Friday, November 30, 2007

Book Review: "The Guy I'm Not Dating" by Trish Perry

I kissed dating goodbye

Isn't it ironic? Just when Kara decides she's not going to date, the perfect guy comes along and wants to date her! Gabe is everything she wants in a guy: nice, kind, sweet, gorgeous and a Christian. Unfortunately she's not looking to date anyone at the moment. That doesn't stop Gabe from wanting to hang out with her all the time, even to the point of being on a road trip with her from Virginia to Florida. Packed with lots of supporting characters that bring oomph to the story, this take of a non-dater is sure to please the chick lit fan in you.

I have mentioned before how much I love chick lit right? There's just something about reading women my age, going through the same situations I'm in, that makes for a great read. This book fits all those expectations and more. I admired Kara for her no dating policy. It's a different approach for a chick lit book as opposed to all the other stories where the girl tries to get the guy. It was an interesting switch to have the guy want to try to get the girl this time. I felt Kara and Gabe's chemistry was excellent throughout the novel. He seems like a great guy and someone who'd I'd like to date (if I wasn't already attached that is). I also enjoyed Kara's attitude towards Tiffany. I know Christians are supposed to be non-judgmental and be loving, but it is normally not realistic to act happy when someone annoys you. So I was glad to read that while Kara didn't act catty toward Tiffany, she did get annoyed and frustrated at her. It's ok to NOT like someone and still be a Christian.

I will admit, in the beginning of the book, I didn't like Addie at all. Not that I have a problem with elderly folk, but I don't like it when they assume things and push people around to have things done their own way. And then they will use their age as their excuse, and since the rule is to always obey your elders, they will always get their way. So I was frustrated at first with Addie and her meddling. But as the story went on, I grew to like her very much, especially when we meet up with her sister and their adventures together.
I'm also hoping that there will be a book on Jeremy. I love British guys, there's just something about that accent! It makes me just picture him as a Jude Law lookalike. This was a really fun book to read. The characters are all very colorful, the writing fresh and witty, and the story fast paced and a joy to read. Trish Perry has definately made her mark in the Christian chick lit world and it's a definite winner!

The Guy I'm Not Dating by Trish Perry is published by Harvest House (2007)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(WaterBrook Press September 4, 2007)


Jeffrey Overstreet


Jeffrey Overstreet lives in two worlds. By day, he writes about movies at and in notable publications like Christianity Today, Paste, and Image.

His adventures in cinema are chronicled in his book Through a Screen Darkly. By night, he composes new stories found in fictional worlds of his own. Living in Shoreline, Washington, with his wife, Anne, a poet, he is a senior staff writer for Response Magazine at Seattle Pacific University.

Auralia’s Colors is his first novel. He is now hard at work on many new stories, including three more strands of The Auralia Thread.

As a baby, she was found in a footprint.

As a girl, she was raised by thieves in a wilderness where savages lurk.

As a young woman, she will risk her life to save the world with the only secret she knows.

When thieves find an abandoned child lying in a monster’s footprint, they have no idea that their wilderness discovery will change the course of history.

Cloaked in mystery, Auralia grows up among criminals outside the walls of House Abascar, where vicious beastmen lurk in shadow. There, she discovers an unsettling–and forbidden–talent for crafting colors that enchant all who behold them, including Abascar’s hard-hearted king, an exiled wizard, and a prince who keeps dangerous secrets.

Auralia’s gift opens doors from the palace to the dungeons, setting the stage for violent and miraculous change in the great houses of the Expanse.

Auralia’s Colors weaves literary fantasy together with poetic prose, a suspenseful plot, adrenaline-rush action, and unpredictable characters sure to enthrall ambitious imaginations.

Visit the Website especially created for the book, Auralia's Colors. On the site, you can read the first chapter and listen to Jeffrey's introduction of the book, plus a lit more!


"Film critic and author Overstreet (Through a Screen Darkly) offers a powerful myth for his first foray into fiction. Overstreet’s writing is precise and beautiful, and the story is masterfully told. Readers will be hungry for the next installment."
--Publishers Weekly

“Through word, image, and color Jeffrey Overstreet has crafted a work of art. From first to final page this original fantasy is sure to draw readers in. Auralia's Colors sparkles.”
-–Janet Lee Carey, award-winning author of The Beast of
and Dragon's Keep

“Jeffrey Overstreet’s first fantasy, Auralia’s Colors, and its heroine’s cloak of wonders take their power from a vision of art that is auroral, looking to the return of beauty, and that intends to restore spirit and and mystery to the world. The book achieves its ends by the creation of a rich, complex universe and a series of dramatic, explosive events.”
-–Marly Youmans, author of Ingledove and The
Curse of the Raven Mocker

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Book Review: "Abomination" by Colleen Coble

Take a Thrill Ride

A woman is running away from a serial killer. She has no memory of who she is or who the young girl is beside her. All she knows is that she's escaping a man set on killing her. This is a serial killer, known as Gideon, who's determined to rid the world of abominations. He's killed several woman already, in gory ways as he tries to get his message across. Meanwhile a police captain is trying to find his wife who went missing and may be the next target of this deranged killer.

This was one of the best mystery thrillers I have ever read secular or Christian. The story is extremely well written, with edge on your seat suspense throughout. You have no idea who the killer is until the last few chapters and even then it's a shock to find out the identity. This book is not for the faint-heartened. If you don't like reading about subject matter that will make your stomach churn, stay away. I personally loved being creeped out silly by the story. The methods used by Gideon to inflict his judgment on tech women are quite gory and definately not for young readers. I would hope I never come across victims of sadistic people like Gideon. Let's also just say I never realize how scary swans can be. I loved seeing Bree and the others from the Rock Harbor series make another appearance in this book. It was nice to read about what the characters had been doing since the series had ended. My only complaint with the story is that we never find out the real reason about why Eve is targeted until the very end of the story. It is only hinted at throughout the story but the way the characters act, makes the reader feel as if it was accidentally overlooked in the writing. Otherwise, I think this book should be made into a movie. This is a book that you better not read at night, not only because it will make you scared to go to sleep but because it will keep you up all night trying to finish! I believe this is the best book that Collen Coble has written and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Abomination by Colleen Coble is published by Thomas Nelson (2007)

Monday, November 26, 2007

For Parents Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away 2 brand new copies of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick 2 names and announce the winners on Monday, December 3. Good luck!

Shaunti Feldhahn is known for unlocking the mysteries of relationships for men and women. Now she turns to a parent’s relationship with a child, particularly a child of the opposite sex. Drawing on the results of a nationwide survey of kids and teenagers, she explores questions such as:

  • What do moms need to understand about the “tough and tender” boy who values respect over love?

