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Christy Catherine Marshall

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March 26, 2011

I’m happy to join in this week’s blog tour for CJ Darlington’s second novel, Bound By Guilt, which is being released this month from Tyndale. CJ has been a blogging/writing friend of mine for several years, and I had the exciting privilege of interviewing her here last March when her debut novel, Thicker Than Blood, released.

Once again, I’m amazed at the depth of CJ’s writing. She focused her first novel on the relationship between two sisters, Christy and May Williams, showing how years of estrangement are restored through the rich bonds of sisterhood and faith. In her second book, she delves even more deeply into the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters.

Much of the action in both books takes place on a horse ranch in Colorado or at a used bookstore, Dawson’s Book Barn, which is based on the real Baldwin’s Book Barn in Pennsylvania where CJ lives and has worked as a book scout. (Didn’t even know what that meant until I read about it!) It’s an actual five-story barn, which holds over 300,000 books. I would definitely like to visit there — doesn’t that sound heavenly for all of us book lovers?

Bound By Guilt picks up about a year after the events in Thicker Than Blood. We’re now introduced to a new character, 16-year-old Roxi Gold, a girl with a troubled past, caught in a life of crime. I had a hard time putting this novel down, as CJ carefully lays out pieces of a puzzle that all come together in the end.

This novel is all the more intriguing because it involves the theft of a first edition copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. I had no idea a rare book like that could be worth over $50,000! It was fun to learn about the world of antiquarian book scouting. The novel also shows how the little things we do, helping others, sharing a scripture or wisdom from the Bible, can go a long way toward giving someone hope. I really think this would be a great novel to pass along to teenagers, as well as any youth workers who spend time with teen girls.

Go CJ! We’re anxiously awaiting another book in the Dawson’s Book Barn saga!

Check out this beautiful cover and book trailer! Blog Tours Presents:

Bound by Guilt
by C.J. Darlington
Published by Tyndale House

Shuttled between foster homes, Roxi Gold will do anything to fit in. Soon she’s traveling the country stealing rare books from unsuspecting bookstores. Police officer Abby Dawson has seen the worst of society—and not just at work. One fateful night, both their lives are changed forever. One searches for justice, the other finds herself on the run. Will the power of forgiveness set them free?

***Here’s what others are saying about Bound By Guilt***

Great job! You kept me turning the pages.
Francine Rivers, Internationally best selling author

C.J. is a wonderful, talented writer . . . extraordinary . . .
Bodie Thoene, best-selling author of the A.D. Chronicles

This one engages your senses and reaches your heart.
Jerry B. Jenkins, NY Times best-selling author & owner of The Christian Writers Guild

Watch the book trailer:

About the Author:
C. J. Darlington won the 2008 Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel contest with her first novel, Thicker Than Blood. She has been in the antiquarian bookselling business for over twelve years, scouting for stores similar to the ones described in her novels before cofounding her own online bookstore. In 2006 C. J. started the Christian entertainment Web site with her sister, Tracy, and has been actively promoting Christian fiction through book reviews and author interviews. A homeschool graduate, she makes her home in Pennsylvania with her family and their menagerie of dogs and cats. Visit her website


March 22, 2011

I love to travel, don’t you? In my 20s, I enjoyed wandering the planet as an itinerant English teacher, but these days, I’m thankful if I get to travel a few hours from home. I do most of my globe trekking from the cheap seat of my armchair — and that is why I LOVED reading Sibella Giorello’s latest novel, The Mountains Bow Down.

Why? Because this author whisked me away to the wilds of Alaska! On a cruise ship, The Spirit of Odysseus. Where I got to see glaciers through sentences like this:

Smothered with evergreens, the steeps pointed to a sky so blue it whispered of eternity … And where a liquid silver sea lapped the rocky shore, a bald eagle surveyed the cold water for fish.


Not only was the setting of this book thrilling, I also thoroughly enjoyed spending time in the mind of FBI agent, Raleigh Harmon, who uses the fascinating field of forensic geology to solve her crimes. And yes — a crime does take place aboard the ship. While most of the passengers are lounging, eating, and gazing at the gorgeous scenery, a woman goes missing and tragedy occurs. In the short span of a 5-day cruise, it’s up to Raleigh Harmon and her Tom Cruise-like sidekick, Special Agent Jack Stephenson, to piece together the mystery and put a monster behind bars.

So there’s a little romance on board, though Raleigh isn’t too swayed by Jack’s charm and stays focused on her mission of justice. As I read the book, I kept sneaking peeks at the author’s photo, thinking this book has to be somewhat autobiographical! Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology. I could imagine her as the novel’s heroine, an FBI agent solving a crime based on microscopic dust fibers. It was so cool to learn how this is done. (Especially since I’m married to a geologist.)

Here’s the back cover copy of the book, if you’d like to learn more:

Everything’s going to work out. Time away always makes things better…

That’s what FBI Special Agent Raleigh Harmon believes as she boards a cruise to Alaska. A land of mountains and gems and minerals, The Last Frontier is a dream destination for this forensic geologist who’s hoping to leave behind a hectic work schedule and an engagement drained of romance.

But when a passenger goes missing and winds up dead, Raleigh’s vacation suddenly gets lost at sea. The ship’s security chief tries to rule the death a suicide, but Raleigh’s forensics background points to a much darker conclusion: Somewhere onboard, a ruthless murderer walks free.

Engulfed by one of her toughest cases yet, Raleigh requests assistance from the FBI and receives her nemesis-perpetual ladies man Special Agent Jack Stephanson. As the cruise ship sails through the Inside Passage, Raleigh has five days to solve a high-profile murder, provide consultation for a movie filming onboard, and figure out her increasingly complicated feelings for Jack-who might not be such a jerk after all.

And that’s only her work life. Family offers even more challenges. Joined on the cruise by her mother and aunt, Raleigh watches helplessly as disturbing rifts splinter her family.

Like the scenery that surrounds the cruise ship, Raleigh discovers a situation so steep and so complex that even the mountains might bow down before it.

I hope you have a chance to read this book, and if you click on the picture below, you also have a chance to win a getaway on your own Alaskan Cruise!

Sibella’s celebrating the release of The Mountains Bow Down with a blog tour, a Cruise prize pack worth over $500 and a Facebook Party! Don’t miss a minute of the fun.

One Grand Prize winner will receive:

  • A $500 gift certificate toward the cruise of their choice from Vacations To Go.
  • The entire set of the Raleigh Harmon series.

To enter click one of the icons below. Then tell your friends. And enter soon – the giveaway ends on 4/1! The winner will be announced at Sibella’s Raleigh Harmon Book Club Party on FB April 5th, 2011! Don’t miss the fun – prizes, books and gab!

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

About the Facebook Party: Join Sibella and fans of the Raleigh Harmon series on April 5th at 5:00 pm PST (6 MST, 7 CST & 8 EST) for a Facebook Book Club Party. Sibella will be giving away some fun prizes, testing your trivia skills and hosting a book chat about the Raleigh Harmon books. Have questions you’d like to chat about – leave them on the Event page.

Sibella Giorello grew up in Alaska and majored in geology at Mount Holyoke College. After riding a motorcycle across the country, she worked as a features writer for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Her stories have won state and national awards, including two nominations for the Pulitzer Prize. She now lives in Washington state with her husband and sons. Find out more about Sibella and her other books at her website.

March 2, 2011

My oldest daughter started learning “Londonderry Air” from John Thompson Book 3 today at her piano lesson. So I thought it would be fun if she heard the words to “Danny Boy” to inspire her as she plays.

We ended up finding this hilarious video of the Muppets singing “Danny Boy.” Do any of you remember watching the Muppets on TV as kids? My childhood friend, Meredith, and I used to push back the furniture in her parents’ living room and make up gymnastics routines to “The Rainbow Connection,” sung by Kermit the Frog. We knew every word and somehow managed to sing and do somersaults and splits at the same time. I’m sure her mom stayed clear of that room while we were “creating” our master performances.

This should bring back memories to you. And in honor of the month celebrating the Irish, enjoy!

By: Heather Ivester in: Friendship,Music | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (0)