Tag Archive | Janice Thompson

Red Like Crimson (Book Review)

red like crimsonI’ve always loved Janice Thompson’s writing so when I had a chance to snag a free kindle version of Red Like Crimson, I did so and read it at the first opportunity. This book read so easily it felt like a novella but it is a full length novel.

Eight years ago, Adrianne abandoned the man she loved and her education when she discovered she was pregnant. She knew that would ruin Chris’ opportunity to fulfill his dream to go to the mission field. She never told him why she left. Now years later they come face to face when he comes to Pennsylvania for a friend’s wedding. Adrianne knows it’s time to tell him the truth. He has a daughter.

Chris never understood why she left. He finished school and now works as a missionary in Nicaragua and loves it. When he meets Adrianne again old flames kindle to life and he dreams of the possibilities. Confronted by the reality that he’s a father complicates things.

In previous books by Janice Thompson faith has been seamlessly woven in and the characters are whimsical at times and humor abounds. Red Like Crimson is a departure of sorts from that kind of writing style but is no less engaging for digging deeper into spiritual truths and weaving together grace and forgiveness in the wake of sin as well as the power God has to work things to good. I had a hard time putting this one down. It may have lacked the humor of her other books which I had anticipated,  but it definitely did not lack the charm. The disappointment was short-lived as I was swept into the story she wove so skillfully.

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Inquiring Minds Want to Know (Part 1 of 4)

I asked some of my Facebook friends to ask me questions . . . so the next few weeks, I’ll be answering!

Why romance fiction? How long have you had the passion to write?

I’ve always enjoyed sweet romances. In my late teens early twenties, I was enamored of Georgette Heyer and Marion Chesney’s Regency romances. Clean stories without the explicit sex. I guess you could say I’m a romantic at heart and I long for that. My characters get the love and romance I don’t.

What made you choose writing? What keeps you writing? What motivates you?

I believe God led me to writing by telling me in a dream to do write for National Novel Writing Month (www.nanowrimo.org) in 2009. I think I had always been afraid to try and once I started the dam broke and I found out how much I love the process of writing a story. I haven’t stopped. Once the characters start forming in my mind and that first scene or general story concept and I start writing, I can’t stop until I’ve come to the end. It becomes like an obsession for me.

Which writers inspire you?

I admire the wit and whimsy of writers like Jen Turano, Mary Conneley and Karen Witemeyer, Brooke Williams, Sandi Bricker and Jan Thomson. I love the characters that Dee Henderson, DiAnne Mills, Ronie Kendig paint in her writing. Combined with suspense it is amazing. Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Loree Lough, and Lisa Lickel . . . I wish I could write like all of them, but I’ve had to learn that I have my style and I need to be okay with that.

How is fiction writing a reflection of your Christianity?

I love to encourage others. Jesus told parables and there is power in telling stories that can show the process of sanctification which I hope my characters will go through. I also believe we need to grow emotionally as well as spiritually. I hope I encourage others to persevere in their own journeys, spiritually, emotionally and relationally. And hopefully the reader will see biblical truths in a new light based on the journey of the characters to motivate them to persevere through the trials that come their way.

Pothole road damageWhat inspired the idea for this story?

For Pesto & Potholes I actually started with the concept of the potholes based on something I learned in my undergraduate studies. The idea that healing—whether emotional or physical—can be a rocky journey out of the pit and not necessarily an upward smooth trajectory. I labeled it potholes, my prof was a little surprised but to me, it stuck.

For the entire Orchard Hill series, for which Pesto & Potholes is the first book, I wanted to explore one of the things I didn’t understand early in my faith journey was why the church was so important. Especially when so many young adults walk away. Beyond worship and teaching, I realized it was about the relationships. While I agree that the theology of origins and understanding how science supports Scripture is important, but I believe the disenfranchisement of younger adults is deeper than that.

Peter Scazzero wrote a book called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and he posits that when we come to Christ we are born into a new family and need to learn the new rules. Not the “do’s and don’t’s” but how to relate to others in a way that honors God and His other image-bearers. Many times the way we’ve been raised has not been as healthy as the design God has for us in relationships. We are not mature if we only grow spiritually and not emotionally. So . . . I hope that my stories show the value and importance of the new “family” how valuable those relationships are for us to grow up in Christ as well as cope with the ups and downs of life.

More questions will be answered in the weeks to come. If you have some, please write them in the comments below!

Picture Perfect (Book Review)

picture perfectI have enjoyed Janice Thompson’s Weddings by Bella series for her ability to write humorous characters and sweet romances. I was thrilled that she is continuing her tradition with her new series, Weddings by Design. Picture Perfect is the first in this series but it flows beautifully from the Bella series as many of those same characters appear here.

Where Weddings by Bella had found humor in Italians living in Texas, Picture Perfect has fun with Texan Irish. Mix a little Italian in there and another wedding fiasco, because you know they can never run smoothly, and you have a lighthearted and fun romance.

Hannah McDermott finally has what she had longed for. A successfull business as a photographer and her opportunity to be “the best” on the island after she landed a prestigious wedding. She is forever haunted by a friend from high school who had stolen her boyfriend for prom. She feels like she is always coming up short. Right now, coming up short is being in competition with the handsome Drew Kincaid.

Drew however is not so put off by the idea of competition with Hannah and soon the two band together and are embraced by Bella’s boisterous Italian family, and associated friends. Will life stay the same? Will Hannah before ever falling second or can she set aside her competitive spirit and fear of second place, to share a delightful adventure with one really charming Irish man?

If you have read and enjoyed any of Janice’s books, you will enjoy this one too. Humor and romance and yet spiritual truth are woven together beautifully. I look forward to the next in the series.

It Had To Be You (Book Review)

it had to be youI have loved the Wedding by Bella series written by Janice Thompson and It Had to Be You did not disappoint (except that it means the series has ended? Say it ain’t so, Janice!).

Bella is planning her own wedding to her hunky cowboy while at the same time planning a wedding between her aunt and uncle (unrelated to each other) who have loved each other for years but didn’t acknowledge it until the previous book.

Every wedding has it’s challenges and this one does as well with fights and a swing band that magically can help heal relationships and the most oddly humorous assortment of characters you will ever meet, including a mobster and a parrot that sings Amazing Grace among other things! I don’t even know if I could survive a week in that household given the emotional upheavals and drama.

Overall of that is love. Bella learns a huge lesson about grace and learning to depend on others when her body finally tells her to stop. I mean, literally, it stops her in her tracks. I love DJ and his faithful patience and adoration and listening to his bride-to-be. I really do hope they have the happily ever after they were planning on, because after all, it’s not the wedding that’s the most important, but the marriage, and I think Bella finally got that at the end.

Kudos to you Janice for another laugh-out-loud Texas sized romp with Italian sized heart. I enjoyed my trip to your imaginary world (but wish it were real because it would be fun to visit!)

Fools Rush In (Weddings by Bella, Book 1) – Book Review

Janice Thompson is the author of Fools Rush In,  that has comedy down to a science.  Bella Rossi is an Italian living in Texas and planning a country-western wedding. The clash of cultures between her Italian family and the very country family of the man of her dreams, who she meets quite by accident, culminates in a series of slap-dash, laugh out loud and make you smile like-a –silly- goon- responses as one reads.

I have rarely read a book with this much comedy so seamlessly woven in and where you can still connect with empathy for the inner struggles of the heroine of the tale, Bella. While some if it seems unbelievable it is totally realistic because hey, life IS stranger than fiction and it makes me wonder how much of this came from Janice’s own crazy life. I don’t know Janice personally so I’m only guessing here!

I highly recommend this book. For a look at Texas and Italian culture (and what happens when they mix) and the difference we all bring to any situation we find ourselves in, this book is top of the list at making fun of crazy families, especially those who don’t hide themselves but approach life with gusto and authenticity.

This book is first in a series of books called Weddings by Bella, and I am looking forward to reading the rest in the series, if they are anywhere as good as this one, the mantra of “laughter is the best medicine” will surely be a cure for the winter blues.  Keep us laughing, Janice! You have a gift for it and I’m glad you’ve shared it!