Tag Archive | Book Reviews

Restoring Hope (A Casey Conrad Sequel)

How did you spend your quarantined year? For me, dear friends and followers, I concentrated on my writing endeavors. I guess this 2020 project could be filed under “If we can’t play outside with our playmates – make up imaginary ones!” 

And so I did!  Therefore, I am pleased to announce the launching of my newest novel, “Restoring Hope (A Casey Conrad Sequel) by Ellie Marrandette

As a parent, what lengths would go to, to restore joy to the one you love? Restoring Hope is a feel-good novel about love and redemption based on my Christian values and counseling career.

Below is the book blurb:

 

 

Renown LPGA golfer, Casey Conrad, is married to her career. Overcoming a tragic childhood, golf became her redemption. She now aspires to use the skills she learned to give back. Her dream is to create an Academy as a safe-haven for underprivileged, inner-city girls. “Golf transcends life,” she testifies. “It instills discipline, integrity and moral values.”

Hope Morgan, a rebellious teenager, feels abandoned by those claiming to love her. How can they love me when they keep sending me away? Everyone lies!  Adopted at birth, residing in a wealthy home, she has everything but what she desires most – a place to belong.

Ryan Morgan had always wanted to be a father. A product of a middle-class upbringing, he grew up amid hard work and godly values. Wealth and privilege were nothing he desired until he met Angelina Rappaport, the daughter of a prominent investment banker. Marrying into a lifestyle he knew little of, he quickly felt like an outsider.

After a tragedy occurs, Ryan moves with his daughter to Charleston, South Carolina, to begin a new life. Now his only desire is to restore his daughter to the joyful, spirited girl he remembers.

Three different victims, many different scenarios. Will a father’s love prevail, can another young girl find redemption and will a dream be fulfilled?”

***********************************************************************

WordPress has changed their website while I’ve been away. The best I can do for a link right now is: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08N6Y84M2  Hopefully, I can figure out how to edit this later. At least this will link you to the page. The book is available in ebook format for $2.99.

Here are some of my other works:

Nonfiction:

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us)    Paperback and ebook format

Novels:  

Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime 

Casey’s Journal   

“The Curious Proposal for Prosperity, Nevada” (Novella)

Thank you my friends, I very much appreciate your support and any word-of-mouth advertising you can provide.  Blessings back, Ellie

 

Updating to a Better You!

As I was revamping, improving and updating my e-book novel from 7 years ago, I thought as I went along, “yuk, that doesn’t express what I wanted to say! How could I have ever written this crazy paragraph?  Umm, there’s got to be a better way to convey that!”

I’m sure most writers have similar feelings.  As the author of 2 novels, another on the way, a short story and a nutritional counseling work based on Biblical principles, I’m always critiquing my work. GOSH, that’s not good enough! translated that means, Gosh, I’m not a good enough writer, am I? 

As humans, we should strive for excellence not perfection – because there was only one perfect person and we’re not Him!

As flawed beings we are also searching for perfection. I sometimes want a re-do. Do you look back on your life and also ask yourself, why in the world did I do that – or say or wear that?

Sure everyone wants a do-over for something and we all probably have regrets. That’s the challenge. – we can never re-do that day, EVER.  Once words are  said, an action completed, it’s over. Therefore we can live in the past with regrets and bitterness or learn to forgive, attempt to make restitution and carry on becoming a better version of ourselves for God’s Glory.

I praise God for all I’ve gone through in my life. It’s true I’ve endured unspeakable childhood traumas, loneliness, betrayals and other life lessons; but each made me into a stronger, more capable woman. It was His Will, so who am I to shake my fist at God? He molded me, brought me out and set me on solid ground while always being by my side. That’s LOVE.

I once existed in a pit but I was never meant to live there, neither are you! I retain much Joy in my life because the Lord has been there, strengthening, teaching and loving me throughout. That was sometimes difficult to understand. How does God love the unlovable and imperfect being, I was?

I don’t know but He does!

Now as a counselor, I reflect back on life lessons and use that empathy to assist others.

I know some patients who believed they were unlovable, not worth anyone’s attention or time. They tried one weight loss program after another and failed every time. Why? Because they felt they weren’t worth the effort and self-destructed. That’s a fallacy. You have worth because you ARE!  God designed and created you and God doesn’t make JUNK!

