Waiting on Wednesday: Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist

Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Jill over @ Breaking the Spine hosts a weekly meme that features one book that you can't wait to be released! This week Jill's pick is This is Where We Live by Janelle Brown, click HERE to check it out and to see links to what others are waiting on!

Deeanne Gist is one of my favorite author's so I'm always excited to read her books! My pick this week is her next release, Maid to Match due out this summer.

Maid to Match
by Deeanne Gist
Copyright 2010
Bethany House Publishers
368 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0408-1
Historical Fiction/Romance

From the publisher:
Falling in Love Could Cost Her Everything

From the day she arrives at the Biltmore, Tillie Reese is dazzled--by the riches of the Vanderbilts and by Mack Danvers, a mountain man turned footman. When Tillie is enlisted to help tame Mack's rugged behavior by tutoring him in proper servant etiquette, the resulting sparks threaten Tillie's efforts to be chosen as Edith Vanderbilt's lady's maid. After all, the one rule of the house is no romance below stairs.

But the stakes rise even higher when Mack and Tillie become entangled in a cover-up at the town orphanage. They could both lose their jobs, their aspirations ...and their hearts.

Releases June 2010 from Bethany House Publishers!

Teaser Tuesday!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


MizB @ Should Be Reading hosts Teaser Tuesdays every week at her blog! This gives everyone the opportunity to share a few lines from a new book they're reading or one of their old favorites.

Here are the rules for Teaser Tuesdays!
1. Grab your current read.
2. Let the book fall open to a random page.
3. Share two teaser sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 & 12.
4. Share the title of the book that the “teaser” comes from, so people can find the book if they like the teaser.
5. PLEASE avoid spoilers!!!!!

I'm currently reading It's Not About Him, Book 2 in the Second Glances series by Edgy Inspirational author, Michelle Sutton. So far it's really good so I decided to share a random teaser with you! :-)

It's Not About Him (Second Glances, Book 2)
by Michelle Sutton
Copyright 2009
Sheaf House Publishing
319 pages
ISBN: 978-0-979-74857-8
Fiction/Romance/Contemporary

"An irritated, but very feminine voice greeted his ears.

'Where are you? I've been waiting for over an hour.'

It felt like his heart stopped beating. Amid the insanity of the morning he had forgotten his appointment with Maryanne."


Teaser from page 207 of It's Not About Him, copyright 2009, Michelle Sutton.

Be sure to visit MizB to check out other interesting teasers!

My Review: The Promise of Morning (At Home in Beldon Grove, Book 2) by Ann Shorey

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Promise of Morning (At Home in Beldon Grove, Book 2)
by Ann Shorey
Copyright 2010
Revell Publishers
336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3333-9
Historical Fiction

From the publisher:
Life in Beldon Grove on the Illinois frontier in the 1840s isn't easy. For Ellie Craig, the graves of her three infant children make it unbearably lonely, despite the love of her husband Matthew. When she uncovers a family secret that suggests she may not be as alone as she thought, Ellie is determined to find the truth.

Meanwhile, Matthew Craig faces controversy in the church he pastors when a man arrives in town claiming to be both a minister and the son of the town's founder. Will Matthew find the courage to reclaim his church? Or will he return to itinerant preaching, leaving Ellie even more alone than before?

Book 2 in the At Home in Beldon Grove series, The Promise of Morning will touch your soul with themes of overcoming tragedy, finding strength to meet daunting challenges, and trusting your heart to love again.


My Review:
I have really enjoyed the Spring fiction releases from Revell this year, while The Promise of Morning by Ann Shorey was not my favorite, I can still say that I liked it. For me it was a little too depressing and it seemed like everything was "happening" in the first few chapters of the book but thankfully it all wrapped up nicely in the end! As far as the characters in this story go they are far from perfect which definitely makes them easy to relate to, even Matthew, Ellie's preacher husband is "real." I could really see how easy it would have been to become discouraged despite his faith.

I can safely say that this is a better book than The Edge of Light (my review HERE), the first book in the series. Ms. Shorey is improving with each book so I look forward to reading Luellen's story in To Number the Stars, the conclusion to this series.

“Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

To learn more about Ann Shorey and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE

*I received my free review copy from Donna @ Revell Publishers.*

Waiting on Wednesday: The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Jill over @ Breaking the Spine hosts a weekly meme that features one book that you can't wait to be released! This week Jill's pick is Cars from a Marriage by Debra Galant, click HERE to check it out and to see links to what others are waiting on!

This week I chose The Lightkeeper's Bride by Colleen Coble, I think the cover is so beautiful and Colleen's books are always terrific reads!


The Lightkeeper's Bride (Mercy Falls, Book 2)
by Colleen Coble
Copyright 2010
Thomas Nelson Publishers
375 pages
ISBN: 978-1-595542663
Historical Fiction/Romance


From Goodreads:
A thrilling romantic mystery set in the lush Victorian age.

Central Operator Katie Russell's inquisitive ways have just uncovered her parents' plan for her marriage to wealthy bachelor Bartholomew Foster. Her heart is unmoved, but she knows the match will bring her family status and respectability.

Then Katie overhears a phone conversation that makes her uneasy and asks authorities to investigate. But the caller is nowhere to be found. Mysterious connections arise between the caller and a ship lost at sea.

Against propriety, Katie questions the new lighthouse keeper, Will Jesperson. Then a smallpox epidemic forces their quarantine in his lighthouse. Though of low social status, Will's bravery and kindness remove Katie's suspicion and win her love. Katie and Will together work to solve the mystery of the missing girl and the lost ship as God gives the couple the desire of their hearts.

Available Fall 2010!

Rollin' In (Bread) Dough!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Today my grandma who is visiting from Florida assisted me in my first venture in bread-making! Under her supervision (yeah I need supervised in the kitchen :-P) I was able to put together the ingredients that turned into the yummy looking (and tasting) loaves of bread pictured below! I was sooo excited that I had to share some pics with you! So here they are! The streaks on top of the bread are from the melting butter and since I don't have matching bread pans one loaf is smaller than the other.




Is there anything more delicious than warm bread with a slab of butter on top?

Blogaversary Winners!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

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First of all I have to say thank you to all of the wonderful authors who put together these wonderful posts and for their terrific books and generous giveaways! Secondly I want to thank everyone who visited, you are so special I wish I could give you all books but sadly I cannot. :-(

Without further ado here are the winners chosen by Random.org! They all have 48 hours to respond to the emails that I am sending or another winner will be chosen!

~Copy of The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey and Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand:

Destrella
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~Signed copy of The Substitute Bride by Janet Dean:

Casey
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~Signed copies of Critical Care and Disaster Status by Candace Calvert:

Carmen7351
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~Signed copy of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania by Cerella D. Sechrist and tin of Hershey Kisses:

Amber S.
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~Copy of Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz:

Julia
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~Crabtree and Evelyn set from Laura Frantz:

Cynthia

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~Signed copy of A Hope Undaunted or a book from the DOB series by Julie Lessman:

Caroline

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~5 page or less love scene critique by Julie Lessman:

Lindsey
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LitFuse Blog Tour and My Review: Songbird Under a German Moon by Tricia Goyer

Songbird Under a German Moon
by Tricia Goyer
Copyright 2010
Summerside Press
336 pages
ISBN: 978-1-935416-68-5
Fiction/Romantic Suspense

About the Book:
The year is 1945. The war is over, and 21-year-old Betty Lake has been invited to Europe to sing in a USO tour for American soldiers who now occupy Hitler’s Germany. The first night’s performance is a hit. Betty becomes enthralled with the applause, the former Nazi-held mansion they’re housed in, and the attention of Frank Witt, the U.S. Army Signal Corps Photographer. Yet the next night this songbird is ready to fly the coop when her dear friend, Kat, turns up missing. Betty soon realizes Frank’s photographs could be the key to finding Kat. Betty and Frank team up against post-war Nazi influences and the two lovebirds’ hearts may find the answers...in each other.

