Friday, August 31, 2012

GO VOTE For Your Favorite Title at COTT

It's August and the cusp of changing seasons, but here at Clash of the Titles we never vary our quest for perfect fiction. Here are five more titles hot off the press for your contemplation. 

A governess, a spy for Abraham Lincoln, a spoiled rich girl, a hideaway, and a thief…what could be more enticing?
Remember…vote for the book you’d most like to add to your favorite reads pile, and share the news with your friends and family! Vote today through next Tuesday when the polls close at Midnight EST; then come back on THURSDAY to find out which book received the most votes. The winner will tour with our Clash of the Titles blog alliance, so have fun being a roadie without all the heavy lifting if you want to go along. And now…Peruse, Ponder, Press the button of your choice.
Hunter’s Prize, by Marcia Gruver
When Addie left her sheltered Mississippi life to become governess to Ceddy Whitfield, she never dreamed she’d be undertaking her most challenging role yet. But after a brutal attack on her peculiar charge and a break-in that threatens the serenity of Whitfield Manor, Addie’s coveted new life is set on a dangerous course.
TheSeekersCoverArt72dpi (1)
The Seekers, by Sadie and Sophie Cuffe
Union Cavalry Captain Lawrence Wainwright has one goal: to make sure his horse survives the war. But when he becomes President Lincoln’s spy, Lawrence assumes the identity of a slow-witted boy/man and suddenly he’s undercover protector to an aging slave and his two young grandchildren, and to Rachel, a stubborn Yankee woman on a mission of her own.
The Black Rose, by Naomi Musch
Desert Breeze Despite the panic of 1893, logging reaches its golden era in the growing state of Wisconsin, and twins Jesilyn and Corianne Beaumont enjoy a comfortable life with family in the bursting Great Lake city of Superior. But when jealousy incites Jesi to seduce Cori's fiance, a flight and fall from grace lands her in a boom town brothel, where a fresh start is denied her.
Found in the Woods, by LoRee Peery
Beth Phillips returns to Platteville, Nebraska in order to begin a new life and to hide from her abusive ex-husband, but finds a displaced wolf as well as field biologist, Aiden Holt, who is following up on reported wolf sightings. Two souls, each lost in their own way, are brought together by one of God's beautiful creations to hopefully find their destiny in the woods.
Bees in the Butterfly Garden, by Maureen Lang
Raised in an exclusive boarding school among Fifth Avenue’s finest, Meg Davenport learns her late father wasn’t the wealthy businessman she thought, but one of the Gilded Age’s most talented thieves. Throwing etiquette aside, Meg is determined to help his friend Ian pull off his biggest heist yet, but are they both in over their heads?


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

Book Description:  First time novelist Joanne Bischof shares the story of Lonnie Sawyer, giving readers a look into this shy and innocent girl’s tumultuous life.

Used to fading into the background within her family and community among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills, Lonnie’s life is in for a dramatic change.

Growing up in a poor home with an abusive father, Lonnie clings to a quiet faith and the love of her aunt. However, when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss and attempts for more, this one action seals her fate. 

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and doesn’t love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob, Virginia.Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  As Gideon finally begins to see Lonnie’s true beauty, a shadow from his past and a twist of events threaten to separate him from her forever. What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

My Review: Be Still My Soul is a debut novel by Joanne Bischof.  
The story is about Lonnie Sawyer a sweet and pretty young lady who has grown up in a family where her abusive father rules the roost.
Lonnie's family lives high upon an Appalachian  mountain where the closet neighbors are miles away.
When Lonnie's father refuses for her mother to sing at a local gathering he insists that Lonnie sing for the people.  Lonnie is terrified at the thought but goes ahead.  Her father leaves the party giving Lonnie permission to stay behind for a little visiting.  Lonnie does so and Gideon the handsome young man who played the banjo while Lonnie sung walks her home or rather climbs a mountain with her to her cabin.  When he leaves Lonnie at the door he asks for a kiss but Lonnie, having never kissed a man before says no.  But as Gideon begins walking away she rethinks that small requests and call so Gideon.  She tells him. "You can kiss me goodnight if you want. If you want to."  Big Mistake!  Gideon wants more and Lonnie literally has to fight him off.  Her pa finds out that Gideon walked her home instead of Oliver and comes unglued.  Pa figures the "worst" happened and that Lonnie is "soiled."  Pa insists that Gideon marry Lonnie.  
Poor Lonnie!  Somewhere between a mother who is an enabler and a pa who is abusive she clings to her faith.  But now her faith must be even stronger as she must marry Gideon.  Gideon marries Lonnie and for all his gruff he actually seems to care for Lonnie.
Actually, Gideon has a hard time at his own home and once he marries Lonnie he sees this as an opportunity to leave and begin his own life with Lonnie.
An interesting fast paced read that is filled with faith and grace.
*This book was provided for review by Waterbrook/Multnomah Books*
Meet the author: 
Married to her first sweetheart, Joanne Bischof lives in the mountains of Southern California where she keeps busy making messes with their home-schooled children. When she’s not weaving Appalachian romance, she’s blogging about faith, writing, and the adventures of country living that bring her stories to life.  Be Still My Soul is her first novel. Visit for more!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Apple Slices

