Sunday, October 30, 2011

Home For The Holidays(The Mother Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick

Emma, Jess, Cassidy, Megan, Becca and their mothers are all back for a new season of the Mother-Daughter book club. This season the girls and their mothers will be reading the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Since they will all be in different places for the Holidays they decide that they will celebrate together on New Year's Eve.

The girls have picked names among themselves to be Secret Santa to. As each girl opens their gifts each day they are disappointed in their Secret Santa. It seems that their Secret Santa does not know them at all. When the "big reveal" on New Year's Eve comes around tempers are right under the surface.

Becca and her family spend Christmas on a cruise with Megan and her family. Becca's family has a secret that they do not want to share with anyone until after the Holidays. Becca can only think of how this secret affects her.

Megan's boyfriend has just broken up with her over email. She is heart-broken, but when she meets Phillipe the captains son she thinks that maybe life will go on.

Jess is disappointed as she was going to spend the holidays in Switzerland. An unfortunate accident keeps her in the States. When her aunt and uncle invite her family to come to their hotel in New Hampshire they decide to go there.

Emma is invited to go with Jess and her family. Her parents let her go, but she finds that it is not as fun as she thought it would be to be away from her family during The Holiday.

Cassidy and her family go out to California. Her step-father Stanley has a job offer that could take them back to California(where they lived before moving to Concord). Cassidy had longed to go back to California, but now she has established her home in Concord and is not sure that she want to move again.

Through all of the bumps and trials the girls' family and friendships stand the tests of time. I absolutely love The Mother-Daughter book Club series and recommend it as a great read for young girls. My daughter is 19 and when we got this new book in the mail she was so excited! She wanted to read it before I got to it, but was gracious enough to allow me first dibs! This 5th book was just as good as the 1st and I'm looking forward to future books in the series.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Shadow In Serenity by Terri Blackstock

From the Publisher:


At the age of 17, Carny Sullivan broke free from the traveling carnival and scamming visitors with her dad, and moved to the safe town of Serenity, Texas. Now with a house of her own, a young son and a new life with people who love her, Carny is very protective of her new hometown. But Carny still knows a con artist when she sees one, and when charming, slick Logan Brisco arrives to dupe her town, she is determined to reveal his greedy intentions to all. Carny may be Brisco's biggest match.

 Never having had a real family, Brisco becomes comfortable in the quaint, welcoming town, and the lure of the townspeople love may be just what he needs to change his criminal ways. Despite Carny's anger towards Brisco and her attempts to expose his scam to the townspeople, Carny learns the truth about the man behind that suave smile. It would take a miracle to change him, but she's seen that kind of redemption firsthand.

 About the author:

 Terri Blackstock has sold six million books worldwide and is a ”New York Times” bestselling author. With over 25 years of success as a novelist, Blackstock's most recent novel, “Vicious Cycle,” debuted on the ”New York Times” bestseller list. The first book in the Intervention Series, “Intervention” is a “New York Times” bestseller and a 2010 Carol Award Winner. Other Blackstock favorites include ”Predator” and “Double Minds,” as well as the Restoration Series, the Newpointe 911 Series, the Cape Refuge Series and the SunCoast Chronicles series. For more information, please visit

Book Vitals: 

 Publisher: Zondervan
 ISBN-13: 9780310332312
 Page count: 352 Pages
 USD: $14.99
 On Sale Date: September 27, 2011
 Genre: FICTION/Christian/Suspense

 My Thoughts: 

I really enjoyed Shadow In Serenity. I found myself getting frustrated with the town of Serenity though. They seemed to be easily duped by Logan Brisco even though Carny tried every way possible to tell them that he was pulling a scam. Knowing her background I think that people would have taken her more seriously. Logan's love for the community he came to scam is very believable. Serenity showed him the love and acceptance that he never had growing up.  I believe that Shadow In Serenity shows that nobody is beyond the redemption that God has to offer. Throughout the book you can see God working in Logan's life to soften his heart and bring him to Himself. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere

Gretchen and her children move into a condo to be closer to her mother. While moving in Gretchen and her children meet their neighbor Melissa. Melissa doesn't seem very friendly, but Emma and Ethan still try to make friends.

Shortly after moving a man shows up at Gretchen's door. He is Melissa's mother's landlord. Melissa's mother Ramona has died and her landlord is trying to find Melissa. He leaves it to Gretchen to tell Melissa about her mother. Gretchen doesn't know why, but she is compelled to go over and offer Melissa her assistance in helping clear out her mother's apartment.

