Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Review: The Nun and the Narc by Catherine Castle



The Book:


Where novice Sister Margaret Mary goes, trouble follows. When she barges into a drug deal the local Mexican drug lord captures her. To escape she must depend on undercover DEA agent Jed Bond. Jed’s attitude toward her is exasperating, but when she finds herself inexplicably attracted to him, he becomes more dangerous than the men who have captured them by making her doubt her decision to take her final vows. Escape back to the nunnery is imperative, but life at the convent, if she can still take her final vows, will never be the same.

Nuns shouldn’t look, talk, act, or kiss like Sister Margaret Mary O’Connor—at least that’s what Jed Bond thinks. She hampers his escape plans with her compulsiveness and compassion and in the process makes Jed question his own beliefs. After years of walling up his emotions in an attempt to become the best agent possible, Sister Margaret is crumbling Jed’s defenses and opening his heart. To lure her away from the church would be unforgivable—to lose her unbearable.


The Review:


Forbidden passion, illegal drugs, and murder…who needs the television when Maggie’s around? Catherine Castle sends the reader on quite a ride. From the slums of Mexico to the pristine walls of a catholic convent, a woman changes…inside and out.

In the blink of an eye, Sister Margaret O’Connor’s life’s at the mercy of a Mexican drug lord, and her heart’s in danger from an undercover DEA agent. Lies and trickery join a list of sins to confess when she finds herself kidnapped and released over and over again. In the end, she must choose between God and man, a decision that sends her on the run of her life.

The Nun and the Narc examines the illicit world of the drug cartels. It provides a glimpse of the drug lord’s power in this world. It also shows the possible roles of law enforcement to fight their influence.

Although, its repetitive kidnappings then lull in action took away from the story, I loved the emotion and suspense of the scenes. Catherine Castle writes a great scene and keeps you coming back for more. I give this book four stars.

Book is available in various formats.


About the Author:

Catherine began writing stories and poems almost as soon as she could string words together on paper. When other students groaned at essays and term paper assignments, she relished the chance to research new things and write.

Catherine also likes traveling, singing, and attending theatre, as well as being onstage in the spotlight. In the winter she loves to quilt and has a lot of UFOs (unfinished objects) in her sewing case. In the summer her favorite place to be is in her garden. She's passionate about gardening and even won a "Best Hillside Garden" award from the local gardening club.

Her debut book, THE NUN AND THE NARC was a 2009 ACFW Genesis contest finalist and a 2014 EPIC e-book finalist in the action/adventure romance category.

You can see Catherine's garden, read her poems and blogs, connect with her, and follow her at http://catherinecastle1.wordpress.com

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Coffee Corner: God and Fantasy with Angie Brashear

A Touch of  Relaxation

Welcome to the Coffee Corner, one and all! I have a special guest today. Besides the French Vanilla roast my son brought home, that is. Grab a cup and get ready. I have some Earl Grey over here if anyone wants a spot. And here she is, Angie Brashear.


Hi there, Angie. Welcome to the Corner. Before we get started, I have to ask…which do you like more? Coffee or tea?


While I love the smell of coffee, I definitely prefer tea. My friends in Texas insist it’s one of my New England vices. LOL.


Well it’s a good thing I keep some around then. I do agree. Coffee does have a wonderful smell. I like tea as well though. I see you have a new release coming soon. Can you share a snippet of Never Let Go with us?

Laila Pennedy’s heart pounded.

The noose pinched her neck and she fought for breath. Muffled voices drifted from the crowd as she looked down the line of captives. More than fifty Faithfuls hung limp, swaying above the platform. She stood on a large wooden barrel in the middle of the line. So many would die today.

Beyond the mass of enemies, archers congregated amidst scattered stone cottages and log homes in the quaint village. Farther in the distance, the morning sun shone on the peaks of the Willow Mountains—her refuge since the Faithfuls lost the War of Submission. What wouldn’t she give to be in the coolness of the upper forest, in exile with other Faithfuls. Safe from the enemy.

Here she was anything but safe and cool. Rivulets of sweat trickled down her legs inside fitted suede pants and into knee-high leather boots. Her shirt clung to her skin, the once beautiful cloth now ragged and frayed. Her long, matted hair stuck to her face and neck. So much for the gorgeous blonde locks her mother once adored.

“Laila,” her older brother rasped.

She forced herself to look into Niles’s tear-filled, deep green eyes and shuddered at the noose around his neck. She tried to reach out to him one last time, but her arms were bound too tightly behind her back. Soreness strained her shoulders. Her raw wrists stung under the taut rope, which had ripped open her skin.

“I’m sorry, Sissy,” Niles mouthed.

Sorry? She shook her head. No, this was her fault.


Wow. That sounds like an awesome book. I can’t wait to read it. How did you come up with the idea for a fantasy book like Never Let Go?


When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis aloud to my primarily secular class. In doing so, she opened my eyes to adventure and possibilities, all the while helping me escape a world of darkness for a short time. At its conclusion, I wondered, Is God real?

I continued to speculate. Each time God placed believers in my path—a high school teacher, a college friend, and a college coach—my fascination with the possibility grew stronger until the truth stunned me like a slap to the face. God indeed lives in the form of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He rescues. He saves. And He waited for me. Then He embraced me. It all started with a little seed, planted in the empty heart of the girl I once was. A love for reading expanded to a love for writing. A desire to know God became a desire to serve Him, to reach nonbelievers. And Never Let Go was born.


Praise the Lord. And I’m so thankful. For you and for the many souls who will read your book. For the readers today, if you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why?


Loyal. I’m faithful to all of my commitments and transparent with the people involved.


What a wonderful quality to have, Angie. So many people fall short of such integrity in the world today, don’t they? It can be discouraging…

And then the month of February rolls around. The month of love. Everywhere I looked last week, I saw hearts and roses. How do you picture the perfect Valentine’s Day?


Ah, Valentine’s Day. Though my debut novel, Never Let Go, includes a strong thread of romance, I’m not a romantic in my everyday life. For me, the perfect Valentine’s Day would be a quiet evening at home chatting with my husband—without interruptions from our wonderful children or colleagues.


Sorry, I had to laugh at that one. When you said you weren’t a romantic, you reminded me of my husband. He actually asked me that night (Valentine’s Day) if I wanted him to get me flowers the next day since he’d forgotten to pick any up. I told him not to worry about it. In his defense, he did take me to a wonderful dinner the night before.

Okay, although you’re not a romantic, you are a writer. That makes you an ‘expert’ of sorts in someone’s eyes somewhere about relationships. Right? Any advice for the young’uns and the not-so young’uns out there searching for that special someone in their life?


Eeek! Relationship advice can be tricky. As in all situations, I believe we need to be patient and allow God’s plan to unfold.


Good idea! Do you hear that, folks? God’s plan not yours.

Well, thanks for stopping by the Coffee Corner, Angie. It’s been a true pleasure. Before you leave, I have one more question for the readers. I’m sure they will be interested to know. Do you have any new projects on the horizon?


I’m currently in the process of writing the second book in the Legends of the Woodlands trilogy. Further in the future, I plan to write a trilogy focused on a female protagonist’s path to salvation (in a fantasy setting, of course).


I’ll read the first book. Who knows, I may just have to read them all! You may get me hooked on fantasy. Thanks again for stopping by. May God bless you and your endeavors.





Never Let Go, Book One of the Legends of the Woodlands 
release date - June 3, 2014.







Inspirational Moments will review and host a giveaway for a copy of Never Let Go in June.



About the Book:

Captured by the Rendow Clan, who seek to slaughter those with faith in the Maker, Laila Pennedy awaits death. Moments before her execution, she is rescued from the gallows by Lars Landre and his dragon. Marked as The Chosen by his blue eyes, Lars is destined to lead the Faithful out of persecution.

Lars guides Laila on a harrowing race across The Woodlands to Tuveil, where the Faithful are preparing to fight a rebellion. But the secret location of the village is betrayed and the Rendow Clan’s army will soon be at the gates. Faced with this impeding peril, Laila trains for battle, but the struggles in her mind and heart may be as overwhelming as the war to come. Will she prove herself an asset or is she condemned to forever be a burden to those she loves?

Pre-order Never Let Go here.



