Fiction Faith & Foodies

Fiction Faith & Foodies: November 2013

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord,
for he is good; his love endures forever. Ps 106:1 NIV

Isn't it amazing that the Creator of the universe loves us? That He loved us with such a deep, abiding love that He died for us? God is so good, so gracious and merciful.

I pray that my words, whether they pour from my lips or fly across the keyboard, will continually praise the Lord and point others to Him.

Thank you, dear friends, for joining me on this wonderful journey called life. I'm blessed and encouraged by your sweet friendship.

Wishing you a joyous Thanksgiving Day!

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Friday, November 22, 2013


Sugarplum Homecoming
by Linda Goodnight
Nothing relaxes me more after a stressful day than curling up in front of a glowing fireplace with a great book. Sugarplum Homecoming by Linda Goodnight fit the bill this week. Check it out...

About the book:
Widower Davis Turner doesn't need to hear his children's whispered wishes for a new mom to recognize that new neighbor Lana Ross is a beautiful woman. But he worries that his feelings for the former bad girl could put his family at risk for small-town scandal. Lana knows she should steer clear of Davis. Yet she can't resist spending time with the handsome single dad, even if the truth might soon tear them apart. Though Lana has turned over a new leaf, her secrets have followed her to Whisper Falls. Secrets that could destroy her hope for a future with Davis.

My thoughts:

"The jig was up. She'd prayed to get settled before her tainted past charged in with all guns blazing. Apparently, God, Who'd brought her this far, expected her to face her fears head-on."

Sugarplum Homecoming features a reformed bad girl, and I enjoyed the twist from the typical bad-boy hero in most inspy's. Lana has returned to Whisper Falls hoping to give Sydney a stable home, but she worries that the small town won't let the past stay there. And Davis? Considering his children's welfare, the single dad's not all that happy Lana moved into his neighborhood. And he definitely doesn't welcome the tug of attraction to the beautiful singer, the one that left his small town, hoping to make it big in Nashville. But she's changed.

"You're not Lana Ross, the drunk party girl. You're Lana Ross, child of the Most High, cleansed by a sacrifice far greater than singing in front of hundreds of people."

Don't you just love that? You see, Lana suffered from stage fright, believing that the only way she'd been able to sing on stage in front of an audience was after downing a bottle of gin. When an opportunity arises to raise money for a surgery that Davis's nephew needs, she must decide if God is bigger than her fears.

Sugarplum Homecoming is a fast read, the perfect size to curl up with on a lazy evening after holiday shopping or a stressful day on the job. The plot's not too complicated, and the gentle message warms you all the way to your tummy. In one word, relaxing. :)

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Harlequin Love Inspired and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of Sugarplum Homecoming. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I received no compensation.

What about you? How do you relax during the holidays?
What book have you relaxed with recently?
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Friday, November 15, 2013

Just Call Me QUIRKY...

As in... 

  • On those rare occasions when I visit the mall, I walk on the right side because walking on the left feels like swimming upstream. 

  • I open and lock the door leading to the garage at least twice every night before going to bed. Please tell me I'm not the only one here that does this, right?

  • I drink my coffee before and after breakfast, not during, and I like it burning hot. 

  • I keep hard copies of my calendar and Christmas lists for years. Not that I ever go back and look at them... 

  • I prefer to eat out for lunch, rather than dinner. 

  • Anybody else always shower and dress before leaving your bedroom in the morning? What's the point of having a robe? 

  • OK. Admit it. Do you always park in the same general area when you shop at the grocery or department store?

  • If something's out of place in our house, it will bug me until I fix it. Or until hubby does.

  • My cool threshold is rather high. We have three windows in our bedroom, and when autumn finally rolls around, the windows stay cracked open until the temperature drops below 30 degrees. Hubby has learned to dress for bed in layers.

  • I eat the same thing for breakfast until I tire of it. Then I switch to something else.
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"For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well."
Psalm 139:13-14 NIV

Well, that settles it. God is the Master Designer.
And He made me...

What about you? 
Do you ever try to be different than God intended? How does that work out for you?
Do you see yourself here? In one word, how would you describe yourself?

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Friday, November 8, 2013


Can you believe that we're well into November already? Sheesh! Sneeze, and the holiday season will be upon us and we'll be staring at this. 
Our Christmas tree last year
Nice, huh? But do you notice the pressure beginning to mount right about now? A lump that slides down your throat? Or a slight catch in your breath?

Yeah, me, too. Writing deadlines. Thinking of perfect gift ideas. Venturing out among the swarm of holiday shoppers and fighting traffic (I don't do traffic well). Holiday parties. Baking. Cleaning the house...

You fill in the blank for your family. The never ending to-do list is enough to make a person want to crawl back under the covers and hide until the season's over. Right?

He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, 
whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Isaiah 26:3 TLB

I kind of lose my balance on those days that I miss my sweet communion with Him, don't you? I firmly believe that God knows how much I miss worshiping at His feet, and He gives me simple pleasures to dwell on His goodness throughout the day. Like these:

The soothing sound of a fountain or the peacefulness of a quick walk around the park

A comforting cup of hot chocolate

Warm, fuzzy slippers

A perfect, North Carolina blue sky

Crazy animal antics

A hug or smile from one of these sweeties

Simple pleasures that mean so much. Simple pleasures that take my mind off of insignificant details and the busyness of the season, and help me focus on Him and His love for us. 

What are the simple pleasures God plants in your path every day?
How do you destress during the holidays?

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Have you read THE HOUSE ON MAIN STREET by Shirlee McCoy?

The House on Main Street
Purchase Link
Just a heads up that this review isn't for an inspy romance, even though it was written by Shirlee McCoy, one of my favorite Love Inspired Suspense authors. The House on Main Street is her first contemporary romance with Kensington Books.

About the book~
In Apple Valley, Washington, friends are always near, neighbors have no secrets—even if they’d like to—and long-held wishes have a way of coming true…
Interior designer Tessa McKenzie has built a good life far from her Washington hometown. She intends to get back to it—as soon as she sells the cluttered Victorian house and antiques shop she inherited from her sister, Emily. But leaving Apple Valley a second time won’t be so easy. There’s her grieving nephew, Alex, to consider. And there’s Sheriff Cade Cunningham, the adolescent crush who could easily break her heart again if she let him.
To Cade, Tessa was simply his high school sweetheart’s kid sister. But now there’s no denying she’s a beautiful and caring grown woman, one he’d like to get to know. Except that Tessa is determined to leave again. If Cade wants to change her mind, he’ll have to show her that small-town life has its lovable side—and that he does too. Most of all, he’ll have to convince Tess they’re good together, and that every step has led her right where she was always meant to be…

Sharing my thoughts~
Tessa's secret crush on Cade led her to bolt for the East Coast when Cade announced he was marrying her sister. Although that marriage never materialized, Tessa stuck it out in Annapolis and created a new life while Cade stayed in Apple Valley and became the sheriff he'd always said he was going to be. Back in town only to clear out the house after her sister's death, Tessa's now the guardian of her special needs nephew and a crazy aunt. I liked the quirkiness of all the characters, especially Aunt Gertrude. 

"Perched on a rickety stool a couple of feet away, a cigarette dangling from between her fingers and a Santa hat on her head, she looked like an ancient Christmas elf with an attitude."

McCoy does a fantastic job creating the setting and small town drama of Apple Valley. I felt as if I trudged beside Tessa and Cade down a snow kissed Main Street. I could hear the hush fall over the tiny chapel as Alex poured out his heart on the piano, and then the sniffles of all the blue-headed ladies. I could even imagine the junky yard that separated Tess from her neighbor's. Apple Valley seems to grow on Tessa, too.

"People sniffed and sobbed, and Tess was pretty sure someone snapped a photo. No doubt they'd be on the front page of the morning newspaper, but she didn't mind. In Apple Valley people cared about the little things, the quiet things, the things that were easy to miss if one didn't look carefully enough."

Initially, Tessa was angry that her sister had left her another mess to clean up. Tessa worked through the whole range of emotions, from anger to grief, and finally to acceptance of her new family unit. I appreciate how this story prompted me to delve deeper into relationships, specifically within my own family. And why does it take someone dying to make us realize how special they are? To yearn for one more day?

I'm a long-time fan of Shirlee McCoy's Love Inspired Suspense books, so when I found out she was writing a series for Kensington Books, I was curious about how her writing style would vary. 

I would have enjoyed this book more without the colorful language. I appreciated that it didn't contain any graphic bedroom scenes and that the "heat" level didn't require a loss of clothes. Actually, the higher intensity made the characters and the story seem much more realistic to me. :)

Overall, if you're looking for an emotional journey with a satisfying ending, McCoy delivers big time!

Disclaimer: Sending a big thank you to Kensington Books and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy of The House on Main Street. The opinions expressed here are my own, and I received no compensation.

What heat level do you prefer in your romance reads?
Do you drop a book because of the foul language?

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hog Happnin BBQ and Craft Festival ~TODAY!

Picture compliments of Bing, not the actual event
I'll be participating in my first ever CRAFT show! If you live near Shelby, NC, stop by the Hog Happnin festival today, (Saturday, 11/2) from 9-4. There's a lot going on, including a Car & Cycle Show, Arts & Crafts and what else? BBQ! 

Hubby will be judging for the KCBS Sanctioned BBQ Competition, and you can find me under the Heart Racing, God-Gracing Romance Author banner! Come on out for fun, BBQ, and maybe find some awesome Christmas gifts! > Shelby City Park, 850 W Sumter St, Shelby, NC.

Hope to see you there! 

What are your plans for the weekend?

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Friday, November 1, 2013

Have you read FOR LOVE OR LOYALTY by Jennifer Hudson Taylor?

Purchase Link
For Love or Loyalty ~Book 1
One conquest could destroy her, but avenge his family.
Scotland to Carolina, 1760

For Love or Loyalty is the story of a highlander seeking revenge, but when the bargaining price becomes too great of a moral sacrifice, he must find a way to reverse his deeds and save the woman he loves.

Malcolm MacGregor vows to free his family and exact revenge against Duncan Campbell. When the opportunity arises, Malcolm decides to use Duncan’s daughter as the bargaining price. Lauren Campbell is the perfect answer, until she begins chipping away at the bitterness in Malcolm’s heart and changing everything. Her bold faith and forgiveness ignites guilt he would rather avoid and a love he doesn't deserve.

Lauren Campbell never expected to discover such a caring and protective man behind the façade of Malcolm MacGregor’s fierce reputation. When they arrive in America, things turn against them, and Lauren finds herself in a fate worse than death. Now Malcolm has the dilemma of freeing the rest of his family or rescuing Lauren, but time is short and with little means, he needs a miracle. 

Sharing my thoughts~

"I shall get revenge for our family an' the whole MacGregor Clan. The Campbells have wronged us for two centuries."

Revenge is an age old plot driver, but Hudson Taylor breathes fresh life into it. And she does it sooo well. Exciting conflict rages through the start of this book. The Campbells have always treated the MacGregor clan as unworthy peasants, but this last atrocity sends Malcolm to the Carolinas, bent on exacting revenge while he attempts to rescue his family. Even while revenge and conflict ravages his heart, he makes an appealing hero, and I can totally see why Lauren falls for him.

Don't let the Scottish brogue stop you from picking up this book. After a few minutes, reading it becomes easy and comfortable, but that's not so with other elements of the book. Many times I found my fingers clenching the arms of my recliner, especially during a particularly intense predicament Lauren found herself in. Normally rock-solid in her faith, Lauren questioned why God left her in that awful spot, a reaction I think most of us can relate to.

"Lord, please have mercy on us, " Lauren whispered.

"I see ye're on speaking terms with God again." Malcolm rubbed his chin as he continued to stare at their company.

How could he tease her at a moment like this? 
"I have always been on speaking terms with God, especially now." Lauren wrung her hands together and took a deep breath to ease her trembling. She feared her ribs would soon start aching again. "God and I just had a few weeks of silence. "'Tis now over."

Just loved that excerpt! While For Love or Loyalty is a historical, I believe readers of all romance sub-genres will enjoy it as much as I did. Fraught with excitement and danger, bursting with sweet romance, and a promise of two more yummy books in the series, you'll want to scoop this one up fast!

Disclaimer: Sending a huge thank you to Upon the Rock Publishing and Jennifer Hudson Taylor for providing me with an advance review copy of For Love or Loyalty. This review is my opinion, and I received no compensation.

Have you read For Love or Loyalty?
What are your thoughts?
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