Melissa has never felt love from her mother. Ramona went from one boyfriend to another and from one apartment to another Melissa's entire childhood. She doesn't know why she accepts Gretchen's offer of help, but she is grateful for this neighbor who insists on becoming part of her life. While cleaning the apartment Melissa discovers a note that her mother started to write to her. It indicates that Melissa has siblings that she never knew about. This is both exciting and devastating news for Melissa. She is angry that her mother never told her this while she was alive.

Gretchen has her own problems. After her husband was involved in a bombing while serving in Afghanistan she has moved her children to be closer to her mother. While starting over and trying to keep their family together she doesn't understand why she feels the urge to help Melissa. With the help of Gretchen's mother and her quirky friend Gloria, Melissa finds the love of friends that she has never known before.

This was a heart-warming, feel-good story that I thoroughly enjoyed. It had the "Happily Ever After" ending that I crave so much in stories. This is the perfect book for a cold winter day curled up on the couch with a fire going and hot chocolate by your side!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Lion's Pride by Debbie Jordan

The sheriff of Moon Valley must find the murderer of Don Santiago Castillo de Leon. Unfortunately for sheriff Paco Alaniz the list of suspects is long. Don Santiago was not a man loved by his family or his workers, few will miss him.

Father Ramon does his best to comfort the grieving widow Dona Margarita while battling his forbidden attraction for her. He cannot understand how Margarita can grieve for the husband that abused her. Both are wracked with guilt and condemnation.

In a nearby settlement a group of polygamists live. Led by their strict leader Prosper Hanson, the husband of 9 wives looking to take on a 10th wife to further populate the earth. When sheriff Paco's wife visits the settlement one of Prosper's wives approaches her to take a message to her brother. She is fed up with Prosper's ways and has decided to leave the sect.

When Willa's brother Jacob Strong arrives in town he is determined to rescue his sister from Prosper. Jacob not only wants to rescue Willa but also the woman he loves, Maida, Prosper's first wife. Even though Maida loves Jacob she is determined to honor God by staying with the sect. The family have all been taught by Prosper that God speaks to him and therefore they must honor him in order to honor God.

Not only does the sheriff find his hands full with a murder investigation, but also the unrest in the polygamist settlement along with a roving puma cat killing cattle and terrorizing the town and settlement. Sheriff Paco, in his steady calm manner goes about protecting his town and the people that live there.

Lion's Pride was a delightful surprise for me! I enjoyed each character in the story. I loved the relationship that sheriff Paco and his wife Connie shared. Prosper and his family and fellow polygamists were depicted with honesty and even sympathy. Author Debbie Jordan was able to bring the feelings and flaws of all of her characters onto the pages of her book and into the heart of this reader. 

Published by: Outskirts Press

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Famous by Todd Strasser

Jamie Gordon is famous for being the youngest paparazzi. She has a knack for getting just the right pictures of the stars. Her fellow paparazzi think that she is just a one-hit wonder. Her mother refuses to call her photography skills a career. And her boyfriend seems to be distancing himself from her. 

When superstar Willow Twine requests Jamie come to LA and do an exclusive photo shoot for a week, Jamie is thrilled. Willow is trying to boost her career. After coming out of rehab she has one last chance to clean herself up or she becomes a has-been. Willow is bent on destruction though as she has her former boyfriend Rex come stay. When Jamie finds some unexpected pictures on her camera she must decide what to do, betray a friend to boost her own career or delete them and miss her opportunity for fame.

Also while in LA, Jamie tries to get in contact with her best friend. Avy moved to LA when he was 15 to seek his acting career. When Jamie finally meets up with him she is shocked by what he has done to himself. Plastic surgery has made him not even look like the Avy she used to know.

On the positive side I liked Famous very much. I was engaged with all of the characters. I wanted to know what was happening in their lives. On the negative side the book was written so choppily that it sometimes got hard to follow. One minute we were reading about something that happened in 9th grade and then the next chapter we were in the present, then the next chapter we would be early in Jamie's 10th grade year. Somehow though I managed to become involved in the story and then it was hard to put down.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club November 5th!

The Christian Fiction Book Club will be meeting here at My Only Vice on  November 5th to discuss Dancing on Glass by Pamela Ewen. All are welcome to participate. Feel free to join us that day to discuss the book. I'll have a place for you to link your review and answers. You can choose as many of the discussion questions as you would like. Answer them and post them, link up and we will hop around that day to discuss the book.

The author has kindly sent me an introduction and the questions:


SPOILER ALERT: These questions will give away surprises in the story.
Don’t peek until you’ve finished!

In Dancing on Glass we’re probing some knotty questions together: the secrets many women keep hidden away in the privacy of home, secrets that only sometimes seep into the open. The question is why do some women with every opportunity to leave abusive relationships  (whether emotionally or physically abusive) stand by their man no matter what?  

