Saturday, July 30, 2011

McKenzie by Penny Zeller - A Review

McKenzie, by author Penny Zeller, tells the story of the depth of one sister's love for another. McKenzie Worthington loves her younger sister, Kaydie, so much that she is willing to risk everything in order to rescue Kaydie from a disastrous marriage to an abusive and evil man. McKenzie goes so far as to enter into a marriage via the venue of becoming a mail-order bride as a means to travel to the Montana Territory in search of her younger sister.

Having come from a wealthy and privileged background in Boston, McKenzie was not prepared for the lifestyle that she encountered when she moved to Pine Haven to marry Zach Sawyer. Zach was looking for a wife and mother for his son; McKenzie was looking for a place to stay and a means of support while she attempted to rescue her sister. The master plan was to have her lawyer father annul the marriage, leave Zach behind, and return her life in Boston once Kaydie was found.

Penny Zeller has created a beautiful love story and shown how the best laid plans are often foiled when God steps into the picture and reveals His plan. In spite of all the obstacles that Kaydie, McKenzie and Zach had to overcome, the author has shown that, as the Bible states in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (KJV)

I have always been interested in the concept of mail-order brides and, in the story of McKenzie, Penny has revealed a realistic picture that vividly portrays this process. Her main male character, Zach Sawyer, is the same age as my middle son so, as I read, I could not help but compare Zach to my own son. This contrast helped the story to come alive in a very real way.

In the rapidly-growing field of extremely talented Christian fiction authors, Penny Zeller has excelled and has distinguished herself with her superb ability. She uses the tools of her trade with surgical precision to craft believable and captivating stories filled with a message of love and forgiveness. 

McKenzie is the first book in The Montana Skies Series and is followed by Kaydie (see review in previous post dated April, 2011). In a few short weeks, Hailee, book three, will be released. Be sure to check back for a review of this book also.

McKenzie was provided to me by the publisher, Whitaker House, for review purposes. I was not obligated to give a positive review nor did I receive any other form of recompense for this review. McKenzie and Penny's other books can be purchased at Amazon, Christian Book Distributors, Barnes and Noble, or your favorite book seller.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Winner of Bound by Guilt

Sigh! For those of you who read my previous post, I am sad to report that, once again, my plans have not gone as hoped. Last week I had a bicycle accident that has put me on complete, albeit temporary, disability. I am incapable of doing anything with my left arm, a big problem inasmuch as I am left-handed. I am typing this post with one hand, not an easy task. I cannot even hold a book because the weight of the book is more than my injured muscles can tolerate. Nothing is broken, there is no permanent damage, for which I am extremely thankful. However, the orthopedist said that there is major muscle injury and I am looking at four to six weeks of pretty intense pain. It looks as if I will most likely mend just in time to return to school, thus losing most of the summer and consequently failing to accomplish many of my personal and professional goals.

All of the above is just a brief explanation of why I am, once again, late in posting on my blog. I apologize to those people who have been patiently waiting for the promised results of the drawing for the giveaway of Bound by Guilt, by author C.J. Darlington. As always, I thank you for your patience. Without further delay, the winner of this exciting book is ....

Congratulations! I will be sending you an email shortly asking for your mailing address. MissKallie will have one week to respond to the email. If I do not hear from her within that time, I will draw another name.

Thanks to all who participated in this contest - may God richly bless each and every one of you!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

New Giveaway: Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington

OK, the vacation is over now and it is time to get back to work. Did I say vacation? Well, it was not really a vacation in the sense of how we normally think when we hear the word vacation. I have been on an entirely unwelcome but compulsory leave from posting on my blog for several weeks now.

What a year this has been thus far. First, there were the two severe sinus infections that kept me physically drained for weeks. Immediately following the recovery from the sinus infections came the whooping cough - that was no fun either and served to further deplete my physical reserves. It seemed that I had no sooner recovered from the whooping cough than I developed a chronic illness with some exceptionally unusual and debilitating symptoms. This time the doctors thought it was cancer. Several tests and many dollars later it was determined that, praise God, I didn't have cancer but instead had an acute bacterial infection that had completely invaded my body.

I was still on the mend from that particular bout of illness when my mother-in-law unexpectedly passed away, necessitating yet more time away from the computer.

I had determined that, just as soon as school was dismissed for summer break, my days would be spent seated at the computer in an effort to get caught up on the book reviews that I have committed to and am so very far behind on posting. (I apologize to the writers who are patiently waiting for me to post the reviews of their new releases). Fortunately, as one long-suffering individual put it, there is no firm deadline and it is never too late for a review to be posted. Perhaps there will be an added bonus for my not being able to post the reviews when I had intended to by prolonging the time frame in which the books are  highlighted in the public's eyes.

The first few days after school was dismissed were occupied with traveling out of state to family graduation ceremonies and also the annual birthday gathering for the birthdays of both of my sons and myself, all of which take place within less than a week.  Graduations were over, birthdays were in the past and, finally, I was ready to devote my time to writing book reviews.

What I didn't anticipate was waking up in the middle of the night in agony, suffering from a phantom pain that was indescribable in its ferocity. A trip to the podiatrist confirmed what I had suspected; I had developed my first, and I hope my last, case of gout. According to my doctor, it was not your ordinary gout either but, instead, a "classic" case that was unique enough to warrant taking pictures to share at a podiatrists' convention. Just what I always wanted - to have pictures of my foot shown on the screen at a medical convention.  Had I but known, I could have at least gotten a pedicure beforehand. This case was so brutal that I spent nearly five days flat on my back in bed, foot elevated, fighting the pain, and unable to do anything but fret about the book reviews.
Now, at long last, I am physically on the mend and ready to tackle the stack of books awaiting my attention.  I am fervently praying for no further maladies to attack me, my mind to be quick, and for my fingers to fly on the keyboard.

To begin what I hope will be a steady stream of book reviews and/or giveaways, I am offering a giveaway for a book for which I have already posted both a blog tour book review and an author interview. In order to be eligible for this giveaway, you must meet two requirements. First, you MUST be a follower of this blog and must say so in your comment. Second, you must refer to either the blog book tour or the author interview and comment on something that you read in one of the posts. Hint: both the author interview and the TitleTrakk blog tour post can be found in the sidebar at the right under the March posts in the Blog Archive.

The book that I am offering for giveaway is Bound by Guilt by C.J. Darlington. This is an excellent book that you are sure to enjoy. Please leave a comment which includes your email address in spam-proof format (username[at]provider[dot]com). If there is no email address, your entry will be discarded since I must have some way to contact you in the event that you are the winner. If you do not follow the directions for the contest, your entry will be invalid. The contest will be open to United States entries only and will conclude on July 16th.