CALLIE by Sharon Srock ~ My Review

The Blurb:

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

My Review:
Callie Stillman is the kinda gal I’d like for a friend. Fiftyish, married, active lifestyle, and a lady who doesn’t give up when God asks her to do something. And God puts a shy, withdrawn little girl in Callie’s path and her heart. Callie, along with her husband, Benton, and her prayer-warrior friends, refuse to let Iris and her sister go without helping. But Callie’s recent assistance for a little boy ended tragically, and fear wars with faith.

If you read my reviews, you know I don’t typically read mainline Christian fiction. I lean towards inspirational romance, but this story line drew me in. And you know what I found? A romance. A cute, sometimes playful-sometimes serious romance between Callie and her husband, Benton. And a romance between God and His children. God loves us, and along with an invitation for us to love Him in return, He offers healing for fractured relationships. Callie is not for readers who enjoy light reading or a few hours of entertainment. It delivers a weighty message of forgiveness and healing with a powerful wallop.

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Welcome Sharon Srock with CALLIE

Three dire circumstances. Three desperate prayers.
One miracle to save them all.

Callie Stillman is drawn to the evasive girl who’s befriended her granddaughter, but the last time Callie tried to help a child, her efforts backfired. Memories of the tiny coffin still haunt her.

Samantha and Iris Evans should be worried about homework, not whether they can pool enough cash to survive another week of caring for an infant while evading the authorities.

Steve Evans wants a second chance at fatherhood, but his children are missing. And no one seems to want to help the former addict who deserted his family.

For Steve to regain the relationship he abandoned, for his girls to receive the care they deserve, Callie must surrender her fear and rely on God to work the miracle they all need.

Now let’s meet Sharon Srock. When did you first discover that you were a writer? Believe it or not, I went to bed one night, a normal person, and woke up the next morning determined to write a book. I know, now, where that came from. It was more than a little weird at the time.

Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading. I love a good courtroom drama. Fantasy when it’s well done. By well done, I mean it has to completely draw me into a different world. Mysteries, and Romantic suspense are devoured at my house like chocolate covered cherries.

Mmmm…romantic suspense, now you’re talking. What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of? I’m going to assume you don’t mean raising terrific daughters. Really? This book. Not just for the validation or a sense of “I can really do this”. But because I feel like it represent me, finally finding God’s place for me.

What is your favorite food? I have two rules when I cook. If it’s sweet add chocolate. If it isn’t sweet add cheese.

Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why? My GPS. I don’t navigate. Now I don’t have to.

What is your favorite season of the year? What’s special about it for you? I only have three seasons to my year. Summer, Spring, and SWEATER. I have a serious sweater addiction, so Sweater is my favorite.

I’m with you, Sharon. I love wearing sweaters. What about you would surprise readers?
I’m a serious Trekker. I have my own uniform.
My favorite pet of all time was an iguana.
I hate reality TV
I love to mow the grass

Which character in your book are you most like? What did you learn from her? For this book. Callie, of course. I didn’t really need to learn the life lesson that Callie had to learn, but writing the story taught me so much about persistence, trust , and patience.

If you could go to any place in the world to research/write a book, what setting would you choose? Australia. It’s on my bucket list. I’ll make it someday, God willing.

Really? Australia’s on my list, too! What do you hope readers will take away from this book? That sometimes we spend too much time beating ourselves up for something God has already forgiven and forgotten. That we do a disservice to ourselves and others when we indulge in those feelings.

Sharon, thanks so much for visiting. Best wishes for success with Callie and the Women of Valley View. Be sure to join us tomorrow when I’ll share my review of Callie.

Sharon is giving away a basket filled with goodies, over $100 in value. Check out what all’s in the basket:


A copy of Callie’s story
A certificate for Terri’s story when it releases in April
A 6 piece Cherry blossom bath set
A cosmetic bag
A Bath Wrap
A Cozy pink eye mask
A Pair of aloe infused booties
A Hair Turban
A Tennis Bracelet
A 25.00 Amazon gift card

Wow! Every reader who comments during her entire blog tour for Callie will get an entry into the drawing. Make sure you leave your contact information in your comment. A winner will be drawn Monday, November 19th. 

Purchase Link

Sharon Srock lives with her husband, Larry, and two dogs in Rural Oklahoma. She is a mother, grandmother, and Sunday School teacher. Sharon has one and three-quarters jobs and writes in her spare time. Her favorite hobby is traveling with her grandchildren. She is a member of the ACFW and currently serves as treasurer for her local chapter. Sharon’s writing credits include numerous poems and short stories published in science fiction fanzines.

Welcome Marianne Evans and DEVOTION!

 

From This Day Forward
Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.
Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that’s what she thinks.
For Better or Worse
But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation?  How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?
‘Til Death Do Us Part
When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

Want to peak? But, I have to warn you…once you read these first few paragraphs, you’ll be DEVOTED!
The church space sang to Juliet in a holy silence that wrapped around her like a welcome embrace. She knelt to pray, heedless of the fact that there were no kneelers in the pews of Trinity Christian. The hard tile floor felt good beneath her knees, and somehow grounding.

“God, what did I do wrong? We didn’t argue, we didn’t fight, we moved forward together in our marriage. Why did he leave it behind? How was that even possible for him? How did I fail him? And You?”

She sobbed openly, speaking the words aloud, heedless of being overheard. The space was empty anyhow. She laid her head on her folded hands trying desperately to bring herself to a new understanding of her life.

My promises are unchanging truth, and life. Your faith will save you. Go forward in peace, and be cured of your affliction.

The words, the glimpse of sacred Scripture, resounded through the entirety of her being. The decree swept through her with such power she went straight, tears drying on her cheeks as she blinked, and assimilated. Had she not already been on her knees, the summons would have knocked her there like the weakened heap of humanity she had become. She pondered. Go forward? In peace? How was she supposed to accomplish that? In prompt, near supernatural response, she received the answer.

Know that I am God, Juliet. Know that I am God.

She bowed her head, drained and empty, submitting herself as best she could. Just then, the sound of footsteps echoed down the main aisle.

“Juliet?”

The call jarred her. She whipped her head around and gasped at what she saw. Kellen.

Kellen?

Did she simply think his name, or had she spoken it aloud? Stunned and overwrought, Juliet scrambled to her feet. In an untidy spin, she faced her husband. Just as quickly, she went weak, sinking onto the pew just a second or two after standing. She didn’t need a mirror to tell her that her makeup was smeared and her hair was a mess. She knew by the heat in her cheeks that her face was flushed; her eyes were probably red from crying. Kellen’s alarmed expression confirmed every one of her suspicions.

“Juliet, are you OK? Please talk to me. This is driving me crazy. What’s happened to you, love?”

Love. The use of that endearment caused her stomach to churn. Anger rose and obliterated everything else. “Don’t.” Kellen’s confusion intensified. “I mean it, Kellen. Do not call me that again. Not ever again!” She bit off the words; their bitter taste filled her mouth.

He reared back. Although he hesitated for a moment, he eased into the pew next to her. A mask of sorts, protective and inscrutable, now shaded his eyes. He didn’t speak. He waited on her, keeping to his corner of the pew. Juliet simmered and seethed. Just as quickly, though, the anger fled, washed away by a wave of sadness that stretched clear through to every cell in her body.

“This moment is killing me, Kellen, on so many levels. I’ve dreamed about it since the day we married, imagining it to be bursting with joy and anticipation. Instead, it’s breaking my heart.”

“What moment? What happened?” Generally fearless and confident, Kellen regarded her now in open trepidation. “I have no idea what to do to hel—”

“I’ll never have another chance to say this to you for the first time,” Juliet interjected, “or share this moment with you the way I had always envisioned. I’m pregnant, Kellen. I’m pregnant.”