We’ve recently gone through a wonderful sermon series on the life of Joseph. He has always been one of my favorite Biblical personalities. He didn’t deserve the treatment he received either but he learned patience, to endure and even become his best self through those trials he faced.

Think of those Jesus walked with: Did our Lord love Peter any less when he denied knowing him? No. How about Mary Magdalene when she was a prostitute? No. David, Abraham, Jacob, Moses or anyone else when they fell? No.

As it states in the wonderful film, I Can Only Imagine, “If God can forgive me, why can’t you?” Choose to forgive yourself or others and lift a heavy burden off your shoulders.

The Apostle Paul professed it beautifully:

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 3:13–14)

 

 

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . . “

LTSTEBC high resolution cover for Twitter

As you know most people gain weight over the holiday season which now lasts from Halloween until the Super Bowl. Then feeling guilty, they’ll desperately attempt a diet beginning on January 2nd. This lasts approximately three weeks if they’re lucky – or until the first football playoff game if not.

What’s the underlying reason for failing on a diet plan? It’s usually not because we don’t know what we should do. Most realize we should eat less, exercise more, slow down and drink water. Yet we fail over and over again! That’s frustrating! Weight loss is primarily a mental and Spiritual challenge, much more than mere willpower.

Please don’t settle for second best!” You are worth more than that! You would never think of throwing trash on the floor of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, so why do you trash your own temple of the Holy Spirit with so many unhealthy foods? 

My book, “Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese . . .” will make the perfect Christmas gift this year. With over 230 pages of practical applications and encouragement, it targets our mind, body and spirit. It’s not another diet book; it was written as a positive philosophy on how to honor God with our earthly bodies by choosing wisely.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”  (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20)

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” (Nutritional & Life Lessons God Teaches Us) addresses this Truth: God never meant for us to live on complicated, fallacy-laden, restrictive diet plans which clearly reject our Maker’s fundamental psychological, physiological and spiritual wishes. God set Adam in a Garden and provided the perfect Master Plan for health. Today however, people needlessly consume “sticks and twigs,” processed packaged foods, drink tasteless protein shakes or restrict their diet needlessly. Why?

Healthy living is not about denying oneself chocolate, cheese, eggs, potatoes, shrimp or any other food while consuming only rice cakes and celery. God gave us the perfect dietary plan in Genesis 1:29 and 9:3. There is no need to suffer through some restrictive, unappetizing menu in the quest to obtain health. If one concentrates on nutrients, they will naturally be healthier, while resisting toxic cravings. Since most already know what to do, I concentrate on the physiological reasons of why do we do what we don’t want to do? (as the Apostle Paul acknowledged in Romans 7:15.)

Now please don’t respond with comments like “Well I’m allergic to eggs or shrimp, so that’s a Biblical fallacy!”  God didn’t have to advise, “don’t put beans in your ears . . .” either. He gave us common sense and a world where we live under Grace.  (We also live under the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, meaning everything’s winding down.) Everyone’s been formed uniquely with a different chemical make-up. I address that in my book.

“Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese” is filled with useful illustrations, realistic applications and common sense! I pray that this encouraging and intriguing non-fiction work will motivate you to tackle the many mental, physical and spiritual connections to food which challenge you. Discover your true vitality through sensible eating, honoring God in the process!

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

My paperback book can be found on amazon.com at an affordable price or as an e-book. (It’s certainly less than a hospital visit and remember: nothing tastes as wonderful as Victory feels!)

My Book Launch: “Casey’s Journey”

Casey's Story Cover photo for CanvaEvery author who devotes their entire heart and soul to writing realizes how exciting it is to see a finished work come to life. For me writing will always be a labor of love. Therefore I am pleased to announce that my sequel to Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime, entitled Casey’s Journey, has debuted.

Isn’t writing a novel similar to birthing a child? At first you’re excited about the prospect, happily announcing it to relatives and friends, then a little nervous wondering if you’ll even be good at parenting (or in this case, writing.)

As you discover your characters coming to life amidst an emerging plot, you can’t wait to see what the finished project will look like! But along the way, perhaps constantly editing, you’re wondering why you ever thought it’d be a good idea and simply want it over with! Did I really think I’d be the next Harper Lee, Sidney Sheldon or Jodi Picoult? (Come on, I’m sure all writers felt the same at one point.)

Casey’s Journey is classified as Women’s Fiction, Christian Fiction, YA and is a perfect beach read! It’s a coming of age, nostalgic story, partly based in Europe, mostly based in the low country of the Carolinas. As in the first novel, this one has a built-in sequel, so while reading, look for hidden clues. I hope you’ll enjoy and publicize it. I’d love to hear from you if you do.  In appreciation, Ellie

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Why does God allow bad things to happen to the innocent? The second novel in the Katherine LeVay series, follows not only Katherine’s life after the death of her philandering husband, but answers the question as to what happened to her abducted child.

When Richard and Katherine LeVay Madison’s five-year-old daughter is kidnapped in New York City on a family outing, we discover that even the evil events in our life can be molded into beauty if God is the Potter.

Katherine’s resentment toward her husband’s indiscretion is but one of several events which ultimately leads to the downfall of her marriage. Years of living with the hopelessness that her daughter will never be found, Katherine leaves the States for a new life in picturesque Sorrento, Italy. But even her flourishing Bed & Breakfast set in a renovated Renaissance Inn won’t quell her heartache and longing to discover what really happened to her beloved daughter.

Casey is told her parents, aunt and uncle are dead and she must remain at the “orphanage” until someone adopts her. A year and a half later the child feels unloved, unwanted and rebellious. There is one couple however who sees the child’s potential and brings her into their gypsy military lifestyle. As we follow Casey’s journey through the twists and turns of life into adulthood, she sees how those who now love and protect her format her thoughts and dreams for a more promising future.

Stationed in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, golf comes calling and Casey exhibits many of her birth parents athletic characteristics. She discovers a talent and a competitive atmosphere she thrives in. That is until a family tragedy occurs, challenging her beliefs and enticing her into a scandalous situation. If it’s true that tribulation builds character, then Casey has an abundance of it.

Throughout the novel we question which shapes us more, our heritage or environment? Will Casey discover the truth regarding her past and is it possible that God meant all these tribulations for good?

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.”  (Proverbs 3:5,6)

Now available on Amazon Kindle:

Casey’s Journey available for $2.99

Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime reduced to 99 cents.

 

Intentionally Great! Mary Graziano’s Scro’s New Book

As a Christian counselor, whenever I feel discouraged, my first reaction is to delve into the Scriptures for serenity and direction. My next step is to reach out to another “Wise Woman of God” for counsel.  There is so much comfort in knowing that another woman truly understands.  When you purchase Intentional WarfareWinning the Daily Spiritual Battles, you will find you always have that Wise Woman of God by your side when challenges or discouragement arises. Just flip to any chapter and put on another protective piece of the Amour of God.  Intentional Warfare

Mary Graziano Scro, author of another of my favorite books, Intentional Fitness, has once again written an empowering book!  Based on pertinent, authoritative Scripture  such as Ephesians 6,  her book is filled with godly insight and common sense applications for living in today’s world. (How do we react to those who might disrespect us?  How do we live in the world and not lose our Christian testimony? How does one patiently rest in the Lord?)

Using the acronym: W.A.R.F.A.R.E, each chapter addresses the challenges we mentally, physically and spiritually encounter in our typical walk with the Lord.  Her action packed “Daily Training Exercises” at the end of each chapter will empower you to confront and acknowledge that “yes you can overcome the slings and arrows”  Christians face daily.

Here’s one of my favorite passages from Intentional Warfare to emphasize that point:

“When we do get hurt, we have the opportunity to choose one of the greatest activators of God’s love: forgiveness. We can forgive those who hurt, persecute, lash out at, and betray us. We don’t have to feel like forgiving. We don’t have to tell the one we’re forgiving that we’ve done so unless God directs us to do so. Often we will still feel hurt or angry. Fully experiencing forgiveness—no more hurt or anger—is a process that takes time. It starts with our choice to forgive and continues to completion with ongoing choices to keep forgiving (Matthew 18:21-22).

This is the type of book you’ll want to read book multiple times. The first to motivate, the second time to empower and the third time to savor as you tackle the challenges and eventually enrich and energize your Christian testimony.

A1tH-+XJslL._SX80_[1]Today only!!!   Don’t miss out on Mary’s generous offer to pick up a copy of her ebook for only 99 cents on Amazon.com.

After reading you’ll not only be able to face and overcome normal day-to-day life struggles; you’ll also emerge victorious.

Desiring To Be Intentionally Fit? A Must Read!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,” 

                                              (Philippians 2:12)                                                                

Inspirational author Mary Graziano Scro, epitomizes the total mind, body and Spiritual connection to fitness in her new book, Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation.Intentional Fitness  As Mary asserts early on, “Only by being intentional in our Spiritual life can we become intentionally fit in our personal lives.” So True!

Ms. Scro stresses that our life’s goal is not for man’s adoration but to honor and glorify our earthly body for our LORD.  Each of us should strive to be healthy, not only to be physically fit but to ultimately honor God and live as He designed us to live; with energy, vitality and True Joy.

Why then, when we desire to become healthy, certain obstacles prevent us from accomplishing that feat? Mary urges us to not believe Satan’s lies. The devil has no power over you unless you allow him to fill your mind with defeat. You are an imperfect being, so what? Aren’t we all? God understands our imperfections and is ready to restore us if we seek Him.

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The author addresses the fact that to fully accomplish any health goal, one must understand how our inward thoughts and actions affect us. Recognizing what ingrained habits and thought-patterns obscure our path will allow us to rid ourselves of any sinful baggage which holds us back. Only then, using Godly principles, can we strive for success.

Intentional Fitness is aimed at dispensing practical applications and steps to reach personal goals and provides in-depth, thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. Since each of us have different personalities and trials to overcome, each question will assist the reader in discovering what motivates his/her mind-set and actions toward victory or failure.

A1tH-+XJslL._SX80_[1]Wonderfully written and presented in her humorous, encouraging and motivating writing style, Mary Graziano Scro’s inspirational book is a short 108 page easy-to-read delight. Mary discloses personal analogies and illustrations which many of her readers will relate to. Her testimony of how she met her husband is priceless! She reveals how God answered her prayers and met her needs and will do so with you as well, if you are truly ready to lay your burdens down and let God take over.

Intentional Fitness: Working Out Your Salvation can be found on Amazon.com for only $2.99!  For that price you can even purchase an additional one for a friend!

 

“A Christmas Offer to All and To All A Good Read . . .”

Sometimes marriage is a real crime photo“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Just in time for Christmas I have reduced my Kindle e-book, Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime, to 99 cents on Amazon.com.  It will only be available at this price until the New Year. I admit I am no Margaret Mitchell – but it was a blast to write!

Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime is a memorable novel conveying how all our beliefs, traditions and tragedies occurring while we are young, transform us into the people we ultimately become.

Smart, spunky, tomboyish Katie LeVay is a seven-year old “Daddy’s girl” thriving in a typical 1950s family environment; until life becomes complicated after her father abandons the family. Divorce is rare in the early ’60s, but small town gossip is not. Comfort foods might be Kate’s antidote . . . but curiosity her downfall.

Beginning in nostalgic 1957, we pursue seven-year old Kate’s coming of age saga through her complicated childhood, complex marriage and aspiring public relations career. Life would finally be perfect if only her womanizing husband would change his deceiving ways. He doesn’t and Kate has just discovered the perfect untraceable crime. Layered with plot twists and humor, find out if Kate Madison will prevail.

Although not Christian fiction, it sets the stage for the sequel which is. This novel addresses what causes us to act as we do and how easily we can be drawn to the psychological edge of despair.

The idea for this novel began when a former patient of mine intrigued me by a conversation we had. We had just begun our counseling session and I was glancing over her food diary. (I had all new patients keep a journal for the first two weeks, so together we could recognize patterns of behavior.)

I noticed something amiss.  I asked her why she had prepared a certain dish that week?

“Well Ellie, I had to! It is my husband’s favorite,” she replied.

“But Ethel,” I responded, “don’t you realize that you are killing him with kindness?”

Hmmm. A thought-provoking idea evolved. Wouldn’t this be the perfect untraceable crime? I wondered how the authorities could ever trace this back to an unhappy wife? Therefore the plot concept of Sometimes Marriage is a Real Crime emerged and grew into a novel, five years in the making.  (Why so long you ask? Because I was afraid if anything happened to handsome hubby, I’d be in trouble!)

If you believe we never really outgrow our childhood and we are responsible for our own actions, I believe this novel will intrigue you. It’s basically a combination of chick-lit and psychological fiction.  There are two versions, both the same – download whichever you wish, but the one for 99 cents is available only until New Year’s as a Christmas present from me. I hope you’ll be entertained it if you do.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”  (Proverbs 4:23)