  • What do dads need to understand about their daughter’s need for affirmation?

  • What are the six biggest pet peeves teens have about their parents?

Understanding the answers to these and other important questions can help parents make the holidays a time of celebration and unity, not strife and friction.

For Parents Only offers a unique look into a child’s mind and frees readers to communicate in healthier ways as they discover that understanding their kids may not be as complicated as they think.

Shaunti Feldhahn is the author of For Women Only and numerous other books, with sales totaling nearly one million copies. A nationally syndicated newspaper columnist and public speaker, Feldhahn earned her master’s degree at Harvard University. She and her husband, Jeff, have two young children. Lisa A. Rice is the associate editor of Christian Living magazine, the mother of two teenage girls, and a screenwriter and producer.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Book Review: "A Shadow of Treason" by Tricia Goyer

True to Life Historical Fiction

Sophie discovers that nothing is as she first imagined. When Walt, the reporter who helped her over the border, shows up again after Guernica is bombed, Sophie is given an impossible mission. She must leave behind the man she's fallen in love with and return to the perso
n who betrayed her. Another layer of the war in Spain is revealed as Sophie is drawn into the international espionage schemes that could turn the tide of the war and help protect the soldiers from the International Brigade ... she must find a way to get a critical piece of information to Walt in time

Once again I was transported back into history with another book by Tricia Goyer. I love the research that was done for this novel. It is obvious that the author actually went out and did her homework when writing this book. I hate historical fiction novels that just write about events that everyone knows about. Tricia Goyer's books, however, focus on historical events that the average person does not really know. For example, if you asked the average person about the Spanish Civil War, they would probably have no idea what you are talking about. By reading her books you actually learn while enjoying a great story. I wish her books could have part of my college curriculum because I've learned a lot from her writing for my own history classes. There's a lot that goes on in this book as several different characters are given time to tell their story. It's a little confusing at first in the beginning because I was trying to remember who everyone was. But once I got past that, I really liked how everyone's story all connected somehow. I really liked Sophie's story especially when she finds out the truth about what really happened with Michael and what she has to do after that. I especially love stories about characters having to play spies and double agents. Finishing this book was satisfying and I totally enjoyed it. I'm highly anticipating the third book in the series to find out what happens to everyone. If you love historical fiction, you NEED to get this book.

A Shadow of Treason by Tricia Goyer is published by Moody (2007)

Tricia Goyer has published over 300 articles for national publications such as Today's Christian Woman, Guideposts for Kids, and Focus on the Family, and is the co-author of Meal Time Moments (Focus on the Family). She has led numerous Bible Studies, and her study notes appear in the Women of Faith Study Bible (Zondervan).

Tricia and her husband John live with their three children in Kalispell, Montana. Tricia's grandmother also lives with them, and Tricia volunteers mentoring teen moms and leading children's church. Although Tricia doesn't live on a farm, she can hit one with a rock by standing on her back porch and giving it a good throw.

Q and A with Tricia!

Q: A Shadow of Treason follows A Valley of Betrayal. This is the first time you've written books as a series instead of stand alone. Which way do you like better?

A: I love writing in series. It was great to continue with the same characters. In my stand-alone books I fell in love with these people and then I had to say good-bye after one book. It was wonderful to be able to continue on.

Q: In A Shadow of Treason Sophie must return to the person who betrayed her in an effort to help the Spanish people. It makes the book hard to put down because the reader has to know how Sophie's heart will deal with it. Why did you decide to make this an element of the book?

A: There are very few of us who go through life without giving away a part of our hearts to someone who didn't deserve it. Even though Sophie had the best intentions, she gave away her heart and she was hurt-not only that she must revisit those emotions.

I wanted to include this element-to delve into the topic that emotions are sometimes as big of a trap as any physical cage. Emotions are real and they guide us -- even when we don't want to admit it. Poor Sophie, not only does she have to deal with a war around her -- she also has to deal with a war within herself. It's something I've battled, and mostly likely others have too.

Q: There is an interesting element that arises in this book and that is Spanish gold. I know you can't tell us what happens in this book, but can you give us a brief history of this gold?

A: Sure. When I was researching I came upon something interesting. The Spaniards, as we know, had taken much Aztec and Inca gold during the time of the conquistadors. Well, at the start of The Spanish Civil War much of this gold was still held in Madrid. In fact Spain had the fourth largest gold reserves in the world at that time. The Republican government was afraid Franco would take the city and the gold. They had to get it out of Madrid and this included transporting priceless artifacts. The element of gold does make its way into my story. It was great to include this little-known (and true!) element into my story.

Q: Another historical fact I learned about was the Nazi involvement during this time. Not only were the Germans active in Spain, but they had spy networks busy around the world. How did you find out about this?

A: I love reading tons of research books. Usually I find one little element that I dig out and turn into a plot line. This is what happened with my plot-line for the Nazi pilot, Ritter. I dug up this bit of research of Nazi involvement in Spain -- and the United States -- because a lot of people aren't aware of the Nazi involvement prior to WWII. The truth is they were busy at work getting the land, information, and resources they needed far before they threatened the nations around them. The Germans knew what they wanted and how to get it. And most of the time they succeeded!

Q: A Shadow of Treason is Book Two. When will Book Three be out? Can you give us a hint of how the story continues?

A: Book Three is A Whisper of Freedom. It will be out February 2008. The characters that we love are all still in the midst of danger at the end of Book Two. Book Three continues their stories as we follow their journeys in -- and (for a few) out -- of Spain. It's an exciting conclusion to the series!

Q: Wow, so we have a least one more fiction book to look forward to in the near future. Are you working on any non-fiction?

A: Yes, I have two non-fiction books that will be out the early part of 2008. Generation NeXt Marriage is a marriage book for today's couples. It talks about our marriage role models, our struggles, and what we're doing right as a generation. It also gives advice for holding it together.

I've also been privileged to work on the teen edition of Max Lucado's book 3:16. It was a great project to work on. What an honor!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Decked Out by Neta Jackson

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


Thomas Nelson (October 2, 2007)


Neta Jackson

Neta Jackson Neta Jackson's award-winning Yada books have sold more than 350,000 copies and are spawning prayer groups across the country. She and her husband, Dave, are also an award-winning husband/wife writing team, best known for the Trailblazer Books--a 40-volume series of historical fiction about great Christian heroes with 1.8 million in sales--and Hero Tales: A Family Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Christian Heroes (vols 1-4).

Dave and Neta live in Evanston, Illinois, where for twenty-seven years they were part of Reba Place Church, a Christian church community. They are now members of the Chicago Tabernacle, a multi-racial congregation that is a daughter church of the well-known Brooklyn Tabernacle.

