Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Blog Tour | Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane


This week, the
is introducing
Beyond the Storm
by
Carolyn Zane



Beyond the Storm
by Carolyn Zane
Quilts of Love series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available October 2012
Abingdon Press
272 pages

About the Book
After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds – her neighbor’s kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed – which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, “What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?”

As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart.  Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?

My Thoughts
Let me start by saying that this book was really hard for me to read. I knew that the book was about a town ripped apart by a tornado. What I didn't know was how accurately the author would describe the before, during, and after of a tornado. After taking cover as several tornadoes came through my state last year, it brought a lot of memories back. I commend the author on her stellar research. It made the book very realistic.

I really enjoyed the book. A lot happens in a short amount of time, and the author does a great job of bringing readers into the story and allowing them to truly feel the emotion of each situation. The copy on the back cover only describes the last third or so of the book, so I was a little confused at first. (I HATE when cover blurbs aren't accurate!) When I got past that, I loved the book. :) The only other thing that created a little confusion was the number of characters. It was just hard to keep up sometimes.

Overall, a great story in the midst of difficult circumstances! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Abingdon Press and CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Carolyn Zane is the best selling, award-winning author of more than thirty novels for three publishers: Random House/Waterbrook Press, Multnomah Publishing and Harlequin/Silhouette where her sales numbers consistently finished strong. Her writing has earned numerous awards, including the prestigious Kay Snow Award and a Moondance nod for her screenplay. 

Carolyn lives with her husband, Matt and their 5 children and 3 dogs in the scenic Willamette Valley in Oregon.

Carolyn Zane Online

WWW Wednesdays


WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Click on over if you want to join in the fun!

What are you currently reading? A Thousand Sleepless Nights by Michael King. Sad and intense so far. Hoping it will turn a corner and give me a little hope soon.

What did you recently finish reading? Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane. Interesting timing with Hurricane Sandy this week.

What do you think you'll read next? A Flight of Fancy by Laurie Alice Eakes. I've been looking forward to this one for a while. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Courting Trouble by Deeanne Gist

I've read several books this year for the Just For Fun Challenge that I haven't posted a review for. Instead of posting a full review, I thought I'd just feature them and share my overall good, bad, or ugly.

This series was recommended to me by a friend a while back. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Courting Trouble is different than a lot of other romance books. I won't tell you how exactly, but I thought it was a bit more realistic in some ways. Deeanne Gist always delivers a great book, and this was no exception! [4 stars]



About the Book
Courting Trouble
by Deeanne Gist
Trouble series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available June 2007
Bethany House
336 pages

Tired of waiting for a match-made-in-heaven, she'll settle for one made in Texas.

Whether it's riding bikes, catching snakes, or sliding down banisters, Essie Spreckelmeyer just can't quite make herself into the ideal woman her hometown--and her mother--expect her to be. It's going to take an extraordinary man to appreciate her joy and spontaneity--or so says her doting oil-man father. Unfortunately such a man doesn't appear to reside in Corsicana, Texas.

It's 1894, the year of Essie's thirtieth birthday, and she decides the Lord has more important things to do than provide her a husband. If she wants one, she needs to catch him herself. So, she writes down the names of all the eligible bachelors in her small Texas town, makes a list of their attributes and drawbacks, closes her eyes, twirls her finger, and ... picks one. But convincing the lucky "husband-to-be" is going to a bit more of a problem.

About the Author
After a short career in elementary education, Deeanne Gist retired to raise her four children. Over the course of the next fifteen years, she ran a home accessory and antique business, became a member of the press, wrote freelance journalism for national publications such as People, Parents, Parenting, Family Fun, Houston Chronicle and Orlando Sentinel, and acted as CFO for her husband’s small engineering firm--all from the comforts of home.

Squeezed betwixt-and-between all this, she read romance novels by the truckload and even wrote a couple of her own. While those unpublished manuscripts rested on the shelf, she founded a publishing corporation for the purpose of developing, producing and marketing products that would reinforce family values, teach children responsibility and provide character building activities.

After a few short months of running her publishing company, Gist quickly discovered being a "corporate executive" was not where her gifts and talents lie. In answer to Gist’s fervent prayers, God sent a mainstream publisher to her door who licensed her parenting I Did It! product line and committed to publish the next generation of her system, thus freeing Gist to return to her writing.

Eight months later, she sold A Bride Most Begrudging to Bethany House Publishers. Since that debut, her very original, very fun romances have rocketed up the bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere.  Add to this two consecutive Christy Awards, four RITA nominations, rave reviews, and a growing loyal fan base, and you’ve got one recipe for success.

Her latest releases, BeguiledMaid To Match, and Love on the Line are now available. Gist lives in Texas with her husband of twenty-eight years and their border collie. They have four grown children.

