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.

  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

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)
Erynn Mangum


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!


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.