Monday, March 31, 2014

Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter {Litfuse Blog Tour!}

18126898My Review:
An irresistible, endearing story!

I could hardly put this one down! What a lovely, lovely, story. Dancing with Fireflies greatly exceeded all my expectations. I loved it. Absolutely brilliant! Hunter's characters jump off the page, feeling as real as you or me. This trait is important to me as a reader and Hunter executes it wonderfully. I thought I liked Barefoot Summer well enough, but Dancing with Fireflies takes number one slot for the series so far. It will be hard for me to like The Wishing Season (coming Winter '14!) better than this one.

Jade annoyed me at times, but I think she was supposed to. She did some stupid things, though I cannot say someone in her position wouldn't do the same. I admired her determination to rise above her circumstances and take on responsibility. In fact, she rose to the challenge despite her fatigue.

Daniel is the dependable, tender friend that Jade needed. I always thought they would be a good couple, even before Jade knew. I loved how their relationship was built on years of friendship. All in all, I liked the guy. It helped that we have similar tastes in music... *ahem*

Dancing with Fireflies blew me away. I loved every page! Plus, who doesn't mind a trip to Chapel Springs or a visit with the McKinleys? It was fantastic to see Beckett and Madison tie the knot and equally fantastic to see PJ and Ryan again. I look forward to whichever McKinley is up next!

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

Back Cover:
Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she'd never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He's loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she's back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she's hiding secrets from her family, and she's strangely attracted to the man who's always called her "squirt." Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Don't miss Denise Hunter's latest Chapel Springs Romance, Dancing with Fireflies. Reviewers have already labeled Dancing with Fireflies "swoon-worthy" and "the perfect love story." 

Join Denise in celebrating the release of her new book by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway and RSVPing for her April 10th Facebook party.
fireflies-400-click
One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dancing with Fireflies and Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 10th. Winner will be announced at the Dancing with Fireflies Facebook Party on April 10th. Connect with Denise for an evening of prizes, book chat, and an exclusive look at the next book in the series.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Summer of Joy by Ann H. Gabhart {Revell Blog Tour!}

1646631My Review:
A cute release from Gabhart!

I have not had the pleasure to read the previous books in this series, but I did very much enjoy getting to know the Brooke family. It was hard for me to get into the book at first due to the frequent head jumping early on. Thankfully, this got better as the book continued. I'm glad I stuck to it. I cannot say this was a favorite though.

Jocie is probably my favorite part about this novel. She's so endearing, cute, and determined. Leigh is my next favorite, a very close second to Jocie. Leigh's sweet disposition and kind spirit made her incredibly likable from the beginning. I didn't feel quite as connected with the other characters. This might be because I haven't read the others in the series.

Again this hardly is a favorite, but I love the homey feel Gabhart brings to the settings in each of her novels. It's a similar thread in her stories, one I'm quite fond of. Oh, as a quick note, I thought Hammond was a complete stalker-ish creep, though I suppose that is what Gabhart was going for. I hope we will see more of Hollyhill and the Brooke family before too long. I recommend this book to readers fourteen and older and especially to those looking for a comfortable read.

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

Back Cover:
For Jocie Brooke, the summer of 1964 certainly was eventful, but it's nothing compared to what's coming to Hollyhill, Kentucky, and the Brooke family next. The past is coming to call, threatening to destroy the relationships that everyone thought were so strong. Two people--one thought to be gone for good and the other no one's ever heard of--are making their way to the small town. And it promises trouble for everyone.
This complex and beautifully written story is the perfect conclusion to The Heart of Hollyhill series. With true-to-life family drama, refreshing humor, and characters readers have come to love like dear friends, "Summer of Joy" will delight Gabhart's fans.

Friday, March 28, 2014

First Kisses by Linda Goodnight, Janet Tronstad, Debra Clopton, Margaret Daley, Camy Tang, and Lacy Williams

My Review:
20738834An interesting collection of romantic short stories.
 
This is the first anthology I've read and I can't say I'm too impressed. Generally when it comes to romance I want something realistic and a couple of these stories, due to their short length, did not come through. I was very glad for the few that were spread across a certain amount of time. This is just my personal preference, though. If you're the type whose insides turn to mush at good love story than you'll love this anthology. 

