…because with twenty-four hours in a day its the only fiction you have time to read

Posts tagged ‘Christian Fiction’

A Vacation to Remember Forever

Lisa T. BergrenWaterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

reviewed by Megan–a teen who devours books

Teenage sisters Gabi and Lia Betarrini are spending the summer in Italy.  Sounds like fun right?  It would be, except that they’re spending it with their mom at an archaeological sit–the same thing they do every summer.  Because they’re bored, Gabi and Lia start exploring an ancient tomb when they come across a hand print. When they touch it, somehow the hand print tosses them back in time to  the fourteenth  century.

Getting separated from Lia, Gabi finds herself in a the middle of a war between two families.  She meets  Sir Marcello Forelli who takes her back to his family’s castle.  Not sure how to explain what has happened, Gabi explains that she has been separated from her family.  Unsure of how to get home, she begins to discover life in fourteenth century Italy, with long fancy dresses, no indoor plumping, and being called Lady Betarrini.  But when Gabi discovers herself falling for both the time period and Sir Marcello  she begins to wonder if she will ever find her sister or get to go back to the twenty-first century.

I really enjoyed this book, even though I usually prefer action and suspense over romance.  It felt like I had really been transported to fourteenth century Italy.  It felt very real. I would definitely recommend this to my friends.  It was very well written.     4 stars

This book was provided to me by the publisher, David C. Cook  All opinions rendered are my own.

Dry as Rain by Gina Holmes –book release interview

Gina Holmes is the bestselling author of Crossing Oceans and the newly released novel, DRY AS RAIN. She’s the founder of Novel Rocket, (formerly Novel Journey), a registered nurse,  wife and mother who makes her home in Southern Virginia. You can learn more about her at www.ginaholmes.com 


Your debut novel hit ECPA, Amazon, PW and CBA bestsellers list (some throughout the span of a year!) For several weeks Crossing Oceans was the #1 free kindle download and then stay in the top hundred for a long time.
Beside the commercial success, your book was a finalist in every major Christian book award, including: Christy, ECPA, Retailer’s Choice, Carol Awards, and won RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice and an INSPY. Does having that kind of success put the pressure on for your second book?
I try not to think too much about it. I didn’t expect that kind of success but am very grateful for it. I had a lot of pressure on me on this releasing novel, not because of the success of the first book, but because, unlike the first, I didn’t have all the time in the world to write it. Some books flow smoothly, this one I had to yank out like a bad tooth. I faced multiple rewrites, some of them pretty major, all while trying to promote my all important first novel. I was still working full time, mothering, running Novel Journey (now Novel Rocket) and all of that, so this was a tough tough book for me to produce.
Tell our readers about your latest release, Dry as Rain:
I’m a really bad pitchman so I’ll just repeat the back of the book copy:
Behind every broken vow lies a broken heart.
When Eric and Kyra Yoshida first met, they thought their love would last forever. But like many marriages, theirs has gradually crumbled, one thoughtless comment and misunderstanding at a time, until the ultimate betrayal pushes them beyond reconciliation. Though Eric longs to reunite with Kyra, the only woman he has truly loved, he has no idea how to repair the damage that’s been done.
Then a car accident erases part of Kyra’s memory—including her separation from Eric—and a glimmer of hope rises from the wreckage. Is this a precious opportunity for the fresh start Eric has longed for? Does he even deserve the chance to find forgiveness and win back Kyra’s heart . . . or will the truth blow up in his face, shattering their last hope for happiness? A richly engaging story of betrayal and redemption, Dry as Rain illuminates with striking emotional intensity the surprising truth of what it means to forgive.
You can read the first chapter HERE. 
This novel feels so much different than Crossing Oceans. Why did you choose to take such a different path?
I didn’t intend to write something completely different and I think it feels that way because of the characters telling the story. In Crossing Oceans, Jenny was our narrator and she was a melancholy, all woman sort.
In Dry as Rain, we have Eric, who is a man’s man and doesn’t think in flowery language and descriptions so it would have been wrong to write him that way. While both books have a heavy subject matter, Crossing Oceans was much more so. You can’t get heavier than dying, so it was bound to be more emotional, no matter how I wrote the next book.
But, my genre seems to be relational drama which both are and I like to pepper in a quirky cast and that’s true of both books.
You took a lot of chances in this book. First writing first person from a male’s perspective, secondly to have the protagonist someone who does a lot of things that aren’t very Christianly, like cheating on his wife, drinking, lying, etc. Are you afraid this might hurt your sales in the Christian market?
Afraid? No. Concerned, sure. While I don’t personally have a problem with Eric drinking a beer, the rest I have a problem with too. The thing is Eric’s a nominal Christian at the beginning of the book, lukewarm about his faith like many who call themselves followers of Christ. This is his journey though and he doesn’t end up where he begins. I wanted to tell the story as truthfully as I could and at the end of the day let the chips fall where they may.
What happened to your long time website, Novel Journey?
www.noveljourney.blogspot.com is now www.novelrocket.com You can get to it by either address but we decided on an overhaul because we wanted to drop the blogspot address and just have a dot com. The guy who owned Novel Journey didn’t return our emails to sell so we had to do something a little different. This turned out to be a good thing maybe because we’d been chewing on broadening the site for some time. We’ve got some exciting changes now, the most notable is the addition of “Rocket Pages” a sort of Craig’s List for writers to find the services they need to launch and sustain their career.
What’s going on with you personally?
Well, I’m blissfully married, mom to two, stepmom to three, and owner of 2 dogs and a fish. I bought a guitar and hope to start fiddling with that soon and just writing a lot. Nothing too exciting over here but that’s the way I like it. I’m the happiest I’ve been in my life. I’ve accomplished many of the dreams and goals I’d hoped to and I always tell my husband, if I died today, I’d feel I lived and full and rewarding life. Not that I’m looking to die just yet.
What are you working on now?
I can’t give the title yet as that’s a work in progress but it’s a story very close to my heart. I’m more excited about this one than anything I’ve ever written. Hopefully my publisher agrees and you see it on the stands in the next year or so. That’s really all I can say for now.
Tell us something we don’t know about you.
I’ll tell you a few. I thought I was afraid of heights until I bungee-jumped and loved it. I’d love to skydive for the first time in the next year, white water raft and get at least a little skill on the guitar. My husband is a talented songwriter. My kids are the sweetest in the world, (yes, the world!), and I love to get my hands dirty. That should do it. Thanks for having me!

