Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review: You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

You Don't Know Me Cover
Susan May Warren is an author that I enjoy immensely. She writes prolifically. I honestly don't know how she writes as many books as she does -- and they're all creative and the type that pull me deeply into the story. With You Don't Know Me, she explores the theme of secrets and how it impacts those we love. 

Annalise Decker has it all. Everybody acknowledges it, but the reality is her life is a lie. And now her past is ready to catch her. Hidden by Witness Protection, her worst fears are realized when the man she testified against comes after her. No one knows she has a new identity and the truth could destroy everything she has and the people she loves. 

As the story spins out, the secrets others have harbored and the pain they create spins an intricate web. While there is a small sense of suspense, this is really a story of healing from the past, couples with a nice romance with strong secondary characters. An engaging, enjoyable read. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Monday Meditations: A Spacious Place

Monday meditations. It's been awhile since I've had one of these. The last few days I've been thinking about Psalm 18:19:

He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me. 

Often I think we feel trapped by life. By our circumstances. By the space between our dreams and our reality. By the sin we can't let go of. By the way we long to act and the way we really do. By the way we want to love like Christ, and the reality of loving in the depth of our humaness.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Be Swept Away: Two historical romances from favorite authors

Tamera Alexander is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical authors. There is something about her novels set in Antebellum Nashville that draw me in and keep me reading. Yesterday her latest, To Whisper Her Name released...I couldn't read it fast enough. Besides the GORGEOUS cover, the characters were wonderful.

 Olivia Aberdeen is a widow in a desperate situation who is welcomed at Belle Meade Plantation. She knows she is a charity case, but fights to come into her own. Ridley Cooper is a huge part of that happening. He sees a depth and strength to her that she doesn't acknowledge and teased, cajoles, and drums it out of her. At the same time he has deep secrets that he can't reveal...and so he dances a line of telling almost the full truth as he works with the thoroughbreds at Belle Meade. Neither can marry the other for big and oh-to-real reasons despite the growing reality they may be in love.

Add in the rich history that is woven through the pages, an incredible cast of secondary characters, and this is a story that is going on my keeper shelf. Wonderful, truly wonderful book that is perfect for those who love a compelling romance set in another time.

Julie Lessman is another one of my favorite historical authors. Her books are set in Boston during the 1920s and follow the O'Connor family. Julie writes stories with a vividness and depth of passion that makes them so compelling. I get drawn into the world, and I love it when characters reappear from book to book. In her newest, A Love Surrendered, readers get to follow Stephen's story. Here's more:

Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She 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?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: The Memory Jar

The Memory Jar
Tricia Goyer brings a fresh voice and perspective to Amish fiction with the Memory Jar.  I really enjoy Tricia’s books and the way she brings a fresh perspective to her characters and stories. The Memory Jar is Amish with a twist, because it begins in Montana. It is a journey to wholeness and a journey to dreams. There’s plenty of love and romance to keep the pages turning. A very satisfying story for those who love gentler stories.
Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series
Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love.
Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Great Tools for Parents: Hot Buttons Series & Giveaways

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: The Sons of Jude

I thoroughly enjoyed Brandt Dodson's Colton Parker series and was very excited to see he had a new book out. This novel launches a new series: this one into the corrupt world of Chicago government and police. Frank Campello's partner is barely in the grave when he's assigned his new partner: Andy Polanski -- a turncoat on other police and the last person Campello wants to trust. When they're assigned a murder that leads to the gateways of Chicago power, they find they have to trust each other cause there's no one else to trust.

The action moves, but never flies in this story. There's a methodical approach to the crime and the assault on power. One dictated by the enemies they're taking on. There's a hint of romance, clash of values, and murders that pile up. And the ending is cliff-hanger as the police hunt for the corrupt among their own. An enjoyable read for those who like gritty crime dramas with plenty of realism.

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Safe Harbor Fun & Giveaway

Today we're going to have fun with my writing friend Elizabeth Ludwig. A couple years ago we attended a writers retreat in Texas. One thing that made that retreat so fun was getting to know other writers -- like Lisa. This month she has a new book out: a historical romantic suspense. Read to the end, leave a comment, and I'll give away one book. With a heroine named Cara how could I not share the book! It's set in New York city during 1897, and has threads of romance and suspense. So let's learn more about the hero and heroine.
 Brief physical description

I have two protagonists—Rourke (Walsh) Turner and Cara Hamilton.

Cara is Irish, with long red hair and beautiful green eyes. She’s sweet, but don’t let that fool you. She has a fiery side!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ready for some historicals?

There are so many great books releasing in October -- it's an absolute abundance of riches for Christian fiction lovers. Today I'm highlighting two books by writing buddies of mine: Melanie Dobson and Janice Thompson. Each has picked a moment in America's rich tapestry of history to highlight. Melanie's book is set in 1842 on the bitterly hard Oregon Trail and then Fort Vancouver. Janice's book is set on the Titanic -- you may have participated in her fun Facebook Titanic experience in April. Both books will transport you back in time and plant you in settings with characters that capture your heart and attention.
Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense). Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company. Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. 
Where the Trail Ends
A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

Friday, October 12, 2012

3 Reasons I Love Writing Christian Fiction

Ignore the fact that the expression on my face in this photo with my buddy Tricia Goyer is just plain odd...I had to share it because Tricia is one of those reasons I love writing Christian fiction. Why you ask?

1) Christian fiction authors are a community. ACFW is a party with 700 in the writing family. Next month I'll be at a retreat for published authors that is also all about community. We share the journey with a minimum of competition. It is AMAZING to be part of this world.

2) I get to interact with the best folks. I'm working on my next World War II novel. I like to call it

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island Video

While I was at ACFW, Novel Crossings invited authors to talk about their books. You know me...I am not shy in front of a camera. So it was fun to get to share about my book and Mackinac Island. Here's the snippet:

Cara Putman Talks About A Wedding Transpires on Mackinac Island on Novel Crossing from novelcrossing on GodTube.

Do you like watching authors talk about their books? I've considered trying vlogs. Are there any things you'd like me to share? Inquiring minds (mine) would love to know!

Monday, October 08, 2012

Dee Henderson is back!

This week, the
is introducing
Bethany House Publishers (October 2, 2012)

Dee Henderson is back! For those who have loved her other books, particularly the O'Malley series, you will enjoy Full Disclosure. It has the elements I love in her romantic suspense: a suspenseful puzzle that seems impossible to untangle, a heroine that I would love to meet in real life, and a hero who will fight for his lady. Add in some fun tie-ins to the O'Malley and other books and it's an enjoyable read. I had inklings of where the book was going, but the author kept me guessing until the end. There were so many threads I wasn't sure how they would all tie together, but they do. It's a book to be savored, because Dee is back!


Ann Silver is a cop's cop. As the Midwest Homicide Investigator, she is called in to help local law enforcement on the worst of cases, looking for answers to murder. Hers is one of the region's most trusted investigative positions.

October New Releases

October is the month where fall makes me want to curl up with a blanket, cup of hot chocolate, and a great book. Publishers seem to understand that because there is a long list of great fiction releases coming this month. Read below more a hint of what's releasing. More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW Fiction Finder website.

Garters for Lace by Brandi Boddie -- Civil War veteran and preacher Rowe Winford arrives in town intent on leaving the tragic memories of his deceased family behind. Although Rowe has no plans to fall in love anytime soon, the plans of God rarely match those of man. Faced with adversity and rejection from the town and Rowe's family, can Marissa overcome her past, renew her faith, and experience the life of love that God has planned for her? Can this small-town saloon girl trade her fancy garters for a respectable life? (Historical Romance from Realms (Charisma Media).

Guardian by Heather Burch -- The mission to safeguard Nikki Youngblood depends on the fragile alliance of two half-angel, half-human guardians, both struggling with intense feelings for the girl who has been assigned to their care. (Young Adult from Zondervan).

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Review: When a Heart Stops

Lynette Eason is a romantic suspense writer who gets better with each book. When A Heart Stops is the second book in the Deadly Reunions series and focuses on a medical examiner who gets in teh way of a serial killer. The pace pounds through most of the book, and the pauses are perfectly placed interludes of romance. A book I thoroughly enjoyed!
More About the Book
A killer's deadly game needs new players . . . but someone's about to change the rules
As a medical examiner, Serena Hopkins is used to dealing with death. But that doesn't make it any easier when she's called to the eerie scene of a murder—especially when Serena realizes that she knows the victim. Nearly as unnerving is the presence of FBI agent Dominic Allen, her childhood crush.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Engrossed in Tuscany

I'm at that delightful and terrifying stage of writing a book. The one where I wonder if I can do it. The story is so much bigger than I am. But the contract is on the way, so I get to write it.

This book is one where I want to emphasize I. Get. To. Write. It. I first discovered the idea and started talking to editors about it in the fall of 2010. The conversations - at least in my head - also included the knowledge that I would have to earn the right to write this story. And it's a story that burned in my soul to be told.

It returns to World War II, yet in Italy. The rest of my World War II novels have been set in the United States. While it's set in Italy, it's

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Interview with Susan Meissner and a Giveaway

It’s a true pleasure to have award-winning novelist Susan Meissner join me today to talk about her newest book from WaterBrook Press, The Girl in the Glass, a part-contemporary, part historical novel set in Florence, Italy. I read this book for endorsement while I was still in Germany this summer and loved it. I literally kept slowing down as I read because I didn't want the story to end. It is WONDERFUL. Someday I hope to write such beautiful stories. 

Read to the end and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this wonderful book.

Susan, tell us where the idea for this story came from.
For our 25th wedding anniversary a few years ago my husband and I took a much-anticipated eight-day Mediterranean cruise. One of the ports of call on the Italy side was close enough to Florence to hop on a bus and spend the day there. When I stepped onto Florentine pavement I fell head over heels in love. No joke. There is something magical about Florence that I didn’t see in Rome, or even Paris if you can believe that. The beauty created by the masters of the Italian Renaissance is jaw-dropping and it meets your eye no matter which direction your turn. Florence  was the perfect place to bring a disillusioned present-day character who needs to re-invent her life. That’s what Renaissance means: rebirth. I went back a couple

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

The Trouble with Cowboys Review

Denise Hunter is one of my go-to authors for contemporary romance. Her Big Sky Romance series has been a lot of fun to read, and The Trouble with Cowboys is no exception. Annie Wilkerson is just trying to keep it all together, and that means staying as far away as possible from cowboys. She learned from watching the string her mother kept around that cowboys bring a load of hurt with them. Besides she's too busy trying to help...her sister pull her life together. Too bad Dylan Taylor's horse needs her.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Christmas Roses: Review

The calendar has just turned to October, but today I'm thinking cold thoughts. Dreaming of a White Christmas. The pages of this book transported me to Christmas with a story of love and roses.

I'm not usually one to read novellas. The word count can make it tricky to tell a full story. There was something about the idea of this historical where a widow isn't looking for a husband -- unless there's a man who can find her roses in the middle of a Wyoming winter. Celia Anderson has several suitors, but she's really content providing for her daughter and caring for her boarders. Then a carpenter wanders into town on a mission to find his father. In this man who is sensitive to her needs she sees what being cared for could be. But she wants someone who understands her soul, too.


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