Giveaway & Facebook Party
Don't miss the debut book, Out of the Ruins, in Karen Barnett's new series, The Golden Gate Chronicles. Set against the backdrop of early 20th century San Francisco, Out of the Ruins will remind readers that no matter who we are or what we've done, God is still as close to us as our next breath.

Karen is celebrating with a fun "Hope" giveaway and Facebook author chat party.

outofruins-400-click


One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX

  • Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 19th. Winner will be announced at the Out of the Ruins Facebook author chat party on June 19th. Connect with Karen for an evening of fun book chat, fun games, and prizes. Karen will also be answering audience questions and giving an exclusive look at the next book in The Golden Gate Chronicles series!

Find out what readers are saying about the book HERE.

Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents only.

**By entering, entrants agree to opt-in to receive promotional emails from Karen Barnett. If at any time you wish to unsubscribe you can do so through the unsubscribe instructions on one of the emails.**

Have you entered to win a Kindle Fire HDX and a copy of OUT OF THE RUINS? Winners announced at my live Facebook party on 6/19. Enter and RSVP here: http://prmo.me/Y7Vh50


Thursday, May 29, 2014



MY REVIEW OF
SURPRISED BY GRACE
BY ELIZABETH SHERRILL

ELIZABETH SHERRILL
God intends fulfillment for us. Yet it’s easy to forget that truth in our daily life. For fifty years, Elizabeth Sherrill cowrote life-changing books: The Hiding Place, God’s Smuggler, and The Cross and the Switchblade. Now for the first time, in Surprised by Grace, she shares her personal discoveries of God’s unfathomable love and strength while battling chronic depression and self-doubt. “When God created you, do you think He meant to make someone else?” a friend asks Sherrill. Faced with questions like these, she learns she’s infinitely valued and cherished by God. In vivid episodes, Sherrill takes you through the three stages of her awakening joy, from the thirty-some years when the idea of God was elusive to the years since then when she’s reveled in breathtaking moments in God’s presence and to her inspiring vision of eternity. In Surprised by Grace, you’ll discover that God loves you individually and infinitely. You can find real peace, for you are God’s amazing creation. Let that truth echo forever in your own life.



MY REVIEW
FIVE STARS


Upon reading excellent reviews already written and published about Elizabeth Sherrill’s Surprised by Grace, I pondered about what I could add sufficiently unique to draw reader interest. When I received the query to read and review Elizabeth Sherrill’s biography, I excitedly recalled her authoring a favorite story I read years ago about David Wilkerson; and subsequently seeing her book The Cross and the Switchblade, made into a movie starring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson, a young Assemblies of God minister moved to action when he witnessed the devastating effects of delinquency and drugs on teenagers in New York City. Hence, this story was about the ministry of Teen Challenge, born in 1958 in the heart of David Wilkerson, My love and devotion to this organization resides deep in my heart, as it was through Teen Challenge that my daughter found her life once more.


The above paragraph is merely mentioned in passing, as my reaction to Ms. Sherrill’s beautiful testimony hit so deeply in my emotions, that I am again reading her book to reap further joy and knowledge. The preface and the forward so impressed me that I decided to share parts of those. It is a small novel; however seems to grow broader in wisdom by the wonderful stories and tid bits Elizabeth Sherrill shares about her life, marriage, and deep faith in God. Her catchy titles before each chapter were captivating to my interests and followed by words sensitively respective of the memories she wrote about. One of the intimate facts I learned - Elizabeth has a nickname – Tibby.