Turkey dinners, tree trimming, and decking the halls--it's that time of year again! And I Jodi Baxter, can't wait to celebrate. My kids are coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then all of us Yadas are getting decked out for a big New Year's party.

But God's idea of "decked out" might just change the nature of our party plans. A perplexing encounter with a former student, a crime that literally knocks me off my feet, a hurry-up wedding, and a child who will forever change our's times like these that I really need my prayer sisters.

This holiday season, we Yada Yadas are learning that no one can out celebrate God. So let's get this party started!

THE YADA YADA PRAYER GROUP GETS DECKED OUT is a festive novella featuring America's favorite prayer group, the Yada Yadas!

Sometimes dubbed "chick-lit" for their bright covers and catchy titles, this series provides far more depth than witty banter and wacky situations. Inspired by a prayer group of real women, each book will have you laughing, crying, and perhaps praying anew.

In this highly anticipated installment, the Yada Yada sisters-a group of multi-cultural friends-and their families prepare for the event of the season.

But yes, eager readers, this novella—which picks up a year and a half after the end of book #6 The Yada Yada Prayer Group Gets Rolling concludes the series with some twists and turns that will amaze and encourage you. Plus, it sets the stage for Neta’s new series with new characters and new situations but also occasional roles for the beloved Yada Yada sisters in familiar Chicago neighborhoods with all their cultural richness.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Book Review: "Stealing Adda" by Tamara Leigh

I nearly cried from laughing!

Adda Sinclair is a best selling romance novelist who's hit a stumbling block. She's due to publish a new novel but she can't come up with anything new to write. Her lack of inspiration may be due to her writing nemesis "Stick Woman" stealing her husband away from her. She does however manage to catch the eye of a new publisher who may have more than just a novel interest in her. With a new potential boyfriend and a new contract in the works, Adda seems to be able to start writing again. But then Stick Woman accuses her of plagiarizing her works (when really it's the other way around) and Adda is forced to lay low. Will this be the end of her writing career and her new relationship?

This was one of the funniest chick lit books I've read. Tamara Leigh has definitely made her mark in the Christian chick lit scene and she's become one of my new favorite authors. The story is wonderfully written, fresh, hip and informative. I really felt for Adda as she has to put up with her writing rival who is also her ex-husband's new wife. I could not stand those two and what they did to her. I think this may be the first (and probably only time) that I've seen the name Dick used as an insult in a Christian fiction book but not in a bad way (if you get what I'm saying). I cracked up during that scene. I will admit that she handled the situations a lot better than I would. The relationship with Nick was wonderful, I absolutely loved the chemistry between them. I enjoyed reading about what it's like to be an author. It was fun learning about the writing process, the brainstorming, the writer's block. I also liked reading about what it's like to be on the bestseller's list and attending conferences.

What I found most interesting was after reading this book, I was searching online and came across an article involving two major romance novelists. The story was the same where one writer plagiarized the other's works. However I don't think they had quite the same experiences that Adda vs. Stick Woman did!
This is a fast paced book that you won't want to stop reading. There's lots of laughs in this book so I wouldn't recommend reading it in public because people are going to look at you strange for cracking up in the middle of reading. VERY highly recommended.

Stealing Adda by Tamara Leigh is published by NavPress (2006)

Monday, November 19, 2007

When the Morning Comes by Cindy Woodsmall and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, November 26. Good luck!

When the Morning Comes is the sequel and continuation of the
best-selling novel When the
Heart Cries.

Her relationship with fiancé Paul Waddell in tatters, Hannah Lapp has fled her secluded Old Order Amish community in hopes of finding a new home in Ohio with her shunned aunt. Hampered by limited education and hiding her true identity, Hannah struggles to navigate the confusing world of the Englischers.

Back in
Owl's Perch, Pennsylvania, Paul is wracked with regret over his treatment of Hannah. Fearing for her safety, he tries to convince Hannah's remaining allies—brother Luke, best friend Mary, and loyal Matthew Esh—to help search for his love. Hannah's father, however, remains steadfastly convinced of her sinful behavior. His blindness to his family's pain extends to her sister, Sarah, who shows signs of increasing instability.

Convinced her former life is irreparably destroyed, Hannah finds purpose as well as solace in a growing friendship with Martin Palmer.

Will the countless opportunities in her new life persuade Hannah that her place is amongst the Englischers—or will she give in to her heart's call to return home and face the past?

Cindy Woodsmall is an author, wife, and mother of three sons. Her first novel released in 2006 to much acclaim, including a Reviewer’s Choice Award from the Road to Romance website, and became a CBA bestseller. Her real-life connections with Amish Mennonite and Old Order Amish families enrich her novels with authenticity. Cindy lives in Georgia with her husband and the youngest of their three sons.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Book Review: "Reconstructing Natalie" by Laura Jensen Walker

Wishing for the days when you used to stuff your bra

Natalie has never really paid much attention to boobs before until she finds out that she may lose her own. Only 27 years old, she hears the dreaded words from her doctor that she has breast cancer. Determined to not let this get the best of her, Natalie prepares for what will be a life changing journey. Along with the support of her friends and family, she goes through the process of having to adapt to a world where survival means everything.

I have been extremely fortunate that I have not lost anyone close to me to breast cancer. However I know that there are thousands of people in the world who are affected by this and are suffering. This book perfectly balances the seriousness of the issue with lightheartedness to not make the story a downer. The writing is fun with lots of pop trivia sprinkled in, and is written in a chick lit tone of voice. I loved Natalie as a character. I admired her strength and her courage to be able to handle her situation with such grace and dignity. Some people would have seen how this affected her at such a young age as a death wish and given up hope for survival. She however, with her friends, is able to take everything one day at a time and enjoy life to the fullest.

I loved the party her friends gave her before the surgery, especially the boob-cake.
I was thinking this may be the one and only time I've read a Christian book that used the words boobs and breasts on every other page! I think it might also be one of the very few books where the main character gets topless of her own free will! This book showed how breast cancer affects not just the person with the cancer but everyone around them as well. I learned a lot from reading this book. I enjoyed the support group that Natalie attended especially the "show" she got from her first meeting! I was glad to read the information that men are also candidates for breast cancer as many people are unaware of this. This book is a book I would recommend every women to read. Not only is it informative but the story is engaging as well. This could happen to anyone and it's best to be aware and be knowledgeable in case the unthinkable happens.

Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker is published by Thomas Nelson (2006)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Book Review: "Try Dying" by James Scott Bell

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Wednesday, November 21. Good luck!

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing


(Center Street October 24, 2007)


James Scott Bell


James Scott Bell is a former trial lawyer who now writes full time. He is also the fiction columnist for Writers Digest magazine and adjunct professor of writing at Pepperdine University.