A Trial of Blessings

One Step Away by Eric Wilson

Bret and Sara Vreeland are an average low income family struggling to make ends meet.  Though they try and try they just can’t seem to get ahead of all the expenses that pile up.  But they have learned to be content and serve God, and are trying to teach their children the same thing. When Satan notices this family who seems to have so little, he comes before the Almighty with a petition.  “Let me test them“, he says, “Will they still be so eager to serve you if they have riches beoynd belief?”  After careful scrutiny, The One Who Sits Upon The Throne gives his permission–permission to begin a trial of blessing. How will Bret and Sara respond when everything in life starts going their way?  An unexpected inheritance, a major promotion, a dream of sucess come true–will all these things capture the devoton they once gave God?  When they’re faced with an unexpected choice of life altering proportions what choice will they make? The premise of this book pulled me in from the start, and did not disappoint.  Well written and engaging , One Step Away brings us real characters who come alive on the pages.  I found myself cheering and yelling at the characters as if they were close friends.  Although not preachy, this book has me considering how I view the blessings I have been given.

5 Stars

This book was provided to me by the publisher, Bay Forest (an imprint of Kingstone Media Group).   Opinions rendered are completely my own.

Note:  Check back Monday August 15, 2011 for an Author Spotlight of Eric Wilson– a bio and interview you’ll not want to miss.

Fear Is All That Remains

Half a millenia past, after  wars that decimated the earth, Sirin brought forth a new wisdom.  He taught the laying aside of life’s excesses  in exchange for  simple equality.  He preached the dangers of emotions untamed.  Many followed him, and for a time peace reigned throughout the earth–but humanity could not keep this up for long.

Megas developed a virus that would spread throughout the earth, stripping every person of all emotions but fear.  When Sirin is martyred, the blame is placed on extremest factions, and the road is paved for Megas’  rise to power.

