Friday, September 19, 2014

Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll (Blog Tour + Review)

Hidden in the Stars
by Robin Caroll
Quilts of Love series
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Suspense
Available September 2014
Abingdon Press
224 pages

About the Book
A quilt holds the secret to a killer still at large—and who his next victim will be.

Following an attack that killed her mother and stole her ability to speak, 21‑year‑old Sophia Montgomery has no choice but to accept her estranged grandmother’s offer to return to their family home. Although detective Julian Frazier is working hard on the case, Sophia unknowingly frustrates him because her inability to speak thwarts her eyewitness evidence. The fact that Julian is undeniably attracted to Sophia doesn’t help either, so Julian hides his feelings as concern for a trauma victim and focuses instead on finding the killer.

Little do they know, the clues to solving the case may be right in front of them, displayed in Sophia’s mother’s “special” quilt design. Who will realize the secret Sophia’s unwittingly been hiding in plain sight? When the truth comes to light, will Sophia find her voice again? Or will the murderer—still at large—silence her forever?

My Thoughts
Hidden in the Stars packs a powerful punch in a relatively short number of pages! The premise is incredibly sad—Sophia left completely alone, injured, without the ability to speak after being brutally attacked in her mother's home. However, the author does a great job bringing people along to help push the story forward, solve the crime, and befriend Sophia. Sophia's trust in the Lord is refreshing, and her friendships with Charlie and Julian are an uplifting part of the story.

This book was emotional, intense, sweet, and a true roller coaster. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and I will definitely be looking up more of Robin Caroll's books in the future. [4 stars]

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

About the Author
Robin Caroll is the author of 22 published novels. When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of 20‑plus years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character‑filled pets at home in Little Rock, Arkansas. She gives back to the writing community by serving as conference director for ACFW. Her books have been named finalists in such contests as the Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, Daphne du Maurier, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Grand Design by Amber Stockton (Blog Tour + Review)

A Grand Design
by Amber Stockton
Quilts of Love series, Book 20
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available August 2014
Abingdon Press
240 pages

About the Book
A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.

As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

My Thoughts
I was looking forward to reading A Grand Design because I'm fascinated by Mackinac Island! Unfortunately, this story did not resonate with me as a reader at all. While the characters were in their 20s, much of the time they seemed much younger. Libby is completely "boy crazy"—a term I generally think of when talking about younger teens. Also, while I understand that Alyssa experienced some trauma in her youth, her response never totally made sense to me. It was built up to be a huge, life-changing event, but then the explanation and further discussion didn't really support that. Additionally, the dialogue didn't feel genuine. At times, it was stilted and a little juvenile. It just didn't fit with the rest of the information I had about the characters.

I think the author had a good story idea and a great setting (I definitely want to visit Mackinac Island!). Unfortunately, this just wasn't the book for me. There are quite a few positive reviews of this book, so if you're intrigued by the premise, I would definitely check out some other reviews before making a decision solely based on mine. [2 stars]

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

About the Author
Amber Stockton is an award‑winning author, a national speaker, and a direct‑sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Celebrating Alana Terry's New Book w/ a Giveaway!

Special Discount ~ Limited Time Only
Special Time-Sensitive Giveaway! The first 25 readers who enter the giveaway below will receive a free audiobook from award-winning author Alana Terry. She's also giving away a $100 amazon card, a hundred free audio downloads, and a free ebook to anyone who signs up! 

About Slave Again: After escaping a North Korean prison camp, Mee-Kyong is hustled over the border and sold into the Chinese underworld. She vows to survive, but sheer determination and willpower won’t save her this time. Is she fated to remain a slave forever?

Slave Again is a Christian suspense novel from award-winning author Alana Terry, whose debut novel, The Beloved Daughter, won awards from Women of Faith, Grace Awards, The Book Club Network, and Readers' Favorite.

NEW BOOK RELEASE: Slave Again by Alana Terry is hot off the press, and both the ebook and paperback are at a steep (30-60%) discount!! Prices will go up soon, so grab your copy today.

 Slave Again book trailer (contains one mildly violent image)

About the Author: Alana is passionate about human-rights issues in North Korea and has devoted her writing to raise both awareness and funds to help North Korean refugees find freedom and safety. You can learn more about her work with Liberty in North Korea at

Check out Slave Again now before the price goes up, and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant (Blog Tour & Review)

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes
by Betsy St. Amant
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available September 2014
320 pages

About the Book
Kat inspected rows of the same old cupcakes. They seemed to blink back at her, as if they knew she was capable of so much more.

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie’s bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat’s best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself—her—is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat’s senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.

My Thoughts
What a fun book! I mean, what's not to love about reality TV, cupcakes, and romance?! All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is a light-hearted read with plenty of funny moments. At times, I was ready for the characters to just talk already! But that tension helped keep me interested in what would happen next. I enjoyed the interaction between the other contestants as well. It really helped give another dimension to the story. I was a smidge sad at how quickly the book wrapped up, but I'm looking forward to reading more about Lucas and Kat in Betsy's next book, which features Kat's sister. Readers who enjoy fun romantic stories should definitely check out this book! [4 stars]

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

About the Author
Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Betsy St. Amant Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Friday, September 5, 2014

Driftwood Tides by Gina Holmes (Blog Tour & Review)

Driftwood Tides
by Gina Holmes
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available September 2014
Tyndale House
400 pages

About the Book
He made himself an island until something unexpected washed ashore.
When Holton lost his wife, Adele, in a freak accident, he shut himself off from the world, living a life of seclusion, making drifwood sculptures and drowning his pain in gin. Until twenty-three-year-old Libby knocks on his door, asking for a job and claiming to be a friend of his late wife. When he discovers Libby is actually his late wife’s illegitimate daughter, given up for adoption without his knowledge, his life is turned upside down as he struggles to accept that the wife he’d given saint status to was not the woman he thought he knew.

Together Holton and Libby form an unlikely bond as the two struggle to learn the identity of Libby’s father and the truth about Adele, themselves, and each other.

My Thoughts
Driftwood Tides isn't the type of book that I would usually fall in love with. Usually, I want my books to be chock-full of romance or suspense or historical tidbits. Usually, I need something more than a nice women's fiction story. Usually, I would read this book, enjoy it, post a review, and move on.

That is not the case with Driftwood Tides. The premise of the book—a woman in her 20s learns of her adoption and seeks out her birth mother only to find her mother has died and her step-father is a drunk disaster of an artist—intrigued me. I immediately began reading the book upon receiving it in the mail. Within three pages, I knew this was a special book. I instantly loved the characters in this book—both the ones I was supposed to love and the ones that were supposed to drive me crazy. They each evoked a variety of emotions, and I found that I couldn't read about them without feeling something!

The story itself was absolutely beautiful. This could have been a very preachy book, but it wasn't. Instead, the themes of forgiveness and redemption were perfectly woven throughout. Additionally, the story moved along in such a way that I felt that I was able to both enjoy what was happening while looking forward to the end.

One of the most surprising aspects of Driftwood Tides was the descriptions of the art that Holton and Tess created. The only thing missing from this amazing book was pictures of all that beautiful artwork ... and possibly the opportunity to buy a piece!

Driftwood Tides is a beautiful story that will tug at your heart. I highly recommend it!  [5 stars]

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

About the Author
Bestselling author Gina Holmes is the founder of the influential literary site Novel Rocket, regularly named one of Writers Digest's best sites for writers. Her debut novel, Crossing Oceans, was a Christy and Christian Book Award finalist and winner of the Carol, INSPY, and RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice Contest awards, as well as a CBA, ECPA, Amazon and Publishers Weekly Religion bestseller. She is also the author of Dry As Rain, a Christy Award finalist, and Wings of Glass. Gina holds degrees in science and nursing and currently resides with her family in southern Virginia. She works too hard, laughs too loud, and longs to see others heal from their past and discover their God-given purpose. 

