Monday, May 30, 2016

Review and Interview: The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch by Patrick E. Craig

I was very happy to get a chance to read another book by Patrick E. Craig.  This book was focused on teen readers and I believe it will be a good read for this age group.  Despite that fact, I found it intriguing and it held my attention throughout.  I love a good mystery and this also involved another topic I am most fond of, that of genealogy and family.  I loved it how it shared a family history that the two cousins in the book grasped and enjoyed.  History is fascinating and family history is wonderful.

The theme of the story brought in love of family, love of home and love of Christ.  There was a definite Christian theme and I liked seeing that as these days, so many influences are taking people in the other direction.  I believe books such as this one show that there is no shame in knowing what our beliefs are and that with Christ all things are possible.

The story theme of the Indian heritage of the family and the secrets that were hidden keep you turning pages till the end.  I enjoyed it very much and will definitely have my granddaughter read this.

You can get a copy of this book at the following link.

I received a paperback book copy from the author for my honest review.

And I am lucky enough to introduce you to the author, Patrick E. Craig.

Patrick, welcome to my blog.  We would love to find out a little bit about your book and about you. I am so happy that you have shared your thoughts!

What inspired you to write this book?

The two girls, Hannah and Jacie, are modeled after my two oldest granddaughters, Hannah and Jacie. We have called them Boo and Punkin since they were babies. The writing of The Mystery of Ghost Dancer Ranch came about through an interesting set of circumstances that i detail in the preface of the book. One night I had a dream in which a favorite Aunt who had always encouraged my writing appeared in my dream and, with that well-remembered stern look in her eye, pointed her finger at me and said, "You write!" The next morning, as I was reading the local paper, I noticed an ad in the classifieds: "For Sale, The Ghost Dancer Ranch." The whole story literally came to me in that moment and I set about to write it the next day. I have always been a fan of the Hardy Boy mysteries and in fact have sixty-eight of the Hardy Boy books in my library. As I cast about for a series title, The Adventures of Punkin and Boo popped into my head and so the series was born.

Will there be more Boo and Punkin mysteries?

Oh yes! The second book, The Lost Coast, is already written and I hope to have it out in time for Christmas. Following that will come many more; The Hidden Gate, The Chinese Grave, The Mystery of Spiderweb Canyon, The Lookout on Fire Mountain, and a whole bunch more that I have already put into my upcoming projects folder. In fact I have little scraps of paper stuck in my Bible and in my desk with notes on title ideas that I have to collect, thanks for reminding me.

I saw many scriptural references throughout this book.  Tell us about how that came to be.

I put the scriptures in because there is incredible wisdom in the Word of God and the Bible, whether people want to admit it or not, has the power to change people's lives. I became a Christian in 1984. Since then I have watched our world turn further and further away from the God who created us. Kids today live in a society that has no moral guidelines except to do what feels good and to accept everybody and everything, no matter how they live their lives. I hope that enough kids will read these books that even if they have no upbringing in Christianity, they might start asking the questions that will give them the kind of answers that will help them build a moral compass they can pin their lives on.

This was a very historical type of book.  Did it require lots of research?

Yes and thank goodness for Google! I've always been a history fan, especially American history so doing the research on this one was very interesting. I've always thought that the American Indians got a raw deal from the U.S. Government in many ways. The horse cultures of the great plains were magnificent in their simplicity and nobility and I hope I put some positive light on that for kids in this book. I'm currently writing a book set in Pennsylvania and the Ohio territory in the 1700s called The Amish Princess. In researching the book I found that William Penn was very honest with the Indians when he bought land from them in the late 1600s but his descendants were less than honorable when they took the historical homeland of the Delaware Indians away and drove them west. You can read about that when the book comes out in September.

What is your favorite genre to write about?

As you know, I am one of about seven men who write Amish fiction, but it is not necessarily a genre I would of chosen had it not been for a dare from Nick Harrison, my editor at Harvest House. I love writing about the Amish but I don't write light-hearted romances where everything turns out great just because the protagonist is Amish. I believe that everyone faces desperate situations in their life, even the Amish, and I write about those. My current editor, Lindsay Franklin, calls my books Amish Plus. And I am grateful for the opportunity to have been published by a wonderful company like Harvest House. The Apple Creek Dreams series helped me build a very loyal fan base that carried over into The Paradise Chronicles series, but I would definitely like to expand into Westerns, Suspense/Thrillers, more kids mysteries and even some Sci-fi. We'll see what the future brings.

