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Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

Posted by Julie on August 31, 2016 in Book Review, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Description:

Book Review: Melody's Song by Kathleen Friesen

Book Review: Melody’s Song by Kathleen Friesen

“After the tragic death of her husband, timid Melody Jamison moves to the city of Saskatoon, hoping for a peaceful life, an escape from the nightmares that haunt her, and the safety and salvation of her son, Will.

However, Will is determined to prove he doesn’t need anyone, and God isn’t even a blip on his radar. He’s doing just fine, if you don’t count the times he’s had to crash at a friend’s or sleep in a downtown Vancouver alley. He’s not deliberately messing up; trouble just seems to follow him. But he’s strong enough to deal with it. He can deal with anything—at least that’s what he wants to believe.

Melody keeps praying, even though she’s not sure God hears her. With her faith as fragile as yesterday’s dream, she is shaken when dying friend Rose Martens predicts that God will use her to be a blessing to their neighborhood. As she gets to know her new neighbors, Melody finds herself on a faith journey through demonic attacks, domestic violence, and the revelation of a secret that could destroy everything she’s gained.”

I was surprised to learn this was Kathleen Friesen’s first book because she penned a captivating story that had my attention right away. I could feel the fear and transition in Melody as she is a widow trying to find her way. The anxiety was palpable, I really felt for Melody as if she were real.

I also enjoyed the other characters. They have purpose and are not superficial. More than anything, Melody’s Song has an affirming message on the power of prayer. No matter what your faith level, I believe you too will be drawn in and encouraged by this sweet story.

To purchase Melody’s Song, click here.

I received a copy of Melody’s Song in exchange for an honest review.

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Don’t Miss This: Karla by Sharon Srock

Posted by Julie on May 24, 2016 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Each month I want to alert you to an author and a release that I think you would enjoy. This month is Sharon Srock, and her newest release, Karla. I need to catch up on all of the books, but those that I have read are captivating. Check it out!

Don't Miss This: Karla by Sharon Srock

Don’t Miss This: Karla by Sharon Srock

Karla Black had everything she ever wanted until the night tragedy tore her world apart, stealing her husband and her identity in one vicious twist. Twelve months later Karla is a shadow of the woman she used to be, struggling through her grief, living with bankrupt emotions, and resisting any suggestion that God might give her a second chance at love.

Ian McAlister was a helpless bystander as breast cancer took his beloved wife from him one breath at a time. As days of grief turn into months, Ian begins to dwell on the vow she elicited from him before her death. Promise me that you won’t grieve for too long. But how will he know when it’s time?

Two broken hearts, two futures destroyed by death, until a chance meeting in an unexpected place kindles a friendship between Karla and Ian that rockets into a romance neither one anticipated. Can they overcome their grief and the objection of family members to grab onto the surprising future that God has for them?

  • Series: The Women of Valley View
  • Paperback: 282 pages
  • Publisher: A Blonde and a Prayer Books
  • April 4, 2016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0692675199



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Book Review: Bachelor to the Rescue by Lorraine Beatty

Posted by Julie on May 19, 2015 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

23522234Book Description:

Building a Romance 

Young widow Lainie Hollings will do anything to protect her daughters—even if it means accepting help from Shaw McKinney. Though she blames Shaw for her husband’s death, he’s the only one she can turn to when a robbery forces her to take shelter in his home. Soon she’s surprised by the handsome contractor. He’s kind, charming and determined to protect her and her girls. Being with Lainie makes Shaw want to give up his bachelor life and become a family man. But he’ll need to win over the pretty librarian and prove to her he’s the right man for her future.

This is one of six books sent to me from the Love Inspired Line as part of their Mother’s Day promotion. The books are on sale from April 21-May 28.


I really enjoyed this book because it took an interesting plot and ran with it. Lainie is a widow with two young daughters trying to make a fresh start. She’s barely made it to the town line before trouble starts and it doesn’t let up. Everything that can come against her does. The hardest thing? The man Lainie feels is responsible for her husband’s death is the only one available to help her. That sets up immediate conflict and I loved that.

I also loved the conflict. As an author I’ve learned our job is to give each scene, each chapter an action and reaction. Keep the conflict. Raise the stakes.

By the end of the book I felt like I knew Lainie, Shaw, the girls and the townspeople. It was a fast read and a very satisfying one. Bachelor to the Rescue belongs in your beach bag for your summer reading.

To purchase Bachelor to the Rescue, click here.

I received Bachelor to the Rescue from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Entrusted: Interview with Sara Bivins

Posted by Julie on December 19, 2014 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

This week I’m interviewing characters from Entrusted to give readers a better chance to get to know the characters.  Today I interview Sara Bivins, matriarch of Speculator Falls and Ben Regan’s feisty grandmother.

Entrusted FRONT Cover_editedSara, describe Speculator Falls to me.

Peaceful. Quaint. Good people. Family.

Like Jenna, you didn’t grow up there. What drew you to the Adirondacks?

God’s leading and my late husband, John. We met at a conference and it was instant. I left my city life to marry him and follow him to Speculator Falls. Together we built JB’s grocery store and raised our girls. 

I heard that you went behind the council and placed an ad to re open the senior center, hiring Jenna after one phone interview.

Guilty as charged. I know my grandson Ben is on the council and that he was the driving force behind closing the center. But, I know a good thing when I see it. The center is a necessary part of the area. And Jenna’s the best one for the job.

Did you also give Jenna your late husband’s vehicle?

I did. She needed a sturdy winter vehicle and I had one sitting in my driveway collecting dust. I know Ben was upset to see the truck all over town again, but he got over it.

Is it hard seeing reminders of your husband’s handiwork everywhere? It certainly seems to be a struggle for your grandson.

It was difficult at first but then I realized the store, our hunting cabin, Ben’s home, the truck—they are all comforting. Just as John was. Next to Jesus, he was my rock. I miss him so much but I have the promise that I’ll see him again.

Does Jenna remind you of you? You both seem to have similar backgrounds.

I definitely see some similarities. That girl belongs in Speculator Falls. I can’t wait until she figures that out.

Want to learn more about Sara and the rest of the friends you’ll meet in Entrusted?

Click here.

Don’t forget to purchase here.

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Book Review: Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble

Posted by Julie on June 12, 2014 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |


Book Description:

In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger’s memories . . . before they cost her everything.

Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.

But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks—and vivid dreams of being strangled—she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor’s murder.

Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked—by a man she’s only met in her nightmares.

The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent is eager to help her: Agent Marc Everton, the father of Elin’s daughter.

Of course, he doesn’t know about that. Yet.

Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there’s no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her—before she remembers too much.

I found the plot to Seagrass Pier intriguing. It’s not often I read about heart donors, but to add that the heroine remembers her donor’s last moments and who her killer is, that makes for some great suspense. Add that Elin’s paired with the one man she shares a past with and it’s a set up for great conflict and romance.

Seagrass Pier has all of this and more. I truly didn’t know who the bad guy was until the reveal. There was a beautiful secondary story about fear that I really enjoyed. There was a heartbreaking look at dementia and caregiving. Beyond the donor story there was also a treasure mystery. I thought maybe there would be too many things going on, but I don’t think that’s the case. I liked the diary/treasure story, too.

With the backdrop of the Outer Banks, I can’t think of a more entertaining summer read.

To purchase Seagrass Pier, click here.

I received a copy of Seagrass Pier from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




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COTT: Carol Moncado Shares Where Character Ideas Come From

Posted by Julie on April 30, 2012 in COTT, encouragement, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, Writing |

This week, COTT is featuring a Clash of Leading Ladies. But just how are interesting characters born? Here’s one author’s experience. Welcome Carol Moncado.

Do you ever wonder how authors come up with their characters? I’ve heard of authors who fashion their main characters after a barista at their favorite coffee shop or some guy on the bus who looked interesting. The further I get into my writing journey, the more I find my characters often come from real life. For instance:

The weekend before Easter, I was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy – where half your face just stops working. Fun.
Not really, but it’s great story fodder. That’s me. The story is one I started recently.

She was wearing an eye patch.
At church.
On Easter.

It might have been what drew my attention to her, but it wasn’t what kept it. She stood there, singing along with the praise and worship band, her hands raised. Worshiping her Maker with abandon. But only half of her face worked. The whole thing lit up but only half of it moved. The half with the eye patch seemed to be paralyzed, but it didn’t bother her.
A pink eye patch.
Now, to be fair, the heroine is younger, skinnier, with darker, straighter hair than me, but that’s where the idea for her came from.
In February, Travis [one of the shift managers at my favorite Panera] informed me I needed to name a character after him. Travis-with-the-faux-hawk became the hero in a manuscript.

I flopped into the recliner and ran my hands over my face until my fingers furrowed rows in my faux-hawk. The one that made the kids think I was way cooler than I really was.


But Travis won’t see his name in print. A week ago, he was in a car accident. At age 22, he left this life – leaving behind the love of his life and two children.
I’m deeply saddened by news of Travis’ passing. To me he was more than ‘just’ a shift manager at the Panera I frequent. He was a nice guy I loved to chat with. Another manuscript I planned to work on is about a widow. That’s all I knew until last week. Now, she’s a widow with young children a few years after a senseless tragedy.
Twenty-two is too young to be a widow.
Bethany Sheer knew this with absolute certainty.
And even though twenty-two had passed her three years earlier – along with her husband, the love of her life and the father of her two children – she remembered all too clearly what the pain tearing through the heart of the young woman on the news felt like.
Someday, I hope to be able to share Travis-with-the-faux-hawk with his family. To let them know that he touched my life. That he inspired a character in a novel – and so did they.
Because the best inspiration is what we find all around us.

When she’s not writing about her imaginary friends,Carol Moncado is hanging out with her husband and four kids in the big yard of her southwest Missouri home, teaching American Government at a community college, reading, or watching NCIS. You can follow her ramblings on her blog .
 **Be sure to head over to Clash of the Titles and cast your vote today!

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