Gina Holmes Online

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

A Lady's Honor by Laurie Alice Eakes (Review)

A Lady's Honor
by Laurie Alice Eakes
Cliffs of Cornwall series, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Historical / Romance
Available April 2014
336 pages

About the Book
Society is concerned about her honor, but Elizabeth must realize her worth doesn't lie in her inheritance.

In order to avoid a forced marriage to a dangerous man, Elizabeth Trelawney flees London. An unexpected stranger arrives to help her, and as they elude her pursuers across Cornwall in the night, Elizabeth realizes her rescuer, Rouan Curnow, is familiar.

Their differences in social status kept Rouan from pursuing a courtship with the lady his heart wouldn't let him forget. Now because of dangerous smugglers and local murders, the two are plunged into a reckless alliance that rattles Rouan's fledgling faith in God.

The closer they get to Bastian Point-Elizabeth's true home-the more she realizes it is the only place she longs to be. Even the sight of its solid structure perched on the cliffs makes her feel safe. Elizabeth is the most likely to inherit Bastian Point if Grandfather never learns she spent the night, however innocently, with a near stranger.

As spring warms into summer, Elizabeth finds herself torn between wanting to be the perfect grandchild and her growing love for a man of whom no one will approve as a match for her, a man she knows she shouldn't entirely trust. Unsure whether she is being foolish or following the right path, she sets out with Rouan on a quest to find the true culprit behind the local violence.

Their quest leads them to danger, and she must choose whether to follow the man she loves or cling to the safety of her family home.

My Thoughts
Initially, I found A Lady's Honor a little difficult to get into. For me, I felt like too many characters with too many twisty plot details were introduced in quick succession. However, once I started piecing together who everyone was (does anyone else get confused by the way people during this time period were often referred to by multiple names?!) and what was going on, I quickly got caught up in the story and was turning pages as fast as humanly possible.

It's not often that I've read a true suspense novel set during a historical period, but Eakes does a great job combining suspense, history, and romance to create an intriguing novel. I enjoyed reading this book from the perspective of Elizabeth, who is bold and courageous—definitely living outside the expectations for women during her time. I'm looking forward to see how this series will continue. [4 stars]

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

About the Author
Laurie Alice Eakes has created stories since she can remember. In 2003, she graduated from Seton Hill University with a master’s degree in writing and sold her first book two years later. Family Guardian won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007, and her third book, The Glassblower was a 2010 Carol Award finalist in 2010. In the past three years, she has sold six books to Baker/Revell, five of which are set during the Regency time period, four books to Barbour Publishing, as well as two novellas to Barbour Publishing and one to Baker/Revell. Six of her books have been picked up by Thorndike Press for large print publication, and Lady in the Mist, her first book with Revell, was chosen for hardcover publication with Crossings Bookclub. She also teaches online writing courses and enjoys a speaking ministry that has taken her from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast.

Laurie Alice lives in Texas with her husband, two dogs and two cats, and is learning how to make tamales.

Laurie Alice Eakes Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Monday, September 1, 2014

An August Bride by Debra Clopton (Review)

An August Bride
by Debra Clopton
A Year of Weddings Novella
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available July 2014
120 pages

About the Book
Kelsey vowed never to love a cowboy again. But then she meets Brent.

After a cowboy broke her heart, Kelsey Wilcox traded in her boots for flip-flops and a bistro on the beautiful sandy beach of Corpus Christi. Two years later, still not believing in happy endings, she is about to endure a weekend of torture at her cousin's beach wedding. Not only will she be forced to watch yet another wedding, but her great-aunt and her two best friends-aptly nicknamed "the matchmaking posse of Mule Hollow"-are coming to the wedding, and Kelsey is sure to be on their radar.

Brent Corbin has had his share of bad luck with women and isn't looking for love or looking forward to the weekend of wedding festivities as a groomsman for his friend. When he sees a commotion on the beach and what appears to be a mermaid in distress, he doesn't hesitate to dive to the rescue. His attention is instantly captured by the woman he's saved and it turns out they're part of the same wedding party. But the instant Kelsey spots his soaking wet boots she wants no part of him.

Thrown together through the weekend and with the meddlesome encouragement from the matchmakers, Brent is determined to pursue Kelsey and change her mind about cowboys. Sparks fly at this August wedding as Kelsey and Brent dance a rocky Texas two-step toward a beach wedding of their own.

My Thoughts
This is the second book I've read by Debra Clopton, and this is the second one I've thoroughly enjoyed! An August Bride was equal parts funny, romantic, and tender. Kelsey is an endearing character, and Brent is certainly a heart-throb. Kelsey's aunt and her friends really contributed to the overall feeling of the book and nearly stole the show. After reading such a strong story (and a novella, no less!) from Clopton, I'm anxious to go back and read the rest of her "Mule Hollow" stories. I definitely recommend An August Bride to anyone looking for a sweet romantic comedy!  [4 stars]

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

About the Author
Debra Clopton is an award winning, multi-published novelist. She sold her first book in 2003 and it was published in 2005 THE TROUBLE WITH LACY BROWN was the first book of the fun loving Mule Hollow series, the place readers tell her they wish was real.

Along with her writing Debra helps her husband teach the youth at the Cowboy Church of Leon County. When she isn’t writing Debra loves to read, travel and spend time with her family. She is currently working on her 23 book for Love Inspired and also a novella for Thomas Nelson.

Debra Clopton Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest

A July Bride by Beth Wiseman (Review)

A July Bride
by Beth Wiseman
A Year of Weddings Novella
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available June 2014
120 pages

About the Book
Can she forgive the man who left her at the altar?

Alyssa Pennington dated Brendan Myers for three years before she accepted his proposal. For almost a year, Alyssa's friends and family helped her plan a lovely wedding to take place in the church she'd grown up in. It was the happiest day of her life when she walked down the aisle to be united with the man of her dreams. But when Brendan left her at the altar, Alyssa was consumed by humiliation, embarrassment, and a broken heart that wouldn't allow her to trust anyone. Especially Brendan.

Brendan Myers knows he will spend the rest of his life regretting what he did to Alyssa, the only woman he's ever loved. Without her, his life is empty. In one fateful moment, he'd panicked, destroyed their future, and ruined everything. Now he plans to win her back.

But winning back his bride might prove much more difficult than he can imagine. And even if he does get her to the altar again, will she think turnabout is fair play?

My Thoughts
I hate writing "less than positive" reviews, but sadly A July Bride was my least favorite of the Year of Weddings series. Alyssa is left at the altar, but then Brendan (the jilting groom) realizes the terrible mistake he made and begins frantically trying to win her back. I felt sorry for Alyssa and the humiliation she suffered. But beyond that, I didn't experience much emotion while reading this novella.

I wished the author had given me a bit ... more ... related to the reasons behind the sudden breakup. It also felt odd for another guy to come on the scene and for Alyssa to be caught between the two guys. I had a hard time establishing the ages of the characters. Many of the actions and conversations gave the story more of a middle school or young high school feeling, but since the characters were discussing marriage, I assume they were at least college-aged.

Overall, I just wasn't impressed with this story. So many of the other books in this series have been fantastic, but I would probably skip over this one. [2 stars]

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

About the Author
Beth Wiseman is the best-selling author of the Daughters of the Promise series and the Land of Canaan series. Having sold over 1.3 million books, her novels have held spots on the ECPA (Evangelical Christian Publishers Association) Bestseller List and the CBA (Christian Book Association) Bestseller List. She was the recipient of the prestigious Carol Award in 2011 and 2013. She is a three-time winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice Award, and an INSPY Award winner. In 2013 she took home the coveted Holt Medallion. Her first book in the Land of Canaan series—Seek Me With All Your Heart—was selected as the 2011 Women of Faith Book of the Year. Beth is contracted with HarperCollins Christian Publishing into the year 2018, and she has published twelve novels and nine novellas to date.

Beth and her husband are empty nesters enjoying the country life in Texas with three dogs, two cats, and two potbellied pigs. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel, paint, and enjoy time with friends and family. You can find Beth at Fans of Beth Wiseman on Facebook where she interacts with readers or visit to learn more about Beth and her books.

Beth Wiseman Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

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