What other things are you currently working on?

Well, I have The Amish Princess, book two in The Paradise Chronicles series coming out in the fall and I hope to release The Lost Coast, book two in The Adventures of Punkin and Boo by Christmas and a third one, The Hidden Gate, is slated for next year. I have a non-fiction book coming out called "Cracking The Indie Egg - Five Steps to Publishing Your Own Book" that I'm working on right now that will be an online course for ACFW in June, and then I have a series of vignettes from my life in the roaring 60s that I'm also writing as posts on Throw-Back Thursday on Facebook. And there are several more in my folder. So I'm a busy guy.
Thanks so much for sharing your time with us, Patrick.  It was a pleasure to feature you on my blog!  I am sure my readers are happy that they have gotten to know you better!

Author bio:

Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984.  He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States.  He is also the author of a Quilt For Jenna, The Road Home, Jenny's Choice and The Amish Heiress.  Patrick is represented by the Steve Laube Agency.  He and his wife Judy make their home in Idaho and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

A Love Undone by Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall has always been one of my favorite Amish authors.  And this book did not disappoint.  As I saw the feelings of love develop between Jolene and Andy and then read why they could not be together, it was  a sad story.  It was sad to see how the rumors worked to bring sadness, worry and grief to a couple that seemed to do nothing not to deserve anything less than a happy ending.

Jolene has raised her siblings because of the death of her parent's.  She meets Andy who works with rescued horses and whose wife left him and their son.   He is given the term "grass" widower.  This was a new expression for me that I found interesting.  The book draws you in and you become acquainted with her family and her old Amish community.

I really enjoyed this book and was happy that I had an opportunity to read it.  I received a copy from NetGalley for review.

You can get your copy at the following link.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Chat with Vera: National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017 [Review & Gi...

Chat with Vera: National Geographic Kids Almanac 2017 [Review & Gi...: ISBN-13:  978-1426324178 Ages 8-12 - Grades 3-7 Pages 352 My children grew up devouring time and time again issues of National G...

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chat with Vera: Through the Shadows (Golden Gate Chronicles #3) by...

Chat with Vera: Through the Shadows (Golden Gate Chronicles #3) by...: The devastating earthquake is just two years past, but the city of San Francisco is still trying to recover. Destruction of this magnitud...

The Honeybee Sisters! A New Series by Jennifer Beckstrand. Sweet as Honey

I have to say I loved this book, just as I have loved all of Jennifer Beckstrand's Amish books. This book has started me onto another series from which I can honestly say that I don't want to miss a single book!  Jennifer Beckstrand's humorous, yet deeply well thought out books has got me hooked.

Here is a little book blurb:
Smart, kind, and good-hearted, the three Christner girls are affectionately known as The Honeybee Sisters in the beloved Wisconsin Amish community where, under the care of their aunt, they've grown into skilled beekeepers--and lovely, sought-after young women. . .

Though she has blossomed into a beauty, Lily Christner doesn't really believe it. Deep down, she still feels like a lonely, gawky teenager. Maybe that's why she's all but promised herself to Paul Glick, the one boy who never teased her in her awkward girlhood--unlike Dan Kanagy, whose creative name-calling left her in tears many a time. Now he's back in town after two years away--and being surprisingly sweet, suspiciously attentive--and making Lily unsettlingly yet deliciously nervous. It seems Dan wants Lily's forgiveness--and her heart. But can he convince her--not to mention her protective schwesters and aendi--that despite the past, her future lies with him?... 

As I watch the characters grow and learn about life and understanding one another, I have become so fond of them and their sense of humor so carefully crafted by the author.  I know you will love this book as much as I did.  

This book is available for pre-order at this link.  It will be available June 28, 2016 and believe me, you will be hooked on the series from the very start, just as I was!

About the author:   

Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer's Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. Her much-anticipated Amish series, The Honeybee Sisters, will be released Summer of 2016 and promises to create a lot of romantic buzz. 