The Book of Orders, a strict rule that reaches into every area of life is canonized under Megas’ rule.  The people crave the order and freedom from fear that complying brings.  They long for the possibility of bliss after death, which can only  be achieved  by strict adherence to Order.

The year is 480–calculated from the moment the age of Chaos ended and the age of Order was ushered in.  Simple craftsman Rom, and his friends are unwittingly thrust into the crux of the battle to save humanity from Order.  Some will die; some will wish they could.  Each of them will feel more alive than they ever imagined.  And a small cripple boy will be the only hope for life the world has left.

This book is truly amazing.  The combined storytelling of Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee have created a book that is destined to be among the greatest pieces of literature.  There is no real way to describe the majesty of this book adequately.  You must experience  it for yourself.  First in The Book of Mortals series, Forbidden is an experience you won’t soon forget. 5 Stars–but worthy of many more.

This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Lawyer Loses Everything and Finds What Matters Most

Water’s Edge          By Robert Whitlow

Tom Crane has a beautiful girlfriend, a nice home, and is about to make partner at his law firm–life is treating him pretty well.  Entering the meeting where he expects the partnership announcement to be made known, the rug is violently pulled from beneath his feet. Tom finds out that not only is he not going to be made partner, but he is completely out of a job thanks to economic cutbacks.  He tells his girlfriend, and before he arrives home  she has left him and taken his cat as well.

With nothing standing in his way, Tom heads back to his hometown to close up his deceased father’s small town law firm.  What he finds is suspicions of foul play, criminal activity, people who love him for who he is, and seeds of faith that had been planted long ago.  What he learns is that God can take even our biggest failures and turn them into something not only worthwhile, but beautiful as well.

Robert Whitlow never disappoints his readers, and this book is no exception.  A masterfully written plot with twists and turns that keep you glued to the pages long into the night, Water’s Edge is a book that you will treasure for years to come.  5 Stars

This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions are my own.

Heartwrenchingly Beautiful

The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones

Jeremiah Williams has been taking care of the gardens at the Tennessee governors mansion for the past 25 years.  He has cared and prayed for its residents as well.  There is something special though about the current family.  Jeremiah wonders if all the hurt and unjust treatment he’s gone through in life have been so that he could be with this family at this specific time.

Governor Gray London and his wife Mackenzie, struggled with infertility and miscarriages for years.  Now it seems that all their dreams have come true.  Their miracle baby, Maddie, is heading off to kindergarten, and Gray is making a real difference as governor.

When tragedy strikes again and again, the London’s are thrust into circumstances they don’t know if they can survive, and they’re not sure they even want to.

What is God doing in their life?  Is he really even there?  How could he love them let these kinds of things happen?

This book is worth the read, but be prepared for uncontrollable sobs and keep a box of tissues nearby.  I was completely unprepared for the depth of this novel. Though the main plot is heavy, there are lighter sub-plots to take the edge off.  The southern voice throughout is authentic and beautiful.  The First Gardener is masterfully writt

5 Stars

This book was provided to me through the Tyndale Bloggers Network.  All opinions rendered are my own.

FBI Agents Wife Critically Wounded

Targets Down by Bob Hamer

If the degenerates knew that the lady who witnessed them dumping a body was the wife of a FBI agent, they would have thought twice before leaving her for dead on the mountain overpass, because now Matt Hogan is on the case.

Matt Hogan’s job requires him to become like the slime he’s working to put behind bars.  The undercover FBI agent  finds himself living life on the edges of a branch of the Russian Mafia–a neo-Nazi group involved with all sorts of illegal enterprise including the sex-slave industry.

When his “in” is murdered, Hogan wonders if his cover is blown before he even gets started.  Surviving so many close calls during this operation have him seriously considering that the God his wife puts her faith in might be real after all.

An excellent read, this book was clearly written with the male reader in mind.  It is fast paced and action driven.  It is clear that this author, a retired undercover FBI agent himself, knows what he is talking about.  The undercover situation has a truly authentic feel I didn’t know was missing from other similar novels until reading this one.

One thing to note:  There is a bit more of the marriage relationship described between the agent and his wife than is typical in Christian novels.  Nothing too over the top, but enough that I won’t let my 15-year-old daughter read it.

I give this book 5 stars.

This book was provided to me for review from the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions are my own.

