Saturday, August 31, 2013

Take a Chance on "Take a Chance on Me"!

Take a Chance on Me
by Susan May Warren
The Christiansen Family series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available May 2013
Tyndale House
416 pages

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Read an excerpt
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About the Book
Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

My Thoughts
As a huge fan of Susan May Warren, I was thrilled to read Take a Chance on Me. As expected, I absolutely loved it! The plot, characters, and underlying themes are so rich, and I felt like I was right in the middle of everything the whole time. I loved Ivy and Darek and watching their friendship develop, and the addition of all of the drama surrounding Jensen really helped round out the story. 

If I could sum up the message of the book in one word, it would belonging. Each of the characters are searching for a place to belong and must overcome past circumstances and their own shame to find that belonging. Let me just say it's a fascinating journey. 

As a huge fan of family sagas, I'm looking forward to reading more about the Christiansen family! Whether you're looking for a romance or a deep, emotional story, Take a Chance on Me is a great choice!  [5 stars]

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

About the Author
Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award–winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors. Visit to learn more. For exciting updates on her new releases, previous books, and more, visit her website at

Susan May Warren Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Misery Loves Company Wowed Me!

Misery Loves Company
by Rene Gutteridge
Christian Fiction / Suspense
Available August 2013
Tyndale House
368 pages

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About the Book
Don’t tell me it’s terrifying. Terrify me.

Filled with grief, Jules Belleno rarely leaves the house since her husband’s death while on duty as a police officer. Other than the reviews Jules writes on her blog, she has little contact with the outside world.

But one day when she ventures out to the local grocery store, Jules bumps into a fellow customer . . . and recognizes him as her favorite author, Patrick Reagan. Jules gushes and thoroughly embarrasses herself before Regan graciously talks with her.

And that’s the last thing she remembers—until she wakes up in a strange room with a splitting headache. She’s been kidnapped. And what she discovers will change everything she believed about her husband’s death . . . her career . . . and her faith.

My Thoughts
Wow! Just wow!

Part of me wants to just leave it at that, but that wouldn’t make for a great review, would it? So let me give you a few bullet points instead. (I’ve been thinking in “lists” lately. Ha!)

-- Rene Gutteridge is a new-to-me author.
-- I will DEFINITELY read her books in the future. And probably catch up on her backlist too!
-- This is a true suspense novel … gritty, intense, but not gory. Reminded me of a James Patterson novel without the swearing, sex, and overly-described, gory crime scenes.
-- Reading about a book blogger was fun.
-- Although the things that happened to her were not.
-- I’m a little nervous about posting a “bad” review now. :)
-- I should not have read this late at night while home alone, but I did.
-- It was just that good, and I couldn’t stop reading it.
-- I highly, highly, highly recommend this book!!

[5 stars]

About the Author
Rene Gutteridge is the author of eighteen novels, including Listen, the Storm series (Tyndale House Publishers) and Never the Bride, the Boo series, and the Occupational Hazards series from WaterBrook Press. She also released My Life as a Doormat and The Ultimate Gift: The Novelization with Thomas Nelson. Rene is also known for her Christian comedy sketches. She studied screenwriting while earning a mass communications degree, graduating magna cum laude from Oklahoma City University and earning the Excellence in Mass Communication Award. She served as the full-time director of drama for First United Methodist Church for five years before leaving to stay home and write. She enjoys instructing at writers conferences and in college classrooms. She lives with her husband, Sean, a musician, and their children in Oklahoma City. 

Rene Gutteridge Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Friday, August 30, 2013

Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis

Beyond Ordinary
by Justin & Trisha Davis
Christian Non-Fiction / Marriage
Available January 2013
Tyndale House
256 pages

Read an excerpt
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About the Book
How safe is your marriage? The answer may surprise you. The biggest threat to any marriage isn’t infidelity or miscommunication. The greatest enemy is ordinary. Ordinary marriages lose hope. Ordinary marriages lack vision. Ordinary marriages give in to compromise. Ordinary is the belief that this is as good as it will ever get. And when we begin to settle for ordinary, it’s easy to move from “I do” to “I’m done.”

Justin and Trisha Davis know just how dangerous ordinary can be. In this beautifully written book, Justin and Trisha take us inside the slow fade that occurred in their own marriage—each telling the story from their own perspective. Together, they reveal the mistakes they made, the work they avoided, the thoughts and feelings that led to an affair and near divorce, and finally, the heart-change that had to occur in both of them before they could experience the hope, healing, and restoration of a truly extraordinary marriage. 

My Thoughts
I want to preface my review by saying that I understand that Justin and Trisha Davis (the authors) are real people. I think it shows great courage to write a book sharing the darkest, ugliest parts of your life in the hopes that God would be glorified through your testimony and that others might be helped.

Unfortunately, though, I didn’t feel that the book was executed well. First, let me explain the layout of the book. The book is divided into twelve chapters. Each chapter begins with Justin and Trisha telling a little about their story—how they met, some about their dating life, their young marriage, having children, struggles in their marriage, the issues that nearly caused their marriage to crumble, and a bit about how they were able to overcome those problems. The “story” alternates between the two of them, so you get both perspectives. This section reads like a blog or a conversation. Then the last half to two-thirds of the chapter is “teaching” on marriage and topics geared toward helping couples improve their marriage. This section reads very much like a sermon.

Now, here’s what I liked about the book. It was well-written, technically speaking. Everything made sense and was well-edited. I also liked the back-and-forth style of the first part of each chapter, allowing both Justin and Trisha to tell their story in their own words.

From the beginning, I found it extremely difficult to like Justin and Trisha—as they chose to portray themselves through the first section of each chapter. Justin especially seemed unlikable, and I wondered all along why “Team Justin” felt so strongly that Trisha and Justin should date and marry.

Throughout the book, Justin told story after story of awful things he said and did to Trisha and their children. There were only two instances that I can recall that he prefaced it by saying he was sorry or ashamed or something similar. Since this is not a journal but is written from the perspective of having repented of these sins, I wished he would have shown that repentance throughout the book. I needed him to reiterate over and over that he regretted these things, that it was painful to admit them, that it was embarrassing and shameful to have to share with the world what he had done.

Similarly, as Trisha shared mistakes that she made in their marriage, she confessed to what she did but I didn’t feel her sorrow, grief, or repentance over these actions and words. (Side note: Justin and Trisha most likely are extremely remorseful and repentant of the actions that took place in their marriage, but it doesn’t come through in how they tell their story in this book.) And with both Justin and Trisha, it seemed that blame was the name of the game—obviously in the past, but it felt like they were still blaming each other, other people, and their circumstances at the end of the book without taking personal responsibility for what happened. With all of this presented as the background, it made it difficult to view the “sermon” portions of the chapters as something that I should listen to and put into practice.

In regards to the content of the book, I left the book feeling like I needed more of the “after” part of their story. The build up to the “final straw” and the chapters dealing with the initial response was so drawn out and had me feeling so negative towards marriage in general and Justin and Trisha in particular that I needed more of the “redemption” part of their story. I wanted to know how in the world they managed to save their marriage after ten chapters of such tragedy. I wanted to know how they are doing now. How is their marriage different now than when they first got married or when they first started trying to make things right? What steps are they taking to prevent another catastrophe? What accountability is in place for both of them to keep things moving in the right direction? Some fairly serious things happened during the first ten years of their marriage, and the “fix” was simply glossed over. The last few chapters were long on sermon and short on personal account, which contributed to this feeling of needing more.

My final problem was with the overall tone of the book. I read Christian books—both fiction and non-fiction—because I want to read books that leave me feeling hopeful. On a whole, I didn’t feel that this book was hopeful and inspiring. Parts of it were very negative and hopeless.

I really struggled while writing this review. These are real people who are sharing their personal story. I never want to appear to criticize someone’s story because it’s just that—their story—and everyone’s story is worth telling. My goal was to critique the telling of the story without diminishing or attacking this couple or how God has worked in and through them. I hope I have succeeded in doing so.

With that said, I would not recommend this book. I believe other books would be more helpful to couples in crisis and portray an overall more hopeful picture of how God can redeem anything for our good and His glory. [1 star]

About the Authors
Justin and Trisha met at Lincoln Christian University in Lincoln, Illinois. Justin received his BA in Christian education, and Trisha later earned her BA degree from Indiana University. The Davises' return to ministry is the result of a victorious battle for their marriage and family. After successfully planting their first church, their marriage was devastated by an affair. What followed was a four-year journey of pain, grief, and ultimately, by the grace of God, the restoration of their relationship.

In 2009 they founded RefineUs Ministries, Inc., to ignite a movement in the church and among pastors and church planters to build healthy marriages and families. They consider the resurrection of their marriage to be a great gift and feel it a privilege to use RefineUs to help others find that same healing. Today Justin and Trisha are bloggers, authors, and teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, where they reside with their three boys. Justin is currently campus and teaching pastor of Cross Point Community Church, Bellevue Campus.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mixed Feelings about Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson

Grace's Pictures
by Cindy Thomson
Ellis Island series, Book1
Christian Fiction / Historical
Available June 2013
Tyndale House
392 pages

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About the Book
Grace McCaffery hopes that the bustling streets of New York hold all the promise that the lush hills of Ireland did not. As her efforts to earn enough money to bring her mother to America fail, she wonders if her new Brownie camera could be the answer. But a casual stroll through a beautiful New York City park turns into a hostile run-in with local gangsters, who are convinced her camera holds the first and only photos of their elusive leader. A policeman with a personal commitment to help those less fortunate finds Grace attractive and longs to help her, but Grace believes such men cannot be trusted. Spread thin between her quest to rescue her mother, do well in a new nanny job, and avoid the gang intent on intimidating her, Grace must put her faith in unlikely sources to learn the true meaning of courage and forgiveness.

My Thoughts
To be totally honest, I had mixed feelings about Grace's Pictures by Cindy Thomson while I read it, and I’m still having difficulty deciding what I feel now—even as I write this review.

Initially, I thought I would absolutely love the book. The descriptions of Grace’s initial experiences in America—New York City, Ellis Island, the immigration process, and trying to find her “place” in this new country—were incredible. It felt so realistic to me. The story moved quickly at first, as Grace finds a place to live, is introduced to other immigrants, and is given a job as a nanny.

However, partway into the book, the story began to drag, and my interest wavered. Part of my struggle was that the two main characters (Grace and Owen) had little interaction with each other. That went on for so long that there eventual “relationship” seemed a bit forced to me. Additionally, the mobster story that took center stage for much of the book was just odd and extremely confusing to me at times.

Finally, Grace constantly repeated a saying that her mother told her as a child: “You are smart. You are important. You are able.” Ring any bells? It’s VERY close to the line that is repeated through the 2009 best seller The Help: “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.” It was a little too close, in my opinion.

While not my favorite, this book does present a very well-rounded story. You get to see Grace and Owen’s lives as a 360 picture, rather than merely one- or two-dimensional. Their home life, work life, family, friends, and past all play important parts of their story, which was nice to see. [3.5 stars]

I received a temporary e-copy copy of this book from Tyndale House via Net Galley in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Cindy Thomson is a writer and an avid genealogy enthusiast. Her love of history and her Scots-Irish heritage have inspired much of her writing, including her new Ellis Island series. Cindy is also the author of Brigid of Ireland and Celtic Wisdom: Treasures from Ireland. She combined her love of history and baseball to co-author the biography Three Finger: The Mordecai Brown Story, which was a finalist for the Society for American Baseball Research's Larry Ritter Book Award. In addition to books, Cindy has written on a regular basis for numerous online and print publications and is a mentor for the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild. She is also a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and the Historical Novel Society. Cindy and her husband have three grown sons and live in central Ohio.

Cindy Thomson Online

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Teaser Tuesday | Misery Loves Company

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

Jules squeezed her eyes shut and prayed as loudly as silent prayer would allow. (90%)
Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge

I read this book in three sittings and stayed up WAY too late in the night to do so! If you like suspense, I think you will just love this book! (Wanna see for yourself? It's currently free across e-reader platforms! Be sure to double check the price ... I'm not sure when this deal ends.)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Bout of Books 8.0 | Wrap-Up Post

Bout of Books 8.0 has ended. :( All good things must come to an end, right? I had a great time this week reading with some bloggy friends. It was so fun to encourage one another and tweet back and forth all week to see how we were all doing!

(Bout of Books 9.0 is January 6-12, so go ahead and plan to join us. You know you want to!)

Here's a quick recap of my reading this week!

My goals were to ...
Read 1600 pages
Finish 4 review books
Finish 2 non-fiction books (1 is audio)
Comment on at least 5 blogs each day

 How did I do?
Read 1540 pages, 4:16 hours of audio (est 1716 pages total!)
Finished 4 review books!
Finished 1 non-fiction book!
Yes ... that's 5 books total!
Read bits of 3 other books!
I didn't really comment that much or participate in the challenges this time.

Here's a quick run-down of what I read this week ...
The Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson - FINISHED! - 320 pages
The Four Seasons of Marriage - FINISHED! - 4:16 hours / 176 pages
North Country Hero by Lois Richer - FINISHED! - 224 pages
Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma - FINISHED! - 326 pages
Falling for the Teacher by Dorothy Clark - FINISHED! - 288 pages
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden - 253 pages
Beyond Ordinary by Justin & Trisha Davis - 49 pages
Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge - 80 pages

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.

What I Read Last Week ...
After a slow start to the week and a couple of days when I hardly read anything, I ended up reading FIVE books this week! Great Bout of Books Read-A-Thon!

What I'm Reading Now ...
I'm caught up in quite a few books right now. Hoping to finish some of them in the next few days.

What I Hope to Read This Week ...
Lots of great books on my TBR list right now. I'm hoping to finish 3 of these this week. :)

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

Sunday, August 25, 2013

One of the Most Beautiful Novels I've Read in a Long Time!

Winter in Full Bloom
by Anita Higman
Christian Fiction
Available August 2013
River North
304 pages

Buy a copy
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About the Book
Lily Winter’s wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily’s lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she’d been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

My Thoughts
When I agreed to review Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman, I had several ideas of what I was getting into. Let me just tell you: All of my pre-conceived ideas about this book were wrong. Sure, I assumed it would be good (otherwise, why read it?!), but beyond that, I didn't have a clue! (As a total side note, despite my assumptions based on the cover, this book is a contemporary novel. Not sure why assumed it was a historical novel ...)

Lily's story begins with a somewhat comical account of her flight to Australia. She's nearly panic-stricken, and her 5-year-old seatmate begins chatting her up to help her calm down. Lily's fear was nearly palpable, but the conversation had me chuckling aloud. At this point, I realized that Higman was going to give me a different story than what I initially expected—and that it was going to be quite the roller coaster.

As the story progressed, I was impressed with several things. First, the setting. Wow. Of course, Australia seems exotic to most everyone, but after reading this book, it's been added to my "must visit" list. Higman's really makes Australia come alive with little details like how to pronounce "Melbourne" and descriptions of common foods. Then there are the characters. Each one had such distinct personalities but they never seemed flat or "cartoonish" (as sometimes happens when emphasizing one or two specific traits). Instead, as the story unfolded, I grasped more of who they were and why they acted certain ways. I even began liking characters more as I read more because I understood the whys behind some of their flaws. This is one of the few first-person narratives where I felt like the other characters were just as lifelike and completely developed as the one telling the story.

The story itself was absolutely breath-taking. The emotions within the pages were raw and real. Each character had a journey to understanding, faith, and forgiveness. While each was unique, they were all equally well-written. Additionally, Higman's writing has a lyrical quality that makes me want to hand this book to English teachers everywhere and say, "This is good literature. Ask your classes to read this and pick it apart looking for literary devices. And the best part is that it has a wonderful message." 

I could go on and on, but this review would turn into a gush-fest (yes, even more than it already has). Let me simply say that this is one of the most beautiful novels I've read in a long time. Read it for yourself to find out! [5 stars]

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

About the Author
Best-selling and award-winning author, Anita Higman, has over thirty books published (several coauthored) for adults and children. She’s been a Barnes & Noble “Author of the Month” for Houston and has a BA degree, combining speech communication, psychology, and art. Anita loves good movies, exotic teas, and brunch with her friends.

Anita Higman Online
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Icing on the Cake ... A Sweet Romance

The Icing on the Cake
by Janice Thompson
Weddings by Design series, Book 2
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available August 2013
320 pages

Buy a copy
Read an excerpt

About the Book
Scarlet isn't sure if she has just the right ingredients for true love—or utter disaster

Scarlet Lindsey is busy making her dreams come true. She's moved her bakery to a prime spot on Galveston's most popular street, she's planning an extravagant cake for her best friend's wedding, and she has a great relationship with Bella Neeley, the island's most popular wedding coordinator. Business is booming and Scarlet is enjoying the ride.

But when Bella's dangerously handsome brother Armando breezes into her life, Scarlet is faced with a sticky situation. Should she stay with the safe, sweet guy who's been a fixture in her life for years? Or will this brash Italian hunk melt her guarded heart?

Fan favorite Janice Thompson is back with more wit, more weddings, and more of what you love best--bridal-business drama laced with laughs.

My Thoughts
Janice Thompson's The Icing on the Cake is the second book in the Weddings by Design series. As expected, it's a charming and sweet romance that kept me in stitches! As strange as it may sound, I loved that Scarlet had so many issues with her self-image. I think nearly every woman (and man too, for that matter) struggles with that at one time or another, and it was refreshing to see it portrayed in the heroine of a romance novel. I also enjoyed seeing more of Bella and her crazy Italian family! And the references to Lucille Ball and I Love Lucy had me chuckling ... especially since that's one of my mom's favorite shows! The Icing on the Cake was a quick read for me and provided the right amount of levity while still fleshing out solid, biblical truth. [4 stars]

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

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

Friday, August 23, 2013

Into the Whirlwind Is An Emotional Whirlwind

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Whirlwind
Elizabeth Camden

Into the Whirlwind
by Elizabeth Camden
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available August 2013
Bethany House
384 pages

Buy a copy
Read an excerpt
Find out what others think

About the Book
After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?

My Thoughts
After reading two of Elizabeth Camden's other books, I consider myself a fan. And Into the Whirlwind is another incredible book that fans (new and old!) are sure to enjoy!

Chicago is an intriguing setting, and the Great Chicago Fire provided the perfect backdrop for a story full of intense emotion, romance, and plenty of intriguing historical details. Anytime I've heard about the Fire, I've always thought it was sad, but reading about Mollie as she lived through the fire and rebuilt her company and her life afterward was especially moving. I honestly cannot imagine losing everything except the clothes on my back. Heart-wrenching.

The addition of the men of the 57th was so interesting. I loved getting to know several of the men and found myself wondering if this company might be based on historical fact. I hope so!

Above all, though, I love the fact that Camden writes with such intense emotion. Every page is dripping with fear, joy, disdain, excitement, and a host of other emotions, and I found myself feeling each and every emotion that the characters felt. There were a few times I even started "talking back" to the book ... which is truly a sign of a great book.

Fans of historical fiction are certain to enjoy Into the Whirlwind! [4.5 stars}

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

About the Author
A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.

Elizabeth Camden Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday | Fifteen Minutes

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is ... 

Fifteen Minutes by Karen Kingsbury
Howard Books | October 29, 2013

About the Book
Zack Dylan has a dream. He wants to sing on the biggest stages, for the biggest crowds, and he’ll do whatever it takes to make it come true. But Zack also made a promise to his college sweetheart when he left Kentucky to compete on the popular TV show Fifteen Minutes: If he made it, nothing would change him or his faith in God.

Overnight, Zack becomes the nation’s most popular contestant, a country singer comparable to a young Tim McGraw. As his star rises, Zack is often asked to compromise and quiet his beliefs. Just as he’s on the verge of winning it all, his choices lead him to the brink of personal disaster. Meanwhile, a former Fifteen Minutes winner is searching for meaning amidst her own private losses. Can she warn Zack about the real price of fame? Or will Zack lose everything he loves for his fifteen minutes of glory?

From the novelist dubbed the “Queen of Christian Fiction” by Time magazine, Fifteen Minutes explores the cost of fame and celebrity set against the backdrop of America’s favorite singing competition.

Why I Can't Wait to Read It
I absolutely LOVE Karen Kingsbury, and her most recent novels have reminded me of exactly why. What an amazing talent for story-telling and tugging at readers' heartstrings!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop | Win a Box of Books!

With the summer drawing to an end, it's the perfect time to clean out a little. And what better way than to pass some of the books on my shelves to one of you?!

The Clear Your Shelf Giveaway Hop will be held from August 20-27 and there are over 100 blogs participating. Check out that linky list below!!

One winner will win a box of 13 ARCs from my bookshelves. They are all in excellent condition and there's quite a variety (historical fiction, romance, literary fiction, romantic suspense, legal thriller, suspense, visionary, military suspense, etc.), so hopefully there's a little something for everyone. The box will include the following ...

When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley
Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn
Words by Ginny Yttrup
Targets Down by Bob Hamer
Oil by Jeff Nesbit
Book of Days by James L. Rubart
No Safe Haven by Kimberley & Kayla Woodhouse
False Witness by Randy Singer
Fallen Angel by Jeff Struecker
Not in the Heart by Chris Fabry
Shakespeare's Lady by Alexa Schnee
Safe in His Arms by Colleen Coble
Every Perfect Gift by Dorothy Love

Enter using the Rafflecopter below. US addresses only. Giveaway ends August 27.


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.

What I Read Last Week ...
I enjoyed all of these! BUT ... you simply MUST check out Whispers from the Shadows and Winter in Full Bloom as soon as you have time!

What I'm Reading Now ...

What I Hope to Read This Week ...

 This week is Bout of Books 8.0! I posted my goals last night, so you can check them out here.
(There's still time to sign up for the read-a-thon, too!)

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

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bout of Books 8.0 | Goals & Progress

Bout of Books 8.0 starts in just a few hours, and I am SO ready!!!

Bout of Books 8.0
August 19-25

The Goals
Read 1600 pages
Finish 4 review books
Finish 2 non-fiction books (1 is audio)
Comment on at least 5 blogs each day

The Books
I'll be choosing from these books, some of which I've already started ...

My Progress
I'll be posting daily on Twitter and Goodreads and hopefully will keep this post updated with progress notes as well.

Number of books I've finished today: 0
Total number of books I've finished: 0
Number of pages I've read today: 103
Total number of pages I've read: 103

Number of books I've finished today: 1
Total number of books I've finished: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 263 + some of the audio book
Total number of pages I've read: 366

Number of books I've finished today: 0
Total number of books I've finished: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 32 (ugh!!!) + a little of the audio book
Total number of pages I've read: 398

Number of books I've finished today: 0
Total number of books I've finished: 1
Number of pages I've read today: 78 + part of my audio book
Total number of pages I've read: 476

Number of books I've finished today: 1 (audio)
Total number of books I've finished: 2
Number of pages I've read today: 253
Total number of pages I've read: 729

Number of books I've finished today: 1
Total number of books I've finished: 3
Number of pages I've read today: 288
Total number of pages I've read: 1017

Number of books I've finished today: 2
Total number of books I've finished: 5
Number of pages I've read today: 523
Total number of pages I've read: 1540

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