Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday | The One

"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 ...

The One by Kiera Cass
HarperCollins Teen | May 6, 2014

About the Book
The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

Why I Can't Wait to Read It
I saw this beautiful cover on another blogger's blog a couple of months ago (can't find the post now ... sorry!) and thought it was gorgeous! When I read about the series, I knew I had to check it out. I decided to wait until a little closer to the release of the final book in the trilogy but didn't wait long enough. I'm dying to read The One and find out how it all turns out! Not much longer now. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesday | A Beauty So Rare

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

Still nursing the slight sting from Aunt Adelicia's politely framed rebuke, Eleanor took another bite of creamed sweet potatoes, whipped lighter and fluffier than she'd ever tasted, and observed the family interaction around the Cheatham dinner table.  (p. 57)
A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Tamera Alexander definitely has a knack for descriptions! I'm definitely craving a bite of those sweet potatoes now ... and I'm curious as to what the rebuke was for and what interests Eleanor about the family interactions at dinner.

Top Ten Books for Fans of Romantic Comedy Movies

To learn more about Top Ten Tuesday or see a list of future topics click here!

Top Ten(ish) Books for Fans of Romantic Comedy Movies
(i.e., Runaway Bride, Sleepless in Seattle, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, 50 First Dates, etc.)

Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd

Emma Rae Creation series by Sandra D. Bricker

Weddings by Design series by Janice Thompson

Smitten Book Club by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt & Denise Hunter

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

Ashley Stockingdale series by Kristin Billerbeck

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren

Have you read any good romantic comedies lately? I'd love to hear about them!

Monday, April 28, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson (Review & Blog Tour)

A Sensible Arrangement
by Tracie Peterson
Lone Star Brides series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available April 2014
Bethany House
336 pages

About the Book
Marty Dandridge Olson is ready to leave behind the pain of the past.
Answering an advertisement for a “Lone Star bride,” she leaves her Texas ranch and heads to Denver to marry a man she doesn’t know.

Jake Wythe is the man waiting for her.
Burned by love, he marries now simply to satisfy the board of Morgan Bank, which believes a man of his standing in society should be wed. Together Jake and Marty agree they are done with romance and love and will make this nothing more than a marriage of convenience.

When missing money and a collapsing economy threaten his job, Jake’s yearning to return to ranching grows ever stronger, much to Marty’s dismay. But a fondness has grown between them, as well, further complicating matters.

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways… and dreams and secrets collide?

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
I read several of Tracie Peterson's books a while back and thoroughly enjoyed them. When I saw that she was releasing A Sensible Arrangement (her 100th book!!!) this month, I was excited to start a new series with her. 

Two of my favorite story lines in historical fiction are mail order bride and marriage of convenience stories. Combine the two, and double the fun! From the beginning, I liked Marty. She's feisty and has a serious streak of independence. It wasn't clear until much later why she would be interested in leaving her family in Texas and become a mail order bride, but once we finally learned the reason, it made sense. Marty has a terrible problem with lying. While I often wanted to shake her and force the truth out, I actually liked that her vice was something that most people have dealt with but generally overlook. I thought it made her more relatable and showed how a seemingly insignificant sin can have such far-reaching consequences.

I enjoyed getting to know Jake as well. He was intent on being a good husband—even if romance wouldn't be part of the equation. He definitely had a lot going on at work, and that part of history was definitely interesting! As Jake and Marty became closer friends, their relationship developed more. I just wish we could have seen more of that!

There were several things that weren't resolved, but I'm assuming that the next book will take care of some of that. And I, for one, am looking forward to reading it! A Sensible Arrangement is another great read from Tracie Peterson!  [4 stars]

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

About the Author
Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.

Tracie Peterson Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

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 ...

What I'm Reading Now ...

What I Hope to Read This Week ...

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

Sunday, April 27, 2014

World Watch List | Uzbekistan

Open Doors USA
[ World Watch List Challenge #15 Uzbekistan ]
Pray for Uzbekistan


The authorities in Uzbekistan have tried to intimidate and discourage Christians from meeting together.

Christians are fined for holding "illegal" church services. In order to hold a church service, it is necessary to have permission from the government. Many churches have been waiting for years for a permit, but in the last ten years, no single application has been approved. Churches that previously had permits have even seen that these have been withdrawn.

If Christians are caught meeting together, sums can vary between twenty and a hundred months' salary. An average monthly salary in Uzbekistan is $35.

Christians in Central Asia, including Uzbekistan, are also fined for possessing or distributing Bibles and Christian books. There is a list of forbidden literature, but in recent years, all Christian books have been forbidden. The possession of a Bible at home is forbidden, too. If Christians talk to Muslims about the gospel message or invite them to come to church, they risk a heavy fine.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

Share This Story Uzbekistan
Map of Uzbekistan

Quick Facts on Uzbekistan

Rank: 15
Previous Rank: 16
Leader: President Islam Karimov
Government: Authoritarian republic
Religion: Islam
Population: 28.7 million (210,000 Christians)
Source of persecution: Dictatorial paranoia
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Christians in Uzbekistan need your prayers. Post a prayer or word of encouragement.


Be a voice for persecuted Christians in Uzbekistan. Share their stories and make others aware of their plight


Help us in assisting Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ.
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Friday, April 25, 2014

Meet the Woman Behind the Cover Dress of "A Beauty So Rare" (Guest Blog by Tamera Alexander)

I love beautiful book covers—and those historical dresses definitely star on some of my favorites! Author Tamera Alexander is sharing an interview with Beth Schoenherr, the seamstress of the lovely dress on the cover of Tamera's new novel, A Beauty So Rare. Enjoy!

Author, Tamera Alexander
Have you ever wanted to meet the woman who sewed the dress on a novel cover? Then please allow me to introduce you to Beth Schoenherr, the ever-so-talented seamstress who sewed Eleanor Braddock’s dress for the cover of A Beauty So Rare.

I’m thrilled that Beth was willing to share about her experience in making the dress, and I love the behind-the-scenes glimpses she shares. I hope you will, too!

Tamera: Where did inspiration for the dress for A Beauty So Rare come from (both the style and color)?

Beth: The style, of course, was determined by the post–Civil War timing of the story.

I believe the cover designer and editors talked about a garden setting and felt pink would look lovely against the backdrop of the green foliage and other flowers, which it does! I then had the fun of finding the right shade of pink to keep it a believable color for the time. Hot pink or neon pink, of course, would never do!

Tamera: Um, no. LOL! Not even Adelicia Acklen could have coerced Eleanor into neon pink! ; ) Have you made dresses for photo shoots before?

Love this gorgeous cover!

Beth: I started doing period costumes for men, women, and children in amateur theater in 1999 and then had opportunities in the following years to progress to working in the costume shop of a professional theater. This is my first costume for a photo shoot, however.

Tamera: How cool, Beth. I’m so grateful for your work on this dress. Well done! Do you have an appreciation for period clothing? And if yes, what’s your favorite style of women’s dresses from history?

Beth: I do enjoy period clothing. I don’t think I can pick one favorite style though. I just enjoy the various and changing silhouettes and fabrics throughout the history of fashion.

Tamera: Understandable. I have many "favorites," too! What’s the most challenging dress you’ve created for a cover (and what was most challenging about it)? Also, what has been your most challenging sewing project in general?

Beth: As I mentioned, this is the first dress I have made for a cover. It has been really fun and exciting to create this dress from scratch and then see it on the cover of this book. A new experience I had when making this dress was the cartridge pleats at the back of the skirt. The pattern called for the front and side pieces of the skirt to be pleated to fit into the waistband and left only a five-inch opening in the back of the waistband. Then I had to fit the 50-inch-wide piece of fabric for the back part of the skirt into that five-inch opening. I thought, “There is no way I’m going to get that much fabric into that little space.” But the cartridge pleats worked fabulously at neatly pleating 50” down to 5”.

Seamstress, Beth Schoenherr
The most challenging costume I worked on was a waistcoat designed and then cut out by someone else and given to me to sew. Not a single piece matched up in size to its coordinating piece. There was no extra fabric to work with so I had to just rework the pieces I had while making sure the finished garment would still fit the actor it was designed for. Definitely a “make it work” project!

