Category Archives: Clean Reads

Feature Fiction Friday – Christina Lorenzen

With us today is fellow writer, Christina Lorenzen, talking about her favorite books:

When it comes to picking a favorite book, like potato chips, I can’t have just one. But there have been a handful of books, and their authors, who have shaped my reading tastes and my writing career.

Going back to my early teens, the most memorable book that I still remember so clearly today would be Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. My heart just broke for orphan Mary Lennox. At the same time I was enchanted by the great house on the Yorkshire Moors. What could be more fabulous than a house with almost a hundred rooms full of secrets? Between her locked up uncle and the spooky crying she hears coming from one of the corridors at night, I could barely stand to put that book down. I think related to Mary because the gardens were her escape as books were mine. I still reread this book every few years just for the sheer pleasure of it.

The second book is by now deceased prolific author Phyllis A. Whitney. Emerald is the story of Carol Hamilton and her small son’s flight to escape her husband’s violent threats. Her only refuge is to the home of her famous movie actress great Aunt Monica Arlen. Her aunt’s name has seemed magical to Carol her whole life but when she escapes to her great aunt’s home she finds danger she hadn’t counted on. Phyllis A. Whitney’s books were my first forage into the world of romantic suspense. Not only could you find romance and suspense in Whitney’s books, but what I loved most about Emerald and her subsequent books was the wonderful exotic settings. They were great reads for a young armchair traveler like myself.

Years later, as a aspiring writer and homeschooling mom, I connected with another writer who was, like myself, a book lover. She introduced me to Debbie Macomber with the first book of hers I ever read, Susannah’s Garden. At this time in life I could relate to main character Susannah Nelson, who at fifty is regretting paths not taken in her life. Like so many today, she is being pulled between her young adult daughter and aging parent, trying to find balance and what’s missing in her life. This book fanned the flame that became my passion for Debbie Macomber books and I can tell you that I own a copy of nearly every book she has written. My keeper shelves are jammed tight.

I feel my long time love of reading and the influence of favorite authors like Debbie Macomber have brought me to the place I am now in my writing career. I can’t imagine doing anything else!

A little about our author, Christina Lorenzen:

Christina started writing as a young teen, jotting stories in wire ring composition notebooks. Her first typewriter made it faster to get all those stories out of her head and down on paper. Her love of writing has sustained her through a myriad of jobs that included hairdresser, legal secretary, waitress and door-­to-‑door saleswoman.
Luckily for her, writing proved to be successful and a lot less walking than going door to door. “A Husband for Danna” was Christina’s first novel. She is busy working on her next. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found walking her dog, talking to her herd of cats and spending time with her family.
Christina’s next book, A Wife for Humphrey, was released on April 28, 2016.
To find out about Christina’s upcoming releases, visit her website at
Subscribe to Christina’s newsletter and be entered automatically each month to win a $5 Amazon gift card at

You can connect with Christina at:

A Wife for HumphreyWife for Humphrey


Runaway bride Danna and her handsome new husband are happily setting up a new home and business in the small town of Harmony, where only months before they’d been stranded strangers together. While unpacking boxes Danna finds the gift from Minnie she’d never remembered to open. After finding the delicate silver locket with a young soldier’s picture in it, hopeless romantic Danna has to find out who he is. Once she finds out that the soldier was the only man Minnie had ever loved and lost, she’s determined to find out if Humphrey Lewis still loves Minnie. Is there a chance for Minnie to have her happily ever after? It couldn’t hurt to check, could it? Though she should be working side by side with her sweet new husband in their soon to be opening antique shop, Danna becomes more and more invested in this decades old love story. And when she finally tracks down Humphrey, nothing, not even his disapproving grandson or a minor fall, will stop her from reuniting these two sweet people who never stopped loving one another.

A Wife for Humphrey is available at Amazon:
​It is also available wherever fine books are sold 🙂

Thanks for visiting with us, Christina!

Feature Fiction Friday – J. Andersen

Today we have fellow Astraea Press author, J. Andersen, with us talking about a couple of her favorite books and how they led to her own writing:

Picking a favorite book is like choosing which of your own children you like best. However, there are a few that stand above the rest for me.

The first would be 1984, by George Orwell. I can remember reading this in high school thinking the concept was so freaky and ahead of its time. This was after 1984, so we talked about the parts of the book that had come true and the parts that were off base. I think what I liked about it was the possibility of reality, the ‘what if this really happened’? It made me think about how I’d respond in a society built upon such ideals. Little did I know, this was the beginning of my dive into a deep love for dystopian literature.

The second book at the top of my list would be THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry. I was first introduced to this book in college when I was taking a young adult literature class. I can remember discussions and the connections to books like 1984. The biggest difference from this book as compared to 1984, at least in my opinion, was that the society set up in The Giver was at least trying to create something better for its people. How often do we try to do that? Create something good and it turns on its head?

It wasn’t very many years later that I was able to teach THE GIVER to middle schoolers. It quickly became a crowd favorite. This was at a time when Young Adult Literature was just beginning to come into its own. It was not a defined genre, much less the dystopian genre. Over the years of teaching and the development of YA and dystopian literature, I kept thinking that I’d love to be able to write a dystopian story, but I never had a good, original idea until The Breeding Tree popped into my head several years later. Hopefully one day kids will read my story and will think, “I wonder how I’d react in a society like this.”

breeding tree

BLURB for The Breeding Tree:
Is the opportunity to create the next generation of life a dream come true or a deadly nightmare?


When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.

When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.

You can buy The Breeding Tree on Amazon:

A little about J. Andersen:

There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, running a small essential oil business, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it.


You can find J. Andersen all over the web:

Snapchat ID: jvdlandersen

Thanks for sharing with us today J. Andersen!

Feature Fiction Friday – Jean Ann Williams

Today we have Jean Ann Williams talking about her five favorite books.

Here’s a little about Jean:

Author Jean Ann Williams, the eldest in a large family, enjoys digging into her fascinating childhood to create stories for children. Having written over one hundred articles for children and adults, Just Claire is her first book. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, and Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and she writes regularly on her blog. Jean Ann and her husband live on one acre in Southern Oregon where they raise a garden, goats, and chickens. Her favorite hobbies are hiking through the woods and practicing archery with her bow.

Here are her favorite books:

Are You My Mother? (P.D. Eastman), because my own mother disappeared emotionally and stopped being a mother when I was ten. This book showed me I was looking for a mother figure as a child and teen. Reading it as an adult to my own children helped me in my identity without a real mother.
Hatchet (Gary Paulsen), great writing and boy against wilderness/nature. One of my favorite reads, wilderness/nautre against people.
Holy Bible, King James Version (God), because it is a how-to book for our lives on earth and how-to be received into Heaven after the second coming of Jesus.
Sarah, Plain and Tall (Patricia MacLachlan), great writing and love the simplicity of this historical, with so many deep layers of truth about family.
Hattie Big Sky (Kirby Larson), because I also love historicals about women against nature. Great writing.

Just Claire

Jean has recently released a book of her own, Just Claire:

Tag line: One mother damaged. One family tested. One daughter determined to find her place.
Back Jacket Blurb:
ClaireLee’s life changes when she must take charge of her siblings after her mother becomes depressed from a difficult childbirth. Frightened by the way Mama sleeps too much and her crying spells during waking hours, ClaireLee just knows she’ll catch her illness like a cold or flu that hangs on through winter. ClaireLee finds comfort in the lies she tells herself and others in order to hide the truth about her erratic mother. Deciding she needs to re-invent herself, she sets out to impress a group of popular girls.
With her deception, ClaireLee weaves her way into the Lavender Girls Club, the most sophisticated girls in school. Though, her best friend Belinda will not be caught with the likes of such shallow puddles, ClaireLee ignores Belinda’s warnings the Lavenders cannot be trusted. ClaireLee drifts further from honesty, her friend, and a broken mother’s love, until one very public night at the yearly school awards ceremony. The spotlight is on her, and she finds her courage and faces the truth and then ClaireLee saves her mother’s life.

Available from Amazon: ​

Jean can be found online:

See a trailer for Just Claire: