Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

Beyond the Storm

Abingdon Press (October 2012)


Carolyn Zane

Author of 35 books, wife, mother and yes…hot (flasher) lives with her fabulous husband, Matt and their 5 children and 3 dogs in the scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon. When asked to describe her family, Carolyn likens her crowd to the
Brangelia Bunch saying modestly, “Only we’re better looking.” Right now,Carolyn is back in the saddle with her new title: Beyond The Storm, coming out in October 2012! In the mean time, be sure to catch her on the critically acclaimed TOOHOTMAMAS Blog where Carolyn and Wendy tackle Marriage, motherhood and menopause: How to do all three and stay out of prison! They are hilarious! You’ll wet yourself, guaranteed! Visit them at:


After a tornado rips through her town, salon owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress in the rubble. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds—her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed—and stashes them in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?”

As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness in light of the destruction, Abigail helps piece together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in the hope that it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?


If you would like to read the first chapter of Beyond the Storm, go HERE.


As far as I am aware, I have never read one of Carolyn Zane’s books. After having the opportunity to read and review Beyond the Storm, I will happily read more of her books in the future. Broken down into three main sections – before, during, and after the storm,  this novel almost made me feel as if I were right there experiencing the storm with its characters. The characters are so well developed that they seemed like friends by the end of the book.

Although I have never experienced a direct tornado, I am in an area that has its share of warnings and I have seen more than one funnel cloud that came way too close. We also live close enough to have witnessed the aftermath of more than one tornado in our general area. I thought the author did a remarkable job of describing what it must be like to go through such a horrendous experience.

The romance between Abigail and Justin seemed natural although it developed quickly. It was a good example of how tragedy can often reveal the true inner person and also how shared disaster can bring people closer together. Abigail’s Aunt Selma was a pivotal character who loved, encouraged, and guided many of the other characters to make the right choices for their lives. I loved the way that the disaster brought out the best in people who came together to help their neighbors and to rebuild their town.

Beyond the Storm is a suspense-filled story that has just enough levity to keep it from becoming too heavy. It also contains a timely lesson for those of us who question why God allows tragedy in the lives of those who love and follow Him.

Tangled Ashes by Michele Phoenix


The storyline of “Tangled Ashes” vacillates between modern day Lamorlaye, France and it’s World War 2 history during the Nazi occupation of France. Each section is set primarily in the ancient castle of Lamorlaye with its modern tale focusing on the renovation of the castle and the historical narrative about the Nazi’s use of the castle as a maternity hospital for the women who were to bear the perfect children for Germany’s future. For most of the book, the only connection evident between the two eras was the common location but as the story neared the end the relationship became more clear.

The primary character, Marshall Becker was a most unpleasant fellow – angry, rude, an alcoholic, and thoroughly unlikeable. Although he improved somewhat by the end, I was never able to develop much sympathy for him and his problems. Jade may have been a more likeable person but I didn’t feel that I learned quite enough about her personal feelings to identify with her either. The history of the castle was interesting as far as it went but I would have liked that story to have been expanded a bit more. Overall the book had a lot going for it but I personally felt that it did not quite reach its full potential. I am certain that this is largely due to my own preferences and not any shortcomings of the author.

This book was provided for review by Handlebar Marketing.


When Marshall Becker arrives in Lamorlaye, France, to begin the massive renovation of a Renaissance-era castle, he unearths a dark World War II history few in the village remember.  The project that was meant to provide an escape for Becker instead becomes a gripping glimpse into the human drama that unfolded during the Nazi occupation and seems to live on in midnight disturbances and acts of vandalism.

Populated with a cast of complex characters, “Tangled Ashes” follows Becker’s exploration of the castle’s shadowy past as he seeks to cope with an unbearable present.  From the virtually mute recluse who lives in the gatehouse to the feisty and enigmatic nanny of the owner’s children, every one of the château’s inhabitants seems to have something to hide and something to survive—but none more so than Becker himself.


Born in France to an American mother and a Canadian father, Michele Phoenix is an international writer with multi-cultural sensitivities. A graduate of Wheaton College, she taught writing, music, and theater at the boarding school for missionaries’ children she attended in Germany as a teenager. She currently works for Global Outreach Mission as an advocate for Third Culture Kids, helping them transition back into North American culture and educating stateside churches and missions about the special needs of this people group. Michele lives in Wheaton, Illinois. Visit for more information.

Soul’s Gate by James L. Rubart


Can I say “Wow!”? Other books by James Rubart are on my bookshelves but I have not been able to find the time to read any of them. I am so glad that “Soul’s Gate” was on my book review list this month so it was actually on my schedule of books to read. I am now hooked and MUST find time to read his earlier novels. Yes, it’s that good.

“Soul’s Gate” is an in-your-face, fast-paced page-turner that takes the reader into realms of spiritual warfare that most have never contemplated. Four “warriors” learn to do battle for each other’s souls as they prepare to fight the biggest battle of their lives. Although some of their techniques are totally fictional, much of Reese’s teaching throughout the story is backed by scripture. He raises some questions that most Christians have either ignored or overlooked. A strong emphasis on intercessory prayer as a means to help free those who are wounded by their past and the lies of the enemy is woven throughout. If the author’s purpose is to open his readers’ eyes to scriptural truth most never learn and to challenge them to step out of their vanilla Christianity to do battle against evil, then I would say he has succeeded. I know I will never be the same.

Although I personally loved “Soul’s Gate” I can see it possibly becoming as controversial as “The Shack”. With a theme of spiritual warfare that includes quite a few topics that many Christians find uncomfortable, it is sure to raise the ire of some. The important thing to remember is that “Soul’s Gate” is a work of fiction and that everything in it is not to be taken literally. The author himself states in his afterword that the act of entering a soul is totally fictional and not to be taken seriously. I hope that readers will approach this novel with an open mind rather than just looking for something to criticize.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.


“Every now and then we get a break from reality. A glimpse into the other world that is more real than the reality we live in 99 percent of our days. The Bible is about a world of demons and angels and great evil and even greater glory.”

What if you could travel inside another person’s soul? To battle for them. To be part of Jesus healing their deepest wounds. To help set them free to step boldly into their divinely designed future.

Thirty years ago that’s exactly what Reece Roth did. Until tragedy shattered his life and ripped away his future.

Now God has drawn Reece out of the shadows to fulfill a prophecy spoken over him three decades ago. A prophecy about four warriors with the potential to change the world . . . if Reece will face his deepest regret and teach them what he has learned.

They gather at a secluded and mysterious ranch deep in the mountains of Colorado, where they will learn to see the spiritual world around them with stunning clarity—and how to step into the supernatural.

Their training is only the beginning. The four have a destiny to pursue a freedom even Reece doesn’t fully fathom. But they have an enemy hell-bent on destroying them and he’ll stop at nothing to keep them from their quest for true freedom and the coming battle of souls.


James L. Rubart is a professional marketer, speaker, and writer. While being the owner of Barefoot Marketing certainly keeps him on his toes, his passion is writing fiction. Rubart is an ECPA best-selling author who has been positively reviewed by both Publisher’s Weekly and Romantic Times. His first novel, Rooms, won a Best Books 2011 award from USA Book News, as well as a Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award. His debut release was followed by Book of Days and The Chair. Soul’s Gate is Rubart’s fourth release. In addition to being an author, Rubart is also a photographer, guitarist, professional speaker, golfer and semi-pro magician. With all of this, he says that he barely sleeps. Rubart lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest. To keep up with James L. Rubart, visit

Win an iPad Mini from @JimRubart and RSVP for his Live Video Chat {11/13}!

The first book in best-selling author Jim Rubart’s new series, Soul’s Gate, releases on November 6th! To celebrate, Jim has teamed up with his publisher, Thomas Nelson, for a virtual book tour, iPad Mini giveaway and a Live Video Author Chat {11/13}. Watch the video trailer for the book here.

One “soulful” winner will receive:

  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • Soul’s Gate by Jim Rubart {Be caught up in this captivating series.}

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 12th. Winner will be announced at the “Soul’s Gate Author Chat Party on 11/13. Connect with Jim for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Soul’s Gate and join Jim on the evening of the November 13th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today.
Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.
Hope to see you on the 13th!

A Promise to Love By Serena B. Miller


Set in Michigan during the late 1800’s, “A Promise to Love” is a thoroughly satisfying look back in time. When Ingrid Larsen marries the recently-widowed farmer who rescued her from an abusive employer, her primary motive was to keep him from losing his children. The fact that she was already half in love with the man and his children may have made her gesture a little less noble but she was determined to make the best of it even if he was still in love with his departed wife. Ingrid worked hard to prove herself to her new husband but although he loved her cooking and appreciated her care for his children, she despaired of ever gaining his personal attention. After struggling with his rejection for weeks, Ingrid made up her mind that she would continue to love and serve Joshua and his family to the best of her abilities but would do so as if serving her Lord.

