Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Has she fallen in love with a man who cannot love her back?

Young Elizabeth O'Connor is the little sister John Brady always longed for. But she wants much more than that from her spiritual mentor. As she blossoms into a beautiful young woman intent on loving John, he must push back the very real attraction he feels for her. His past just won't let him go there. Unfortunately, Lizzie won't let him go anywhere else--until she discovers he is not all that he seems. Can true love survive such revelations?

My Review

Lots going on in this story! I loved visiting the O'Conner family again. Each character from the two previous novels once again face struggles in a new phase of life. Ultimately, the story is about Lizzie and Brady, but all the lessons blend perfectly together in the end. Twists and turns in every chapter had me reading long into the night, unable to sleep until I found out how it all ended. A Passion Denied is a beautiful picture of God's redeeming love and how once forgiven from sin, we sometimes struggle to forgive ourselves. This story clearly lays out how we should handle hurt and bitterness according to the Bible and was a perfect example of making God the foundation of romantic relationship. A stellar story to wrap up the Daughters of Boston series.

Some reviewers felt the book was too "preachy" for their tastes because of the use of scripture throughout. I feel to write the story any other way would've robbed Brady and Lizzie's true characters. From the beginning (book 1, A Passion Most Pure), they've been very open with their faith and dedicated to follow God in all areas of their lives. Beautifully and perfectly written!

I gave this book 5 stars!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Cream or Sugar?

Image courtesy of mistermong
Confession: I love coffee.

I never begin the day without it. No matter what is going on or how late I'm running, I always have time to brew at least one cup. No exceptions. If the world wants me to function properly, I have to have my coffee.

In fact, I believe I may have an obsession with the beverage. Because one common thread that keeps appearing in all my novels is coffee. No matter what gender the characters, their backstory, their heritage, or the issues they're trying to overcome, coffee is always involved.


Well, for one, authors always put a piece of themselves into their stories whether done on purpose or not. To a writer, their story is like a baby, and just as we naturally have a part of ourselves in our children, the same with our stories. 

I've also come to realize that coffee is a universal drink for bringing people together. Call me crazy, but it's true. When someone is struggling, how many times has a friend or loved one said, "Let's grab a cup of coffee and we'll sort this out." Coffee is always served at large gatherings--big holiday meals as a compliment to dessert, church socials, banquets, and even wedding receptions. Coffee is a perfect buddy while reading (and in my case writing too), curled up by the fireplace on a cold winter's night, or waking the senses after a restful night's sleep. We all know the jingle, "The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup." Genius.

Anyway, not only does the java fuel my mind while creating stories, but it's also symbolic to my characters. It starts with the basics. My characters, in terms of personality, are either a light roast (easy-going), medium roast (a good mix of passive and aggressive), bold roast (outgoing and full of humor), dark roast (troubled and brooding), or flavored (quirky and sassy). Some characters are no-nonsense and simple (black coffee) and some are smooth and sweet (cream). Sugar anyone? Some characters wear their hearts on their sleeves, while others prefer not to.

At some point in my stories the characters are brought together by the brew, whether the hero and heroine are getting to know each other over a cup, a wiser friend or family member is offering advice, or the hero buys a cup on his way to work everyday just to catch a glimpse the beautiful heroine, even though he hates coffee.

Okay, I've decided that, yes, I do have an obsession.

Do you have a common thread that keeps appearing in your stories? I'd love to hear about it.

I drink my coffee with cream and sugar, preferably a vanilla roast. What flavors do you enjoy?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

No man can resist her charms. Or so she thought.

Charity O'Connor is a woman who gets what she wants. Her stunning beauty and flirtatious ways have always succeeded with men. Until Mitch Dennehy, that is. Brilliant and dangerously handsome, Mitch is a no-nonsense newspaperman who wants nothing to do with her. Charity burned him once, destroying his engagement to the only woman he ever truly loved. He won't play with matches again. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat, hoping to ignite the heart of the man she loves. And she always gets what she wants--one way or another.
Or does she? Will her best-laid schemes win his love? Or will her seductive ways drive him away forever?
Book 2 in the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Redeemed will captivate your heart and stir your soul with a story of faith and redemption rising from the ashes of temptation, desire, and shame.

My Review
It was so great to see the O'Conner family again. Charity has finally met her match with Mitch, a man who's so attracted to her it drives him mad, but is equally determined not to fall in love with a woman he can't trust. And she's proven to him many times she can't be trusted, beginning with the seduction that spoiled his engagement to her sister a year earlier. Thrown together by consequences from one of Charity's schemes gone wrong, Mitch tries to keep his heart intact while showing Charity her need for God. But that's hard to do when the most beautiful woman in the world won't release him from her clutches. In the end, which will win the battle--his body or his heart? 

A wonderful story of redemption from the consequences of sin with so many twists I couldn't put it down.
I gave this book 5 stars!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Home Sweet Home

A hobby farm, by definition, is a small farm operated for pleasure or supplemental income rather than for primary income.

That being said, welcome to the farm. 

Hubs and I and our three boys live on ten acres where everything we farm is strictly for pleasure. We use our resources to teach the kids self-sufficiency, hard work, and the satisfaction that comes from both. Our "operation" is small and in no way fancy. We don't have any livestock, a situation we hope to rectify soon. That being said, what do we do?

Let me show you around.

Almost every farm has a good dog. Meet Indiana Bones (yes, the kids named him). He may not be ferocious, but he's loyal. He chose us by showing up at our doorstep one day and refusing to leave. When no one claimed him and the pound was looking imminent, we took him in.

We have fruit trees that we nurture every year. At harvest time, I bake desserts, slice the fruit to freeze, and make jam. All of which are great to pull out in the winter and enjoy. We have peach and apple trees and blackberry bushes. My goal is to add blueberry bushes to the mix this year.

We plant a vegetable garden every spring with tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, banana peppers, (sometimes) corn and green beans, and pumpkins. We till, plant, cultivate, and harvest the garden as a family. And I must say there's nothing better than a ripe, juicy tomato straight from the garden.

We cut, split, and stack our own firewood to keep warm on cold winter nights.

And as many farms do, we have kittens!

The chickens are by far my favorite addition. I enjoy watching them, spoiling them (I've turned them into big babies), and a farm fresh egg is no comparison to store bought. Currently, we have Rhode Island Red hens, but hope to raise other breeds this spring.

Every year we try to improve on our little place. This spring/summer, I'd like to add some landscaping, a few bat houses, blueberry bushes, build a larger chicken coop, and possibly eliminate our trash service by recycling, turning food waste into compost, and burning paper products.

Though this blog is titled "hobby farmer by day, author by night," nowadays it seems like the roles have switched. The chores that can't wait until evening are done in the morning before I sit down to write, laundry and house cleaning are sprinkled throughout the day when I need to get away from the computer and stretch, and the rest of the chores are done in the evening. This routine will change yet again when school is out for the summer and all the kids are home, making writing more difficult to accomplish.

So, that's what we do.
It's not much, but we love it!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

She's found the love of her life.
Unfortunately, he loves her sister.

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O'Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there's the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin's affections shift, it threatens to tear her proper Boston family apart.

My Review
There was so much conflict in this book I couldn't put it down. And with all the sparks flying, I'm lucky it didn't burn the pages! A beautiful story of an Irish family who rely on God to see them through their share of troubles. And several times I caught myself saying, "Wow. I didn't see that coming." Rougish men, jealous sisters, war, and betrayal= a must read!
I gave this book 5 stars!