December 30, 2012

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska - Author Interview Part 2

I had the pleasure of reading this wonderful book by Tricia Goyer and Ocieann Fleiss. If you have not had a chance check out my two previous blog posts. Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska - Preview Post and Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska - Review Post In these posts you will find out more about the book, ways to pre-order, pictures of Glacier Bay, and what I thought about the book. I hope you take the chance to check everything out. In this post I am going to give you a glimpse into author Tricia Goyer's world. Thanks for stopping by. 

How did you become a writer?
I first thought about writing in 1993. A friend from church, Cindy Martinusen told me about her aspirations to become a novelist. My first thought was . . . Real people do that? She invited me to attend Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference with her. I was new as new can be. I was also 22-years-old and pregnant with my third child, but I learned enough at that conference to start off on the right track. And I’ve been actively working at my writing ever since.

What inspires you to write?  
Here is a video talking about that! Tricia's Video about what inspires her to write 

How I balance being a writer and a mom? 

Who is your favorite author and why?
My favorite author is Francine Rivers. I LOVE her novels. Also, I know her as a person and I know these novels don't come easy. I've been with her as she's spent days pouring over Scripture to get her mind focused on the characters in her novel--as they relate to Biblical people. She's as amazing in person as her books are!

Here is a link to Tricia's Blog: Tricia's Blog

December 29, 2012

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska - Author Interivew Part 1

I had the pleasure of reading this wonderful book by Tricia Goyer and Ocieann Fleiss. If you have not had a chance check out my two previous blog posts. Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska - Preview Post and Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska - Review Post In these posts you will find out more about the book, ways to pre-order, pictures of Glacier Bay, and what I thought about the book. I hope you take the chance to check everything out. In this post I am going to give you a glimpse into author Ocieanna Fleiss's world. Thanks for stopping by.

Tell us a bit about you and your writer's journey.
Stories and characters have rattled around in my head since I was a kid, but I began seriously pursuing writing about fourteen years ago. I know! That's a long time. Like many beginners, I thought I knew what I was doing and would quickly see my name in print, but of course, that's NOT what happened.
Through the ups and downs (meaning rejection after rejection) I strove to improve, until I finally gave up. I had one too many doors slam closed, so I told God I wasn't going to try to get published anymore. I'd just write my blog and work on my story, but NEVER send out a query, NEVER talk to a publisher ...
That's when I got the message. My friend Carlton (who I'd known for years) wrote and asked if I wanted to write for his new publishing company.
I wasn't really interested. I'd told God I wasn't going to try to get published, so I just ignored his message. (So rude of me!) About three weeks later, he wrote again and, feeling like I couldn't blow him off a second time, I threw out my ideas, very unprofessionally (no fancy query letter, no perfectly worded blurbs or synopses).
He wrote back and said he liked my ideas. He also sent me a brochure from his company and asked me to see if any of my ideas went along with their line. I opened the brochure to find...the publisher was Summerside Press! Well, hello! I'd heard of Summerside Press. I never knew my friend was the founder of it.
This started a chain of events that ended up with Tricia and I getting our first two contracts with Summerside.
What did this teach me? God is good. I needed to seek Him first. I needed to let go of the desire to get published and fill up with a desire for Him. I try to remember that whether I get a contract or not, my fulfillment comes from Him and my goal is to honor and glorify Him in every area of my life. I don't always do this the way I should, but He guides me along the crazy paths life takes.

This is your third collaboration with Tricia Goyer. How did that come about?
About twelve years ago, I met Tricia at the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. On the way home, in the airport, she handed me her manuscript--like authors do at conferences. I did a little editing there in the terminal. She liked it so we exchanged e-mail addresses. That manuscript was for her first published book, From Dust and Ashes. Once she got the contract, she continued sending me chapters and our friendship began! I edited about eight of her books and then we decided to write one together. We had such fun, we wrote two more.

Tell us something about each of the books you’ve written together.
LFY in Lonesome Prairie, Montana, is a simple prairie romance about a woman searching for home. Tricia and I traveled through the outskirts of Montana researching and met an amazing 91-year-old man whose father had homesteaded in Lonesome Prairie. What a blessing to talk to him.
LFY in Victory Heights, Washington, tells the story of Rosalie, a riveter who worked at the Boeing Plant in Seattle during WWII. She learns to let go of her guilt and trust in the Lord--and it's a fun romance. Our research trip for this one involved talking to awesome, spunky Rosie the Riveters. I'll never forget when 89-year-old Georgie Klunkett stood up in her living room and danced.
LFY in Glacier Bay, Alaska, takes readers from a contemporary tale to a historical, through letters. Both stories' heroines leave their normal life to explore a new world in Alaska--and both learn to overcome fears to find love. What a research trip that was! Bears, whales, otters, puffins, plus amazing folks who live in Glacier Bay. It was a joy to research and write.

You’re a homeschooling mom of four. How, when, and where do you manage to write?
My normal answer for "How do I do it?" is "I don't know." Truly, if it seems impossible to others, it does to me too! I don't have time to get it all done, so my strategy is to throw myself before the Lord and ask Him for help. He always comes through.
As for where I write. I mostly go to coffee shops, which is very embarrassing when I'm really getting into the story and a barista catches me weeping. I also take writing weekends to a lovely spot on the water where some writing friends and I can focus and pump up the word count.

What kinds of books do you love to read? Any favorites from the last year or so?
Honestly, I tend to gravitate toward the classics. I love Jane Eyre and The Count of Monte Christo, anything by Dickens. Lately I've been reading David Copperfield. My favorite contemporary author is Francine Rivers.