His book on writing, Plot and Structure is one of the most popular writing books available today. The national bestselling author of several novels of suspense, he grew up and still lives in Los Angeles, where he is at work on his next Buchanan thriller.

On a wet Tuesday morning in December, Ernesto Bonilla, twenty-eight, shot his twenty-three-year-old wife, Alejandra, in the backyard of their West 45th Street home in South Los Angeles. As Alejandra lay bleeding to death, Ernesto drove their Ford Explorer to the westbound Century Freeway connector where it crossed over the Harbor Freeway and pulled to a stop on the shoulder.

Bonilla stepped around the back of the SUV, ignoring the rain and the afternoon drivers on their way to LAX and the west side, placed the barrel of his .38 caliber pistol into his mouth, and fired.

His body fell over the shoulder and plunged one hundred feet, hitting the roof of a Toyota Camry heading northbound on the harbor Freeway. The impact crushed the roof of the Camry. The driver, Jacqueline Dwyer, twenty-seven, an elementary schoolteacher from Reseda, died at the scene.

This would have been simply another dark and strange coincidence, the sort of thing that shows up for a two-minute report on the local news--with live remote from the scene--and maybe gets a follow-up the next day. Eventually the story would go away, fading from the city's collective memory.

But this story did not go away. Not for me. Because Jacqueline Dwyer was the woman I was going to marry.

In Try Dying, this fast-paced thriller, lawyer Ty Buchanan must enter a world of evil to uncover the cause of his fiancee's death--even if hie has to kill for the truth.
"Bell is one of the best writers out there...he creates characters readers care about...a story worth telling."
~Library Review~
Book Noir at It's Best

Gritty. That was my first thought when I finished reading this book. The other was, wow this could totally be made into a movie. It reminded me very much of the movie Collateral starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx. The way the setting was described along with the action sequences and just the mood in general made me feel like I was in a slow moving but suspenseful film noir. There's a lot of mystery and suspense in this book that keeps you guessing til the end. Things that appear to be unconnected somehow have a thread that ties everything together. I love all the characters in this novel especially the non traditional priest and the basketball playing nun. Really can't wait to read more about them.

This is a book you could pass on to anybody who is a fan of the genre and they would not be disappointed. I would compare this book to be on par with John Grisham just without sex or cursing. Like I've said before it has been proven that you can write an excellent story without having to resort to filler material. There were several places in the story where I could see another author just throwing in a sex scene or placing a few f-bombs to add space. But the story does not need it at all. Instead what you get is action filled drama, several intense scenes of violence and a story that keeps you reading from page one. This book shows that Christian fiction is not just clean romance novels.
I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series. Top notch writing, Mr. Bell, top notch.

Try Dying by James Scott Bell is published by
Center Street (2007)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Book Review: "The Restorer's Son" by Sharon Hinck

Great fantasy for non fantasy readers

Susan and Mark thought that life could go back to normal after they returned through the portal back to their own world. But then they realized that their son Jake has now gone into the world of the Lyric and they have to go back to get him. Now the role of the Restorer has been bestowed upon Kieran, who's not too please with his new responsibilities. It takes a personal battle with the One before he realizes the job he must do in order to save his people. Will he be able to protect the People of the Verses and help Susan and Mark find their son?

Like I've said before, fantasy is a genre I don't normally read. I have a great imagination but outside of Star Wars, Narnia, or LOTR I'm not too good with imaginary worlds. However, this series has totally bridged the gap between women's fiction and fantasy allowing the two audiences to enjoy the story. With a modern female lead character, the audience is able to relate to both the outside world and the world beyond. I loved returning to the world of the Lyric. It felt like returning to Narnia or going back to Middle Earth, seeing familiar faces again. I liked reading the story from Kienan's POV this time around. It was interesting to read about the reluctant and unwilling Restorer as opposed to the I'm not sure what I'm doing Restorer that Susan was. The battle scenes aren't as intense as they were in the first book but I cringed every time Kienan would slash his hand just to prove a point.
Just like in the first book, there's a shocker in the middle of the story. Call me clueless but I totally didn't see it coming. Let's just say it makes you really think about who the title of the book is supposed to be for. The ending is a cliffhanger and I'm dying to know what happens next. It makes me want to go up to my attic space and snoop around for a secret portal. What C.S. Lewis did for wardrobes, Sharon Hinck has now done for attics.

The Restorer's Son by Sharon Hinck is published by NavPress (2007)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book Review: "Splitting Harriet" by Tamara Leigh and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Monday, November 19. Good luck!

PK does not mean Perfect Kid

Harriet was a rebel. She's done everything that Pastor's Kids AREN'T supposed to do. But now she's repented of her ways and is the women's director of her church. To make sure she doesn't fall back to her old ways, she lives in a trailer park surrounded by elderly folks, doesn't hang out with anyone her age, and reads a different version of a Bible every year. With Jelly Bellys to keep her company, her dream is to own the cafe near the church after the owner retires. She's got her life planned out. But all that changes when Maddox, a church consultant, comes roaring into town on his motorcycle with plans to disrupt all of Harriet's neat plans. What will she do when the church stops being a safe haven and Maddox tries to change her life?

This book started off with a drunken PK throwing up in a bar. Not your typical opening for a Christian fiction book. Normally when you read about churches who face potential splits due to a younger pastor trying to change things, the ones against change are always older members. So it was a twist to have the lead protester be a 27 year old. Writing books about churches trying to modernize can be a touchy subject. The reader might not agree with the way the author is trying to make her main character side. Harriet seemed though only to want to stay with the older traditional church because it was safe and wouldn't tempt her back to her old ways. Never mind that her faith wasn't actually growing. I liked how she was portrayed as reading a Bible a year but never fully grasped what she was actually reading. I understand that she was scared of slipping back to being a rebel but at the same time she was hurting herself. I love Maddox's character because he was a wonderful portrayal of a Christian who is fully committed yet is ok with being outside of the box. The protesters' attempts to stop the church from changing drove me nuts at first especially a certain organ player. But when you read about why they're against the change, it makes you feel more sympathetically for them. I appreciated the mentions that we shouldn't put Pastor's Kids on a higher pedestal. It's hard for them to grow up in an atmosphere where everyone judges them for what they do and then criticize their parents for the way they act. I loved all the new ideas Maddox brought to the church, especially the Sabrina movie night - Audrey Hepburn with Harrison Ford would be a perfect combo! I also love all the Jelly Bellys in this book! Being a huge Jelly Belly fan myself, I envied Harriet and her big tub. And you know, I love mango so I'll take all the ones she doesn't want! I know I keep declaring books "best of the year" but this one definately deserves to be at the top of the list. It's a fun, fast, witty read with engaging characters, hilarious moments, and been there down that situations. Perfect chick lit read to enjoy during these cold winter months.

Tamara Leigh’s first novel, Warrior Bride, was published in 1994 and was followed by six more bestselling, award-winning historical romances for Bantam, HarperCollins, and Dorchester. Leigh’s inspirational chick lit debut, Stealing Adda, was published in 2006 to great critical acclaim. Leigh has also written for Romantic Times magazine and been a guest speaker for WaldenBooks’s corporate conference. Leigh lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with her husband and two sons and enjoys time with her family, volunteer work, faux painting, and reading.

Splitting Harriet by Tamara Leigh is published by Multnomah (2007)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Movie Review: "Knocked Up"

Ok, I know this is a movie that many readers of this blog will never see. And I will be honest with you, you probably shouldn't. I'm sorry I caved in but I'm not going to lie. I actually enjoyed watching this movie. Judd Apatow has been making movies lately that have been while crude, surprisingly moralistic. I was pleasantly surprised that in "The 40 year Old Virgin" he actually stayed a virgin for the whole movie until the very end AFTER he got married. Even with all the ribbing his friends gave him, he didn't cave in. Now really, when was the last time Hollywood gave that ending?

With this movie I wasn't expecting it to be surprisingly sweet. Not once from the previews did I expect Ben and Allison to actually stay together in the end after having the baby (oh you know you weren't going to see anyways). This may be one of those few times in Hollywood that a pro life message is actually shown. Am I the only person that thinks that Seth Rogen is cute? I mean if they had chosen say Jonah Hill as Ben, I could see the shocked looks. But maybe because I like guys like Seth I don't find the mismatched couple deal all that crazy. And yes there is lots of negative stuff in this movie. Sex talk, nudity, curse words, drugs, disrespectful attitudes are prominent throughout the movie. It is definately not a movie the whole family should get together and watch.

But I loved though how realistic the movie was. It never enters Ben's mind once to tell Allison to get an abortion. Even though this could hurt her career, she still decides to have the baby. Ben immediately wants to be a part of the baby's life from the get go. His and Allison's relationship is sweet and funny as we experience their ups and downs in the 9 months. I loved how he stopped smoking weed, got a job, moved into a new apartment so he could prove he would be fit to be a father. This had all come unexpectedly to him so it was nice to see the character mature as the movie went on. I also loved seeing Paul Rudd in a rather serious and down to earth role as compared to his last few movies. It was a nice change to see him as a fatherly character.

Now I am not going to recommend you to see this movie. But if you really wanted to see the nice parts of the movie, fast forward to the last 8 minutes (after the birth) and you will see what I'm talking about.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Book Review: "The Book of Jane" by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt

Why Me???? Jane had it all. Great job, wonderful boyfriend, good apartment. Everything was going well for her. But then it all comes crashing down. Her boyfriend dumps her. She loses her job. Her apartment gets halfway destroyed. Rumors are spread about her. And she has this weird rash on her face that won't go away. It's enough to make anyway jump off the deep end. But thanks to her faith in God and a cute guy who seems to pop up at the right moments, Jane learns how to get through it all.

Christian chick lit just keeps getting better and better these days. It's great to read about stories about young women who are Christians with strong faith yet still like to shop for shoes and hunt for guys. Dayton and Vanderbilt's characters live like real people do without being all high and mighty or overly trying to witness to others. They show their faith by their actions, not trying to convert everyone they see. This book was tons of fun to read. Jane is a great character, very multi dimensional and easy to relate to. I felt for Jane especially during the scene where she tries to call her friend for help. Curse words would have uttered out of me at that point. I love the scenes in the hotel. I felt happy that something finally good was going for her. The storyline is a chick lit parable of the book of Job, but luckily Jane doesn't have it half as bad as he did (although the rash on her face would cause her to think she did). She handled things better than I would have in her situation. I would have been faced with the urge to throw something at the perpetrator of all the rumors about her. And her boyfriend: ARGGGHH! I have no complaints at all about this book. I couldn't stop reading it and now I want everyone else to. A funny hip read with a strong message about faith and belief in God. This is a book I could pass along to others even those who don't normally read Christian fiction. Highly recommended for a good time.

The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt is published by Broadway (2007)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Deadfall by Robert Liparulo

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

(Thomas Nelson November 6, 2007)

Robert is an award-winning author of over a thousand published articles and short stories. He is currently a contributing editor for New Man magazine. His work has appeared in Reader's Digest, Travel & Leisure, Modern Bride, Consumers Digest, Chief Executive, and The Arizona Daily Star, among other publications. In addition, he previously worked as a celebrity journalist, interviewing Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Charlton Heston, and others for magazines such as Rocky Road, Preview, and L.A. Weekly.

Robert is an avid scuba diver, swimmer, reader, traveler, and a law enforcement and military enthusiast. He lives in Colorado with his wife and four children.

Robert's first novel painted a scenario so frighteningly real that six Hollywood producers were bidding on movie rights before the novel was completed. His acclaimed debut novel, Comes A Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story "Kill Zone" was featured in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson.

Bob has sold the film rights to his second book, GERM. And he is writing the screenplay for a yet-to-be-written political thriller, which sold to Phoenix Pictures, for Andrew Davis (The Fugitive, The Guardian) to direct!

He is currently working on his fourth novel.


Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armes with only a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, Hutch, a skilled bow-hunter and outdoor-survivalist must help his friend elude their seemingly inescapable foes, as well as decide whether to run for their lives...or risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice. Deadfall is highly-aclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Get Downloads and EXCERPTS at

"DEADFALL is drop-dead great!"
-In The Library Reviews

"What if Mad Max, Rambo, and the Wild Bunch showed up-all packing Star Wars type weapons? You'd have Robert Liparulo's thrilling new adventure Deadfall."
-Katherine Neville, best selling author of The Eight
"A brilliantly crafted thriller with flawless execution. I loved it!"
-Michael Palmer, best selling author of The Fifth Vial

"In Deadfall, Robert Liparulo gives us a fresh fast paced novel that instills a well founded fear of the villians and an admiration for the people who refuse to be victims. It truly deserves the name thriller.
-Thomas Perry, best selling author of The Butcher's Boy and Silence

"Another brilliantly conceived premise from Robert Liparulo. Deadfall will leave you looking over your shoulder and begging for more."
-Dave Dun, best selling author of The Black Silent

NOTE from Bob: I wanted to let you know that I’m holding a contest on my site:

**one winner a week till the end of the year for a signed Deadfall
**one winner a week till the end of the year for an unabridged audio MP3-CD of Deadfall
***and on Dec. 31, I’m giving away an iPod Nano, pre-loaded with an unabridged audio recording of Deadfall

Winners are selected from my e-mailing list—sign up at my site. If a winner has already purchased what he/she wins, I will reimburse them for the purchase price (or give them another—whichever they choose), so they don’t need to wait to see if they win before buying Deadfall.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Book Review: "Kingdom Come" by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins

They say that all good things must end someday

The thousand year reign where Jesus sets up his kingdom on earth has begun. However all is not well in paradise. There is still one more battle to be fought, when Satan still tries one last time to take control of those who still not believe. As recent believers and those from biblical times mingle, plans are being made to undergo the last battle that Earth will ever see.