Robin Parrish

Born October 13, 1975 in Thomasville, North Carolina, Robin Parrish began his writing career on a plastic, toy typewriter.  By age thirteen he had begun winning local writing awards. A feature on a website he started ultimately led to his life as  a fiction author.  On the site he created a serialized tale with a segment published  every two weeks  over the course of  nine months. The  story came to the attention of several publishers who saw its Relentlesspotential as a debut novel. In 2005, Bethany House Publishers contracted him for the rights to not only that book, but two Fearlesssequels.  These books became the Dominion Trilogy (Relentless, Fearless, and Merciless)–fast paced suspense/thrillers that not only crossedMerciless genre lines, but wiped them out altogether.  Since then he’s kept us sitting on the edge of our seats with Offworld, Nightmare, and the newly released Vigilante. Always pushing the envelope, ever on the edgeOffworld of where modern storytelling is going, Robin Parrish will gladly and unapologetically tell you that he’s an entertainer, a weaver of Nightmarestories that ignite the mind and delight the heart. Defying labels and refusing pigeonholes, his imagination is fueled by the possibilities of asking “What if…?”, and as anyone who’s read Vigilantehis work knows, he has a very big imagination. Readers will be happy to know that he has an endless supply of wild stories with enormous scope, that are still yet to come. Robin is a full-time writer. He and his wife Karen and two children live in High Point, NC. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Robin: Kristen:  Let me start by saying that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all your books to date, and am really looking forward to reading Vigilante.  I was wondering though, which of your characters have you enjoyed writing the most?

Robin:  That is a question I don’t think anyone has ever asked me before! And it’s a really juicy one.
Without a doubt, my favorite character to write was Payton from the Dominion Trilogy. The world through his eyes is such an extraordinarily clear-cut place with a powerful moral code, where there’s absolute right and absolute wrong and nothing in between. I love his directness, his integrity, and that he doesn’t suffer fools. He’s a man of action, not words, yet he has a rather acidic tongue that speaks only the truth.
He was the first character I ever wrote that entered my mind 100% fully formed, and never once did he deviate from that initial mental image.
A close second would probably be Maia from Nightmare. It was impossible to spend so much time under her skin (since Nightmare was written first-person from her perspective) and not love that character and really get to know her inside and out.

Kristen:  Have you ever had a character that really grated on your nerves? Robin:  Wow, another fascinating question. I’ve never really considered that one before. Hmm…

I can’t think of anyone that had that fingernails-on-chalkboard quality, where I just cringed every time they opened their mouth. Some very minor characters that only appeared in one or two scenes, maybe.
Oblivion from Merciless was the closest I’ve ever come to creating a character that embodies absolute evil. He was a creature who thrived on death, who needed to kill the way that we need to breathe. I wouldn’t say he grated, but writing him was almost painful at times.

Kristen: Your stories tell some amazing tales.  Does the finished work usually tell the same tale you intended to write when you began, or do the stories take on a life of their own as you write? Robin:   I’m a very strong believer in the importance of a good outline, because stream-of-consciousness writing, in my experience as a reader, tends to have no sense of flow or pacing. Too much time is spent on some subplot where more time should have been spent on something more important. That sort of thing.

So yes, there’s always a strong resemblance between my original outline and the finished product. I do leave room for better ideas that occur to me along the way, and that happens with every book. The degree to which each book differs from my outline is different each time. Offworld, for instance, changed significantly during the writing process, while Nightmare was nearly identical to its outline. Vigilante was somewhere between the two.

Kristen: When you aren’t writing, what are you most likely to be found doing? Robin:   These days I spend almost all of my time writing, just trying to pay the bills. When I get a snatch of free time, I love to play with my kids, spend time with my beautiful wife, or partake of a good story by someone else. I rarely read books these days, but I enjoy an engrossing movie or TV serial, and I still love a good video game. Kristen: What is something about you that would surprise your readers? Robin:   I can wiggle my ears.

Not very exciting, I know. Okay, how about this: before I knew that writing was my purpose, I seriously considered becoming an architect. I got quite good at drafting in high school, and I’m a decent sketch artist even now. Nothing remotely special, mind you. But it’s something I dabble in on occasion.