Since we're trying to eat healthier and take healthy snacks with us this school year ...a friend gave me this idea:

Slice apples, soak in cold water for 3-5 minutes, then soak in a lemon-lime carbonated soda (such as 7-up or sprite) for 3-5 minutes. 
Divide into snack size portions and store in Ziploc bags in the fridge. The lemon-lime soda will keep the apples from browning and make them last longer.

What a great idea and we are eating healthier!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

COTT {Clash of the Titles}

The Olympia--A Literary Contest is Born!

Get Ready to Spar!
Clash of the Titles Unveils a NEW annual literary contest, 
and it’s strictly for unpublished writers! 
Also, you will no longer need to be a previous Clash Champion in order to compete for the crown

Submissions open September 14, 2012

As always at COTT, the outcome of the contest is in the hands of readers, 
not industry professionals.

You’ve written the book of your dreams, now what do readers think? Enter the arena and find out. 

Olympia 2013 Submission Guidelines

The OLYMPIA provides an opportunity for unpublished novelists to have the first two chapters (or 3,500 words) of their work judged and critiqued by readers that are well-versed in Christian fiction yet not a part of the CBA industry.

ELIGIBILITY: Any author whose novel-length work (30,000+ words) has not been previously published in ANY format is eligible for entry. That includes the manuscript being submitted as well as any other manuscript the submitting author has written. One entry per author. Co-authored entries accepted. The manuscript should not contain profanity, graphic sex, or other objectionable material. Clash of the Titles staff reserves the right to reject submissions not meeting this requirement.

FEE: $10 payable via Paypal
Paypal account:
If Paypal is not an option for you, please contact senior editor, April Gardner at

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: All entries must include a single-spaced one page synopsis of the manuscript immediately followed by the first two chapters of the novel. Word count limit is 3,500. Prologues are accepted, so long as the word count limit is not exceeded.

FORMAT: Manuscripts must be in Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double-spaced with pages numbered. One inch margins in Ms Doc (not Docx) or Rich Text Format (RTF). Insert a header which includes the novel’s genre and title, and nothing more. Judging is anonymous. Do NOT include your name anywhere in the document or in the title the document is saved under.
Entries not following the submission and formatting specifications will be returned. Entries may be resubmitted prior to the deadline. Entry fees for returned entries will not be refunded after the contest entry deadline has passed.

Round One begins November 02, 2012. Entries will first be judged by Clash of the Titles staff, which includes published authors and writers experienced in judging. During this round, COTT staff will be looking for those excerpts which do not meet content standards listed in “Eligibility” above. Because COTT wishes to send only the best quality of writing to its judges, in addition to content eligibility, they will be reading for a higher level of experience in the craft.

Round Two begins November 30, 2012. By this date all entrants will have received an email notifying them whether or not their manuscript has moved on to Round Two. Manuscripts making it to this round will be read by a group of judges who are comprised of your average reader of Christian fiction and that are in no way associated with the CBA industry. This includes agents, writers, avid reviewers, publicists, editors, etc. They are, in short, your audience.

Round Three begins January 21, 2013. By this date, all remaining entrants will be notified of whether or not their manuscript will be moving on. Only three manuscripts will be chosen for this round. Finalist will be announced January 18. Judges pending.
Authors will receive an anonymous digital copy of each of their judge’s scores and comments. Under no circumstance should comments given by a judge be used for publicity or promotional purposes without the express consent of the judge.

PRIZES: One first-place winner will be chosen. He/she will receive a special feature on Clash of the Titles' blog. A tour through COTT’s Blog Alliance. A dedicated page on COTT’s site for a full year. A podcast interview with author and CAG board member, Cynthia L. Simmons. A beautiful plaque. Additional prizes pending.

DEADLINES: Submissions will open Friday, September 14, 2012. All contest entries and fees must be received no later than 8:00 PM EST Friday, November 02, 2012.
All entries will receive a confirmation e-mail. If this has not occurred by 8:00 PM EST November 03, 2012, the entrant should e-mail COTT senior editor, April Gardner at

The winner will be announced Friday, March 01, 2013

Monday, August 27, 2012

Prayers of a Stranger by Davis Bunn

Book Description:  While visiting the Holy Land, Amanda answers the prayers of a stranger…and begins an amazing Christmas journey.

Amanda Vance is ambivalent about her husband’s idea for a big family holiday up north. She had planned a special Christmas in their own home, carefully preparing a nursery and the keepsake ornaments for their newborn. Now that room stands as empty as her heart. Then a neighbor’s mishap turns into a last-minute chance for Amanda to take a much-needed vacation to tour the Holy Land. At the urging of her husband, Amanda agrees to go. An extraordinary turn of events allows Amanda to help answer a young mother’s plea for a healing. Filled with a sense of awe, Amanda visits the place of Jesus’ birth. There, she discovers anew the miracle of the Christ child—God incarnate as a tiny, vulnerable baby. Her return to Florida marks a momentous shift in her soul and in her marriage as she begins to realize that her journey didn’t end in the Holy Land. And that God doesn’t just answer the prayers of strangers…but also those of her heart.

My Review:  Davis Bunn is on my most favorite author list! And now he's written a new Christmas story.  Prayers of a Stranger is one of those reads that leaves the reader with a little glimpse of heaven.
Amanda Vance has had a devastating lost!  The child that she and her husband, Chris, were expecting at Christmas was still born.  Oh! the grief!  Oh! the heartache!  But then at the last minute her neighbor needs a companion for her trip to the Holy Land.  Amanda is not sure that  
she should go but at her husbands urging she quickly packs and is off.
Amanda is literally filled with awe at the sight of Christ's birth place and she comes to an understanding that fills her soul with peace.
While in the Holy Land she meets Miriam and the toddler, Rochele.  
Amanda, with her medical knowledge, is able to help Rochele who is ill.  
This journey in Amanda's life opens up a whole new world of peace in her soul.  And instead of clamming up she now can reach out to others in need.
When she returns home she realizes that the Holy Land wasn't the end of a journey but a beginning.  
We may not realize that the prayers of a stranger reach into the heavens and our life may never be the same.  
This is one of those not to be missed Christmas reads that will spark faith and love in your heart.  
*This book was provided for review by BookSneeze/Thomas Nelson Publishing*

Visit the author's website at
Title: Prayers of a Stranger
SubTitle: A Christmas Story
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pub Date: September 11, 2012
ISBN: 9780849944888 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sketchy Behavior by Erynn Magnum

Book Description:  Drawing Conclusions or Drafting Disaster? Other than harboring a somewhat obsessive fondness for Crispix and completely swearing-off boys after a bad date (don't ask), sixteen-year-old Kate Carter is about as ordinary as they come, except for her two notable talents: art and sarcasm. After an introduction to forensic sketching in her elective art class, Kate discovers a third and most unexpected gift: criminal profiling. Her photo-quality sketch helps the police catch a wanted murderer and earns her celebrity status in South Woodhaven Falls. But when that murderer appears to be using his friends to exact revenge, Kate goes from local hero to possible target. Will she manage to survive? Will life ever be normal again? And will local news anchor Ted Deffle ever stop sending her flowers?

My Review:  I love to read books by Erynn Mangum! She writes with a flair that keeps me laughing as well as thinking.
Sketchy Behavior is unlike any book she has written thus far. This is the first book where her main character is not a christian and does not live, breathe and drink coffee!
Kate Carter is a sixteen year old artist. Who happens to draw people very well. She seems to get into "their skin" and brings out their true characteristics on paper. So, in art class after the teacher gives a lesson on forensic art drawings, Kate "happens" to draw the exact picture of the perpetrator. The sketch is leaked to the press and Kate's life changes forever!
Kate's best friend, Maddy, is a typical teenager who has high school dating problems and parental indulgences that make for a life lesson in teens without good parental involvement.
Then there's the quiet guy, Justin, who never talks in art class. But who seems to have a lot to say at church!
I like Kate's family. Her mom and dad are in need of Jesus and are open to learning more about Christ at church. Church is a whole new world for Kate! Having been raised in church I found some of the things that Erynn wrote about "as eye openers" from a newcomers viewpoint. There are quite a few.laugh.out.loud moments!
I loved, loved this read! It is written as a YA read for ages 13-16 but as an adult I simply loved reading about Kate, her artistic abilities and her adventures! A great book for ages 13-116 (in my opinion)! You may draw your own conclusion but here's hoping this is the start of new series!
*This book was provided for review by Zondervan*

  • Reading level: Ages 13 and up
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (August 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031072144X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310721444

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

WOW {Warm Oven Wednesday} Chicken Wraps

I love Pinterest!  I found another great sandwich recipe for this too hot to cook weather!  Chicken Wraps so good and healthy!!!