Finally, probably the most thrilling dress I got to make was the first complete dress for a play at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Many of my costumes prior to that had to be remakes of existing dresses or costumes due to tight budgets. But I was graciously given the opportunity to sew, from start to finish, the schoolteacher dress in Little House on the Prairie: The Musical, which premiered at the Guthrie and then went on to tour nationally. It was so exciting to see the professionally-designed dress come together step-by-step and then to see it on stage.

Tamera: Wow, Beth, I bet that was a rewarding experience with Little House on the Prairie: The Musical. Congratulations! I’ve always admired people who know how to sew, and sew well!

Thank you for sharing your talent and time with us––and with the cover of my latest novel.

For more "behind the scenes" glimpses from the photo shoot for A Beauty So Rare, visit Tamera's blog.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Character Meet & Greet w/ Monica Scott from Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith

It's always fun to do something a little different, and today you're in for a real treat! Monica Scott from Love's Promises is stopping by! I hope you enjoy this chance to get to know her better. (You can read my review of Love's Promises here.)

i blog 4 books: Hi Monica! I know you're a busy woman, so thank you for stopping in and visiting with me today! For anyone who hasn't read your story in Love's Promises, please tell us a little about yourself.

Monica Scott:
Hi Brooke, thank you for inviting me to visit with you. I’ve lived an interesting life, traveling the world with my famous architect father, Armand Scott. After graduating from university, I was encouraged to work with him on his building projects. The last one we worked on before he passed away was in Malaga, Spain. He built a beautiful condominium complex overlooking the Costa del Sol.

It's been tough since his passing. I’ve been at a loss. But then going through his things, I found the plans for a designer house at Lake Tahoe. I’ve come here to build that house in memory of him and his work.

ib4b: I'm a sucker for a good love story, so give us some dirt! :) What were your first impressions of Greg?

MS: Oh my goodness. Greg took my breath away in spite of the fact I was furious and ready to battle the bureaucracy he works for. He kind of took the wind out of my sails when I saw him.

Then his idealism grated at my resolve to build my father’s house. He is so dedicated it made it difficult to fight him. He truly does believe in his cause and I think his efforts are in fact, protecting the beautiful environment he loves.

Of course when I first met him, that very idealism annoyed me immensely. And it was pretty annoying that his sense of humor tickled me even as he was preventing me from accomplishing my goals.

ib4b: How did you know you were in love with Greg? What made you fall in love with him?

MS: I started to realize I was in love with him when I discovered that he had been trying to help me all along.

I also grew to love him when I met his family in San Francisco. His mom is amazing, and I saw how her love for Greg’s dad thrived. And when I saw the tenderness and respect his dad had for his mom, it helped me to not be so afraid of love for myself.

ib4b: Switching gears a bit ... caring for the environment is one of the main themes of Love's Promises. What are some practical applications that you hope readers will take away after reading about your experiences in Tahoe?

MS: Well, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking much about the environment when I started out on the project to build my father’s house. Although, I should have, since one of the features my father was renowned for was his incorporation of the surrounding landscape in his designs.

It was Greg who pointed out to me that the beauty that attracts the tourists to Lake Tahoe is not to be taken for granted. With the high use of the area, great care needs to be taken to preserve the natural beauty. Careless over-development will damage the lake and surrounding terrain to the point that it will no longer be a wonderful place that people will want to visit. So it is in the best interest of the economy as well as the ecology to be mindful.

ib4b: Of course I loved reading your story, but I thought Sandra did a fabulous job making me fall in love with Lake Tahoe too! If I were to visit Tahoe for a long weekend, what should I make sure to do while I'm visiting?

MS: It would depend upon what time of year you are going to visit. If you visit in the winter, you will want to book your stay in one of the fabulous ski resorts in the area. Even if you don’t ski, it is fun to sit in the lodge and watch the skiers race down those steep trails.

If you book during the summer months, you will want to explore the state beach parks in Nevada and California. There are great beaches to enjoy, boats to rent, historical museums, etc. You might want to plan a hike. The seventy-two mile drive around the lake is always a fun day spent with breathtaking views of the lake and delightful restaurants to enjoy.