I think understanding is the key to prevention. Amalise Catoir is a woman who made a commitment too soon. In Dancing on Glass Amalise is honest, strong, self-confident. She had a happy childhood. (This is not the Burning Bed) But she’s also compassionate, with that full-blown nurturing instinct. Her bad choices lead to difficult consequences. So I asked myself, what causes a strong and independent woman to become trapped in such a manipulative relationship? And what part does faith and God’s grace play in all of this?


Here are some questions you might like to think through. Pick them all, or pick a few. And contact me(Author Pamela Ewen) through my web site at  if you’d like to discuss them together!

1.                  In the first chapter of Dancing on Glass, Amalise is introduced to Phillip Sharp through his paintings on show in Porter Gallery, on Royal Street. Often the work of an artist reflects the mind of its creator. What warning do the paintings offer at first glance to Amalise about the artist’s character? What are some other clues to his character that emerge early on in the story—warning signs?

2.                  Have you ever had a friend like Jude—someone you’ve grown up with, who knows you inside out, and who you’re certain you can trust? Yet Amalise ignores Judes’s advice—why do you think she reacts like this?

3.                  Read pages 28-29. Amalise tells Phillip about a puppy she saved from cruel treatment by a group of young boys. Mama had never allowed pets in the house, but she made an exception for this one, named Sally. Amalise describes the relationship between herself, Sally, and Mama, using the words ‘love,’ ‘grace’, and ‘redemption’. Why do you think that she described these events this way? Do you remember moments in your own life that held the same special ‘circle of grace’? How do you think this relates to God’s grace toward us?

4.                  Amalise’s background in the small town of Marianus is described in several parts of the book. What impact did her natural optimism and her fascination with movies at the Regal Theater when she was young have on her attraction to Phillip Sharp? What part does the ‘observer’ in her mind play in this theme throughout the story? Have you noticed an ‘observer’ in your own mind from time to time?
                                                               i.      Have you ever been in a relationship that you’ve embellished in your mind, or idealized someone? Why is that sometimes harmful?

5.                  Phillip not only paints, he also carves miniature figures from wood. When he moves in with Amalise, she suggests that he bring the carvings with him, and he says he’s thrown them all away. He’ll carve new ones. Same with the carvings he’s left at home in New York. What clue does this give you to Phillip’s personality? (Recall Jude’s conversation with Joanna in Porter Gallery).

6.                  Review pages 55-58. As Phillip’s complex character begins to unfold, how does Amalise’s response foreshadow problems she encounters with Phillip later on in their relationship? Can you spot other scenes in the story where her desire to maintain illusion compounds the problem?

7.                  Throughout the story the tragedy of the children in Vietnam and Cambodia in the early nineteen seventies plays out on the nightly television news. Review Chapter Twenty-One and contrast the various reactions to this situation from Phillip, Amalise, and Jude. What does this tell you about Phillip’s character?
·        On page 157 Amalise reflects on conversations she’s had with Jude in the past about why bad things happen in God’s world. What do you think of Jude’s answer?

8.                  Several times Amalise senses that Phillip is spying on her, or that he has lied and each time Phillip is able to deflect the suspicion by turning it around, by causing her to question herself instead. What are some examples of the techniques that Phillip uses in the story to accomplish this psychological confusion?

9.                  The ancient Greeks placed the concept of love into four categories: friendship; natural affection, such as maternal and familial love; passionate or sensual love; and God’s love. Which category most closely fits the bond that ties Amalise to Phillip? (Clue: My opinion? Not the obvious.) In your opinion, what category most closely fits the bond that Amalise feels for Jude?

10.              Phillip says to Amalise: “When you’re not with me, I’m not alive…I don’t exist without you.” Variations of that thought appear throughout the book. What does Phillip mean by this? How does this affect Amalise’s emotional bond to her husband in the relationship?

11.              Women today have choices about our lives that our grandmothers never had. A recent study at UC Hastings Law School found that in the current recession more than 50% of the jobs in 2011 are held by women, and statistically women working  outside the home in two-income families are earning more than their working husbands. And yet women are still struggling to balance jobs and home life. Over time Phillip’s demands on Amalise’s increase. Once she’s a full-fledged lawyer at Mangen & Morris, her old habit of prioritizing expands into an attempt to balance home and her career by compartmentalizing. Do you think this was effective, given the situation and her relationship with Phillip?
                                                               i.      Whether working inside or outside the home, how do you find balance in your life?

