April 29, 2011

Deep Trouble by Mary Connealy

Deep Trouble
Mary Connealy brands us with another hootin' and hollerin' romance, making us squeal for more. Deep Trouble is a story about Gabe Lasley, a wandering cowboy intent on forgetting his love for a married woman, and Shannon Dysart, an adventuress looking for a city of gold to honor her father's name.

Right from the start, Connealy takes us on a fast paced, grand adventure. I say that tongue-in-cheek because a good portion of this story takes place in the Grand Canyon. The majestic beauty of the setting is brought to life as Shannon and Gabe travel into the heart of the canyon, in search of a lost city of gold. Due to unusual circumstances, they are accompanied by a grumbling preacher and a Dineh (Navajo) Indian couple who make the journey extremely interesting.

It isn't long before they realize they are being hunted by a group of greedy gold diggers who know about Shannon's treasure map and want it for themselves. In a race for the gold through a dangerous, stifling hot land, Shannon and Gabe's feelings for each other grow...though they are obviously attracted to each other from the very first. (Way to go, Mary!)

Adding to the drama and tension, Connealy brings in Shannon's intended groom from out East. He's come to take her home and make her settle down with him. Connealy also brings in Gabe's brother, who brings his sister-in-law (who has a crush on Gabe). They know Gabe's in some kind of trouble and come to help him out. Add those characters in the mix and you get a wild and crazy ride.

There is so much tension and action in this book, it kept me turning the page until the very end. Connealy has a knack for opening strong and ending each chapter with a hook that won't let go. Her romance is sizzling and the humor is uber-Connealy-funny. I loved it!

This book is due out on Monday, May 1. Don't miss it!

*I received a galley copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

April 27, 2011

The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus

I loved The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus. I mean, I really loved it. I read a lot of books, but this book was one of those that I kept thinking about after I turned the last page. I loved it because the characters were real and I was able to forget I was reading and just live in the story world. When a book can transport me like that...well, that makes it a five-star read for me.

Here's the back cover copy:

Sassy Evans and Perty Bradley are determined to get their older grandchildren married off, but when twenty-eight-year-old Dylan comes home after being fired from his teaching position because of the betrayal of his ex-girlfriend, Perty knows her grandson has more important issues to deal with.

Sassy understands her friend's issues with timing, but she also sees so many ways in which Dylan would be the perfect match for her thirty-four-year-old granddaughter Caylor. With his record of acclaimed paintings and Caylor's best selling novels, they could compliment each other's talents and provide each other support and encouragement. And there's no denying the spark of attraction between the English professor with the untamed red hair and the painter with the unusual tattoos.

But neither grandmother realizes the secrets both Caylor and Dylan are keeping from each other. Will pain and embarrassment from the past keep Caylor and Dylan apart, or will the develop the courage to be truthful with each other and discover the true art of romance?

My thoughts:

I loved the theme of forgiveness and acceptance throughout the book. Dylan had some issues in his past that had him building up walls, struggling to forgive himself for things done. The author made Dylan so real to me that my heart just ached for him. I wanted to help enfold him into God's peace and give him assurance that  God knows and accepts him no matter what. It was beautiful to see his gradual acceptance of himself.

Caylor was a unique character in looks and had a great personality. Extremely tall and self-assured, she seemed to radiate life and confidence. I think the thing I liked about Caylor was her acceptance. While she longed for romance in her life, she accepted her place helping care for her grandmother. She was accepting of others whose lifestyle was  unlike her own. She was accepting of other's faults and past life, choosing to see them as God's handiwork...a work in progress.

I think Kaye Dacus does such a great job with character building. She weaves in dialogue that gives us such a sense of who the characters are without telling us about them. The romantic tension is tangible and made my heart skip a bit in places. She has created a great cast of secondary characters that adds depth and texture to the story. There's the grandmothers, the friends, Dylan's brothers, his mom and dad, and then some coworkers. I think one of my favorite scenes is with Dylan and his brothers. Their camaraderie made my heart smile and had me wondering if there might be a future series planned with them.


One of the unique things about the book is the seven year age difference between Caylor and Dylan...with Caylor being the older one. You don't see that often and I love how Kaye made it seem natural. You are aware of it, but it never seems awkward.

Anyone whose heart longs for others to find healing from their past will enjoy reading this compelling story. The Art of Romance is full of hope and longing fulfilled. It is a story of the bloom of love in the midst of healing and discovery.

The Art of Romance is a keeper and I can't say enough good things about it. So far it's my favorite of Kaye Dacus's library of work. It is set to release May 1, so order your copy now!

You can connect with Kaye Dacus here:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
TWITTER

To learn more about Kaye Dacus's books and where to find them go HERE.

*I was provided a digital copy of The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus , published by Barbour Books through Netgalley. The opinions expressed are my own and I was not obligated to write a positive review .

April 26, 2011

Naming Your Characters

I'm talking about the importance of naming your characters correctly at The Writer's Alley today. Stop by and share your most unique character names.