It seems Ms. Sherrill had repeatedly refused Van Varner, a Guideposts editor’s suggestion to write a book telling her own story. She felt her faith was a private matter. “I know now that my emphatic “Never” to Van was part of the door between me and the world that I write about in Surprised by Grace. My whole world was constructed on the insistence that I was different. Since I “wasn’t like others,” how could my experience interest anyone else?” It wasn’t Van, however, who’d finally changed my mind, but people I’d never met. Over the years I’d written, always reluctantly, three or four short articles about my own life. To my surprise, the articles drew responses from readers, ‘You’ve written my story!’ the letters said, over and over. The article that brought the most mail was about my struggle with depression. All of us, apparently, in the black pit of that blackest place, had felt that no one else had ever experienced what we did. And the relief that these correspondents felt in recognizing themselves in my story was stunningly evident.” Ms. Sherrill received two letters ten days apart relating to the help others had received from her Guidepost articles. It was then she went into action and allowed her word processor to put the words in order that produced this wonderful story. Elizabeth “Tib” Sherrill said her book is about the discovery of a secret. It’s the story of how heaven, which I used to think of as an imaginary realm-in-the-sky, has become more real to me than the ground beneath my feet. Real in the past, real for the future, and best of all, real right now. And this book is also an invitation. An invitation to us all to look back, to look ahead, and to look around, and keep being surprised at what we see.



“She is a writer of extraordinary gifts who truly practices what she preaches. With honesty and unflinching self-examination, Tibby peels back the layers of her life to reveal an astonishing journey of faith, from nonbeliever to believer, from itinerant journalist to the influence behind some of the greatest inspirational writing of our time.” Edward Grinnan, Guideposts Magazine Editor-in-Chief

Now, dear reader, you can get this fantastic little book for yourself and I know you will be as impressed as I am with this endurable and lovely lady writer. God bless you, Tibby!


This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Litfuse Publicity.


ABOUT AUTHOR ELIZABETH SHERRILL.........

Elizabeth ("Tib") Sherrill has published some 1500 articles and authored more than 30 books, with sales in excess of 50 million. Book titles, many co-written with her husband John, include The Hiding Place, The Cross and the SwitchbladeGod's SmugglerThey Speak with Other Tongues, and Return from Tomorrow.  For over sixty years, Elizabeth has been a writer and editor for Guideposts Magazine.



John & Elizabeth Sherrill
John and Elizabeth met aboard ship on their way to Europe and were married in Switzerland in 1947. In 1970, they founded a publishing company, Chosen Books,* dedicated to developing new Christian writers. Their first title was Born Again by Charles Colson. The Sherrills' work has taken them on year-long assignments in Africa, South America and Europe, as well as numerous trips to the Near and Far East, and to each of the 50 US states. Elizabeth has taught writing workshops on five continents. Their writing still keeps them on the road, here and abroad, about half the time. The Sherrills have three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchild, and are occasionally at home in Hingham, Massachusetts.



NOTE FROM BARB.....

Thanks for dropping by today, please pass it forward so that other readers can drop by and join our follower friends. Sorry I have been gone for so long, much is happening in my life and still continuing to happen. Please include my family in your prayers once in a while - I would return a prayer in kind for you and yours. Until next time.....enjoy your summer!
Blessings Forward,
Barb


Monday, April 7, 2014

AUTHOR TRACY L. HIGLEY

BARB'S REVIEW OF
THE QUEEN'S HANDMAID
BY
TRACY L. HIGLEY


Alexandria, Egypt 39 BC



From the servant halls of Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace to the courts of Herod the Great, Lydia will serve two queens to see prophecy fulfilled. 

Orphaned at birth, Lydia was raised as a servant in Cleopatra's palace, working hard to please while keeping everyone at arm's length. She's been rejected and left with a broken heart too many times in her short life.

But then her dying mentor entrusts her with secret writings of the prophet Daniel and charges her to deliver this vital information to those watching for the promised King of Israel. Lydia must leave the nearest thing she’s had to family and flee to Jerusalem. Once in the Holy City, she attaches herself to the newly appointed king, Herod the Great, as handmaid to Queen Mariamme.

BARB'S REVIEW

FIVE STARS

This story is a stunner!   Stopped in my tracks, I pondered over much that I read.  Astonished that factually, this was shortly before Christ's birth, a fact I had not fundamentally grasped about Cleopatra and the cast of real characters’ existence in ancient history (i.e. Caesar, Antony, Herod to the Ptolemaic family).  Author Tracy Higley wrote with intense acumen of the murderous politicians, their zealously for power causing turmoil and punishment for the citizens and royalty beyond imagination.   I wish my history classes in school and college would have been so clarifying, they would have been much more fun.