12.              And, women today are strong, self-confident, strengthened by our new opportunities and independence. Yet we’re also still the softer sex, nurturing, with instincts to protect those who are weaker. I call that the ‘double-bind’. In the end Amalise decides, regarding her relationship with Phillip, that ‘pity was the trap’. Do you agree with this concept of the double-bind and relationships. Recall Phillip’s acts of cutting himself with the carving knife during the story.  Do you think the double-bind made Amalise a perfect target for Phillip’s manipulation, or do you think her vulnerability was fed by something else?

13.              Did Dancing on Glass offer any new insight for you as to why strong women sometimes stand by their man no matter what? Do you believe that Christian faith requires this in a relationship like Amalise and Phillip’s?

14.              Just for fun: On the cover – do you notice anything unusual about the red umbrella?

Go out and grab your copy of the book today and plan on joining us November 5th right here at My Only Vice!



Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

Priscilla White knows that she is called to be a missionary. After all, she knows she will never marry because of the heart-breaking secret she carries with her each day.

Dr. Eli Ernest has a dream to become a missionary in Oregon country. He too carries scars from his past. He also knows that the mission field is no place for a woman.

Unfortunately for both Eli and Priscilla the mission board is no longer sending out single people. They wish for only married couples to go into the field. With no other choice before them Eli and Priscilla enter into a marriage of convenience.

Eli resents having to take a woman across the hard trails to Oregon country. Priscilla is determined to show him that she is strong enough to make the journey. Neither one of them counted on the awkwardness that would occur when they met up with the other young couple traveling with them. Henry, a young preacher, and his wife Mabel have agreed to travel with Eli and Priscilla to Oregon country to start a new mission. Henry though is a former suitor of Priscilla's. She had told him that she would never marry, now she shows up married to another man.

The journey is filled with frustration for Eli, hardships for the entire party and near disaster at every corner. Will their determination to serve their Savior carry them through the many miles and hardships of travel? And what about Eli and Priscilla's agreement of a marriage of convenience? Will they be able to deny the attraction they feel for each other?

This is the second book I have read by Jody Hedlund and I must say that she is not afraid to delve into the cost of following Christ. Eli and Priscilla leave all that they know in order to bring the gospel to the lost Indian tribes in the Oregon country. They suffer hardships, illness, exhaustion and frustration(and fleas) at every turn and they still press on to serve Him. Ms. Hedlund is not afraid to show the weaknesses of her characters, their human-ness helps us to relate. If you are a Historical Fiction fan this book is for you!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kiss on Night Winner


Thanks to Len was selected as the winner of Kiss of Night. I'll be emailing Len soon. Congratulations! Thank you for participating. I've enjoyed the week of blog-touring for this book and look forward to the next 2 in the series!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Last day for KISS OF NIGHT blog tour

Check out these blogs today for the last day of the blog tour. I've enjoyed seeing everyone's reviews and interviews and guest posts. Remember to leave a comment with an email address to enter to win a copy of Kiss of Night. Winner will be announced tomorrow(Saturday).

October 7

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Check out these blogs for the next stop on the tour:

October 6

Check out my review HERE

Go HERE to read my GUEST BLOG POST with Debbie Viguie and enter the giveaway for KISS OF NIGHT

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest Post featuring Debbie Viguie-Author of Kiss of Night-and GIVEAWAY

When I was asked to review Kiss of Night I had a choice of doing a question and answer post with Debbie Viguie or have Ms. Viguie herself do a Guest Post. I opted for a Guest Post since I am horrible about coming up with questions for authors. A couple things I asked Ms. Viguie to cover in her guest post were a biography about herself and writing and also what made her choose to write a "Christian" vampire novel.

Here is what Ms. Viguie had to say:

I loved reading since I was little and writing seemed to come right after.  I would play with my toys and then stop and write about the very adventure I’d just acted out.  My teachers and parents saw this desire to write and encouraged me to pursue it.  When I was in 6th grade I received my first rejection letter.  It wasn’t until many years later that I would walk into a bookstore and see my name in print.  I sold more than a dozen books, some to the Christian market and some to the secular market, before I finally sold the book I’d been dreaming of selling for years.

And that’s what I want to talk about.
Everyone has a dream, the thing that seems so wonderful and yet so elusive.  For many people dreams seem like impossibilities but I believe that if you work at your dream, and share what you want with those around you, no dream is impossible.

Ever since I was little I loved stories about classic monsters like the Wolfman, Dracula, and Frankenstein’s monster.  When I was in high school I read two books that changed my life:  Dracula by Bram Stoker and Piercing the Darkness by Frank Peretti.  Both books were terrifying in their own way.  Both books moved me.  I learned that I loved stories of redemption and stories about good struggling against impossible odds to defeat evil.  In college I tried to find other books that inspired me as these did.  What I wanted most was to read about Christian heroes fighting evil, particularly monsters, and overcoming.  I was deeply disappointed that on the rare occasion when Christian characters were introduced in films or novels they were deeply flawed and most had lost their faith.

That wasn’t what I wanted to read.  So, one day, I decided that since I couldn’t find the story I wanted to read then I would write it.  I remember coming home from class and scribbling down my very first notes for what would ultimately be the Kiss series.
But I wasn’t a published writer and it seemed like an impossible dream that I would ever be able to share these stories with anyone else.  

 I kept working and eventually I achieved my goal of becoming a published writer.  I thought again of my Christian vampire series.

 But I wasn’t published in Christian fiction, only in secular, and it seemed like an impossible dream.

 I sold more books, got an agent, and sold my first Christian series, a fabulously fun one called Sweet Seasons.  Once again I thought of my Christian vampire series and I told my agent about it.

 But my agent laughed at me for two minutes straight on the phone without taking a breath.  She then told me no one would buy such a thing and I was crazy to think they would.

I sold more books, including more Christian books.  I kept working to build a name for myself in the secular fantasy and the Christian mystery genres.  And then one day the impossible happened.  My agent called and said that after some false starts and dead ends she found a publisher who wanted to buy my Christian vampire series.
And now book one is coming out and I will finally get to share my dream of a Christian vampire series with the world.  It took eighteen years.

 And I have to say as I hold it in my hands -
 It was totally worth the wait.

 I have fulfilled a dream that many, many people told me was impossible.  And now I want to challenge others to do the same.  What dream do you have that hasn’t come true?  It’s never too late you know.  Consider this.  Grandma Moses is one of the most famous and honored artists in American history.  She didn’t start painting until arthritis prevented her from holding a needle and doing any crocheting.  She was in her upper seventies.  She died at the age of 101 and painted every day up until the last three months of her life.  Imagine all that she accomplished and how late she started!
What dream do you have?  It’s never too late to start.  And take it from me, there’s nothing quite like a dream come true.

Thanks so much to Ms. Viguie for agreeing to do this guest post! 

Check out my REVIEW here. 

Visit these blogs today as part of the ongoing tour:

October 5



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie-Blog Tour

Susan is in Prague for her grandmother’s funeral. Susan’s cousin Wendy just arrived also and has met up with a guy and wants to go clubbing with him. The minute Susan meets him she feels evilness surrounding him. She tries to persuade Wendy to not go with him. Wendy is determined to leave with him so Susan decides to go with them. Returning from getting a sweater Susan finds that they have left her behind.

Raphael appears and insists that he knows where Wendy and her companion have gone. He too scares Susan but she must find Wendy. Raphael takes Susan to a place where evil reigns. She finds Wendy but Wendy seems to be under a spell. This is all too true. Susan finds that Wendy is under the spell of an evil vampire. Raphael helps the girls escape. He too is a vampire. Changed many centuries before, Raphael has returned to Prague to fight a war between good and evil.

David is a hotel guest in the room next to Susan and Wendy’s. When other vampires come to kill Raphael and the girls he jumps into the fray not knowing what he is getting into.

Raphael needs both Susan and David to help in the war. Susan’s grandmother has left her property in France along with a mystery to unravel. Raphael and Susan travel to France and are followed by the evil vampires and their slave humans. 

Can Raphael and Susan learn to trust each other? Susan is attracted to Raphael, but she wonders if his kisses are as knee-weakening as they seem or is he mesmerizing her in order to gain her compliance with his schemes?  

I enjoyed this book. I thought it was interesting to see the way the author made some of the vampires redeemable instead of damned. I liked how each chapter began with a verse of scripture about blood.  Even though this is advertised as a Christian novel the book does not get overly preachy. It is more about good vs. evil and the question of whether vampires can be redeemed from their past evil. There was lots of action that keeps you on the edge of your seat. I did think that the romance between Raphael and Susan could have been developed more. A few steamy kisses do not a romance make (at least for this reader). My understanding is that this is to be a trilogy, so I am looking forward to seeing what happens next!

I give Kiss of Night: 

Come back tomorrow for a Guest Post by the author of Kiss of Night, Debbie Viguie and a GIVEAWAY of the book!

Follow today's tour stops:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kiss of Night Blog Tour October 3-7

I will be participating in the Kiss Of Night blog tour that runs from October 3rd thru October 7th.  Visit My Only Vice October 4th for my review and then come back on October 5th for a guest post by Debbie Viguie and a give away of her book!

Here is the blog tour schedule:

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 6

October 7