Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Lizzy & Jane

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week offers the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release you are eagerly anticipating.

Waiting On:
Title: Lizzy & Jane
Author: Katherine Reay
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: October 2014

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
Lizzy and Jane never saw eye to eye. But when illness brings them together, they discover they may be more like Austen’s famous sisters after all.

Lizzy was only a teenager when her mother died of cancer. Shortly after, Lizzy fled from her home, her family, and her cherished nickname. After working tirelessly to hone her gift of creating magic in the kitchen, Elizabeth has climbed the culinary ladder to become the head chef of her own New York restaurant, Feast. But as her magic begins to elude her, Paul, Feast’s financial backer, brings in someone to share her responsibilities and her kitchen. So Elizabeth flees again.

In a desperate attempt to reconnect with her gift, Elizabeth returns home. But her plans are derailed when she learns that her estranged sister, Jane, is battling cancer. Elizabeth surprises everyone—including herself—when she decides to stay in Seattle and work to prepare healthy, sustaining meals for Jane as she undergoes chemotherapy. She also meets Nick and his winsome son, Matt, who, like Elizabeth, are trying to heal from the wounds of the past.

As she tends to Jane's needs, Elizabeth's powers begin to return to her, along with the family she left behind so long ago. Then Paul tries to entice her back to New York, and she is faced with a hard decision: stay and become Lizzy to her sister’s Jane, or return to New York and the life she worked so hard to create?
Why I'm Waiting:
I loved, (repeat) LOVED, Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine's debut novel. I honestly can't rave enough about it. And if you haven't read it...do so soon! I'm so excited about this story. I can't wait to see what unfolds. Katherine Reay tells a beautiful and touching story. 

What are you waiting on?

Review: Rainy Day Dreams by Lori Copeland & Virgina Smith

Title: Rainy Day Dreams
Author: Lori Copeland & Virgina Smith
Publisher: Harvest House
Pages: 284
ISBN: 978-0-7369-5349-8
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

Synopsis:
Under Stormy Skies

It's 1856, and Kathryn is convinced her life is over. Her father has sent her to Seattle to find a husband, and the backwoods settlement offers none of the comforts and culture she was accustomed to in San Francisco. Will she find anyone who understands her love of painting? And can she really be expected to work as maid?

Jason has come to Seattle to work in the new sawmill and to escape painful memories of the life he knew before. He has no time for romance not with the rumors of a looming war with the Indians. So why can't he get Kathryn out of his mind?

Will there be a future for Seattle...and for Kathryn and Jason?
 Review:
In Rainy Day Dreams we travel back to the settlement of Seattle. Four years have passed since the end of A Bride for Noah, the first book in the series. The town has grown. The biggest mill in the west is operating and business is booming. Men are traveling in a steady flow to find jobs and women are traveling to find husbands.

The set up for this story was great. I enjoyed looking deeper into a history that isn't widely known about outside of  Washington State. Even though quite a bit of time has passed, instead of becoming a quiet community, Seattle is now threatened by Indian raids from hostile tribes from surrounding areas, unhappy that their lands are being encroached on. The Navy is now in port to help with the threats.

The historical background was a perfect backdrop and was very entertaining. However, the pacing of the story made it feel like the story rode on a wave. There would be a little bit of action, then we would go back to the normal pacing of a day. Each chapter seemed to represent a day in the life of the lead Kathryn, and with that it was a little choppy in the pacing.

I had hard time connecting with Kathryn. She thought she was above the situation she had been placed in and argued about it and pouted for a time. Jason was a little easier to connect with, but he had secrets he carried around and it made him mystery. However, he enjoyed his job and was good at it. And reading about the joy he had for his job was a delight.

The relationship between Jason and Kathryn was a little hard to believe, I hate to say. For most of the story they argued and squabbled and Jason is still hurting from the secrets he carries. The relationship that formed happened very quickly near the end and was hard to flush out, with many surprises and revelations exposed.

It was an enjoyable story over all and it offered a wonderful look into an interesting time in history. I look forward to what the third book has in store.