Ms. Higley begins this entrancing story about Lydia in 39 BC   Orphaned at birth, and given to serve the palace in Alexandria, Egypt at a young age, Lydia is now a handmaid to the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.   Herod is about to make his first visit to meet the queen and everything is nervously aflutter in preparation; while Cleopatra is plotting manipulatively to seductively charm Herod politically into her power.  Lydia has been summoned by her friend and mentor Samuel.  She finds him bleeding and dying from unknown attackers upon her arrival,  With only just enough time, he charges her with secret writings of the Prophet Daniel stored in a chest  that must be delivered to Jerusalem watchers for the promised King of Israel.  Lydia’s journey is long and dangerous and through action-packed events, ultimately becomes the handmaiden to Herod’s bride Queen Mariamme. 

Twisting and turning real historical events and people into gripping intrigue made A Queen’s Handmaid one of the best writings I have read.  Spiritual mystery combined with the actual coming of Christ kept me glued to the story until finished.  Ah, then there is the hint through a simple amulet that could reveal Lydia’s parentage.  Whose head will roll next in the line of royalty?  Which empire will be shaken next?  Drama is highly described.  Lydia has many frightening experiences and secret thoughts about all happening around her.  Does romance figure into this story?  Perhaps, however you will need to read for yourself this incredible book.  Trauma is an everyday event in the royal palaces among the royalty and servants…..and that part of the book is not fiction and the players were real people.

I enjoyed the questions at the end of the story and the answers to many questions I had about the research the author ensured before writing the book.  Tracy L. Higley gave the reader a wonderful synopsis of information about the political kingdoms’ histories, which was personally greatly appreciated.  Beautifully placed before the most important event in life, that remains the whole point of this remarkable story.  Thank you Tracy Higley for the greatest history lesson I have ever had.  I look forward to catching up with all your previous books before The Queen’s Handmaid.  You are blessed!


I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion by the Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not further compensated to review this product and all thoughts and sentiments expressed above are completely my own and unbiased.


MEET AUTHOR TRACY L. HIGLEY.......

From her earliest childhood, there was nothing Tracy loved better than stepping into another world between the pages of a book. From dragons and knights, to the wonders of Narnia, that passion has never abated, and to Tracy, opening any novel is like stepping again through the wardrobe, into the thrilling unknown. With every book she writes, she wants to open a door like that, and invite readers to be transported with her into a place that captivates.

Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry.

A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past.

She has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy to research her novels, and looks forward to more travel as her writing continues. Click on the link Tracy’s Travels, to explore some of the fascinating locations of her books.

Tracy is thrilled to bring readers adventures set in the ancient past, and it’s her hope that in escaping with her, readers will feel they’ve walked through these deserts, explored ruins, felt the white sand and blue sea under their feet, and met with the Redeeming God who is sovereign over the entire drama of human history.


What I believe about our relationship with God –

I believe that each of us is born separated from God, a separation that we can do nothing to rectify on our own. No amount of right living will make us perfect, which is the standard a holy God requires.

We are in need of a Savior for our salvation, and this Savior was provided in the person of Jesus Christ, fully God and fully man, who gave His life to purchase our freedom. His death broke our bondage. His resurrection gives us victory.

Our lives are to be about two things: Loving God and Loving Others, and both of these are accomplished through our intimate relationship with God, who lives in us from the moment that we apply His offered gift to ourselves.




Escape the everyday with me! Get a Free Short Story--> http://bit.ly/1hKOFhK


Friends, 
Aren't you happy now that you didn't pass by PASSING IT FORWARD!!  This book is a definite five star recommendation from me.  I sincerely hope you will visit your favorite book store or library now and get Tracy Higley's grand book for your library.  Be sure and let us know what you think of her story!  That's it for today - please invite your friends to my blog so we can build up viewers.  Enjoy this spring April.
Passing Forward Many Blessings,
Barb


Saturday, March 22, 2014

THE THIEF

AUTHOR STEPHANIE LANDSEM

by

STEPHANIE LANDSEM


My God, my God, 

why have you abandoned me?




