Wednesday, July 17, 2013



Margaret McWhorter enjoys a laid-back Freshman year in high school flirting with Jimmy Willmore, swimming and hanging out with friends—until that day. Her brother, Sean, suffers a stroke from taking a steroid. Now he’s lying unconscious in a hospital. Margaret’s angry at her dad for pushing Sean to be a great quarterback, but a fire of hatred burns inside her to make the criminals pay.

Looking for justice, she takes Jimmy and her best friend, Emily, through a twisted, drug-filled sub-culture. A clue sends them deep into the woods behind the school where they overhear drug dealers discuss Sean.

Time and time again they walk a treacherous path and come face to face with danger. Even the cop on the case can’t stop them from investigating. All the while Margaret really wants to cure Sean, heal the hate inside, and open her heart to love.

MY REVIEW.......

Gail Pallotta has written an important story of fiction concerning several realistic situations.  This exceptional story is the first I’ve read geared toward teens and young adults; and an enlightening book particularly for parents of teens to read regarding the evil existence of drugs and steroids found in and around our school systems.

Written as a teen mystery, I was quickly drawn into the story as Margaret McWhorter hears her brother Sean explaining to his father that he was replaced as a quarterback on the high school football team.  Dad begins chastising Sean about failing to live up to his high standards of athleticism expected.  After all, dad still rode on his laurels of being a star college quarterback.  Margaret herself is a champion swimmer on the Meriwether School swim team, and feels the sting of criticism for her brother, being familiar with this drill of denigration herself.  Margaret is a typical teen as a freshman in that she wants to have fun, good friends, a boyfriend, make good grades, and to experience all the excitement in life possible within the barriers of parental constraint.  She and Sean have a close relationship – Sean being the quieter, more reserved of the two.

Ms Pallotta’s story rapidly suspends into shock and grief when Margaret receives a call from her mother that Sean has suffered a stroke and is comatose in the hospital.  Sean had taken a Steroid called Winstrol V, intended to increase athletic prowess, which he had apparently obtained illegally.  In researching Winstrol V, to find out if it was fictional or an actual drug, the evidence proved it is real and very dangerous to use unprescribed or if the program isn’t followed with the help of an instructor. She and her parents meet Detective Garrett in Sean’s hospital room.  He is an undercover cop and told Margaret he would be hanging around the favorite teen grill during his investigation and asked her to keep her eyes and ears open for any pertinent information that would help his investigation.

Margaret spent many frustrating hours alone worrying about Sean while her parents were at the hospital.  Even though she continued attending her classes and swim meets alone, her anger at the unknown drug pushers that sold Sean the drug haunted her until Margaret began a plan along with her best friend Emily - a Buddhist, and her school crush Jimmy to solve this mystery.  From this point in the story – I was compelled to work along with Margaret to solve this crime…..Gail Pallotta did a superb job of keeping it mysterious to the end.  I held my breath in many instances of danger for the kids.  It was obvious from the beginning that Margaret was blaming her dad for Sean’s bad choice of taking the drug.

When does a child first become aware of God being there for them?  The beauty of Margaret’s spiritual growth and trust in God grew like a beautiful fragrant flower.  Her mother was a believer and she learned much about the Lord from her; however she didn’t understand the behavior her dad displayed toward attending church and spiritual beliefs.  She didn’t expect miracles, but she prayed for one…...or two.  Gail Pallotta has my admiration and some jealousy toward her creative talent of character development.  They are as finely tuned as a lovely stringed instrument, each having a different song to play in the story.

As a parent, grandparent and a great-grandparent – this story jolted me into a fresh awareness of what seems to be a never ending problem of family dysfunction and drugs, a battle my family has dealt with in the past.  Bad decisions lead to disastrous outcomes; however Ms Pallotta’s story reveals faith and prayer as the favorable choice to change behaviors and attitudes.  Thank you, Gail, for asking me to read your wonderful book.  God’s grace certainly flows from your quill.


Best-selling, award-winning author Gail Pallotta’s a wife, Mom, swimmer and bargain shopper who loves God, beach sunsets and getting together with friends and family. She’s been a Sunday school teacher, a swim-team coordinator and an
after-school literary instructor. 
A former regional writer of the year for American Christian Writers Association, she won Clash of the Titles in 2010. Her new teen novel, Stopped Cold, is a best-seller on All Romance ebooks. Some of her published articles appear in anthologies while two are in museums. 

Readers can find her on the internet on the staff of Clash of the Titles, 

Thursday, July 4, 2013



The Lewis Legacy Series, Books 1-3:

A Christian Romance Boxed Set

by JoAnn Durgin

The Lewis Legacy Series Boxed Set collects the first three books--Awakening, Second Time Around, and Twin Hearts--in JoAnn Durgin's popular Christian romance series. 

A God-fearing man. A God-seeking woman. For Sam Lewis and Lexa Clarke, it proves a combustible combination. You’ll keep turning the pages of this sweeping romantic adventure. With great characters, plenty of humor, enough emotion to make you shed a tear or two, and an ending that’ll have you cheering, Awakening will leave you breathless. Hold on tight.

Second Time Around:
Newlyweds Marc and Natalie Thompson have it all, but two months after the wedding, Natalie suffers a horrible fall. Not only does she not remember their life together, but now Marc has a personal timeline to reconnect with her—seven months. You’ll root for them as they fight against the odds to find their way back to one another...the second time around.

Twin Hearts:
Joshua is a man redeemed. It’s been more than four years since the fateful events in San Antonio when Sam threw him out of the missions camp, and he’s still haunted by the bittersweet memory of his final meeting with another volunteer. When he also seeks her forgiveness, he gets the shock of his life. Could turning his deepest sin into his greatest blessing be God’s answer for his hurting heart?

Get ready for romance, adventure, friendship, faith and family in each installment of the Lewis Legacy Series with Sam and Lexa Lewis and their lively TeamWork Missions volunteers.

Don’t forget to download Daydreams, Book Four in the Lewis Legacy Series, now available!


JoAnn Durgin’s writing began reflecting who she is in Christ with the first novel in this trilogy – The Lewis Legacy.  What fun and imagination she wrote into “Awakening,” the story of Lexa Clark and Sam Lewis and the beginning of their romance…in fact a hint of several romances being shaped through God’s plans.  The thought occurred to me often that this possibly was actually a recounting of the truth about a real romance written as fiction.  It takes place in Sam’s TeamWork camp, a Christian mission summer setting with interesting characters to know and love as this trilogy continues.  I recall this book was one of the first I reviewed ever…and I simply wrote:  “A delightful and heartwarming story about Sam Lewis and Lexa Clark in their romantic duel.  You’ll need to read this sweet book to find out who won!”  My rating was five stars.  So with that noted, let’s venture on to JoAnn Durgin’s next five star stories…….
The Second Time Around was written on a more serious tone including mystery and adventure about Sam & Lexa’s friends, newlyweds Mark and Natalie.  JoAnn was right on target immersing her love of the Lord in His many ways explaining WWJD (What would Jesus do?) in the numerous sub-stories.  Each of JoAnn’s writings indicates her development of writing skills and obedience to God’s Word.  She definitely listens in her still small moments for God’s voice.  My review quote – “JoAnn's second book, "The Second Time Around," builds on the story of other friends of Sam & Lexa,  newlyweds Mark and Natalie. This book involves the trust and renewal of faith in God as well as suspense involving the amnesia of one of the partners early in the newlywed's marriage due to an untimely accident. Guilt preys on the mind of the other partner because the accident could have been prevented had they performed a needed repair on rotten wood steps. The couple struggles painfully to renew the marriage and bring back the memory of the injured spouse being married to the other. Sam & Lexa are the catalysts of friendship who help the couple find solutions. An engaging story you'll not be able to put down until you find out what happens... mysteries will be answered with God's help.”

“Twin Hearts,” - again, JoAnn’s increased skill at good clean Christian writing is about the redemption of the sins of a former TeamWork member.  It is a tear jerker, a heartwarmer – a “can’t put this book down” read regarding the surprising blessings that occur in Ms Durgin’s quality writing about sin and redemption.  Again, JoAnn listens to that still small voice within that develops an even more interesting story from one talented writer.  JoAnn is an extraordinary story teller.  She never stoops beneath the line of dignity to enlighten a story about matters not easily discussed.  Twin Hearts received my 5 star rating and this review: “ JoAnn Durgin and God were in constant consultation while this book was being written. Twin Hearts is JoAnn's finest and most tender story, in my estimation. The characters come alive off the page, she develops them so vividly. She writes the details so clearly I felt myself wanting to enter into verbal conversation with the characters. JoAnn wrote in perfectly ethical situations and outcomes. I love the people and characters in this series of books. I can't wait for her next work. I know it will be a clear collaboration with our Abba father. With that kind of guidance....JoAnn can't go wrong!”

Oh yes, it’s easy to recommend all of JoAnn’s writings.  Her very soul and love for Jesus appears in every page.  From the moment of our friendship until this day – I am blessed knowing JoAnn Durgin in a more personal way, sharing about our lives and supporting one another in love and prayer.  JoAnn’s sweet soul appears in each new writing.  It has been my privilege to review her recent awesome publishings; and encourage you to read everything she writes in the future and catch up on her past novels.  God has truly blessed JoAnn with many fruits of the Spirit that makes her an inspiration to me, and a respected friend.

About the Author:

JoAnn Durgin lives with her husband, Jim, and their three children in southern Indiana and works as a full-time administration paralegal in Louisville, Kentucky. She’s a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and the Louisville Christian Writers.

Please visit her at or at Author JoAnn Durgin on Facebook.