3 out of 5


About the Author:
Lori Copeland is the author of more than 90 titles, both historical and contemporary fiction. With more than 3 million copies of her books in print, she has developed a loyal following among her rapidly growing fans in the inspirational market. She has been honored with the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, The Holt Medallion, and Walden Books’ Best Seller award. In 2000, Lori was inducted into the Missouri Writers Hall of Fame. She lives in the beautiful Ozarks with her husband, Lance, and their three children and seven grandchildren.



Virginia Smith is the author of more than 20 inspirational novels and 50 articles and short stories. An avid reader with eclectic tastes in fiction, Ginny writes in a variety of styles, from lighthearted relationship stories to breath-snatching suspense.





Thank you to Harvest House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Review: Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

Title: Mark of Distinction
Author: Jessica Dotta
Publisher: Tyndale House
Pages: 380
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7556-4
Publication Date: May 1st, 2014

Synopsis:
London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself—but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal—substantiated or not—can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate—but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan.
Review:
Jessica Dotta has continued strongly into her sophomore book, heaped with intrigue and mystery. Mark of Distinction has the feel of a Gothic novel by Charlotte Bronte and the high regency feel of Jane Austen, however Jessica Dotta's story telling has a smoother flow to it. Because let's face it, I never made it off of page 2 of Emma because of the dryness. Mark of Distinction, like The Price of Privilege, the first book in the series, the pacing is similar to that of a Jane Austen movie, and that holds my attention.

The attention to detail that Jessica applies to her stories is phenomenal. From the country home of Maplecroft to London House, the wealth of Lord Pierson is on full display. The lavishness of the aristocracy is on full view of Julia to experience in this installment.

At the end of The Price of Privilege, we learn Julia is not who she thought she was. Instead of being the daughter of a despised atheist, she is actually the daughter of Lord Pierson, one of the leading men of London, from an affair.

Julia has been thrown from one world into another. In this book, Julia observers a lot of things, but her input isn't widely aired. She is seen to by her father, Roy Pierson, and also by Lord Darly. A young man who was taken in by her father when Darley was young. Now, Lord Pierson is determined to see the two wed. However, Julia is worried over the recourse of her sudden nuptials with Mr. Macy and her love for Edward, but her father doesn't seem concerned over either of them.

There were many things that had me thinking in this story. Mainly it was Forrester. The amount of dislike he showed toward Julia made me wonder what else was going on with him. I was surprised with his actions in the end and the pivotal role he played. Lord Pierson is also a confusing man. One moment he can be in a rage, next he is full of concern. It was hard to understand him at times. Darly, he is a gentleman to the highest form, attentive, caring, and smart. Edward, sadly isn't in this story a whole lot, but I'm interested to see what happens with his character in the third installment. And Mr. Macy, what is this man's game? What cards does he hold?

Secrets were revealed in this story, but more questions were put in their place. Right when you think you have a handle on something, things change yet again. Since we only view the story through Julia's eyes, we only get to see what is brought to light around her.

As far as Julia in this story, I actually enjoyed her more in book two. She seemed to have grown up with everything swirling around her. Her changes are subtle, but they are noticeable. She isn't as vocal in this story, as I noted earlier, but it is understandable with the the sudden changes in her life, and the unknown.

I look forward to see what happens in book three. The ending Mark of Distinction had me a bit surprised. It was a quick ending, with many new revelations and acts. I'll leave it there so nothing will be spoiled.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Jessica Dotta has always been fascinated by England during the Regency and Victorian era. Her passion for British Literature fueled her desire to write in a style that blends the humor of Jane Austen and the dark drama of a Bronte sister. She lives in the Nashville area with her family and works as a freelance media consultant and publicist.



Thank you to the Tyndale Blog Network, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for and honest review.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Congratulations to the Winners!!


I'm happy to announce the winners of the Birthday Bash!

Drum roll please.......

Young Adult:
Sarah B

Contemporary Fiction:
Melanie

Historical Fiction:
 Sereina B

Congratulations to y'all again!!
I've sent emails with information.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the giveaway! It was a blast getting it all together. Thank y'all for helping make this special birthday for me, all the bigger and better! :-)

Stacking the Shelves (41)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week offers you the opportunity to spotlight the books you either received for review, bought, borrowed, or won.

Bought:
A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander

Did you ever just have to go get a book because you read so many great reviews, so you had to read it? That's how this week has been. One book, this week, but much anticipated.

How was your week?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Review: Silenced by Dani Pettrey

Title: Silenced
Author: Dani Pettrey
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 336
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1195-9
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014

Synopsis:
Jake Knew Something Was Wrong.
But He Never Guessed How Wrong.

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

Kayden's climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.
Review:
Right from the first page, Silenced brought me into a fast paced, mystery that kept me guessing at every turn. Even when information was revealed, there was still so much more to discover that propelled me to keep reading the next paragraph, to the next page, then to the next chapter.

In the first three books of the Alaskan Courage series, we've been introduced to Kayden McKenna, one of the five McKenna siblings living in Alaska, and Jake Weston, who up until this point as been a very mysterious figure. There hasn't been much information to on, other then he knows quite about outdoor adventures and he is good at helping solve cases. That has made Jake like the sixth member to the McKenna family. In Silenced, we finally get to see who Kayden and Jake really are, and it doesn't disappoint.

 As I have read through this series, I have found each book to be better then the last. The mystery involved with the murders and the suspects are well thought out. With everything that the McKenna's have been through, you just want to hug them all. They each have their own personal battles that so many people can relate to.

Each book in this series also spotlights the vastness and openness of Alaska. That state is the outdoors man's playground. We've been scuba diving, skiing, on a cruise, and now rock climbing with these siblings. Each setting has fit and meshed with the story perfectly and added another thrilling element to the mystery.

I also loved that in Silenced, we finally got to see more of the youngest brother Reef. It's been hard to see what he is really like, but now, I'm excited to see how his story will play out! There was just so much awesomeness to this story!

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Dani Pettrey is a wife, home-schooling mom, and the author of the bestselling romantic suspense novels Stranded, Shattered, and Submerged, winner of the 2013 Holt Medallion for First Novel and the Colorado Romance Writers 2013 Award of Excellence. She and her husband have two daughters and reside in the D.C. Metro area.

She can be found online at danipettrey.com.
Twitter: @DaniPettrey
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaniPettrey


Thank you to the Author, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Review: Death by the Book by Julianna Deering

Title: Death by the Book
Author: Julianna Deering
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 317
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1096-9
Publication Date: March 4th, 2014

Synopsis:
When the village of Farthering St. John is stunned by a series of murders, Drew Farthering  is drawn again into the sleuthing game.

Drew Farthering wanted nothing more than to end the summer of 1932 with the announcement of his engagement. Instead, he finds himself caught up in another mysterious case when the family solicitor is found murdered, an antique hatpin with a cryptic message, Advice to Jack, piercing his chest.

Evidence of secret meetings and a young girl's tearful confession point to the victim's double life, but what does the solicitor's murder have to do with the murder of a physician on the local golf course? Nothing, it would seem--except for another puzzling note, affixed with a similar-looking bloodied hatpin.

Soon the police make an arrest in connection with the murders, but Drew isn't at all certain they have the right suspect in custody. And why does his investigation seem to be drawing him closer and closer to home?
Review:
If you are someone who likes a smooth talking, charming, English man, Death by the Book is for you! Drew Farthering has a knack for being a smooth talker that will get him out of any situation. I had so much fun getting wrapped up in his world and quick wit. Then you throw in some murders, a bit of mystery, and puzzling notes, you have an exciting book!

This book is a mix of Downton Abby and Agatha Christie. It had the high style with Drew as the wealthy Lord of his sprawling estate, but then thrill of a murder mystery, that seems to have been laid at his feet, unlike how it was in Rules of Murder, the first book in the series.

Drew is not alone in solving the crime, he is accompanied by his friend Nick Dennison and his hopeful finance Madeline Parker. However, his plans for courting Madeline are thrown off a bit when her aunt Ruth shows up unannounced to bring Madeline back home to the US. I have to say, I enjoyed reading about Aunt Ruth, she has a talent for criticism and snark. She also has the best, or worst timing, you can be the judge of that.

The characters were great and worked well together. I enjoyed exploring Farthering St. John. It made me want to visit England all the more. And the mystery...wow! I honestly didn't see it coming. The twist and turns, the suspects that popped up, it kept me guessing who the murderer was till the very end.

I enjoyed this book even more then the first! I can't wait to see what will happen in book three!

Too Read!
5 out of 5

About the Author:
Julianna Deering has always loved British history and literature and is particularly a fan of the classic mysteries written by Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas and now works for an attorney specializing in wills and estate planning. She lives outside Dallas, Texas, where she loves to quilt, cross-stitch, and watch hockey. Learn more at www.juliannadeering.com.





Thank you to Bethany House, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Out of the Ruins

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week offers the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release that you are anticipation.

Waiting On:
Title: Out of the Ruins
Author: Karen Barnett
Publisher: Abingdon Press
Publication Date: May 6th, 2014

Synopsis:
From GoodReads
While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?
Why I'm Waiting:
I love reading historical novels that are set around a major event and this is one even I haven't seen much in novels. I'm looking forward to see how this story will play out.


What are you waiting on this week?

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

Title: A Sensible Arrangement
Author: Tracie Peterson
Publisher: Bethany House
Pages: 324
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1058-7
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014

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

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

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

What will happen when their relationship shifts in unexpected ways… and dreams and secrets collide?
Review:
I have been a fan of Tracie Peterson for quite some time. She was one of the first authors I read when I jumped into historical, Christian fiction. The characters that are in Tracie's stories always vary in personality and traits and they all mesh well. A Sensible Arrangement isn't any different.

There is something unique however, about this book, it is Tracie Peterson's 100th book! I just have to say, how awesome is that?! Each story is fresh with a new group of unique characters. That is fantastic talent!

Back to the review.

A Sensible Arrangement portrayed what I thought was a very realistic look of a marriage of convenience. Marty is a girl, who had happy marriage, but it was taken from her when husband was killed when he was tending the stock on their ranch. For four years, Marty has taken care of her small spread and watched after by her sister and brother-in-law, who has a ranch next to Marty's. However, since the death of her husband, Marty has grown weary of her ranch...well, really, of Texas in general. All that seems to remain is heartache, so when she notices an ad in the paper for a Texas bride, she jumps at the chance. The way that Marty handles it is real too.

Marty isn't looking for love, just an escape. She worries about how her family will take the news, so instead of telling them that she is going to marry a man she never met, she lies. The questions she has going through her head, her observations all were spot on to how I would be in that situation. And, what I loved about Marty, she doesn't change who she is.

Jake was a good character and one who I enjoyed seeing again. Jake was originally in another series by Tracie Peterson, Striking the Match, that was also set in Texas. Jake has moved from Texas and is now working as a banker in Colorado. To further his position in the bank, he knows that he needs to show himself as a man who is settled, to the public eye, which means he needs to be married. Which brings us to his ad in the paper in Texas.

Jake is interesting. He is a man that would love to just live a simple life, but, his boss has taken an interest him. He now has a house on the hill with the people of the upper-crust, which isn't really his cup of tea, but because his boss requires it, he does is. Jake is very dedicated to his job and wants to do his best. However, with the struggling economy, the bank Jake works at has a lot to deal with, along with some mysteries that pop up.

This is the first book in the Lone Star Brides series and I can't wait to see what happens in book two. A Sensible Arrangement left me with questions and I'm ready to see how things will play out.

Too Read
4 out of 5

About the Author:
Tracie Peterson is the award-winning author of over eighty novels, both historical and contemporary. Her avid research resonates in her stories, as seen in her bestselling Heirs of Montana, and Alaskan Quest series. Tracie and her family make their home in Montana.
Visit Tracie's Web site at www.traciepeterson.com.

Giveaway:
Welcome to the campaign launch for Tracie Peterson's 100th book! A Sensible Arrangement launches Tracie's new Texas-based series, Lone Star Brides, that’s sure to please. As a special treat, devoted fans will be able to catch a glimpse of several popular characters from previous series.

Tracie is celebrating by giving away an iPad Mini and hosting a LIVE webcast event on 4/29.
sensible-400-click 
  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • A Sensible Arrangement by Tracie Peterson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 29th. Winner will be announced at the A Sensible Arrangement Live Webcast Event on April 29th. Connect with Tracie for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Tracie will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of A Sensible Arrangement and join Tracie and friends on the evening of April 29th 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 signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!



Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse, I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Birthday Bash Giveaway: Historical Fiction Giveaway

Welcome to the third Birthday Bash Giveaway! This one is a little bigger then the others. Historical Fiction is my favorite genre, so I have more to share. :-)

This giveaway consists of six (6) books. All from different eras in history. I've enjoyed all of these. And each offers a unique story.



a Rafflecopter giveaway
1 copy of A Heart's Rebellion by Ruth Axtell
1 copy of Sincerely Yours by Jane Kirkpatrick, Amanda Cabot, Laurie Alice Eakes, & Ann Shorey
1 copy of Echoes of Mercy by Kim Vogel Sawyer
1 copy of The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen
1 copy of David and Bathsheba by Roberta Kells Dorr
1 copy of Shadowed by Grace by Cara C. Putman


The contest is open to US residents. One (1) winner will be picked on April 26th and announced that day.

Thank you everyone for visiting and helping me celebrate this special birthday with me this week!

Birthday Bash Giveaway: Contemporary Fiction Giveaway

Hello, Hello!

Welcome to giveaway number two!

I have finally entered into the world of contemporary fiction...and I have to say, I'm enjoying it so much!You can typically find my nose buried in historical fiction, but I've found some books I have enjoyed and wanted to share with y'all!

This giveaway is for four (4) contemporary fiction novels.

1 copy of A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert
1 copy of Shades of Mercy by Anita Lustrea & Caryn Rivaden
 1 copy of If the Shoe Fits by Sandra D. Bricker
1 copy of The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Open to US residents. One (1) winner will be chosen for the contemporary giveaway on April 26th and announced that day.

Thank y'all so much for participating! And you can enter in to as many of these giveaways that interest you.

Birthday Bash Giveaway: YA Giveaway

 Hello one and all!

I was thinking, this is a big year for me...it's a milestone birthday and I wanted to make it special! So... I decided I wanted to giveaway books to y'all!

I have three (3) giveaway going on and you are more then welcome to enter all of them! This giveaway is for four (4) books, based in the YA genre.

1 copy Merlin's Blade by Robert Treskllard
1 copy of Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard
1 copy of Luminary by Krista McGee
1 copy of Nightmare City by Andrew Klavan

a Rafflecopter giveaway


The giveaway is open to US residents. One (1) winner for the YA giveaway will be drawn on April 26th! I will announce all winners that day.

I enjoyed each of these stories and wanted to pass them on.

Thanks for stopping by and joining the fun!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (40)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week offers the opportunity to spotlights the books you either received for review, bought, borrowed, or won.

Review:
Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta (Tyndale House)
 Silenced by Dani Pettrey (From the Author)
 Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer (Blogging for Books)
One More Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong (Revell Blog Tour)
While Love Stirs by Lona Seilstad (Revell Blog Tour)
Fatal Exchange by Lisa Harris (Revell Blog Tour)
Rainy Day Dreams by Lori Copeland & Virgina Smith (Harvest House)

Bought:
 With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Heiress by Susan May Warren
By Darkness Hid by Jill Williamson


E-book Deals:
 A Cast of Stones by Patrick W. Carr
A Distant Melody by Sarah Sundin
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman
Making Waves by Lona Seilstad
Promise Me This by Cathy Gohlke
No Place for a Lady by Maggie Brendan
Secrets by Kristen Heitzmann
Daughter of Twin Oaks by Lauraine Snelling
Identity by Ted Dekker
Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson
Prophet by R.J. Larson
Out of Control by Mary Connealy 
Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin

I finally entered the world of ebooks this week and it was a success! I hadn't realized how many awesome deals that can be found for ebooks. I haven't been able to read any yet, but I'm looking forward to them.

 How was your week?