Jennifer has always been drawn to the strong faith and the enduring family ties of the Plain people and loves writing about the antics of Anna and Felty Helmuth and the Honeybee sisters' Aunt Bitsy. Jennifer has a degree in mathematics and a background in editing. She and her husband have been married for thirty-one years, and she has four daughters, two sons, and four adorable grandchildren, whom she spoils rotten.

Audible book Review: The Missing Heir by Linda Weaver Clarke

I have enjoyed listening to Linda Weaver Clarke's cozy mystery The Missing Heir very much. Linda's Amelia Moore Detective Series have been an enjoyable read for me and I have always been a fan of mysteries.  Again, I enjoyed listening to the narration of Diane Lehman, as she expressively tells the story using interesting voices and with a clear and enjoyable voice.

Having never been to Mexico myself, it was fun to experience Amelia and Rick's journey through a part of this country as they search for the nephew and heir of Dell Murphy, who is missing.  Dell's nephew was expected to continue the work at Dell's orphanage, rather than his brother and sister who would close the orphanage down.  They find many obstacles in their way as they continue their search.  

I really enjoyed book 3 of the series.  Linda's books are very interesting, enjoyable and always a clean read.  I also enjoyed the fact that it was an Audible book that I could easily listen from my Smart phone on my commute to work.  A great way to "read"!

You can find a copy of this version at this link.

About the author:

Linda Weaver Clarke travels throughout the United States, teaching and encouraging people to write their family history and autobiography. She is the mother of six daughters and has several grandchildren. Clarke is the author of an award-winning sweet romance, Melinda and the Wild West, for the "Reviewers Choice Award." She has several historical sweet romances, a mystery/adventure series, and a children's book. She has also written two non-fiction e-books: Reflections of the Heart and Writing Your Family Legacy. All her books are family friendly.

Saving The Marquise's Granddaughter by Carrie Fancett Pagels

I have read many of this author's writings and I would easily say this is probably my favorite!  It is an historical fiction novel of a beautiful woman of nobility whose Huguenot father is arrested and she must escape Versaille.

Johan Rousch, a Palatine peasant, brings her to safety.   This story of seeking refuge, hit a personal chord to me, as I was also a daughter of refugee parents from East Germany.  So these type of events are very close to my heart.  As they attempt to seek passage to the New World, again it duplicates my life but in a different century, of course.  However, as a result, I was totally able to relate to the fears, the emotions and the events of the book.

Ms. Fancett Pagels has a very descriptive way of writing that brings the reader to the feeling that they can totally visualize the setting and feelings that are transpiring in the story.  I really enjoyed the book and am sure you will also.  Being as this book was based upon genealogical research of the author's, I can totally relate as that is what I do professionally.

The book is set to release on June 3, 2016.  You can grab a copy right here!

About the author:
Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., was a psychologist for twenty-five years before becoming a Christian historical romance writer. An award-winning and bestselling author, she's previously published short stories and novellas as well as nonfiction material. Saving the Marquise's Granddaughter was inspired by genealogical research. She lives in the historic triangle of Virginia with her husband of twenty-seven years and their teen son, with an adult daughter nearby.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chat with Vera: Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom series, Book...

Chat with Vera: Anchor in the Storm (Waves of Freedom series, Book...: About the book:  In a time of sacrifice, what price can one put on true love? Nothing slows Lillian Avery down---not her personal chall...

Thursday, May 5, 2016

A Simple Vow by Charlotte Hubbard

Attending a wedding, Edith Riehl, overhears a baby's cry and two men shouting.  Edith goes to comfort the cries of what happens to be twins in an Amish buggy.   As one man accuses the other of fathering the twins with his wife, Asa Detweiler denies any wrong doing.  The now widowed Will leaves his twins in the care of Edith.

This story was a very enjoyable read by Charlotte Hubbard.  I have read several of her books and have enjoyed them all and there was no exception here.

The book has some interesting twists and turns and forgiveness and love of family is one of the key factors in this book.

I'm sure you will love it too!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall

Cindy Woodsmall is one of my favorite Amish authors.  This book was book 2 of the Quilt Amish Series.  It begins after a cliff hanging book 1 and you will want to read the books in order if you can.

After a heart wrenching experience, Hannah feels she needs to go on her own and start over.  Her story is one you will not be able to stop reading until you get to the very end.  I loved this book.