April 25, 2011

The Afterglow

Today there is a glow. A glow from a day celebrating my Lord's resurrection. There is a special warmth and energy that comes from Easter Sunday; people wearing their finery, families reuniting, smiles and laughter abounding. The preacher delivers an inspiring message, the songs sung are full of joy, and communion takes on special meaning. We ride the high, coming home to food, family, and egg hunts, and our hearts are full of peace and love.

What I love is the Monday Afterglow. The small stirring of hope and expectancy that lingers like a mist caressing the landscape on a cool morning. It's almost as if life becomes luminous, taking on a sheen of viability--strong and tangible. It's as if God's finger leaves its imprint in every moment of my day. It makes me feel close to God and makes me want to live on purpose...with passion.

I love the afterglow of Easter.

What do you love best about Easter?

**If the comment section isn't working, you can tweet me a comment, if you like. http://twitter.com/sherrinda

April 18, 2011

Disconnected

I've been forced offline and I'm having some withdrawals. The power cord to my laptop got chewed up by my dog. (He's okay, btw.) But being the cheap people that we are, we ordered one online for just a fraction of the cost of one in the store. BUT...I have to wait. I am expecting it Tuesday.

Annnd, my phone has quirked out on me. I can receive calls, but the touch screen doesn't do a thing. Nada. Zip. So I am going to Best Buy tomorrow and get me a phone. It is amazing how accustomed we become to being connected. I hate knowing I cannot get a hold of my kids immediately. I hate knowing they can't call me.

And being away from my online friends....well, I miss you all. It is funny, but my first thought was that I will have more time to write. Silly me. My computer still doesn't have power. I can't access my WIP, because I haven't saved it on my zip drive yet. Silly me. Really....silly, silly me. (What if it is not my power cord and my computer can't be opened up????)

So this post is a bunch of nothing. Just me enjoying my hubby's computer and going through my 122 emails and saying hi to my friends.  Now I will go back to reading some good books.

What do you do when you get disconnected from your gadgets?

April 11, 2011

Affirmation Station

I got a phone call Friday. I was away from my desk at the elementary school office where I work when I heard my cell phone ring. I ran to my desk and looked at the number. Long distance with no name. Since I only had one bar of "signal", I ran out of the office and out the front doors, praying I'd get to answer before it quit ringing. Success! It was the Genesis Historical Romance Contest Coordinator calling to let me know I was a semi-finalist.

I squealed before she got finished. Kinda embarrassing. I even jumped into the air, which would have been really embarrassing if a parent had showed up and seen my display. But that would have been okay. Celebrating is a good thing. But the best thing about a contest win is the affirmation.

Affirmation: The assertion that something exists or is true.

So often we question our calling to write. Are we real writers? Do we have what it takes? Is what we put on paper drivel? Are we like those American Idol contestants who think they can sing, but really can't? 


But really, we don't need a contest win to tell us we are on the right track. God is our Affirmation Station. He is the one we get our worth from. He is the one whose opinion really matters. If He has called you, He will send you little affirmations along the way...


You get a note in the mail from an online friend, encouraging you in your writing. Someone leaves a comment on your blog, thanking you for what you had to say that day. You finish a chapter and feel God's pleasure in it--you know it is good. 


While a contest win is great affirmation, it's not the ultimate affirmation. Judging is subjective and the next round of judges may hate my writing. You just never know.  Many go on to make the SALE without finaling in a contest. Katie Ganshert's post today speaks of this very thing.  


For those of you who didn't final, check out The Writer's Alley for some  Post-Contest Blues C.H.O.C.O.L.A.T.E.


And for those of you who did final, check out tomorrow's post at The Writer's Alley for a tongue-in-cheek checklist for celebrating your semi-final.


How have you been affirmed lately? It doesn't have to be writing related!   

April 05, 2011

Final Four Widow



I've been a Final Four Widow since Friday. My husband's brother got 5 tickets to the Final Four Competition and he took his father, two brothers (my husband is one), and his son. The package included the two games Saturday night, days at the Bracket World (not sure what that is...games, previews, things to do, etc), and then of course, the big Championship game last night.

So what have I done? I went out Friday night with my female inlaws/FF widows! We rode the train to downtown Dallas (West End) and ate at a nice steak house called The Butcher Shop. Saturday I woke up at 9 a.m., watched a movie in bed, went and got a pedicure, shopped for prom dresses with my daughter, then watched a movie in bed.

Now, here's the bad... I got in my car at 7:45 a.m. Sunday morning to go to singing practice and my car was dead. Yep. So I went inside, woke up my "happy" teens, and made them take me to practice. I tried to jump it, but couldn't find where to open up the hood to my daughter's car! Grrr... Then today, my daughter calls me right before 4 p.m. saying that there were tons of bugs crawling out of the vent in the bathroom.

Sigh....

I have never been more glad to just be renting, because when I got home and looked at the bugs, I knew they were termites. Ugh...they were coming out the bathroom vent and the vent in the living room. When I got to looking around, there were those little dirt clods (evidence of termites) on the wall in the hall, the hall bathroom, my bathroom and my closet! I found some raid and sprayed ALL the vents and got to cleaning. So far, I they aren't coming out anymore.

I'm thankful my husband has had such a great time, but he's got his work cut out for him once he gets home!

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