Kristen:  Tell us a little bit about Vigilante, and why you decided to write this particular book. Robin:   I got the idea for Vigilante while talking to another writer, years ago. We were talking about the ways in which Christians interact with the world, and in particular how we carry out the Great Commission. On one end of the spectrum, you’ve got people who try to forge a relationship with someone, and let their lives be their witness. On the other end, you’ve got the people on street corners, holding up signs that proclaim John 3:16 or approaching strangers in public places and basically trying to forcethem to become a believer.

There was something in the tension between those two viewpoints that struck me as very interesting, and I couldn’t think of an instance of another novelist using that as story fodder before. That was the initial spark.
From there, Vigilante grew and grew, and I incorporated loads of other ideas and some storytelling elements that I enjoy — such as super-heroics — and to me, it ultimately became this really interesting character study wrapped inside a non-stop roller-coaster adventure.
Vigilante represents a lot of firsts for me. It’s got more social commentary in it than anything I’ve done before, it’s got deeper characterizations and motivations than anything I’ve done before, and for the first time ever, it’s a story set in the real world, with no supernatural elements to it. It’s the first time that I have a really fleshed-out, complex villain, who I think manages to be both repugnant and sympathetic at the same time.
Those things are by design. I always challenge myself to best what I’ve done before, to try new and different things. I’m a suspense/thriller writer, but under that umbrella I jump from genre to genre with each book I write, because I don’t want to get pigeonholed and I don’t ever want to get stale. I love lots of different kinds of stories and I’m eager to try my hand at them all! And not just books — I want to write for other mediums as well. Stay tuned for an exciting announcement on that front, by the way!
Robin Parrish

Robin Parrish wants to take you on a ride.  A wild ride — which is exactly what you’re in for when you pick up one of his books. And he’s adamant that it will never be the same kind of experience twice.

Spectacular Series: The O’Malley Family by Dee Henderson

Dee HendersonDee HendersonThe O’Malleys are a  family.  They made themselves one as they grew up in a foster home together.  Taking on the same last name just made it official.  Now all grown up the seven siblings all share another thing in common.  They Dee HendersonDee Hendersonwork to help people.

Kate is a hostage negotiator

Marcus is a U.S. Marshal

Lisa is a forensic pathologist

Dee HendersonDee HendersonJack fights fires

Rachel works disasters for the Red Cross

Stephen is a paramedic

Jennifer is a doctor                                Dee Henderson

They watch each others backs and support each other through the hard times, but as one of their own faces life’s final battle will their bonds hold them together or will they be shattered and scattered.

This Spectacular Series was  re-released by Tyndale in 2005.

For those of you who have read this series, you can find an unpublished extra Jennifer’s story at Dee Henderson’s website.

She’s a Pastors Wife–Except Now She’s Not

Lynne GentryLeona Harper is the quintessential pastors wife.  She knows exactly how to be the person the parishioners expect.  From little old ladies who stop by before Sunday services to making sure her kids behave in public, Leona’s got it covered.

When her husband drops dead in the pulpit, Leona’s neat little world implodes.  No longer the pastor’s wife, she finds that she’s had no identity of her own, and that she’s alienated her children by her expectations as well.

Leona’s children arrive home for the funeral ready to disappoint their mother with their life choices, and her mother comes by to remind her what a disappointment she has been to her as well.  Within two weeks Leona begins to feel squeezed out of the parsonage by the elders, and she must begin to look for employment.  Forced to become her own person for the first time in decades, Leona must learn to take a stand for herself and be the person God created her to be.

Reinventing Leona is one of the new e-book only selections from Tyndale House.  A gentle read, it is full of charm and hidden wisdom.  The characters are vulnerable, yet endearing.  I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book.  It tugs at the heart, and reminds us to be who God created us to be.  I hope to see many more books by Lynne Gentry in the future.  Definitely a 5 Star read.

This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley.  All opinions rendered are my own.

Abandoned Baby Found Adrift at Sea

Stephanie NewtonThe Baby’s Body Guard

by Stephanie Newton

Love Inspired Suspense, August 2011 

Ethan Clark  was expecting a trap when he was texted gps coordinates that lead him to an abandoned boat.   Although his job had him regularly policing the waters off this section of Florida coast, the text came to his personal line.  He dealt with some pretty dangerous criminals back when he was undercover with the FBI, and there were more than a few who might want to exact revenge.  The last thing he expected to find under the tarp covering the boat was a screaming toddler.