ABOUT THE STORY.......

Nissa is a Jewish woman with a sharp tongue and no hope of marriage. Abandoned by the God she once loved, her only recourse is to depend upon Mouse, the best thief in Jerusalem, to keep her blind brother, Cedron, fed and the landlord satisfied. 


Longinus is a Roman centurion haunted by death and failure and is desperate to escape the accursed Judean province. Accepting a wager that will get him away from the aggravating Jews and their threats of revolt, he sets out to catch the thieves harassing the marketplace. 



When a controversial teacher miraculously heals Cedron, Nissa hopes for freedom from her life of lies. But the supposed miracle brings only more misfortune, and Longinus, seeking to learn more about the mysterious healer, finds himself drawn instead to Nissa, whose secret will determine the course of both their futures. 


Cedron, Longinus, and Nissa are unexpectedly caught up in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. As danger closes in on them from every side, they must decide if the love and redemption Jesus offers is true or just another false promise. How can the so-called Messiah save them from their shackles, when he cannot even save himself?



BARB'S REVIEW.......



Exciting and compelling, the scenes written so realistically that moments of holding my breath during the tense drama of this saga were literally “breathtaking.” My personal reading appetite for Biblical fiction mixed with fact was satiated upon complete digestion of The Thief by Stephanie Landsem. My imagination needed no help as the characters leaped into my mind lucidly through Ms. Landsem’s colorful word paintings describing ancient Jerusalem in a wholly distinctive approach during the most life changing events to ever occur.



Nissa, a shrewish unmarried Jewish woman feeling abandoned by God, was pressed to provide for her household and blind younger brother Cedron. Their uncaring and abusive parents were sinful addicts, her mother to wine – her father to gambling. There are the usual traits peculiar to human nature at all times, it seems. Nissa has a secret about her relationship to Mouse and the Greek Dismas, both talented thieves. Cedron could be a depiction of the blind man healed by a mysterious healer in the Pools of Siloam. One might think the parents would be overjoyed over Cedron’s healing, however their unwarranted shame caused their complete abandonment and disowning of Cedron and Nissa, again left to fend for themselves. Longinus, a Roman centurion was a bystander at Cedron’s healing and for the first time noticed Nissa, to whom he was strangely attracted; as well as questioning the new mixed emotions and amazed curiosity about the miracle he had just witnessed. Could the Hebrew belief of there being only One God be true? Who is this miracle worker called Jesus? Longinus has problems of his own having just lost his best childhood friend and comrade centurion to murder; and assigned the duty to arrest the thieves before Passover to earn a transfer out of Judea. The breed of personalities encapsulating the Roman soldier’s brutality and unmerciful violence was compulsory to author this story to its paramount finality. The supporting cast is spectacular and many surprises and shocks are yet to come.



Ms. Landsem’s research into Biblical history, layout of Jerusalem’s city streets and alley ways, study of religious laws and holy commandments were only a few of the facts that drew this fictional story together as a sensational read. I deeply appreciated the background she drew into each character adding more depth to the story’s significant consequences from the actual incidents. Stephanie Landsem’s narrative brings the glory to God as each character is brought to the foot of the cross to recognize the Messiah. Ms. Landsem’s pen was indeed guided by the master author of the universe. It touched my heart and soul. Well done!


Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.




ABOUT AUTHOR STEPHANIE LANDSEM.......


Stephanie writes historical fiction because she loves adventure in far-off times and places. In real life, she’s backpacked through Germany and Eastern Europe, studied in Salzburg, enjoyed gelato in Italy, rode a camel in Morocco, and floated in the salty Corinthian Sea. Her favorite cities are Rome, Berlin and Budapest. Her travels kindle her imagination, fuel her love of history and foreign culture, and introduce her to one-of-a-kind characters.
Stephanie is equally happy at home in Minnesota with her husband of 22 years, four children, three fat cats, and a tortoise named Moe. When she’s not writing, she’s feeding the ravenous horde, volunteering at church and school, battling dandelions, and dreaming about her next adventure - whether it be in person or on the page.