What’s next for you?
I'm working on a memoir about my cardiac arrest.

Contact: Katherine Jones

Here is a link to Ocieanna's blog - Ocieanna

December 25, 2012

Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska by Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss

Title: Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska
Author:  Tricia Goyer and Ocienna Fleiss
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781609365691
Source: Received from Authors
Published: Summerside Press - January 1, 2013
Synopsis of book:
Singer Ginny Marshall is one signature away from the recording contract of her dreams—a deal that would guarantee success for the former foster child, who still struggles to bury the memories of her painful childhood. But Ginny needs advice from the one person who will look out for her best interests—her former fiancĂ©, Brett Miller. She travels to the remote town of Glacier Bay, Alaska, where the town’s colorful characters and stunning scenery provide respite from LA’s pressures.
In Glacier Bay, Ginny discovers a box of old letters and is swept up in the love story between Clay, an early missionary to Alaska Territory, and Ellie, the woman who traveled there to be his children’s governess. When Ginny is reunited with Brett in Glacier Bay, will she discover—as Ellie did—that healing and love are sometimes found in the most unexpected places?
Why I read this book: I am proud to say I am a part of Tricia Goyer's 2013 launch team to help promote the books that she is having released this year. So that being said I read the book to give an honest review of it.
What I did like: I like how the book just flowed. I am usually a slow reader and this book was a can't put you down type of book and I ended up reading it in one day.
Overall Impression: I don't know how to exactly put into words all the good things I felt about this book. First I recommend seeing my post from December 24th and reading some of the background and looking at the pictures from Glacier Bay that the authors provided us with. Here is a link to that post: Glacier Bay - Launch Party The reason I say this is that it just made the book that much more personal to me. I felt as if I was right there and knew each person and location that was being talked about. I loved Ginny so much and wished I could just tell her to trust and things will be better in your future. Grandma Ethel what can we say about her other than she was a sweet person and knew just what Ginny needed. Who could not help but fall in love with Brett, he was so patient and just wanted to be there for Ginny. I did not care for Danny from the first moment I read about him. I loved how the book would go back into the past with the letters. I found myself like Ginny wanting to hurry up and get to the next letter so I could see what was going on with Ellie and Clay. I think everyone should take a day or two and read this book. It makes you stop and think about things and to know things are not always as you think they are. I would now love to go visit Alaska and go to the places in that Ginny went to and see all the great people of this little town with a big heart. I don't want to give to much away so I won't go into specifics of what I read but I think you will like the ending as much or better than the beginning. I think the end was very fitting. Great job to these two authors. Well worth 5 stars in my book. 

December 24, 2012

Love Finds You In Glacier Bay, Alaska - Preview

Hello again. I am going to take a minute and tell you about Tricia Goyer and Oceania Fleiss's newest book together. It is called Love Finds You in Glacier Bay, Alaska. 

First I would like to start by giving you a little snippet of what this book is about. Here goes: One signature away from a recording contract, Ginny travels to Glacier Bay, Alaska, to ask advice from her former fiance, Brett. While there, Ginny discovers a box of love letters written by Clay, a missionary, to Ellie, his children's governess. Will Ginny and Brett discover---as Clay and Ellie did---that love and healing are found in unexpected places? 320 pages, softcover from Summerside.

Next I would like to tell you that if you pre-order the book now you will get it at a discounted price and what better way to get a book and save money. Also by pre-ordering the book you will be one of the first people to get this great book. 

Here are some of the places you may place your pre-order: 

Now for some more fun stuff. Since I am a part of Tricia's launch team I have access to some fun tidbits about the writing of this book that I would like to share with you. So here goes:

Read about Ocieanna's story about how she almost did not get to write this book. Ocieanna's Story 
How would you like to read about the history of Gustavus - a little town in Glacier Bay. Gustavus's History 
Here is a little behind the scenes look at Tricia's research - Tricia's Research 
Are you a pinterest fan? Do love to look at pictures to see where the book takes place? Then this is the spot for you. Love Finds You in Glacier Bay - Pinterest Page
Have you already pre-ordered Love Finds You in Glacier Bay? Want a signed bookplate to go with your book? Stop by here and let Tricia know and she will send you a signed bookplate to go with your book. Tricia's Blog

I hope you stop back in a day or two to see my review of this book. I am starting my copy today and from the looks of it I may have it done in one day.

December 23, 2012

The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen (#6 Royal Spyness Mystery)

Title: The Twelve Clues of Christmas
Author:  Rhys Bowen
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Type: Hardback
ISBN: 9780425252789
Source: Borrowed from Library
Published: Berkley - November 6, 2012
Synopsis of book: 
She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the new year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile, Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.
So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie falls out of a tree, dead…. Dickensian, indeed.
Freddie’s merely a stocking stuffer. On my second day in town, another so-called accident turns up another mincemeat pie—and yet another on my third. The village is buzzing that a recent prison break could have something to do with it… that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. I’m not so sure. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.
Why I read this book: I read this book because I like to read Christmas themed books at this time of year and I am a fan of Rhys Bowen's books.
What I did like: I like how now matter where Georgie goes she always seems to end up tangled with some sort of mystery.
Overall Impression: Like the rest of this series I really enjoyed this book. I just wish I could have sat and read it in one day but alas we have to work. It seems no matter what Georgie does to try and earn a living or help herself she ends up tangled in a web of mystery and murders. I think it is nice how her Granddad is now always included in her little trips around the country. Also it seems that somehow Darcy always seems to appear out of thin air where Georgie is. How fun it would be to take part in a traditional old-fashioned English Christmas but I am not sure I could handle some of their traditional foods. What should have turned out to be a fun time helping to celebrate the season turned bad when people of the town started dieing from horrible "accidents". The ever clever Georgie knows there is more to the store and slowly searches until she finds connections to all the deaths and of course learns who the mysterious killer is. Without giving too much away I just have to say I like how the the twelve days of Christmas theme is used in this book, I thought it very cleaver the way the author incorporated this. I loved the ending of this book but can't say much more about it as it will ruin the story. I again suggest you pick up this series and enjoy the adventures of Georgie. I give this book 5 stars. 

December 20, 2012

Launch Party!!

I have some exciting news to share with everyone, ok it may be exciting to me and I hope it is exciting to you too. I have been picked by Tricia Goyer to be a part of her 2013 Launch Team. I feel very honored to be one of 100 people to be chosen to help with this as I know there were many people that applied as well as I know it was a hard decision for Tricia to choose.
What this means for me? Well, I get to read Tricia’s books before they are available to the general public to buy. Then I will review the book. Meanwhile, I will have blog posts, twitter, and facebook posts going out that will help to promote the books. There will be some time and effort on my part to be a part of this group, but it will all be worth the effort. I am hoping to make some good friends along the way and enjoy some great books as well as turn my blog followers on to some great books.
What this means for you as a follower? You will get to see a preview of the books, see what others are saying about the books, read author interviews, find out interesting facts that the author came across in their research and participate in blog hops for some cool giveaways. You will also have access to pre-order the books at a lower pre-release rate. I will be posting these links as we go along in the year.
The first book that will be available is coming out in January and is called Love Finds You in Glacier Bay. This looks like such a fun book and I can’t wait to share it with you. I will be posting more information about this book in the next few days so be on the look out.
I hope you will enjoy this new adventure I am embarking on and join in on the upcoming fun. 

December 16, 2012

On Strike for Christmas by Sheila Roberts

Title: On Strike for Christmas
Author:  Sheila Roberts
Genre: Fiction
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312370220
Source: Paperback swap
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - October 30, 2007
Synopsis of book: At Christmastime, it seems as though a woman’s work is never done. Trimming the tree, mailing the cards, schlepping to the mall, the endless wrapping—bah humbug! So this year, Joy and Laura and the rest of their knitting group decide to go on strike. If their husbands and families want a nice holiday—filled with parties, decorations, and presents—well, they’ll just have to do it themselves. The boycott soon takes on a life of its own when a reporter picks up the story and more women join in. But as Christmas Day approaches, Joy, Laura, and their husbands confront larger issues in their marriages and discover that a little holiday magic is exactly what they need to come together.
Sheila Roberts gives the best gift of all in this funny, heartwarming novel that touches the very core of Christmas spirit.
Why I read this book: I read this book because I like to read Christmas themed books at this time of year and it was the book my pen pal and I decided to read.
What I didn't like: I wish we could have had a little more about Carol. I did not like how grumpy she was and kind of mean at times to the girls but it was kind of explained why she was this way.
What I did like: I like the theme of the book and the way it was very light and easy to read. I also liked how in the end each story was summed up and there was an actual ending to each couples situation.
Overall Impression: I enjoyed reading this book. How many of us think at this time of year - I wish I could go on strike and not do all of this. My family does not do a lot of baking and partying but just the stress of the season and making sure you get the right gift, will your kids be happy with what you got them, the crowds in the stores, and the way people forget what the season is about. Well this little town of Holly decided to do just that. The women were tired of doing it all with no help and went on strike. It was nice to read each of the couples stories and how they coped with their husbands taking over and how the husbands how to figure out how to get everything done that their wives did. I think I liked Glen and Laura because even though Laura made Glen do everything she still felt sorry for him and Glen handled the situation the best out of all the husbands to me. I think Joy finally understood that her husband just did not get into the same things as her but that was ok, we are not all the same and when she realized this then things started getting better and then Bob made a big turn and effort to try to understand that she enjoys parties and such and would just like him to be a part of it. I really felt sorry for Glen at the school Christmas program. I thought it was kind of funny how most of the town followed in the knitting groups plans to strike and how the paper followed the story. Very enjoyable book. 5 stars.

December 10, 2012

1st Annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop

 Welcome to the 1st Annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop, hosted by Passages to the Past!

I am a big fan of historical fiction so I thought this would be a fun giveaway to be a part of. There are going to be a lot of fun giveaways and many blogs for you to hop to and visit. My Giveaway is open to the US only. Sorry

Check out Passages to the Past for a complete list of authors, publishers and blog participating in the fun hop. Here are some of the wonderful prizes: 

  - $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble Gift Card

- Prize package(s) of historical novels (titles will be added as authors sign up)

1. Oleanna by Julie Rose (pb)
2. The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell (pb)
3. Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan by Robin Maxwell (Audio Books)
4. The King's Daughter by Barbara Kyle (pb)
5. The King's Concubine by Anne O'Brien (pb)
6. Royal Romances: Titillating Tales of Passion and Power in the Palaces of Europe by Leslie Carroll (pb)
7. The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell (pb)
8. The September Queen by Gillian Bagwell (pb)
9. The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick (pb) *w/signed bookplate
10. The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick (pb) *w/signed bookplate
11. Sea Witch by Helen Hollick (pb) *w/signed bookplate
12. Claude & Camille by Stephanie Cowell (pb)
13. Marrying Mozart by Stephanie Cowell (pb)
14. The Queen's Vow by Christopher Gortner (pb, UK edition)
15. Into the Path of Gods (Book 1, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (pb)
16. In the Shadow of Dragons (Book 2, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (pb)
17. The Anvil Stone (Book 3, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (hc)
18. A Land Beyond Ravens (Book 4, Macsen's Treasure Series) by Kathleen Cunningham Guler (hc)
19. Pale Rose of England by Sandra Worth (pb)
20. The Rose of York: Love & War by Sandra Worth (pb)
21. A Dance of Manners (A Regency Anthology) by Susan Flanders, Cynthia Breeding, Kristi Ahlers, Gerri Bowen and Erin Hatton (pb)
22. The Book of Lost Fragrances by MJ Rose (hc)
23. The Sumerton Women by D.L. Bogdan (pb)
24.  Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (signed pb)
25.  The Master of Verona by David Blixt (hc)
26. Before Versailles by Karleen Koen (pb)
27. Four Sisters, All Queens by Sherry Jones (pb)
28. At the Mercy of the Queen by Anne Barnhill (pb)
29. What You Long For by Anne Barnhill (pb)
30. Cascade by Maryanne O'Hara (signed hc)
31. The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift (pb, UK edition)
32. The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman (signed pb)
33. The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd (pb, with Tower of London Tea Sachets)
 34. The Mischief of the Mistletoe (2 copies - 1 pb, 1 hc - both signed)
35. The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
36. The Secret History: A Novel of Empress Theodora by Stephanie Thornton (pb w/bookmark)
37. The King's Grace by Anne Easter Smith (pb)
38. Illuminations by Mary Sharratt (hc)
39. Selene of Alexandria by Faith L. Justice (2 copies - 1 pb, 1 eBook)
40. A Thing Done by Tinney Sue Heath (2 copies, pb)
41. Rebel Puritan by Jo Ann Butler (pb)
42. The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen (audio cd's)
43. By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan (2 copies, pb)
44. The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
45. Above All Things by Tanis Rideout (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
46. The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
47. Movement of Stars by Amy Brill (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
48. Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri (ARC, courtesy of Penguin Publishing)
49. The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry (hc)
50. The Virgin Queen's Daughter by Ella March Chase (pb)
51. Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase (pb)
52. Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn (pb)
53. The Forgotten Queen by D.L. Bogdan (ARC)
54. The Sign of the Weeping Virgin by Alana White
55. A Place Beyond Courage by Elizabeth Chadwick (pb)
56. The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau (signed pb)
57. Second Lisa by Veronica Knox

Enjoy and good luck!

December 7, 2012

The Perfect Hope by Nora Roberts (Inns Boonsboro #3)

Title: The Perfect Hope
Author:  Nora Roberts
Genre: Romance
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780425246047
Source: Bought
Published: Berkley - November 6, 2012
Synopsis of book: Ryder is the hardest Montgomery brother to figure out—with a tough-as-nails outside and possibly nothing too soft underneath. He’s surly and unsociable, but when he straps on a tool belt, no woman can resist his sexy swagger. Except apparently Hope Beaumont, the innkeeper of his own Inn BoonsBoro…
As the former manager of a D.C. hotel, Hope is used to excitement and glamour, but that doesn’t mean she can’t appreciate the joys of small-town living. She’s where she wants to be—except for in her love life. Her only interaction with the opposite sex has been sparring with the infuriating Ryder, who always seems to get under her skin. Still, no one can deny the electricity that crackles between them…a spark that ignited with a New Year’s Eve kiss.
While the Inn is running smoothly, thanks to Hope’s experience and unerring instincts, her big-city past is about to make an unwelcome—and embarrassing—appearance. Seeing Hope vulnerable stirs up Ryder’s emotions and makes him realize that while Hope may not be perfect, she just might be perfect for him…
Why I read this book: I am fan of Nora Roberts and have loved this series. I could not wait to read the last one in this series
What I didn’t like: I am sad that this series has ended
What I did like: I like that we learned more about Lizzy and Billy. I also liked how Hope and Ryder came together. I enjoyed reading how close this family is and their little part of the town.
Overall Impression: I can't say how much I loved this book. I wish it could have gone on a little longer though. Hope and Ryder are complete opposites but you know what they say opposites attract. It was fun to watch them dance around the fact that they were falling in love. I felt so bad for Hope when Johnathan came to Boonsboro and then his wife showed up and both tried to cause trouble for Hope. Hope is such a great person who did not deserve this but Ryder comes to her rescue. I think my favorite part of the book was Lizzy and Billy. I had tears in my eyes when Lizzy was telling her story to Hope. I loved how Lizzy and Hope were able to communicate with each other. It was cool the way Ryder could feel Billy. Their story really pulled my heartstrings. I loved the ending of this book it was very fitting but again wish it could have just went on a little longer. I recommend this whole series. 5 Stars for me. 

December 6, 2012

The Raven's Heart by Jesse Blackadder - plus Giveaway

Title: The Raven's Heart
Author:  Jesse Blackadder
Genre: Historical Fiction
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781612940274
Source: Review copy from publisher
Published: Bywater Books; Reprint edition (September 11, 2012)
Synopsis of book: Scotland, 1561, and a ship comes across the North Sea carrying home Mary, the young, charismatic Queen of Scots, returning after thirteen years in the French court to wrest back control of her throne.
The Blackadder family has long awaited for the Queen's return to bring them justice. Alison Blackadder, disguised as a boy from childhood to protect her from the murderous clan that stole their lands, must learn to be a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, building a web of dependence and reward.
Just as the Queen can trust nobody, Alison discovers lies, danger, and treachery at every turn.
This sweeping, imaginative, and original tale of political intrigue, misplaced loyalty, secret passion, and implacable revenge is based on real characters and events from the reign of Mary Queen of Scots.
Why I read this book: I was given this book by publisher for an honest review. I am also a fan of historical fiction and have not read many books about Mary Queen of Scots so it jumped out at me.
What I didn’t like: I am not sure I liked the lesbian aspect of this story but I understand that it had to be in there for the story. I know there was a lot of homosexual things that went on behind closed doors during that time period. 
What I did like: I like that this book was full of love, mystery, adventure, murder and a lot of history.
Overall Impression: This book was a fun one for me to read because as I said I have not read  much on Mary Queen of Scots so I was intrigued. I also found it neat/fun that the author's last name is the same as the main characters and the castle. I felt bad for Allison having to pretend she was a boy just to keep from being killed. Then she started being a girl again to become a lady in waiting and from then on she was living the life of both man and woman. I thought it was kind of cool the way Mary asked Allison to teach them how to dress as a man so she could have more freedom as well. I think the author did a good job of depicting the time period in her description. I give this book 4 stars.


This giveaway is for one copy of The Raven's Heart and is open internationally. The giveaway will be open until December 20th at midnight Eastern time.

To be entered into the giveaway I request that you be a follower and answer the question: Who is your favorite historical character?

November 29, 2012

The Captain's Bride by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Title: The Captain’s Bride (Northern Lights #1)
Author:  Lisa Tawn Bergren
Genre: Historical Fiction
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781578560134
Source: Review copy from Blogging for Books
Published: WaterBrook Press; Reprint edition (June 2, 2009)
Synopsis of book: Elsa Anders's dream of marrying Peder Ramstad is about to come true. But as this independent, strong-willed woman discovers her own creative gifts--a love for travel, painting, and the sea--can she find happiness with a captain who insists upon leaving her safely on shore?
Leaving their home in Norway behind, Elsa and Peder embark on a new life in  with their closest friends, including: Kaatje Jansen, a woman seeking a new beginning for the sake of her marriage and for the child growing within her; Elsa's sister Tora, a sly young vixen who knows exactly what she wants--and exactly how to get it; and Karl Martensen, a man torn between his friendship for Peder and a forbidden, secret love for Elsa, a man tormented by emotions that threaten to ruin them all.
From the gentle hills of Bergen, Norway, to the rocky coast of Camden, Maine, and across the crashing, danger-filled waves of the open sea--experience an epic saga of perseverance and passion, faith and fidelity, in the Northern Lights series: the historical series by Lisa Tawn Bergren
Why I read this book: I was given this book by Blogging for Books to read and give an honest review. I also enjoy historical fiction so the book stood out to me.
What I didn’t like: That now I have to buy the next in the series to continue on with this historical saga. Just kidding I know that is not a bad thing right.
What I did like: I enjoyed the time period of this book as that is one of my favorite times to read about. I also enjoyed that it starts out in Norway as I have a lot of Norwegian heritage and am always looking for books that take place there or have to do with Norwegians.
Overall Impression: This book is full of very strong characters. We start out in Norway and then journey over the high seas to the new land: America – to start life anew. I think the author did a good job of making the characters seem very real as they faced situations that happen in everyday life. One of my favorite characters was Tora – she knew what she wanted and she knew what she had to do to get it. I liked that she was so stubborn that she got on the boat even though she was told she could not go. It took me a short time to get into the book but once I got going it was hard to stop. I will continue on with this series so I can find out what happens next to this cast of characters. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review." I give this book 4 stars.

Here is a link for you to try out the first chapter of this book: Chapter 1 of The Captain's Bride

November 28, 2012

Fall of Giants by Ken Follett

Title: Fall of Giants
Author: Ken Follett
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought
Published: Signet (September 4, 2012)
Type: Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780451232854
Synopsis of Book: A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man’s world in the mining pits.…An American law student rejected in love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House.… A housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with a German spy.…And two orphaned Russian brothers embark on radically different paths when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution.
From the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty, Fall of Giants takes us into the inextricably entangled fates of five families—and into a century that we thought we knew, but that now will never seem the same again.…
Why I read this book: I really liked this author’s book: Pillars of the Earth and World Without End so I thought I would try this series as well.
What I liked: I liked the historical part of this book. I also really liked Ethel and Maud.
What I didn’t like: For me this book had some very dry parts and I wish it would have had just a little less in depth talk of the war and a little more about the characters lives.
Overall Impression: I was so looking forward to reading this book that when a friend mentioned reading it I said I will read it with you. Well I was disappointed in this book. To me there were quite a few dry spots. I liked that they talked about the war and I learned a lot about it but the way it was done was very hard for me to get thru at spots. I enjoyed reading about the characters. The author did a great job in making them seem real. My two favorites were Maud and Ethel. They were both very strong women in their own right. I liked how Ethel was able to rise from her “class” and get some things done for all women. I also liked Grigori – he was a very nice guy who just wanted to do right by everyone and his brother was horrible and kept causing problems for him. I also liked how Germany, England, America and Russia were all intertwined in the book and the author told how each country was involved in WWI and how things happened after the war. I am going to give this book 3 stars. 

November 27, 2012

Historical Holiday Blog Hop

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that I will be participating in the First Annual Historical Holiday Blog Hop that is being hosted by Amy at Passages to the Past. The blog hop will run from December 10-17th.

There are going to be giveaways on each stop of the hop with a grand prize of a $25 gift card. My personal giveaway is open to the US – please check back on the 10th to see which historical book I will be giving away to a lucky winner.

Be sure to check out the other great blogs that will also be participating. If you would like to join in on the fun and be a stop on the blog go to Passages to the Past link here and check it out. 

November 26, 2012

Scentsy Review

I had the pleasure of receiving a Scentsy plug in warmer from a new Scentsy Consultant named Melissa. I received the zebra print wall plug in warmer as my daughter is a big fan of zebra print and I wanted something for her room. I have to say I do like this new plug in much better than the older version. It it lighter and fits just right into the plug in and puts out just enough light to be used as a night light. 

We also got many of the new Scentsy fragrance bars. I must admit I have an addiction to Scentsy's fragrances - it seems I can never get enough. So far out of the ones we received we have tried Mandarian Moon and White Tea and Cactus. Both are very nice in their own right. I also got some Scentsy car fragrances. Today I put the Hemingway fragrance in my car and it smells wonderful. This is the first time I have used the car fragrance and I am happy with it. 

I encourage you to check out Melissa's Scentsy website site here and her facebook page here and get started on your holiday shopping for your family, friends and even yourself.

November 15, 2012

Twice a Bride by Mona Hodgson

Title: Twice a Bride
Author: Mona Hodgson
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Given to me to Blogging for Books
Published: Waterbrook Press, October 2, 2012
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780307730329
Synopsis of Book: 
Full of resolve, young widow Willow Peterson decides to pursue her dreams to be an artist as she settles into a new life in the growing mountain town of Cripple Creek. When she lands a job working as a portrait painter with handsome entrepreneur and photographer Trenton Van Der Veer, the road before Willow seems to be taking a better-than-anticipated turn.
With questions tugging at several hearts in town, including the Sinclair Sisters’ beloved Miss Hattie, change is traveling down the tracks as several unexpected visitors make their way out West. Will the new arrivals threaten the deep family bonds of the Sinclair sisters and the roots of love that are just taking hold for Willow?
Filled with the resonating questions that all women face, this romance awakens hope against grief, love against loss, and dreams against life’s unexpected turns.
Why I read this book: This book was given to me for a fair and honest review
What I liked: I liked the writing style of this author. I really like the town of Cripple Creek
What I didn't like: I don't like that this is the end of this series. It is one of those series you want to keep going.
Overall Impression: I like how the author brought two people who were struggling with grief in different ways together to help each other without them knowing it. This is the second book I have reviewed recently that the woman does a job that is not necessarily common to women of their time period and I enjoy that. I also like how it keeps with the story of the Sinclair sisters as well. I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this reviewI give this book 4 stars.

If you would like to read a sneak peak here is a link for you. Sneak Peek

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden

Title: Against the Tide
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Given to me to by publisher
Published: Bethany House, October 1, 2012
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780764210235
Synopsis of Book: After a childhood rampant with uncertainty, Lydia Pallas has carved out a perfect life for herself. She spends her days within sight of the bustling Boston Harbor, where her skill with languages has landed her an enviable position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.
Lydia's talents bring her to the attention of Alexander Banebridge, a mysterious man in need of a translator. Driven by a campaign to end the opium trade, Bane is coolly analytical and relentless in his quest. He cannot afford to fall for Lydia and must fight the bittersweet love growing between them.
When Bane's enemies gain the upper hand, he is forced to turn to Lydia for help. Determined to prove her worth, Lydia soon discovers that carrying out Bane's mission will test her wits and her courage to the very limits.
When forces conspire against them from without and within, can their love survive?
Why I read this book: This book was given to me for a fair and honest review by the publisher
What I liked: I liked the descriptions used in this book. They helped me to feel as if I was right there and could see what the characters saw. I also enjoyed Elizabeth's writing style.
What I didn't like: I can't really think of anything I did not like about this book other than that was a big issue with opium at that time period.  
Overall Impression: I loved Lydia from page one in this book. I like how Elizabeth gave life to a female character that was well educated, knew many languages and worked with the Navy at a time when women were usually considered to be not smart and only good for cooking, cleaning and raising kids. I also really liked how there is such detail about the opium trade and all that went along with it. I also liked how there was a little mention of Elizabeth's two previous books in this book. Another thing I found enjoyable was how Lydia and Bane played off of each other and how Lydia found herself falling for him as she was helping him to translate documents. This book grabbed me from page one. I can't wait for the next book by Elizabeth. I give it 5 stars.  

Unending Devotion by Jody Hedlund

Title: Unending Devotion
Author: Jody Hedlund
Genre: Christian Fiction
Source: Given to me to by publisher
Published: Bethany House, September 1, 2012
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780764208348
Synopsis of Book: Michigan, 1883
In Her Darkest Hours, Is He the Man She Needs?
Lily Young longs to find her lost sister or will die trying. Heedless of any danger, she searches logging camps and towns, posing as a photographer's assistant. And then she arrives in Harrison, Michigan--and the sights of Connell McCormick.
Connell is determined to increase the fortune of his lumber-baron father and figures as long as he's living an upright life, that's what matters. But when Lily arrives in town she upends his world, forcing him to confront the truth that dangerous men have gained too much power while good men turn a blind eye.
Vexing but persuasive, Lily soon secures Connell's help, drawing them ever closer to each other. Will standing for what's right cost them both everything?
Why I read this book: This book was given to me for a fair and honest review by the publisher
What I liked: I liked the time period in which this book was set as well as the area. I have not read too many books set in Michigan. I also liked the main character Lily.
What I didn't like: I did not like some of the town's people and how they lured young women into a trade that was not nice or safe for women. I also did not like Tierney as he was not a nice person.  
Overall Impression: Again Jody did not disappoint me. I enjoy reading her books as they have a way a grabbing my attention and make me want to keep reading until the book is done. This was an interesting subject matter that is kind of hard to approach in a mild manner but it was done here. I like the way Lily got Connell to see that even though he was not a part of what was happening it was still not right by doing nothing about it and how he came around. I know this profession happened a lot in that time period but is just not usually mentioned, what a way to bring awareness. This book was full of romance, emotion, and forgiveness. Thank you Bethany House for letting me read this book. I give this book 5 stars.

November 7, 2012

The Summer Before the Storm by Gabriele Wills (Plus Giveaway)

Title: The Summer Before the Storms
Author: Gabriele Wills
Genre: Fiction
Source: Given to me to by publisher
Published: Mind Shadows, October 19, 2006
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 0973278021
Synopsis of Book: Muskoka, 1914. It is the Age of Elegance in the summer playground of the affluent and powerful. Amid the pristine, island-dotted lakes, the granite cliffs, and pine-scented forests of the Canadian wilderness, the young and carefree amuse themselves with glittering balls, lavish picnics, and friendly competitions. But their charmed lives begin to unravel with the onset of the Great War, in which many are destined to become part of the lost generation . <P>This richly textured tale takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from romantic moonlight cruises to the horrific sinking of the Lusitania, genteel Muskoka to wartime Britain, regattas on the water to combat in the skies over France, extravagant mansions to deadly trenches: from innocence to nationhood. 
Why I read this book: This book was given to me for a fair and honest review by the publisher
What I liked: I liked the characters in this book. The author did a good job of making them believable. I also liked the summer setting of the book, I think that would have been a nice place to spend your summers.

What I didn't like: I don't usually read books set in this time period but I wanted to give this one a try and go in with an open mind. This time period is just not my cup of tea.

Overall Impression: I liked that the author took the time to do her research when writing this book, to me that makes the book more interesting and real. It really showed in all the details. Another thing I enjoyed was reading about the war from the Canadians point of view. I think it was nice to get a different prespective on things. The title of the book really sums up the whole story - the characters are enjoying their summer and then comes the storm in the form of the war and the sinking of the Lusitania. I liked how we had a bit of romance - a bit of war - a bit of history - a bit of adventure all rolled into one. My favorite character in this book was Victoria. She was a strong willed person who does what she wants and is not afraid of what others think of her. I am glad I had the chance to read this book and enjoyed it. 3 Stars.

Giveaway: I am hosting a giveaway for this book. The giveaway is for one copy of the book in print, Kindle or Kobo. Winners in the U.S. or Canada will receive their choice. International winners will receive the Kindle version. The drawing for this giveaway will be open until November 16th at midnight eastern time. To be entered in this giveaway you must be a follower of my blog. Please leave a comment and your email address for me to contact you if you win. You have 48 hours to respond to the email after I send it to you or another winner will be drawn.

November 5, 2012

The Lincoln Conspiracy by Timothy L. O'Brien (Plus Giveaway)

Title: The Lincoln Conspiracy
Author: Timothy L. O'Brien
Genre: Historical Thriller
Source: Given to me by Publisher
Published: Ballantine Books - September 18, 2012
Type: Hardback
ISBN: 9780345496775
Synopsis of Book: In late spring of 1865, as America mourns the death of its leader, Washington, D.C., police detective Temple McFadden makes a startling discovery. Strapped to the body of a dead man at the B&O Railroad station are two diaries, two documents that together reveal the true depth of the Lincoln conspiracy. Securing the diaries will put Temple's life in jeopardy--and will endanger the fragile peace of a nation still torn by war.
Temple's quest to bring the conspirators to justice takes him on a perilous journey through the gaslit streets of the Civil War-era capital, into bawdy houses and back alleys where ruthless enemies await him in every shadowed corner. Aided by an underground network of friends--and by his wife, Fiona, a nurse who possesses a formidable arsenal of medicinal potions--Temple must stay one step ahead of Lafayette Baker, head of the Union Army's spy service. Along the way, he'll run from or rely on Edwin Stanton, Lincoln's fearsome secretary of war; the legendary Scottish spymaster Allan Pinkerton; abolitionist Sojourner Truth; the photographer Alexander Gardner; and many others.
Bristling with twists and building to a climax that will leave readers gasping, The Lincoln Conspiracy offers a riveting new account of what truly motivated the assassi
Why I Read This Book:  I like historical books and this one looked like a good one to me and I was asked to review it.
What I liked: I liked the historical parts of this book as well as the detail that the author put into this book. The way the characters were used and described was good as well. It was like you were right there with them.
What I didn't Liked: That is was so good I could not put it down and wanted to stay up late to finish it, I know not a bad thing right.
Overall Impression: I am glad that I was given this book to review. I loved the history in this book as well as the conspiracy theory behind Lincoln's death. There were twists and turns that kept me from putting the book down. I loved Temple McFadden and his wife Fiona. Imagine if the diaries were true how history could have been re-written. Another thing I liked is that the women in the book seemed like strong people. I enjoy when there are strong women in books. I look forward to reading more by this author. If you are a lover of history and mystery then this book is for you. 5 Stars.  

Here is a link to the blog tour for this book: The Lincoln Conspiracy Blog Tour Link

Giveaway: I am hosting a giveaway for this book for US only. The giveaway is for one copy of the book in print. The drawing for this giveaway will be open until November 12th at midnight eastern time. To be entered in this giveaway you must be a follower of my blog. Please leave a comment and your email address for me to contact you if you win. You have 48 hours to respond to the email after I send it to you or another winner will be drawn.

October 15, 2012

One For the Money by Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum #1)

Title: One For the Money
Author: Janet Evanovich
Genre:  Mystery
Source: Bought
Published: St. Martin's Griffin, November 22, 2011
Type: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312600730
Synopsis of Book: Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, home to wiseguys, average Joes, and Stephanie Plum, who sports a big attitude and even bigger money problems (since losing her job as a lingerie buyer for a department store). Stephanie needs cash—fast—but times are tough, and soon she’s forced to turn to the last resort of the truly desperate: family.
Stephanie lands a gig at her sleazy cousin Vinnie’s bail bonding company. She’s got no experience. But that doesn’t matter. Neither does the fact that the bail jumper in question is local vice cop Joe Morelli. From the time he first looked up her dress to the time he first got into her pants, to the time Steph hit him with her father’s Buick, M-o-r-e-l-l-i has spelled t-r-o-u-b-l-e. And now the hot guy is in hot water—wanted for murder.
Abject poverty is a great motivator for learning new skills, but being trained in the school of hard knocks by people like psycho prizefighter Benito Ramirez isn’t. Still, if Stephanie can nab Morelli in a week, she’ll make a cool ten grand. All she has to do is become an expert bounty hunter overnight—and keep herself from getting killed before she gets her man
Why I Read This Book:  This book was recommended to me by a friend.
What I liked: I liked how this book kept you on the edge of your seat until the very end. I also liked how the characters seemed real to me.
What I didn't Liked: I did not like Benito - he was not a nice person and seemed to only want to hurt women.
Overall Impression: I am glad I read this book. I am not a fast reader but I read this book in a day and a half which is fast for me. I could not put it down. One minute I was scared for Stephanie, then sad for her, and then cheering her on. Poor Stephanie has lost her job and is out of money but rather than run to her parents or giving up she chooses to take a job with her cousin. It was fun but scary at times to watch Stephanie learn how to become a bounty hunter. She made some mistakes got knocked around a little but in the end did a good job. I loved Stephanie's grandma she seems like a hoot, we don't see much of Stephanie's family but they seem like a close family what little we did see. I liked how Joe and Stephanie play off each other and he kept her on her toes and would not "let" her bring him in to collect her money. I wonder if we will see more of them together in the future? I would like to see the movie now but am afraid I would be disappointed as I enjoyed the book that much. I will be continuing on with the series in the future. 5 Stars. 

October 14, 2012

Red Velvet Revenge by Jenn McKinlay (Cupcake Bakery Mystery #4)

Title: Red Velvet Revenge
Author: Jenn McKinlay
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Source: Bought
Published: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery, July 3, 2012
Type:  Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780425251386
Synopsis of Book: It may be summertime, but sales at Fairy Tale Cupcakes are below zero--and owners Melanie Cooper and Angie DeLaura are willing to try anything to heat things up. So when local legend Slim Hazard offers them the chance to sell cupcakes at the annual Juniper Pass rodeo, they're determined to rope in a pretty payday!
But not everyone at the Juniper Pass is as sweet for Fairy Tale Cupcakes as Slim--including star bull-rider Ty Stokes. Mel and Angie try to steer clear of the cowboy's short fuse, but when his dead body is found face down in the hay, it's a whole different rodeo.
With a vengeful murderer on the loose, the ladies are quickly realizing that while they came to save their business, they may have to save themselves--and that's no bull.
Why I Read This Book: I have have kept up with this series and read it for a cozy challenge I am doing
What I liked: I continue to like how close the girls are and how they have become close with Oz and Marty as well. I kind of like the Rodeo theme to this book.
What I didn't Liked: Even though I liked the Rodeo theme, I was not sure I liked it for this book. I like when they are in their town and the murder happens.
Overall Impression: I overall enjoyed this book, but still am not sure what I think of a Rodeo owner just happening by them and asking them to sell cupcakes at the rodeo when he just met them and how close they became so fast. I still love the whole cupcake theme and loved how they added the cupcake pops into this story since they are the new rage in cupcakes. I don't want to give away any spoilers but I loved the end of the book and what a way to end it and make us wait for the next one. I thought I had the killer pegged but ended up being totally wrong and never saw real killer coming. This was a fast read for me and glad I read it. I am going to give this one 4 stars. 

October 9, 2012

Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr (Virgin River # 11)


Title: Moonlight Road
Author: Robyn Carr
Genre: Romane
Source: Borrowed from the library
Published: Mira, March 1, 2010
Type:  Mass Market Paperback
ISBN: 9780778327684
Synopsis of Book:
With her beloved younger siblings settled and happy, Erin Foley has empty nest syndrome. At age thirty-five. So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded—she's not into roughing it) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself…not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.
In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race—her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer…if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.
But maybe it's something in the water—unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River…helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.
Why I Read This Book: I have been reading this entire series with a friend just for the enjoyment of them.
What I liked: I liked how this book had just a little bit of action/mystery of something from the past for Aiden. I also enjoy the books so much that I can't put them down.
What I didn't Liked: There is nothing that I don't like about the whole Virgin River series other than the time it takes me to get to the next one.
Overall Impression: I like that Aiden was brought back to be a major character in this book and tells his story. Maureen and George are so cute as an older couple in love. Art also plays a big part in this book and he finds his friend from his group home, I like that we saw him a little more. As always we have a little romance and a baby or two being born, a little sadness and some new friends but it would not be Virgin River without all of this, that is part of what draws you into each book. I enjoyed how the book ended and am looking forward to reading the next one. 5 Stars.