But will they have a chance for their romance to sing? The truth will be revealed under a German moon.

My Review:
Having really enjoyed the Love Inspired series by Summerside Press I was really excited to read Songbird Under a German Moon, one of the first releases in their new suspense line. So far I have not been disappointed. While I was a little frustrated with the lack of romantic interaction between USO singer Betty Lake and U.S. Army Air Corps photographer, Frank Witt. I did enjoy the mystery even though I knew "whodunit" right from the start.

I really loved the setting of war torn Germany as I don't think I've ever read a novel set in post-Hitler Germany. I liked Betty and Frank but I didn't connect with any of the other characters which is fine if this is a stand alone book. Overall it was a good story but I definitely think Tricia's Collaboration with Mike Yorkey on The Swiss Courier (my review) is the book to read for a more fleshed out suspense. If you enjoy an entertaining, light, romance with a different setting this may be something that you would like to read. I'm really pleased with Summerside Press's releases and look forward to reading their next release.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What Era? Contest: Leave a comment on Tricia’s blog or send an email through her website CONNECT page and answer this question: What era in history do you wish you'd lived in and why? Earn extra entries by signing up for Tricia's newsletter here, becoming a Fan on Facebook or Tweeting about the contest on Twitter (use hashtag #songbird)!

You’ll be entered to win one of three signed copies of Songbird Under a German Moon.
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To learn more about Tricia Goyer and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE
Her BLOG
TWITTER
YOUTUBE
FACEBOOK

To read what others Bloggers have to say about Songbird Under a German Moon go HERE!

*I received my free review copy from Litfuse, click HERE if you would like info on how to join the flock!*

Waterbrook Multnomah Blog Tour: Here Burns My Candle by Liz Curtis Higgs

Here Burns My Candle
by Liz Curtis Higgs
Copyright 2010
Waterbrook Press
468 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7001-5
Fiction/Historical

From the publisher:
A mother who cannot face her future.

A daughter who cannot escape her past.

Lady Elisabeth Kerr is a keeper of secrets. A Highlander by birth and a Lowlander by marriage, she honors the auld ways, even as doubts and fears stir deep within her.

Her husband, Lord Donald, has secrets of his own, well hidden from the household, yet whispered among the town gossips.

His mother, the dowager Lady Marjory, hides gold beneath her floor and guilt inside her heart. Though her two abiding passions are maintaining her place in society and coddling her grown sons, Marjory’s many regrets, buried in Greyfriars Churchyard, continue to plague her.

One by one the Kerr family secrets begin to surface, even as bonny Prince Charlie and his rebel army ride into Edinburgh in September 1745, intent on capturing the crown.

A timeless story of love and betrayal, loss and redemption, flickering against the vivid backdrop of eighteenth-century Scotland, Here Burns My Candle illumines the dark side of human nature, even as hope, the brightest of tapers, lights the way home.




My Review:
Liz Curtis Higgs well known for her Scottish historicals has done it again with Here Burns My Candle, adding her own unique twist to the Biblical story of Ruth and Naomi. The setting for Here Burns my Candle is Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1745 at the height of the Jacobite rebellion. It is easy to see that Ms Higgs knows her stuff when it comes to Scotland. It is especially helpful when authors recommend sources for the factual material on which their novels are based AND include little anecdotes from their own travels when researching. That said Liz Curtis Higgs is one author that I would recommend if you like very realistic and detailed settings.

The story itself was also good although the first half was a little difficult for me to get through the characters were definitely interesting. I really felt bad for Lady Elisabeth, she didn't want to believe the gossip about her philandering husband especially since he was so loving and caring. She also had to deal with the pressures of marrying "above" her station and the constant reminder of it from family. I desperately wanted to like Donald but unfortunately that didn't happen even though what he was dealing with was an "addiction" and not lack a of love for Elisabeth. The dowager Lady Marjory Kerr was a little easier to understand, even though she was wealthy she had to deal with a lot in her lifetime including entering into a loveless marriage and his later death so it was easy to see why she was the way she was. However I was pleased at how the relationship between Lady Elisabeth and Lady Marjory evolved and I could definitely see the correlation between this story and the story of Ruth. The ending left a little to be desired but luckily there is a book 2 in the works for Spring 2011, Mine is the Light!

To learn more about Liz Curtis Higgs and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE
Twitter
Facebook

*I received my free review copy from Waterbrook Multnomah publishers.*


My Review: Scattered Petals (Texas Dreams, Book 2) by Amanda Cabot

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Scattered Petals (Texas Dreams, Book 2)
by Amanda Cabot
Copyright 2010
Revell Publishers
384 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3325-4
Fiction/Historical Romance

From the publisher:
Longing for adventure, Priscilla Morton leaves Boston in 1856 and heads for the Texas Hill Country, never dreaming that the adventure she seeks could have heartbreaking consequences. Although attracted to her, ranch foreman Zachary Webster knows Priscilla deserves a cultured East Coast gentleman, not a cowboy who's haunted by memories of his mistakes.

When necessity draws them together, Priscilla and Zach begin to forge a life filled with promise. But then the past intrudes.

Book 2 of the Texas Dreams series, Scattered Petals weaves a tale of drama, love, and second chances as beautiful as the Hill Country itself.

My Review:
Having read the first book in the Texas Dreams series, Paper Roses, and just thinking that it was okay I was a little nervous about reading book 2, Scattered Petals but I ended up really enjoying it! Some of the issues that were dealt with in this book and some of the secrets the characters were hiding aren't something you see in everyday Christian fiction and I found that to be refreshing!

Priscilla's story is very heartbreaking and hard to read at times but I really thought Ms. Cabot painted Priscilla's life and recovery in a way that wasn't rushed or forced. As for the hero, Zach, I honestly couldn't believe what had happened in his past was in a Christian book, but I don't mean that in a bad way at all. In fact it made him one of the most real characters I've ever read in Christian fiction. It just goes to show no matter what happens in the past there's a chance for redemption. I definitely recommend this book but if you like the light fluffy romance this book isn't one of those! It's a great second book and I can't wait for Book 3 in March 2011!

“Available March 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

To learn more about Amanda Cabot and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE
Shoutlife

*I received my free review copy from Donna @ Revell Publishers.*

First Wild Card Blog Tour: A Case for Love (Brides of Bonneterre, Book 3) by Kaye Dacus

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


A Case for Love

Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Angie Brillhart, Publicist, of Barbour Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Author Kaye Dacus enjoyed her visits to a local television station while researching this book. She likes to say she writes “inspirational romance with a sense of humor.” She lives in Nashville and graduated from Seton Hill University’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program. She is an active member and former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602604568
ISBN-13: 978-1602604568

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


“You did what?”

Forbes Guidry sank into the tall-backed leather chair, extremities numb, and stared at the couple sitting across the desk from him. As a partner in the largest law firm in Bonneterre, Louisiana, he’d heard a lot of shocking things over the fourteen years he’d been practicing. But nothing had hit him quite like this.

“We eloped.” His sister held up her left hand where a diamond wedding band had been added below the antique engagement ring she’d sported for the past three months. “I know you were looking forward to being Major’s best man, which is why we’re telling you before breaking it to the rest of the family.”

He hardly spared a glance at his best friend—now his brother-in-law—before pinning his gaze on his sister. “Meredith, this is a joke, right? What about the meeting Monday with Anne—the plans we discussed?” Sure, Meredith had been a little too quiet during that meeting, had voiced concerns about how big the wedding seemed to be growing, but she’d been coming off working a huge event that weekend and had been tired. . .hadn’t she?

“Things were getting out of hand—had already gone too far.”

“Stop.” Forbes fought the urge to press his hands over his ears. “Way too much information.”

Major chuckled; Meredith frowned at both of them. “Oh, for mercy’s sake. I’m talking about the wedding plans. Neither of us wanted a big wedding, but every time we met with Anne—or you, or anyone in the family—it grew exponentially. Especially once Mom and Dad stuck their oars in and started making lists of all of their business acquaintances that needed to be invited.”

Forbes stared at his sister, dumbfounded. He prided himself on knowing exactly what each member of his family was thinking before they ever thought it. How had this blindsided him so completely?

He finally turned his attention on Major. “When you came in Tuesday to talk about the restaurant, did you already have this planned?”

“No. Not planned. We’d discussed it, but it wasn’t until that night when we made the decision.” Major had the good grace to look abashed.

And you didn’t call me? Forbes reined in the childish words with a tight fist of control. He faced his sister again. “When and where did you get married?”

“Yesterday, when Mom and Dad met us at Beausoleil Pointe Center for lunch with Major’s mom. We’d asked the chaplain to perform the ceremony, and we got married in the pavilion where Major proposed to me.”

Forbes turned away from the dewy-eyed look Meredith gave her new husband, feeling ill. That would explain why Meredith hadn’t shown up for dinner with the siblings and cousins last night. He’d just assumed she was working overtime preparing for an event this weekend.

When the silence stretched, Forbes looked at them again.

Meredith’s eyes narrowed speculatively at Forbes. “Major, would you mind if I had a private word with my brother?”

“Sure. No problem.” Major stood, smoothing the front of his chinos. “I–I’ll wait for you out in the car.”

“Thanks.” Meredith never pulled her gaze away from Forbes—giving him the look that had always been able to make him squirm.

Forbes watched his friend leave the office, then pressed his lips together and faced his sister again.

“What is it that bothers you most? That you aren’t going to be best man, that you don’t get to be involved and have a say in the wedding plans, or that you didn’t see this coming?” Meredith crossed her legs and clasped her hands around her knee, her expression betraying smugness and amusement.

What bothered him most was that over the past six or eight months, Meredith had slowly been pulling away from the family. Ever since she’d bought that house against his—and their parents’—advice, she’d started keeping secrets, spending less time with them. As the oldest, it was his responsibility to keep his six brothers and sisters in line, to watch out for and protect them, and to guide them in making their decisions. Mom and Dad had laid that burden on him early in life, and he’d gladly carried it. But how could he express that to Meredith without coming across sounding like a little boy who hadn’t gotten his way?

“I’m not bothered, just surprised. You’re the last person in the family I’d expect to do something without planning it out well in advance.” He gave her his most charming grin. “It is what you do for a living, after all.”

She responded with a half smile. “And thus the reason for eloping. Between the busiest event-load we’ve ever had, the Warehouse Row project, and Major getting ready for the groundbreaking on the restaurant, we were just tired of schedules and checklists and menus and seating charts. Now Marci won’t feel like her wedding is being overshadowed by her oldest sister’s, since she decided to plan a Christmas wedding and we didn’t want to wait that long.”

He could see her point, but. . . “Don’t you feel like you’ve cheated yourself out of the wedding you always wanted? Growing up, you and Anne used to talk about your dream weddings.”

Meredith shrugged. “Anne always had the ideas. I guess that’s why she’s been such a great success as a wedding planner—every week she had bigger and grander ideas. Whenever I really thought about it, I couldn’t imagine myself in the big dress, my hair all done up, standing there in front of that many people. I guess I never dreamed about a wedding—I just dreamed about falling in love and being married.”

Come to think about it, Forbes couldn’t picture his jeans–and–T-shirt sister in a fluffy white gown, either. He ran his finger along the edge of the desk blotter.

“And look at the bright side: Now you don’t have to find a date for the wedding.”

He released a derisive sound in the back of his throat. “Yes, since that worked out so well at Anne’s wedding—for my date, anyway.”

“How do you always manage to find these women who’re just trying to make their boyfriends jealous?”

He shrugged.

“You know, I know someone I think would be perfect for you, if you’d like me to see if she’d be agreeable to being set up on a blind date with you.”

His insides quivered at the idea. “Thank you kindly, but I’ll have to pass and just leave it up to chance. As I told George Laurence a long time ago, when God’s ready for me to fall in love, He’ll throw the right woman into my path.”

“Uh, did you think that maybe your sisters’ and cousins’ attempts to set you up on dates might be God’s way of throwing the right woman in your path?”

“Not unless He’s shared something with you He hasn’t told me.” Forbes rounded the desk and held out his hand to his sister. She rose, and he pulled her into a hug. “Congratulations, Sis. I’m confident that you and Major will be happier together than you can even imagine.”

“I know we will be.”

“I’ll walk you out.”

Halfway down the stairs, he paused. “What about a honeymoon? Don’t tell me you’re going to just drop everything and take a two-week vacation that hasn’t been on the schedule for the past six months.”

“No. Since the events next week can be handled by our assistants, we’re leaving next Wednesday for a long weekend in Colorado. Amazing how this managed to coincide with the Aspen Food and Wine Classic that Major’s always wanted to go to, huh?” But from the smile on her face, he could tell she didn’t begrudge indulging Major’s wishes in the least.

Heading back to his office after seeing his sister and brother-in-law off—would he ever get used to that?—Forbes feigned harriedness to keep anyone from trying to stop him for a chat.

“Samantha, no calls for the next half hour, please,” he told his secretary on his way past her desk.

“Yes, Mr. Guidry.”

He leaned against his door after closing it. His office, with its walls of built-in, dark wood cabinets and bookcases, seemed to press in around him.

What he’d told Meredith was true; he was absolutely certain that she and Major would have a happy marriage. Both of them were easygoing, almost too eager to give up what they wanted to make someone else happy. Forbes had learned a long time ago that he didn’t have the right personality to get married. Every girl he’d dated in high school or college had wanted to go out with him because of his looks. And every one of them had eventually broken up with him for one of two reasons: Either she thought he was selfish and didn’t pay enough attention to her, or she thought he was too controlling and tried to smother her.

He’d completely given up on dating after his ten-year high school class reunion, at which he’d overheard two of his ex-girlfriends having a laugh about how it was no surprise to them that he wasn’t married yet.

He crossed to the window behind his desk and leaned against the frame, staring down at the visitor parking lot. His twenty-year reunion was coming up in the fall. And while he’d love to find some ravishing beauty to take to it to shut up all those exes, he didn’t want the hassle of expectations that came from taking someone out on a date.

When the thirty minutes he’d given himself to brood expired, he opened the office door and asked Samantha to come in to review his schedule for the remainder of the day.

He made several notes in his PDA while she reviewed the afternoon’s appointments and meetings. When she finished and closed her planner, she hesitated, biting her lips.

“What is it?” He leaned back in his chair, curious. She’d never acted in the least intimidated or scared of him before. She’d worked for him a little less than a year, but she was the first secretary he’d had who didn’t seem to mind a boss others had called a micromanager—had even stood up to him a time or two.

“Someone from Bonneterre Lifestyles called a little while ago. It seems you didn’t RSVP for the dinner tonight.”

Forbes groaned. Ever since he’d assisted in partner Tess Folse’s run for city council five years ago—during which he’d given many speeches, appeared on all the local channels’ news broadcasts, and had his photo in the paper multiple times—he’d been a fixture on the magazine’s beefcake list, having garnered enough votes to win and get his face on the front cover twice.

“I suppose it’s black tie?”

Samantha nodded. “That’s what the gal said.”

“Seven o’clock?”

“They offered a car—a limo—for you, if you want.”

He pressed his thumb and forefinger to the bridge of his nose. The three other partners—all women—were thrilled every year when he told them of his inclusion on the list. The articles enumerating his accomplishments were good exposure for the firm, they’d say. Up until now, he’d found some excuse or another to avoid the dinner. This year, Tess, Sandra, and Esther had strongly suggested he make an appearance at the magazine’s big publicity event at which the magazine’s cover would be revealed and the top five bachelors named and recognized with awards.

He glanced over Samantha’s head at the three plaques and two glass trophies on a display shelf. Maybe they needed to give him a new award—Bonneterre’s Most Perpetual Bachelor. He hoped this year he wasn’t again the oldest man on the list.

“Call them back and tell them I’d be delighted to attend, but I’ll drive myself.”

“Will do, boss.” Samantha scooped up her planner and the folders Forbes had given her to refile, and crossed to the door. “And Mr. Guidry?”

“Yes, Samantha?”

“Do try to have fun tonight, okay?”

“Uh-huh. As fun as jumping into a pool full of thumbtacks.”

Samantha’s laughter followed her out of the room.

His gaze flickered back to the emblems of his perpetual singleness. He’d heard the magazine always invited the year’s Most Eligible Bachelorettes to the dinner—possibly hoping to set up a relationship and eventual wedding they could report in their pages. Maybe he could find someone there to take to the reunion—so long as she understood there were no strings attached.

[insert line space]

Alaine Delacroix scrubbed off her on-air makeup. “Matt, have you seen Pricilla since I went off air? I need to talk to her about the event tonight.”

The intern frowned. “I thought you were a guest at the thing, not covering it.”

“Who else is going to cover something like that other than me? I’m the only reporter at this station who covers the social scene.” Not that she wanted to anymore. But until the news director actually looked at the hard-news pieces she’d been doing on her own time, she’d be stuck covering the fluff stories as she had for the past decade of her life.

“If I see her, I’ll tell her you need to talk to her.” The college student waved and left the small prep room.

Alaine turned to check her appearance in the large mirror to make sure she didn’t have mascara smeared down her cheeks. She made the inspection as quick as possible, hating to see her own reflection with no makeup. Even with her shoulder-length black hair still styled from her noon broadcast, with no makeup on, all she saw in the mirror were flaws—dark circles under her eyes, freckles scattered across her nose and cheeks, and the bumps on her forehead that never seemed to go away.

She applied concealer under her eyes, powder all over her face, and a touch of eye makeup, blush, and lip gloss before returning to her desk in the newsroom. Once upon a time, Alaine Delacroix would have thought nothing of walking around with no makeup on. But that had been a very long time ago; she’d been a different person then.

An envelope with the station’s logo and return address in the top left corner sat on her chair when she got back to her cubicle, bearing her name in handwriting she didn’t recognize. She opened it—and smiled. She’d hoped the marketing director would be able to come through for her.

She picked up her phone and dialed a number from memory.

“Boudreaux-Guidry Enterprises, Events and Facilities, this is Meredith.”

“Hey, girl. It’s Alaine.”

“Oh—hi.” Meredith sounded funny. “What’s up?”

Alaine laughed. “I can’t believe you’re going to pretend you don’t know why I’m calling you.”

“You—how did you find out?”

All traces of amusement evaporated, her reporter’s instincts kicking in. Meredith sounded like someone who had a secret. “You know a journalist can’t reveal her sources. So? Spill it. I want details.”

“I haven’t told most of my family yet. If I give you details, you have to promise you won’t say anything to anyone until after Sunday. We’re telling the family at dinner after church.”

“Strictly off the record.” Alaine picked up a pen and steno pad, but forced herself to put them down again and rotate in her chair so that her back was to the desk.

“We had the chaplain at Beausoleil Pointe Center marry us yesterday afternoon. We surprised our parents.”

All the air in Alaine’s lungs froze solid. Meredith Guidry and Major O’Hara had eloped? “But I thought you were having your cousin Anne plan a big wedding for you. I was hoping to cover it, since Major has become quite the celebrity, what with his cooking segments on my show.”

“We decided we were just too busy to try to plan a big wedding. And we’ve already wasted eight years. Why put it off any longer?”

A flash-fire of jealousy forced the air out of Alaine’s lungs. Meredith had been one of her few friends who was still unmarried—and the only true friend Alaine had had in years. She hated being single; even more than becoming a serious journalist, getting married was the one thing she wanted most in life. Yet at thirty-two years old, she was starting to worry that the chances of either dream coming true were not just slipping, but sprinting, away.

Alaine had to swallow past the huge lump in her throat to make her voice work. “Congratulations, Mere. I’m really happy for you.” She glanced down at the envelope crumpled in her fist. “Oh, I got the passes for the Art without Limits exhibit preview and fundraiser at the Beausoleil Fine Arts Center, if you’re still interested in going.”

“Of course I am. And since Major’s catering it, I won’t have to feel guilty about going off and leaving him home alone. Thanks again for thinking of me.”

“I don’t know anyone else who likes art, and I hate going to those things by myself.” She twisted the spiral cord around her finger tightly, trying to see if the slight pain would help squeeze out her envy.

“Same here—oh, my other line just lit up. I’ll talk to you later.”

“Okay. Bye.” Alaine turned around to hang up the receiver, then put her head down on her folded arms atop the desk. God, why is everyone I know married or engaged? Am I the last old maid left in Bonneterre?

She knew the answer to that, of course. Twenty-four other “eligible bachelorettes” would be at the Bonneterre Lifestyles dinner along with her, if they all showed up. And who wouldn’t, when they’d have VIP access to the handsomest, wealthiest, highest-profile single men in town for the evening?

Mother’s constant harping on her to get married—and soon—was starting to make Alaine feel like something was wrong with her for still being single at her age. The facts that Joe and his wife couldn’t have kids and that Tony, at age twenty-six, wasn’t anywhere near ready to settle down put all the pressure of producing grandchildren anytime soon on Alaine. And she wasn’t even sure she wanted kids.

She sat up and tried to run her fingers through her hair—before remembering it was still shellacked with hair spray.

Maybe tonight she’d give those bachelors more than just a professional glance. Maybe it was time to get a little arm candy to show her parents—and anyone else who might be looking—that she was at least trying. And she never knew: Mr. Right could be Bachelor Number One, Two, or Twenty-Five.



Read my review HERE.

Blogaversary Celebration Final Day: Author, Julie Lessman

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wow what a fun week it has been! Not only have I had the privilege of featuring some of my favorite authors and getting to know them better, I've realized how "extra" special my blog readers are! The encouraging and entertaining comments that you've been leaving are really making my week and I'm sure the authors feel the same way! That said I want to thank you for stopping by and I want to thank Janet, Candace, Cerella, Laura and today's guest, Julie for all the hard work they put in this week and everyday writing the stories that we love to read! THANK YOU!!!!

Here's Julie!


~~~~~~~~~~~

HAPPY FRIDAY, everybody!!! And SUPER CONGRATS to one of my favorite bloggers on her 1-year Blogaversary!! I am ecstatic to be here to help wrap up what's been a really fun week. Here's to many more years, Renee, of a great blog and wonderful reviews!

And now, ooooooooo … I get to talk about one of my favorite things -- love scenes!! Renee asked me what I think makes a good love scene, and let's face it, the answers to that question are as diverse as the genres available.

For some, it's a haunting look or a gentle touch of the hand in an Amish romance while for others (like moi!), it's Rhett hauling Scarlett off a buggy seat and kissing the daylights out of her before he heads off to war. Sigh. What can I say, I like LOTS of romantic tension in my books, whether I'm reading them or writing them, so MY answer to Renee's question of “What makes a good love scene?” would be …

DRAMA. LOTS AND LOTS OF DRAMA.

You know, the kind that makes your stomach dip … or your pulse race … or stings your eyes with tears until you have a pile of soggy Kleenex by your side? For me it's all about evoking emotion, and so I use the heck out of emotions when I write my love scenes. And as human beings, we all know there are tons of emotions from which to choose--from positive emotions like joy, pleasure and humor … to negative emotions like anger, greed, shock or guilt--the list is endless (and a LOT longer than you might think, so take a look at this WEBSITE)!

In fact, for me, the more emotions I pack into one love scene, the better. Anger is one of my favorite emotions to use because with anger, emotions are ramped about as high as you can get, and when you toss a few kisses into the mix--WHOA, BABY, the romantic tension goes through the roof, along with the old pulse! For writers who might be interested, I talk about anger and other ways to crank up the romantic tension in your novels in two Seekerville blogs I did a while back entitled “Quick, Dial 911 … We're Setting a Fire With Romantic Tension" and “A Kiss is Just a Kiss …”

Following is one of my favorite love scenes from my upcoming book, A Hope Undaunted, in which I attempted to use a LOT of emotions in an effort to elicit smiles, tears and a flutter in the stomach. Based on the list of emotions you can find in the link I posted above, you should see the following in this scene if I did it right: Elation, Hope, Joy, Pleasure, Relief, Awe, Compassion, Empathy, Humor, Playfulness, Surprise, Gratitude and Love.

~~~~~~~~~~~

AND NOW … here's one of my favorite scenes from A Hope Undaunted, Katie O'Connor's story. I hope you enjoy it!

Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it fear.

His breathing slowed and his gaze darted up, scanning the heavens. “You said you would never leave us nor forsake us, Lord, but where are you in all of this? Tillie needs you, and I need you. I've prayed for months for a good home for her, you know that, and yet there's been nothing.”

He sucked in a deep breath and sagged back into his chair, releasing the air in his lungs as thoroughly as he knew he had to release Tillie … into God's hands. “Forgive me, Lord, because I do trust you. You've never failed me, not once since I've given my life to you. So I believe you have Tillie in the palm of your hand because you've proven yourself faithful to me over and over. And one way or the other, you always answer my prayers.”

A knock sounded, and he spun around, spying Katie at the door. His lips quirked into a half smile. Well, almost always, he thought as her blue eyes peeked in.

“I'm leaving now, Luke. Is there anything you need before I go?”

Yeah, Katie, a hug would be nice.

Heat singed the back of his neck and he coughed, clearing his throat. “No, I'm good. Have fun this weekend.” His brows pinched in a frown. “Oh, sorry--are you still on confinement?”

She grinned and sidled past the door, closing it carefully behind her with a pretty blush on her cheeks. “Yes, until tomorrow night, that is, when I have my first date with Jack in over two and a half months.”

Luke forced a smile to cover the scowl in his mind. “Lucky Jack,” he said with a tease in his tone, but truer words had never crossed his lips, and suddenly the thought blackened his mood further. Over the summer, he'd made the startling discovery that Katie O'Connor was everything he wanted in a woman, and somehow he'd known it from the age of fourteen. With little or no effort on her part, she had won his affection--from a cold shoulder at the age of ten, to a teasing smile at the age of eighteen--and Luke would give anything to be more than just friends. But they had a deal, and she had a boyfriend, and Luke was a man of his word. The scowl finally won out as he looked away, intent on shoving papers into a drawer.

She hesitated. “Are you sure you don't need anything before I go? You look … tense.”

Tense? Because two people he loved were leaving his life forever? He blew out a sigh of frustration and wheeled in his chair to stare out the window. “No, Katie, go home. I'm just down about Tillie, that's all. Go on, get out of here and have fun this weekend.”

Go home to Jack, Katie Rose.

His stomach tightened at the sudden click of her heels, and shock expanded his eyes when she perched herself on the edge of his window. She crossed silky legs and leaned forward, palms flat on the sill and blue eyes sparkling with excitement. Her mouth twitched with a smile, as if a secret hovered behind those full, sensuous lips, and the tease of her proximity triggered his pulse till he thought he couldn't breathe. A gentle breeze from the window rustled her silk dress, and the scent of roses drifted in the air, warming his blood. “What's on your mind, Katie?” he asked, heat crawling up his neck at the realization of what was on his.

“The same thing that's on yours, apparently,” she said with a mysterious smile. “Tillie.”

His pulse slowed. “Tillie? What about her?”

Katie bit her lip and then grinned outright. “I have a foster family for her.”

He sat up straight in the chair, fingers gripped white on the arm. “W-what? W-where?” His words tripped over his tongue, moving faster than the hammering of his heart.

Her laughter floated in the air like the sound of hope. “A wonderful family, really--large, well-to-do, and so full of love that Tillie will think she died and went to heaven.”

He couldn't help it--tears stung his eyes. “Who?” he whispered.

Her gaze was tender as she studied him, the wetness in her eyes matching his own. “The O'Connors of Boston,” she said softly, then put a hand to her chest and blinked back her tears. “Goodness, you think she'll mind sharing a room?”

He stared, disbelief stealing the air from his lungs. And then in a jolt of comprehension, it whooshed back in, flooding his body with such joy and emotion, he thought he would faint. In one frantic clip of his heart, he swallowed Katie up in his arms and squeezed as if he would never let go, his deep laughter rumbling against her hair. “Woman, I could just kiss you,” he shouted, and then all at once his breathing stilled as he set her back down, suddenly aware of her body pressed against his, the burn of his hand on the small of her back.

Their gazes met, and heat traveled his bloodstream like alcohol, drowning all inhibition he may have felt. He saw the vulnerability in those wide blue eyes, heard the tremulous breathing drifting from those soft, parted lips, and all reason fled from his brain, disarming all good intent. In slow and careful motion, his hands cupped the sides of her face like a caress, eyes fixed on her mouth before shifting to lose himself in her eyes. He feathered her lips with the pad of his thumb. “Thank you, Katie Rose,” he whispered, “for giving me so much joy.”

He wanted to fight it, knew it should only be a kiss on the cheek, but his body seemed drugged with her. His eyelids weighted closed as he moved near like a man in a trance, compelled to graze his lips against hers. Upon touch, their shallow breathing became one as he nuzzled her mouth with his own. And then, in a ragged beat of his heart, she melted into him with a familiarity that destroyed all restraint. He clutched her body to his, deepening the kiss that just cost him a promise he'd made. “God help me, Katie, I want you--”

Somewhere in the recesses of their minds they heard it, that gruff clearing of a throat that seemed so very far away. And then harsh reality struck, and Katie jerked violently from his arms as if he had thrust her away.

“I knocked, but I guess you didn't hear it.” Parker stood with arms crossed in the open door, voice rock hard and jaw even worse.

An unnatural shade of red bled up Katie's neck and face like a thermometer registering a fever of a 105. “P-Parker … Mr. Riley … it's not what it seems. L-luke was just thanking me …”

The hard line of Parker's mouth twisted as his eyes shifted to Luke with a penetrating look. “A simple 'thank you' wouldn't have been enough?”

Copyright 2010, Julie Lessman, Revell (Baker Publishing Group)
Preorder A Hope Undaunted @
~~~~~~~~~~~

About Julie:
Julie Lessman is an award-winning author whose tagline of “Passion With a Purpose” underscores her intense passion for both God and romance. Winner of the 2009 ACFW Debut Author of the Year and Holt Medallion Awards of Merit for Best First Book and Long Inspirational, Julie is also the recipient of 13 Romance Writers of America awards and was voted by readers as “Borders Best of 2009 So Far: Your Favorite Fiction." She resides in Missouri with her husband and their golden retriever and is the author of The Daughters of Boston series, which includes A Passion Most Pure, A Passion Redeemed, and A Passion Denied. You can contact Julie through her WEBSITE.

For those who leave a comment today, you will entered in a contest to win either your choice of a signed copy of one of The Daughters of Boston books … OR an early copy of my upcoming book, A Hope Undaunted … OR a love-scene critique (one love scene or as many love scenes as you can fit in a maximum of five pages).

~~~~~~~~~~~

~ To enter to win the book just leave a comment telling us your favorite romance novel or if you are a writer who wants to win the love scene critique, what you think is the hardest part about writing a love scene!
~You MUST leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you for your mailing address if you win! (example: steelergirl83[at]gmail[dot]com )
~U.S. residents only please!
~Contest open until March 21, 2010 at 11:59PM EST.
~One winner will be chosen for the gift set and one winner for the sampler set. Their names will be posted on this blog, and they will be notified by email on March 22, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond or different winners will be selected.

Go HERE to enter to win Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz or a Crabtree and Evelyn sampler.

Go HERE to enter to win Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, by Cerella D. Sechrist and a tin of Hershey Kisses.

Go HERE to enter to win Critical Care and Disaster Status by Candace Calvert

Go HERE to enter to win The Substitute Bride by Janet Dean

Go HERE to enter to win The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey and Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

GOOD LUCK!!!!!

First Wildcard Blog Tour: Chosen by Ginger Garrett

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Chosen

David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Focusing on ancient women’s history, critically acclaimed author Ginger Garrett creates novels and nonfiction resources that explore the lives of historical women. In addition to her writing, Garrett is a frequent radio and television guest. A native Texan, she now resides in Georgia with her husband and three children.


Visit the author's website.


Chosen, by Ginger Garrett from David C. Cook on Vimeo.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434768015
ISBN-13: 978-1434768018

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


Prologue

Fourth Day of the Month of Av

Year 3414 after Creation

If you have opened this, you are the chosen one.

For this book has been sealed in the tomb of the ancients of Persia, never to be opened, I pray, until G-d1 has put His finger on a new woman of destiny, a woman who will rise up and change her nation. But we will not talk of your circumstances, and the many reasons this book may have fallen into your hands. There are no mistakes with prayer. You have indeed been called. If this sounds too strange, if you must look around your room and question whether G-d’s finger has perhaps slipped, if you are not a woman with the means to change a nation, then join me on a journey. You must return with me now to a place without hope, a nation that had lost sight of G-d, a girl with nothing to offer, and no one to give it to.

I must introduce myself first as I truly am: an exiled Jew, and an orphan. My given name was Hadassah, but the oppression of exile has stripped that too from me: I am now called Esther,2 so that I may blend in with my captors. My people, the Hebrew nation, had been sent out of our homeland after a bitter defeat in battle. We were allowed to settle in the kingdom of Persia, but we were not allowed to truly prosper there. We blended in, our lives preserved, but our heritage and customs were forced underground. Our hearts, once set only on returning to Jerusalem, were set out to wither in the heat

of the Arabian sun. My cousin Mordecai rescued me when I was orphaned and we lived in the capital city of Susa, under the reign of King Xerxes.3 Mordecai had a small flock of sheep that I helped tend, and we sold their fleece in the market. If times were good, we would sell a lamb for someone’s celebration. It was always for others to celebrate. We merely survived. But Mordecai was kind and good, and I was not forced into dishonor like the other orphans I had once known. This is how my story begins, and I give you these details not for sympathy, but so you will know that I am a girl well acquainted with bitter reality. I am not given to the freedom in flights of fantasy. But how can I explain to you the setting of my story? It is most certainly far removed from your experience. For I suspect that in the future, women will know freedom. And freedom is not an easy thing to forget, even if only to entertain an orphan’s story.

But you must forget now. I was born into a world, and into this story, where even the bravest women were faceless specters. Once married, they could venture out of their homes only with veils and escorts. No one yet had freed our souls. Passion and pleasure, like freedom, were the domain of men, and even young girls knew the wishes of their hearts would always be subject to a man’s desire for wealth. A man named Pericles summed up my time so well in his famed oration: “The greatest glory of a woman is to be least talked about by men, whether they are praising you or criticizing you.” Our role was clear: We were to be objects of passion, to receive a man’s attention mutely, and to respond only with children for the estate. Even the most powerful woman of our time, the beautiful Queen Vashti, was powerless. That was my future as a girl and I dared not lift my eyes above its horizon. That is how I enter this story. But give me your hand and let us walk back now, past the crumbling walls of history, to this world forgotten but a time yet remembered. Let me tell you the story of a girl unspared, plunged into heartache and chaos, who would save a nation. My name is Esther, and I will be queen.

1 Out of respect for God, Jews write the name of God without the vowels, believing that the name of God is too holy to be written out completely by a human. God is referred to as either “G-d” or “YHVH.”

2 The name Esther is related to the Persian name of Ishtar, a pagan goddess of the stars.

3 Esther refers to the king by his Persian name. In the Hebrew texts of antiquity, he is also referred to as Ahasuerus.


1

Eleventh Day of Shevat

Third Year of the Reign of Xerxes

Year 3394 after Creation


Was it today that I became fully awake, or have I only now begun to dream? Today Cyrus saw me in the marketplace haggling gently with my favorite shopkeeper, Shethana, over the price of a fleece. Shethana makes the loveliest rugs—I think they are even more lovely than the ones imported from the East—and her husband is known for his skill in crafting metals of all kinds. When I turned fifteen last year, he fashioned for me a necklace with several links in the center, painted various shades of blue. He says it is an art practiced in Egypt, this inlaying of colors into metal shapes. I feel so exotic with it on and wear it almost daily. I know it is as close to adventure as Mordecai will ever allow.

But as Shethana and I haggled over the fleece, both of us smiling because she knew I would as soon give it to her, Cyrus walked by eating a flatbread he had purchased from another vendor. He grimaced when he took a bite—I think he might have gotten a very strong taste of shallot—and I laughed. He laughed back, wiping his eyes with his jacket and fanning his mouth, and then, oh then, his gaze held my eyes for a moment. Everything in my body seemed to come alive suddenly and I felt afraid, for my legs couldn’t stand as straight and steady and I couldn’t get my mouth to work. Shethana noticed right away and didn’t conceal her grin as she glanced between Cyrus and me. I should have doubled the price of her fleece right then!

Cyrus turned to walk away, and I tried to focus again on my transaction. I could not meet Shethana’s eyes now—I didn’t want to be questioned about men and marriage, for everyone knows I have no dowry. To dream of winning Cyrus would be as foolish as to run my own heart straight through. I cannot dream, for it will surely crush me. And yet I can’t stop this warm flood that sweeps over me when he is near.

I haven’t told you the best part—when Shethana bought her fleece and left, I allowed myself to close my eyes for a moment in the heat of the day, and when I opened them again, there was a little stack of flatbread in my booth. I looked in every direction but could see no one. Taking a bite, I had to spit it out and started laughing. Cyrus was right—the vendor used many bitter shallots. The flatbread was a disaster.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Chosen by Ginger Garrett. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.



Read my review HERE.

Blog Tour and Review: Chosen (Lost Loves of the Bible, Book 1) by Ginger Garrett

Chosen (Lost Loves of the Bible, Book 1)
by Ginger Garrett
Copyright 2010
David C. Cook Publishers
304 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4347-6801-8
Fiction/Historical/Biblical

From the publisher:
The first in the Lost Loves series, Chosen is the story of Esther—the story of a girl unsparingly plunged into heartache and chaos, who would save a nation ... of Esther, who would be queen.

Wrenched from a simple life for her beauty, Esther finds herself at the mercy of King Xerxes. Leaving behind her only relative, her cousin Mordecai, and her first true love, Cyrus, she is thrown headlong into the unrestrained extravagance of palace living. Quick of mind and strong in spirit, she refuses to suffer the fate of her harem sisters and boldly challenges Xerxes to give of his heart before taking his pleasure, thus sealing her place beside him a queen. While conspiracy spins its diabolical web, Esther's mind and spirit waver, and she is forced to confront the past in order to save her future—and that of an entire nation.

My Review:
When you can't tell if a book is real or fictional, it must be good! Although the "diaries" of Esther moved ahead a little too fast for me I enjoyed this version of the story of one of history's most beloved heroines. I really felt that this could have been written by Esther herself. Some of the most interesting descriptions are the beauty treatments and activities that the women participated in to become prepared to meet with the king.

I have never read anything other than the Biblical version of Esther's story but I found this to be a god rendering of life in ancient Persia. I didn't really understand the reason for all of the footnotes that referred to modern news articles but overall I though this was nicely done.

To learn more about Ginger Garrett and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE
Her BLOG

*I received my free review copy from Audra Jennings and David C. Cook Publishers.*

Blogaversary Celebration Day Four: Author, Laura Frantz

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I'm always on the lookout for books featuring settings that are a bit different from what I usually read. Laura Frantz's debut novel, The Frontiersman's Daughter is set on the 18th century frontier and includes Native Americans, log cabins, forts, and *sigh* waterfalls! It's a must read and I'm super excited for her next release, Courting Morrow Little, to be released this summer!

Here's Laura!


What do you think is the most important thing when writing a good historical (doing research, making it authentic, detail, etc.)?

Wonderful question, Renee! For me, I would have to say historical detail is so important. But let’s back up a bit. The setting of the novel is supreme for me – the sights, sounds, and tastes of frontier life in the 18th-century – so much so that setting almost becomes another character in the novel - very vivid and rich with a personality of its own. This requires lots of research and visiting the setting or, in my case, living there. Then you add all the little touches that make the story real and interesting to today’s readers. Instead of just writing about soap, I write about bayberry soap. Food becomes spoonbread and hominy and bear bacon. Fabric becomes stroud or embroidered silk. Medicines are Daffy’s Elixir and Ginseng and Sassafras. Details like these add depth and make for a rich reading experience. I hope you agree!

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Excerpt from Courting Morrow Little:

Morrow looked away, trying to tamp down her heartache, the intimate question on the tip of her tongue begging to be answered. “Do you have a…woman?”

For a moment she thought he might say yes, and she tensed.

“No,” he finally said.

A bittersweet relief swept through her. Here and now, in the shadowed barn, nothing seemed to matter but the two of them. Every obstacle seemed to fade away. All the barriers between them turned to ashes with that one definitive no.

He leaned back against a post while she clasped her hands together and tried to summon the will to walk away. But the ensuing silence was rife with a
hundred heartfelt things, each wooing her to stay. How different this was than the first time, when he’d surprised her in the barn and she’d run away from him. Was he remembering it too?

Looking down at the hay strewn about her feet, she felt his fingers graze her cheek and brush back the wisps of hair that had come free of her pins. She nearly shivered, yet the warmth of his hand seemed to reach clear to her heart. Was the sigh she heard his – or her own?

Slowly she looked up and his hand fell away. Without thinking, she reached for him again, needing his warmth and strength, and returned his callused palm to her flushed cheek. Despite the darkness, she sensed his surprise, and it matched her own as he ever so carefully closed the distance between them.

“Morrow…”

He was so close he could lower his face into her hair and breathe in the rose scent of her if he wanted to. He’d not dishonor her, he’d once said. She didn’t rightly know what that meant, yet she almost wanted to find out. She was on dangerous ground, all her feelings tied in knots, her genteel ways fraying like silk thread. She felt the pressure of his other hand warm about her waist…his breath on her cheek…his fingers cradling her chin and drawing her in.

Oh Lord, I am lost.

Copyright 2010, Laura Frantz, (Revell) Baker Publishing Group

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About Laura:
Laura Frantz credits her grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz’s family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in the latter part of the 18th-century and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. A graduate of Denison University with a degree in English, she is a member of the Kentucky Historical Society, American Christian Fiction Writers, and Romance Writers of America. Currently she lives in the misty woods of northwest Washington with her husband and two sons.

She can be reached @
and

Pre-order Courting Morrow Little @

~~~~~~~~~~~


Oh, dear reading friends, I’m dying to introduce you to the hero in this scene! Morrow has many suitors, and I can’t wait for you to meet the man who finally wins her heart! If you’ve read my first book, The Frontiersman’s Daughter, you’ll know that Lael Click is a no-nonsense kind of heroine. Well, meet Morrow Little! It’s been said that no two heroines are alike, or heroes for that matter, and my books bear this out. In honor of Renee’s blogaversary, one winner will receive a signed copy of Courting Morrow Little upon its release in July and one winner will receive a sampler from Crabtree & Evelyn similar to the one shown here.

Thank you, Renee, for having such a heart for Christian fiction and spotlighting our books here. And bless all you readers! You are the very heartbeat of what we authors do!


~To enter to win leave a comment telling me what time period or setting for a book is your favorite!
~You MUST leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you for your mailing address if you win! (example: steelergirl83[at]gmail[dot]com )
~U.S. residents only please!
~Contest open until March 21, 2010 at 11:59PM EST.
~One winner will be chosen for the gift set and one winner for the sampler set. Their names will be posted on this blog, and they will be notified by email on March 22, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond or different winners will be selected.

Go HERE to enter to win Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, by Cerella D. Sechrist and a tin of Hershey Kisses.

Go HERE to enter to win Critical Care and Disaster Status by Candace Calvert

Go HERE to enter to win The Substitute Bride by Janet Dean

Go HERE to enter to win The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey and Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

Blogaversary Celebration Day Three: Cerella D. Sechrist, Author of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This year I had the opportunity to meet new author and fellow Pennsylvania girl, Cerella D. Sechrist and read her book Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania. She's sweeter than chocolate and it's safe to say that this lady is going to have a successful writing career! I'm so excited to have her on my blog again to help celebrate my blogaversary!

My Review of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Here's Cerella!

7 Reasons Sadie Spencer Has All the Luck

Being that today is St. Patrick’s Day, my thoughts have turned to things green and Irish and filled with good fortune. In celebrating Renee’s blogaversary, I decided to highlight the seven reasons why I think Sadie Spencer, my heroine in Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is a lucky woman.

Even though Sadie has experienced some tragedies in her twenty-nine years (and struggles with her ineptitude at desserts – which IS rather embarrassing for a chef), I still think she’s blessed. Here’s why –

1. Jasper Reeves is her best friend.
He’s faithful, sweet, patient and good-looking. What more can you ask for in a friend you’ve known since childhood?

2. Her five-year-old daughter, Kylie, is a pistol.
And she makes me laugh. Whether its bathroom adventures or Barbie-doll mayhem (or the time she tried driving!), Kylie is a daughter to keep a mom on her toes.

3. It’s not so bad to have a good-looking Russian adversary.
Dmitri Velichko is a man of mystery, and even Sadie isn’t sure whether he’s friend or foe. Still, there’s something appealing about a tall, dark, and handsome man with a secret, isn’t there?

4. She can’t bake desserts, but she can still cook.
Sure, the dessert thing is an issue (and one that really bugs her), but whipping up salivating entrees is still a great skill to possess. For more recipes on the subject, visit the Recipes page for the book at my website: www.cerelladsechrist.com/books/lfyhershey/recipes/

5. She lives in Hershey: a town of chocolate.
Need I say more?

6. She has some wise people in her life to guide her.
Such as Belva, the mother of her deceased husband. Belva reminds me of a charming Southern woman who was a part of my own life growing up – the type of person who isn’t afraid to tell you about your mistakes while loving you without condition. Those people are rare blessings.

7. She gets a happy ending.
But I don’t want to give anything away here so you’ll just have to read Love Finds You in Hershey, PA, for yourself. =)

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Excerpt from Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania:

When it came time to return Matilda to the nursing home, Sadie and Kylie helped the old woman to her room as Jasper lingered at the nurses’ station to speak to someone in charge about Matilda’s denture collection.

While Jasper was occupied, Sadie pulled forth a decorative tin filled with cookies, which she had carried in with her from the car.

“Aunt Matilda, I brought you a little special something.”

Matilda tugged an orange-and-brown afghan around her shriv­eled thighs and eyed Sadie warily. Clearly, her assessment of Sadie’s character had not been entirely reformed just yet.

“Mommy, Kylie doesn’t think that’s a good idea,” the five-year-old girl piped up, eyeing the tin with a similar expression of wariness.

Sadie glanced at her daughter. “Why not?”

Kylie just sighed in a way that made Sadie narrow her eyes at this seemingly long-suffering forbearance.

Ignoring this reaction, she turned her attention back to Matilda. “I made them myself,” she assured the elderly lady. Removing the tin lid, she waved the container back and forth beneath Matilda’s nose.

“They’re chocolate chip–walnut.”

“Ohhh.” Kylie’s little hands covered her face.

Sadie felt a prick of irritation at that. “Come on. Try one.” This was a new recipe, and Sadie felt absolutely confident that, this time, her dessert-making efforts had been a success.

She’d been practicing.

Removing a walnut-encrusted disk from the tin, she waved it under Matilda’s nose.
Matilda sneezed. “Smells like cat litter,” she declared.

A few stray crumbs floated onto the afghan. Matilda stared at them. “Looks like cat litter.”

Kylie giggled, and Sadie threw her a look. The expression on Sadie’s face instantly silenced her.

Sadie’s teeth clenched tighter than a vise, and she forced through them the suggestion, “Why—don’t—you—just—try—one?”

Matilda may have been old. And she may have been senile. But she was certainly not stupid. “Do I look like your guinea pig, young lady?”

Sadie pursed her lips. “Eat it.”

“No.”

“You’ll like it.”

Matilda crossed her arms. “Why don’t you eat it?”

Sadie’s hand, hanging in midair, drooped slightly. “You want me to eat it?”

Matilda nodded.

Sadie swallowed.

“Well, I—I suppose I could… . ” She lifted the crumbly cookie to­ward her face.

Kylie’s eyes grew round. Sadie licked her lips, and Matilda’s eyes narrowed to thin slits.

With a little breath, Sadie stuffed a bite of the cookie into her mouth and chewed vigorously.

“Mmmm! Dell-esh-us!” she muttered around the dry mounds. Cardboard cutouts tasted more appetizing. But it had to be just her. She could whip up bisques to souffl├ęs, appetizers to entrees…surely her desserts were not so bad.

She grinned confidently and extended the remains of the cookie. Kylie’s eyes darted rapidly back and forth between the two women.

Matilda’s head cocked.

She’s buying it… .

The old woman leaned forward and opened her mouth, the clean line of her dentures standing at arms. Taking no chances, Sadie immediately stuffed the rest of the cookie into Matilda’s mouth and waited breathlessly.

The wrinkled jaws chewed seemingly involuntarily. Chew, chew, chew…a few attempts to swallow…no swallowing…

Matilda opened her mouth and attempted to gasp but managed only a raspy, sucking sound. Her bleached blue eyes widened and filled with liquid, but no sound escaped her lips except that constant rasp.

Sadie grew alarmed as Matilda’s bony fingers reached for her throat. Kylie scurried over.

“Mommy! She’s choking!”

Matilda’s vein-thickened hands clutched at her neck.

“Matilda?”

Only the sucking sound in reply.

“Mommy! She’s blue!”

Copyright 2010, Cerella D. Sechrist, Summerside Press

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Trust me, though. Sadie Spencer is a lucky girl. And to keep things ‘sweet’, I’m including a St. Patrick’s Day-themed cake recipe here that’s so easy…even Sadie could do it. (Someone should have Geico call me for that one. *g*)

Lucky Cake, Sadie-Style

Ingredients:
1 package white cake mix
2 packages of instant pudding mix, Pistachio flavor
1/3 cup of oil
4 whole eggs
½ cup of water
½ cup of milk

Directions:
Start by mixing the wet ingredients in your mixer and then slowly add in the dry ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 45 – 50 minutes (or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.) Voila – a delicious cake with a hint of St. Patrick’s Day green. If you want to go overboard, add a few drops of green food dye to some white icing. Or top with green sprinkles. And if you’re feeling decadent – shave some Hershey’s chocolate on there, as well.

Sadie would be green with envy.

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About Cerella:
Cerella D. Sechrist makes her home in southern Pennsylvania, under an hour's drive from the sweet life in Hershey. Growing up, her family annually celebrated an event called "Cookie Baking Day" where everyone gathered to bake over 80-dozen cookies, including one of their specialties: Peanut Blossoms topped with a Hershey's kiss. It therefore stands to reason that her love of desserts is a genetic inheritance and not to be taken lightly. When dieting, she consoles herself with midnight viewings of the Food Network.

Learn more about Cerella and her writing @ http://www.cerelladsechrist.com/

Blog and personal site: http://www.thecerellalife.com/

Follow her on Twitter @ thecerellalife

Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is available @:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble

Christian Book

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Giveaway!


One winner will receive a collector’s tin filled with a variety of Hershey’s Kisses in flavors like Cherry Cordial, Pumpkin Spice, Truffle, Caramel Apple and classic Milk Chocolate, along with an autographed copy of Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania by Cerella D. Sechrist!!!

Yum!


~If you would like to be entered to win just leave a comment telling me your favorite candy bar or candy!
~You MUST leave an email address in your comment so I can contact you for your mailing address if you win! (example: steelergirl83[at]gmail[dot]com )
~U.S. residents only please!
~Contest open until March 21, 2010 at 11:59PM EST.
~One winner will be chosen, their name posted on this blog, and they will be notified by email on March 22, 2010 and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.


Don't forget to go here to enter for a chance to win signed copies of Critical Care and Disaster Status by Candace Calvert!

Also go here if you would like to enter to win The Substitute Bride by Janet Dean!

And go here to enter my giveaway of The Yellow House by Patricia Falvey and Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand!

Luck 'o the Irish to ya! ;-)