Operation First Novel Contest Winner Book Reviews ~ Double Header

I’m thrilled to share another winner with you. I know you’ll enjoy meeting Clarice G. James and her cast from DOUBLE HEADER. First the back cover blurb:

“Casey Gallagher has it all together—a lucrative marketing career in Boston, a happy marriage, and a successful sports column she writes with her younger brother Griffin. She’s got a plan to save for a dream home in the suburbs and then have kids, even though her cop husband Sam doesn’t see the need to wait.

The memory of her father still looms large four years after his passing. He was the cop who let her shine his boots, and she’s idolized him since she was a little girl. Even Sam can’t live up to his legacy. Then Casey receives a letter that bursts her balloon. Could her father not have been all she believed he was, and if so, how can her mother, who recently remarried and found a new faith, so easily forgive her former husband? Even the Red Sox rookies Casey and Griffin have recently befriended seem to have an inner peace that puzzles her.

As Casey attempts to fit the changes life throws at her into her idealistic plan, she is challenged by the dialogue running in her head. Is it her conscience, her imagination, or the voice of the God she’s not sure she believes in?”

DOUBLE HEADER cover - C James

When Casey’s happy memories from childhood are fractured, she begins a tough journey to re-establish her equilibrium and forge a new plan for her life. While this task is deeply emotional and challenging for her, Clarice James’s skill in writing and her witty style make the  reader’s journey a delight. Continue reading

Operation First Novel Contest Winner Book Reviews ~ The Calling of Ella McFarland

I’m glad to present to you another finalist in the OFN Contest ~ Linda Brooks Davis with THE CALLING OF ELLA McFARLAND. In fact, this is the winner! Here’s a peek from the back cover:

“Ella McFarland’s dream is a teaching position at Worthington School for Girls. But scandal clouds her family name and may limit her to a life of grueling farm labor in the Indian Territory. Her fate lies in the hands of the Worthington board, and there happens to be one strikingly handsome man with a vote. Will they overlook the illegitimate son recently borne by her sister, Viola?

1905 brings hope of Oklahoma statehood and the woman’s suffrage debate is raging, forcing Ella to make decisions abut her faith, family, and aspirations. When she comes to the rescue of a young, abused sharecropper’s daughter, her calling begins to take shape in ways she never imagined. Education is Ella’s passion, but a new love is budding in her heart. Can she find God’s will amidst the tumultuous storm that surrounds her?”

ELLA McFarland Cover

I liked the plucky heroine, Ella, and the abused young woman, Lily, that Ella takes into her home. I enjoyed the relationship Ella shared with her parents, and her would-be suitor, Andrew. In a story of over-coming, there must be villains – and to be sure, they appear as well, attracting suspicion if not outright contempt. Continue reading

Operation First Novel Contest Winner Book Reviews ~ Snow Out of Season

I am delighted to introduce you to some newly-published authors. I was honored to be named along with them as semi-finalists in the 2014 Jerry B. Jenkins Operation First Novel Contest. Over the next few weeks, you’ll meet the winning books here. First is Christy Brunke, author of Snow Out of Season. That title intrigues me. “Out of season” always means something is awry. Here’s the book blurb:

“Two pregnant women separated by time . . . Are they more connected than they know?

Cemetary PathShannon Henry is just starting to put her life back together after the death of her infant daughter when she discovers she’s pregnant again. Afraid of losing another child, at first she hides the news from her husband Wade.

When her doctor presents her with the choice of either raising a child with Down syndrome or terminating the pregnancy, Shannon is torn. Then things strangely start going missing—their wedding picture, a bracelet with charms for their three children, Wade’s clothes on the floor which she’s always complained about. And why is she having nightmares about losing her husband?


Leslie Gardner is a high-school senior in 1979 who dreams of becoming a professional ballerina, but she discovers she is pregnant too. If she has the child, her chances of a dancing career and college are over, but her friend shows her another option. If she secretly has an abortion like her boyfriend wants, her problems will be over and her life can go on as planned.

While Shannon wrestles with her sanity, Leslie struggles with whether or not to tell her parents. Each must make a decision that will alter both the future and the past forever.”

SNOW out of Season Cover

SNOW OUT OF SEASON has just about all the things I like to see in a novel and very few of the things I don’t. I like believable characters, evocative settings, intriguing storylines, lovely writing, spot-on symbolism, crackling dialog. And always appreciate a dash of charm and humor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe riveting story that unfurls for Shannon Henry kept me up reading well beyond a wise bedtime. I just had to know …  Continue reading