A mix of emotions swept across his face. Disbelief came first, erased quickly by joy, then the most crushing visual of all: his love, intimate and rich. It had once made her feel so precious. Despite her vocal firestorm, his reaction was everything she had prayed for. This moment should have made her heart soar. Instead, she was shattered.

“You seem shocked.” The words came out sounding waspish. Juliet hated that fact, but couldn’t escape the rage and heartbreak. The venom inside her needed release.

“I’m very happily shocked.” His response came fast, but sincere. “We’ve wanted this for so long, I’m thrilled—no wonder you’ve been feeling—”

“I’m sure you’ll remember the night it happened.” Juliet cut him off once more. “It was spontaneous and heated and wonderful. Remember? There were no thoughts of anything else but each other. Or so I had believed. But if you do the math, you’ll realize we conceived the night you met Chloe Havermill.”

Kellen went pale. 
Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Did you hit the pre-order link yet?

Let’s find out more about Marianne Evans, shall we?


What is your workday like, Marianne?  
I’m the Department Administrator for the Valuation and Advisory Services of a commercial real estate firm in Michigan. I like to think my ‘work day’ satisfies the left side of my brain—the part of my nature that loves organization and alignment of “the numbers” my linear self. I track and process incentives and new jobs that flow in to our department as well as revenue accounting/reporting. Thing is? I’ve always hated math. Always. Go figure…

Do you have any interesting/strange writing quirks?  
I’m the ‘tangible’ type. For example, I recently completed a Christmas story, FINDING HOME, releasing in December with White Rose Publishing (Pelican Book Group). The story is set in London, so, as I wrote, I lit a bayberry candle, I drank English breakfast tea, I kept a few mementos of my own trip to England nearby like a pound coin, a charm bracelet. Such things make me feel a part of the story, and help me dive into the characters and setting. For Devotion, we took a couple trips to Nashville. We toured the Opry, we visited the restaurants I mention, walked the streets I describe. It was awesome, and Nashville, simply put, is fantastic!

What did you learn from your hero or heroine?  In the pages of my upcoming release, Devotion, I took a deep and heart-felt look at the idea of covenant marriage. I learned there’s such beauty to ‘sticking it out’ and turning back to one another if things become turbulent in your relationship.

Look to your right – what’s sitting there? Ah….that would be my self-appointed muse and diva, my kitty Darko. Darko prods me along as I write by alternatively sleeping and staring at me…

Lol. My golden prods me on, too, but with snores and sighs. What are some of your favorite things to do when you’re not writing? I bake my mom’s classic:  Onion Bread. It’s outstanding, and bread, to me, is such a mind-reliever to make. Plus, there’s something very satisfying about realizing you’ve created a quartet of tasty, nourishing loaves!

Onion bread? Hmmm…sounds delicious. What about your least favorite? Hands down. ANY kind of lawn work/landscaping. Don’t get me wrong, I love gorgeous, colorful flowerbeds and verdant green grass and well-sculpted bushes…I just hate the process of making it that way. 
I’m with you, Marianne! Hubby and I have a deal. I mow, more like breeze along on a riding lawn mower, and he does all the trim work. Yuck!

Thank you so much for visiting with us today, Marianne. Congrats on your upcoming release, Devotion

Marianne Evans is an award-winning author of Christian romance and fiction. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God’s love through the stories He prompts her to create.


Evans’s novel, Hearts Communion, earned Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year honors in the Romance category and readers have lauded her work as: ‘Riveting.’ ‘Realistic and true to heart.’ ‘Compelling.’ Evans has also won acclaim in such RWA contests as The Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence where she has been a finalist twice, and the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence.


A lifelong resident of Michigan, Evans is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of Aneruca chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President. She’s also active in American Christian Fiction Writers and the Michigan Literary Network.