“A Promise to Love” has a plot that moves at a steady pace and the characters are well-defined. Highly emotional scenes include plenty of action and danger but are relieved at times by equally humorous or tender moments. The romantic aspect of this story is not the usual attraction between both parties but a love that gradually builds as Ingrid’s strong and caring nature changes Joshua’s heart toward her.

I enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from “The Measure of Katie Calloway” near the end of the book. I am in hopes that I will see more of the characters from both novels in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed “A Promise to Love” and recommend it to all historical romance lovers.

This book was provided for review by
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.


Serena B. Miller takes her readers on a rich, historical journey that combines both romance and a touch of mystery. In this fascinating story of love and family commitment, Miller introduces us to characters that capture our hearts and imagination as they discover that love is more than just words.

Ingrid Larsen, a young Swedish immigrant, arrives in Michigan in 1871 to search for her brother who has disappeared into the woods to work the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, she encounters a newly-widowed farmer who is struggling to raise five children on his own. Marriage would solve both of their problems, and so Ingrid proposes to a man she barely knows. She will fight to protect her new family–but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.


Serena B. Miller is the author of The Measure of Katie Calloway and Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman’s World, Guideposts, Reader’s Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more. She lives on a farm in southern Ohio.

Endorsements for Serena B. Miller and A Promise to Love:

“A Promise to Love is historical fiction at its finest! Brimming with romance, history, and a touch of mystery, this story is a joyous portrayal of true love and God’s gift of family. Serena Miller writes with an irresistible freshness and honesty, crafting compelling characters that tug on your heartstrings and leave you changed. A Promise to Love met all my expectations and more. I eagerly anticipate her next novel!”—Laura Frantz, author of Love’s Reckoning

“In A Promise to Love, Serena Miller has done it again. With fascinating history and characters you can’t help but love, she’s written a story that pulls at your heartstrings and keeps you turning pages as fast as you can to see what happens next. And just when you think the story tension can’t get any higher, she turns up the excitement another notch. A story not to be missed!”—Ann H. Gabhart, author of Words Spoken True and The Gifted

“If you’re searching for novels with both heart and soul, you will love the thoughtful and richly satisfying works of Serena Miller. I do.”—Emilie Richards, author of Sunset Bridge and One Mountain Away

The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer


The first novel in Goyer’s newest series set in West Kootenai, Montana, “The Memory Jar” revisits the mountain town that will be familiar to readers of her Big Sky series. This series appears to focus on the young Amish men who visit the area each year to live there long enough to establish residency to get a hunting license. The influx of young men offers some new opportunities for romance and possible marriage for the single women of the town. Book one features Sarah Shelter, a young Amish woman so devastated by the death of her best friend Patty several years earlier that she has had difficulty moving on with her own life. That is until she gets to know Jathan Schrock.

As Sarah and Jathan discover the similarities of what they really enjoy and their dreams about the future, they both begin to dream of a future together. The hard part would be managing to walk out their dreams while honoring and helping their families at the same time. Naturally events transpire to discourage them, then build up their hopes only to have the rug yanked back out from under them. Will they ever have a future together and see their dreams become reality?

Although Patty died in the prologue to this novel, she was a very real presence throughout the book. Sarah’s memories of her at significant points during the story helped me to understand Sarah from a unique perspective. Once Sarah was able to come out on top of her extreme grief and guilt over Patty’s death, she realized the profound impact Patty had on her life.

I appreciated the points made by the author in favor of being who God created you to be and following the path He has set for you instead of always trying to please others. As always, Tricia Goyer has produced another inspiring and enjoyable book.

This book was provided for review by LitFuse Publicity.

Book One in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series
Every year, 30-40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love.
Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?
Purchase a copy of “The Memory Jar” HERE.


Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of over thirty books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Find out more about Tricia at

Win an Amish Kindle Gift Pack from @TriciaGoyer and RSVP for her “Memory Jar” Author Chat Party on November 7

Celebrate with Tricia by entering her Amish Kindle Gift Pack Giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 7th.
(And be sure to catch the fun video trailer or try your hand at one of the simple, keepsake crafts Tricia has put together on her website.)

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Custom-made Memory Jar Kindle Cover
  • Amish-made decorative items {Wall hanging, horse/buggy and Amish houses}
  • The Memory Jar {Be swept away by this captivating series.}

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the “Memory Jar Author Chat Party on 11/7. Connect with Tricia for an evening of book chat, Amish trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of The Memory Jar and join Tricia on the evening of the November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!