Thursday, January 31, 2013

Safe in His Arms

Safe in His Arms
Under Texas Stars, #2
Colleen Coble
(Thomas Nelson)
ISBN: 978-1595549143
January 2013/320 pages/$15.99

Sometimes it takes a stranger to see you as you really are.

Born and raised on sprawling Texas land, Margaret O’Brien prides herself on her competence as a rancher. But her father believes she’s made for more than just dawn-to-dusk work. He wants her to have the love of a good man, to raise children, to build a life. But Margaret gave up such dreams years ago. She’s convinced no man would have her, that the ranch is her life now.

So when Margaret’s father hires Daniel Cutler as a new foreman, she’s frustrated and suspicious. Then an overheard conversation links him with a gang of bank robbers, and she’s downright worried. Daniel swears he’s not involved, but Margaret’s not convinced. She knows the man still has secrets. But would a criminal be so kind and talk so convincingly of his faith? As a series of tragic “accidents” threatens all she holds dear, Margaret must decide what to trust: her own ears, her best judgment . . . or what her heart keeps telling her.

From the author of the best-selling Blue Moon Promise . . . an exciting tale of danger, romance, and faith played out under Texas stars.


Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at


Oh. My. I loved this book. Colleen Coble has personified the struggle of many women in the portrayal of Margaret O'Brien - a woman who saw herself as the wrong height, unattractive, never measuring up, and certainly not desirable to a man looking for a wife. Her insecurity and her efforts to prove herself were heart-wrenching to observe, and her longing for unconditional love will strike a chord with any reader, for that is the desire of every human heart. Coble is an expert at blending romance and mystery and developing characters with real-life issues that are as relevant today as they were in the historical setting of her novels. A stand-alone sequel to Blue Moon Promise (which I reviewed here) Safe in His Arms will delight your heart and encourage you as well. Highly recommended!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Colleen Coble gave me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Super Wednesday Hodgepodge

It's time once again to join Joyce for the Hodgepodge. This is one of my favorite parts of the week. It's always fun to see what questions she comes up with. Join in the fun - after you leave a comment here, of course!

1. In the USA this coming Sunday millions will be watching as the Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49's in the Superbowl. What was the last event you attended that could be described as super?

The Christy Awards. I still can't believe I've gotten to attend two times. Talk about a dream event for a lover of Christian fiction!

2. Share something you're a fan of these days?

Dark chocolate-covered almonds and dark chocolate-covered coffee beans.

3. How do you feel about wings? In case anyone is confused, I'm talking the edible appetizer kind. What's your preferred seasoning on a wing-hot, mild, teryiaki, sweet and sour, other? Do you make your own or is there a favorite place you like to go for wings?

I've hated wings ever since I was a kid.

4. As long as we're talking sports today...have you followed the Lance Armstrong story? Did you watch his interview with Oprah and if so what was your reaction to his confession and subsequent remarks?.

Since he's right here in Central Texas, it's kinda hard not to follow Lance. I watched most of the interview with Oprah. I've had a burden for years for him to find Jesus. After his battle with cancer, an interviewer asked him if he thought God had healed him and he was very dismissive. I grieved for him then and I grieve for him now. But I don't think God is finished with him yet, although if he continues to reject Christ, he may lose his chances. His ex-wife, Kristin, is a strong Christian and he has a lot of respect for her, and she still influences him.

As far as the sincerity of his confession, I don't think he has the ability to be completely sincere until he is willing to listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

5. What's a question you hate to be asked?

What's your favorite book?

6. The coaches in this Sunday's big game happen to be real life brothers. Jim Harbaugh coaches the 49er's and his older brother John Harbaugh coaches the Baltimore Ravens. Were you and your sibling(s) competitive? In what way? Are you still? If you're an only child how did you handle competition growing up?

Oh yes. I was competitive with them always trying to "catch" up because they were so much older. Then one sister and I were always hugely competitive in Scrabble. I've really missed our games since she's developed Alzheimer's Disease. And while I've mellowed some, I still love to win games! But how competitive I am depends on who I'm playing.

7. What's your favorite game involving a ball and when did you last play?

Jacks - and the last time was probably with my girl when she was in elementary - or maybe middle - school! I am sooo not athletic and try to avoid games with balls!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Painting is not my forte. The other gals from our church staff had a "girls day out" yesterday at a local art studio. It's one of those places where the instructor demonstrates step by step as you each paint the same picture on your canvas. Our "assignment" was to paint three sunflowers - a larger focal one and then two partial ones off to the sides and bottoms of the canvas. My three looked more like a sunflower, a bunch of bananas, and a flame.

Words are my friends. Paints, notsomuch.


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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Tenth Plague - Interview & Review

The Tenth Plague
Adam Blumer
(Kirkdale Press)
ISBN: 978-1-57799-524-1
January 29, 2013/Ebook/$7.49

Water turns to blood. Flies and gnats attack the innocent. Marc and Gillian Thayer’s vacation resort becomes a grisly murder scene, with a killer using the ten plagues of Egypt as his playbook for revenge.

When their friend turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of a retired homicide detective, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity. Meanwhile, a stranger is after the Thayers’ newly adopted baby. Will they uncover the truth behind the bitter agenda before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn son?

Available at:
Amazon for Kindle
Barnes & Noble for Nook


Adam Blumer is the author of Fatal Illusions (Kregel Publications) and The Tenth Plague (Kirkdale Press). A print journalism major in college, he works as a freelance writer and editor after serving in editorial roles for more than twenty years. He lives in Michigan's Upper Peninsula with his wife, Kim, and his daughters, Laura and Julia.

Connect with Adam Blumer:


Adam Blumer's first novel kept me glued to the page (my review of Fatal Illusions is here) and The Tenth Plague is gripping as well. Although Marc & Gillian Thayer, whose story was the focus of Fatal Illusions, are the main characters in this novel as well, this book can be read as a stand-alone and is only loosely connected to the first. Blumer expertly weaves multiple threads together to create a tale rife with suspense and tension. The past and the present collide on more than one level as the Old Testament plagues are visited on a contemporary setting and as individuals deal with issues from their own pasts. More than simply a thrilling read, The Tenth Plague contains solid Biblical themes that will both challenge and encourage the reader.

The publisher and author have provided some additional information with this interview with Adam Blumer:

What was your inspiration behind The Tenth Plague?

One day I was reading the book of Revelation and came across 22:18–19. “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (ESV). My mind began playing the “what if” game. Would God really bring a biblical plague on someone who tampered with His Word? I chatted with a few theologian friends, and the plot emerged from there.

How does this novel compare with your first novel, Fatal Illusions?

Though the plot, of course, is different, the two novels share a number of similarities. Both are set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where I live. I like to write about average folks like Marc and Gillian Thayer, a pastor and his wife who face unexpected, even threatening, events. Of course, there’s another really bad killer who wants to do them harm, and their retired homicide detective friend, Chuck Riley, once again comes out of retirement to help them. I also like to weave in a historical event that somehow relates to the present day. In Fatal Illusions, it was the killer’s obsession with Houdini; in The Tenth Plague, an old mine disaster plays an important role. The past always plays an important role in the present—a running theme in my novels. Overall, I like to write about redemption: how biblical truth offers the answers to the complicated issues of life. Stories, like parables, present some of the best ways to illustrate biblical truths.

What was one of the most important lessons you learned during the writing of this novel?

The power of the collaborative process. I had a fairly strong first draft, but I was stuck. A novel editor provided a creative springboard and helped me see where my true story lay. Without her help, I doubt this story would have seen the light of day.

What part of writing this novel took the most work?

This novel required a ton of research. From an old mining tragedy to autism, from adoption law to anthrax, from pheromones to the Oklahoma City bombing, the research for this one required much more than I ever expected. I’m so thankful for technology and ease of access, thanks to the Internet. Without Google and so many resources at my fingertips, I’d probably still be researching this story.

So far, what has been your favorite work experience in life?

During one summer between years in high school, I worked at a library, a book lover’s paradise. Granted, a lot of the work involved stocking shelves, but being surrounded by so many fascinating books and interesting authors was pure heaven. I was born a die-hard book lover, and I’ll probably die one too.

Consider the qualities that make you unique. How do these qualities come out in your writing?

I love suspense fiction and history, so a blending of the two always seems to come out in my writing. In high school, I won awards in calligraphy; Gillian Thayer, my female lead, is into calligraphy in a big way (it’s her job). I’ve always been intrigued with how one’s past impacts his or her present and future. This is a recurring theme in my novels because it’s part of who I am. Now that I think about it, what I write is inseparable to some degree from who I am.

Introduce your plot summary and main characters. What is your favorite part of the story?
Water turns to blood. Flies and gnats attack the innocent. Marc and Gillian Thayer’s vacation resort becomes a grisly murder scene, with a killer using the ten plagues of Egypt as his playbook for revenge.

When their friend turns up dead, Marc and Gillian put their vacation on hold, enlist the help of a retired homicide detective, and take a closer look at the bizarre plagues as they escalate in intensity. Meanwhile, a stranger is after the Thayers’ newly adopted baby. Will they uncover the truth behind the bitter agenda before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn son?
My favorite part is when the firstborn son is revealed and the novel culminates in the tenth plague. This is the most suspenseful and action-packed part of the story, with several key characters in jeopardy. I had a blast writing it.

One of the main themes of The Tenth Plague is confronting and dealing with your past. What can readers take away from this theme, especially in a novel that deals with religion and death?

Both the villain and my heroine, Gillian Thayer, grapple with heartbreaking real-life issues from their past. But how they respond shows two very different paths. My hope is that readers will see the stark contrast in the context of biblical truth presented in the story. The bottom line is that God is enough, and He offers the solution to every problem of life. This is another repeated theme in my stories.

What are two things about you people might find surprising?

I took lessons to play the accordion in junior high and high school (wanna hear a polka?). When I was a tween, I was a ventriloquist and had a dummy named Andy. I used to entertain the younger kids in children’s church with routines I made up.

How did you meet your wife? I understand it’s an amazing story.

In the spring of 1995, still single and disillusioned with dating, I gave up on the idea of dating anyone ever again. I decided to go on a trip to the Holy Land as sort of a spiritual pilgrimage; I wanted to meditate on God and see what He wanted to show me about Himself. Wouldn’t you know it? What I least expected happened. At the Boston airport, I met Kim, a gorgeous brunette (her church group met mine) who’d brought the same novel to read on the airplane, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. No kidding. Then at London’s Heathrow Airport, the ticket person thought she and I were a couple and put us together on the all-night flight to Tel Aviv. Kim didn’t care for her sardines, so I ate them. The relationship appeared to be promising. To cut to the chase, we chatted in Jericho, conversed in Nazareth, and talked nonstop in Jerusalem. On the way home I sat beside her on the plane. A few weeks later, I visited her in Milwaukee and met her parents. By New Year’s, we were engaged. Pretty amazing, huh? I now tell singles not to look for a marriage partner. Seek God, and He’ll put you on a collision course if marriage is His plan for you.

Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my latest project.

Some content used by permission of Kirkdale Press

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Adam Blulmer and Kirkdale Press as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, January 28, 2013

Ashton Park

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Ashton Park
Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2013)
Murray Pura


Murray Pura was born and raised in Manitoba, just north of Minnesota and the Dakotas. He has published several novels and short story collections in Canada, and has been short-listed for a number of awards. His first books to be published in the United States are the inspirational works Rooted and Streams (both by Zondervan in 2010). His first novel to debut in the USA is A Bride’s Flight from Virginia City, Montana (Barbour), which was released January 2012. The second, The Wings of Morning, will be published by Harvest House on February 1. Both of these novels center around the Amish of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.


For fans of the hugely popular Downton Abbey series, comes this equally enthralling story of the Danforth family of Ashton Park.

Among the green hills and trees of Lancashire, only a few miles from the sea, lies the beautiful and ancient estate of Ashton Park.

The year is 1916.  The First World War has engulfed Europe and Sir William's and Lady Elizabeth's three sons are all in uniform--and their four daughters are involved in various pursuits of the heart and soul.

As the head of a strong Church of England family for generations, Sir William insists the Danforth estate hold morning devotions that include both family and staff. However, he is also an MP and away at Westminster in London whenever Parliament is sitting. During his long absences, Lady Elizabeth discreetly spends time in the company of the head cook of the manor, Mrs. Longstaff, who is her best friend and confidante. This friendship includes visits to a small Baptist church in Liverpool that exposes Lady Elizabeth to a less formal approach to Christian worship and preaching than she is used to and which she comes to enjoy.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Ashton Park, go HERE.


I may be one of the few people who has never watched Downton Abbey, so I can't speak to the claims that this novel will appeal to fans of that popular show. However, I can say that Ashton Park is a mesmerizing and thoroughly enjoyable read! I was immediately swept away to England in the early days of the twentieth century and the estate of the large and quite wealthy Danforth family. Murray Pura has penned a fascinating saga of the complexities of life and relationships, the rules regarding what was proper and what was deemed off-limits - especially regarding the suitability of potential spouses for the seven Danforth children - and the contradictory power that the below-stairs servants wielded. Amidst the backdrop of World War I and the Irish uprisings, the family must cope with the anxiety of sons at battle and cables bearing uncertain news, all while Sir Danforth serves as a Member of Parliament and tries to maintain his political, familial, and religious leadership. Through it all, the meaning of faith and its impact on every aspect of life challenges family members in new and unexpected ways. Ashton Park is a must-read for anyone who loves that period of history.


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Friday, January 25, 2013

No Better Way to Kick off the Weekend!

This is one of the songs from Chris Tomlin's new Burning Lights CD, which debuted two weeks ago and immediately soared to #1 on the Billboard charts. I love hymns, and this is absolutely an incredible arrangement that he sings with Kari Jobe.

What a great way to start the weekend!


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Thursday, January 24, 2013

What You Need to Know about Healing

What You Need to Know about Healing
A Physical and Spiritual Guide

Harold J Sala
(B&H Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1-4336-7889-9
January 2013/230 pages/$14.99

Is the Great Physician Still Practicing?

Harold J. Sala Says Yes in What You Need to Know about Healing

“Where is God in my need, my pain, and my need for healing in my broken life?” It’s a question that Harold Sala is familiar with as he encounters believers and seekers through venues such as his ministry Guidelines International, Inc. Sala, founder and president of the ministry which is dedicated to communicating the ministry of Christ, also hosts the “Guidelines” radio commentary which is heard on over 1000 radio stations worldwide, as well as translated into more than 15 languages.

Combining careful research, biblical narratives, and personal stories of physical and spiritual healing, internationally known Bible teacher and counselor Dr. Harold Sala points to how trusting God yields lasting and eternal rewards in What You Need to Know About Healing. While no one is promised tomorrow, you will receive true encouragement for whatever circumstance may be yours, and you will better understand the compas- sionate nature of our Heavenly Father and how to find healing His way.

“God touches some individuals in a supernatural manner and brings immediate healing. There are times, however, when God works through the hands of skilled physicians. Then there are times when, for reasons we may never understand, God blesses some with suffering, allowing them to taste of His presence and goodness, transforming pain into purpose,” Sala shares in What You Need to Know about Healing.

Chapters include “Is the Great Physician Still Practicing?” “Jehovah Rapha (the God Who Heals) in the Old Testament,” “Healings that Defy Rationale,” and “Redemptive Healing--Transforming Pain into a Life Purpose.”

This dynamic resource is suitable for those who need physical or spiritual healing as well as for their family members, friends, caregivers, and other health or ministry professionals.


Harold J. Sala is founder and president of Guidelines International, Inc., a ministry communicating the message of Jesus Christ so that people come to faith in the Lord and believers are discipled and strengthened. Sala has written dozens of books and is the featured speaker on “Guidelines: A Five-Minute Commentary on Living,” a daily radio program broadcast on 1,000+ radio stations worldwide and translated into more than 15 languages.


As a nurse and one who serves my church as care minister, as well as one who has known friends and loved ones who have suffered a variety of moderate to severe illnesses, I was intrigued by the description of this book. Harold J. Sala discusses healing as it occurred within both the Old and New Testaments, in the days after the New Testament ends, and in modern times both in the USA and around the world. He addresses why believers are so hesitant to believe that God heals today and also points out how the gift of healing has been misused and misunderstood. One thing I particularly appreciated was his acknowledgement of the different ways that God may manifest healing in a person's life: immediate/supernatural healing, integrative healing (healing through physicians and medical science, redemptive healing (spiritual blessing in the midst of suffering, turning pain into purpose), and ultimate healing (through death). Anecdotes of each of these types of healing are shared throughout the book. Accounts of entire families coming to know Christ because of a miraculous healing demonstrate that God's ultimate purpose is to bring glory to Himself and to turn hearts toward Him. This is not a quick read or a how-to book to guarantee a desired outcome but a thought-provoking book that mature believers will want to read and ponder.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H Publishing and The B&B Media Group as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Silent Wednesday Hodgepodge

Joyce has lost her voice and can't talk. Fortunately, she can type so the Hodgepodge is up and running today! Leave a comment here and then head on over to Joyce's blog to join the fun and tell her to feel better quickly! No germs allowed in cyberspace!

1. The popular saying, 'All is fair in love and war' is originally credited to English writer John Lyly. Is he right?

Not even a little bit. That's just a rationalization for bad behavior.

2. Are you a cereal eater? What's your favorite kind?

I eat a bowl every morning because it's quick and easy, not because I'm that huge of a fan. Right now I like Cascadian Farms Hearty Morning Fiber.

3. A five year old in Pennsylvania was recently given a ten day school suspension for talking with a friend about shooting one another with a Hello Kitty Bubble gun (the gun blows bubbles). She did not have the gun with her at school.

A psychological evaluation was also ordered and the incident was recorded on her permanent record. The suspension was later reduced to two days and her parents are suing to have the incident removed from her file. Your thoughts? (If you missed the story click here for details).

Did these people not ever play Cowboys and Native Americans (!) when they were kids?! Next are we going to ban water guns? Puh-lease.

4. Whatever happened to_____________________________?

Common sense! (see #3 above)

5. January 23rd is National Handwriting Day, billed as a day to reacquaint yourself with a pen and pencil. Do you like your handwriting? Do you prefer to print or write in cursive? This date was chosen because it's the birthdate of John Hancock. What's the last thing you signed your name to?

I like my handwriting when I take the time to make it neat. Mine is sort of a combination of printing and cursive. Because I hate the cursive "r" and "s", among other letters. And upper case F.

The last place I signed my name was paperwork at a lab.

6. Speaking of John Hancock...ever been to Philadelphia? Do you have any desire to visit the city of Brotherly Love?

Never been. Not really on my list.

7. Share something funny you've heard a child say.

Years ago we had a firetruck themed party for my boy's third birthday. Our local fire department actually sent a truck out and the fireman put on his gear and explained it to the kids. They said they like doing that sort of thing to help the kids get used to the firefighters in their masks and helmets so they won't be so scared of them if they have to be rescued. They would have given my boy a ride in the fire truck but he was a bit shy. (It was a small family party with about 3 other families who had kids his age. You should have seen the dads' expressions when they found out a fire truck was on its way!)

ANYWAY, a week or two after the party my boy was playing and he had an airplane in his hand and he stretched his arm up to "fly" the airplane in for a landing and I heard him say, "And when I have my airplane birthday party, the airplane will land on my street."

Moral: Be careful what you start!

8. Insert your own random thought here.

Addendum to #4 Whatever happened to proper etiquette?

There's been a lot of speculation about what caused Michelle Obama to roll her eyes during the inauguration lunch on Monday.

What no one seems to have noticed or pointed out was that the First Lady had her left elbow on the table while she was eating those last few bites.

Now I'm not a snooty prim and proper Southern belle, but I was taught proper manners. And your behavior at a major event is not the same as it would be at a casual meal at home or a friend's house.

Somehow, I can't quite picture Laura Bush, Nancy Reagan--or to be bipartisan, Lady Bird Johnson or Jackie Kennedy--in that same scenario. Either the elbows or the eye rolling.

But then they probably wouldn't have pointed out someone else's faux pas on their blog either. LOL


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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mystery of the Heart

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Mystery of the Heart
Realms (January 8, 2013)
Jillian Kent


Jillian Kent is a busy writer and the alter ego of Jill Nutter, a full-time counselor.

Jill spent the first semester of her senior year of college at Oxford studying British Literature, where she fell in love with England. During this season, she came to appreciate the written word, the rich imagery of romantic poetry like The Highwayman, and historical novels of many types, including Jane Austen and all things Regency.

Jill received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bethany College in West Virginia, and her Masters Degree in Social Work from WVU, and she brings her fascination with different cultures and societies into her writing.

Jill has always been a romantic at heart, so readers will find a good dose of romance woven through each of her novels. Jill, her husband Randy, and children Katie and Meghan are animal lovers. They currently own two dogs, Boo-Boo and Bandit and a menagerie of cats, Lucky, Yuma, Snow, and Holden. Critters of all assortments make their appearance in her stories.


Lord Eden is intrigued when he discovers Lady Mercy Grayson’s secret, but how can he hope to gain her heart when he is forced to betray her?

Lady Mercy Grayson longs be a physician like her big brother, Devlin, Lord Ravensmoore. However, society would never tolerate a female physician, let alone one who is a noblewoman. So Mercy takes matters into her own hands, disguising herself as a man to get through medical school. But then a male colleague discovers her secret, which is only the beginning of Mercy’s problems that could destroy her dreams forever.

The Prince Regent is awaiting the return of Vincent St. Lyons, Lord Eden, whom he sent on a secret voyage to locate and bring back a relic that some believe possesses the power to heal. St. Lyons discovers Mercy washed up on England’s shore upon his return and agrees to give her safe passage to London aboard a ship of men practicing African Vodun. Both must face treacherous circumstances, difficult decisions, and a growing attraction to one another that could forever change the course of their lives.

As the final installment in the series, the theme of this book is God’s plans for our lives. “Whatever the hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might” (Eccles. 9:10).

If you would like to read the first chapter of Mystery of the Heart, go HERE.


I don't know how I missed the first two books in this series, but I'm glad this one crossed my path. Mystery of the Heart contains many of the elements that I love in a story: a bit of danger, a damsel in distress who is more capable than society will allow her to be (not to mention her big brother!), a dashing hero, an intriguing mystery, and the battle between faith and superstitious beliefs. Wrap it all up in the societal mores of the Regency era and I was captivated from the opening paragraphs! I'm adding Jillian Kent to my list of authors to watch, and I'll be looking for an opportunity to catch up on the first two books to learn more about Lady Mercy's brother and sister.


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Monday, January 21, 2013

Coming Soon!

Here are a few books coming in the next few weeks. I'll be reviewing some of them; others, I'm still hoping to get my hands on because they are by authors whose books I've loved in the past! Love these covers and the anticipation of such great stories!

Siri Mitchell
(Bethany House)

The Icecutter's Daughter
Tracie Peterson
(Bethany House)

Moonlight Masquerade
Ruth Axtell

Picture Perfect
Janice Thompson

Secretly Smitten
Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, Denise Hunter
(Thomas Nelson)

When the Heart Heals
Ann Shorey

All for a Song
Allison Pittman

Wings of Glass
Gina Holmes


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Friday, January 18, 2013

The Tutor's Daughter

The Tutor's Daughter
Julie Klassen
(Bethany House Publishers)
ISBN: 978-0764210693
January 2013/416 pages/$14.99

Filled with page-turning suspense, The Tutor’s Daughter takes readers to the windswept Cornwall coast–a place infamous for shipwrecks and superstitions–where danger lurks, faith is tested, and romance awaits.

Emma Smallwood, determined to help her widowed father when his boarding school fails, accompanies him to the cliff-top manor of a baronet and his four sons. But soon after they arrive and begin teaching the two younger boys, mysterious things begin to happen. Who does Emma hear playing the pianoforte at night, only to find the music room empty? And who begins sneaking into her bedchamber, leaving behind strange mementoes?

The baronet’s older sons, Phillip and Henry Weston, wrestle with problems–and secrets–of their own. They both remember the studious Miss Smallwood from their days at her father’s academy. But now one of them finds himself unexpectedly drawn to her…
When suspicious acts escalate, can Emma figure out which brother to blame and which to trust with her heart?

Purchase a copy here.


Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010), The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011)-which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction-and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall (2012). Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

Find Julie online at her website and on Facebook.


Julie Klassen once again swept me off my feet and into another world with The Tutor's Daughter. It was a completely different world "way back when" and I can't imagine experiencing the separation of class and the cultural differences that Emma and her father faced throughout the novel. A bit of intrigue deepens the story with strange happenings and a surprise discovery in the forbidden north wing of the Weston estate. While the romance is a bit predictable, it is nevertheless enjoyable to watch unfold. The message of faith, however, rises from an unexpected source and is a steady thread throughout the story. This is sure to be another favorite of those who enjoy Klassen's novels. I highly recommend it!

Julie is celebrating by giving away one of the new Paperwhite Kindles, Downton Abbey (season 3) and hosting a fun Author Chat Party on Facebook. (January 31st)


One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Paperwhite
  • Downton Abbey, Season 3
  • A Julie Klassen library (The Tutor’s Daughter, The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 30th. Winner will be announced at "The Tutor's Daughter Author Chat Party on January 31st. Connect with Julie, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be great giveaways - gift certificates, books and season 3 of Downton Abbey!

So grab your copy of The Tutor's Daughter and join Julie on the evening of the January 31st for a chance to connect with Julie 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. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 31st!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers and Litfuse Publicity as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Path of Freedom

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Path of Freedom
Abingdon Press (January 2013)
Jennifer Hudson Taylor


Jennifer Hudson Taylor is an award winning author of historical Christian fiction set in Europe and the Carolinas and a speaker on topics of faith, writing and publishing. Her debut novel, Highland Blessings, won the 2011 Holt Medallion award for Best First Book. Jennifer's work has appeared in national publications, such as Guideposts, Heritage Quest Magazine, Romantic Times Book Reviews, and The Military Trader. She serves as the in-house Publicist at Hartline Literary Agency and co-owns Upon the Rock Publicist. Jennifer graduated from Elon University with a B.A. in Communications. When she isn't writing, she enjoys spending time with family, long walks, traveling, touring historical sites, hanging out at bookstores with coffee shops, genealogy, and reading.


2nd in the Quilts of Love series

When Quakers Flora Saferight and Bruce Millikan embark on the Underground Railroad, they agree to put their differences aside to save the lives of a pregnant slave couple. With only her mother’s quilt as a secret guide, the foursome follows the stitches through unknown treachery.

As they embark on their perilous journey, they hope and pray that their path is one of promise where love sustains them, courage builds faith, and forgiveness leads to freedom.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Path of Freedom, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:


I have really been enjoying Abingdon's Quilts of Love series of books that weave a story around a quilt. Jennifer Hudson Taylor has written a mesmerizing portayal of the quest for freedom sought by so many. Path to Freedom is a multi-layered story that will tug at the heart. Juxtaposed against the heart-wrenching journey to free the slave couple is the story of Flora and Bruce's tenuous truce-a truce to which Flora reluctantly agrees, although she is certain the boy who is responsible for the whole town knowing her as Beaver Face hasn't changed a bit! The message of faith is strong and practical without being preachy as the characters wrestle with their beliefs and how those beliefs impact their actions. You don't want to miss this one!


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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Spoiler Alert: Wednesday Hodgepodge Ahead!

1. Lake Superior University has once again published a list of words/phrases they think should be banished from the Queen's's the list for 2013-

fiscal cliff, kick the can down the road, double down, job creators/creation, passion/passionate, yolo (an acronym for you only live once), spoiler alert, bucket list, trending, superfood, boneless wings, and guru

Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen.

Most of the time, it's not so much the words/phrases themselves that I hate; it's the overuse. (Although some of them are just bad grammar, like double down!) I'm pretty sick of fiscal cliff. And YOLO.

2. When was the last time you rode a train? Where did you go?

A real train was a few years ago when we were on vacation in Tennessee, I think it was. Seems like it was about a 30-45 minute ride. We weren't going anywhere; it was an old railroad tour.

3. Bagels-yay or nay? Favorite 'flavor'? Favorite topping?

Yes. Plain or cinnamon raisin, toasted, with regular cream cheese.

4. 'Tis the season of awards shows...if you could star in a movie already made which one would you choose?

The Sound of Music, of course!

5. The move towards single gender classrooms has been making the news in recent months....what say you? Do you think kids perform better if separated by gender and are taught differently or is that discrimination? If you're a parent, is this something you'd support in regard to your own children?

I think people spend an awful lot of energy coming up with gimmicks to change the education system instead of just making sure the teachers actually teach something. I am pretty amazed that I have a senior in high school that hasn't been taught some pretty basic things. There's no time to teach because they have to test and meet a bunch of silly criteria.

6. What's your favorite thing about staying in a hotel?

Breakfast. And clean sheets and towels.

7. Do you have a 'word' for 2013? What's the story behind your choice?

No, I don't do resolutions, words, or any of that.

8. Insert your own random thought here.

YOLO is bad enough but my girl was really horrified last week when she came home with the packet to order her graduation gown and they had all the other junk options the students could order. "Who came up with all this YOGO stuff? What do they mean, You Only Graduate Once?! I'm going to graduate from college! And I graduated from preschool and elementary and middle school!" One whole page was full of YOGO products - T-shirts, backpack, "a YOGO slap bracelet?! Do they think we're five years old?!"

Apologies to any of you whose child might have ordered some of this stuff, but I was pretty impressed that she recognizes that her high school graduation is not the pinnacle of her life!


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waiting for Spring - Giveaway!

Update: Saturday, 1/19/13 9:45 pm WINNER!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2013-01-20 03:45:21 UTC

Congrats to Johnette! Email me your address and I'll send the book your way!
* * * * *

Waiting for Spring
(Westward Winds)
Amanda Cabot
ISBN: 978-0800734602
November 2012/400 pages/$14.99

A new identity may protect her family-but can it protect her heart?

After the loss of her husband and the birth of her baby, Charlotte has had a long, hard year. But she can find no rest from the ghosts of the past and flees to Cheyenne to put the pieces of her life back together.

Wealthy cattle baron and political hopeful Barrett Landry must make a sensible match if he is to be elected senator of the soon-to-be state of Wyoming. He needs someone with connections. Someone without a past. Yet he can’t shake the feeling that Charlotte holds the key to his heart and his future.

Will Charlotte and Barrett find the courage to look love in the face? Or will their fears blot out any chance for happiness?


Amanda Cabot is an accomplished author under various pen names and a popular speaker. The author of Paper Roses, Scattered Petals, Tomorrow's Garden, and Summer of Promise, she is also a charter member of Romance Writers of America, the cofounder of its New Jersey chapter, a member of the ACFW, and an avid traveler. She lives in Wyoming. Learn more at her website.


I've been eagerly anticipating this novel since I read the first one in this series, Summer of Promise (which I reviewed here), and I was not disappointed. Waiting for Spring can be read as a stand-alone as it takes place in a different setting and time than the first novel, but I predict it will make you want to read her sister's story in the first book! However you choose to read it, this is a not-to-be-missed novel! Amanda Cabot creates characters that practically step off the page. Although Charlotte could be rather annoying in the first novel, hardship and loss have matured her, and I longed for her to find happiness and a safe haven. Cheyenne, Wyoming in its early days provides a setting that vacillates between the rugged Wild West and a more settled and civilized community. A bit of danger and suspense add to this delightful read.


I have an additional copy of this book to give to one of you! To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 PM CST Saturday (1/19/13) and I will randomly draw a winner. US mailing addresses only. You must include an email address if you do not sign in to comment so I can notify you if you win. Winner will have 48 hours after notification to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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Monday, January 14, 2013

Choices of the Heart Giveaway!

Update Saturday, 1/19/13 WINNER!

Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2013-01-20 03:38:05 UTC

Congrats to Andrea! Email me your address and I'll send the book your way.
* * * * *

Choices of the Heart
(The Midwives)
Laurie Alice Eakes
ISBN: 978-0800719869
January 2013/384 pages/$14.99

She thought she had left her old life behind . . .

Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. When a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud-and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.

Yet could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation-and love?

In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you’ll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.


Laurie Alice Eakes is the author of Lady in the Mist, Heart's Safe Passage, A Necessary Deception, A Flight of Fancy, and several other novels. She won a National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007 for Family Guardian. Laurie Alice writes full-time from her home in Texas, where she lives with her husband and sundry dogs and cats.


Whether it's a tale of gilded halls of the Regency or one of a midwife in a more provincial setting, Laurie Alice Eakes is equally adept at crafting a compelling story. Choices of the Heart transports the reader deep into the woods of the 1840's Appalachian Mountains, in the midst of a bitter feud. Eakes masterfully portrays the lack of opportunity, education, and hope that plagues so many of the family members in a manner that doesn't even hint of caricature or ridicule. On the contrary, my heart broke as I felt the despair of those who were trapped by their choices, their surroundings and their family bonds. Esther's story also moved me as she fought to overcome the memories and shame of her experiences back home, casting aside her calling as a midwife and healer to become a teacher where she hopes she is safely hidden. Choices of the Heart is the perfect title for this book as Esther and others within the novel must make the most important choice of all. I highly recommend this book to you!


I have an additional copy of this book to give to one of you! To enter, leave a comment on this post by 8:00 pm CST Saturday, 1/19/13, and I will randomly draw a winner. US mailing addresses only, please. You must include an email address if you do not sign in to Blogger for your comment so that I may contact you if you win. Winner will have 48 hours after being notified to respond or another winner will be chosen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 


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