Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Kissing Bridge Giveaway Sponsored by Tricia Goyer

Tricia Goyer is having a contest on her blog. Today is the last day. Check out my review of THE KISSING BRIDGE.

Tricia asks us to share on our blog one or both of these questions:

1) What's the most beautiful bridge you've ever seen.
2) Share a special kiss. A grandma, child, friend, etc.-it doesn't have to be romantic.

I'm choosing the second question as I have not seen too many bridges in my lifetime and none that would inspire me to write about. But I have experienced a special kiss. My most special kiss comes from one of my grandchildren. Bree is a smart little 2 year old. Being the baby of the family she is especially kissable. But we are not big "lip kissers!" As much as I love my grandbabies I can't deal with slobbery lips and snotty noses! And to be honest those stinkers find it funny to run away when grandma wants a kiss. So with Bree I tried something different. I started kissing her on her forehead between her eyes. I call it a "sweet spot kiss" She has absolutely loved it! There have been several times that she has said something to me and I couldn't understand it until she slows down. What it sounds like is "seet sot tiss" but what she was saying was "Sweet Spot Kiss!" Now that she is nearing 3 it is coming out of her mouth better and I tell you there is nothing sweeter than hearing her tell me "Sweet Spot Kiss, Grandma!" And I oblige over and over again! Today her aunt(my youngest daughter) saw Bree at church. Bree came running out of her classroom yelling Huuuuuuuggggggggg! Grabbing Joy's legs she gave her a big hug and then looked up at her and said "Sweet Spot Kiss!" Aunt Joy was happy to plant one on her because seriously who could resist? And yes, Bree's sister and brother have caught on to the sweet kiss and allow grandma to plant one on them as well :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Spiritual Aspect of REMNANTS: An Interview with Lisa T. Bergren

Thanks so much to Lisa T. Bergren for allowing me to interview her here today! Check out my review of the first book in her new series: REMNANTS along with her author bio and links to other books written by her that I have reviewed. Make sure to get the clue at the end of the interview and visit Lisa's blog to follow the tour and enter for a chance to win some exciting prizes! And now for our interview:

Julie: Remnants was a great, action-packed read with an oo-la-la romance brewing. Why’d you choose to add a spiritual aspect to it?

Lisa: To me, there’s a spiritual aspect to all of life. It’s what rounds out everything, from love to heartache, triumph and trial. Without it, there’s a piece of the pie missing. And in a dystopian setting, thinking about the end of the world as we know it? At that point, humanity would have drawn the lines on the whole God-thing pretty firmly. Either you’d turn your back on the Maker or be desperately seeking Him.

Julie: That reminds me…Why’d you call God “the Maker”?

Lisa: Well, I’m a Christian, but I didn’t want names to be a hang-up. I wanted the series to be a good read for anyone, regardless of where they are (or aren’t) on the path of faith.

Julie: Yet you don’t come across as preachy. I appreciate that.

Lisa: I hope not. I strive to create natural characters, reacting realistically to what they’re facing. I think it may be why I draw readers who haven’t yet decided what they think about God, which is fine by me. I love it when people are just open to considering the spiritual aspect of life, open to honest conversation. If we’re not open, not growing, not learning, we begin to stagnate, don’t we?

Julie: True! *considers notes* Hey, what do the two brothers, Kapriel and Keallach spiritually represent? Good vs. evil? Are they set up to represent Christ and Satan? Am I reaching too far there?

Lisa: They’re spiritual powerhouses for sure, but they’re human. I was thinking of the way we are all pulled toward good or evil, and the idea of twin brothers embodying that fork in the road fascinated me. As the series evolves, readers will see that neither one is either perfectly good or perfectly evil. Kapriel is constantly dragged back by the dark, and Keallach is constantly pulled forward by the light, just like us.

Julie: Talk to me about the spiritual battles in the story. Do you believe there are angels and demons fighting for our souls?

Lisa: I believe there is an unseen realm that we humans spend little time considering, but should. Once you begin walking the road of faith, it’s like you put on glasses that allow you to see more and more of it. But I don’t get hung up on angels and demons, because my soul has already been won, and there’s enough to deal with here in our physical world. But are there battles? Yes. Every day, every hour.

Julie: There’s a lot of YA fiction with angels and demons. Did that influence you? And will you up their presence in the next books?

Lisa: There is a lot out in the market—readers are clearly intrigued by the supernatural. Demons exist to drag us from the path of light; angels exist to protect us on the path and encourage us onward. Given that the Remnants are all about fighting off the dark and leading others toward the light, angels and demons will logically take a bit more stage time with each book. But our human characters will remain the focus.