Author, The Living Water Series: The Well, The Thief, The Tomb. Authentic, fast-paced Biblical fiction from Howard Books. Introvert. Traveler.

Favorite Books

Jane Austen, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, Terry Pratchett, Dean Koonz


Awards

2011 Genesis Finalst
2010 SCBWI mentorship award 






Hi friends, 
The Thief is a great read, and I hope you will honor Stephanie Landsem by reading it.  This is the first of her books that I've read and reviewed, and I intend to read others soon.  I hope you are all coming out of our nation's deep freeze and seeing spring begin to blossom.  Please invite your friends to my blog....the traffic needs desperately to grow on my blog, or I won't be able to continue posting - so I need help.  As many of you know, blogging and reviewing is hard work for which there is no compensation except to bring interest and joy to others.  Thank you for visiting and I'd love to hear any comments you might be kind enough to leave.
Blessings,
Barb


Friday, February 14, 2014

SHADOWED BY GRACE

BY

CARA C. PUTMAN

WITH DETAILS ABOUT A FANTASTIC GIVEAWAY




AUTHOR CARA PUTMAN

She found peace in a time of war.

Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. 

But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.

In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

MY REVIEW

5 Stars

The morning after I finished reading Shadowed by Grace, the daily newspaper had a front page article about the movie Monument Men, and I immediately flew to my computer and wrote an excited note to Cara Putman that went something like this:

Hello Cara, Just last evening I completed reading your wonderful book Shadowed by Grace. This morning I picked up today's edition of the Ft Worth Star Telegram and my eye immediately fell to the lower left column on the first page. There was a picture of Robert Edsel above the words “Dallas man drove movie on WWII art rescue”...and went on to talk about the movie made about Monument Men, based on his book about the group’s heroic efforts. Of course, my attention was caught immediately because I had just read his name in your personal notes at the back of the book.  Just wanted to let you know....your story made quite an impression on me...imagine finding this article this morning!! Best of God's Blessings, Barb Shelton

Not only did reading this article put real faces to the imaginary names in Cara’s story, it enlightened me to the thorough research she immersed herself within to write this fascinating story. Now, I could see Lieutenant Scott Lindstrom as George Clooney (instead of Gregory Peck) and had already imaged Anne Hathaway as Captain Rachel Justice.

Cara Putman’s story is indeed based on cultural affairs….and I do not mean that word loosely regarding Rachel and Scott!  Each, the epitome of respectable ethics in an ungracious period of history. Some of the characters in the story rank as unscrupulous and conniving, while other’s exhibit bravery and faith in God to grace them with safety and daily provisions of which there was little.  It was dangerous to lose direction while traveling by jeep, especially if the driver had already lost his way spiritually
.
This is a love story surrounded by treacherous conditions of war.  Ms. Putman’s exclusive subject on saving historical art masterpieces was literally unknown to me and I reverentially appreciate learning how this world has been able to continue the study and enjoyment of historic art because of a few military men  assigned their duty as Monument Men..  God is our eternal guardian and brings about good from the worst of circumstances through his children and angels
.
If you have noticed the absence of story details in this review, that is on purpose.  You can read those in other fine reviews of Shadowed by Grace and on the back cover of the book. The uniqueness of this story is complimented by the unusual civilian career as an art museum curator held by Scott Lindstrom; and the fact that a woman photographer, Rachel Justice, assigned to the war zone during that time in history was not a common happening. Will the mystery of finding the father in Italy Rachel never knew be “wrapped up?”  Will Scott be allowed to understand why Rachel is so afraid of falling in love?  Why is Rachel’s ill mother so unwilling to offer Rachel the answers to her birth?  This story is about war, peace, love, culture, fear, bravery, searching, redemption, and God’s grace fulfilled.  Oh, by the way, Cara Putman graciously replied to my note, and my respectful regard for her as an author and friend is sincerely touched.  Her writing fulfilled my expectations because it taught me something important about history I did not know. I eagerly anticipate reading her next book.  You need to read this story!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received.