1/2 cup chopped chicken
 3 Tbsp Fuji apples chopped
 2 Tbsp red grapes chopped
 2 tsp honey
 2 Tbsp almond butter - mixed and wrapped in Romaine lettuce

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Serpent of Moses by Don Hoesel

Book Description:  A Fast-Paced Follow-up to the Bestselling
Suspense Elisha's Bones!Just three years after the recovery of Elisha's bones, Dr. Jack Hawthorne has given up teaching and resumed the practice of archaeology, although his frequent absences have put a strain on his relationship with Esperanza. Things heat up when Esperanza receives a call from an antiquities dealer with troubling news about Jack, and her fears are confirmed. Jack has gone to Libya in search of another biblical artifact: the Nehushtan, the serpent staff of Moses.After Jack arrives in Libya, he soon discovers he isn't the only one searching for the Nehushtan. Later, in attempting to steal it, he finds himself in the hands of a man who just might be his match. Jack and his friends must stay one step ahead of the Libyan government, an overambitious member of the Vatican hierarchy, and an Egyptian assassin--if they stand any chance of staying alive long enough to recover the staff.

My Review:  I love a fast paced adventure read!  And wow! is Serpent of Moses!  And adventure...well, just try to keep up!
I didn't read the first book, Elisha's Bones, but  this seems to be stand alone read.
Dr. Jack Hawthorne is a teacher gone archaeologist.  There is a rare serpent of Moses, an artifact, that everyone, especially the Libyanian government wants.  
Jack is this.close to the artifact when he is literally captured and taken on  the ride of his life!  
Now back at home, Espy (Esperanza), Jack's girlfriend becomes worried about Jack when he doesn't come back on the day he was suppose to be home.  Espy goes to her brother but he thinks Jack is just two days late because he is following another lead.  And, well, Jack has gotten himself into quite a mess!
The story is far more than a suspense novel.  Learning about the serpent of Moses--if you remember from your Bible reading in the Old Testament how Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and all the Israelites who had been bitten by snakes were healed--this is the serpent of Moses artifact that all are trying to retrieve.
Of course, any time there is biblical history involved the reader will learn more about God's Word and how God has mercy on His people.
Loved this read! And will be looking for more books by Don Hoesel. 
*This read was provided for review by Bethany House*

Don Hoesel works in the Communications department for a Medicare carrier in Nashville, TN. He has a BA in Mass Communication from Taylor University and has published short fiction in Relief Journal. He lives in Spring Hill, Tennessee, with his wife and two children. He's published two novels: Elisha's Bones, released in March 2009, and Hunter's Moon, coming in February 2010.

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (July 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764209256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764209253

Monday, August 20, 2012

COTT...Clash of the Titles


Author Laura V. Hilton's novel, Harvest of Hearts, is the winner of 
Clash of the Titles' second annual Laurel Award. 

Congratulations, Laura!

Laura will receive: a beautiful banner to proudly display on her website, a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Harvest of Hearts, a podcast interview with author and Christian Authors Guild board member, Cynthia Simmons, a feature tour on COTT's Blog Alliance, and a lovely plaque.

A Harvest of Hearts was chosen by a panel of judges who, by means of a score sheet narrowed the list of competing authors to three. From there, the panel put their choices to a straight vote, and A Harvest of Hearts took the crown.

Special thanks to each of our judges who volunteered their time to this contest. 


A participant in a swap of Amish men, independent yet kindhearted Matthew Yoder can't wait to leave the vast farmland of Lancaster County and make a fresh start in Missouri, where he'll move in with the Stoltzfus family until he finds a place of his own.

Strong–minded yet filled with compassion, Shanna Stoltzfus always dreamed of becoming a nurse, despite her father's threats to shun her. Determined to follow her heart, Shanna ran away and enrolled in college. But when her classmates embark on a medical mission trip that Shanna can't afford, she must turn to the last place she wants to go for help: home.

Even though Shanna still flirts with the people and practices of her Englisch life, Matthew is fascinated by the Stoltzfuses' prodigal daughter, and a close friendship soon blossoms between them. When the tension escalates between Shanna and her father to the point where his health is in jeopardy, Shanna is forced to face some tough issues, including the question of where her true home is.