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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth

This week, the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing Daisy Chain (Zondervan, March 1, 2009) by Mary DeMuth.

About the Author

Mary E. DeMuth is an expert in Pioneer Parenting. She enables Christian parents to navigate our changing culture when their families left no good faith examples to follow.

Her parenting books include Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture (Harvest House, 2007), Building the Christian Family You Never Had (WaterBrook, 2006), and Ordinary Mom, Extraordinary God (Harvest House, 2005).

Mary also inspires people to face their trials through her real-to-life novels Watching the Tree Limbs (nominated for a Christy Award) and Wishing on Dandelions (NavPress, 2006).

Mary has spoken at Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, the ACFW Conference, the Colorado Christian Writers Conference, and at various churches and church planting ministries. Mary and her husband, Patrick, reside in Texas with their three children. They recently returned from breaking new spiritual ground in Southern France and planting a church.

About the Book

The abrupt disappearance of young Daisy Chance from a small Texas town in 1973 spins three lives out of control—Jed, whose guilt over not protecting his friend Daisy strangles him; Emory Chance, who blames her own choices for her daughter’s demise; and Ouisie Pepper, who is plagued by headaches while pierced by the shattered pieces of a family in crisis.

In this first book in the Defiance, Texas Trilogy, fourteen-year-old Jed Pepper has a sickening secret: He’s convinced it’s his fault his best friend Daisy went missing. Jed’s pain sends him on a quest for answers to mysteries woven through the fabric of his own life and the lives of the families of Defiance, Texas. When he finally confronts the terrible truths he’s been denying all his life, Jed must choose between rebellion and love, anger and freedom.

Daisy Chain is an achingly beautiful southern coming-of-age story crafted by a bright new literary talent. It offers a haunting yet hopeful backdrop for human depravity and beauty, for terrible secrets and God’s surprising redemption.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Daisy Chain, go HERE.

My Review

Oh my! Mary DeMuth knows how to write. This is the first novel I've read by her, and I'm enthralled by her way with words. I'm only half way through the novel, though, so I'll have to finish this later with a full review. In a nutshell: Daisy has mysteriously vanished, and Jed wants to find her. Wonderful writing style. Interesting characters. Good presentation of setting and time period.

A few things about the novel make me uneasy. Sometimes DeMuth uses words normally reserved for profanity, and I'm left debating whether someone just swore. That's rather distracting for a reader who isn't used to seeing words used like that in a Christian novel. My other uneasiness comes from what seems to be a rather stereotypical treatment of Hap, Jed's dad. He's the preacher who is righteous in the pulpit but beats his kids when nobody's looking. A rather unsympathetic, dictator-type character who has no redeeming qualities. I'm having flashbacks to The Poisonwood Bible. I certainly hope that Hap gets a chance to change and show his good side by the end. I also hope that Jed finds a personal relationship with Christ because so far he isn't showing much depth of faith. And his bitterness toward his dad, while understandable, is disturbing. I'm assuming that he'll change by the end of the story. Other than these nitpicks, I'm enjoying this one. This is no easy, light-hearted read. DeMuth is clearly going after some serious, heavy issues. I'll write more later.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Fatal Illusions Available for Pre-Order at Alma Mater Bookstore

The campus bookstore book buyer of my alma mater, Bob Jones University (where I graduated in 1991 with a BA in print journalism), recently contacted me with exciting news. He is interested in the release of Fatal Illusions and plans to sell the novel at the campus bookstore. Here’s a link to the novel at the campus bookstore Web site, where customers can pre-order it at a special rate of $10.50 (not including shipping and handling).

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Cry in the Night by Colleen Coble

This week the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance is introducing A Cry in the Night (Thomas Nelson) by Colleen Coble.

About the Author

Author Colleen Coble's thirty novels and novellas have won or been finalists in awards ranging from the Romance Writers of America prestigious RITA award, the Holt Medallion, the ACFW Book of the Year, the Daphne du Maurier, the National Readers' Choice, and the Booksellers Best awards. She writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail and love begin with a happy ending.

About the Book

The highly anticipated novel that delivers what romantic suspense fans have long awaited-the return to Rock Harbor. Bree Nichols gets the shock of her life when her husband-presumed dead-reappears.

Bree Nichols and her search and rescue dog Samson discover a crying infant in the densely forested woods outside of Rock Harbor, Michigan. Against objections from her husband, Kade, who knows she'll become attached, Bree takes the baby in. Quickly she begins a search for the mother-presumably the woman reported missing just days earlier.

While teams scour the forests, Bree ferrets out clues about the missing woman. But she soon discovers something more shocking: Bree's former husband-long presumed dead in a plane crash-resurfaces. Is he really who he says he is? And should she trust him again after all these years?

An engaging, romantic suspense novel from critically acclaimed author Colleen Coble.

If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.

My Review

This was a fun, basic read. I had read several in this series and was happy to see a new one coming out. This is a conventional mystery that thankfully was rather subdued in the romance area. There are several mysterious deaths, and someone is stealing babies. I love Coble's writing style, and she does a great job at weaving her plot and revealing secrets at just the right time. Her setting is also easy to picture. Since I live in Michigan's U.P., you can bet that I could see her setting well. Yes, we do get THAT much snow. I guess I live too far away from the Keewenaw Peninsula though because I've never seen any town in the U.P. like the one (filled with ethnic foods and culture) she describes.

I must confess that I'm somewhat bewildered by the marketing of this book. The fact that Bree's first husband comes back, in my opinion, should have been a carefully guarded secret. Yet I read several promos revealing this info long before I read the book, so I was in for a letdown because I already knew the punchline. I'm not sure why some promos revealed her husband coming back and others didn't. Even the promo text above gives too much away, I think. I'm puzzled as to why any promo text would give away something so important to the plot. Maybe it's just me.

All in all, this was a fun, easy read. There's nothing groundbreaking, though, and the premise seemed to be something I've read numerous times before. Those nitpicks aside, this is an enjoyable read for any mystery fan. Coble doesn't disappoint, and this installment in the Rock Harbor series is a treat.