I have to say though that my favorite time to be there is in the fall after all the tourists go home. It is like the trees heave a big sigh and there is silence. Here is a good website to see some of the scenery and activities that are there.

ib4b: Finally, before you have to go, I know you're very well-traveled and have lived all over the world. (I love to travel too, by the way!) What are some of your favorite places that you've ever visited, and what makes them your favorites?

MS: I have to say that Spain has a special place in my heart because it was where I was living for the last time with my father. He passed while we were there, but he had finished several projects and we met some wonderful people. My parents had a villa along the Costa del Sol, so there are many family friends there as well.

Another place I really enjoyed was Costa Rica. My father built some fabulous resorts along the beach. We had a pet sloth that made me laugh.

ib4b: A pet sloth? You'll have to tell me more about that next time. :) Thanks again for taking the time to visit with us today! I can't wait for everyone else to read your story!

MS: Thank you Brooke. It has been fun chatting with you. I hope you enjoy your trip to Lake Tahoe.

About the Author
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball.

Sandra Leesmith Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends May 1. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith (Blog Tour & Review)

Love's Promises
by Sandra Leesmith
Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available March 2014
320 pages

About the Book
For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.

As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
Sandra Leesmith has again written a story that makes me want to take a vacation! She has a way of making her settings come alive and draws readers in to make them want to stay a while. In Love's Promises, we meet Monica and Greg and get an insider's view of what life is like in Tahoe. There are instant sparks when these two meet, but Sandra does a great job of allowing the relationship to develop a little slower (but not too slow!).

I also enjoyed reading about the challenges of developing property in this area. Set in the 80s, the story takes place when people were just beginning to think about their impact on the environment. It's definitely a struggle to find the balance between progress and conservation, but it was interesting to see how Monica and Greg worked through this challenge—and how it nearly derailed their personal relationship. On a deeper level, Monica is facing tons of challenges personally. I don't want to give too much away, but I loved how things were resolved in the end. Perfect!

If I could change one thing about this book, I wish that Greg wasn't quite so perfect. He seemed a little too good to be true at times, but every girl needs a knight in shining armor, and he makes for a good one. :)

Overall, Love's Promises is a great book. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy contemporary romance! [4 stars]

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

Note: While this book is written for the general market, it's a very clean read!

About the Author
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball.

Sandra Leesmith Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Monica Scott, one of the lead characters in Love's Promises, stopped by to visit today! Be sure to check out our chat here.

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends May 1. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a “Women Helping Women” $200 Shopping Spree from Emily Wierenga | “A Promise in Pieces” Giveaway!

The latest Quilts of Love release, A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga is receiving glowing reviews.

Emily is celebrating the release of her debut novel with a "Women Helping Women" shopping spree giveaway.


  One winner will receive:
  • $200 to spend at Emily's favorite shops, Noonday Collection & Vibella (Click through to learn more about how these companies exist to make a difference in the lives of women!)
  • A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga
  • A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson
  • Rival Hearts by Tara Randel
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 10th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog on May 12th. Then be sure to stop by the Quilts of Love Facebook page on May 29th for the "Quilting Bee" Facebook party with Emily and other Quilts of Love authors. RSVP for an evening of book chat, quilting tips & tricks, prizes, and more!

Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday | Silenced

"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 ...

Silenced by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House | May 1

About the Book
Jake Knew Something Was Wrong. But He Never Guessed How Wrong.

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna's route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake's past now revealed, he's ready to use his talent for investigation again--but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him.

Kayden's climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

Why I Can't Wait to Read It
How could you not want to read a new novel by Dani Pettrey? I love romantic suspense, and I've LOVED Dani's other three novels. Plus, I'm excited to finally read Jake's story!

Monday, April 21, 2014

New from Popular Author Dan Walsh!

Untitled Document
will surely touch your heart and soul What Follows After
  Dan Walsh offers profound insight into the heart of a hurting child, and he reminds us that a time will come to look back on hard times and smile, because we'll know that what follows after is not what we expected at all.   Buy Now Facebook Twitter Pinterest
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