Update!

Thursday, September 30, 2010


Hey everyone! I really apologize for not being around much on my blog or visiting your blogs this week. To be honest nearly every waking minute that I've been on the computer has been devoted to getting my hacked Hotmail account fixed and regaining access to my Facebook. My Facebook profile didn't disappear for those of you who are friends but I didn't have access to it due to the email issues so I was stressing out! I did FINALLY hear back from Hotmail today concerning my account and I was able to access it but decided it would be best to just delete it permanently. I never really used my Hotmail account much anyways so it wasn't that big of deal but it was a pain to export all of my contacts to my Gmail. Soooo I hope to be back up and running with new posts either later today or tomorrow! I did have some time to de-stress this week by reading a few good books so you can be sure to look for some new reviews soon. Thank you again so much for your patience!

Teaser Tuesday!

Tuesday, September 28, 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!!!!!

This week's teaser comes from a book that I am currently reading entitled, Love Remains (Matchmakers, Book 1) by Kaye Dacus. So far I'm enjoying it and hope to post a review soon! In the meantime here's a tidbit to whet you appetite!

Love Remains (Matchmakers, Book 1)
by Kaye Dacus
Copyright 2010
Barbour Books
320 pages
ISBN: 978-1-60260-989-1
Fiction/Christian/Romance


"They'd effectively taken away her ministry--her source of joy--without even asking her how she felt about it."

***Excerpt from page 154 of Love Remains. Copyright 2010, Kaye Dacus.***

Be sure to stop by and read other great teasers at MizB's blog!

Christian Fiction Review: Love's First Bloom by Delia Parr

Love's First Bloom
by Delia Parr
Copyright 2010
Bethany House Publishers
320 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0671-9
Historical Fiction

From the publisher:
She must conceal her past, her identity. What hope can there be for love?

Life changes drastically for Ruth Livingstone the day her father puts a young child in her arms and sends her under an assumed name to a small village in New Jersey. There she dutifully awaits his acquittal, certain that her father, Reverend Livingstone, soon will be cleared of the outrageous accusations against him.

When tragic events transpire, Ruth finds solace tending a garden along the banks of the Toms River—a place where she can find a measure of peace amid her growing heartache. It is also here that she meets Jake Spencer, a man who both frustrates and intrigues her. Fearful of the newspapermen intent on tracking her down and unsure of whom to trust, Ruth knows she must carefully maintain her identity as Widow Malloy. But as love begins to slowly bloom, can the tenuous affection growing between Ruth and Jake withstand the secrets that separate them?


My Review:
Having loved Hearts Awakening I was so excited to read Delia's next book. I'm sorry to say that, for me, it didn't live up to my expectations despite it's beautiful cover. I really enjoy a good love story but it just wasn't there for me in this book. Sure, the characters were nice but I just did not feel the connection between Ruth and Jake. For one thing their entire relationship was based on secrets, both constantly had to hide their pasts. I did like that the characters learned to forgive one another and take it to the next level so to speak but it did all seem to come together too quickly. I almost felt like this book needed 100 more pages just to make Jake and Ruth's love more authentic. I can't say much more about that part of the story so I'll go on to the other characters in the book!

The secondary characters in Love's First Bloom were terrific! I loved little Lily, she was so precocious, always wanting to bath and in pursuit of that "bath" getting into a few scrapes. I do like stories where kids have a part in bringing couple's together and we get a little bit of that with this book. Phanaby and Elias were terrific too, they were so caring and helpful to Lily and Ruth despite what they thought they knew about Ruth's past.

I do enjoy Ms. Parr's writing style and I look forward to her next book. If you give this book a chance hopefully you will like it. With it's beautiful pink and purple themed cover it definitely reminds one of a spring day in the garden and fits very well with the setting of the book!

3 of 5 stars!

My review of Hearts Awakening (5 of 5 stars)

To learn more about the author visit:
Her WEBSITE

*I received my complimentary review copy through Bethany House's Book Review Program in exchange for posting my honest review.*

Winners!!!

Thank you all so much for making my birthday so much fun! I'm pleased at the great turnout and interest in all these great authors and their books. If you didn't win be sure to check out their websites for information on how you can order their books! You never know they might have links to other great giveaways!

Thank you so much Julie, Candace and Penny for being such wonderful guests!

I know you want to know the winners as chosen by Random.org and they are...