I had mixed feelings while reading this book. I was excited to read it since it would be the end of the series and all loose ends would be tied up. Also it was nice to see Buck and Chloe and the others again alive and well. It was cool to see David and Noah meeting with the kids to tell them first hand all the stories you knew while growing up. The end battle was pretty awesome too. However, there were several things I just didn't understand about the book. Why did only certain Bible characters show up to make cameos? If I were up in heaven I'd like to meet everyone who's mentioned, not just the big names. And why are only Bible characters mentioned? What about all the Christians who have made an impact throughout the centuries? And the biggest thing I didn't understand was why there was no mention of the rest of the Tribulation gang other than the key leaders? It was like they disappeared off the face of the earth, literally. I also didn't feel like the characters were developed as they had been in the rest of the series. While Kenny's and Raymie's (I did wish they would stop calling him that as he was an adult throughout the book) stories were interesting, I still saw them as kids. I wanted to know more about Buck, Chloe and everyone else. Honestly I'm glad the series is over. I did enjoy learning more about end days and the storyline was really good at first with engaging characters and suspenseful scenes. However, I felt it could have ended with book 12 and that the prequels and this last book were not really needed. I was scared when I was reading the original series that the Rapture would actually come when I finished the last book. Well as you can tell I'm still here. :)

Kingdom Come by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins is published by Tyndale (2007)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Book Review: "Heather" by Debra White Smith

Independent Women Part 1

To the public eye Heather, Lorna and Brittan are three bored rich girls who have plenty of time on their hands. Little do most people know that these 3 women are really secret crime fighting agents who fight for justice and what's right. In the first book in the Debutantes series, we meet Heather who's trying to keep her identity secret from the man she's interested in. However Duke seems to be falling in love with her secret identity. Will she be able to keep her love life and her crime fighting identity separate?

The three girls reminded me of Charlie's Angels. Crime fighting girls who keep their identities secret from boyfriends and other family members. I love reading stories about women who can kick butt, are smart, and be pretty all at the same time. Their adventures were exciting, suspenseful and funny. I'm glad to read that not all rich people are stuck up snobs (although some people could interpret what they do as rich girls being bored). I liked Duke's character, and I loved reading about him bringing Heather back to visit his family. The chemistry between the two was very realistic and one of the most romantic couples I've ever read in Christian fiction. You could really feel the sparks between them especially during that beach scene!

There was only thing that really irked me while reading this book. While Heather can completely defend herself and fight better than most men could, she seemed to want to portray herself as helpless and in need of a man to protect her. I understand her reasoning that some men might be scared off because of a women being stronger than them but seriously, that is so old fashioned. It's one thing not to tell Duke about being "The Rose" and the things she and the other girls did. But it's another thing completely to act like a needless princess waiting for her hero to rescue her. I mean seriously, if a guy dumps you because you know karate and can defend yourself, he's not good for you anyways! Other than this, I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a great mix of romance and adventure and I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Heather by Debra White Smith is published by Harvest House (2007)

Friday, November 02, 2007

Book Review: "True Light" by Terri Blackstock

Finding light in the darkness

The Brannings are now into their eight month living in a world without the comforts of electricity, mass communication or technology. After watching how the family tries to adapt to their new way of life, the story now turns towards the ugly side of this new society. What happens to the criminals and prisoners? With the jails full of those who've committed petty crimes to mass murderers, it's getting harder and harder to find those who will watch over these lowlifes. What will happen when the police stop watching and the criminals are allowed to roam around freely with no one to stop them?

This was my favorite book out of the series so far. I think the characters have become more well developed. The Brannings aren't as shallow as they were in the beginning of the series. They finally act as if they want to get along well in this new society they are living in.
The scenes in the jail were surprisingly realistic and difficult to read. You really felt for Mark as he chooses to turn the other cheek and ignore the hurtful remarks made by the prisoners. It's also scary to think about a world where criminals run free because we have no means of keeping them separated from society. Very suspenseful reading about the police chief's son wanting to get revenge. What I like best about this series is how much is really makes you think about how we take technology for granted. In the first book, the community is clueless about what to do without electricity. Even simple things like heating water or even using the bathroom are now almost impossible to do. If a situation like this would happen in our world today, I think it's a possibility our country could collapse. How would governments work without communication? It's interesting to think that all the top moneymaking jobs in this country like engineerings or informations technology would be useless. That's when all the jobs like history, geography, and geology would be high demand again. I'm really looking forward to the last book in the series because I want to know if, when and how society will be able to truly function again.

True Light by Terri Blackstock is published by Zondervan (2007)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson and Book Giveaway!

I'm giving away a brand new copy of today's book! Leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you if you win. I'll pick a name and announce the winner on Thursday, November 8. Good luck!

It is November 1st, time for the FIRST Day Blog Tour! (Join our alliance! Click the button!) The FIRST day of every month we will feature an author and his/her latest book's FIRST chapter!

This month's feature author is:

and her book:

Hollywood Nobody

Th1nk Books (August 30, 2007)


Lisa Samson is the author of twenty books, including the Christy Award-winning Songbird. Apples of Gold was her first novel for teens. Visit Lisa at

These days, she's working on Quaker Summer, volunteering at Kentucky Refugee Ministries, raising children and trying to be supportive of a husband in seminary. (Trying . . . some days she's downright awful. It's a good thing he's such a fabulous cook!) She can tell you one thing, it's never dull around there.

Other Novels by Lisa:
Straight Up, , Club Sandwich, Songbird, Tiger Lillie, The Church Ladies, Women's Intuition: A Novel, Songbird, The Living End

Q&A with Lisa Samson, author of Hollywood Nobody

Q. What inspired you to write Hollywood Nobody?

A. NavPress approached me at a publishing conference about writing YA fiction. They felt my writing voice would transition naturally into YA. Well, that day, I was sitting in my car in Opryland's parking lot, and the idea just gushed out. Nav loved it, and here we all are, me, Nav, Scotty Dawn and her fabulous readers.

Q. What message would you like readers to take away after reading Hollywood Nobody?

A. Be yourself and don't think the grass is always greener "over there." Chances are, somebody's looking at your yard thinking you've got it made.

