Thursday, January 30, 2014


I received a copy of AQUIFER by Jonathan Friesen from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.  I was thrilled at the chance to read it, as I’d seen the book in Barnes and Noble, and fell in love with it.  The cover caught my attention first – you can feel the raised bubbles – and the synopsis stole me away.  Water is scarce and those who control it are in charge.  It sounded like a great futuristic young adult novel.  Then, a friend recommended I read it.  She’s obsessed with dystopian stories so she reads a lot of them, but she only tells me about the winners.

So, there I was, with a copy of the book in hand.  I was gripped from the prologue forward.  The action was nonstop, mixed in with mystery, and the characters were riveting.  The only downside I found involved the descriptions.  At times, I had trouble picturing what was going on.  Since this was a whole new “world,” I would have liked to be immersed more.  The first part of the story did set the stage well – I must admit, it did drag at times – but I couldn’t picture the setting or the characters, or what exactly they looked like.

I recommend this to dystopian fans, and I will definitely look for more of his work.  

Friday, January 17, 2014


I received a copy of A MIRACLE OF HOPE by Ruth Reid from Thomas Nelson via BookSneeze.  It is part of An Amish Wonders series.  This is by far my favorite Amish book, and in all honesty, I can’t express how much I love it.  I can’t even pinpoint what I loved about it so much.

Lindie is a young woman who is raped, but hides that from her Amish community.  Since she is pregnant, her brother encourages her to marry an old friend of his, a widower with a deaf daughter.  Lindie at first struggles with her new role as mother, but discovers that the little girl has a healing touch and claims to communicate with God.  Lindie falls in love with Josiah, her new husband, but he realizes he has Lymphoma.  I fell in love with them as well as they struggled to make their home into a family.

A day later, I’m still thinking about the characters.  They seemed so real.  I’d planned on reading for an hour after washing my hair, but I was trapped reading for hours until I finished the book.  I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.  If I had to pick something I loved the most, it would be that Lindie and Josiah’s romance – it was the most touching Amish romance I’ve ever read.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Author Interview

Kissed by Literature: Welcome, one and all, to meet our next author!  Grace M. DeLeesie comes to you from Virginia to bring you stories of magic and romance.  Who doesn’t need a little of that in their life?  Welcome, Grace.  Tell us about how you first got started writing.

Grace M. DeLeesie: I started in preschool, actually. My mother likes to say
how I would come home and tell the tales of my daily adventures, and they
were so detailed they could actually be believed…until I added in the little
green aliens who joined in on my fun. After a while (and I learned how to
write) my mother gave me a notebook and told me to write my stories down.
Over the years, I continued to write, though those stories will never see
the light of day and are currently collecting dust in an undisclosed
location. My true novels, the ones that will be published, started about
five years ago when I was a freshman in college. To this day, though, you
will never catch me without a pencil and a notebook in reaching distance.

KBL: What is your favorite genre?

GMD: I mainly write romance (paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary…).
I’ve tried my hand at non-romance, but always seem to have that element slip
its way in somehow.

KBL: I have with me here CROSS MY HEART, book one in the Wolfe Lodge series.  Tell me about that series. 

GMD: “Wolfe Lodge” has to be one of my favorite series I’ve written and
published. I actually created the beginning to “Cross My Heart” in the car,
commuting to and from college almost three years ago. “Wolfe Lodge” is a
paranormal romance about a pack of werewolves in Little Rock, AR. Throughout
the series we learn what it means to be a werewolf, to a human among
werewolves, and even how far a werewolf will go to protect his/her mate.

KBL: What is CROSS MY HEART about?

GMD: Grave is the prince of the largest pack of werewolves in Arkansas.
After the death of his mate and childhood best friend, Grave leaves the pack
to mourn, accompanied only by his bodyguard (or “Hash”) and friend Phax. On
a nightly run, the two werewolves meet a sassy young huntress named Sam,
with a vengeance against werewolves unlike anything the prince has ever seen
before. To learn more about the sexy huntress, Grave fools her into
believing he’s human—but this comes at a cost. Grave falls in love with Sam,
hard and fast, but Sam fights him every step of the way.

When an old enemy comes to town, Grave must reveal the truth about himself
to Sam. In doing so Grave will be risking turning her wrath against
werewolves on him and ruin any chances Grave has at finding happiness after
Amnilia’s death—but it also might just save her life.

KBL: Many of this blog’s readers are aspiring authors.  I understand you go through Abbott Press.  Can you tell us about that experience?

GMD: Actually, “Cross My Heart” was published through my own company
DeLeesie Books. It’s new (only started 2013), but I have a couple of
potential authors I’m working with. My newest series “Interdimensional
Species” (Spring 2014) will be published through Abbott Press.

KBL: Do you go through an agent?

GMD: In the past three years, I have had 2 different agents, 2 different
editors, and 1 small publishing house, and have dropped every single one of
them before any contracts were signed. To be honest, I don’t like a lot
about traditional publishing, mainly because most of the decisions are made
for the author rather than by the author. That is why I created my own
company; it’s small, but I get to publish how I want to publish.

KBL: What can we expect to find in the future of Wolfe Lodge?

GMD: The first two books (“Cross My Heart” and “Hope to Die” [2014]) are
about Sam and Grave, who find and fight for their love of each other and
their pack. The next two books (“Ready or Not” [2015] and “Here She Comes”
[TBD]) tell the story of Phax (Grave’s bodyguard) and how he struggles
between his duties to his Alpha and his need to claim his newfound human
mate, Anna. There are three novellas throughout the timeline of these four
books (“Passion Only”, “Mission Save”, and “Submitted Freely”[TBD]).

KBL:  Thank you, Grace!  If our readers want to personally get in touch with you, what would be the best way?

GMD: My email is <>
or “like” me on Facebook at

KBL: Here comes the special surprise for all of you.  Grace is giving away a copy of CROSS MY HEART to a lucky commenter.  Leave a comment here with your name and email address.  On February 1st, Grace will choose a winner and send that individual a paperback copy.  Let the comments begin!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

99 Stories from the Bible

I received a copy of 99 STORIES FROM THE BIBLE by Juliet David and illustrated by Elina Ellis, from Candle Books via Kregel.  I was thrilled to receive this, since I love Bible stories, especially those intended for children.  I’m able to share them with my young cousins and do learning activities with them.  The illustrations in this book practically leap off the pages, so they were perfect for copying onto poster board and telling our own versions of what happened on that page.  The stories are shorted to be one or two pages, and some characters continue for multiple short stories, such as Abraham and Sarah. 

My family and I enjoy “Bible Chat,” where we each read a different story from a kid’s Bible.  We then compare the different retellings.  99 STORIES FROM THE BIBLE worked perfectly for that. 

I highly recommend this book for adults who hope to teach their children more about the Bible.  It has a thick cover and large print, but the pages are paper, so it might not be appropriate for infants.  The bright pictures will capture anyone’s attention and the stories will invoke amazing conversations.  I will be passing this book on to a friend with a seven-year-old son to enjoy it.  

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ingredients for Success

I received a copy of INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESS: 10 BEST PRACTICES FRO BUSINESS AND LIFE by Joseph James Slawek from Kickstand Books via Handlebar Publishing.  I was a little worried that the book would contain the usual mantras for success: work hard, keep trying, never give up, etcetera.  Those words to live by are great, but sometimes they are ground into people so much, they become numbing.  This book offers a new outlook and fresh ideas, all relating back to the Bible, in particular Matthew 25.  Each page offers insight into how the Bible can help you with your business endeavors.

I recommend this to anyone going into business, feeling stuck in their current business, or anyone seeking a new outlook on the Bible.  

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

History of a House

Photo Courtesy of Dorothy Stacy

I have loved old houses since fourth grade, when my class read a children’s ghost story.  The mystery of a house that had seen memories both good and bad – take the death of that ghost for example – enthralled me.  What secrets could old walls provide? 

Sometimes, people buy a house and live in it without ever looking deeper than safety features (Is the roof good?  Are the windows drafty?).  Other people choose to uncover those secrets of the past.  A writer friend of mine who purchased a house in Sauquoit did just that.  When you hear Dorothy Stacy, author of the Erie Canal Cousins series, talk about her home, a content glaze drifts over her eyes and she smiles with the kind of pride that an old house would relish. 

Cruising up Dorothy’s driveway, you can picture a horse and buggy clopping over pebbles and dirt toward the garage.  Walking up to the house, I could imagine carrying a basket and calling cards with me.  Then, actually stepping inside, you can imagine being greeted by a woman in a hoop skirt and a man with a pipe and a bowler hat.  The ballroom amazed me the most, with its gentle colors and an exposed beam acting as a focal point.

“This used to be the ballroom,” Dorothy explained.  “After Jerusha got her husband, Spencer, to join the Methodist Church, they didn’t have any other dances here.”  Now the room is divided down the middle by a new wall, but the hardwood floor was just made for tapping your heels – literally.

I suppose I should rewind and introduce you to this Lieutenant Spencer Briggs and his wife, Jerusha Marsh.  Spencer Briggs used to own all of East Sauquoit.  He and Jerusha lived in a small log cabin until he built the house Dorothy now lives in, back in 1800, thereabouts.  In a letter given to Dorothy when she and her late husband purchased the house in 1077, “There was no saw mill near so the timers are all hewn timers, some being the whole trunks of trees with the bark on as can be seen in the cellar.  It was put up as a raising, same as a barn.  The frame was pinned same as a barn.  The great posts of red and white elm in all the corners.  Then pinned with two-inch planks as high as the attic floor.  The original clapboards were very wide.  And all the nails used were hand-made nails.  The floors are hemlock boards and were all lined floors.  The brick partitions in the cellar were made of the bricks taken out of the old fashioned fireplaces many years ago.” 
The letter also mentions that a Jared S. Allen repaired the house in 1905.  New floors were placed over the old ones – how interesting to take up that floor and see what’s underneath! 

Spencer and Jerusha were quite busy.  Spencer bought great portions of land, which he later sold, and he also built another home, which he died in.  They deeded land to the Methodist Church, and a church was built on the corner of Pinnacle Road and Mohawk Street in Sauquoit.  A new church was built in 1842, this one of brick, and constructed over the graves, which had been moved.  The old church became the Academy. 

After Spencer and Jerusha gave up their home, now Dorothy’s, it belonged to a Jared P. Todd, then to Mrs. Samuel Allen.  It was passed to Julie and Jared S. Allen.  Now, concerning Jared Allen, one Sunday in November of 1910, he and Julia were going to take a buggy ride to Utica.  Julia waited in the house while her husband hitched up the team, but when it took him longer than usual, she went out to check and found him hanging from a barn rafter.  When I asked Dorothy if his ghost wanders the barn, she said she doesn’t believe in ghosts.  Hmm, I may have to take some pictures in there someday to see if I catch any orbs.
After the Allens, the house belonged to John and Agnes Brayton, and then to Charlotte Hopkins.  The house ownership continued to Kenneth and Margaret Hillman, and then to Sherrill and Margery Sherman.  I have a bit of Sherman blood in me…perhaps there is some relation there.  John and Dorothy Stacy bought their house from that last Sherrill Sherman.  You can find Spencer and Jerusha Briggs buried on Pinnacle Road.  How comforting to know they get to stay near the land they loved.

Now comes the most fantastic part – for me, a history lover, at least.  Dorothy showed me the artifacts that had been found in her cellar wall.  Her husband and children participated in archeological digs to find things buried inside.  I’ve always dreamed of finding wonderful treasures somewhere in my house.  Dorothy took the items out of a box and actually let me hold them.  I couldn’t believe I was able to touch the eyeglasses owned by someone years ago.  Amongst the baubles were inkwells, a doll’s head, broken jewelry, and dishes.  At one time, the building had been used as a nursing home, but judging by the amount of inkwells, it might have been a school as well.  I could almost imagine what the late owners had been like when I held their old belongings.  A broken teacup might not have much value to the common person, but to someone who has always loved the past, it was as good as a diamond. 

You never know what you’ll find when you start to explore an old house.  It may not be an actual item, like an old watch, but the facts are titillating.  Everything holds a story…what story is your home waiting to tell?