Local social worker Kelsey Rodgers waited by the shore to take the toddler until it’s parents could be found.  Not that she held out much hope of that happening since the little girl seemed be one of the many orphans from Eastern Europe she’d come across over the last few years.

Searching the little girl’s diaper bag for any clues to her identity,  Ethan comes across a hand-print and a photograph of a baby.  The photo sends shock-waves through his system.  A picture of his deceased son stares back at him–only the baby is months older than his son was when he died.  There’s no way this could be his son.  He’d seen his wife and son blown to bits with his own eyes when they were caught in the explosion that ended his last undercover assignment.  Ethan’s phone signals another text coming in, and the four words he reads change his world forever:  YOUR SON IS ALIVE

As Kelsi and Ethan race to find answers bullets race towards them and sparks fly between them.  Will love will win before it’s too late?

I really enjoyed the strong plot and inviting characters in this story, but I think the story would have greatly benefited by adding an extra 20,000 words–unfortunately the constraints of the Love Inspired series do not allow for this.  I found myself wanting more detail, and greater depth throughout the book.  There was just too much story crammed into too small a book.

I’m giving this book 3 stars

Summer Fun at the Beach Book Giveaway

Prize PackageWelcome to the first giveaway on readgreatfiction.

Today through next Thursday (June 30, 2011) we are having a contest to give away a prize pack worth $40.00

It includes everything you need for a day reading on the beach, or just pretending you’re on the beach.

  • Beach towel
  • Beach bag with cross tag–just the right size for all your book toting needs
  • 26oz stainless steel hydration bottle (yeah, that’s fancy talk for water bottle)
  • Sun Visor
  • Beach themed bookmark with Jeremiah 29:11 on itJeremiah 29:11
  • Great read:  The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow by the queen of quirk, Joyce MagninJoyce Magnin

To win this prize pack, here’s what you need to do:

  • Follow this blog by RSS, Email, or through Networked blogs
  • Get an extra entry if you “like” my Facebook page KristenLoweryFiction
  • Come back here and leave a comment stating how you are following, and tell me one book you want to read this summer

The Contest runs from today 6/23/11 through next Thursday  6/30/11  at 5:00PM EST

Please post & share this giveaway.  The more interest I see, the more giveaways I’ll be likely to do.

Contest is open to everyone in the United States continental 48. 

Jimmy by Robert Whitlow

Robert WhitlowJimmy is a tale of growing up told through the eyes of a young teenage boy who’s not quite the same as everyone else.  Jimmy knows others call him special or retarded, and that he doesn’t always understand the things he sees.  But Jimmy sees lots of things that others don’t, –like the “watchers”, or as him mom calls them, angels.  Jimmy’s mom calls him special too, but when she say’s it the word has a different meaning, a meaning that makes him feel like she’s giving him a great big hug.

Even though Jimmy doesn’t understand everything he sees, he remembers it all with a vivid accuracy.  That’s why his father, a prominent attorney, has asked him to be a defense witness in an upcoming criminal.  What happens next will change everything.

I originally stumbled upon this book by accident, picking it up at a yard sale.  It’s well worn binding and stained edges showed it to be a book that had been well read and much loved by it’s owner.  I began reading it,unprepared for the emotional investment I was going to feel, and without the necessary box of tissues by my side.

This book is a work of art, an understanding into the simplicity of the human soul of a child the world tends to take for granted.

I eventually replaced my worn yard sale copy of this book with a new copy because it is a book I plan on having on my shelf for a long time to come.

This book is definitely worthy of five stars.

Book Robbery Goes Bad: Owner Gunned Down

C.J. DarlingtonBound by Guilt                                             by C.J. Darlington

Nobody cares about Roxi Gold.  She never knew her father, Her mother’s a junkie who abandoned Roxi to the system, her foster parents never keep her around long, and now that she’s living with her aunt & cousin all they care about is how she can help them in their pursuit of stealing and reselling rare books.

