Thursday, August 4, 2011

I screwed up. :(

Guys, I'm really sorry that I skipped out on you for the whole summer! I lost control of everything and had to give something up. I'm sorry that I haven't even said anything! I kept meaning to get on and start blogging again or at least wrap everything up, but I never got around to it. :/ I pretty much failed, and I know it. LOL

I decided that since I am moving on campus to start college this fall, I am going to stop blogging for a while. So, for the forseeable future, I will not be blogging. Now, I know this means that all those author interviews, giveaways, and everything that I planned will be put on hold too and I'm really sorry. I hope to start blogging again once I'm settled in to college life so maybe later this year, or maybe not until the first semester is over...

I hope you will all forgive me for just leaving like that. I know I let some people down. I'm trying to get everything under control, but... LOL I hope that you will all keep following me and come back as faithful readers when I take my blogs off hiatus.

Love you all!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Breath of Angel by Karyn Henley ~ 4 stars

Breath of Angel
Karyn Henley
The Angeleon Circle series #1
WaterBrook Press
About the book:
Melaia, a young priestess, witnesses the gruesome murder of an emaciated stranger in the temple courtyard. Just after she discovers wings on the stranger, the murderer enters the temple, and what Melaia has known only through song and story suddenly takes on flesh. Angels and shape-shifters were myths and stories . . . until now.

Melaia finds herself in the middle of a blood feud between two immortal brothers who destroyed the stairway to heaven, stranding angels in the earthly realm. When the feud turns violent and Melaia becomes a target, she finds refuge with a band of wandering angels attempting to restore the stairway. But the restoration is impossible without the repayment of an ancient debt, the “breath of angel, blood of man,” a payment that involves Melaia’s heart, soul, and destiny.

My review:
Well, this will be a little bit longer than my typical review, but there are a few things that need to be addressed.

First, although this is sold as Christian Fiction, I would just label it as clean fiction. There are angels and talk of the “Most High” that the priestesses serve, but there is no active God in the book. It is also NOT an allegory, and it does not follow Biblical principles. Also, there are two mild curse words (that I noticed) used in the dialogue. I know these things will be a to-read-or-not-to-read issue for some readers, so I wanted to mention them first.

Apart from that, I thought the book was pretty good. There were lots of plot twists and it kept me interested. It was a little confusing at first, but I soon was able to follow along very well. I was a little frustrated with the lack of power and options given to the angels and followers of the “Most High,” and wished that it was a little more Biblical in that area. It IS a fantasy world, though, and since it isn’t an allegory there are unbiblical ideas, things, and circumstances that you wouldn’t see in a Biblical allegory/fantasy book. I still liked it, however, and I will be reading the rest of this series, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next! I would recommend this book, but with a warning that it probably won’t be what you expect.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for my free review copy of this book.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

I'm so sorry!

Okay, you guys are probably thinking that I have fallen off the face of the earth, and you'd almost be right. May 1-6 was my finals week, then I graduated on the 7th. Then, on the morning of the 8th, I (along with my "adopted family") left for Florida! I am still here now, and things have been crazy. I haven't had a spare minute to think, let alone blog or even do my nails (they're pretty gross right now).... but, I got to go to Disney World and spend some time with family that I won't get to see for the rest of the summer, so it's been a good time and a huge blessing.

I just want to say how sorry I am to everyone who was counting on me for something, and I didn't meet the deadline. I will get back to blogging as soon as I can, but I don't know when that will be exactly. (I don't have my own laptop so internet access is SEVERELY LIMITED RIGHT NOW.) :/ I will get everything in order (authors contacted, emails replied to, winners chosen...) but it probably won't be for a few days more.

Please bear with me! I will get everything set to rights as soon as I can!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan ~ 5 stars

A Heart Divided
Kathleen Morgan
Heart of the Rockies series #1
About the book:
When fate brings them together, they must choose between family ties and love.

The Caldwells and Wainwrights have been feuding for decades. Still, Sarah Caldwell has misgivings when her father pressures her into distracting a ranch hand while he and her brothers rob the Wainwright place. When it becomes clear that hand is actually Cord Wainwright, heir of the Wainwright holdings, Sarah realizes things have gone too far.

As the feud boils over, Cord and Sarah make a most inconvenient discovery--they just might be falling in love. Can they betray their families to see where this attraction leads? Or will their families betray them?

My review:
From the first page you are swept into a whirlwind romance and a loyalty testing feud. I would get so frustrated sometimes, wishing I could help the characters, both with their situation and with their choices. But, it all ends well! As the hero, Cord is the kind the makes you so angry sometimes at his stupidity, and hurt for him at others and wish you could take away the pain he has felt in his life. Yep. He’s the hurting, prideful, stupidly honorable one that melts your heart. Couldn’t resist him! The story itself goes really fast in some places and I occasionally missed the day-to-day happenings that weren’t discussed in the book. But that was minor, and didn’t really affect my opinion of the story. In all, great plot, great characters, great book! Can’t wait for the next one!

Available May 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Waterfall by Lisa T Bergren ~ 5 stars + Favorite!

Lisa T Bergren
The River of Time series, #1
David C Cook
About the book:
What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaeologist parents. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds… until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

My review:
Blown away. That’s really all I can say. This pulled me in from the first page, and I couldn’t put it down until I finished. The attention to detail and historical accuracies were fantastic! They made you feel like you were there! The characters were awesome and I was pulling for them the whole time. The only problem is that I will have to wait to find out what happens next! Action, adventure, romance, and a bit of a cliffhanger ending; it’s got everything!  Bravo, Ms. Bergren! Highly recommended.

Thanks to Lisa for my free review copy of this book!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mary Connealy ~ Interview + Giveaway!

*You can earn up to 4 entries in this giveaway. Read below for details*

Today author Mary Connealy is telling us about her new book, Deep Trouble (May 2011 -- Cowboy Christmas sequel). She has offered an autographed copy of her book to one lucky commenter. She will also be stopping by throughout the week to answer your questions! So if you have anything you want to ask her, you can leave a comment on this post to find out the answer!

Author's bio:
Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and her novel Calico Canyon was nominated for a Christy Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Welcome, Mary! Tell us about your salvation experience.
I made a public confession of faith at a Lowell Lundstrom concert when I was about sixteen. But I remember believing the truth about Jesus at a much younger age. I was raised in a wonderful Christian family. Eight brothers and sisters in a two bedroom farmhouse. No money but lots of love. I don’t really consider going forward at the concert to be my salvation experience—because I was already saved, but it was a great moment in my life.

How do you handle disasters/BIG problems? Do you have a funny or interesting story showcasing how you handle them?
Wow, big disasters. Honestly, I’ve got a pretty good life. Lots of little annoyances but nothing big. I’m sure in the event of a tornado or earthquake or sudden death, I would be a pillar of strength and wisdom. (wow, it’s like I’m ASKING to be struck by lightning….forget I said that)

Tell us something surprising about yourself that readers may not know.
These are hard questions. Hmmmm….okay, I’ve started three times writing this now and each time I stop and think, “Nah, that’s not surprising.”

How’s this?--I’m shy. I spend most of my life typing. I get an occasional sweet and clueless person who asks what it’s like to be famous and I just shake my head. If indeed I qualify as famous--and I have serious doubts about that—a famous author spends almost all her time alone with her computer, having both sides of a conversation herself. Alone. So very, very alone. Taking back the stupid things she says (types) and trying again until she sounds cool. Not a normal life at all and certainly not exciting.

What is one book that you recently read and would recommend to your readers?
I am right in the middle of reading A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman and I am so hooked. I’ve been staying up too late reading and it’s maddening. I can’t wait to see how it comes out. I love Julie’s work.

What is your favorite time of day to write?
I’m very low maintenance when it comes to writing. No set time. No set place. I can be distracted and then get right back to work. I do set goals and I mostly achieve them. I try to write 1000 words a day seven days a week and I mostly succeed. I’m doing major revisions on a finished manuscript right now and I’m loving the changes, loving the depth I’m finding in this story. But it’s not piling up the word count like I wish it was. The other day I got to a scene that I knew I needed to add, all new. As I started typing I just felt the surge of pleasure at creating something NEW rather than revising something old and I loved it. There is no part of writing that I do not love.

If you compared your writing style to any other Christian Fiction author, who would it be?
When I was struggling to get my first book published, Petticoat Ranch, I did a lot of market research trying to figure out who I was like. There was no one doing what I was doing…which is probably why it took me so stinking long to get published! Then I read Lori Copeland’s Men of the Saddle series. A romantic western with humor…that was it. I started using her as my example. “Readers who enjoyed Lori Copeland’s Men of the Saddle Series are my target audience.”

I went to a writer’s gathering just after I’d gotten my cover art for Petticoat Ranch and I took a printed out picture of the cover with me and was showing it to anyone who couldn’t escape. Lori Copeland was there. So (boldly, for a shy girl) I went up to her and said, “Lori, I’ve been using your name to try and get myself published for a long time now.” Then I whipped out the cover and said, “And it worked!”

We ended up having a nice visit. Such a great, sweet lady.

Beyond that, there’s not a lot out there like my romantic comedy with cowboys.

I think of it as inspirational, suspenseful, historical western romantic comedy. I think I invented my own genre.

What are you working on now or going to write next?
I have contracts for six more romantic comedy with cowboys novels coming spread out over the next three years. So I’m keeping very busy and I’ll keep writing these as long as someone will keep publishing them. I’m still amazed I ever got one published. This is beyond the dearest desire of my heart that I never forget how blessed I am.

Book’s back cover blurb:
Gabe Lasley and Shannon Dysart are an unlikely pair. He’s an aimless wanderer who wants nothing other than to be left alone. She’s a fearless female determined to find a city of gold. When they are forced together the mayhem begins. As they set out to find the treasure, trouble is hot on their trail. Will the dream of gold color every decision Shannon makes? Will Gabe fail yet another helpless female in his life?

What research did you have to do for this book?
I may have researched this book more than any other I’ve ever written. It begins at Mesa Verde and ends in the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

I do a huge amount of research online but I just wasn’t finding enough for the Grand Canyon portion of the book. I ended up with three books that I cross referenced constantly. The main one was The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher. He’s the first man who hiked the entire length of the Grand Canyon. The thing about his book that was so invaluable was his personal impressions. He wrote about the stones, the mist, the barren stretches, the difficulty of finding a trail. Reading that book gave me a lot of freedom because I realized Fletcher wasn’t a scientist, he was just a man telling how the canyon touched him. I realized my story could be less than exact if I just let my characters have honest reactions to what they were seeing.

Then I had a book of trail maps and a book of pictures that included scripture. I first read the whole Fletcher book, underlining bits and pieces that were buried in it that contained details I couldn’t find anywhere else. That book was battered by the time I was done! Then I’d cross reference his words to the trail pictures to help me figure out where he was down there. Then I’d study pictures. I spend major time flipping pages. I also have a friend, Sandra Leesmith, who lives near the Grand Canyon, or at least near enough that she’s been there many times. I asked her a lot of questions and she’d tell me little tidbits about the place. Including she told me about a man who had only recently admitted he had a ‘secret’ trail down into the canyon. Access to the bottom of the canyon is very limited and the ways down are well documented. And now, here’s this guy with a secret way down. I just loved that and decided everything that is ‘known’ about the canyon may not be everything. Wow, I’ve talked to long about this.

Who would you pick to play the lead roles if this book was made into a movie?
 Hmmmmm I don’t really like doing this, picking characters. If you’ll notice, most of my books are faceless. That’s a very deliberate choice on my part, and I’ll add here that once in a while we do have faces and that is fine, I’m nothing if not flexible!!!!!!!!!!!!
But I like supplying the image myself, mentally, of the characters. Still, I’m trying. I think Gabe is a young Sam Elliot. He’s got the bushy moustache. And is, of course, tall dark and handsome.

For Shannon I’m going to go with Sigrid Thornton, the heroine in The Man from Snowy River.

How can readers get in contact with you?

Petticoats & Pistols

My Website

**This giveaway is open to addresses in any country**

Okay readers, here is your chance to win an autographed copy of Deep Trouble!


*Leave a comment with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win). The comment is mandatory. You will not be entered unless you leave a comment AND your email address.

*If you leave a comment you will be entered unless you specify that you do not want to be entered.

*Here are the ways to get entries:

(First entry) The mandatory comment saying you would like to be entered with your email address.

+1 Become one of my followers OR subscribe to my blog by email.

+2 Read and leave a comment on my review of Surrender the Night

**You can earn a total of 4 entries if you do all of the above entry options. Make sure to tell me in your entry comment on this post which of the things you did to get extra entries. (You can put them on one comment if you want to, you don’t have to separate each entry into its own comment or anything like that.)**

*The contest will run from today (May 6) until 6:00 CST on Thursday (May 12). I will announce the winner that night. The winner is always randomly drawn. I will contact the winner either directly after choosing him/her or on Friday the 13th, and then that person will have one week to reply. If the winner doesn't reply within that time period, I will pick a new winner.

Good luck! Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Surrender the Night by MaryLu Tyndall ~ 5 stars

Surrender the Night
MaryLu Tyndall
Surrender to Destiny series, #2
Barbour Publishing
About the book:
A timid American farm girl at the mercy of the enemy. . .
A wounded British sailor driven into hiding. . .
Both are about to change the course of history forever.

When British soldiers invade Baltimore amid the War of 1812, Rose McGuire, alone on her family farm, is easy prey for a brutal lieutenant. In the midst of the attack, she’s saved by British 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Reed. Will she now have to heal, as well as hide, this enemy soldier?

Alex hadn’t meant to kill his superior, nor get shot in the process. Now badly wounded, he’s at the mercy of this tomboy who obviously hates him. Can he trust her or will she turn him over to the Americans?

Rose is having trouble keeping Alex hidden from her family, the townspeople, and the man intent on courting her. Will the discovery of Alex’s presence force her to accept an abhorrent proposal?

As their love blooms, trouble looms, for the British are on the move again. This time, their target is Washington DC. Will these young lovers at heart find themselves enemies at war?

My review:
Let me just say that anyone who reads this book expecting another on-ship adventure is in for a surprise! I don’t believe there is a single “water scene” from cover to cover. So, if that will bother you, you probably shouldn’t read this book. However, it did not bother me at all and I thought MaryLu did a great job keeping up the tension and sense of adventure without ever “stepping foot” on the sea.

I loved the sense of patriotism in this book! That isn’t something you experience much today, and I loved that it was imbued throughout the book. Rose was awesome and I really admired her bravery despite what she had gone through in her life. Alex was pretty much amazing, and despite bad choices he is admirably redeemed by the end of the book and a fantastic hero for Rose. (One thing I did notice was that Alex’s plot/background was EXTREMELY similar to Dominick’s in Eakes’ “Lady in the Mist.”) The theme of trusting God and overcoming your past with His help was well done and inspiring. I’d say this is a definite to-read if you like adventure, romance, and faith-filled fiction!

Thanks to MaryLu for my free review copy of this book!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Laurean Brooks ~ Interview + Giveaway!

*You can earn up to 4 entries in this giveaway. Read below for details*

Today author Laurean Brooks is telling us about her books, Jonquils in the Snow and Over the Coals. She has offered a copy of one of her books to one lucky commenter.

My guest today is inspirational romance author, Laurean Brooks. Hello, Laurean. Thanks for coming. Tell us how you became interested in writing. Who first influenced you?
In fifth grade, my teacher, Miss Mary enjoyed my oral book reports. My quirk was to end the report with a cliffhanger. No sooner would finish reading than half the class would fight over who would get to read the book next. One day after I finished giving a report, Miss Mary smiled and turned to the class to announce, “One day, Laurie will be an author."

Her words stuck in my heart and through the years until they were fulfilled with the release of my inspirational, Journey To Forgiveness in 2009.

An ironic twist is Miss Mary was the one put a damper on my creativity. We were studying Columbus and his discovery of the New World. She assigned the class a 500-word essay to expound the perils this brave explorer might have endured. I had no idea she wanted “realistic.” So when I read my version to the class, in spite of the rollicking laughter, it didn't make the grade.

It could have been the part where the spear-laden natives tied Columbus to a stake and started to set fire to him. Or wait, maybe it was when obese Chief Kookamunga waddled out of his grass hut to shout, "Oola!" (translated to "have a better idea.") The natives took Columbus down to stuff him in a cannon and shoot him back across the ocean. Whatever it was, Miss Mary insisted I re-write the Columbus story and make it "a little more realistic.”

Funny story. I see you have a wild imagination. You've added a few E-books since 2009. Will you tell us about a couple?
Thank you, Carman. I'd be happy to. Jonquils In The Snow was released by Victory Tales Press in February 2010, an appropriate time since the story is set about the time Jonquils bloom here in the South.

Miranda Stevens swears she will never love again after her ex-fiance' skips town two days before their wedding. But when the ruggedly-handsome man from the tree service knocks at her door following a devastating ice storm, Miranda's resolve melts.

Brady Watson is instantly attracted to the cute Miranda, but he has issues. Brady still grieves over his wife, killed by a drunk driver three years earlier. When she died, a part of his heart died, too. At least that is how he feels.

Will Miranda find a way to encourage Brady to release the past and reach out to love again? Could the answer be found in a cluster of Jonquils bursting through the snow?

Laurean is giving away one free download each of Jonquils In The Snow and Over The Coals. Now, Laurean, tell us about Over The Coals.
I'd love to. Over The Coals was released by Victory Tales Press In May, 2010. It deals with judging a person before you get to know him/her.

At a backyard cookout Jill watches the loud-mouthed man at the grill joke with a saucy blonde. If there is one thing Jill can't stand, it's a flirt, And Rob Canter definitely fits the description.

But looks can be deceiving. Jill's friend leaves the cookout early and Rob volunteers to drive Jill home. Jill strikes up a conversation, and realizes too late she's asked too many questions when Rob clams up. What turned the gregarious Rob into a gloomy introvert? What did she say? Why the dual personality?

Will Jill uncover Rob's dark secret? Can their relationship survive her revelation?

Thank you, Laurean for being my guest. To win a download of one of these wonderful e-book romances, leave a comment specifying which title you prefer.
Thank you for hosting me, Carman. I hope you all enjoyed the interview, and good luck on winning the E-books. I hope you enjoy them.

**This giveaway is open to people in any country**

Okay readers, here is your chance to win a copy of one of Laurean's books. Jonquils in the Snow, or Over the Coals. Let me know which you would like to win!


*Leave a comment with your name and email address (so I can contact you if you win). The comment is mandatory. You will not be entered unless you leave a comment AND your email address.

*If you leave a comment you will be entered unless you specify that you do not want to be entered.

*Here are the ways to get entries:

(First entry) The mandatory comment saying you would like to be entered with your email address.

+1 Become one of my followers OR subscribe to my blog by email.

+2 Read and comment on my review of Double Shot

**You can earn a total of 4 entries if you do all of the above entry options. Make sure to tell me in your entry comment on this post which of the things you did to get extra entries. (You can put them on one comment if you want to, you don’t have to separate each entry into its own comment or anything like that.)**

*The contest will run from today (April 29) until 6:00 CST on Thursday (May 5). I will announce the winner that night. The winner is always randomly drawn. I will contact the winner either directly after choosing him/her or on Friday the 6th, and then that person will have one week to reply. If the winner doesn't reply within that time period, I will pick a new winner.

Good luck! Thanks for visiting.