Giveaway #1
Pittsburgh Steelers book mark and Deadly Disclosures by Julie Cave
Carmen 7351

Giveaway #2
Winner's choice of a Julie Lessman book
Holly

Giveaway #3
Signed copy of Code Triage by Candace Calvert
Sara


Giveaway #4 (2 winners)
Copy of The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall
Debbie
&
Renahe



Giveaway #5
Penny Zeller prize pack
Julia Reffner


Winners will be notified by email and will have 48 hours from time email is sent to respond or another winner will be drawn.

Spam Alert!

Monday, September 27, 2010

My Gmail and Hotmail accounts were hacked on 9/27/2010. If you get any strange emails from me requesting money because I'm stranded overseas IGNORE THEM! The messages were sent through my emails by a hacker using my name!!! I think I resolved my Gmail problem but I'm still working on getting my Hotmail back up and running. If you need to contact me please do so at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com OR my new email renee(dot)steelergirl83(at)yahoo(dot)com

As for the winners of last weeks birthday giveaways I will be announcing them around Midnight and will send the winner emails out! I will need your address so I can mail the book out or the author's can mail the books to you!

Thank you all so much for your time, patience, and support!

Christian Fiction Review: A Memory Between Us (Wings of Glory, Book 2) by Sarah Sundin

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Memory Between Us (Wings of Glory, Book 2)
by Sarah Sundin
Copyright 2010
Revell Publishers
448 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3422-0
Historical Romance

From the publisher:
Can they overcome the past to find a brighter future together?

Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top-priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she also is determined not to give her heart to any man.

As the danger and tension of World War II rise to a fever pitch, Jack and Ruth will need each other more than ever. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.


My Review:
Four words can sum up my thoughts on A Memory Between Us and they are, "I love this book!" Just when I thought I couldn't enjoy a book more than A Distant Melody (my review HERE), Ms. Sundin writes this book and I fall in love with Jack, Ruth, Charlie, and May. They're damaged, hurting, and have to deal with the trials and problems that come with war while learning to let go and give it all to God. And let me just say this if you like a good villain (wow that was an oxymoron but I like it so I'm using it:P) you will get one in this book and he just makes you want to scream! Yeah, he's pretty bad. Actually there are a few people in this book who I don't like but that makes the story even more interesting in my opinion!

One of the reasons why I loved A Distant Melody so much was not just because of the great romance between two average looking everyday people but because of the authentic, in your face, action that makes you feel as if you are actually making a bombing run with Walt and his crew. You get that same action in this book. There are tense moments galore. As far as emotions go this is definitely a story that will make a basket case out of you. For the first few chapters I was laughing at the nurse/patient banter and teasing between Jack and Ruth then I cried and then I got angry and then I ended up a happy camper. Both Ruth and Jack, not to mention Charlie and May, the supporting characters, go through some pretty harrowing ordeals. You will be on pins and needles.

Sarah Sundin writes like a seasoned pro and this is only her second novel! I said it before and I'll say it again, I don't know how she is going to top this book. I do love World War II stories and I've read a lot but I can honestly say that A Memory Between Us is by far my favorite Christian war romance and quite possible a favorite romance period. Both of Sarah's books have earned spots in my permanent library, I'm hope there isn't a long wait for Book 3.

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

To learn more about Sarah and her books visit:

Her WEBSITE
Her BLOG
FACEBOOK

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Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.

AMBU_button


To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:

* Make-your-own-photo book from Mypublisher.com (Capture your own Memories)

* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)

* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)

*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)

* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)

* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)

*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)

* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)

* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)

To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 - 10/17!)


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*I received my review copy from Donna @ Revell Publishers in exchange for posting my honest opinion of the book.*

Birthday Giveaway #5 With Guest Author, Penny Zeller!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Recently through First Wild Card book group I discovered a new author, Penny Zeller! She is a writer of fiction (my favorite) and nonfiction! She is sweet enough that she jumped at the chance to help me celebrate my birthday and has offered not 1, not 2, but 3 of her books to one lucky winner! I've only had the opportunity to read her latest release, McKenzie (my review HERE) but let me tell you it was a worthwhile read so I'm sure her other books are terrific too! Please join me in welcoming a new friend to this blog by saying hi to Penny today! If you would like to be entered to win the Penny Zeller Giftpack of McKenzie, Hollyhocks, and 77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference, be sure to read the rules at the end of this post!

Penny Zeller is the author of four books and numerous magazine articles. She writes the humor blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Author", is an active volunteer in her community, serving as a women’s Bible study small-group leader and co-organizing a women’s prayer group. Her passion is to use the gift of the written word to glorify God and to benefit His Kingdom. She devotes her time to assisting and nurturing women and children into a closer relationship with Christ. When she’s not dreaming up new characters for books, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and camping, hiking, canoeing, gardening, and playing volleyball. Penny’s most recent book, McKenzie, was released in September 2010 by Whitaker House and is the first in the Montana Skies Series. Her second book, Kaydie, a touching book of trust and God’s provision, is scheduled for release in April 2011.
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*some of these questions are from http://apenforyourthoughts.com/ and http://estherisblogging.blogspot.com/.

1. Who / What was your inspiration to start writing?

I was bitten by the writing bug at age seven when I began writing Bible stories in my own words. (I suppose you could call it grade-school commentary!) My second grade teacher, Mrs. Vernon, encouraged me to continue writing about Jesus. In fourth grade, I began to write fiction stories about a dog named Muffie and her adventures, as well as, other short stories neatly composed in homemade wallpaper-covered cardboard books. I loved telling stories at a young age and enjoyed sharing those stories with my sister and cousin. In fifth grade, I won in the Young Authors contest at our school and had my first poem published in a children’s magazine shortly thereafter. My parents bought me my first typewriter (ok, I’m dating myself!) when I was 10 years old. I would sit and type up stories on that electric gray typewriter for hours on end.

Years later, my inspiration continues to come from the Lord and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him. I get ideas from the Scriptures often and I build my book around certain biblical themes, such as, forgiveness and redemption. My Christian characters pray and seek God for direction. And as a writer I am in constant prayer for wisdom, guidance, and that my books would be life-changing – that they would bring others to the Lord or closer to the Lord. Writing is my ministry, and I have chosen Psalm 19:14 as my life verse: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”


2. What do you enjoy least about writing? And most?

There’s nothing I don’t like about writing, as I love it all – it’s my passion. However, I would have to say my least favorite thing is revising. The thing I enjoy most about writing is building the characters and their personalities so they will come alive in the reader’s mind. For example, I love writing dialogue and thinking about how each character would react in each scenario. The creation of the characters is so exciting because I love the newness and freshness of the ideas God gives to me.

Almost everyone has had some sort of inspiration to draw them to writing a particular story.


3. What was your inspiration for McKenzie?

I love historical Christian fiction and especially the 1800s era. My first love is fiction (although I do enjoy writing nonfiction as well). When the Lord gave me the idea for McKenzie, it actually surrounded interesting circumstances. My family and I were in a car accident a couple years ago where I suffered neck and leg injuries. During that time period of seven months, I was also hit with back-to-back bacterial infections. Because of the injuries and illness, I was pretty much homebound and my active athletic lifestyle suddenly became limited. I look back now and praise God that He gave me McKenzie, as well as two other manuscripts (another historical and a contemporary) I wrote in that seven month period of pain and illness. God took what was a difficult time for me and turned it around to something positive that can be used for His Kingdom – taking the time to write the books that I had always wanted to write. He has since healed me and I pray daily that the path I have chosen in life will glorify Him. I think that’s why Jeremiah 29:11, which says, “’For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” is so close to my heart.


4. If you could meet 1 person from the Bible, who would it be? (besides Jesus, of course)

Wow, I don’t think I could narrow it down to just one person! There are so many amazing people in the Bible. I would have to say there would be a three-way tie between Esther, Daniel, and John the Baptist. All exhibited such courage in the face of adversity, and I love how God brought them through that adversity. What testimonies and what inspirations to us all!


5. Do you have any words of wisdom you would like to share with your readers?

When I meet a reader or fan face to face, I love to chat with her about what she envisions herself doing for God’s Kingdom and how can I pray and encourage her in that pursuit. If she is pursuing her dream as a writer, I tell her that one of the most important things to remember in being a writer is that if God has called her, He will guide her. In November of 2000, I gave my writing to the Lord. I quit my fulltime job with a social service agency to stay home with my infant daughter. That was the start of my writing career, beginning with the magazine articles. I speak from experience when I say that when He closes one door, He opens another (much better) one.

Visit her website, http://www.pennyzeller.com/!

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McKenzie (Montana Skies, Book 1)

McKenzie Worthington is desperate to rescue her younger sister from an abusive husband. She runs away from her stately Boston home as a mail-order bride for a rancher in the rugged Montana Territory. Desperation also prompted Zach Sawyer to post the ad for a bride, and he eagerly awaits the woman God has chosen as his wife. When they meet, McKenzie tries to keep her distance, but she can’t help feeling attracted to Zach and his selfless ways. What will become of McKenzie’s plan to annul the marriage when she finds her sister?



Hollyhocks

Little Naniekyns has severe food allergies to most of the plants and leaves int he forest. Her food choices are limited to grass blades while her friends enjoy various different forest delicatessens. Join Naniekyns and her friends, June-Bug and Aunt RudyBee, as they attempt to find a delicious food that Naniekyns can eat without having an allergic reaction. Travel on an adventure where the well-crafted text and enchanting illustrations will captivate audiences of all ages.




77 Ways Your Family Can Make a Difference

Serving others - loving them the way we love ourselves - is the heartbeat of the Christian faith. As parents, we want to instill this virtue in our children, but simply telling our kids to love their neighbors isn't enough - they need to see and experience love in action.

Packed with 77 suggestions and activities designed to serve the different needs of people in your community, this fun and insightful book will help you cultivate love and compassion in your kids as you discover ways your family can make the world a better place by impacting the lives of others.

This practical and easy-to-use book includes:

•Creative activities that can be adapted to fit your unique family

•Service ideas for a variety of budgets

•Bible verses tohelp children connect God's truth to their lives

•Interactive discussion questions to help your family understand the importance of each activity and correlate it to God's Word

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Giveaway Rules:
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower, if
you're not you can sign up now using Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar of this blog. Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES visit Penny's site or blog and let me know what you liked best!!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be drawn using random.org and their name will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.

*I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged in the mail.*


Birthday Giveaway #4: The Hope of Refuge (An Ada's House Novel) by Cindy Woodsmall

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thanks to the lovely folks at Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers I have TWO brand spankin' new copies of Cindy Woodsmall's Amish fiction book, The Hope of Refuge, Book 1 in the Ada's House series. Both books have signed bookplates on the inside cover which makes them extra nice! Since I have two copies that means two winners so read the rules below to see if you're eligible to enter!


The Hope of Refuge (An Ada's House Novel) by Cindy Woodsmall


Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

Giveaway Rules:
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower, if
you're not you can sign up now using Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar of this blog. Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES tell me your favorite flavor of birthday cake or any cake!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winners will be drawn using random.org and their names will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winners via email. The winners have 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.

*I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged in the mail.*

Quick Review: God and Dog by Wendy Francisco

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GoD and DoG
by Wendy Francisco
Copyright 2010
Center Street, Hachette Book Group
ISBN: 978-1-59995-379-3
Pets/Inspiration

Quick Review:
I love dogs and when I first saw the video on Youtube that this book is based on I fell in love. If you're a fan of the short film and song then chances are you will love this book. Not only does it have cute illustrations but it has the lyrics and music so you can play and sing the song yourself. This book definitely would make a great gift for a person of ANY age, it's simple enough for kids to read and small enough to take with you anywhere. A must for dog lovers!


*Thanks to Anna Balasi @ Hachette Book Group for providing me with a review copy.*

Birthday Giveaway #3 with Guest Author, Candace Calvert!

I didn't realize how much I loved Medical dramas (other than Grey's Anatomy) until I read Candace Calvert's Mercy Hospital series! If you're looking for fast paced stories with terrific romance her books are it.

When thinking up ideas for my birthday week I wanted to include different types of Christian fiction everyday Monday was suspense, Tuesday was Edgy Christian romance, so I thought to get you through hump day I'd go with more drama, which is never boring right? Terrific author and friend Candace has offered a giveaway of her latest release, Code Triage the final book in the Mercy Hospital series to one lucky reader! I read an early copy of this book and let me tell you it's the best yet, you won't be disappointed. If you'd like to "meet" Candace check out some of her favorite Q&A's from past interviews and feel free to leave a comment and tell her hi! Be sure to read the rules at the bottom of this post to see if you're eligible to enter the giveaway.

1. If your hero/heroine were an ice cream flavor, what would he/she be and why?

Amazing question! Let’s see . . .

Nurse Claire Avery would be Neopolitan—perfect, parallel stripes of chocolate, vanilla and strawberry. Cautious and highly planned out. Because that’s the only way she feels safe.

Dr. Logan Caldwell would be Ben & Jerry’s “Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler”—eaten from a Styrofoam cup, with tongue depressor. On the go, mission accomplished and no excuses, STAT—because that’s what he expects from himself and his ER team.

--from interview with Tiffany Amber Stockton


2. Did you have a special toy that went everywhere with you when you were young? Please describe.

I was enamored with a series of stick horses (Fury, Flicka, Black Beauty), and worked to perfect a great trot and lip-rattling whinny. Then sobbed, broken hearted, when my grammar school principal confiscated one of those beloved horses “for safety” on the playground. I stand firm: Flicka was not a weapon.

--Relz Reviewz


3. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.

You’ll probably find a bit of my DNA there. I was an ER nurse for three decades, so writing CRITICAL CARE was like re-entering a world of sirens, stat pages, coffee and adrenalin highs, pressure-relieving humor, baggy scrubs . . . and heart-wrenching tragedy. Only this time I sent heroine Claire Avery in my place. But I also let her drink my favorite coffee, dance the country western Two Step, and fall in love with a great guy. So that’s fair, right?

--from interview with Lena Nelson Dooley


4. Is there something about you most people don't know? (A secret hobby, etc:)

I’m a “birder”; with a bird watching Life List, huge sacks of bird seed, a nerdy vest, several pair of binoculars. And I’ve been known to jump up and down and squeal with wild abandonment after spotting a new feathered find.

--from interview with The Giveaway Girl Blog


5. What advice would you give to a beginning author?

Read good books, network with other writers. Write and write and write, enjoying the journey without the immediate goal of publication in mind. “Stretch” your writing muscles much the same way an athlete stretches and tones his body. It takes time and discipline to become an Olympian . . . and a published author.

--from interview with Lena Nelson Dooley

Spend more time with Candace @ her website: http://www.candacecalvert.com/!

Renee: It’s been fun remembering and sharing these favorite interview questions with you and your readers. I’m delighted to sign a copy of hot-off-the-press CODE TRIAGE for your giveaway winner.

And . . . happy, happy birthday, my friend!

Candace




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Dr. Leigh Stathos likes her ER shifts fast, furious, and adrenaline-infused—“Treat ’em and street ’em”—with no emotional complications. Life’s taught her a soul-rending lesson: nothing lasts forever, including marriage. And the clock is ticking toward the end of hers. Then an unwelcome confrontation with “the other woman” begins a whole new set of lessons.

San Francisco police officer Nick Stathos never gives up, whether protecting his patrol neighborhood, holding fast to faith—or trying to save his marriage. Seven days is all he has to reach Leigh’s heart. But when a desperate act of violence slams Golden Gate Mercy Hospital into lockdown, it starts a chain of events that will change lives forever.

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Giveaway Rules:
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower, if
you're not you can sign up now using Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar of this blog. Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES visit Candace's site HERE and let me know what you liked best!!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be drawn using random.org and their name will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.

*I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged in the mail.*


Fun Quiz!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I don't know why I took this quiz I already knew what the answer would be! :-P



How Much of a Fiction Lover Are You?
Fiction Obsessed A voracious fiction reader, you devour so many books that your friends and family identify you as a "book worm" when describing you to other people. You probably tend to quote characters like they are real people and laugh or cry with them as often as you do your real-life friends. Your bookshelves are fully stocked and it's all you can do to keep them organized. You'd rather be reading than almost anything else...
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes by Quibblo


Birthday Giveaway #2 With Special Guest Author, Julie Lessman!

As you may already know one of my favorite authors and friend of this blog is Christian fiction author, Julie Lessman. Her Daughters of Boston series is a huge success and I'm sure her latest series Winds of Change will be too.

To help me celebrate my birthday and the release of A Hope Undaunted (my review here) Julie has so graciously offered to give one lucky reader their choice of one of her books either from the Daughters of Boston series or A Hope Undaunted.

If you would like to learn a little more about Julie check out some of the Q and A's from past interviews that she has dug out of the archives, hey you might learn something! Also be sure to read the rules below for all the details on today's giveaway!


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1. Describe yourself for our visitors.

I'll give you a hint: When I was little, my brothers and sisters used to call me “Walking Nervous Breakdown.” Okay, so I'm a bit wired … there's no harm in that, is there? I mean I do everything fast (except interviews!). I walk fast, I talk fast and I eat fast--a natural byproduct of being # 12 in a family of 13. Imagine 15 people at a Last Supper-style Formica table with long red vinyl benches on either side. Like a school of sharks waiting for meat to hit the water. If you didn't grab for the grub, chances are there wouldn't be anything left. Can you say “plague of locusts”? To this day, buffets put a twitch in my eye because I feel like the food will run out. :-)

And, yes, I am dramatic … okay, “melo”-dramatic, but in my opinion that makes for a good storyteller. I like drama and passion-- LOTS of it--especially in my reading material, which is why my books are not sweet, easy reads. But the flip side is that ALL that PASSION and ENERGY are also channeled into my love affair with God, which is a very good thing!


2. How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?

I RUN … not walk … to the throne of God! He is my high tower, my place of refuge in ANY storm, be it professional or personal. For me, He has never been a last resort, but the FIRST thing I do when life's hurried pace overwhelms me. A good example is a story on my Web site about when a doctor told us he thought our college-age son had cancer. Now I am a wired individual under the best of circumstances, so this had the potential to fell me like a tree. But I sprinted to God faster than Jackie Joyner Kersee going for the gold, and the prize was God's peace. You can read the steps I took in maintaining my sanity at http://julielessman.com/from-the-heart/.


3. Your books do a good job of illustrating the passionate side of love. Why do you think that is so important?

Are you kidding? Look at the world today--it's obsessed with illicit passion. Hollywood promotes adultery as sexy, and I can count on one hand how many young, unmarried women I know who are still virgins today, Christian or no. Why? Because passion is important! Not just to romance readers, but to everyone on the planet. We were created that way by a passionate God who analogizes His own depth of love for each of us in a very passionate love letter called “Song of Solomon.” And what happens? The world uses this beautiful, God-given gift to shove sin down peoples' throats, and I, for one, am really sick of it. I want to use passion the way it was intended--to teach people God's precepts and therein, His love. It's the cry of my heart, and I hope and pray that for readers, my stories of romantic passion translate into passion for God.


4. You frequently mention Gone With the Wind as the book that sparked your love for romance. Scarlet was a pretty selfish, manipulative female ... a stark contrast to what you feel forms the basis of a God-centered love. What did you find about Scarlet that drew you to romance?

Excellent question! Yes, Scarlett was selfish, but what drew me was the pull she had over Rhett--a man who wanted her but couldn't have her. To me, seeing a strong, male type like Rhett Butler “who wasn't the marrying kind” give in and marry her because he loved her and wanted to cherish her, spoke volumes to me. Even as a little girl, I sensed that was what romance was all about--finding a man who couldn't do without you and to whom you were the most important woman in the world. It wasn't until I gave my heart to the Lord that I learned it was a foreshadow of how God sees romance in Ephesians 5:25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.” Now I am not saying that Rhett Butler typified the kind of love Christ had in mind, but he wanted Scarlett so badly, he was willing to give of himself to get her. No other woman alive could do that to him, only her. Now to me, that's romance! :-)


5. How important is faith in your books?

Oh, my goodness, MONUMENTAL!!! I'm sorry, but to me, romance is just not romantic unless God is in the middle! For my tastes, there's nothing “sexy” about sin in a romance novel or movie. I've had people tell me that Bridges of Madison County was one of the most romantic films they have ever seen. Are you kidding me??? Since when is adultery romantic, no matter the situation! Maybe that's just me, but I personally can't enjoy romance (in a movie or book) unless it is according to God's precepts OR unless it uses sin to point the reader TO His precepts. That's the reason I LOVE Inspirational Romance so much. And, yes, “faith” (or spiritual passion) is the key component in my novels … with romantic passion hot on its heels! :-)


6. In the acknowledgements at the back of A Passion Most Pure, you mention “Windowsill Jesus.” Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Well, as a child, I had an imagination like a runaway train! And, of course, I was a very emotional kid (big surprise there). I wanted to relate to Jesus on an intimate and personal level--you know, see Him … feel Him? So I would press my nose against the screen of my bedroom window and squint toward my sister's bedroom right next to mine. I'd imagine I see Jesus' sandals kicking in the breeze along with His long, white dress as he sat on her windowsill. That image comforted me so much as a child--and took a lot of heat from me as a bitter teen--that I never forgot it. Through at all (even agnosticism in my early twenties), Windowsill Jesus never let me go, finally bringing me into a truly intimate and personal relationship with God at the age of 23, which became THE turning point for a very lonely and very angry little girl. I owe Him my life.

To learn more about Julie visit http://www.julielessman.com/!

**********************************


What happens when the boy she loved to hate ... becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

********************************
Giveaway Rules:
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower, if
you're not you can sign up now using Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar of this blog. Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES visit Julie's site HERE and let me know what you liked best!!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be drawn using random.org and their name will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.

*I am not responsible for prizes that are lost or damaged in the mail.*

Birthday Week Giveaway #1!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Since it's my birthday I get to do whatever I want to right and I feel like giving away presents to my lovely blog followers. I wish I could give them away to every one of you I don't have the resources (ie. the cash) to do that so if you would like today's "presents" be sure to follow the rules so you can be entered for a chance to win!

Today's giveaway is this cool 3D Pittsburgh Steelers bookmark. These are so neat and a must for any reader and football fan. I only give these away to special people and since you, my loyal followers, are special people I thought I'd give one of you the chance to win. And really, what good is a bookmark without a book to put it in? Thanks to the folks at New Leaf Publishing I have a brand new (but slightly scuffed) copy of Julie Cave's Christian suspense novel, Deadly Disclosures for you to slip your bookmark in! One lucky winner will be chosen at random from all eligible comments and will receive BOTH the bookmark and the book. :-)


Giveaway Rules:
~ Void where prohibited.
~U.S. Residents only please.
~ Leave a comment. You MUST be a follower, if
you're not you can sign up now using Google Friend Connect on the right sidebar of this blog. Please leave a valid email address in your comment so I can contact you if you're the lucky winner! Disguise it something like this: steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com
~ For TWO EXTRA ENTRIES tell me the name of your favorite sports team in your comment!
~ Contest is open until September 27, 2010 at 11:59 PM EST. Any comments made after that time will not count.
~The winner will be drawn using random.org and their name will be announced on September 28, 2010, on this blog AND I will contact the winner via email. The winner has 48 hours from the time winner email is sent or another name will be drawn.

*I am not responsible for prizes lost or damaged by the post office.*

Christian Fiction Review: A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change, Book 1) by Julie Lessman

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change, Book 1)
by Julie Lessman
Copyright 2010
Revell Publishers
512 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3415-2
Historical Fiction

From the publisher:
What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

My Review:
Where there are sisters there's bound to be trouble especially when those sisters go by the last name of O'Connor. Once again Julie Lessman delivers the dramatic, emotional rollercoaster of an edgy inspirational story that is definitely her trademark. You thought A Passion Most Pure had some great twists and turns well in the words of the 70s band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, "Baby you ain't seen nothin' yet!" Like I said where there is an O'Connor there's bound to be something interesting going down.

If you've ever read a series and wondered, "What happens next?" I'm glad to say that it looks like that will NOT be the case with this family. We met Faith, Charity, and Lizzie in the Daughters of Boston series and we get to meet the rest of the family along with some new characters in Winds of Change. From the little we knew of Katie and Cluny from the previous series I was hoping we would get to know them better in the future and that is certainly the case with this book! Katie is a beautiful girl who is no nonsense especially when it comes to love and Luke is her childhood nemesis who may or may not still be a slight pain in the behind for Katie. ;-)

A Hope Undaunted gives everything that the Passion books have and then some! This book continues with themes of a passion for family, friends, and God that can be found throughout Julie's writing. I think it's great that that message is in all of her books and it still never gets old! I can safely say that she and her books are high quality!

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

To learn more about Julie Lessman and her books visit:
Her WEBSITE
BLOG
Facebook
Twitter

A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party


Be sure to visit Julie's contest page for details on a ton of great giveaways including details on how to win a KINDLE!!!!!!!!!!!

YA Fiction Review: The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Healer's Apprentice
by Melanie Dickerson
Copyright 2010
Zondervan
272 pages
ISBN: 978-0310721437
Historical fiction/romance/teen fiction

From the publisher:
Two Hearts. One Hope.

Rose has been appointed as a healer’s apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter’s daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her—a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.

When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she’s never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose’s life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.