That all being said, I want to take a paragraph or two to talk about my three favorites in this collection. I really liked The Rambler's Bride by Linda Goodnight despite the bull-headed hero. Given the 1800s western setting, I liked the "fast-paced" romance between leads. It fit the period like a glove. 
My next favorite was Necessary Proof by Camy Tang. The suspense and thrill was amazing! I liked how the leads built friendship and trust before they headed down any romantic path. 
My last favorite in the collection was, ironically, the last in the collection, Kissed by a Cowboy by Lacy Williams. I loved how the romance was tested by time and how they got to know each other.

In sum, I cannot say I'll be picking up another anthology anytime soon, they just aren't my slice of pie. I am glad I read this one, though, and I enjoyed the stories I mentioned above. I recommend to avid romance readers fifteen and older. 

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

Back Cover:
A new anthology from some of your favorite inspirational authors.
Enjoy this collection of love stories with a theme of FIRST KISSES. The First Kisses collection includes:

The Rambler’s Bride by Linda Goodnight
In 1870’s Kansas, Widow Esther North will do most anything to save her land from her powerful cousin and the coming railroad-even kiss a stranger! The kissing cowboy, Jericho North is bent on revenge from his brother’s widow, and the will hidden in his pocket is all he needs to make it happen. But he hadn’t reckoned on a baby...and neither he nor Esther had reckoned on love.

Lovebirds at the Heartbreak Cafe by Janet Tronstad
USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly Bestselling Author, Janet Tronstad, pens a brand-new Retro Café Sweet Romance starring a 1950’s truck driver (Buddy) and a waitress (Penny) who both have enough trouble without everyone in Webster’s Crossing thinking they are falling in love.

Her Mule Hollow Cowboy by Debra Clopton
Rescuing a beautiful cowgirl from being trampled has professional bull rider, Cliff Masterson, dreaming of romance, home, hearth and that first kiss...but Maddie Rose has had enough people in her life leave and she’s not willing to risk her heart on a rambling cowboy—Sparks fly when these two are near. Can the Matchmakin’ Posse of Mule Hollow help this couple find their happily ever after?

Deadly Hunt by Margaret Daley
All bodyguard Tess Miller wants is a vacation. But when a wounded stranger stumbles into her isolated cabin in the Arizona mountains, Tess becomes his lifeline. When Shane Burkhart opens his eyes, all he can focus on is his guardian angel leaning over him. And in the days to come he will need a guardian angel while being hunted by someone who wants him dead.

Necessary Proof by Camy Tang
Alex Villa became a Christian in prison, and because of his efforts to help stop a gang producing meth in Sonoma, he has been set up for the death of a cop. Can computer expert Jane Lawton find the evidence that will prove his innocence before the gang eliminates them both?

Kissed by a Cowboy by Lacy Williams
Former shy-girl Haley Carston is back in Redbud Trails, Oklahoma, to care for her dying aunt. She didn’t count on cowboy Maddox Michaels, her high school crush and the man who might just bring her dreams of marriage and family back to life…

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Do Not Be Afraid, for I Am with You...

Not too long ago (2-3 years), I struggled with testing anxiety. ((For those who don't know, I'm enrolled in a program called CollegePlus!. Part of the program generally means taking CLEP exams and DANTES.)) You see, after failing a couple times, the whole process terrified me.

After my second fail, I was shaken to the core. I did not want to reenter that testing center only to fail again. My pride was bruised and my confidence was battered. The pressure I put on myself was nearly unbearable. I didn't know what to do. I felt like I was drowning, so we took a break. I was in the middle of some co-op classes, and we were preparing to move. It made sense. I took a total of nine months off. When it came time to start back up, the anxiety returned. I purposefully postponed taking tests and I wasn't diligent in my studies. 

I know what you're thinking. If I wasn't working hard, how was I supposed to pass? To be honest, I don't have a reasonable explanation for you. Fear messes with your head. I'm ashamed to say I let it take up residence for too long. I went along with this study method for about four months when the inevitable happened. I failed for a third time, except this time the blow was harder. Because I had failed it once already. 

I cried the whole way home. This time though, I was determined to make a change. I was determined to work as hard as I could to pass every exam from that moment on. I called on multiple verses to encourage me, particularly Phil. 1:6 and John 14:27. I drove fear out of my mind and spoke life. (Prov. 18:21) I drew closer to the greatest Comforter of all and since then, I haven't failed once. 

Thankfully, with time I have found a working method for my studies. I also found God's peace to be calming and assuring under the pressure of passing. Without Him, I don't think I would have made it this far. He's worked miracles in me and I am eternally grateful.

To kind of draw this post to a close, the moral of this story-if you haven't already guessed-is this: Don't let fear in. Fear is not of God. He doesn't want it for you or me. He told us to be strong and courageous for He is with us. I have learned it is better in the end to lean on Him when I am weary and to cast my cares on Him when I am burdened. It makes all the difference.

"It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed."
-Deut. 31:8

Monday, March 17, 2014

Inspy Kisses Blog Blitz!!

For a limited time only - Six unforgettable love stories 


99 cents! 


Buy now at Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - iBooks - Google Play

A brand new anthology from six of your favorite inspirational romance authors - no reprints here!



About the novellas:

From New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight, historical romance The Rambler's Bride: The kissing cowboy Jericho is bent on revenge, but discovers the truth and falls in love with widow Esther.

From USA Today bestselling author Janet Tronstad, retro romance Lovebirds at the Heartbreak Cafe: Truck driver Buddy wasn't looking for love, but waitress Penny and her quirky family take over the cafe and his heart.

From bestselling author Debra Clopton, contemporary cowboy romance Her Mule Hollow Cowboy: Independent cowgirl Maddie swears she doesn't need help from bull rider Cliff. But the Mule Hollow Matchmakers seem to have other plans...

From bestselling author Margaret Daley, romantic suspense Deadly Hunt: Bodyguard Tess rescues wounded businessman Shane from dying in the wilderness, but can she protect her heart when Shane gets too close?

From fan favorite Camy Tang, romantic suspense Necessary Proof: Reformed ex-con Alex is on the run from those who have set him up to take the blame for a cop-killing. Will tech-expert Jane be able to prove him innocent?

From fan favorite Lacy Williams, contemporary cowboy romance Kissed by a Cowboy: Maddox has given up all his big dreams to care for his niece. When Haley returns to her hometown, will Maddox find a new dream with her?

Special promo - March 17-19 - #SENDAKISS

If you purchase First Kisses during our promo dates and send a special tweet, we'll gift a copy to a friend, absolutely free! Find out more at bit.ly/sendakiss .

What readers are saying:

 Six amazing books from six different authors. They are all Christian fiction set from the 1800’s to present time. Each is a stand alone book with great settings, story lines and characters. All the books had family and faith. Some of the authors were known to me and some I was unfamiliar with. I really enjoyed each book. I can not wait to check out books from these new authors. - Amazon reader

 I didn't know what to expect - I am not a fan of anthologies. Usually I find that the stories are too brief and the plots move too fast and don't go into any detail and don't make a lot of sense. Well, let me tell you that this anthology is not like this, not at all. It is wonderful! I enjoyed each of the novellas immensely. Each one has well developed, thought out characters and detailed plots that move at exactly the right pace. You have suspense, romance - everything in each of the novels. I enjoyed reading each of the novellas and couldn't put the book down. Even though I have about 15 other books waiting to be read - I plan on reading this book all over again in the next week or so - it is just that good. - Amazon reader

A visual look at the collection:





Interact with the authors:
www.inspykisses.com
facebook.com/inspykisses
@inspykisses

Buy now at Amazon - Barnes & Noble - Kobo - iBooks - Google Play

Saturday, March 15, 2014

In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews {Revell Blog Tour!}

18059983My Review:
Another awesome release from Andrews!

When the opportunity arose to review In the Shadow of Jezebel, I eagerly accepted. I have loved every novel of hers that I have read and this one is no exception. Going into the story, I wasn't sure what to expect. I generally knew from the back cover when the story would be set, however, I was not familiar with Jehosheba or Jehoiada. In my daily Bible study I choose to read Paul's letter over the numerous evil kings of Israel and Judah.

Jehosheba, or Sheba as she is more frequently referred to, is a wonderful character. Andrews evoked my compassion for the poor girl on more than one occasion. Sheba grew up in such a horrible, tense, environment that her change is a testament of the healing God gives, if we seek it. It isn't easy to balance an internal transformation but I think Andrews did excellent. Every hard, raw, moment felt realistic.

Despite his anger issues, Jehoiada was exactly the man Sheba needed and he was certainly the right high priest at the right time. I was/am fascinated with the sheer amount research Andrews has done on this time period. The temple, the palace, all of it jumped off the page and into my imagination. If one thing is certain, it's that Andrews has a talent for writing Biblical fiction.

To wrap up this review, I'll say this: While In the Shadow of Jezebel could not overtake Love in a Broken Vessel as my favorite novel from Andrews, Biblical fiction fans will be pleased and eager for more. I definitely recommend this book to teens/adults. I look forward to her future releases!

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

Back Cover:
Princess Jehosheba wants nothing more than to please the harsh and demanding Queen Athaliah, daughter of the notorious Queen Jezebel. Her work as a priestess in the temple of Baal seems to do the trick. But when a mysterious letter from the dead prophet Elijah predicts doom for the royal household, Jehosheba realizes that the dark arts she practices reach beyond the realm of earthly governments. To further Athaliah and Jezebel’s strategies, she is forced to marry Yahweh’s high priest and enters the unfamiliar world of Yahweh’s temple. Can her new husband show her the truth and love she craves? And can Jehosheba overcome her fear and save the family–and the nation–she loves?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

{Book Review:} Songstone by Lena Goldfinch

17610485My Review:
An intense island tale!

I love, love, love the imagery and beauty within every novel or novella I have read from Goldfinch. It awakens the imagination and immerses you into the story. This quality makes Goldfinch's books stand out in a great way. But scenery aside, the rest of the novel was good too.

Kita, whose head we are in for the duration of Songstone, embarks on both an internal and an external journey. Overall I felt it was well written, given the circumstances Kita had to overcome. She's the kind of character you root for and hurt alongside with. That being said, I loathed Matiko. If you want me to despise a villain, then make him a voo-doo, black magic, healer/priest.

Let's talk about Matiko. Yes, as I stated above he dabbles frequently in black magic using Kita's blood most of the time. He uses a spell to restrain her while he steals her blood. Not very much, but a few drops at a time. This disturbed me more than I thought it would. Due to the high amounts of this black magic, I wish we could have seen more of a light to contrast the darkness. Unlike her previous books, God wasn't as present in this one as the others, which disappointed me a bit. I definitely caution readers for this one because, understandably, this topic isn't for everyone.

I'll wrap up this review talking about Pono and then my general summary. He was really endearing, albeit incredibly frustrating/confusing at times. I loved how he honored his word. Integrity is so very admirable in any character. Songstone is described as dark tale mixed with romance and adventure, and that description is very accurate. However the amount of black magic we see and the lack of a clear light against the dark bothered me. I recommend to teens fifteen and older who are looking for an adventure.

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

Back Cover:
One girl who, against all hope, yearns for freedom.
One boy determined to be more than he's meant to be.
The desperate journey that will leave them both forever changed.

Kita can meld song into stone. In a world with no written word, storytelling—the ability to meld (or magically impress) song into stone—is greatly honored. The village honors her master as their medicine man, but Kita knows he's secretly a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it from him. Each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope. His spells blind the villagers, so they can’t see him for what he really is.

Not that anyone would want to help her. She was found in the forest as a baby and would have died if a village girl hadn't brought her home. But the villagers saw Kita's unusual coloring and decided she belonged to the mysterious tribe who lives in the forests of the volcano, a people feared for their mystical powers. So they fear her too. Now seventeen, she can barely admit her deepest longing: to know who she really is and where she belongs.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He's come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village--a storyteller who'll be chosen at the great assembly. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom and she'll risk her life to take it.

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.

Learn more on Goodreads and the author's website.

About the Author:
LENA GOLDFINCH writes fantasy and romance for teens and adults. She's a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it's a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she's writing something light and contemporary. Her latest release is TAKE A PICTURE, a lighthearted contemporary romance for teens and new adults, which includes a bonus short story, CHAIN REACTION, a prequel to HAUNTING JOY. You can learn more about Lena and her books on her website.

Interested? You can purchase The Language of Souls at any of the following places:
Don't forget!! Lena's got some sweet treats for a couple of readers! One winner (U.S. & Canada only) will receive a paperback copy of one of Lena's books (winner's choice) plus some candy, and the other winner (can be international) will receive an e-book copy of Lena's latest release, Take a Picture. Both winners will be announced on Saturday, March 15th. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Book Review:} Aire by Lena Goldfinch

17844546My Review:
Another fantastic fantasy novel from Goldfinch!

As I sit here reflecting on Aire, I find myself utterly in awe. Once again, Goldfinch does a superb job hooking me, the reader, into her marvelous world. I loved the way she weaved bits Italian culture into Isalla. In fact, that was probably my favorite part about this fantasy-land. The attention to detail really brought the customs and culture of the three kingdoms right off the page.

Anna is definitely the kind of heroine we look for in fantasies. She's strong, but not physically. She's independent, but she still submits to her Grandmother's authority (most of the time). Best of all, her flaws are not hidden from us. I can't think of anything negative to say about her. :-)

Ilan is the type of character you love then hate and then love again. For the longest time I wasn't sure where he fit in the big picture, but I'm happy with his outcome. I liked Jovanni but at the same time, he annoyed me a little. In regards to his relationship with Anna, I thought he might have been a bit too forward. But this is just my opinion. I confess I did like Ilan a lot at first. Perhaps I'm biased...

In sum, I'm not one to read a lot of fantasies. I enjoy them but they aren't a favorite. I'm happy to say Goldfinch is making me reconsider. The way she weaves God into her stories is amazing and very well done. I will definitely be looking for more fantasy novels from Goldfinch in the future. I recommend this book to readers fourteen and older and especially to ardent fantasy fans.

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

Back Cover:
A tale of Legends reborn, of royal intrigue, and an unforgettable, heart-melting romance that will sweep you away.

Principessa Annalisia is stunned and conscience-stricken when an unknown enemy mistakenly abducts her maidservant. Determined to find the girl, Annalisia disguises herself as plain Anna and slips away from the palace. She tracks down Jovanni, her maidservant's daring older brother, and they soon begin to search together. As they uncover clues, Anna also discovers a kindred spirit in Jovanni. But would he be so free with her if he knew who she really was? Doubtful. Even so, she reveals her secret gift of visions to him, and in so doing disobeys the orders of her beloved grandmother, the queen.


With Jovanni, Anna can almost imagine she’s like any other seventeen-year-old girl, free to pursue the longings of her heart. When she learns that he also has a secret—he's a sentinel, an ancient shapeshifter who can take the form of a falcon—it seems as if they were destined to be together, as in the legends of il Sentiro. Though Anna is tempted to wish otherwise, she can’t forget that she’s a princess and it's her duty to marry another. Meanwhile, their hunt leads Anna ever closer to danger, for she herself is being hunted.

Learn more on Goodreads and the author's website.

About the Author:
LENA GOLDFINCH writes fantasy and romance for teens and adults. She's a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it's a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she's writing something light and contemporary. Her latest release is TAKE A PICTURE, a lighthearted contemporary romance for teens and new adults, which includes a bonus short story, CHAIN REACTION, a prequel to HAUNTING JOY. You can learn more about Lena and her books on her website.

Interested? You can purchase Aire at any of the following places:
Don't forget!! Lena's got some sweet treats for a couple of readers! One winner (U.S. & Canada only) will receive a paperback copy of one of Lena's books (winner's choice) plus some candy, and the other winner (can be international) will receive an e-book copy of Lena's latest release, Take a Picture. Both winners will be announced on Saturday, March 15th. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, March 10, 2014

{Book Review:} The Language of Souls by Lena Goldfinch

15848469My Review:
A fantastic release from Goldfinch!

I was immediately intrigued by this novella the moment I read the back cover copy. It only took three pages for me to be sucked into Goldfinch's bright, intricate, fantasy world. I was surprised and impressed at the depth Goldfinch was able to offer, given the limited length. There was just enough description to make things real without overdoing it.

Solena and Rundan are great characters, but I felt the romance between them was unrealistically fast. I understand the circumstances surrounding it but it still felt a tad rushed.  Just my opinion. As far as their personalities and culture go, they seemed realistic given the world they live in. I wish the story could have been longer so Goldfinch could have gone into more detail about their religion. Goodness, I wish the story could have been longer, period.

If you are looking for a sweet, quick, feel-good read you'll find it in The Language of the Souls. I recommend this novella to young adult readers. For things to know, you ought to be aware that Solena and Rundan sleep beside each other for body heat but nothing happens.

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

Back Cover:
A fast-paced tale of adventure, impossible choices, and a soul-stirring romance that will leave you breathless.

Solena trespasses into hostile territory to search for a rare herb to cure the grandfather she loves. When a young enemy soldier captures her and she's accused of being a spy, she discovers just how much she’s risked.

As a soldier, Rundan struggles to please his father, a ruthless army commander. When his father orders him to take the beautiful trespasser to the royal courts, where she’ll surely be tried and executed, Rundan is plagued by an inconvenient desire to protect her.

The handsome young soldier confuses Solena. First, he cruelly captures her, and then treats her with uncommon kindness. When he risks his life to save hers, she fears she may have risked more than her life on her journey…she may have lost her heart.

Learn more on Goodreads and the author's website.

About the Author:
LENA GOLDFINCH writes fantasy and romance for teens and adults. She's a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it's a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she's writing something light and contemporary. Her latest release is TAKE A PICTURE, a lighthearted contemporary romance for teens and new adults, which includes a bonus short story, CHAIN REACTION, a prequel to HAUNTING JOY. You can learn more about Lena and her books on her website.

Interested? You can purchase The Language of Souls at any of the following places:
One last thing! Lena's got some sweet treats for a couple of readers! One winner (U.S. & Canada only) will receive a paperback copy of one of Lena's books (winner's choice) plus some candy, and the other winner (can be international) will receive an e-book copy of Lena's latest release, Take a Picture. Both winners will be announced on Saturday, March 15th. You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, March 7, 2014

{Book Review:} Where Courage Calls by Janette Oke & Laurel Oke Logan

18652829My Review:
An easygoing and relaxing read from Oke and Logan!

Set in Western Canada in the early-ish 1900s, Beth Thatcher steps out in faith to follow God's call. This setting is a change for me as a reader. I can't recall the last book I read set in Canada. Not that this is a bad thing, it's actually quite the opposite! The backwoods, small-town culture reminded me a lot of our own country in some ways.

Beth possessed a great deal of determination. She truly felt called to teach so she did. Not everyone has the courage or faith it takes to take that first step. That being said, Beth's personality was almost borderline similar to so many other historical novels set in the same general era. This didn't put me off completely due to a few differences that made her stand out. The first would be that this novel is probably set in the 1920s. We are never out right told so this is an assumption, but it's a fairly good one, I think. Most novels with that single, out-going, stubborn, nonconforming woman are set almost twenty years prior, thus Beth's ambition would be better received. Another thing that singled her out was her faith. She stepped out and followed God's lead and stayed there. I can't tell you how many heroines I've read about that sway or do their own thing completely. Beth never did.

This is definitely a personal opinion, but I found the pace of this novel very slow. Almost crawling at times. Again, this is my opinion probably because I enjoy mysteries and a quicker pace. Something that confused me was the Edward or Jack love triangle. Without spoiling anything, I'll say I rooted for Edward. I can't really delve into why, but I wish the author(s) would have made the romance more clear. All in all, however, it was a good afternoon read. I recommend to all of Oke's past and present fans.

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

Back Cover:
Her courage and her heart will be tested in ways she never expected...

Beth Thatcher has spent her entire life in the safe, comfortable world of her family, her friends, and the social outings her father's wealth provides. But Beth is about to leave it all behind to accept a teaching position in the rugged foothills of western Canada. Inspired by her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years ago, and gently encouraged by her father, Beth resolves to put her trust in God and bravely face any challenge that comes her way. 

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have had very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. There isn't even a proper schoolhouse. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once. 

Despite the many challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?