ACRBA Tour ~ Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman

 1 – 5 May 2017

 Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance

 is Introducing

Looking Glass Lies 

(Waterfall Press, 2 May 2017)

 By Varina Denman

About the Book:

A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations.

For most of her adult life, Cecily Ross has compared herself to other women—and come up short. After a painful divorce from her emotionally abusive husband, Cecily returns to her hometown of Canyon, Texas, looking to heal.

But coming home isn’t what she expects. In a town as small as Canyon, her pain is difficult to escape—especially with her model-perfect ex–sister-in-law working at the town’s popular coffee-shop hangout. With help from her father, a support group, and an old friend who guides her to see her own strengths, Cecily may have a shot at overcoming her insecurities and learning to love again.

The true test comes when tragedy strikes, opening Cecily’s eyes to the harmfulness of her distorted views on beauty—and giving her the perfect opportunity to find peace at last.

About the Author:

Varina Denman enjoys writing fiction about women and the unique struggles they face. Her novels include the Mended Hearts trilogy: Jaded, Justified, and Jilted, as well as her latest release, Looking Glass Lies. She seems to have a knack for describing small town life, and her debut novel, Jaded, won the ACFW Genesis Contest, the BRMCWC Selah Award, and the INSPYs Bloggers’ Award for Excellence in Faith-Driven Literature.

Varina attended three universities over a span of five years, majoring in four subjects and earning zero degrees. However, she can now boast sixteen years as a home educator, volunteering in her local cooperative where she has taught numerous subjects including creative writing and literature. Varina lives in North Texas where she volunteers in local marriage and family ministry. She is represented by Jessica Kirkland of Kirkland Media Management.

https://varinadenman.com/

Interview with Varina Denman:

In Looking Glass Lies as well as the Mended Hearts series, you touch on subjects that are not often talked-about. How do you choose your topics, and what is your motivation?

In all my books, my goal is to help women deal with issues in their lives, and generally the issues we women need the most help with are the ones we keep hidden, the secret ones that nobody likes to talk about. Those are the subjects I want to crack open, so that my readers and I can poke them with a stick, see what’s really happening in our lives … and heal a little.

All your books deal with female leads who are struggling with unique issues, but they seem to portrayed from the heart. How much of the plots come from your own life experience?

Each book is different, but generally my books begin with a nugget of my own life story, or maybe just a feeling or an impression, and then I completely blow it up into an elaborate, exaggerated story. So I guess you could say, each plot line comes from my own life … but just barely.

Could your writing best be described as women’s fiction or romance? Why?

It’s taken me a while to learn about myself as an author. At first, I thought I was a romance writer, but now I’m confident my books fit neatly into women’s fiction. All those issues I pile into the plots just don’t lend themselves to the romance genre, but I always add a touch of romance just for fun.

So far, all of your books are set in Texas. Do you have plans to pursue other settings in the future? 

Not yet, but I’m not limiting  myself either. As for now, my next book will be set in Texas, but after that, I’m not sure where my stories will take me.

What is your background, and how did you end up writing novels?

When I was young, I never dreamed I’d be a writer when I grew up. In school, writing assignments were drudgery, but then again, most of my papers were research not creative writing. My lifelong goal was to marry an awesome guy, settle down, and have a bunch of kiddos. Once I did all that, I surprised myself by developing an increased interest in books which led to an interest in writing. Now I’m having the time of my life.

Read Narelle’s Book Recommendation for Looking Glass Lies here.

Book Recommendation ~ Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman

Book Description:

A poignant and relatable novel, Looking Glass Lies captures the war women wage against themselves, and the struggle to see beauty reflected in a mirror not distorted by society’s unrelenting expectations.

For most of her adult life, Cecily Ross has compared herself to other women—and come up short. After a painful divorce from her emotionally abusive husband, Cecily returns to her hometown of Canyon, Texas, looking to heal.

But coming home isn’t what she expects. In a town as small as Canyon, her pain is difficult to escape—especially with her model-perfect ex–sister-in-law working at the town’s popular coffee-shop hangout. With help from her father, a support group, and an old friend who guides her to see her own strengths, Cecily may have a shot at overcoming her insecurities and learning to love again.

The true test comes when tragedy strikes, opening Cecily’s eyes to the harmfulness of her distorted views on beauty—and giving her the perfect opportunity to find peace at last.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

Wow. That’s what I thought when I finished reading, and I read the book fast, within twenty-four hours. I’ve been a fan of Varina Denman’s writing since I read her debut novel, Jaded, and Looking Glass Lies didn’t disappoint.

The story opens with a prologue. We meet Cecily Ross when she’s curled up in the back of her closet in her LA home, hiding away from the world and her emotionally abusive husband. Brett is addicted to porn and has shattered Cecily completely by wanting a divorce.

Fast forward eleven months and Cecily has returned to her home town of Canyon, Texas. She stays in her childhood home with her dad who’s a widower and park ranger. Her father is worried about her and he asks the local therapist, Doctor Graham Harper, to call her.

Graham had a secret crush on Cecily in high school when she was dating her future husband, Brett Ross. Graham has overcome his teenage drug addiction and has a busy practice in town. He offers Cecily a receptionist job. Instead of providing counselling, he sets Cecily up in a women’s support group with married mom of four Shanty and college student Nina.

Cecily meets with Shanty and Nina at Midnight Oil, the local coffee shop owned by celebrity sports star Michael Divins. Cecily struggles to deal with her gorgeous and perfect looking ex-sister-in-law, Mirinda, who works at the cafe and is dating Michael.

Cecily learns that to become emotionally healthy she needs to confront and deal with issues from her past. Secrets are revealed that rock the small community of Canyon and challenge them to face the lies they believe. Body image issues are a core theme in the story, plus the devastating effects of porn addiction and other emotional issues.

The characters are realistic and they deal with real world problems in the story. Edgy issues that may be uncomfortable for some readers are addressed, and the story has a Christian worldview with only a few references to faith.

The sweet romance between Cecily and Graham is complicated. A hero who’s a therapist will, by definition, be cautious in his personal life. Cecily and Graham develop a friendship that is challenged by the events in the story.

I highly recommend Looking Glass Lies to readers who enjoy edgy and realistic Christian romance stories that deal with tough issues.

Looking Glass Lies releases on May 2, 2017. It’s available for pre-order in print and on Kindle, and will be available in Kindle Unlimited.

Many thanks to Waterfall Press and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader Copy.

Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com

Book Recommendation ~ Jaded: A Novel (Mended Hearts Series Book 1) by Varina Denman

Jaded

Book Description:

As a child, Ruthie was shunned by the local congregation. Thirteen years later, Ruthie’s heart begins to stir when an attractive single preacher arrives. But their relationship is bitterly opposed—unearthing a string of secrets which threaten to turn the church, the town, and her world upside-down.

Jaded is the rare novel that is both love story between a woman and man … and God and His church. Plunging deep into the waters of shame, forgiveness and restoration, it will resonate with every woman who’s experienced a loss of heart … and a thirst for hope.

Narelle’s Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading Jaded, and it’s one of those books that has hidden depths and layers that become more apparent as the story progresses. Ruthie and her mother live in a small Texan town. She works two jobs to help her mother pay their bills. Ruthie’s father left when she was seven, and her mother was kicked out of their church not long after her father abandoned their family.

Ruthie is wary of church people and their judgmental attitudes. Her mother suffers from depression and has withdrawn from the world. Ruthie is embraced and loved by her aunt, uncle and cousin, JohnScott, as she grows up in a town where she’s ostracicised by the church congregation through no fault of her own.

Dodd, the new maths teacher at the school where Ruthie works, is also the new preacher in town. Ruthie and Dodd are drawn to each other, despite their differences and Ruthie’s reluctance to date a preacher. Not everyone in town is happy to see Dodd and Ruthie together, and secrets are revealed that blow apart the social perceptions held by many town folk.

I highly recommend Jaded to romance readers who are looking for a powerful and challenging romance story that isn’t afraid to delve into the the unsavory aspects of human nature. Readers who have been hurt by the church will identify with Ruthie and her plight in the story.


Read a FREE sample at Amazon.com