Monday, July 20, 2015

FREE Kindle copy of my novel THE LIFE I DREAMED

Emmy O’Brien knows that motherhood is a gift, her children are a blessing, and her marriage is a sacrament.  There was even a time she fought to promote those very values and beliefs.  After having four children in rapid succession though, the demands of home and family have blurred her strong convictions. Tired, overwhelmed, and dissatisfied much of the time, she struggles each day to meet the needs of those around her.  When her husband receives a phone call from a 16 year old girl, unexpectedly pregnant and suddenly homeless, Emmy’s world is turned upside down and she must now decide, are her old-fashioned values and beliefs still worth fighting for?

 Free July 20-24, 2015 at Amazon!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review: Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship

Come MyBeloved is a compilation of the “courtship” stories of 12 Catholic couples.  I always enjoy a good love story but this book is not just a love story- it is a dozen love stories!  The vignettes tell not just of the love between a man and a woman, but each one tells a tale of the love between a man, a woman, and God.  And the stories are all absolutely true.  The average romance novel cannot hold a candle to this book!  

I can’t express how much I enjoyed reading about the varied and unique ways that couples were brought together.  I loved that they each relied on God’s guidance to find not only a spouse, but a soul mate.  In its own way, each story reveals God’s creativeness, His unpredictability, and, of course, His loving plan.  Together the stories illustrate the importance of entrusting our relationships to God even before they begin.  

A vocation to marriage is not an easy path of flawless communication, perfect trust, and romantic candlelight dinners.  It takes work and commitment and faith in God to make a marriage what it should truly be- a self-giving, self-sacrificing relationship of love.  The stories in Come My Beloved speak to these truths as well as any theological thesis or philosophical discourse ever could.  And they’re a whole lot more fun to read! 

In a culture that does everything to discourage self-sacrifice and sacramental marriage, this book gives hope that God is still at work.  Come My Beloved entertained me and, even more, it inspired me to look at my own marriage anew and reminded me to appreciate the gift that the sacrament of marriage truly is. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Review: Kneel and Prey (Gabby Wells Thriller #1)

I read a lot of young adult fiction.  And I read a lot of Christian fiction.  In fact, those two genres pretty much sum up my entire literary life these days….

Kneel and Prey, the 1st Gabby Wells thriller, is like no other YA fiction I have come across before though.  Kneel and Prey is no light feel-good Christian fluff either. Full of mystery, suspense, and action, the story explores dark, evil themes taking the reader on an exciting and emotional ride.  Main character, Gabby Wells, is a motherless high school student who attempts to take on a terrorist and save a whole town from destruction. As she tries to stop a madman with a sinister agenda, she must also face her own inner struggles and personal losses.  

I love that Gabby Wells is a flawed and realistically sinful character.  She is Catholic and truly desires to serve and follow God. But even as she strives to do what’s right, she questions God and makes choices contrary to His will.  Gabby’s a little rough around the edges but, somehow, that makes her even more likable and genuine… and easy to relate to. 

Kneel and Prey was a welcome departure from the less intense Christian fiction I usually read.  The story had me gripping my Kindle with white-knuckles, tense and engrossed in the action right up to the unpredictable ending. And Gabby Wells, herself, had me cheering her on and praying for a happy ending right along with her. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Book Review: Erin's Ring by Laura Pearl

On my first Christmas as a married woman, my husband (of only two months) surprised me with the gift of a Claddagh ring.  The striking ring, which symbolizes friendship, love, and, loyalty is steeped in Irish tradition and culture.  It was the perfect gift from the Irishman I loved and had so recently promised to share my life with….

When I heard that Laura Pearl’s newest YA novel, Erin’s Ring, features just such a ring I knew I had to read it.  The Claddagh ring in the story is found in the churchyard and on it is an engraving from Michael to Erin.  Thirteen year old Molly McCormick, after discovering the treasure, sets out to solve the mystery of Michael and Erin, and why the ring bearing their message of love was found buried in the dirt.  

As Molly delves deeper into the history of her new home, the reader is treated to a second storyline intertwined with the first. Going back over 170 years, Pearl also tells the tale of young Ann O’Brien, as she leaves her home country of Ireland and immigrates to the small town of Dover, NH.  

This is historical fiction at its best.  The two story lines, masterfully braided together across time, complement and balance each other.  Ann is living the stories that Molly is learning about as she pours over records in the town library searching for the owner of the Claddagh ring and researching a school project.

As it turns out, the ring, though fairly prominently featured and obviously of importance, is not really what Erin’s Ring is all about though.  The story is really about a deep and abiding love for the Catholic faith.  Both Molly and Ann, in every challenge and situation, are driven by their faith.  They are unapologetically passionate about their faith.  They are inspired to work for what is right because of their faith. 

Pearl is an expert at creating authentically Catholic characters who are also multi-dimensional.  So, it comes as no surprise that it was the characters that drew me into the story.  I especially love that the relationships in their lives create a perfect conduit for their strengths and weaknesses to be revealed.  The relationships in the book are full of ups and downs, misunderstandings and insecurities, and, like the characters themselves, are just so real.  

Erin’s Ring is a beautiful love story but it’s not so much about the romantic love between a man and a woman.  Rather, it is about true love and devotion to the Catholic faith and to family.  With so many immoral worldly books on the shelves of our library these days, it can be nearly impossible to find wholesome reading material for teen girls.  This story fills a need for real Catholic fiction that never preaches, yet clearly delivers a message of hope and piety.  Erin’s Ring is exactly the kind of story I feel good about encouraging my daughters to curl up with.  In fact, it’s exactly the kind of book I myself enjoy curling up with!

** I received a free copy of Erin's Ring in exchange for my honest review. **


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