Desire of the Heart (Yellowstone Series, Book 1) by Anne Perreault ~ a review

Desire of the Heart

Women’s Christian Fiction, Romance…

Cady Jackson and her cousin Ashley are on vacation in Yellowstone National Park. Cady and Ashley grew up in a strict Christian family that owns a farm in upstate New York. All Cady wants is to enjoy a week in the gorgeous national park when she encounters a grisly bear, twists her ankle, and has to be carried to safety by handsome park ranger Grant McClintoch. He immediately becomes annoyed because this is about to ruin his well planned morning schedule. She knows she’s in the wrong (shouldn’t be alone on a trail) but something about him irritates her. Yet, they’re both attracted to each other.

Cady is determined to follow the rules of her ultra-strict Christian family, yet she’s tempted by this handsome stranger. Grant is a Christian man with a past…a sad past that almost ruined his life. He’s burdened by a tragic loss. He has to accept that he isn’t responsible for working things out for himself and others, God is.  She has to grow-up a little and begin to see who she is as an individual in the Lord.

The author has a facility for humor. One of the most charming aspects of this novel is Cady thinking of him and calling Grant: Ranger McGrumpy, Ranger McMuscle, Ranger McKnowitall, and so forth. This really tickled my funny bone.

This is a clean and sweet romance dealing with the Christian theological issues of waiting until marriage for intimacy, as well as honoring parents while finding freedom in the Lord.  A sweet romance in a rugged setting. This is an appropriate read for ages 14 to 114.

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Harmful Intent 400 P Action packed detective story.  A back stabbing BFF, a drug lord, Brooklyn gal PI in rugged west Texas trying to clear her name. Funny, gritty, with class. HARMFUL INTENT #99c #cleanread #inspy #ChristFic https://amzn.to/2C8jSeg

The Perils Of Cheryl by Carol McClain ~ new release

a-the-perils-of-cheryl

Only a man can save her—any man so long as he’s hot

If you’ve been around Christian writing circles at all, at one time or another you’ve run in to my friend Carol McClain. I’m absolutely pleased to have her on the blog to promote new new release.

Sassy, desperate, and ditched by her husband, Cheryl Chandler realizes only one thing will redeem her from her ex-husband’s betrayal. A man. Finding love in rural New York proves a daunting challenge. With a shallow gene pool and a crazy family, she wants someone willing to accept her quirky teens whose eccentricities range from New Age ideologies, to OCD, to religious fanaticism, and a toddler—her husband’s parting gift. What man would love her and accept them? (Or could she hide the kids?) Her children, and mother, have the solution. Online dating.

Here she meets two men. Religious fanatic Tarrant charms her, but he’s so pious, he actually likes to go to church and loves to study his Bible. Mysterious Carleton is everything her desperation desires, witty, knowledgeable, and handsome. How does a woman choose among a crazy family or a need for unadulterated love or the draw of faith? She certainly can’t decide without a hefty dose of humor.

Author Question:  What do you as the author want the reader to take away from this novel?

Carol’s Answer:  Cheryl believes only a man can save her, any man so long as he’s hot. Little did she know that the one she needs isn’t the one she expects. Only one person can straighten out the mess of our lives (and Cheryl’s is an LOL mess). Any Christian knows the answer.

A Carol McClain

Author Bio:

McClain is the award-winning author of four novels. The New York Yankee on Stinking Creek is the first-place winner of The Dragonfly Book Award for best novel.

McClain writes novels about the redemption of the unredeemable. Even her most serious works are laced with humor. She is a consummate encourager, and no matter what your faith might look like, you will find compassion, humor and wisdom in her complexly layered, but ultimately readable work.

She is a past president of ACFW Knoxville and its current treasurer/secretary. She facilitates Postmark Writers, an offshoot of the LaFollette Art Group. She teaches online courses and is a clinical supervisor for WGU.

In addition to the above, she’s served on the Board of Connections to Recovery, an organization dedicated to keeping addicts sober. She’s mentored recovering addicts, and at one time, had been a foster mother–the complexity and difficulty of that calling proved she was better off writing about it than performing it.

(Is there nothing she can’t do?)

Aside from writing, she’s a skilled stained-glass artist, and a budding potter.

Purchase THE PERILS OF CHERYL on Amazon.

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CD Cover Need an exciting read for the new year? COURTING DANGER ~ Young women are being murdered in this Florida #beach town. The female detective feels she knows the murderer, can’t place him, and it’s tearing at her.

 

 

Lighthearted ~ a word from the Lord

If we could lighten up some right about now, we’d all be better off.

I stood at the pumps, and it was one of those that gave a word for the day with its definition on a small screen. Today the word was lighthearted. In my spirit, I heard the Holy Spirit telling me, ‘That’s My Word for you. Only ponder the biblical aspects of lighthearted’. This verse immediately came to mind:

2“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is comfortable, and My burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-20 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

Then I thought of the Hebrew word Chesed that Brother Kenneth Copeland and D.Min. Greg Stephens have been teaching and insisting believers should walk in for their own benefit, the benefit of others, and ultimately to please God. Chesed? (You actually pronounce the first two letters as if you were bringing up flem, but in American English the “C” is silent) What is the Hebrew meaning?

  • kindness or love expressed between people
  • the devotional piety of people expressed towards God
  • The love or mercy of God expressed towards humanity, the refusal by God to wash His hands of wayward, lost people

Right now in the world there is an absence of lightness of spirit. People all over the world are burdened, fearful, and depressed for a myriad of reasons. But Chesed, God’s loving-kindness His tenderheartedness, His joy, His peace doesn’t depend on circumstances. We can be in the midst of a global pandemic, in political turmoil, social unrest, economic distress and still walk in God’s Chesed…His peace, mercy, love, and lightheartedness. In the midst, we can love others intensely. Our hearts (inner being) can become lighter, not emotionally and psychologically dependent upon world circumstances. Actually, right now it’s imperative that we walk in God’s Chesed…for our sanity’s sake. We can find the humor in crazy circumstances instead of letting the circumstances drive us crazy. We are made in the image and likeness of God. If we have many ways to demonstrate a sense of humor, that would indicate that God has a wonderful sense of humor. Also He made us, and that’s pretty funny.

Then another verse came to me, and in my opinion, here Jesus is not talking about heaven. He’s talking about what type of life can be available to believers here on earth. And I think it has everything to do with walking and having our being in Chesed.

and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. ~ Matthew 18:3 [New American Standard Bible, NASB]

Then another verse popped up inside me.

35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” ~ Matthew 22: 35-40, New English Version [NEV]

The Season of Merriment and Good Cheer ~ is at hand

A concert

“…Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

The Bible speaks of merriment as something that is not only fun, but healing.

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones. ~ Proverbs 17:22 [New King James Version]

Twenty-five years ago, Norman Cousins, editor of the Saturday Review, American political journalist, professor, and world peace advocate, was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, an incurable and fatal spinal column illness of unknown cause. He did the traditional medical route, but they could not help him. He tried various ‘alternative remedies’ but was not cured. So, he did what he loved. He shut himself in his apartment for one month and read humorous stories and jokes, watched the old comedy movies (humor without mean barbs), and read ‘the funnies’. At the end of the month, when he returned to the hospital and, the doctors could find no trace of the disease. He was cured by intensive merriment and laughter.

Over nine months ago, I was given a serious diagnosis in the natural. One of my doctor’s personality and temperament leans toward optimism, while the other’s slides toward negatives. While I appreciate their medical knowledge and skill, I felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to research Christian healing. I looked back to the faith healers of decades ago and learned how to negate generational curses, word curses, and formal curses that might have impacted my life and health and could block healing. Present day healing preachers and teachers often stress finding healing Scriptures in the Bible that speak to you, then feed on them (reading them and saying them aloud continually, also writing them). Another contemporary practice is to regularly take communion at home for the purpose of healing. Since my diagnosis in late March, I’ve done all of these things…and I’ve seen progress in healing, supernaturally in my body. At the time of my partial healing, there was no medical reason for it. I almost can’t express my gratitude to the Lord, and my desire to draw closer to Him.

So, when I sensed the Holy Spirit guiding me toward humor as the next avenue toward my healing, I took it as gospel (good news). I felt the need to enjoy good, clean humor on a regular basis. Wholesome laughing (with not at someone and without meanness) is good medicine and should be a regular part of my life. Seeing the humor in difficult and painful situations brings good cheer and is healing.

Jesus said: “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” ~ John16:33 [JKV]

It’s in red in the Bible. Jesus is telling us in Him we can have peace, the peace that passes understanding. His spirit that indwells us can give us His peace. After all, it is His peace that we want, not whatever little bit of momentary peace we can scratch together. Then He says that in the face of tribulation we can be of good cheer because His spirit lives in us, and He has overcome the world. So good cheer, a happy countenance, is something Jesus would like believers to have even in the face of stress, affliction, and trials. Sickness is the enemy putting all of that on us: stress, affliction, and trials.

I’ve been spending time on YouTube watching a few of my favorite Christian comedians go through their comedy routines…and I’ve been laughing out loud.

Jean Robertson, a classy lady, runs through her routines, such as convincing her husband to go white water rafting on the Colorado River with a Christian group from all denominations. You can guess how that turned out.

I’m tickled and warmed by Mark Lowry’s humor, ranging from gentle to raucous, drawing from his own life, having been born and raised in the church. Who knew growing up churched could be so funny.

And of course Shandra Pierce is hysterically funny. She has drawn from family experiences and activities, as well as from the deep pain in her life to make others laugh.

Jeff Foxworthy is just good old down home humor.

I also find Bob Smiley and Tim Hawking routines get me laughing. These two Christian stand up comics would probably be appealing to the younger generation.

And don’t forget to watch old movies, or contemporary comedy films without smut and without snide, rude, crude, debasing humor. Guard your heart from that. Not only is it not humor, it’s deadly to the inner man.

As we head toward Christmas, it’s a good idea to rev up our merriment and cheer and have a good laugh, and then laugh again and again. Hey, it’s healthy for body, mind, and spirit.

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Harmful Intent 400 P Don’t like to snort-giggle out loud. Then DON’T read this book. HARMFUL INTENT! Detective story with a pulse racing plot. Murder, mayhem, #drugs. Sometimes hilariously funny. As addictive as Stephanie Plumb but a #cleanrread. #humor #inspy 

Christmas Under Wraps (Mullet Harbor Book 1) by Fay Lamb ~ a review

Christmas Under Wraps

Romance, Humor, Christmas

This is such an engaging Christmas story. The cast of quirky, sometimes baffling townsfolk living in Mullet Harbor pull you right in.

English Professor Christian Abrams and his nephew Dylan are on the run and wind up in Mullet Harbor, a unique hamlet in the Florida everglades. Chris is broke, out of gas, and has a child to feed. This is when he meets sweet and compassionate local school teacher Kaylee McFarland who talks him into staying in Mullet Harbor at least until after Christmas. That’s when it starts to get interesting…and when Chris learns the townsfolk really do take care of each other and they rely on their faith.

We meet Herb, the mayor who wears flip-flops…and Abigail, the shy town baker who flits around like a hummingbird. Then throw in a Cajun sheriff not afraid to take a chance on a good man. Stir in a delightful little girl named Sophie who’s had more than her share of sorrow in her short life. Could the icing on the top be a Christmas miracle? Perhaps more than one.

This is a fun, delightful read…a romp through the swamp. There’s also an alligator named Abercrombie.

Purchase On Amazon

The Duck War ~ and I win, barely

 

Muscovy Duck 10.19
Unaltered photo taken with my phone. He got close to me!

This is the most aggressive duck I’ve ever encountered!

We have Muscovy wild ducks living in and around the natural pond behind my condo complex (in NE Florida) and the creek that feeds into the pond. Wild ducks are aggressive creatures. The red markings on this gentleman’s face (and I use the term ‘gentleman’ as sarcasm) are meant to intimidate. Yes, ducks can be cute, or beautiful, or striking in appearance…and wild ducks are also extremely aggressive.

Mostly they are aggressive with each other and it can be hilarious when they form a circle and chase each other around and around. They rarely actually harm each other, but they threaten each other continually. In this photo, this is how close this guy was willing to get to me, a human who towers over him. Why did he do that? What did he want

Cat food! Every morning, when it’s still a little dark and the ducks are still sleeping at the pond and not roaming for food…I feed 7-8 stray cats. If I feed when the sun is up, the ducks will also be up and looking to eat, and they will boldly chase the cats away from the food I put out. I stand there every morning so I can shoo ducks away in case any get there early. However, they are cagey. Two will come from one side and when I chase them, another two will come and get the food from the other side, and the cats will go hungry. The ducks don’t need the food. They get fat eating insects and choice pieces of grass, buds, and seeds. That’s why I feed when it’s a little dark.

This morning this gentleman must have not slept at the pond but rather on the grass just beyond my condo. After I’d put the food out, he aggressively came toward me and flapped his wings effectively chasing the cats away. The felines would try to come back and he’s frighten them again. So, I went inside the house for about 45 seconds to get my broom to chase the duck. When I got out my stoop was a mess with cat food scattered all over and the cats were running in all directions.

I was so mad I started chasing this duck with the broom like a wild woman. Honestly, a few times I nearly swatted hm in the tail feathers with the broom. A good thing my neighbors were not yet leaving their houses to go to work. They would’ve had a good laugh. I must’ve looked like a lunatic. LOL

 

Fire and Thorn, a fantasy by Mary Vee ~ a review

Fire and Thorn

Fantasy, Middle Grade, Juvenile Literature

At the beginning of this novel, just like so many kids today, Gilbert is self-centered. He’s a bit arrogant too, as he’s a prince and heir to the throne. Then his father, the king, is killed by a dragon and his mother is captured and taken away. This forces Gilbert to quickly begin the maturing process. And I loved that about this book. He’s forced to make decisions beyond his ability as he begins the fight to save his kingdom from darkness. He tries, often makes mistakes and tries again.

Mystery and suspense are my jam, and there was no shortage of those.

The author sprinkles wry humor throughout. One bit that made me chuckle happens before Gilbert’s coronation when the heavy, royal robe is placed on his shoulders. Gilbert feels like a coat rack. When the Lord Chancellor asks him if he’s ready, Gilbert replies, “As much as possible, Lord Chancellor Matthias.”

I would recommend this novel for all middle grade, juvenile, and YA readers who have a sense of adventure and a questing spirit. If CHRONICLES OF NARNIA was their thing, this is a good read for them.