Julie: I’m studying about the different gifts we’re given in 1 Corinthians, and it struck me how each of the Remnants has a distinct gift that the Maker gave them and they are to use it for his glory and purpose. Is that where you got it from?

Lisa: Exactly. I pursued this theme in the Gifted series too, because I think it’s so important. I’m autographing books to readers as “one of the Remnants, with her own gift,” because every one of us has been divinely gifted, whether we know it or not.

Julie: And I loved how you show that working together, they can get nearer to accomplishing their goals.

Lisa: Yes! I learn more about this all the time. Given that we’re all uniquely gifted, if we work together, rather than on our individualistic paths (which is so American!), we are more powerful than ever. And power’s important if you’re wanting to bring down the bad guys, slay dragons, and do epic good in the world. :)

Thank you again Lisa for being here and discussing the Spiritual aspects of REMNANTS!

Be sure to write down this STOP #22 LAUNCH TOUR CLUE: creative core

Collect all the clues and fill out Lisa’s Rafflecopter form on her launch tour post at at the end of April and you could win either a Kindle Fire HDX ($229) or iPod Touch ($229)!


What’s the most spiritual book you’ve read, either on the Christian or general market?(No fair naming the Bible, we're wondering about fiction in particular.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Kissing Bridge by Tricia Goyer

Rebecca is leaving her Amish community in Indiana to pursue a nursing career in Portland, Oregon. On her way to Portland she feels led to stop and visit her friend Marianna in Montana. There she meets Caleb, a young Amish man with a sense of adventure and daredevil. Both Caleb and Rebecca are keeping secrets that could jeopardize any further relationship between them.

I enjoyed THE KISSING BRIDGE. The relationship between Caleb and Rebecca had its ups and downs of course. I admired Rebecca for her desire to become a nurse no matter what it took. I liked how the author portrayed both characters struggles with their Amish upbringing and a more personal relationship with God.  And I liked being able to once again visit this community where Marianna and Ben have settled. If you haven't read any of the Seven Brides For Seven Bachelors series you must remedy that along with A Big Sky novels where Marianna's story unfolds.

Thanks to the publisher through NetGalley for my copy of The Kissing Bridge for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith

About the Book:

For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.

As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

About the Author: 

Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history,
and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at

You can connect with Sandra on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads. You can also find her and her talented writing buddies at the Seekerville blog.   

My Review: 
Monica is used to getting her own way. When her plans to build her father’s last home are thwarted Monica is less than happy. The TRPA(Tahoe Regional Planning Agency) has refused her request to allow her to build on prime property in the Tahoe Basin area. All of her angst is poured out on Greg who works for the TRPA and she is determined to get around any rules in order to fulfill her dream and accomplish her father’s last wishes. Greg is just as determined to protect the area that he loves. As the two of them try to find common ground an attraction springs between them. Unfortunately Monica is afraid of commitment. She perceived her parents’ relationship as one-sided and it has made her unable to make commitments in her own life. Fear of becoming a doormat to someone Monica exerts her independence to the exclusion of all relationships. Will she be able to accept the love that Greg describes or will she continue in her lonely life? 
Love’s Promises touches on so many issues that at some points I was emotionally overwhelmed. From Monica’s unrealistic view of her parents’ relationship, her grating desire to have her own way (which wore me out at the beginning), the steamy relationship between Monica and Greg, to the environmentalism all wrapped into a fairly quick read. I enjoyed reading how Monica changed as Greg showed her what a real relationship between a couple in love could be. As each one of Monica’s defenses peeled away the reader could see her faith and potential grow. She became a more softened and caring human being rather than the overbearing-grating woman that she started out as. I’m not sure that Love’s Promises would be considered a Christian novel, but there are definite signs of faith throughout the story. Greg and his family talk about faith in God as well as Monica hearing the voice of her mother through her memories. There are some “iffy” passages in that Greg’s friend begins to call Monica a b-word but is cut off by Greg. There are some sexually charged situations where Greg and Monica want to cross the line into the bedroom but both are determined to remain celibate. There are also a couple of references to “the Broad” from an unsavory character that totally fits his personality and what he would say. Having lived near and visited the Tahoe area I appreciated the environmental aspects of the story, it is a beautiful area and I am thankful that there are people willing to fight to preserve it for our future. For a little bit of romance, a little bit of suspense and danger, and a little bit of saving the environment you will find Love’s Promises has it all.

Review of Sandra’s books:

Paperback coming soon!


Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway