Monday, July 18, 2011

Deception Pass, by Vanessa Tyler (OakTara)

Deception Pass is a gently written tale of acceptance and grace. Set on Whidbey Island, tucked into Washington State's Puget Sound, we follow newcomer Calla Livingston who has come to tutor the children of a prominent family of the island--until it's discovered that she's half Cherokee, half white.

A tumultuous past between the white settlers and the native Indians of Whidbey Island leaves her ostracized by both sides as a 'half-breed'. Now jobless, and with no prospect of fitting into society, Calla is determined to return back East to her widowed father. Accepting a kind gentleman's offer to live on his property and keep house for him, while earning her return fare sewing for a local seamstress, Calla begins to settle into life on the island.

Time softens her resolve to leave, as does her encounter with the elusive Aaron Dutch, a native who had been adopted into the family of a local lumber merchant. Secrets in his past and uncertainty in her future jostle their blossoming relationship, until it begins to crumble when Aaron is suddenly accused of murder. Does she follow her heart, or heed the warnings of what seems to be a condemning array of evidence mounting against this enigmatic and troubled young man?

The answer lies in the pages of Deception Pass, not on this blog.

Note: OakTara provided a free copy of this book for review.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

No Child of Mine, by Kelly Irvin (Five Star Publishing)

The perfect sequel to A Deadly Wilderness.

Ms. Irvin takes us once again to the the stark outskirts of San Antonio, Texas, where an unforgiving wilderness hides a horrible secret--one that history now threatens to repeat.

Discovery of a shallow grave containing the remains of a five-year-old murder launches a team of homicide detectives and a deputy sheriff on a manhunt for the perpetrator. A simultaneous kidnapping splits the team's efforts between bringing to justice the murderer and the kidnapper. Their quandry: how to prioritize their time between the case of a living victim and a dead one. Seems like a simple answer, save the niggling uneasiness among the lawmen that the two crimes may well be related. For both of them involve young children.

Intense personal issues, as well as awkward professional and interpersonal relations, among the team's members complicate the intertwined investigations. And hovering over these issues is the lingering promise of faith and the consequences of denying it.

Ms. Irvin ramps up the tension at a measured pace until the pedal is against the metal and you best not let go of the steering wheel. If it reaches that point while you're settling down for a little bedtime reading, as it did for me, plan on a late night. It's just going to happen.

As the cover image implies, this is an advance reader's copy. No Child of Mine is due for release in August 2011. Glad I got a sneak preview.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

TV Interview for "Katia"

My TV interview about "Katia" is playing today and tomorrow at Click on The Authors TV Show link in red font at the top of the home page. Kinda fun! Hope you'll take a look.

Monday, July 11, 2011

For Time and Eternity, by Allison Pittman (Tyndale House)

Allison Pittman is another gifted author who has no need of a review from me. But I'm writing one because I really just need to. Don't ask me why.

Ms. Pittman tackles a subject only a motivated and knowledgeable writer can handle well: Mormonism and Christianity. More people have gut-level reactions than erudite opinions on the subject, and I was among them until I read this book.

 For Time and Eternity is gutsy, fair, and extremely well written--oh, and don't forget entertaining. That's probably why it's a 2011 Christy Award finalist. It's neither a treatise nor an exposé, but rather a heart-gripping and heart-warming story of culture and faith, but mostly love.

Camilla Deardon is a Christian girl growing up in an austere pioneer environment--an environment that lends its austerity to the Christian instruction she receives from her stalwart mother, and enforced by her strict father. A Mormon encampment abuts their property, providing her the opportunity to observe from a distance their orderly and devout ways. It also provides her the opportunity to meet Nathan Fox, a young orphaned man rescued by a Mormon preacher from the streets back East with his sister Rachel. Mormonism's emphasis on community and familial love envelopes Nathan, he adopts the Prophet's teachings wholeheartedly, and is on his way to the new Zion at the shores of The Great Salt Lake.

A series of events thrusts Camilla into Nathan's arms and into the Mormon community, and she leaves her family and cleaves to her new love. Nathan's and Camilla's young family flourishes in the close community...until. It's the "until" that turns the heart-warming into the heart-gripping.

Ms. Pittman bestows on the reader more than insight into the early Mormon culture, more than a love story in search of a happy ending, but also an honest portrayal of a clash of faiths that engenders the gut-level reaction. Happily, it converts that reaction to the erudite opinion in an honest appeal to both the mind and the heart.

For Time and Eternity is the first in the Sister-Bride series. The ending of the book will have you tapping your fingers on the table waiting for the sequel.