Monday, April 26, 2010

Rooms by James L. Rubart

Rooms by James L. Rubart released April 1st and already there is a need for more copies. Not a bad problem to have. And I can see why. What an amazing first novel.

Let's begin with the summary:

On a rainy spring day in Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic, twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the beach every weekend. When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly discovers, the home isn't just spiritual, it's a physical manifestation of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah's darkest wounds and lead him into an astonishing new destiny.

And now my review:

With fresh insights and powerful spins on what readers think they know, this book reminded me of David Gregory’s (Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, etc.) poignant prose. You’ll find yourself second-guessing old paradigms and willingly shifting to embrace freedom.

A thriving theme this century is “go for your dreams.” I believe God is in dreams. Jim’s book takes this to another level, challenging readers to dig deep to discover their own heart’s desires and release the past, all lies and all hindrances to God in the pursuit.

I enjoy reading of supernatural encounters with God, or supernatural settings. Every time Micah turns around he finds a new surprise. I think this element of Rooms brought something fresh and unexpected. Readers truly couldn’t hold to old paradigms when even natural laws were no longer upheld.

Christian fiction has the potential to both woo a reader closer to God, as well as help a reader find hope or life or freedom. If a book draws me to prayer, to encounter the living God, to listen for His voice again for myself, that book crosses a line. It becomes a tool in the hand of God to change people’s lives for eternity because every encounter with God matters eternally. Bravo (and thanks) to Jim for helping make that happen.

This book also brought The Shack to mind because of 1) Jim’s bold approach to the supernatural. 2) Well-depicted encounters with God (which were on a completely different plain than those of The Shack, which I also truly enjoyed). And 3) Like that book, this novel changed my life. It requires readers to take action.

I'm sure I'll be thinking about this book for a long while to come. I don’t know how a writer follows a book like this, but I hope Jim does. And soon.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Get Swept Away Contest

Enter the Netflix and Nostalgia contest from author Sarah Sundin!

Last week, I reviewed Sarah Sundin's "A Distant Melody." This week, I wanted to let you know about a contest she and Litfuse publications are sponsoring.
Sarah Sundin
Debut author, Sarah Sundin, is celebrating the release of her first novel, A Distant Melody by hosting a social sharing promotion! Click the icon above to enter this fab-o contest. Tell your friends and earn extra entries!

A Distant Melody is book 1 in Sarah Sundin's exciting Wings of Glory series. Sarah has partnered with Litfuse Publicity Group for the Netflix® & Nostalgia Contest! Sarah's offering one Grand Prize winner the chance to get NOSTALGIC!


The Winner of the 'NETFLIX® & Nostalgia' giveaway will receive a vintage prize package, including:

*A 6 month NETFLIX® subscription
*$25 Starbucks® gift card
*A box of See's Famous Old Time Chocolates®
*A jar of homemade strawberry jam
*A Big Band music CD
*A Mini B-17 Model airplane
*Vintage stationery and pen
*British specialty tea
*WWII style playing cards

For more information just click on the "Get Swept Away" icon above! Contest will run April 5th and run through April 25th!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin

Read any good WWII fiction lately? Here's one to pick up, whether you're a history buff or not.

Let's begin with the summary:

Never pretty enough to please her gorgeous mother, Allie will do anything to gain her approval--even marry a man she doesn't love. Lt. Walter Novak--fearless in the cockpit but hopeless with women--takes his last furlough at home in California before being shipped overseas. Walt and Allie meet at a wedding and their love of music draws them together, prompting them to begin a correspondence that will change their lives. As letters fly between Walt's muddy bomber base in England and Allie's mansion in an orange grove, their friendship binds them together. But can they untangle the secrets, commitments, and expectations that keep them apart? A Distant Melody is the first book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

And now, my review:

I feel as if Sarah Sundin took me on a tour of history. She obviously knew her time period, both in a technical sense as well as a broad sense. Readers get to climb into the cockpit of a B-17 and endure wartime missions with Jack Novak and his crew. Not only are the military aspects rich and engaging, the romance is strong as well. I loved that the hero and heroine weren’t perfect (as far as attraction is concerned), how Walt was a bit clumsy socially with women. I enjoyed the playfulness between the two main characters and their shared interest in music. Again, the time setting was so foreign (because I didn’t live in the ‘40s), but fun because it gave me a taste of what it may have been like to live then. Both of these characters had to face some moral dilemmas around lies and what constitutes a lie, plus the consequences of lying. A mark of a strong novel is for readers not to feel frustrated with the delays in achieving the main story goals. I did not feel frustrated, but rather than the storyline was believable and enjoyable. Bravo, Sarah! I also loved that the romance developed through letters written back and forth between hero and heroine. Yum!

It’s rare to find such a well-written debut novel. Sarah not only knows her history, she’s a skillful writer. I have a feeling we’ll see a lot more from her. Looking forward to A Memory Between Us due out this fall.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Christian Fiction Releases: April, 2010

Here is the Christian fiction new release list as compiled by American Christian Fiction Writers. Congratulations, writers! Readers, enjoy!

1. A Promise Forged, Heartsong Presents Historical Ohio Series by Cara C. Putman An historical from Heartsong Presents. A player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League finds challenges and love as she travels with her team.

2. Abbie Ann; Daughters of Jacob Kane, 3rd & final installment. by Sharlene MacLaren An historical romance from Whitaker House. Abbie Ann, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union in 1907, butts heads with a handsome divorcee, blindsided when she realizes her utter attraction to him.

3. Blood Ransom; Mission Hope Series, Book 1 by Lisa Harris A suspense/mystery/thriller from Zondervan. A thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.

4. Calculated Revenge by Jill Elizabeth Nelson A suspense/mystery/thriller from Steeple Hill. When a teacher finds on the playground a backpack belonging to her long-ago abducted sister, she turns to the principal, an ex-private detective, to stop a child-killer from targeting her daughter.

5. Chesapeake Weddings by Cecelia Dowdy A romance from Barbour. Life sends three African American women into a tailspin; Can these women let God rebuild their tattered hopes when new romances unexpectedly enter their lives?

6. Code Blue by Richard L. Mabry M.D. A suspense/mystery/thriller from Abingdon. A doctor finds that returning to her home town has put her in the midst of conflict and possibly marked her for death

7. Crossroads Bay by Kathleen Kovach A romance from Heartsong Presents. A beautiful charter boat captain searches for lost treasure while her real prize is the caterer trying to keep up with her.

8. Damages by Deborah Kinnard A romance from Desert Breeze. A story of second chances, found in an unexpected place.

9. In Plain Sight by Michelle Sutton A suspense/mystery/thriller from Desert Breeze. Abused by her gypsy ex-boyfriend and left for dead, Jovana moves to America seeking a new life; two handsome men desire her heart, but she must choose the right one or end up in a situation much worse than before.

10. Lorenzo and the Pirate by Rick and Lila Guzman An historical from Blooming Tree Press. Will Lorenzo Bannister, marooned on a deserted island with two pirates, ever get home to New Orleans?

11. Love Lessons by Margaret Daley A romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Alexa Michaels brings a breath of fresh air into Ian Ferguson's and his daughter's life, but is it enough to make Ian trust in love again?

12. Lucky Baby by Meredith Efken A women's fiction from Howard Books/Simon & Schuster. Will adopting an orphan from China bring Meg and Lewis the happiness they long for?

13. Mountain Peril by Sandra Robbins A suspense/mystery/thriller from Steeple Hill, Love Inspired Suspense. A woman discovers violence has once again entered her life when a grisly website sets the stage for murder and terror on a peaceful college campus.

14. Queen of Hearts by K. Dawn Byrd A suspense/mystery/thriller from Desert Breeze. Daphne Dean never knew that serving her country as a spy during WWII would send her into hiding in an abandoned mental institution with secrets of its own.

15. Refuge on Crescent Hill by Melanie Dobson A suspense/mystery/thriller from Kregel. As Camden Bristow works to uncover the past and present mysteries harbored on Crescent Hill, she discovers a deep family secret hidden within the mansion's walls that could change her life˜and the entire town˜forever.

16. Rodeo Sweetheart by Betsy St.Amant A romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. She grew up with a cowboy hat and a pony; he grew up with designer duds and a silver spoon. Will this mismatched couple ever be able to lasso their differences?

17. Rooms by Jim Rubart A suspense/mystery/thriller from B&H Fiction. A young Seattle software tycoon inherits a home on the Oregon coast that turns out to be a physical manifestation of his soul.

18. Scenarios for Girls, Book 3 by Nicole O'Dell General fiction from Barbour. Molly Jacobs isn't sure what she should do: Should she follow through with stealing some clothes for her friends from Magna the trendy girls clothing store where she works? Or should she do what she knows is right, even if it means losing her newfound popularity? Scenarios for Girls are interactive books that allow the reader to choose between alternate endings to make important, moral decisions for the main characters.

19. Scenarios for Girls, Book 4 by Nicole O'Dell General fiction from Barbour. Kate Walker joins the swim team and becomes obsessed with practice and making it through the championships with flying colors. What will Kate do when she's faced with pressure from her teammates to take an illegal substance that will help her swim multiple events in their championship meet? Scenarios for Girls are interactive books that allow the reader to choose between alternate endings to make important, moral decisions for the main characters.

20. Seasons in the Mist; Seasons of Destiny Book 1 by Deborah Kinnard A romance from Sheaf House. An eager historian, a time portal, and intrigue in King Edward III's court.

21. She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell An historical from Bethany House. As Clara Carter makes her debut, she realizes it's not just her heart at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

22. Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson An historical from Bethany House. Sixteen Civil War widows join the Ladies Emigration Society and head west to claim homesteads, only to find their organization has other plans. . . involving the word "brides.

23. Sworn to Protect by Diann Mills A suspense/mystery/thriller from Tyndale. Border Patrol Agent Danika Morales is caught up in a conspiracy and her life is at stake.

24. The Anonymous Bride by Vickie McDonough A romance from Barbour. Three mail-order brides arrive expecting to marry the town marshal. But he didn't order a bride. A contest to discover which bride would make the best wife turns into mayhem when there is a fourth anonymous entry.

25. The Cowboy's Baby by Linda Ford A romance from Love Inspired Historical. The prodigal returns but is he too late for a second chance?

26. The Word Unleashed, Book 2 of Face in the Deep by Steve Rzasa A sci-fi/fantasy/futuristic from Marcher Lord Press. Baden Haczyk's adventure continues as he tries to keep the last Bible safe from the religious secret police.

27. Too Close to Home, Book 1 of the Women of Justice Series by Lynette Eason A suspense/mystery/thriller from Revell. An FBI agent and a detective must track down a killer of teenage girls before his next victim hits Too Close to Home.

28. Wildflower Hearts, Book 1 in Series Set in North Dakota by Vickie McDonough A romance from Barbour. Three siblings who live on a ranch face problems and romance in the North Dakota Badlands

29. Wildflowers of Terezin by Robert Elmer An historical from Abingdon Press. In Denmark's darkest days, is it duty, faith...or love?