About the Author:

When Angie Brashear isn’t working or taking care of her family, she writes. Usually at night after her kids fall asleep. She’s an avid reader and runner, both of which perplex her husband. Saved in her early twenties, Angie is grateful for the Lord’s presence in all aspects of her life. She is originally from Rockland, Maine and currently resides in Cameron, Texas with her husband and three children. Follow her at http://facebook.com/AngieBrashearAuthor, https://twitter.com/AngieBrashear, and http://angiebrashear.com



Lead photo credit: HalasiZsolt via photopin cc

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Guest Post: The Cedars of Lebanon by James Blare, Jr.


The Lone Giant



The Cedars of Lebanon and Lebanese cedar… two very different trees. The Lebanese cedar is just that, cedar wood found in Lebanon. However, the cedar of Lebanon is a completely different tree. Some of the strongest wood mentioned in the Bible, it has roots said to be the deepest on earth. It’s even compared to the ministry of Christ. Hos_14:5 (I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, and He will take root like the cedars of Lebanon.)

These unique trees are a standard which is used to describe the strength of God’s voice in Psalms 29:5 (The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; Yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon). If you are instructed to build something for God, He directs you to use the strongest wood possible, the cedar of Lebanon.

What makes these trees so unique? It is not just the wood. It is how and where they grow. And what would happen for these special trees to get so strong? In the high mountain ranges of Lebanon, the wind blows at high velocities. While they grow, they experience some of the toughest storms in the country. But that is not all.

Think of it this way: The Lord tells you to build Him a ship. You are done except for the mast. The most important part…

When a shipbuilder needs a mast for his ship, he does not just find any tree and chop it down. He finds a young tree and chops down all the trees around it. This lonely tree will now grow all on its own. It will weather the storms and high winds of the mountain top. While the other trees grow in the shelter and shade of each other, this tree will become as strong as it can possibly be…alone. It will suffer the damage of the bitter wind, and cold, but when the storms are over,  it will heal. Its scars yielding strength.

The shipbuilder waits, harvesting this fine specimen when it is strong and tall. Knowing that the mast has to be the strongest on the ship, he fashions it out of one solid piece of wood. Scars and all.

Much like with the Cedars of Lebanon, the Lord is our shipbuilder, and we are His mast. When we give our lives over to Jesus, we are entrusting Him to make us stronger.  It may seem as if we are alone and weathering the storms on our own, but, in fact, they are making us stronger. God wants us to be strong enough to be that one solid piece of wood before he uses us. The good news? We do not have to go through the storms alone. God is watching over us and constantly repairing us as we grow. 


By James Blare, Jr. 

About the Author:


James Blare, Jr. discovered his love for the Lord at an early age. He finds great joy in fishing and hunting, not only for creatures on this earth, but for the souls of man. An apologist by nature, he doesn’t shy from a good debate. Bold and true, even in his everyday life, James stands firm in the faith. From his days on rigs to the retail world, he’s a testament to the molding power of the Lord.

photo credit: Dru! via photopin cc

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Fog on New Mart Lake, TX

What a morning... I went fishing, well, kind of. I read, he fished. Fog rolled in, then receded, and rolled in again. We sat in the rain. We talked. We laughed together like the best friends we truly are. What a beautiful, wonderful morning.
Today, the Lord reminded me why I fell for this man; hook, line, and sinker.
We relaxed on the shore together for the first time this year. He tossed his lines out and we waited. A loon moseyed around the bobber on a lake of glass. It rained, it stopped, and it started again. A perfect day for fishing.
He’d laugh, I’d laugh. He talked, I listened. I grinned, he chuckled. I’d talk, he’d listen. I won’t let this man go. Even his catch agreed. The small catfish he released swam back to him. He shooed it away, as if the fish could hear him. This guy is a joy.
He protected me from the rain. When it grew cold, he offered the keys to the truck. Although his goal was to catch fish, and I wasn’t fishing, my comfort never strayed far from his mind. How do I know this? He hardly left my side.
I celebrated every catch with him, from the little lovesick catfish he released to the largemouth bass he kept (then released). Every moment, even the small spell in the pickup to warm up, was treasured.
The Lord picks such amazing times to show me what a blessing I have with my true love. Today was another reminder. Marriage’s not easy. But I can say from experience, it’s worth it, especially when you fall hook, line, and sinker for your best friend.
Thank You, Father for my best friend.

1Cor 13:4-8(NKJV) Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

In Christ,


Renee

picture by Renee Blare