Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: February 2013

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Go Where?

Have you ever hopped in your car and drove, reaching your destination without realizing how you got there? Perhaps you had something on your mind and you just went through the motions.

That's how we found ourselves in Panama and Costa Rica. 


Yep. Let me explain.

My parents joined us on our European cruise last fall, but they only agreed to go if we'd travel with them to Central America. 

Gulp. Go where? South? <Crinkling my nose here.> We moved away from FL, where we'd lived for thirty+ years, to NC where the temps are cooler and we actually experience seasons. My vacation radar doesn't point south. 

Why? Because it's hot. We left a balmy 40 degrees in NC and stepped off the plane in Panama City to a blistering 85. Can anybody say air conditioner? Well, we didn't find too many air conditioners there (only one, actually), but that didn't spoil our trip. How could it when we had this to enjoy? 

This was the view from our hotel room in Boquete. Sweet, isn't it?
El Oasis Hotel, Boquete
We toured a coffee farm and TASTED some of the best coffee EVER!
Casa Ruiz, Boquete
Visited the Panama Canal
Panama Canal

Played with the toucans in Costa Rica
La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Ooohed and ahhhed over the gorgeous scenery
La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Lake Arenal

And ate. A lot.
We stayed in a gated community. Of sorts.
Orchid Tree B&B

Who knew we'd find this lovely oasis behind the gate?
Orchid Tree B&B Bedrooms

Or this?
Orchid Tree B&B Open Air Living Room-Dining Room

Not saying I'd go back, but I'm glad we went. We had a great time and will treasure the memories we made with my parents forever.

What about you?
Which countries would you like to visit? Or not?

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Monday, February 25, 2013

My First Christian Guy by Patty Froese

I met my husband during my starving artist years.

Those were fun years! I lived on the cheap, worked as few hours as possible at part time jobs, and wrote in every spare minute. I lived in downtown Toronto in a tiny apartment with a leaky roof and a mouse in the wall. My first published novel was written during that time--so it was definitely productive.

One week, I decided I wanted to go to church again for the first time in a few years, and I looked in the yellow pages (I had no internet at home) for the closest one to my home and then hopped on the streetcar.

My husband was the first person to talk to me when I stepped in the door of that downtown church. To hear him tell it, he spotted me across the foyer and thought, "I'm going to marry her." I think it probably took a little longer than that to get to the commitment stage, but not much. He gave me a little booklet and wrote his phone number inside.

I was clueless. I'd never seriously dated a Christian guy before, and I thought his phone number was just being Christianly. But when he gave me his number again the next weekend, my roommate insisted that he was probably interested, which gave us scads to talk about over a pot of tea in our leaky kitchen. Christian men were alien to both of us. So I gave him a call.

We talked all night. He had a thick African accent, so he and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what each other were saying, but it was worth any frustration. He was unlike any guy I'd ever met.

About two weeks later on a long walk together, he asked me to marry him. Two weeks in, I knew it was crazy and I knew exactly what all my friends and family would say to me, so I said, "Yes, I'll marry you. But let's not tell my family just yet..."

It was eight months from "Hello" to "I do." He was the conservative church guy in a black suit, and I was the artsy girl in jeans with a shaved head. Nearly eight years later, we've balanced out. I have hair, and he's been known to wear jeans to church. (Gasp!) And we're still crazy about each other.

Eye of the Beholder by Patty Froese

Tricia Hunter was an extraordinary beauty...before a horrible bus accident left her irreparably scarred. In an effort to accept the things she cannot change, she heads to her uncle's cabin for some time alone.

Forest ranger Jesse Reynolds recognizes Tricia the minute he sees her, but nothing flickers in her eyes. That's fine by him. The same accident that stole her good looks killed his fiance, and he simply can't bring himself to feel sorry for Tricia like everyone else in her life seems to do.

Thrown together in the autumn woods, they are faced with the past, an uncertain future, and a struggle to find out why God allows terrible things to happen.

Purchase Link

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

SWEPT AWAY by Mary Connealy ~ My Review

About the book~
Swept away when her wagon train attempts a difficult river crossing, Ruthy MacNeil isn't terribly upset at being separated from the family who raised her. All they've ever done is work her to the bone. Alive but disoriented, she's rescued by Luke unfortunately, there are more chances to die in her immediate future.

Luke is on a mission to reclaim the ranch stolen from his family. But the men currently on the property won't let it go without a fight. Luke plans to meet up with friends who will help him take back the land, and since he can't just leave Ruthy in the middle of nowhere, she’s going to have to go with him.

But the more time Luke spends around the hardworking young woman, the more he finds himself thinking of things besides revenge. Will Ruthy convince him to give up his destructive path and be swept away by love?

In my humble opinion~
Ruthy MacNeil is a hard worker, and her "adoptive" family takes advantage of that. They also intend for her to marry their son once they reach their destination. Ruthy's not so fond of that idea, or the family, and is looking for an escape when the wagon she's steering gets swept away (don't you just love the title?) from the train. Luke Stone refuses to leave her behind, even if it means hauling her into the middle of his fight to win back his ranch. Both characters, along with the supporting cast, are sure to wiggle their way into your heart.

Ever read a book where you alternated between smiling and biting your nails? Well, if I bit my nails, this would be the book. Fast-paced action mingled with just the right amount of romance and humor will keep you turning pages long after your bedtime, and is sure to leave you with a smile on your face after you've shut down your kindle. Recommended for all historical lovers, and even those who aren't. Give Mary Connealy (the master of "romantic comedies...with cowboys") and Swept Away a chance. You might become a Connealy fan like me.  

Swept Away will be available on March 1st, but you can pre-order it here.

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to NetGalley and Baker Publishing Group/Bethany House for providing me with a free copy in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

TRACKING JUSTICE by Shirlee McCoy ~ My Review

About the book~
In the night, a young boy goes missing from his bedroom. Police detective Austin Black assures desperate single mother Eva Billows that he'll find her son. He has to, so he can put to rest his own harrowing memories. With his search-and-rescue bloodhound, Justice, Austin searches every inch of Sagebrush, Texas. And when Eva insists on helping, Austin can't turn her away. Eva trusts no one, especially police, but this time, Austin-and Justice-won't let her down. 

In my humble opinion~
Have you ever fallen for a guy who turned out to be a liar and nothing but trouble? Eva Billows did, once, but she doesn't intend to make that mistake again. Now a single mother, she vows to give Brady a better life, one that doesn't include a man. Detective Austin Black has his own hangups about relationships after his last breakup and chose to give up dating rather than live with someone's disappointment over missed birthdays and dinners, but he still longs for a family to come home to. 
When someone kidnaps Brady, Austin and his bloodhound, Justice, are called in to work the case. Fierce and protective as a Mama Bear, Austin can't help but fall for Eva.

This book is part of a Love Inspired Suspense continuity series called Texas K-9 Unit. I tend to lose interest in continuities, so typically I don't read them, but I couldn't resist picking up a Shirlee McCoy book. McCoy crafted a well-constructed plot with characters you feel like you've known your entire life. And the romance? Sweet, with just enough conflict to keep you guessing if Eva and Austin will get their happily-ever-after. Clear your evening and curl up on the couch with a strong cup of coffee. You''ll want to read this book straight through to the end. Purchase Link

How do you feel about continuities? 
Do you enjoy reading all of them? Or are you like me and pick out one or two to read?

Disclaimer: A huge thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense for providing a free copy of Tracking Justice in exchange for my fair and unbiased review.

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