THE MOVIE - MONUMENT MEN
Having just released Shadowed By Grace, a novel about the Monuments Men, Cara Putman was eager to see the new blockbuster about this untold story. Cara shares her reactions to the movie below—will this be the perfect movie date for you this weekend? Make sure to enter for the chance to win tickets to see The Monuments Men and a copy of Shadowed By Grace! 
(details below)




WHAT CARA SAID ABOUT THE MOVIE "MONUMENT MEN"
Last night, Eric and I got a chance to watch The Monuments Men on opening night. This is a movie I have anticipated since learning George Clooney was in production in the fall of 2012. That’s a long time to anticipate the movie!

I wasn’t disappointed.

This movie captures the tone of The Monuments Men. It grasps what this small group of men was trying to do and honors their memories. It also communicates their sacrifice and devotion. It visually portrays a piece of what was at stake during WWII — and the balancing act. Yet it did this without becoming dark and maudlin. Eric and I saw the 9:15 p.m. showing — in a theater filled primarily with college students — students who laughed out loud multiple times. The humor never detracted, but in enhanced the movie because it didn’t become slap-stick.

The Monuments Men has an A cast: Matt Damon, George Clooney, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Boneville and more. They all fell into their characters and became the Monuments Men they portrayed. The movie is a war movie, but the violence is limited and at a level I can take my 13 and 10 year-olds to see. There was some language, but not heavy . . . I didn’t count, but it wasn’t a distraction.

There is also only mild innuendo and the outcome to that was PERFECT. I literally bounced in my chair because it mirrored history!

There were a couple twists to the story. Nothing major — the key one being the kid who interpreted didn’t show up as early as they portrayed, but he did play a role later in the process. This is a movie I will see again — and enjoy.

Enter to Win Movie Tickets to The Monuments Men and a Copy of Shadowed by Grace

Monuments Men Giveaway


ABOUT AUTHOR CARA PUTMAN.....

Ordinary Mom, Amazing God

Cara C. Putman is an award-winning author of seventeen books with more on the way.

Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. An award-winning author of seventeen books with more on the way, she is active in women's ministry at her church and is a lecturer on business and employment law to graduate students at Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Putman also practices law and is a second-generation homeschooling mom. Putman is currently pursuing her Master’s in Business Administration at Krannert. She serves on the executive board of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), an organization she has served in various roles since 2007. She lives with her husband and four children in Indiana.

My writing journey started in 2005 when I decided to write my first novel. People say I’ve accomplished a lot and that I must have life by the proverbial tail. Hardly! I grew up as a homeschooled kid when homeschoolers were misunderstood and oddities. I struggle with balancing my writing and law career, plus being a good mom and wife. I often fear people won’t like my books. I’ve walked through the deep pain of miscarriage. Really, I’m just like you – I don’t have it all together and have gone through tough times. But in His strength, I’ve discovered a strength I never knew I had. A strength I want you to discover, too. In the end I’m just an ordinary mom who has seen God do some wonderful things as I’ve been obedient to step into the calling He’s led me into.

You can connect with Cara online at her website (www.caraputman.com), Facebook, Twitter(@cara_putman), Pinterest, and Goodreads. 

Favorite BooksThe Bible
Gone with the Wind
Circle Maker by Mark Batterson
Anything by Colleen Coble, Lynette Eason, Lisa Wingate and many more great Christian fiction authors.




Saturday, February 1, 2014

Blast banner



Today, February 1, 2014 
The Naomi Chronicles, Book One,

Beginning Anew

will release on Amazon.

***


Beginning Anew Cover
ABOUT THE BOOK

Naomi and Chaz know that miracles really do happen for at a friend’s wedding they reaffirmed their love and are Beginning Anew!


Yet there are consequences that the couple must face. Will Chaz love and protect his wife? Will Naomi learn to trust Chaz?


Find out in the first novel of Paula Rose Michelson’s four-book saga e Naomi Chronicles.




Available at:

***

The Naomi Chronicles: Book One
Authored by
Paula Rose Michelson
Naomi and Chaz know that miracles really do happen, for at a friend's wedding they reaffirmed their love and are Beginning Anew! Yet there are consequences that the couple must face. Will Chaz love and protect his wife? Will Naomi learn to trust Chaz? Find out in the first novel of Paula Rose Michelson's four-book saga, The Naomi Chronicles.




Previously, in Book 2 of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing 
Naomi's journey from pain to faith where she dealt with her husband's rejection of her, and Chaz discovered that secrets were kept from him, and began his own journey of discovery that enthralled readers. While their friends planned to use Nicco and Lucinda's wedding to bring Chaz and Naomi together again, God had His hand on this star-crossed couple.

EXCERPT FROM MY REVIEW

Naomi fled, full of shame, pain and deeply confused. She huddled underneath the blankets in the backseat of her friend Alex’s car not wanting to be detected by those she felt shunned her just hours before at what should have been a surprise celebration blessing her by new husband Chaz and their friends. Her lifelong secret revealed by a vindictive girl seeking revenge for no reason but to steal the love of Naomi’s life. Naomi intended to tell Chaz herself that night,, but forced to admit her secret in front of Chaz and her friends – Chaz hollered at her “Why did you deceive me?” and walked away.

As Alex sped her away from the Barrio, she showed no curiosity of where he was taking her. He explained he was taking her to a safe place at Wawayanda State Park in New Jersey, part of the Appalachian Trail. From here on Naomi was in strange territory with people like none she had never known. Her closest friend was Ruth – can it be God’s own humor that He would put another Ruth and Naomi together? Will you see the parallels in their lives? Will Naomi believe the truth that Ruth and even Marvin; a little child will tell her when she meets him on the Blessings Rock?




to read the rest of review



Before that, Book 1 of Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing
let readers experience Naomi's journey from adolescence to womanhood, from frightened isolation to heiress with a mission, and responsibility many would shirk placed upon her shoulders, and kept them guessing especially when they realized that Naomi guarded two secrets. When Naomi married and fell in love with Chaz, she decided to tell him about herself. Before she could, Lola, a teenager she rescued from immigration, revealed her secrets. Hearing Chaz's hate-filled words, and seeing many in Spanish Harlem turn away from her, Naomi fled.


EXCERPT FROM MY REVIEW


Paula Rose Michelson wrote with brilliance her story of Naomi. To better understand the Spanish mind-set toward those of Jewish birth and faith, I recommend emphatically the reader peruse the Preface regarding Sephardic Voices as well as Historical Notes. This stunning historical information revealed intense research and study on Ms Michelson’s part that distinguish her talent and story above some others.

Naomi, being forced to live a lie by omission of who she really is, we meet as a young teenage girl beginning a peculiar lonely life in a strange new world. Her former world in Spain created about her grievous conditions for all of Jewish heritage and faith. This cruel and fearful prejudice against their religion forcing them to join the Catholic Church or face persecution, possibly death was a historical fact unknown to me in my naivetĂ© that I find despicable, however vital to Naomi’s story all inclusive in Spanish Harlem.

Go to

to read the rest of review

***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Casa Series 001-1


Paula Rose Michelson is the wife of Lutheran Pastor, and Chosen People Ministries field Missionary, Ron Michelson. Paula Rose Michelson is not only an author but also a mother of two married daughters, and the grandmother of seven. She authored the Casa de Naomi Series.

This Messianic author of faith books founded LAMB Ministries in 1988, which helps women recover from trauma and abuse through the effective use of Scripture and prayer. She asked God to give her a unique work, and while praying about the lost tribes of Israel, she believed the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) called her to write about the hidden Jews. She wrote the Casa de Naomi: The House of Blessing and The Naomi Chronicles Books because of her heart response to that commission. 

While awaiting the copyright for the first LAMB recovery book titled, "Why Did We Become Angry?"

She wrote a series of politically incorrect articles that will be published under the title, "The Purple Pitch Seduction of America." These will release in 2014.


Paula can be found online on:


***

For this release blast Paula has decided to do a giveaway.

The prizes are:

Prize pack Anew Blast

1st:
3 sets of the previous Casa de Naomi Books (digital format)

and

2nd:
3 x Casa de Naomi: Book One (digital format)