Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another Year Gone... {Top Thirteen Books of 2013!}

Wow! I can hardly believe another year has gone by and that 2013 is almost over! It has been SUCH a great year for the blog and I have all of you, my dear readers, to thank for that.

Ah, 2013. Even when I think things can't get any better they do. That's just how my God works. {Rom. 8:28} Don't take this to mean I don't have growing pains, because I do. And when I do, I have made a habit of leaning on the One Who holds me in His hand. He is my Peace. He is the One I trust. {John 14:27} In this past year, He picked up my broken pieces and called me to forgive. He repaired the broken vessel I had become and called me to trust. He molded me into something new and called me His own. {2 Cor. 5:17} He is my Rock and my Refuge, to whom I owe everything.

2013 has been another busy year filled with memories and friends, new and old, and of course, family. I've been stretched beyond my capabilities in ways I would not have expected in 2012. It's been a year of healing, forgiveness, growth, and happiness, and that's just my personal life! In the past six or so months, God has blessed and continues to bless this blog in ways I couldn't anticipate.

Moving forward, I'm eager to see what this new year brings. I look forward to meeting more people, more bloggers, and talking with more authors. I look forward to expanding my blog posts to include more snippets of my life. I look forward to sharing more of my writing journey in the months to come. But most importantly, I look forward to shining my light. If 2013 was a great year, I cannot begin to imagine what 2014 will bring!
 
So, to close I bring you my top thirteen favorite books released this year (in no particular order). All of these books are marvelous and I love all of them in different ways. Some as a writer, others as a reader, and the rest simply as a human being. ;-D

  • My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof
  • Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
  • Icing on the Cake by Janice Thompson
  • Love in a Broken Vessel by Mesu Andrews
  • Captives by Jill Williamson
  • Anomaly by Krista McGee
  • Whispers from the Shadows by Roseanna White 
  • Rules of Murder by Julianna Deering
  • Stranded by Dani Pettrey
  • Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren
  • The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill
  • Return to Me by Lynn Austin
  • Dear, Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

I pray that in the coming year you will be blessed. Thank you so much for reading. :-)

Friday, December 20, 2013

{Book Review:} It Had to be You by Janice Thompson

6973753My Review:
A funny conclusion to a great series!

Ah, at long last I made time for the last book in the Weddings by Bella series and it was so worth it! I have a new appreciation for seeing the Rossi/Neeley clan in Thompson's latest series, Weddings by Design. I would hate thinking that It Had to be You was my last chance to spend time with this crazy family. I might have read slower. Thankfully though, it isn't. :-)

In this enjoyable wrap-up we get to read about the moment all of us have been waiting for since Fools Rush In, Bella and DJ's wedding! I have loved every moment watching the two become close friends while they dated/courted. That's how romance should be portrayed.

As far as complaints go mine are minor. Everything after Rosa and Laz's wedding seemed rushed and it didn't flow with the rest of the book for me. Other than a couple winks at the honeymoon, Thompson kept the book very clean. I easily recommend this one to anyone who's read the previous two books or enjoys a clean rom-com. :-)

I purchased this book, no review required.

Back Cover:
Bella couldn't be happier that her long-feuding Aunt Rosa and Uncle Lazarro have finally admitted their love for one another and are getting married. Their forties-style wedding is sure to be a night to remember. But when the Rossi house begins to fill up with family from Italy--and an old mobster from New Jersey--life starts to get complicated. Will Lazarro's friend from the past drive the happy couple apart once more? And will Bella ever have time to think of her own rapidly-approaching wedding amidst the chaos?

Full of laugh-out-loud humor, plenty of Italian passion, and a bit of Texas gumption, "It Had to Be You" is the satisfying conclusion to an entertaining series.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl! {Guest Post!}

Hey everyone! I have something special prepared for you all today. A friend of mine recently had her children's book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl, published. Below is a wonderful guest post from Aidyl Ewoh. Enjoy! 
 
About Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl:
Traveling with her parents brings Lydia, daughter of explorer and singer Buddy Davis, plenty of adventure and mystery - from hidden clues in bookstores to cave paintings deep underground.

About the Author:
Whether she’s building life-sized models of dinosaurs with her adopted family, trying her hand at cooking at a private retreat, or living in a barn, author Aidyl Ewoh (aka Lydia Howe) seems to have adventures follow her wherever she goes. Check out her book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl and find out more about her at her Blog, Facebook, and Twitter.

Answer to the True or False question from the last stop: False! 



Hey y’all! I’m here today with my character, CJ Carter from my book, Cave Secrets of the Pterodactyl. If you’ve never read a character interview before, this might be a little weird at first, but it’s something that authors often do to help others, and themselves, get to know their characters better. So hang on tight and here we go!

Hey CJ, it’s good to have you here today! I know you’re a brilliant kid and that this interview will be loads of fun. Can you start out by telling us a little bit about yourself?  
Might I start out by expressing my gratitude at your considerate words, Miss Aidyl? I thank you kindly. My name is CJ Carter and I suppose the actual motivation for requesting my presence here is because I’m Lydia Davis’ friend and confidant. Perchance I should tell you about her instead, therefore? 

Um, well, I’ve already done an interview with Lydia. Today we want to hear about you. 

What information are you desiring to obtain? 

Ah, um, that’s a good question. Why not tell us your age, about your family, that kind of thing. 

I am the oldest of three children and am 13 years old. I-

Thirteen years old? I’m sure that’s a bit hard for some of our readers to comprehend. Do you always use such big words? 

A vocabulary, no matter who possesses it, is always in need of refinement and extension. Therefore I strive to speak in terms which are easily understood by the laymen and yet bring out the most in any given subject. 

Hey, everyone! Lydia Davis here. I thought I’d better jump in here and help CJ out. He really is fun, no matter what he sounds like!

Lydia, would you satisfy our spirit of inquiry by expounding on your most erupt and informal assault into our interview? 

Sure, easy enough. Sometimes you use such big words that no one understands them, and I didn’t want people to leave thinking that you’re a stuffy kid that always has his nose in a Algebra book. 

I do habitually and almost unfailingly have ‘my nose in a book’ as you put it. Although I most often chose Biology or Chemistry over Algebra. 

Not always CJ, and you’re making yourself sound boring. Which you aren’t. 

Boring? Do you mean to say that not everyone finds studying about the molecular structure of -

Yes, CJ, I’m afraid that is what Lydia’s trying to say. Sorry about that, and I’d be happy to listen to you after this interview is over. For now though, why don’t we focus on you, not science. Can you tell us about where you live? 

Yes, ma’am. So far I’ve spent the formative years of my life growing up in Maine. Our family will be transferring to Kentucky in the eminent future though, so we can be in close proximity to the Creation Museum.

Yea! It’s going to be so much fun having y’all live so close! 

Thank you for your notable joy. You are a true friend. 

Thanks, CJ. 

Why don’t you tell us about Isaac and Annie? Too bad they weren’t able to join us today. 

All right, Miss Aidyl. Isaac and Annie are my siblings, ages seven and six. Isaac is fond of adventure and has a rather active imagination that visualizes escapades wherever his feet trod. Annie is, well, shall we say more, girly, and although a thrilling adventure might not frighten her too much, the fear of peril and risk keep her in check. 

Sounds like your mother has her hands full. And while we’re on that subject, can you tell us about your parents? 

It would be my delight. My parents are Jim and Melissa Carter. My Father is a speaker for Answers in Genesis and has far more knowledge about the Bible and history of the world than most other mortals to walk the earth. 

Is he as smart as you are, CJ? 

I beg an explanation of you, Miss Aidyl.

Oh right. That’s not really a fair question to ask you. Lydia, can you answer this one for us? 

Sure! Although Uncle Jim is really smart, I don’t think he would be considered a genius like CJ is. He doesn’t use such big words all the time either. 

I daresay, this is a rather interesting interview. Discussing my father’s intellect? Is that average procedure? 

Um, no. I guess you’re right again, CJ. Ok, so why don’t you tell us about your mom? 

My mother is so very kind and gentle. She has taken in hand to teach her children at home, a gift for which I will be forever grateful for. 

Wow, your mom must be a pretty amazing woman to homeschool you! I can’t even imagine! Well, I would love to hear more but our time’s over for today. Thanks for stopping by CJ and Lydia!

It was our pleasure.  

For your chance to get a free book and Wal-Mart gift card, check out THIS post!

To find out the answer to today's True or False question and read about how I got involved with AiG, check out THIS blog tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

{Book Review:} The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill

18741771My Review:
The exciting, long anticipated, sequel to The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet is out!

Technically, it came out a few months ago, but I didn't get a chance to read it until recently. Anyway, I don't exaggerate when I say I couldn't put my ereader down. Okay, so I did. But only because I was dragged from the house to go somewhere. Once I came home it was me, the ereader, and the recliner for the next couple hours.

I am amazed, yet again, at the strength of Ellie's voice. She's sounds so real. She sticks out. Ellie is a character I'd love to spend a day with. Something else I adore about her, is her stubbornness. She doesn't like giving up. I wish I could elaborate on this, but that would spoil the fun. ;-)

After the first book released, there was some debate about Ellie's suitors. I think many people may find themselves surprised when they read The Unlikely Debut of Ellie Sweet, in a good way, of course. I know I was. I enjoyed this book so much more than I could have imagined, and it certainly is a new favorite. This is probably Mrs. Morrill's best yet!

I'll draw the review to a close now, because I think if I went on I might spoil something. Hehehe... Fans new and old will love, love, love, this new Ellie Sweet story. I recommend to ages fourteen and up.

I purchased an ebook copy of this book, no review required.

Back Cover:
For once, Ellie Sweet has it all together. Her hair now curls instead of fuzzes, she’s tamed the former bad-boy, Chase Cervantes (she has, right?), and her debut novel will hit shelves in less than a year. Even her ex-friends are leaving her alone. Well, except for Palmer Davis, but it can’t be helped that he works at her grandmother’s nursing home.

Life should feel perfect. And yet, it’s not that easy. Ellie’s editor loves her, but the rest of the publishing biz? Not so much. And they’re not shy about sharing their distrust over Ellie’s unlikely debut.

Ellie has always been able to escape reality in the pages of her novel, but with the stress of major edits and rocky relationships, her words dry up. In fiction, everything always comes together, but in real life, it seems to Ellie that hard work isn’t always enough, the people you love can’t always be trusted, and the dream-come-true of publishing her book could be the biggest mistake she’s made yet.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Thankful Heart

I know what you're thinking. Thanksgiving was last month! I realize that, however, being thankful should not be limited to one month or one day of the year. It should be an every day practice.

This time of year is frustrating for me. The push to buy, buy, buy gets old fast and it seems to double in intensity every year. I can't walk into a store or turn on the TV without being bombarded by it. This year especially I see parents sharing their woes on Facebook, because their kids don't need anything yet they feel an obligation to get something. Why have we let materialism take over a holiday intended to celebrate Jesus's birth? How does Jesus's birth equate to buying gifts for others in the first place?

Being thankful is becoming a lost habit in our culture. This should be a time spent with family, thankful to just be with one another. It's about fellowship, putting down the electronics, eating amazing fattening foods, and playing games. It's a time not about giving or getting, but treasuring the moment and loving those around you.

I'm thankful for living near my cousins and grandparents. I'm thankful for my family in general. I'm thankful for my friends both online and in person. I'm thankful to be breathing, to be healthy. I'm thankful to be free. I'm thankful for my sweet dog, Joy. Most of all, I'm grateful that God sent His Son for me and for you.

It's hard to believe another year has gone by. As we prepare to welcome 2014, I pray that this new year will be filled with joy and blessings for you all.

What are you thankful for? 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

{Book Review:} Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

My Review: 
Stones for Bread is an enchanting, emotional, story about Liesl McNamara.

Written in first person present tense, we get an intimate look at Liesl's introverted personality and the events that led to who she is presently. All this while we watch her change and bloom and overcome her traumatic past. Liesl isn't like the many characters I meet on a weekly basis, she stands out. She loves her routine and likes the amount of control she has over her business. She likes certainty. In this aspect at least, I can relate to her.

This is going to sound strange, but this book reminds me of the movie Chocolat. Not because of the characters or even the setting, but because of the heart and soul of making bread passed down from mother to daughter on Liesl's mother's side. In Chocolat, Vianne and her daughter, Anouk, open a chocolate shop. The recipe Vianne uses has been passed down in her family for ages. Chocolat and Stones for Bread are very different in all other ways, but the familiar legacy is similar. I really liked that.

Throughout the novel, Parrish offers us Liesl's recipes. I loved this! In fact I plan on trying Cecilia's chocolate bread soon. I don't normally say this, but I felt like I learned quite a bit about the art of bread making. Parrish gives us this information without boring us, something that could be a big concern for some people. Will I, personally, put it to use? I'm not sure.

I recommend this book to readers sixteen and older for self-harming and a suicide (I'd say more on this, but... spoilers!). Parrish weaves Christianity into this story in a fabulous, unexpected way; especially because Liesl was never a big church goer at the beginning of the story.

I received this book from Booksneeze in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!!

Back Cover:
A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

Filled with both spiritual and literal nourishment, Stones for Bread provides a feast for the senses from award-winning author Christa Parrish.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

{Book Review:} Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper

18524878My Review:
A heartfelt novella that displays the sad realities of the world we live in, but through the perspectives of four Christian women at different stages in their faith.

I still can't get over how short novellas are and in the case of Living Separate Lives, Harper left the story on a cliff making me wish it was longer! Though I did not have much of a chance to really know Candace, Tiffany, Jordan, and Kaylan in the short time I spent with them, I did get a feel for each of their personalities, struggles, and so forth. Harper does an excellent job of bringing a realistic feel to her characters and their circumstances. As for Harper's writing, at times it felt like we head jumped and the sentences didn't always flow.

I can't say much more without giving away a few central points, but I will caution my younger readers. Living Separate Lives deals with adult issues such as infidelity and mention of attempted suicide. I hope there will be a follow up to this novella, because I would read it.

I received an ebook copy of this novella in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.

Back Cover:
Four Friends, One Secret and The Weekend That Changed Their Destiny 

Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse?
For Candace Walker life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. Bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head, after fifteen years of marriage, Jordan Tate’s husband calls it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest qualities. 


Will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Dear, Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay {Litfuse Blog Tour!}

17657649My Review:
A charming, delightful, debut from Reay!

I blazed through this novel in between Thanksgiving festivities. Even when I had to, I found it hard to put it down! I found Sam funny, lovable, and realistic. The three hundred some pages I spent with her were wonderful; my only complaint being that I wish the story went on longer. Nonetheless, Sam's story is one that will stick with me for a while.

Sam Moore has had a rough go of life. Watching her grow and change throughout the book is incredible. I'll probably reread it in the near future for sure, but back to Sam. Her voice comes through so strongly and while she can really appear dense at times, behind the many novels, there is an intelligent woman. All in all, Ms. Reay has written a heroine who is a new and definite favorite.

With multiple references to Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and other classic works it's hard not to love this novel. Combine that with Sam's amusing character and Reay's fascinating writing style and you get a wonderful, wonderful, read. This book is going on my keeper shelf. I highly recommend this book to fans of Austen. As a quick, minor note, Sam is not a Christian for most of the book. She does not engage in any questionable activity that we're told of; however her boyfriend presses her to sleep with him and she refuses.

I received this book from Litfuse in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!!

Back Cover:
Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.
 

Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.
dearmrknightley-400

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd 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 today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cover Reveal!! {Until That Distant Day by Jill Stengl}

Hey everyone! I apologize for the random schedule and posts this month. I'm participating in NaNoWriMo this year, thus I've been a little busy. :-) To make up for it, I have a fantastic surprise for you all! Another cover reveal! But first, here's a little bit about Mrs. Stengl.

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader's Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.






Are you ready to see the cover? Awesome! Here it is!

Isn't it gorgeous? I love the blues and the purple. Whoever put this cover together really outdid themselves. Here's the back cover copy:

Paris, France
1792

Colette DeMer and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.

Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?

Coming April 25, 2014

Anne Elisabeth Stengl has made a page for her mom's book, check it out here!
 
Well I'm definitely intrigued. Aren't you? Don't hurry off yet, Jill is offering an enormous bundle prize of ten print novels and novellas, including her award-winning Faithful Traitor, several novella collections, and her three-book Longtree series. These will all be autographed! (US and Canada only, please.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 21, 2013

{Book Review:} Torn Blood by David J. Bain

18682561My Review:
A thrilling debut from Bain, but not a favorite.

Bain expertly writes a suspenseful story, set primarily in Israel, reminding me of Joel Rosenburg's books. His writing voice clearly comes through and his characters are well formed. That all being said, I honestly had a really hard time getting into the book. There are so many characters to keep up with and many plot threads to follow that I put the book down multiple times.

I congratulate Bain for eventually drawing all the threads together and telling a great story, however, I was confused or bored through all of its five-hundred plus pages. Sadly, I cannot in good conscious recommend this book. There is an almost rape scene in disgusting detail, pages and pages of violence, and language pops up more than ten times.

I received this book from Sidedoor Communications in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thank you.


Back Cover:

Three weeks before officially reporting for duty at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv, Addison Deverell arrives in Israel determined to find an answer to a question buried for nearly four thousand years.

Bound to an escort by the embassy, he is unable to begin his search as time is running out. Mere days before he must report for duty, Addison is freed from his forced escort, Hafiz IbnMansur, as a female escort, Elizabeth Daniels, takes his place.

Addison issues an ultimatum to Elizabeth that he must go into Palestinian territory for answers he can’t find in Israel. But, as Addison races to uncover a long buried truth that promises to establish a career, he faces peril from those he seeks to understand and finds himself a pawn in an international plot to drive Israel’s Jews into the sea.

Nearly seven thousand miles away in Oregon, Dr. Janelle Henning confronts a past that threatens to destroy the only family she’s ever known. A search for understanding thrusts her into a foreign world long buried to confront a birthright hidden by the passage of time. With no place—or no one—to turn to, Janelle tries to put the pieces of her life back together.

An ill-boding call shreds the little of Janelle’s world that is left, compelling her to leave her home and fly to Israel in search of Addison. But terrorists stand in Janelle’s way of reaching him, the one person that might unlock hidden identities in a relationship that has spanned a lifetime. But will Addison live, or will death, the master of all, once again keep its secret buried?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

It's a Slow Fade... {Seasons of Change}

I've been thinking this week a lot about life. For some it may seem that life goes by too quickly. For others it crawls along at a snails pace. For me, you ask? I'm hitting that age where I'm suddenly sentimental and wondering where my childhood went.

Nothing is so hard as watching people in your life move forward, while it seems you're stuck in quicksand. You may not want to be stuck, but you're still sinking. You cry out for help but your friends can't hear you and just when you begin to think you're going under, a hand reaches out. You grasp it, thankful and relieved someone came back for you. You're pulled out and you discover your Savior's identity. It's Jesus. When all others leave you, whether they intend to or not, He's there to pick you up. When all the world fades away, He's the only One left.

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." -Deut. 31:6

The hardest lesson I've learned in the past year or so, is that you cannot rely on people for help, for happiness, or for love. The only being you can lean on, without fail, is Christ. Though it seems sometimes that everything I know is changing, I know Someone who will never change, and that knowledge comforts me.

 On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.

So as I go through this season, I'll cling to Him, the unchanging, everlasting, Son of Man who loves me enough to have laid down His life so that I may live. There's no safer or better place to be, in my opinion. And, you know, no matter how horrible or unbearable things may get, it is a small period of time compared to eternity with Christ.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, rejoice!" -Phil. 4:4

Friday, November 8, 2013

Paige Rewritten by Erynn Mangum {CFBA}

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Paige Rewritten
NavPress (October 8, 2013)
by
Erynn Mangum


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

A few things about her:

So, if we were having this conversation in person, we would probably be hanging out at Starbucks or one of the cute coffeehouses in town. I’m nuts about all things coffee, I’m crazy about all things pink and girly, and I love, love, love the Food Network! I’m married to my best friend and the most amazing guy ever, Jon. He is amiable toward coffee, does not like anything pink or girly and tolerates the Food Network. So, we make a good match! In July 2010, we became parents to one of the funniest, cutest, sweetest little guys in the whole world (and nope, we aren’t biased at all!), our Nater-Tot, who is legally known as Nathan. Most days, I’m cleaning up messes, making goofy faces, trying to fit some writing in, and just LOVING the life that God has given me!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Paige Alder is in a really good place. She’s dating nice guy Tyler. Her boss has offered her a raise. Her walk with God is strong. Life is great—and that’s when things start to change.

First, the youth pastor at church keeps asking Paige to work with him full-time. Then her sister shows up newly engaged and wanting to reconnect, even though they haven’t spoken in years. And now former boyfriend Luke has come back into her life. How is Paige supposed to know what the right decisions are?

This warm and humorous second book in the Paige Alder series will help young girls work through important issues, such as forgiving others and obeying God.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Paige Rewritten, go HERE

My Review:
A cute, entertaining, read!

I missed out on reading Paige Torn, the first in the Paige Alder series, due to a busy schedule, but I jumped in when I received the chance to review Paige Rewritten. I don't remember enjoying such a fun, humorous, story since I read Janice Thompson's books!

Mrs. Mangum is a wonderful storyteller and really brings Paige to life. More often than I would rather admit I saw myself in Paige and I found myself relating to her on a deep level. I've been where she's at and I like to believe that I came out of it hand-in-hand with God. I sincerely hope Paige finds the right path as well.

I love novels written in first person simply because I love the intimate look inside a character's head. I feel like I get to know them on such a personal level. Mrs. Magnum pens first person in such an amazing way. Paige comes right off the page (no pun intended) and sounds real. Her circumstances and her situations are real. She doesn't have a perfect, pristine, life. She struggles. I think that's why I like her so much.

Fans of Thompson will certainly enjoy Magnum's books. I highly recommend to teenage girls ages fifteen and older for both readability and content.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via CFBA in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

{Book Review:} The Captive Maiden by Melanie Dickerson

17679368My Review:
Another excellent fairytale retelling from Dickerson!

I have been looking forward to Valten's tale ever since I read the final pages of The Fairest Beauty, and I was not disappointed in the least! Set two years after the closing of Gabe and Sophie's story, Valten has just returned home after a long absence. He meets a beautiful, charming, girl in the marketplace and even after so brief a meeting, he finds his heart drawn to her somehow.

I love Valten's integrity and his chivalry. He's simply the kind of hero you want to root for. Another character I really loved is Gisela. She's sweet, compassionate and has somehow managed to ignore or rebuff all the filthy lies thrown at her for almost a decade. The two together are an excellent pair.

If there's one thing that, as a writer, struck me, it's that nothing ever happened easily in this story. I don't want to give anything away, but it did seem like if something could go wrong it did. Though it sounds crazy, I like it when characters are faced with a challenge. After all, what is a story without an impossible task?

To sum up, I love what Dickerson did with her own Cinderella tale. I also enjoy any chance Dickerson offers to revisit Valten's family, and I hope we'll see them again. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great fairytale retelling with a Christian twist.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Happily Ever After ...Or Happily Nevermore? 

Gisela's childhood was filled with laughter and visits from nobles such as the duke and his young son. But since her father's death, each day has been filled with nothing but servitude to her stepmother. So when Gisela learns the duke's son, Valten---the boy she has daydreamed about for years---is throwing a ball in hopes of finding a wife, she vows to find a way to attend, even if it's only for a taste of a life she'll never have.

To her surprise, she catches Valten's eye. Though he is rough around the edges, Gisela finds Valten has completely captured her heart. But other forces are bent on keeping the two from falling further in love, putting Gisela in more danger than she ever imagined.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren {Litfuse Blog Tour!}

My Review:
13207223A lovely conclusion to an amazing series!

I was so excited to find Glittering Promises in my mailbox! I have followed the series from the beginning and I've loved every single installment. That being said, I'm incredibly sad to have read the final pages. Nonetheless, I'm glad to have watched the Kensingtons grow and mature on this Grand Tour. I will share my thoughts without spoilers, but it should go without saying that you need to find your own copy and dive in!

After I finished Grave Consequences, I was at a loss as to how Miss Bergren would tie up the series. There was so much to resolve! And while she didn't have me on the edge of my seat, she did have me curious. I truly didn't go into Glittering Promises with any expectations, which is just as well because I would have been wrong! Yet again, twists and turns weave through the novel but (thankfully) they all finally begin to tie together and make sense.

Though I'd like to say this is my favorite of the series, it falls short. Glamorous Illusions remains my favorite, I think. If there's one thing I'd caution any reader, it would be to beware the romance in the story. Bergren doesn't set a good example, as there's too much focus on feelings and there is consistently a lack of trust between two individuals- something I find is detrimental in any relationship. However, this is the only big problem I had.

We are definitely given a satisfactory ending and thrill of a ride, no doubt! Although my slight issues with the love triangle, I really am happy with how Miss Bergren ended it all, and I will continue to secretly hope we'll see the Kensingtons again. I recommend this novel and this series to older teens (16+).

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through Litfuse, in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done.

Back Cover:
Wealth cannot buy peace … or direction.
 
For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had, and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. And yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging …
  
Hounded by journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.
 
Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention. Cora must stand up for what she believes—regardless of how that might challenge current family and cultural norms—in order to remain true to who she really is.
 
And as she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it’s time to decide Who and what defines her … and who and what does not.

Lisa T. Bergren is celebrating the release of her new book, Glittering Promisesby giving away a $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma and hosting a fun Facebook party on October 29th.
glitteringpromises-rafflecopter
 
  One winner will receive:
  • A $200 Italian feast from Williams-Sonoma delivered to your door
  • The three-book Grand Tour set
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 29th. Winner will be announced at the "Glittering Promises" Facebook Author Chat Party on October 29th. Connect with Lisa for an evening of book chat, European trivia, and prizes, and get an exclusive look Lisa's next book.

So grab your copies of the Grand Tour series and join Lisa on the evening of October 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the books, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Cover Reveal!! {Living Separate Lives by Paulette Harper}

Hello, all! Today, Writings of Rosie, is hosting its first Cover Reveal! Exciting, right? Before I show off the lovely cover, here's a little bit about Paulette:

Paulette Harper is an award-winning and best-selling author. She is the owner of Write Now Literary Virtual Book Tours and is passionate about helping authors succeed in publishing and marketing their books. Paulette has been writing and publishing books since 2008. Paulette is the author of That Was Then, This is Now, Completely Whole and The Sanctuary. Her articles have appeared on-line and in print.



And now, for the main event!

 Isn't it gorgeous? I love the red text and the lighting in the picture. I also like the model's smile- so beautiful!
  :-)
Here's the synopsis: 
Candace Walker, Kaylan Smith, Jordan Tate, and Tiffany Thomas have their share of sorrows, but neither of them realizes how deep the sorrow goes. What happens when they agree to meet for a weekend of relaxation in beautiful Napa County? Which one will leave the same or worse? For Candace Walker, life has left her battered and bruised. Kaylan Smith has struggled with prejudice from her in-laws. After fifteen years of marriage, bitterness is trying to raise its ugly head for Jordan Tate, whose husband wants to call it quits. And for Tiffany Thomas, dealing with rejection has never been one of her greatest feats. Although they have been friends for years, they thought they knew each other well. But will a secret destroy their relationship and bring the sisterhood to a complete halt? Will they be able to forgive and allow God to mend that which might be torn? 

Looks like it'll be a great read! Here are some places you can connect with Paulette: 


Thanks for coming by!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

{Book Review:} Return to Me by Lynn Austin

17384512My Review:
A wonderful Biblical fiction novel!

This is the first book by Austin I've read, and I loved it! I felt pulled into the Bible as real events played out before my mind's eye: King Cyrus releasing the Jews to return to Jerusalem, the struggle to rebuild the temple, and the prophets Haggai and Zachariah encouraging the Israelites to follow His instruction. Austin did an amazing job.

Return to Me follows Iddo and his family through their transition from Babylon to Jerusalem, and we also watch Zachariah grow into a man of God. With every seemingly impossible situation, I couldn't figure out how Austin would wrap up the book. I felt many of the obstacles, namely the pagan-star reading that her characters Yael and Dinah faced, were accurate to the times, though that didn't make it any easier to read.

Somewhere after the halfway point, time jumped a little too frequently for me, leaving me dizzy trying to figure out how much time had passed and what had occurred in that time. But really, that's my only complaint.

If you're seeking an accurate Biblical fiction novel, you ought to give Return to Me a try. This book should be read by older teens because of content (paganism, sacrificing of animals, etc.) I thoroughly enjoyed this one, I can't wait for the next!

I received this book from Bethany House in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo's prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God's chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. 

Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

{Book Review:} Last Light by Terri Blackstock

593152My Review:
A thrilling concept and suspenseful plot!

Last Light disappointed me. I loved Blackstock's Intervention series, but this one just didn't do it for me. There are many reasons I felt so, but I'll get to them later. Throughout Last Light we read from the perspectives of Jeff, Kay, Doug, and Deni Branning and perhaps the villain once. Honestly, this family is relatively broken and if it wasn't for the power outage, I don't see how they could have been a happy family. Speaking of the power outage, a lot of people say it's reminiscent of the TV show Revolution. I have not watched the show so I cannot vouch for it; however, Last Light was originally published in '05, so it came first.

The power was hardly out for a day and people turned into savage maniacs. The cause of the said outage was supposedly a product of something in the atmosphere. Not a realistic viable option, in my opinion, nonetheless this outage knocked out everything, and I do mean everything. Cars, generators- even brand new ones, watches, etcetera. It's an event so extreme people call it an act of God. I strongly disagree with that, but that's a topic for another blog post.

It is very evident the time and effort Blackstock put into crafting this city and what it would be like with no electricity. For that, at least, I commend her. Her characters on the other hand need some work. Deni is such a brat. She whines, she complains, and I didn't like her at all. Alhough she has a "come to Jesus" moment later on in the book, it didn't read real, if that makes any sense. As for the rest of the Brannings, I found it hard to relate to any of them.

I won't be making an effort to read the rest of the series. If, after this review, your interest is piqued; I recommend Last Light to ages sixteen and older due to some crude content involving the villain but as an overall good read I don't recommend it.

I received an ebook copy of this book from Booksneeze in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
In the face of a crisis that sweeps an entire high-tech planet back to the age before electricity, Deni Branning's career ambitions have vanished. She's not about to let her dream of marriage go as well.

But keeping it alive will require extraordinary measures. Yesterday's world is gone. All Deni and her family have left is each other and their neighbors. Their little community will either stand or fall together. But they're only beginning to realize it - and trust doesn't come easily.

Particularly when one of them is a killer.

Best-selling suspense author Terri Blackstock weaves a masterful what-if novel in which global catastrophe reveals the darkness in human hearts - and lights the way to restoration for a self-centered world.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

What Lie Do You Believe?

I was working away on my characters, preparing for my NaNoWriMo novel, when a thought hit me. Every character has some lie they believe, but what lie do I believe? This, of course, brought about a lot of thinking and prayer. The crazy thing is, I believe more lies than I thought. Once I began listing all the lies and putting a "face" to them, I was shocked. I could go and list every lie, but I'm not going to. Why? Well, that isn't the purpose of this post. I'm not perfect. I'm flawed. I'm human. The purpose of this post is to get you to think. That's right, I'm asking you to use the brain God gave you. So, what lie do you believe? No, no, you don't have to comment. Just sit back and take a moment and do a little heart searching.

Found one? Great.

Here's the good news, you don't have to believe it anymore. Write it down on a scrap of paper and then I want you to open up your Bible and search for a Truth. Find a verse that refutes your lie and then write it under your lie. 

Ready for the bad news?

Now that you have pinpointed the lie (or lies) you believe and you have found scriptural truth, you no longer have any excuses. When the devil comes and whispers in your ear that you aren't good enough or you're a failure or you're worthless, take Jesus's example and throw those scriptures back at the devil. Remind him that you are a child of the One True God. Remind him that God never called the qualified. Remind him that nothing is impossible with Jesus on your side. Remind him that Jesus died for you.

"For if any man is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he is like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."
James 1:23-25 ESV

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Heart of the Country by Rene Gutteridge and John Ward {Tyndale Blog Tour!}

My Review:
http://files.tyndale.com/thpdata/images--covers/HiResJpg/978-1-4143-4829-2.jpgA heartfelt story of overcoming one's past.

Faith and Luke have a fairytale life... until Luke is arrested for being a part of a Ponzi scheme. He claims he wasn't involved, but admits to his knowledge of the scheme. Frustrated and angry, Faith packs a suitcase and walks out the door going to the place she once called home. 

This story hooked me on the first page and made it hard to put down. Conflict loomed on every page, I truly didn't know what direction the story was headed. I went from page to page curious to the outcome. There were many instances I was concerned emotions would be downplayed or overdone; however, the authors handled each character with delicacy and stayed true to life.

That being said, some situations in the book were confusing and didn't make sense, such as Luke's role with the Michov Brothers. It was probably due to all the head jumping. Thankfully, when I watched the movie, it clarified what was going on. Other than that, I enjoyed the writing and depth to the plot and story, something that can't be shown on screen.

To sum up, I enjoyed the book a lot, but the movie let me down. You wouldn't think there would be so many differences or nuances, especially when the screenplay writer helps write the novelization. Yes, I like my movies to stay true to my books and in this case the saying is true, the book is always better than the movie.

I received this book from Tyndale in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!

Back Cover:
Faith and Luke Carraway have it all. Faith is a beautiful singer turned socialite while Luke is an up-and-coming successful businessman. After taking his inheritance from his father's stable, lucrative business to invest in a successful hedge fund with the Michov Brothers, he's on the fast track as a rising young executive, and Faith is settling comfortably into her role as his wife. When rumors of the Michovs' involvement in a Ponzi scheme reach Faith, she turns to Luke for confirmation, and he assures her that all is well. But when Luke is arrested, Faith can't understand why he would lie to her, and she runs home to the farm and the family she turned her back on years ago. Meanwhile, Luke is forced to turn to his own family for help as he desperately tries to untangle himself from his mistakes. Can two prodigals return to families they abandoned, and will those families find the grace to forgive and forget? Will a marriage survive betrayal when there is nowhere else to run but home?


Saturday, October 5, 2013

{Book Review:} My Hope is Found by Joanne Bischof

My Review:
Oh, what a lovely finish to a wonderful series!!

I have been aching to get my hands on My Hope is Found ever since I finished the last page of Though My Heart is Torn. Once you've read the first two in the series, you feel a certain familiarity returning to Jeb and Elsie's home and this time was no different. Ah, I could smell what Lonnie was baking, hear Jacob and Addie playing, and I could feel winter turning to spring. It's a lovely experience! Mrs. Bischof selected the perfect setting for these novels.

If you've read Though My Heart is Torn, then I can almost guarantee you're on the edge of your seat waiting for My Hope is Found to be released. I have been sworn to secrecy, but I will say the ending is satisfying and came about in a way I did not expect. OK, so maybe I had an inkling to how it was going to end, but I wasn't sure.

Mrs. Bischof's tagline is "Heartfelt Fiction" and that is truly the best (and shortest) description I can give. I have loved and cherished each part of Lonnie's story and though I loath seeing it end, I am very glad for the time I spent with Lonnie. This is a series you have to read for yourself in order to understand why I love it so. Mrs. Bischof has totally outdone herself with the Cadence of Grace series and I cannot wait to read what she releases next!

I highly recommend this series to ages sixteen and up for both readability and content.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks, Joanne!!

Back Cover:
Gideon O’Riley has been given another chance at a life with Lonnie. But will the fight for her heart risk it all over again?

After finally finding love with his sweet bride Lonnie, Gideon’s heart was torn when a woman from his past claimed to be his true and rightful wife, forcing him away from his family. God’s merciful hand saw Gideon through the heartache, and with Cassie’s blessing, he is able to return home. Though his journey back through the Blue Ridge Mountains will hold a trial he never anticipated. Meanwhile, Lonnie determines to seal off her heart from Gideon, convinced he is lost to her forever. Strengthening her resolve to move on is the fondness she has for the handsome Scotsman, Toby McKee—the young reverend she has come to care deeply for. His proposal of marriage offers a bright future for her and her young son.

Yearning to allow joy back into her life, Lonnie must put aside the broken pieces of her heart that still love Gideon. When he returns to find her betrothed to another, he has to place his hope in God, trusting that the One who redeemed their love once can do it again.