Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Celebrate Dani Pettrey's Newest Release!

Dani Pettrey is celebrating the release of Shattered with a Nook HD giveaway and a Facebook Author Chat Party {3/14}. 

Shattered Pettrey

One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Nook HD
  • Submerged and Shattered by Dani Pettrey {Be caught up in this riveting series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 13th. Winner will be announced at the "Shattered" Author Chat Party on 3/14. Connect with Dani for an evening of book chat, trivia, and a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of Shattered and join Dani on the evening of the March 14th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - 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 14th!

Monday, February 25, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

And ... since this month is Review Copy Cleanup, I'm also going to let this be my weekly update as well. I read 3 review books this week, so my total so far is 8! Just 2 more to meet my goal of 10 for the month.

What I Read Last Week ...
I'm so happy with the books I read this week. They were all SO good! I'm not sure how to pick a favorite between these three, but they are all worth your time!

What I'm Reading Now ...

What I Hope to Read This Week ...
This is the last week of Review Copy Cleanup, so I'm hoping to read both of these to finish the challenge strong!

That's what I'm hoping to read this week. What are you reading?

Easter Egg Blog Hop | Feb 25 - Mar 8

I'm so HONORED to be part of the Easter Egg Blog Hop in celebration of Lisa Tawn Bergren's new children's book, God Gave Us Easter. My stop on the hop isn't until next week, but I wanted to go ahead and let you know about it so you can stop by all the stops!

Through the various stops, you will learn fun facts about Easter, get to know Lisa Tawn Bergren through several interviews, discover interactive goodies to can share with your children, and learn new ways of discussing the true meaning of Easter with young kids. Plus, two lucky participants will win a fun-filled prize! One winner will receive a God Gave Us Easter Basket, filled with books, treats and sweets for your own little cubs. And another lucky winner will win a Moments for Mom Gift Basket, complete with devotionals, books, and a luxurious treat for your feet.

There are 10 stops on the tour, and you'll collect an "egg" at each stop. By the end of the tour, you'll have 10 "eggs" which you can then turn in for a chance to win one of the prizes mentioned above. For the rest of the details and a list of blog hop stops, visit this page. (And be sure to stop by NEXT MONDAY for my stop on the tour!)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

An Enjoyable Visit to Glenbrooke

by Robin Jones Gunn
The Glenbrooke Series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Originally Published 1994 | Re-released 2010
WaterBrook Multnomah
288 pages

About the Book
Jessica ran from her past...but can she hide from love?

Jessica Morgan wants desperately to forget the past and begin a new life. She chooses a small, peaceful town tucked away in Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the place to start over—Glenbrooke. Once there, Jessica conceals her identity from the intriguing personalities she meets—including the compassionate paramedic who desires to protect her and the jealous woman who wants nothing more than to destroy her.

Will Jessica’s deceit ruin all hope for the future? Or will she find a deeper peace that allows her to stop hiding the truth from those who love her most of all?

This heartwarming bestseller, book one in the Glenbrooke series, introduces the fascinating people of Glenbrooke in a compelling tale of romance and spiritual truth.

My Thoughts
I've long been a fan of Robin Jones Gunnlike since middle school! I read most of The Glenbrooke Series a few years after they originally released and was excited to see that WaterBrook Multnomah has recently re-released them with updated covers. I thought it was high time to go back for a visit to Glenbrooke and am so glad I did!

Secrets is the first book in the series. Jessica arrives in Glenbrooke looking for a new start. It seems like bad things continually happen to Jessica upon her arrival and she questions her choices. Slowly but surely, though, her new friends start getting through her self-imposed defenses and she realizes that she must trust others—and most importantly, God—to help her as she faces trials.

While this book may be "old," the timeless messages of trusting in God and the need for relationships come through loud and clear. I think Jessica's desire for independence and resistance to asking for help are characteristics that many readers will be able to relate to. And the way that various characters throughout the book come to her aid and teach her about having a relationship with the Lord is both genuine and heartfelt. The romance between Jessica and Kyle is so sweet, even if it developed a little quickly for my tastes. Overall, the story is very touching, and I am happy to recommend Secrets to readers of all ages—from high school to adults.  [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Robin Jones Gunn is the best-selling and award-winning author of more than seventy books, with over 4 million copies of her titles sold worldwide. Best known among them are the Christy Miller, Sierra Jensen, and Christy and Todd: College Years teen series. A Christy Award winner and a two-time finalist for excellence in fiction, Robin has also been a Gold Medallion finalist. She and her husband have been married for 35 years and have two grown children. They live in Hawaii.

Robin Jones Gunn Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Would you please rank my review on Blogging for Books?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fun Contemporary Romance

Picture Perfect
by Janice Thompson
Weddings by Design series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available January 2012
Revell Books
336 pages

About the Book
She’s trying to focus on her future. How can one man make everything feel so . . . fuzzy?

Hannah McDermott has a successful photography studio. She’ll soon be featured in Texas Bride magazine. And she has a celebrity client whose Galveston ceremony will be her ticket to the top spot on wedding coordinator Bella Neeley’s list of recommended photographers. But it could all come crashing down around her because of one man: archrival and photographer extraordinaire Drew Kincaid.

As the competition between Hannah and Drew heats up, Hannah is surprised to find that it’s not the only thing getting more intense. She can’t get the handsome man out of her thoughts-or even out of her line of sight-and the job of her dreams is turning into a nightmare. Will everything she’s worked for slip out of her hands? And can she see past her pride to find a picture-perfect love?

With contagious humor and a cast of quirky characters, Janice Thompson gives you crazy bridal-business drama, sweet romance, and a satisfying dose of laughter.

My Thoughts
After reading Janice Thompson's Backstage Pass series last year, I was excited to read Picture Perfect, the first book in the Weddings by Design series. While many readers have been excited to see that Bella's back (!!!), this was my first introduction to Bella and her quirky, fun family. I quickly decided that I needed to go back and read the previous Bella books ASAP!

The beginning was a little slow for me, with the huge emphasis on the Irish family background. It was a little over the top. I grew to really like Hannah and Drew. Despite their competitive start, there was a great chemistry there. It was fun to see their friendship grow. And Bella and her family were a large part of the story and really added a lot of depth. This was a great "chick lit" book, and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series. [4 stars]

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

Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

About the Author
Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author and screenwriter. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson offers an inside look at the wedding business, drawing on her own experiences as a wedding planner. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and the Backstage Pass series. She lives in Texas.

Janice Thompson Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

What's Next?

I've been seeing a few people post a new (to me) meme called What's Next? hosted by Icey Books. Basically, they share a few books on their TBR list and ask for help deciding which one to read next. I thought I'd jump in and see what you guys think!

I've been reading a lot of books for review this month since it's Review Copy Cleanup month, but my personal TBR list is calling out to me. So many great books, so little time, right?!

March is just a week away, so which of my TBR books should I move the top of my stack—and actually read? Sound off in the comments section and let me know!

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris
Natalie Sinclair is working to eradicate the diseases decimating whole villages in the Republic of Dhambizao when she meets Dr. Chad Talcott, a surgeon on sabbatical from a lucrative medical practice now volunteering at a small clinic. Meanwhile, things are unraveling in Dhambizao. Joseph Komboli returns to his village to discover rebel soldiers abducting his family and friends. Those that were too old or weak to work lay motionless in the African soil. When Chad and Natalie decide to help Joseph expose this modern-day slave trade---and a high-ranking political figure involved in it---disaster nips at their heels. Where is God in the chaos? Will Chad, Natalie, and Joseph win their race against time? Romance and adventure drive Blood Ransom, by Lisa Harris, a powerful thriller about the modern-day slave trade and those who dare to challenge it.

Whispers of the Bayou by Mindy Starns Clark
From the author of the popular Million Dollar Mysteries and Smart Chick Mysteries comes a new stand-alone novel full of hidden staircases, buried secrets, and the promise of hope found in knowing God.

Miranda Miller wasn't looking for the news the day the letter came. But, trying to survive in troubled circumstances, she welcomes the chance to change her location for a period of time. The letter informs her that her grandparents' estate is finally about to become hers. She immediately heads down to Louisiana and the old house by the bayou. There Miranda finds secrets that lead to life-changing revelations.

This suspenseful story reminiscent of old Gothic tales has a complex mystery and a vivid sense of the Deep South. It shows how God can take the darkest circumstances and use them to light a bright path leading to the future.

When the Smoke Clears by Lynnette Eason
As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she's involved with murder, arson--and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light. Chock-full of the suspense and romantic tension readers have come to expect from Lynette Eason, When the Smoke Clears is the explosive first book in the Deadly Reunions series.

Friday, February 22, 2013

An Emotional Yet Hopeful Story

Secrets Over Sweet Tea
by Denise Hildreth Jones
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available March 2013
Tyndale House
416 pages

About the Book
Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

My Thoughts
Denise Hildreth Jones has long been a favorite author. I've been patiently anxiously waiting a new book for TWO YEARS, so I was STOKED when I received a copy of Secrets Over Sweet Tea for review two months before it was "technically" available!

Denise starts by introducing readers to a fantastic—and diverse!—cast of characters. I immediately connected with Grace—feeling both sorry for her situation and frustrated that she wouldn't stand up for herself. She seemed like such a feisty, independent woman, except in her marriage. I suppose we all have our secrets and "masks" that we slip on and off depending on where we are and who we're with.

And Scarlett Jo! She was gregarious, hilarious, and outrageous! But her love for the Lord and for the people around her was palpable. I loved her habit of praying and walking every morning and actually think it's something I'll try in my own neighborhood. She's a force to reckon with, but her compassion for Grace and Zach (and others) really drove the story. Of course, Scarlett Jo has her own secrets as well, and I really loved how the roles reversed between Grace and Scarlett Jo. I thought it was a great picture of the give and take in relationships.

Denise has outdone herself with this emotional yet hopeful story. Tackling such a bevy of heart-wrenching topics (divorce, reconciliation, adultery) could have taken over the story and/or left readers in despair. Instead, the author used these subjects to move the story along and show God's grace in life-like circumstances.

Secrets Over Sweet Tea is a beautiful story about friendship, hope, and grace. My recommendation? Rush out and purchase a copy as soon as it becomes available next month! I believe you will be as touched as I was by this incredible book.  [5 stars]

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

About the Author
Denise Hildreth Jones has spent the last eight years writing fiction that has been hailed as both "smart and witty." Her ability to express the heart of the Southern voice has led to her being featured twice in Southern Living and receiving the accolades of readers and reviewers alike, but it is the simple joy of writing stories that keeps them coming. Her previous novels include the Savannah series, Flies on the Butter, The Will of Wisteria, Hurricanes in Paradise, The First Gardener, and Secrets Over Sweet Tea. She has also written two works of nonfiction—Flying Solo and Reclaiming Your Heart.

Denise makes her home in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, five bonus children, and her dog. And on her days off, she will settle for a long walk or a good book and a Coca-Cola.

Denise Hildreth Jones Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Looking Ahead ... Most Anticipated Books of 2013

We're well into 2013, but I still wanted to share a few books that I'm DYING to read this year! Well ... not really dying ... but ... you know what I mean. After I posted my list last year, I continued to find out about great books that would be released in the second half of the year. So this year I'm going to post twice—once now, and once in July. Plus, this will allow me to share twice as many books!

Top 10 Most Anticipated Books of 2013 
(January through June releases)

The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Available January 1
Bethany House

After reading The Maid of Fairbourne Hall last year, I've decided that I need to read more of Julie Klassen!

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?

The baronet's older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems--and secrets--of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father's academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her...

When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor's Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast--a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions--where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Poison by Jordyn Redwood
Available February 1
Kregel Publications

Jordyn's debut novel, Proof, was definitely one of the best suspense novels I've read in a while. I can NOT wait to see how the story will continue in Poison.

Five years ago, Keelyn Samuels’s armed, mentally ill stepfather took her family hostage in their house in rural Colorado. She and her half-sister Raven made it out alive, but others did not. Authorities blamed the father’s frequent hallucinations about a being named Lucent, but in the end, even the best of the FBI’s hostage negotiators failed to overcome the man’s delusions and end the standoff peacefully.

SWAT team member Lee Watson was there that day. He watched it all unfold and was able to pull Keelyn and Raven from the grip of their demon-possessed father. Though partially successful, his team had still failed, and the outcome of that day—and that tortured family—has continued to plague Lee ever since. Though unusual for SWAT to reconnect with survivors, Lee bumped into Keelyn two years after the crisis, and they both found some peace in their budding relationship. But peace is hard to maintain when the memory returns . . . in the flesh.

Lucent is back, and he’s no hallucination. In fact, he is a very real person with dangerous motives. He has kidnapped Raven’s daughter, and--Keelyn worries--maybe has hurt Raven as well. Though she is estranged from her sister, Keelyn feels the immediate need to find Raven and save what family she has left. But when others who were involved in that fateful day start dying, some by mysterious circumstances, Keelyn wonders if she and Lee can emerge unscathed a second time.

The highly anticipated second installment of the Bloodline Trilogy explores the boundaries of faith and family and what happens when both are put to the test.

Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones
Available March 1
Tyndale House

Ahhh ... Denise Hildreth Jones writes incredible stories. If Secrets Over Sweet Tea is anything like her previous books, it's sure to be wonderful. I'll be sure to have tissues handy, though!

Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life.

Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren
Available March 1
David C. Cook

The first book in this series was incredible, and it totally left me hanging! I NEED to read Grave Consequences to find out what happens!

For Cora Kensington, the journey of a lifetime takes unexpected twists. And her future-her very life-depends on the decisions she’ll make at each crossroad. As her European tour with her newfound family takes her through Austria, France, and Italy, an unseen enemy trails close behind. Meanwhile, a forbidden love continues to claim her heart, putting everyone’s plans in danger.
And as Cora stays one step ahead of it all, what might need the most protection is her own heart, torn between the dramatic pursuit of a dashing Frenchman and a man who has been quietly staking claim to her affections all along. Love has dangers all its own. She must escape the bonds of the past and discover the faith to make the right choices, as each one has grave consequences.

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Available April 1
Bethany House

Jody Hedlund writes some incredible books! I'm definitely looking forward to another powerful book in A Noble Groom!

Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.

So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.
Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman
Available April 1
Revell Books

I'm a little late to the Julie Lessman fan club, but after reading the final chapter in the O'Connor's saga, I can't wait to read more! Looking forward to starting a new series (at the beginning this time!) with Love at Any Cost.

He’s looking to take care of his family. She’s looking to take care of her heart. Trouble is . . . love’s looking to take care of them both.

Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

Bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the delectable Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Join your favorite romantic storyteller as she moves to the hills of San Francisco for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations.

Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green
Available May 1
River North

Jocelyn's debut novel was just fantastic, and I know Widow of Gettysburg will be the same. Plus, the Civil War is such a fascinating time period in our country's history.

When a horrific battle rips through Gettysburg, the farm of Union widow Liberty Holloway is disfigured into a Confederate field hospital, bringing her face to face with unspeakable suffering--and a Rebel scout who awakens her long dormant heart.

While Liberty's future crumbles as her home is destroyed, the past comes rushing back to Bella, a former slave and Liberty's hired help, when she finds herself surrounded by Southern soldiers, one of whom knows the secret that would place Liberty in danger if revealed.

In the wake of shattered homes and bodies, Liberty and Bella struggle to pick up the pieces the battle has left behind. Will Liberty be defined by the tragedy in her life, or will she find a way to triumph over it?

Widow of Gettysburg is inspired by first-person accounts from women who lived in Gettysburg during the battle and its aftermath.

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade
Available May 1
Bethany House

I don't know what to say about Becky Wade that I haven't already said. If Undeniably Yours is anything like Becky's previous novel, it will find a permanent place on my keeper shelf.

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire. The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's Thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who's determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them and earn her love.

Just when Meg realizes she can no longer deny the depth of her feelings for Bo, their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg's past. Can their relationship—and their belief that God can work through every circumstance—survive?

Catch a Falling Star by Beth Vogt
Available May 7
Howard Books

Beth Vogt is another debut author that simply blew me away. I'm STILL thinking about how great Wish You Were Here was. Catch a Falling Star has a lot to live up to, but I'm confident that it will be another book I fall in love with.

Successful career gal Kendall Haynes is tired of wishing on stars for a home and a family. Can God’s dreams for her be even better than her own?

What does a girl do when life doesn’t go according to her plan? At thirty-six, Kendall Haynes has seen some of her dreams come true. She’s a family physician helping kids with severe allergies and asthma achieve more fulfilling lives—a childhood struggle she knows all too well. But are Kendall’s dreams of having it all—a career, a husband, children—nothing more than a childhood fantasy? God says He knows the plans He has for her—why can’t Kendall figure them out and be content with her life?

Griffin Walker prefers flying solo—both as an Air Force pilot and in his personal life. But a wrong choice and health problems pulled him out of the cockpit. His attempts to get out of “flying a desk” are complicated by his parents’ death—making Griffin the reluctant guardian of his sixteen-year-old brother, Ian. How did his life get so off course? Can he get his life back on track…or has there been a divine plan all along?

Catch a Falling Star reminds readers that romance isn’t just for twenty-somethings and that sometimes letting go of your “wish I may, wish I might” dreams is the only way to embrace everything God has waiting for you.

Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
Available May 7

I've read a few of Rachel's other novels and this story sounds so intriguing. Looking forward to reading Once Upon a Prince!

Once Upon a Prince, the first novel in the Royal Wedding series by bestselling author Rachel Hauck, treats you to a modern-day fairy tale. Susanna Truitt never dreamed of a great romance or being treated like a princess—just to marry the man she has loved for twelve years. But life isn't going according to plan. When her high-school-sweetheart-turned-Marine-officer breaks up instead of proposing, Susanna scrambles to rebuild her life.

The last thing Prince Nathaniel expects to find on his American holiday to St. Simon's Island is the queen of his heart. A prince has duties, and his family's tense political situation has chosen his bride for him. When Prince Nathaniel comes to Susanna's aid under the fabled Lover's Oak, he is blindsided by love.

Their lives are worlds apart. He's a royal prince. She's a ordinary girl. But everything changes when Susanna receives an invitation to Nathaniel's coronation. It's the ultimate choice. His kingdom or her heart? God's will or their own?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lovelier than Daylight by Rosslyn Elliott

Lovelier Than Daylight
by Rosslyn Elliott
The Saddler's Legacy series, Book 3
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available November 2012
Thomas Nelson
368 pages

About the Book
Susanna is a lady of principles who values family above all. Johann seems to represent all she despises . . . but appearances can be deceiving.

In 1875, Susanna Hanby is headed off to college in Westerville, Ohio, when she discovers her sister Rachel and Rachel’s children have disappeared. Susanna suspects that Rachel’s alcoholic husband knows more than he’s saying and she vows to uncover the truth.

Johann Giere is heir to a successful German-American brewery in Columbus, but longs for a career in journalism in New York City. When Johann signs on as the supplier for a new saloon in Westerville, his and Susanna’s paths cross and sparks fly. A fiery temperance crusader, Susanna despises Johann’s profession, but she cannot deny the attraction.

When Susanna learns that Rachel’s children have been indentured to orphanages in the city, she despairs that her family will be fractured forever. But Johann makes Susanna an offer she can’t refuse—pitting her passion and her principles against one another.

If she can find a way for her head and her heart to be in harmony, a future lovelier than daylight awaits her.

Lovelier than Daylight is a story of love and faith based on the Westerville Whiskey War of 1875, a dramatic real historical event featured in the 2011 documentary Prohibition by Ken Burns.

My Thoughts
I loved the first two books in the serie and was excited to read the conclusion, Lovelier Than Daylight. Rosslyn wrapped up this series while still bringing readers a new story.

I was particularly impressed with how historical details are woven throughout the story. Rather than taking over the story, they provide a great backdrop for emotional, personal stories. I can only imagine how intense Rosslyn's research process must be!

I loved Susanna's character. She has an incredible sense of justice and moral character. But as the circumstances in her life change, she is forced to evaluate what she believes and how that influences her decisions. And while the ending surprised me in some ways, I was still satisfied.

I was blown away by this beautifully-written story. At times, the book almost seemed poetic. I can't wait to see what Rosslyn writes next. In the meantime, I highly recommend Lovelier Than Daylight and the rest of The Saddler's Legacy series! [5 stars]

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

About the Author
As the child of a career military man, Rosslyn Elliott lived in four states and two foreign countries before she graduated from high school. She attended Yale University, where she earned her BA in English and Theater Studies. After five years working first in corporate New York City, then as a schoolteacher, she entered the Ph.D. program at Emory University and finished her dissertation in 2006.

Her study of American literature spurred her to pursue her lifelong dream of writing fiction. She has won awards for both her fiction and non-fiction writing, including two prestigious Carol Awards and the 2011 Lime Award for Fairer than Morning and the 2006 Lore Metzger Prize for her dissertation. Fairer than Morning was selected as one of Lifeway Fiction's Ten Favorite Reads for 2011.

Rosslyn lives with her husband and daughter in the southern United States, where they enjoy working with horses and pampering their dogs.

Rosslyn Elliott Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Monday, February 18, 2013

TONIGHT!!! Celebrate with Janice Thompson!

Looking for something fun to do tonight? Why don't you pop on over to Janice Thompson's Bella's Back Facebook Group and do a little celebratin' about her latest release, Picture Perfect?!

7:00pm CT

Here's a note from Janice with all the details:
Hi everyone! This is author Janice Thompson, here with a special invitation to my readers. To celebrate to release of my newest book, Picture Perfect, I’m hosting an online party! I’m calling this my “Bing & Bob” party and it will be held on the night of February 18th at 7:00 p.m. central time. Why Bing and Bob, you ask? These two funny fellas hold a special place in the heart of my characters and they will provide the entertainment at our gathering! This fun, interactive party will take place inside the “Bella’s Back” group on facebook.

Join me for an interactive chat, video teasers, Bing Crosby music and giveaways! Yes, giveaways! Drawings will be held every ten minutes to give away free copies of the book. At the end of the hour, a very special drawing will be held to give away a brand new Kindle Fire. How do you enter? Simple! Just join the “Bella’s Back” group. Once inside the group, you can enjoy a video welcome from yours truly and a sample from the Picture Perfect. This will give you a little taste of what’s coming at the party. I can’t wait to share this special evening with my readers to kick off my new Weddings by Design series! Bella’s back, y’all…and things in her world are as wacky and exciting as ever!
So ... there you have it. A personal invitation from Janice Thompson! Be there or be square. :)

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

And ... since this month is Review Copy Cleanup, I'm also going to let this be my weekly update as well. I've read 2 more review books, bringing my total to 5 review books so far this month!

What I Read Last Week ...
I finished three books again this week. All three were very good, but I think Abducted was my favorite. Very suspenseful!

What I'm Reading Now ...
I'm still in the middle of these two books. I WILL finish Lovelier than Daylight this week. Follow Me will be finished soon. I'm such a slow reader when it comes to non-fiction. Just a lot to process ... especially with this one.

What I Hope to Read This Week ...
In addition to finishing Lovelier than Daylight, I hope to be able to finish (or get close!) both of these. Especially important since my reviews are due soon on them. :)

That's what I'm hoping to read this week. What are you reading?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interview with Sandra Byrd, Author of the French Twist series

I'm ending Sandra Byrd Week at i blog 4 books with a Blogside Chat. (It's been a while since I've done one, hasn't it?!) These aren't your usual questions ... I figured you could find those answers elsewhere (like on Sandra's website!).

Don't forget about the giveaway that Sandra is hosting this week. TODAY is the last day to enter.

AND ... you can still download Let Them Eat Cake FREE and Bon Appetit and Piece de Resistance for only $.99 each! TODAY is the last day for these promotional prices. You'll kick yourself later if you miss out on this fun series ... promise. :) (You can read my review for Let Them Eat Cake here.)

i blog 4 books: Welcome, Sandra! Since Lexi in Let Them Eat Cake is just out of college and trying to find her way in the world, it made me wonder what your first "adult" job was.

Sandra Byrd: I worked at a deli and at a catering company when I was a teenager; I learned quite a bit about cooking and baking at both places. I still love baking - you can tell by these books right? After college I worked at a publishing house as an editor, and within a few years I transitioned from editor to writer.

ib4b: I can tell by the books in this series that you must love baking! What were some of your favorite books as a child?

SB: I read everything imaginable, but one stand-out is the Little House on the Prairie series. When I received my first royalty check I went to Powell’s bookstore in Portland, OR and purchased the hard cover copies with dust jackets, first editions illustrated by Garth Williams, of the Little House books. They have a prominent place in my home library.

As a teenager I discovered the historical romance pleasures of Eleanor Hibbert, who wrote under many pen names, including Jean Plaidy and Victoria Holt. I call her my gateway drug to historical books, and tip my hat to her many talents!

ib4b: I loved the Little House books too! If you could go anywhere in the world on your next vacation, where would you go?

SB: England, hands down. I’ve traveled all across my own beloved nation and many other beautiful and engaging places throughout the world but England never fails to thrill or offer new discoveries.

ib4b: I've been to Europe once and would love to go just about anywhere there. London is at the top of my list. Write your memoir in six words or less.

SB: Loved, Lost, Saved, Married, Birthed, Wrote!

ib4b: Can you tell us a bit about what you're working on now?

SB: My next traditionally published series will be Gothic Romance set in Victorian England, and the first book will be out next year.  I can't wait! It is fun to write a more romantic thread, and while I love Tudor England I will say that Victorian England has just as many reading charms.

ib4b: Ooh ... sounds great! Can't wait to check them out! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by for a Blogside Chat, Sandra!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd

Let Them Eat Cake
by Sandra Byrd
French Twist series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
320 pages
Buy a copy here (FREE on Feb 10-14)
Details about Sandra's Giveaway here

About the Book
Lexi Stuart is at a critical crossroads. She’s done with college but still living at home, ready to launch a career but unable to find a job, and solidly stalled between boyfriends.

When a lighthearted conversation in French with the manager of her favorite bakery turns into a job offer, Lexi accepts. But the actual glamour is minimal: the pay is less than generous, her co-workers are skeptical, her bank account remains vertically-challenged, and her parents are perpetually disappointed. Her only comfort comes from the flirtatious baker she has her eye–but even may not be who he seems to be!

So when a handsome young executive dashes into the bakery to pick up his high profile company’s special order for an important meeting–an order Lexi has flubbed– she loses her compulsion to please. “What am I going to do?” he shouts. “Let them eat cake!” she fires back with equal passion and a nod to Marie Antoinette. And then, something inside Lexi clicks. Laissez la révolution commencer! Let the revolution begin! Instead of trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations for her life, Lexi embarks on an adventure in trusting God with her future–très bon!

My Thoughts
Comedy, baking, romance, and all things French … Let Them Eat Cake has it all and more! I was surprised at how easily this romantic comedy took me back to the time in my life when I was just out of college, living at home with the parentals, and struggling in my first job. At times I felt like perhaps Sandra Byrd had spied on me during that time! The emotions were spot-on!

Lexi is so easy to like, and I found myself pulling for her to figure things out. I even felt sorry for her a time or two because her family seemed to have it all together and she just struggled so much. The book wasn't as much of a romance as I anticipated, but I'm thinking the next two in the series may be more romantic. And, I was surprised by one twist the author threw in there … very sneaky, Sandra!

Let Them Eat Cake is perfect if you're looking for a light-hearted story to launch you out of the winter blues. I can't wait to read the next two books in the French Twist series!! [4 stars]

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

About the Author
After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I, will publish in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has also published many nonfiction articles and books. She is also passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Sandra Byrd Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

And ... since this month is Review Copy Cleanup, I'm also going to let this be my weekly update. All three of the books I read last week were review copies, so I'm off to a great start! :)

What I Read Last Week ...
Well ... I picked up the pace a little and finished three books last week. :) All were really good, but Secrets Over Sweet Tea was probably my favorite. And ... aren't these covers just gorgeous?!

What I'm Reading Now ...
I'm still reading these two. Hoping to finish them up this week. (Fingers crossed!)

What I Hope to Read This Week ...
Well ... in addition to the two books above, I hope to finish at least one of these this week. Suggestions on which one to start next?

 That's what I'm hoping to read this week. What are you reading?
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