Deeanne Gist Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blog Tour | A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller

A Promise to Love
by Serena B. Miller
The Blue Willow Brides series, Book 2
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available October 2012
Revell
336 pages



About the Book
Can a marriage of convenience ever become one of true love?

Ingrid Larsen arrives in Michigan in 1871 with little more than the clothes on her back and a determination to find her brother, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, the young Swedish immigrant crosses paths with Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed farmer with eyes the color of the ocean she had crossed and five rambunctious children to raise on his own.

Marriage would solve both of their problems, and Ingrid finds herself proposing in broken English to a man she barely knows. Many difficulties lie ahead--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.

My Thoughts
I'm a fan of "marriage of convenience" stories and was looking forward to reading A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller. Miller delivered so much more than a sweet romance story, and I'm so glad I read it! Within the first few pages, I felt immense compassion for both Josh and Ingrid and wondered how their stories would intersect. As the story continued to develop, I was impressed by the way Miller crafted a story with depth and emotion, shattering my first impression of a cutesy romance. The amount of research that went into this novel was obvious as well and added another layer to the story. All in all, I loved this book and am firmly a new fan of Serena B. Miller!

I received a free copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author 
Serena B. Miller is the author of The Measure of Katie Calloway and Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's World, Guideposts, Reader's Digest, Focus on the Family, Christian Woman, and more. She lives on a farm in southern Ohio.

Serena B. Miller Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog Tour | Accidentally Amish by Olivia Newport


This week, the
is introducing
Accidentally Amish
by
Olivia Newport



Accidentally Amish
by Olivia Newport
Valley of Choice series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Amish
Available October 2012
Barbour Books
368 pages

About the Book
Escape the helter-skelter of the modern culture and join software creator Annie Friesen, hiding at the home of an Amishman. With her high-tech career in jeopardy, Annie runs from fast-paced Colorado Springs—and straight into the hospitality of San Luis Valley’s Amish community. There she meets cabinetmaker Rufus Beiler, and the more time she spends with him, the more attracted she becomes. When Annie finds she shares a common ancestor with Rufus, she feels both cultures colliding within her. But is her love for Rufus strong enough for her to give up the only life she’s ever known?

You can read the first chapter here.



My Thoughts
After reading The Pursuit of Lucy Banning earlier this year and loving it, I was excited to read another book by Olivia Newport. Unfortunately, this book just didn't grab my interest in the same way. The book tells the story of a young, up-and-comer in the software industry who is shocked to learn that her business partner is trying to steal her latest product. When she escapes, she finds herself rescued by an Amish man who befriends her and tries to teach her about a simpler lifestyle.

I really didn't connect with this story or the main characters. It seemed pretty slow to start, and then once it picked up I still had a hard time getting into it. While I liked the idea of a woman finding refuge with the Amish, the idea of a non-Amish girl and an Amish man being friends and potentially liking each other was just a little too odd for me. Sorry! The book also alternates between the past and the present. While the two stories were connected, it was a while before I really latched onto the "past" story, and even then I found myself skimming pretty heavily.

The story is well-written and the idea is interesting, but it just didn't click with me. I will, however, be checking out the remaining books in Newport's other series. [2 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Barbour Books and CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Olivia Newport’s novels twist through time to find where faith and passions meet. Her husband and two twenty-something children provide welcome distraction from the people stomping through her head on their way into her books. She chases joy in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where day lilies grow as tall as she is.

A Word From the Author
I’m imagining you. You walk past as I water my front flowerbeds and we wave. You check the time as we both stand in a long line at the grocery store. You sit in front of me in church. I’m at my table in the coffee shop and you’re at yours.

We may smile politely and move on with our separate lives. Or one of us may speak, a simple invitation to conversation, and the words flow between us.

Here the adventure begins. When we meet someone new, we never know where it might lead.

I’ve been married for over thirty years and have two twenty-something kids. We live in stunning Colorado at the foot of the Rockies, where the day lilies in my back yard grow as tall as I am. (No short jokes, please.)

Not every piece of my life is pretty, though. Some days I want to throw out whole chunks. But I am living each day looking for the grace of God to me, in me, and through me. Having your companionship along the way will help uncover a lot of great stories.

Thanks for stopping by my site, where conversations and adventures begin with a click. I hope we’ll run into each other often. 

Olivia Newport Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WWW Wednesdays


WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Click on over if you want to join in the fun!

What are you currently reading? Accidentally Amish by Olivia Newport. Very different from other Amish fiction I've read.   
What did you recently finish reading? Love Inspired novels were my guilty pleasure all through college. I'm circling back and just finished Her Surprise Sister by Marta Perry. Very good!