Roxi goes along with her aunt & cousin’s plans for a while, but when someone dies in a botched robbery, she know’s she has to get away.

Officer Abby Dawson has seen it all, and it hasn’t left her a better person.  She finds no joy in pulling criminals off the street only to have someone else replace them by day’s end.  The emptiness inside gnaws at her soul, and she’s lost hope.  When someone murders her brother in a botched robbery Abby realizes that not only is she at the end of her rope, but the rope is fraying badly and she’s only holding on by a thread.

Abby’s search for justice brings her life and Roxi’s colliding together.  What happens next will change their lives forever.

Bound by Guilt is the stand alone sequel to Thicker Than Blood the 2008 winner of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel.  It is an extremely well written, enjoyable novel that takes the reader for a wild ride into the world of rare books.  This book will not stand to gather dust on a shelf.  Pick it up, read it, and see what happens when the characters are confronted with the awesome power of forgiveness.

5 Star Worthy

Jeanette Windle

A daughter of American missionaries, Jeanette Windle grew up in the jungles and small towns of Colombia, now guerrilla hot zones.  Jeanette graduated from Prairie Bible College in Three Hills, Alberta.  In 1985, Jeanette and her husband Martin moved to Bolivia to work with a nondenominational Christian mission organization. While her husband served as director, Jeanette worked with women and children at risk in varied regions of Bolivia.

Jeanette Windle

Jeanette WindleJeanette’s first book, Kathy and the Readhead,  was a group of stories based on her life growing up at a Missionary Kid Boarding School.  This was followed by the six books of the Parker Twins Adventure Series, a young adult mystery-suspense series set in a multi-cultural background, and a teen novel Jana’s Journal.

Her first major adult political/suspense novel, CrossFire Jeanette Windle(2000), was set against background of the counter-narcotics Jeanette Windlewar in Bolivia she was witnessing firsthand, This was followed by The DMZ (2004), set in the guerrilla zones of Colombia where she grew up, and FireStorm (2004) the sequel to Crossfire.  These were published all by Kregel Publications.

Betrayed (2008), set in the background of Guatemala’s fifty year civil conflict, was released by Tyndale House Publishers.   Veiled Freedom (2009), set in Afghanistan, was a 2010 Christy Award finalist and 2010 Christian Book Award finalist.  Her newest book, Jeanette WindleFreedom’s Stand (2011), is the sequel to Veiled Freedom.  It was released in  June, and Jeanette Windlewas nominated AWSA (Advanced Writer Speaker Association) 2011 Golden Scroll Novel of the Year.

Jeanette and her husband Marty moved to Miami in 2000, and to Lancaster, PA, in 2006.  Jeanette  speaks and travels extensively both in the U.S. and internationally, and serves as consulting editor and mentor to developing writers  in the U.S. and abroad.  She is currently president of Lancaster Christian Writers.

I had a chance recently to ask Jeanette a few questions.

Kristen:  You have been to many countries over the years. If you could visit one country you haven’t been to before where would you go?

Jeanette Actually, I have many countries on my ‘bucket list’ to visit someday, so it is hard to nail it down to one. If you’d asked a few months ago, I’d have said Israel, a country I never expected in my lifetime to have opportunity for visiting since I usually only travel for ministry. But God opened the doors beyond all my expectations to spend 12 days in Israel just this last spring. So I would have to narrow it down to my current top five: Greece, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Indonesia and Democratic Republic of Congo. The last two are because of ministry partnerships there, so it is NOT a coincidence that the others are all beautiful tropical islands. Growing up in Colombia and Venezuela, I was privileged to vacation on the Caribbean, which gave me a taste for tropical beaches.

Kristen: Your books contain Americans getting into some pretty scary and dangerous situations overseas. What is the scariest or most dangerous situation you have been in yourself while in another country?

Jeanette:   The scariest situations are truly ones on which I’d rather not dwell. Racing along an Andes mountain cliff in a bus with my four small children and a drunk driver behind the wheel. Thieves coming over the wall at night in Sucre, Bolivia, while my husband was on a trip, leaving myself and kids barricaded in the main house and a single female missionary barricaded in her apartment at the rear of the property. I LOVE heavy steel doors and thick bars on windows. A knife being held to my six month old son’s throat. Accidentally finding myself witnessing a drug deal while on a walk–and having to get out before being noticed. The usual pickpockets, riots, strikes, road blocks where local law enforcement are far more frightening than any guerrillas could be.

 So I’ll share the scariest one that was my own fault. My husband was again on a trip to mountain and jungle churches in Bolivia, leaving me with our three preschoolers (my life in our early ministry days) when a column easily ten feet wide of army ants headed up our short, concrete driveway towards our tiny, colonial-style house (600 square feet built around an unroofed central courtyard). With no husband to call and three small children to protect, I had to think fast. My five year old eldest son helped me as I splashed the column thoroughly with kerosene. I did make sure he went inside the house before tossing a match. I had no idea kerosene could explode so thoroughly! It did incinerate the ant column along with my bangs and eyelashes. It was truly a miracle I didn’t kill myself and leave three babies stranded until my husband came home.

Kristen Do you have a work currently in progress?

Jeanette I am currently writing what will be my next political/suspense novel set in the Ituri rainforest of northeast Democratic Republic of Congo, tentatively titled Congo Dawn.

KristenWhat kind of books do you like to read yourself, and who is your favorite author?

 Jeanette Perhaps as consequence of a life spent in so many countries and cultures, I can honestly say I have no favorites, whether foods, colors, countries, cultures, etc. I hugely enjoy the fabulous variety with which God has endowed this planet, and that includes literature as well. I will read anything of any genre as long as it is superbly written. Much depends what I’m currently writing. A few months ago my nightstand was filled with books related to Afghanistan, where my last two novels, Veiled Freedom and Freedom’s Stand, take place. Now for the same reason, it is filled with non-fiction and fiction related to the Congo, setting of my current WIP.  I read several books a week and enjoy all the most recent best-sellers as well as re-reading or discovering classics. Because I read so quickly and am constantly out of reading material, I LOVE having other readers inform me of a book they have loved and which I’ve yet to read—so feel free to send me recommendations.

 But here are a few of my top choices: When it comes to inspirational reading, the beautiful prose of Max Lucado and Philip Keller and the meditative profundity of A. W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Brother Lawrence. Chaim Potok (The Chosen, The Promise) is a novelist who impacted me in sharing his passion for El Shaddai, Torah and his Jewish heritage in mainstream fiction as Christians so often hesitate to do. Fredrick Forsyth (Hunt for the Jackal, Odessa Files) and Leon Uris (Exodus, Armageddon) whetted my appetite for tight suspense interwoven with thorough political research. In other areas, I’m an eclectic reader, so have enjoyed the gamut of great writers in every genre:

1)      historical fiction: M. M. Kaye, Kenneth Roberts, Leon Uris; Elizabeth Goudge: The Dean’s Watch and her Pilgrim’s Inn series.

2)      political/suspense: Frederick Forsyth, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, Alistair McClain, Robin Cook;

3)      science fiction: J.R.R. Tolkien, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, C.S. Lewis;

4)      mystery: Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark,  Mary Stewart, Madelaine Brent, Georgette Heyer;

5)      romance: I must say I’m still a sucker for a good Georgette Heyer, though all mine were tattered years ago;

6)      westerns: Louis L’Amour is the only one I read, but he is good enough to convert even a non-Western fan.

And so much more!

I have enjoyed getting to know Jeanette through her books and through Lancaster Christian Writers.  Having Read Veiled Freedom and Freedom’s Stand, I have begun to go back and read her earlier works.  I just finished Crossfire and am anxious to start it’s sequel Firestorm.  Having several friends who are missionaries in Bolivia, it has been interesting to get a feel for the culture through these well written stories.  Only an author who has been there is going to be able to so visibly bring across images like this one from Crossfire:

And the smell!  It settled over the car in an overpowering wave as Doug ushered the new passengers into the back seat.  Sara had never been at close quarters with the particular odor of the Bolivian campesino–a combination of infrequent washing, hand woven wool, no deodorant, and hours spent walking under a tropical sun–and she had to bite her lip to keep her nose from wrinkling with distaste.

God has definitely brought Jeanette through many life experiences that make her uniquely able to bring us the so many wonderful stories she writes.  I hope you will consider picking up one of her titles for your next read.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: