2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,100 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 5 trips to carry that many people.

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Book Blast!! In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning by Dana Goodman

cleftcover

In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning

By Dana Goodman

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About the Book:

Author and Counsellor, Dana Goodman, shares her painful journey through heart breaking tragedy. After losing her 12-year-old son and 30-year-old husband to cancer, she must put back together the broken pieces of her life and her faith. Drawing hope from Christ, she describes how even the worst of tragedies can be rewritten into love stories so seeds of hope can be imparted to others.

Ron Dart, Professor of Philosophy and Politics at the University of the Fraser Valley, says this about In the Cleft:

“I read the missive in a single sitting–was charmed and entranced, enthralled and captured by the poignant and evocative insights— it’s a burnished gold of a book—a real beauty—tragedy and hope, in an honest and raw way, jostling wisely and judiciously in your vulnerable soul–take heart—your well told and painful journey will bring healing and restore life to many—thanks for the sacrament and chalice of eternity so generously shared.”

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author photo graphic 48Dana Goodman, author and counselor, Dana Goodman, lives in Kamloops British Columbia. She wrote In the Cleft: Joy Comes in the Mourning as a tribute to her son after he died of an aggressive brain tumor called Glioblastoma Multiforme. His unquenchable faith gave her the courage to visit grief layers and find healing and life after unbearable heartache.

Dana’s greatest joy in life is Jesus Christ, even on the topsy-turvy days when he is hidden. She loves simple things like hot coffee, deep talks with girlfriends, journaling and having wonderful adventures with her family.

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The Proof by Cheryl Colwell ~Review~

The Proof by Cheryl Colwell

The Proof

About the book:

Cheryl Colwell’s novel has multiple elements that make it a fascinating book to read. There is the time-honored foundation of historical fiction based on intrigue and fact in real history; there is the element of mystery–an unknown artifact has been referred to in freshly discovered ancient documents, something revered by early Christians, sought for by old and modern organizations for monetary reasons and fabled powers. The tale contains letters of ancient quests and trusts, a family in danger, murder, double-cross, and even a little romance. The suspense is thick, emotions run high among dysfunctional family members. Once you begin to read it, you won’t want to put the book down.

Gabriel Dolcini’s world was tightly focused on himself. The only family he had left was his mother and an unknown eccentric grandfather. Gabe had dedicated the past decade to perfecting his skills as an artist. He spared no expense to learn from the greatest masters. But in one fell swoop his house of cards collapsed. He became destitute and his mother’s home was in jeaopardy. A few months ago he’d received an invitation from his grandfather to visit him at his palazzo in Siena, Italy. He had no choice but to go and accept charity at his paternal grandparent’s hand in spite of his mother’s vehement objections.

Once in Italy, Gabe saw that his grandfather was wealthier than he’d realized. He allowed the man to sponsor an exhibit of his art work in the palatial family home. From Gabe’s point of view, things were beginning to improve markedly for him as an artist. Many patrons viewed his worked and claimed it to be brilliant. But then, shortly after the show, he learned of his relative’s true motive for the invitation. His grandfather wanted Gabe to join him in some kind of ancient quest that most believed was just a myth. Louis Dolcini told him how a 12th century ancestor had been entrusted to carry an artifact from the first century to Seborga where monks would protect it. The quest had never been completed. The ancestral Dolcini had been killed by hired assassins. Louis wanted Gabe to help him finish the task. He had found a map, but had not found the artifact called Il Testimento. Gabe was not interested, but eventually got swept up in the intrigue as matters became complicated, their lives were threatened, and factions began coming out of the woodwork. It became difficult for the men to know who to trust. Even other members of the family seemed part of the deceptions around them. Gabe’s safe, secure world seemed to blow up around him and he was unwillingly caught up in international intrigue completely out of his experience.

The Proof quote1

My review:

The reader gets drawn indirectly into the history of the Crusaders and the Knights Templar, secret Christian societies, powerful men’s grab for more power by attempting to control gullible people through superstitions and secret rites, and modern day societies with the same end in mind. After awhile, it was difficult for me to tell the difference between the bad guys and the good guys. The author keeps us guessing who is trustworthy and not right up to the end. Complete revelation was often withheld to ramp up the suspense. Sometimes I found the large numbers of factions in competition with each other confusing. Violent deaths occurred frequently. At one point, the two main characters, Gabe and Livia, were thrown into a cistern and left to drown. The pace was hard-hitting and fast, especially in the second half of the book.

It seemed to me that there were two components of the spiritual element in this story: religious organizations and their influence on politics, and a more personal aspect of spirituality. I’m not overly enthralled with organized religion and its sub-culture, the in-fighting and its influence on groups of people, but I enjoyed reading about the personal spiritual journeys of the main characters in this book. I would have enjoyed more development and depth in the romance developing between Gabe and Livia. The moment most meaningful for me was when Gabe finally admitted to his grandfather that he no longer needed any proof to believe that God was real.

One of The Proof’s greatest assets is the personal growth we witness in Gabe’s life as the story progresses. The book introduces us to a Gabe who is insecure, self-focused, and intent on gaining self-approbation through his art work. Many of his inadequacies were laid at his feet by his cruel and embittered father. It took the full scope of the book to understand why and how his father became that way in the first place. But once Gabe grasped the whole story of this father’s and grandfather’s relationship, he was faced with decisions of his own. Would he reach out in forgiveness, or continue on the family legacy of anger, bitterness, and vengeance? Would his new found personal faith in God help him with this struggle?

I have to admit that at one point I set the book down and left it awhile. The complexity of the external issues was not nearly as compelling for me as the internal issues. But I’m glad I finally returned to the book and finished it. I gained a renewed enthusiasm and was swept up by the family dynamics, especially those between Gabe and Louis. It was gratifying to see the love develop between the two. I think this book will be especially appealing to those who enjoy religious politico thrillers and suspense.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this book from Book Crash on behalf of the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Blast!!! Love Brings Us Home with Hallee Bridgeman, Valerie Comer, JoAnn Durgin, Kimberly Rae Jordan, Lynette Sowell, Staci Stallings, and Debra Ullrick

Love Brings Us Home

7-Book Boxed Set

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By Hallee Bridgeman, Valerie Comer, JoAnn Durgin,
Kimberly Rae Jordan, Lynette Sowell, Staci Stallings, and Debra Ullrick

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About the Book

Seven sweet stories celebrating love and home in one amazing, limited time collection!

Greater Than Rubies by Hallee Bridgeman: Antonio Viscolli asked and Robin Bartlett said “yes!” Soon, she will say “I do.” Or will Boston’s “Royal Wedding” leave someone standing at the altar?

Raspberries and Vinegar by Valerie Comer: Josephine Shaw, a feisty environmentalist and local-food advocate, falls for Zachary Nemesek, the junk-food-loving reluctant farmer next door.

Awakening by JoAnn Durgin: When Lexa Clarke tumbles from the top beam of a house and straight into the arms of TeamWork Missions Director Sam Lewis, Sam suspects his life will never be the same.

Home is Where the Heart Is by Kimberly Rae Jordan: Free spirit Violet Collingsworth never expected to return home to live. But when she goes back to attend her grandmother’s funeral, she meets the sheriff and begins to reconsider.

Wildfire Wedding by Lynette Sowell: During the height of Texas wildfire season, Krista and Luke prepare for their wedding while battling past guilt and future fears, when a fire breaks out, threatening the town.

Cowboy by Staci Stallings: To all the world, Ashton Raines has it all: fame, money, and the adoration of millions of fans. Then one night he walks away from it all. Can down-on-her-luck waitress, Beth, let God work through her to lead Ashton back to hope and faith?

Reunited at Christmas by Debra Ullrick: Shelby Davis thought she’d never again see the ex-fiancé who dumped her. Then Ryker Anderson gets lost in a blizzard, and she’s on the snowmobile search and rescue team. Now what?

LINK to KINDLE

The Authors of “Love Brings Us Home”

Hallee

Hallee Bridgeman

Greater Than Rubies

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Valerie

Valerie Comer

Raspberries & Vinegar

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JoAnn

JoAnn Durgin

Awakening

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Website

Kimberly

Kimberly Rae Jordan

Home is Where the Heart Is

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Website

Lynette

Lynette Sowell

Wildfire Wedding

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Website

Staci Stallings New Headshot 1

Staci Stallings

Cowboy

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Website

Debra Ullrick

Debra Ullrick

Reunited at Christmas

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Website

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Unraveled ~ Book Blast!! ~


Unraveledcover (1)

Unraveled
By Heidi McCahan

About the Book:

Blind-sided by her questionable fiance, Lauren Carter returns to the one place she’s been avoiding, the place she used to call home. As she’s forced to look into the eyes of her past and even worse, her unraveling future she discovers that running only leaves you out of breath on a dead end street. Will she choose to unveil the secrets that haunt her? Or will she bury them once and for all and embrace a new life so different from the one she once held dear?

Blake Tully, wildly successful and breathtakingly winsome owner of a new rafting business, finds Lauren’s unexpected reappearance confusing. As he torments himself with what if’s and what should’ve been’s, he can’t mistake the feeling that crawls down his spine every time he looks at her. Although she broke his heart once, he longs to give his childhood sweetheart another chance, but can he convince her to stop running away when life gets tough? And can he forgive her when he discovers the reason she’s been hiding?

Follow the story of these two shattered hearts as they discover the beauty of grace and forgiveness.

LINK to KINDLE | LINK to PAPERBACK

2013-03-003Heidi McCahan was blessed to spend her formative years in Alaska, where she met many interesting people who frequented the lodge her parents owned and operated. Heidi’s unique upbringing, coupled with Alaska’s breathtaking scenery, fueled her active imagination and loosely inspired her debut novel, Unraveled.

Heidi graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sports Medicine from Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington and then earned a Master’s Degree in Athletic Training from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. After a brief career as a Certified Athletic Trainer, Heidi married her husband, Steve. They live in North Carolina with their three active little boys.

When Heidi isn’t stepping on Legos, chauffeuring the boys around suburbia or folding laundry, she loves to write heartwarming romance set in unique locales.

 

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