 

What do you think you'll read next? Beyond the Storm by Carolyn Zane. I *think* this is my last review book for the month. Phew!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

The Bridge
by Karen Kingsbury
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available October 23, 2012
Howard Books
272 pages



About the Book
Number one New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury delivers an instant classic with this heartwarming Christmas story about a hundred-year flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.

Molly Allen lives alone in Portland, but she left her heart back in Tennessee with a man she walked away from five years ago. They had a rare sort of love she hasn’t found since.  

Ryan Kelly lives in Nashville after a broken engagement and several years on the road touring with a country music duo. He can still hear Molly’s voice encouraging him to follow his dreams; Molly, whose memory stays with him. At least he can visit The Bridge—the oldest bookstore in historic downtown Franklin—and remember the hours he and Molly once spent there.

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of digital books. Then in May, the hundred-year flood swept through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store.

Now the bank is pulling the lease on The Bridge. Despondent and without answers, Charlie considers the unthinkable. Then tragedy strikes, and suddenly, everything changes. In the face of desperate brokenness and lost opportunities, could the miracle of a second chance actually unfold?  

The Bridge is a love story set against the struggle of the American bookstore, a love story you will never forget.

My Thoughts
The Bridge is Karen Kingsbury's first Christmas novella. The story features the Bartons who run Franklin, Tennessee's oldest book store. When the bookstore is flooded, Charlie Barton must figure out to rebuild. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes before Charlie can repoen, and the customers whom the Bartons have long-considered family must rally together to try to save the store and Charlie's legacy.

It's a quick read, but the story is delightful and well-worth the time to read it. Typical of Kingsbury's other novels, The Bridge is an emotional story with characters who have struggles. It was wonderful to see how all of the characters were each praying for a second chance of some kind and how their stories worked together. Plus, the story is about saving a bookstore, what could be better than that?!

My only "complaint" is that after reading the short story prequel last month (The Beginning), I was a little surprised by some of the interactions between Charlie and Donna. The store almost seemed like Charlie's rather than theirs, and I could tell that a lot had changed in the 30-year interim. It would have been good to see some of that background explained.

Overall, this was a wonderful, heart-warming story for the Christmas season! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Howard Books in exchange for my fair and honest review.

You can read the first chapter here

About the Author
#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist, with more than 20 million copies of her award-winning books in print. Karen has written more than fifty novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Don and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their daughter Kelsey is married to Christian artist Kyle Kupecky.

Karen Kingsbury Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Beginning by Karen Kingsbury

I've read several books this year for the Just For Fun Challenge that I haven't posted a review for. Instead of posting a full review, I thought I'd just feature them and share my overall good, bad, or ugly.

The Beginning is a short-story prequel to Karen Kingsbury's new novel, The Bridge, which will be released tomorrow. This short little e-book was so good and made me even more excited about reading The Bridge! Can't wait to read more about Charlie and Donna's story!!! [5 stars]



About the Book
The Beginning
by Karen Kingsbury
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Short Story
Available September 2012
Howard Books
64 pages

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury comes this e-short prequel to her upcoming novel, The Bridge, shedding light on the love story behind the bookstore and how it came to be a place of hope and encouragement.

About the Author
#1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury is America’s favorite inspirational novelist, with more than 20 million copies of her award-winning books in print. Karen has written more than fifty novels, ten of which have hit #1 on national lists. She lives in Tennessee with her husband Don and their five sons, three of whom are adopted from Haiti. Their daughter Kelsey is married to Christian artist Kyle Kupecky.

Karen Kingsbury Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Sunday, October 21, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas + Giveaway

The first Christmas that I was married, it was crazy. We had only been married for four months and were having to hash out who we would spend Christmas with, our intense (!!!) travel schedule, and a budget for gifts. As we decorated our new home and worked out some of the details, I relaxed (a little - grin!) and started enjoying myself.

One of the things I most looked forward to—amidst the chaos—was sending out our very first Christmas card together. I had the perfect picture in mind from our wedding and was excited to design a card and get it in the mail. Since then, we've sent out an annual photo Christmas card and it's one of the highlights of our Christmas season. I enjoy addressing the envelopes, stuffing the cards in, licking the envelopes, stamping each one, and dropping them in the mail. It's a special time that I spend reflecting on how blessed we are to have such wonderful family and friends.

Shutterfly has an amazing selection of Photo Christmas Cards and their new collection is now online! It may seem a bit early to be choosing a Christmas card. If you're anything like me though, it will be a relief to get this one thing checked off your massive to-do list.

There are so many designs to choose from—something for everyone—and I love all of the creative designs that Shutterfly offers. I have the hardest time choosing just one, but here are a few of my favorites.






Be sure to check out the latest special offers as Shutterfly is always offering new discounts, which is sure to help out with the Christmas budget! (I never order without a discount!)

And now, here's the fun part—A GIVEAWAY!!! Shutterfly is giving away $50 off your entire order* to one of my readers! Giveaway ends October 29, so be sure to get all those entries in this week!

* Shipping is not included. Cannot be combined with other offers. This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on October 29. All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter below. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, he/she will contact via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will choose another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored Shutterfly. All opinions expressed are my own.

Pinning God's Word to My Heart | 2 Corinthians 4:18


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blog Tour | Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan

Twice Promised
by Maggie Brendan
The Blue Willow Brides series, Book 2
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available October 2012
Revell
336 pages



About the Book
Two beautiful brides. One unsuspecting groom. Three weeks to figure it all out.

Greta Olsen arrives in Central City, Colorado, as a mail-order bride, expecting to marry Jess Gifford, the man she's come to know through his tender letters. But when she meets Cora Johnson, she discovers she's not the only bride waiting at the train station for Jess.

Already shocked to find they must compete for Jess's affection, the young women can hardly believe it when not Jess but his brother Zach picks them up from the station--and reveals that Jess knows nothing about any mail-order bride, let alone two. Will either bride make the match she hopes for?
Filled with surprises, misunderstandings, and tender romance, Twice Promised is the story of how two unlikely women become twice blessed.

My Thoughts
I'm a sucker for a mail-order bride story, and when I read the premise for Twice Promised, I knew it was right up my alley. When two women arrive in Central City, Colorado in answer to an ad for a bride, they don't realize they are there to marry the same man—and that the man they thought they were writing is completely unaware. Greta and Cora are as different as night and day, but they are both determined to stay and see if things will work out with Jess.

I really enjoyed Twice Promised. The story was sweet, and there were plenty of humorous moments that had me chuckling throughout. At times, I felt like the plot dragged a bit, but then things would begin moving along more quickly and I would get caught up in the story more. I'm glad I took the time to read this novel and am interested to read more from Maggie Brendan in the future. [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author
Maggie Brendan is the author of the Heart of the West series and Deeply Devoted, which was a 2012 ICRA Award finalist. A member of the Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America, and Georgia Romance Writers, Maggie lives in Georgia.

Maggie Brendan Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Friday, October 19, 2012

Blog Tour | Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden


This week, the
is introducing
Against the Tide
by
Elizabeth Camden



Against the Tide
by Elizabeth Camden
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available October 2012
Bethany House
368 pages

About the Book
Love and Lives are Threatened in Camden's Latest Offering

As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.

Read the first chapter here.

My Thoughts
I'm not surprised by the fact that Against the Tide captivated me from beginning to end. I am surprised by just how much it captivated me! I literally read the entire book in 6 hours. It was just that good! Elizabeth Camden has an amazing talent for writing stories and characters that come to life. At times I felt like I was part of the story. That combined with her knack for evoking strong emotions in her readers left me feeling as though I had ridden an emotional roller coaster—from excitement and giddiness to fear, frustration, and anger. It's all there! The storyline itself is just as powerful as the way Camden writes it. I loved the variety of topics addressed and how she brought them all together in the end to show how God works in every situation. Against the Tide is a beautiful story filled with romance and suspense and it has found a permanent spot on my "keeper" shelf! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House and CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
A Word from Elizabeth ...
I am a college librarian in central Florida by day, but by night I can be found pounding out inspirational historical novels the moment the sun goes down. I love writing books about fiercely intelligent people who are confronted with profound challenges. As a rather introverted person, I have found that writing is the best way for me to share my faith and a sense of resilience with others.

I married relatively late in life, which turned out to be an odd kind of blessing. I had gotten very good at leading a solo life, and although I was not particularly content being alone, I had become reconciled to it. Most importantly, it taught me never to take my husband for granted. I give daily thanks for the blessing of being able to share a life with my favorite person on the planet.

As for who I am? I love old Hitchcock films, the hour before sunset, a long, sweaty run through the Florida countryside, and a glass of good wine. After spending my entire adult life on a college campus (either as a student or a librarian) I have finally been able to pursue my ultimate goal of writing professionally.

Elizabeth Camden Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Blog Tour | Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson

Where the Trail Ends
by Melanie Dobson
American Tapestries series
Christian Fiction / Historical
Available October 2012
Summerside Press
336 pages



About the Book
A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone? Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.

My Thoughts
Melanie Dobson's latest offering, Where the Trail Ends, is part of the new Tapestries of America series from Summerside Press. When Samantha's family sets out for Oregon, they are confident that they are traveling to a better life. Along the way, they face many obstacles and Samantha and her brother must finish their journey alone. Samantha is determined to make a good life for them and must rely on the new friends she meets at Fort Vancouver to help them.