Q. What does faith mean to you?

A. Faith means trusting God even when you have no idea what's going on around you, or what lies ahead. Faith means that somehow, somewhere, the bad stuff will be turned into good, even if that seems impossible.

Q. Can you describe what a "normal" family means to you? Did you grow up in a "normal" family?

A. Honestly, I don't think there is such thing as a "normal" family. We're all odd in our own way. Sure, some families look normal from the outside, but we're all weird in our "own special way." Of course, some families' abnormalities are dark and painful, and I just hope and pray that Hollywood Nobody will provide young women in those situations with a little bit of escape and encouragement.

Q. How did that help you?

I was always encouraged in the arts. My Dad played boogie-woogie for pocket money in college, and painted when he came home from his practice at night. My Mom worked at our church, was involved in other causes, so I became aware of my social responsibilities through her.

Q. In Hollywood Nobody, Scottie really struggles to find authentic relationships due to her nomadic lifestyle and the pervasive
Hollywood influence in her life. What do you think Scotty would say to Britney Spears or Lindsey Lohan if she had the chance?

A. She'd say, "Are you kidding me?!" :-)

Q. What book is coming up next? Will Scottie find out who is chasing her?

A. The next book is called Finding Hollywood Nobody and yes, she will figure out who Biker Guy really is!

Q. What book(s) are you reading now?

A. Right now I'm reading, Growing Up Hard in
Harlan County and Jesus of Nazareth.

Q. If your book were turned into a movie, who would play the main character(s)?

A. Amanda Bynes with a dark, curly wig. Adam Brody would nail Seth Haas. Charley could totally be played by Kelly Preston.

Q. Which one of your characters is most like you? Why?

A. Well, Scotty thinks a lot like I do. But I don't think any of the characters in this book resemble me. I am 43 dontchaknow. :-) Scotty, however, is an awful lot like my 17-year-old daughter Ty. I really felt like she was whispering in my ear as I wrote the book.

Q. What do you want your readers to know about you?

A. I guess I hope they know I remember how awful being a teenager could be! I'm not the person who says, "This is the greatest time of your life. Just be happy." I wouldn't go back to High School if anybody paid me to do it. It's a hard gig.

Q. There are many references woven throughout Hollywood Nobody to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. Is this a favorite book for you? Why did you choose it as a backdrop for Scotty?

A. Yes, The Great Gatsby is a favorite of mine. I chose it because I was re-reading it when I started writing the book. There are a lot of parallels between the two storylines. Unrequited love, the outsider looking in, wanting what we can't have. Beyond that, I wanted Scotty to be the literary type and to encourage the readers of Hollywood Nobody to venture out into something more classic than my book!

Q. Are you a vegetarian like Scotty or her mother?

A. I've tried it a time or two. And I wish I could stick with it. But usually it's fried chicken that knocks me off course every time. (I love fried chicken!)

Q. Scottie struggles with defining faith and how it fits into her life. Can you describe your experience coming to faith?

A. I've been in church all of my life! When I was three I remember asking Him into my heart. But faith isn't just a nice little formula, it's embracing Christ and God's faithfulness, day after day after day. Honestly, each day I hope I come to Christ a little more, hoping to draw closer to Him, to be more like Him, to love Him more.


Hollywood Nobody: April 1

Happy April Fool’s Day! What better day to start a blog about Hollywood than today?

Okay, I’ve been around film sets my whole life. Indie films, yeah, and that’s all I’m saying about it here for anonymity’s sake. But trust me, I’ve had my share of embarrassing moments. Like outgrowing Tom Cruise by the age of twelve — in more ways than one, with the way he’s gotten crazier than thong underwear and low-rise jeans. Thankfully that fashion disaster has run for cover.

Underwear showing? Not a good idea.

Fact: I don’t know of a single girl who doesn’t wish the show-itall boxer-shorts phenomenon would go away as well. Guys, we just don’t want to see your underwear. Truthfully, we believe that there is a direct correlation between how much underwear you show and how much you’ve got upstairs, if you know what I mean.

I’ve seen the stars at their best and at their worst. And believe me, the worst is really, really bad. Big clue: you’d look just as pretty as they do if you went to such lengths. As you might guess, some of them are really nice and some of them are total jerks, and there’s a lot of blah in-betweeners. Like real life, pretty much, only the extremes are more extreme sometimes. I mean honestly, how many people under twenty do you know who have had more than one plastic surgery?

So you’ll have to forgive me if I’m a little hard on these folks. But if it was all sunshine and cheerleading, I doubt you’d read this blog for long, right?

Today’s Rant: Straightening irons. We’ve had enough of them, Little Stars, okay? It was bad on Helen Hunt at the Oscars, worse on Demi, yet worse on Madonna, and it’s still ridiculous. Especially on those women who are trying to hold onto their youth like Gollum holds onto that ring. Ladies, there’s a reason for keeping your hair at or above your shoulders once you hit forty, and ever after. Think Annette Bening. Now she’s got it going on. And can’t you just see why Warren Beatty settled down for her? Love her! According to The Early Show this morning, curls are back, and Little Me ain’t going to tell why I’m so glad about that!

Today’s Kudo: Aretha Franklin. Big, bold, beautiful, and the best. Her image is her excellence. Man, that woman can sing! She has a prayer chain too. I’m not very religious myself, but you got to respect people who back up what they say they believe. Unless it’s male Scientologists and "silent birth." Yeah, right. Easy for them to say.

Today’s News: I saw a young actor last summer at a Shakespeare festival in New England. Seth Haas. Seth Hot is more like it. I heard a rumor he’s reading scripts for consideration. Yes, he’s that hot. Check him out here. Tell all your friends about him. And look here on Hollywood Nobody for the first, the hottest news on this hottie. Girls, he’s only nineteen! Fair game for at least a decade-and-a-half span of ages.

I don’t know about you, but following the antics of new teen rock star Violette Dillinger is something I’m looking forward to. Her first album, released to much hype, hit Billboard’s no. 12 spot its third week out. And don’t you love her hit single "Love Comes Knocking on My Door"? This is going to be fun. A new celeb. Uncharted territory. Will Violette, who seems grounded and talented, be like her predecessors and fall into the "great defiling show-business machine" only to be spit out as a half-naked bimbo? We’ll see, won’t we? Keep your fingers crossed that the real artist survives.

Today’s Quote: "Being thought of as ‘a beautiful woman’ has spared me nothing in life. No heartache, no trouble. Beauty is essentially meaningless." Halle Berry


Friday, April 2

I knew it was coming soon. We’d been camped out in the middle of a cornfield, mind you, for two weeks. That poke on my shoulder in the middle of the night means only one thing. Time to move on.

"What, Charley?"

"Let’s head ’em on out, Scotty. We’ve got to be at a shoot in North Carolina tomorrow afternoon. I’ve got food to prepare, so you have to drive."

"I’m still only fifteen."

"It’s okay. You’re a good driver, baby."

My mom, Charley Dawn, doesn’t understand that laws exist for a reason, say, keeping large vehicles out of the hands of children. But as a food stylist, she fakes things all the time.

Her boundaries are blurred. What can I say?

Charley looks like she succumbed to the peer pressure of plastic surgery, but she hasn’t. I know this because I’m with her almost all the time. I think it’s the bleached-blond fountain of long hair she’s worn ever since I can remember. Or maybe the hand-dyed sarongs and shirts from Africa, India, or Bangladesh add to the overall appearance of youth. I have no idea. But it really makes me mad when anybody mistakes us as sisters.

I mean, come on! She had me when she was forty!

My theory: a lot of people are running around with bad eyesight and just don’t know it.

I throw the covers to my left. If I sling them to my right, they’d land on the dinette in our "home," to use the term in a fashion less meaningful than a Hollywood "I do." I grew up in this old Travco RV I call the Y.

As in Y do I have to live in this mobile home?

Y do I have to have such an oddball food stylist for a mother?

Y must we travel all year long? Y will we never live anyplace long enough for me to go to the real Y and take aerobics, yoga, Pilates or — shoot — run around the track for a while, maybe swim laps in the pool?

And Y oh Y must Charley be a vegan?

More on that later.

And Y do I know more about Hollywood than I should, or even want to? Everybody’s an actor in Hollywood, and I mean that literally. Sometimes I wonder if any of them even know who they are deep down in that corner room nobody else is allowed into.

But I wonder the same thing about myself.

"You’re not asking me to drive while you’re in the kitchen trailer, are you, Charley?"

"No. I can cook in here. And it’s a pretty flat drive. I’ll be fine."

I’m not actually worried about her. I’m thinking about how many charges the cops can slap on me.

Driving without a license.

Driving without a seat belt on the passenger.

Speeding, because knowing Charley, we’re late already.

Driving without registration. Charley figured out years ago how to lift current stickers off of license plates. She loves "sticking it to the man." Or so she says.

I kid you not.

Oh, the travails of a teenager with an old hippie for a mother. Charley is oblivious as usual as I continue my recollection of past infractions thankfully undetected by the state troopers:

Driving while someone’s in the trailer. It’s a great trailer, don’t get me wrong, a mini industrial kitchen we rigged up a couple of years ago to make her job easier. Six-range burner, A/C, and an exhaust fan that sucks up more air than Joan Rivers schmoozing on the red carpet. But it’s illegal for her to go cooking while we’re in motion.

"All right. Can I at least get dressed?"

"Why? You’re always in your pj’s anyway."

"Great, Mom."

"It’s Charley, baby. You know how I feel about social hierarchy."

"But didn’t you just give me an order to drive without a license? What if I say no?"

She reaches into the kitchen cupboard without comment and tips down a bottle of cooking oil. Charley’s as tall as a twelve-year-old.

"I mean, let’s be real, Charley. You do, in the ultimate end of things, call the shots."

I reach back for my glasses on the small shelf I installed in the side of the loft. It holds whatever book I’m reading and my journal. I love my glasses, horn-rimmed "cat glasses" as Charley calls them. Vintage 1961. Makes me want to do the twist and wear penny loafers.

"Can I at least pull my hair back?"

She huffs. "Oh, all right, Scotty! Why do you have to be so difficult?"

Charley has no clue as to how difficult teenagers can actually be. Here I am, schooling myself on the road, no wild friends. No friends at all, actually, because I hate Internet friendships. I mean, how lame, right? No boyfriend, no drugs. No alcohol either, unless you count cold syrup, because the Y gets so cold during the winter and Charley’s a huge conservationist. (Big surprise there.) I should be thankful, though. At least she stopped wearing leather fringe a couple of years ago.

I slide down from the loft, gather my circus hair into a ponytail, and slip into the driver’s seat. Charley reupholstered it last year with rainbow fabric. I asked her where the unicorns were and she just rolled her eyes. "Okay, let’s go. How long is it going to take?"

"Oh." She looks down, picks up a red pepper and hides behind it.

I turn on her. "You didn’t Google Map it?"

"You’re the computer person, not me." She peers above the stem. "I’m sorry?" She shrugs. Man, I hate it when she’s so cute. "Really sorry?"

"Charley, we’re in Wilmore, Kentucky. As in Ken-Tuck-EEE . As in the middle of nowhere." I climb out of my seat. "What part of North Carolina are we going to? It’s a wide state."

"Toledo Island. Something like that. Near Ocracoke Island. Does that sound familiar?"

"The Outer Banks?"

"Are they in North Carolina?"

Are you kidding me?

"Let me log on. This is crazy, Charley. I don’t know why you do this to me all the time."

"Sorry." She says it so Valley Girl-like. I really thought I’d be above TME: Teenage Mom Embarrassment. But no. Now, most kids don’t have mothers who dress like Stevie Nicks and took a little too much LSD back in the DAY. It doesn’t take ESP to realize who the adult in this setup is. And she had me, PDQ, out of the bonds of holy matrimony I might add, when she was forty (yes, I already told you that, but it’s still just as true), and that’s
OLD to be caught in such an inconvenient situation, don’t you think? The woman had no excuse for such behavior, FYI.

My theory: Charley’s a widow and it’s too painful to talk about my father. I mean, it’s plausible, right?

The problem is, I can remember back to when I was at least four, and I definitely do not remember a man in the picture. Except for Jeremy. More on him later too.

I flip up my laptop. I have a great satellite Internet setup in the Y. I rigged it myself because I’m a lonely geek with nothing better to do with her time than figure out this kind of stuff. I type in the info and wait for the directions. Satellite is slower than DSL, but it’s better than nothing.

"Charley! It’s seventeen hours away!" I scan the list of twists and turns between here and there. "We have to take a ferry to Ocracoke, and then Toledo Island’s off of there."


"Groovy died with platform shoes and midis."

"Whatever, Scotty." Only she says it all sunny. She’s a morning person.

"That phrase should be dead."

Honestly, I’m not big on lingo. I’ve never been good at it, which is fine by me. Who am I going to impress with cool-speak anyway? Uma Thurman? Yeah, right. "Okay, let’s go."

"We can go as long as possible and break camp on the way, you know?" Charley.

I climb back into the rainbow chair, throw the Y into drive, pull the brake, and we’re moving on down the road.


Sample from Hollywood Nobody / ISBN: 1-60006-091-9
Copyright © 2006 NavPress Publishing. All rights reserved. To order copies of this resource, come back to