I had high hopes for this book, but it fell a little short for me. While it was marketed as a romance, I found it to be more ... "romance light." The story was more of a combination adventure / coming-of-age story. The book started out fairly slow, but about halfway through it picked up and I got really into it. Dobson does a great job of giving readers a great picture of life on the Oregon Trail. What a hard journey! As a fan of Melanie Dobson's previous books, this wasn't my favorite, but I'll definitely read whatever she writes in the future. [3 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Summerside Press and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside's Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense). Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years. Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific. When Melanie isn't writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Melanie Dobson Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Blog Tour | Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson

Queen of the Waves
by Janice Thompson
American Tapestries series
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available October 2012
Summerside Press
336 pages



About the Book
When pampered Jacqueline Abingdon secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.

My Thoughts
Earlier this year a ton of new books set on or around the Titanic came out to commemorate the 100th anniversary of its sinking. I read as many as I could get my hands on and was fascinated by each story and the way they represented that period in history. So I was excited to see another "Titanic book" come out this month.

Janice Thompson is a fairly new-to-me author, and I was surprised by how different this was than the romantic comedies I read earlier this year. Queen of the Waves has more depth and emotion than I was expecting and I was pleasantly surprised! While the book started off a little slow and left me wondering how all these very (!) unique characters were going to fit together, when it took off, it was at a rapid pace and things just fell in place!

The time aboard the Titanic was my favorite part of the whole book. It's such a tragic story, and Janice really showcased some of the more personable tidbits about passengers aboard the ship. As Iris and Tessa met many of the other passengers, it just added to my enjoyment of the book.

Overall, I enjoyed this sweet, coming-of-age story and look forward to more from Janice Thompson in the future. [3.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Summerside Press and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Award-winning author Janice Thompson, who also writes under the name Janice Hanna, has published nearly eighty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children's books and more. She formerly served as vice president of the Christian Authors Network and was named the 2008 Mentor of the Year by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Thompson lives in Spring, Texas, near her four grown daughters and young grandchildren. She leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends and two mischievous dachshunds.

Janice Thompson Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blog Tour | You Don't Know Me by Susan May Warren

You Don't Know Me
by Susan May Warren
Deep Haven series, Book 6
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available October 2012
Tyndale House
384 pages



About the Book
To everyone who knows her, Annalise Decker is a model wife and mother. She’s a permanent member of the PTA, never misses her kids’ sporting events, and is constantly campaigning for her husband’s mayoral race.

No one knows that Annalise was once Deidre O’Reilly, a troubled young woman whose testimony put a dangerous criminal behind bars. Relocated through the Witness Security Program to the sleepy town of Deep Haven, Deidre got a new identity and a fresh start, which began when she fell in love with local real estate agent Nathan Decker. Twenty years later, Annalise couldn’t be more unprepared for her past to catch up with her. When Agent Frank Harrison arrives with news that the man she testified against is out on bail and out for revenge, Annalise is forced to face the consequences of her secrets. Will she run again, or will she finally find the grace to trust those she loves most with both her past and her future?

My Thoughts
Susan May Warren’s latest novel, You Don’t Know Me, takes readers back to Deep Haven, and it was every bit as good as I had anticipated. Warren introduces us to the Decker family, and Annalise is hiding some huge secrets. As the past comes into the present, Annalise’s world begins to unravel and she’s forced to consider the choices she’s made and the secrets she’s kept.

Wow! Just wow! I wasn’t sure if I could totally buy into the premise of the book at first. Sure, it’s probably a little far-fetched at times, but Warren did a phenomenal job of bringing me into the story and helping me understand the emotions and logic behind each decision made. Plus, Warren delivers a novel with a wonderful message about how secrets and deception affect every aspect of your life—and those you love.

You Don’t Know Me is a fast-paced story with elements of suspense and romance woven throughout. I could hardly put it down! My fingers are crossed for another installment in the Deep Haven series!  [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House and Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Susan May Warren is an award-winning, best-selling author of over twenty-five novels, many of which have won the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, the ACFW Book of the Year award, the Rita Award, and have been Christy finalists. After serving as a missionary for eight years in Russia, Susan returned home to a small town on Minnesota’s beautiful Lake Superior shore where she, her four children, and her husband are active in their local church.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at her website.

Susan May Warren Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

WWW Wednesdays


WWW Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. Click on over if you want to join in the fun!

What are you currently reading? I circled back around to Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson. Review will be posted tomorrow. :)

What did you recently finish reading? Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson. Different perspective on the Titanic than the others I read earlier this year. 
 
What do you think you'll read next? The plan (hope!) is to finish Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden this week too. I've got to get some serious reading done in the next few days!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

$200 Weekend Getaway from Susan May Warren!

Welcome to the campaign launch for Susan May Warren’s latest offering in her beloved Deep Haven series, You Don’t Know Me. Susan is celebrating with a $200 Weekend Getaway Giveaway and hosting a fun video Author Chat Party!

 

One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Gift Card (Use that to catch up with a loved one and “Get to Know” your spouse, friend, sister, mom…whomever!)
  • The entire set of Deep Haven Books
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 22nd. Winner will be announced at the "You Don’t Know Me" Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/23. Connect with Susan for an evening of book chat, Deep Haven trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be info about Susan’s BookShout read-along and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of You Don’t Know Me and join Susan on the evening of the October 23rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Teaser Tuesday | All Things New

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly post hosted by MizB on her blog Should Be Reading. Hop over for details or to link up!



You listen now. If you have babies, you gonna love them. Then you have to watch them grow up and be slaves just like you, living this miserable life. And nothing you can do about it. You wish they could be running around all happy like the white babies, but as much as it hurts, you got to teach your children to obey, no matter what. They belong to the white folks, not to you. Listen to me now, Lizzie. Don't ever fall in love. Just makes this life harder than it already is. (p. 27)


All Things New
by Lynn Austin

Monday, October 15, 2012

Spending Time in the Word

 A friend emailed a few weeks ago and shared that she was writing in hopes that one or some of the women she emailed could offer practical wisdom about spending time in the Word and having a "quiet time."

As much as I wanted to have a great nugget of wisdom or practical thoughts of how to have a quiet time, I really wasn't sure what to say. I know it's important to spend time in the Word. In fact, I want to. But so often, when my schedule starts to get crazy or my life gets a little more overwhelming, the things that are the most important tend to get pushed to the back burner so I can take care of the things that are the most urgent. But, really, what's more urgent than my need for my Savior? That day in particular, I was struggling too and didn't really know what advice to offer.

Thankfully, many of the other women in the email list had some wonderful suggestions. And as the emails flew back and forth, I was thankful for community. And grateful to barge in on my friend's community because they encouraged me too! [Grin!]

As I read the responses, I felt the Lord's nudging to share my struggle with several in my own circle, which has been encouraging in and of itself, and to share with others what I'm doing now. Hopefully, this can be an encouragement to you.

Start with the Bible. 
Seems simple, right? It was a great reminder to me when someone emailed my friend the same advice. God has already given us everything we need with these 66 books. Personally, I like the New International Version (1984) and the English Standard Version.

Ask a few simple questions.
A pastor at our church shared this with me when I served on our church staff a few years ago. This is one of the easiest, simplest ways I've been taught to read, evaluate, and apply a passage.

- What does this passage say about God?
- What does this passage say about man / the world?
- What does this passage say I need to avoid or stop doing?
- What does this passage say I need to continue or start doing?

Ask a few more questions (if you want to).
Sometimes, I like to look for the answer to a certain question or questions as I'm reading the Bible over several weeks. During a recent staff devotion, a co-worker commented on some of the verses that talk about things Paul prayed for and how different Paul's prayer list looks from ours (oftentimes). As I've been reading through some of Paul's letters recently, I'm noting how Paul prayed for others and for himself and trying to pray in similar ways.

Pray.
Before I start, I always ask the Lord to help me understand the passage that I'm reading and to help me remember truths from His Word throughout the day/week. Often my prayer time can be a running thread of conversation through the day—while getting ready, driving, at lunch, in bed at night, etc. Sometimes, it's more formal than others.

Use other resources.
There are tons of great resources out there for one-on-one devotions or group Bible studies, and I use them from time to time depending on the situation. But I'm really trying to go back to the basics and depend on the Word and use other resources to supplement, rather than the other way around (which can be the easy tendency!).

I'd love to know how you structure your time with the Lord each day. What are you reading? What other resources have you found helpful? Any encouragement for me or others who struggle from time to time?



I'm probably one of the last people in the Christian world to "discover" Ann Voskamp. This month (in)courage sent me the One Thousand Gifts photo gift book and day brightener, and I am absolutely loving them! I've been challenged to develop a habit of thankfulness and just this week committed to stop at the end of each day and give thanks for the moments that I can see God's grace and mercy in my life. I am confident that the Lord is going to teach me quite a bit through this process!

And here's the good news for you: Dayspring is allowing me to give away a set for one of you!

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on October 31. All entrants must be 18 years old or older. Enter through the Rafflecopter below. Incomplete entries will be deleted. Once a winner is selected, I will contact them via email. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, I will select another winner.







a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dayspring sent me the products mentioned in this post in exchange for sharing my thoughts. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Blog Tour | A Love Surrendered by Julie Lessman

A Love Surrendered
by Julie Lessman
Winds of Change series, Book 3
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available October 2012
Revell
400 pages



About the Book
Orphaned in Iowa, Annie Kennedy moves to Boston to stay with her spinster aunt. She longs for romance to fill the void left by her parents' death. But when she falls hard for Steven O'Connor, the man who broke an engagement to her sister, Annie is worried. Will he break her heart too when he discovers who she really is?

With heart-pounding romance, intense family drama, and emotional twists and turns, A Love Surrendered is everything Julie Lessman's many fans have been waiting for.

My Thoughts
It's not often that I catapult an author to "favorite author" status after reading only one of his/her books, but Julie Lessman is definitely a new favorite! A Love Surrendered is the conclusion of the O'Connor saga. While this book easily can stand alone, I hated that I didn't have time to read the previous five books before diving into the end of the series! I can promise you that I will be going back to read the others soon!

Lessman is an amazing story-teller! I was drawn into Annie's story immediately and really enjoyed getting to know the O'Connors through her eyes. While many authors focus primarily on the hero and heroine throughout the story, I loved (!) how Lessman featured the rest of the O'Connors as well. I really felt that they were central to the story and not just characters passing through.

And the romance! [sigh] This is one romantic story. While it's definitely not an edgy book, the romance is ratcheted up a few notches to really show the passion and romance in all of the relationships. I really appreciated the focus on purity before marriage also and feel this book would be a great one for teens to read. It would definitely spark discussions if parents are willing to have them.

After a review like this, it goes without saying that I highly recommend this book! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series and can't wait to see what Julie Lessman writes next! [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of "Passion with a Purpose" underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 14 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as "Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction." Chosen as the #1 Romance Fiction Author of the Year in the Family Fiction magazine 2011 Readers' Choice Awards, Julie was also awarded #1 Series of the Year in that same poll and #3 Author of the Year, #5 Novel of the Year, and #4 Historical Fiction Author of the year. She resides in Missouri with her family and is the author of The Daughters of Boston series and the Winds of Change series whose first book, A Hope Undaunted, ranked #5 on Booklist's Top 10 Inspirational Fiction for 2010. You can contact Julie through her website at www.julielessman.com.

Julie Lessman Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Compassion Blog Month Update!

Remember how last month was Compassion Blog Month? Well . . . the results are in and 3,159 children were sponsored online last month!!! Praise the Lord!!!


Thank you for praying for these children and asking the Lord to provide 3,159 men, women, children, couples, families, classrooms, schools, churches, etc. to make the commitment to sponsor a child!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blog Tour | All Things New by Lynn Austin


This week, the
is introducing
All Things New
by
Lynn Austin



All Things New
by Lynn Austin
Christian Fiction / Historical
Available October 2012
Bethany House
416 pages

About the Book
The war is over. The South has lost. Josephine Weatherly struggles to pick up the pieces of her life when her family returns to their Virginia plantation. But the realities of life after the war cannot be denied: her home and land are but a shell of their previous grandeur; death has claimed her father and brother; and her remaining brother, Daniel, has returned home bitter and broken.

Her life of privilege, a long-ago dream. Josephine soon realizes that life is now a matter of daily survival—and recognizes that Lizzie, as one of the few remaining servants, is the one she must rely on to teach her all she needs to know. Josephine's mother, too, vows to rebuild White Oak--but a bitter hatred fuels her.

Can hope—and a battered faith in God—survive amid the devastation?

My Thoughts
I'm not quite done reading this one yet, but it is SO GOOD! I'm not sure how I've missed out on Lynn Austin. I know she's won tons of awards and I've seen her books everywhere! Shame on me for not reading one until now! [Grin!]

All Things New is set in the weeks and months immediately following the end of the Civil War. Honestly, I've never really thought about what this time was like for the people who lived it. What if I was on the losing side of the Civil War? My father, brothers, and most of the men in my town died fighting for the side that lost. My home and property have been ransacked by the winners of the war. My slaves are now free—which means that we have no way to plant crops (and therefore no way to make money) and are having to do tasks that I always thought were menial before. I'm poor for the first time in generations. I'm not saying it's right. I just never thought about how it would feel before. I'm a Southern girl but always thought that surely I would have stood up for what was right and fought against slavery. But what if I hadn't? What if I didn't know that it was wrong? What if I was blinded by this sin that was now culturally acceptable? (Hmmm ... sounds like a lot of things that happen today!)

And what if was the slave who was now free? I'm thankful to have my family all in one place. Someone tells me that I'm free and I never have to worry about my husband or my children being sold to another owner. I can leave the plantation whenever I want, which is weird because I've never left the property before. My former owner now has to pay me a wage in return for the work I do for her. My children can go to school, and I'm learning how to read, write, and count for the first time.

This book is making me think like crazy, which is probably why I'm reading it a little slower than normal. It's just taking up so much mental energy! Ha! Seriously, though, Lynn Austin is a talented writer. In All Things New she switches back and forth between multiple viewpoints and does it in such a way that keeps me totally caught up in the story. The story alone is powerful, but Austin writes pulls me further in with every word. Talented, talented lady. I'm looking forward to reading more by Lynn Austin ... looks like I've got a few to catch up on!

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House and CFBA in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband's work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she'd earned at Southern Connecticut State University to become a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Lynn resigned from teaching to write full-time in 1992. Since then she has published twelve novels. Five of her historical novels, Hidden Places, Candle in the Darkness, Fire by Night, A Proper Pursuit, and Until We Reach Home have won Christy Awards in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008, and 2009 for excellence in Christian Fiction. Fire by Night was also one of only five inspirational fiction books chosen by Library Journal for their top picks of 2003, and All She Ever Wanted was chosen as one of the five inspirational top picks of 2005. Lynn's novel Hidden Places has been made into a movie for the Hallmark Channel, starring actress Shirley Jones. Ms Jones received a 2006 Emmy Award nomination for her portrayal of Aunt Batty in the film. Visit Lynn's website to learn more.

All Things New Preview

Thursday, October 11, 2012

American Tapestries Giveaway & FB Party

Celebrate with Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

 
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Queen of the Waves and Where the Trail Ends and join Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Labels

(in)courage (in)mercy 1 star 12 Pearls of Christmas 12 Pearls of Christmas 2012 12 Pearls of Christmas 2013 2 star 2 stars 2.5 stars 2012 Review 3 stars 3.5 stars 4 stars 4.5 stars 5 Minute Friday 5 stars A Year of Weddings Abingdon Press Advent Announcements ARC August Author B-H Books Banned Books Week Barbour Publishing BBAW 2012 beauty Bethany House Blitz Blog Action Day blog hop Blog Mooch Blog Tour Blogaversary Blogging Blogging for Change Blogside Chat Book Blast Book Club Book Trailer Thursday Bout of Books Bout of Books 11.0 Bout of Books 13.0 Bout of Books 7.0 Bout of Books 8.0 Bout of Books 9.0 Brookes Faves celebration Center Street CFBA challenge accepted Character Meet and Greet Charisma Media Children's Christian Speaker Services christianaudio Christmas Christy Awards Clean Sweet community Compassion Compassion Blog Month Contemporary Countdown to Christmas Cover Love Cover Reveal Dani Pettrey David C. Cook Devotion DiAnn Mills DNF Easter Egg Blog Hop End of Summer Read-A-Thon Etsy Events Faith Words Fall Into Reading 2012 FB Chat Fiction FIRST Food Freebies Friday Five Getting To Know You Giveaway Giveaway Hop Glass Road PR goals Grand Finale Great Escapes Guest Blogger Guideposts Books Harlequin Heartwarming Harvest House High Summer Read-A-Thon Historical home goods Hope International Howard Books If the Shoe Fits Influenster Inspired Design Publications Jody Hedlund Jolly VoxBox Just for Fun Kenya Kregel Publications Literacy Read-A-Thon LitFuse Publicity Looking Ahead Love for Books Love Inspired Mailbox Fun Month in Review Moody Publishers Mother of Pearl Mother of Pearl 2013 Movie Music NavPress Net Galley New Hope Publishers New Leaf Publishers New Release Feature Non-Fiction Operation Christmas Child pinterest pray pray for the horn Prism Book Tours Promo Random Random House Random Question RCCleanup read-a-thon Reading Cram reflections Reformation Trust Release Day Retirement Community Revell Review in Haiku River North Road to the Christys Road Trip Romance Samaritan's Purse Sandra Byrd Sandra D Bricker Sandra Leesmith scripture Secret Church shutterfly snacks Snappy Reviews Sneak Peek Spring Break '11 Spring Reading Thing SSMT SSMT 2013 Sterling Summer Lovin' Read-A-Thon summer reading Summerside Press Susan May Warren Suspense Take a Chance on Me Tamera Alexander Tanzania Teaser Tuesday Tens List The B-B Media Group The Story Behind the Story The Travel Bug The Word Thomas Nelson Thursday 3 Top 10 Top Picks Top Ten Tuesday Trailer Tricia Goyer Tyndale House Waiting on Wednesday WaterBrook Multnomah webcast WestBow Press What Are You Reading What's Next Whitaker House WinePress Publishing World Watch List WWW Wednesdays YA Young Adult Zondervan
Powered by Blogger.