My Review:
I am a huge fan of fairy tales and I really enjoyed this story that is loosely based on Sleeping Beauty. It has all the elements I look for in a story, not only is there a great plot, a swoonworthy hero, and an intelligent heroine there's a great message for girls everywhere about waiting for the right guy to come along. Rose, the heroine, not only has to deal with learning that her parent's aren't who she believed them to be but also deal with a very handsome young man who isn't who he seems to be. I'm sure that even though this story takes place centuries ago girls will be able to relate to the pressures that Rose faces in her life.

A lot of stories can get boring or tedious to read if they come across as too preachy but this is definitely not one of those books. Ms. Dickerson does such a wonderful job making the story romantic and entertaining while still maintaining a Christian theme. I know as a reader I like all kinds of books both general market and Christian fiction so it's great to see this book which kind of mixes the two. There's an evil sorcerer and black magic but also characters who rely on their faith in God to get them through rough spots and protect them from harm. The Healer's Apprentice is a great book for readers both young and old who love a good fairy tale! I would love to see the author do more stories along this maybe something like Snow White or Cinderella! Here's to hoping! ;-)


To learn more about the author visit:
Her WEBSITE
Her BLOG

* I received my influencer copy from the publisher in exchange for posting my thoughts on the book.*

First Wild Card Blog Tour + My Review: Petra, City in Stone by T. L. Higley

Thursday, September 16, 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:



B&H Books (September 15, 2010)

***Special thanks to T.L. Higley for sending me a review copy.***


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Tracy started her first novel at the age of eight and has been hooked on writing ever since. After attending Philadelphia Biblical University, she earned a B.A. in English Literature at Rowan University. She then spent ten years writing drama presentations for church ministry. A lifelong interest in history and mythology has led Tracy to extensive research into ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome, and shaped her desire to shine the light of the gospel into the cultures of the past. She has traveled through Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Israel, Jordan and Italy to research her novels, and looks forward to more travel as the series continues.


Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $ 14.99
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (September 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1433668564
ISBN-13: 978-1433668562

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


The streets of Rome lay barren and empty, sucked dry by the colossal Flavian Amphitheatre that had swallowed seventy-five thousand Roman citizens in a single gulp, and would hold each one captive until they had enjoyed the horrors that Julian now raced to prevent.

More time. He needed more time. Already the crowd inside the four-story rim of stone cheered for the first event.

Julian’s sandals smacked the black basalt road that led toward the amphitheatre. The blistering Roman sun pounded the moisture from his skin and left him panting. He had run most of way, since an old servant in Vita’s house had pointed a gnarled finger toward the east, toward the Forum, toward the arena of death.

Eighty arches ringed the outside of the theatre on each of its first three stories. The bottom arches provided access to the public, and the second story’s niches held statues of the gods and emperors, who now looked down on Julian as he sprinted across the large travertine slabs that paved the arena’s edge.

He ran toward one of the four main entrances and fumbled for the tessera, the stone tile he wore around his neck. The designatores at the entrance would insist on examining it, to see the sector, row and seat to which he was assigned.

Indeed, the usher at this entrance was full of his own importance, and held a palm to Julian’s oncoming rush as though he could stop him with only the force of his arm.

“Too long in your bed this morning, eh?” His smug smile took in Julian’s hastily-wrapped toga and sweat-dampened hair.

Julian thrust the tessera before the man’s eyes. “Here, here, look at it.”

Still the amused smile. The usher opened his mouth to speak again.

“Look at it!”

Daunted, the man let his eyes travel over the tile, then took a tiny breath and stepped back. His grin faded to a look of regret over his own impudence, and he bowed his head. As if that were not enough, he bowed at the waist and extended a hand to invite Julian to enter.

Julian did not wait for an apology. He pushed past the usher and under the vaulted entrance, then straight through the arena’s outer corridor and up a ramp that led to the cavea, the wedge-shaped sections of marble seats. This main entrance led directly to the central boxes reserved for the elite.

He exploded from the dimly lit ramp onto the terrace. The morning sun slashed across half the seats, the height of the amphitheatre leaving the other half in shade. The red canvas velarium, the awning used to shade the spectators, would be raised before it got much hotter, but for now, thousands of bleached togas on white marble blinded the eye and the smell of the masses assaulted the nose.

Julian crossed the terrace in two strides, slammed against the waist-high wall that separated him from the arena, and saw a figure dash at him from the shadows.

His mother’s hands were on his arms in an instant. “Julian, what are you doing?” Her words were frantic, as clipped and terror-filled as his every movement.

“They have Vita, Mother!”

She wrenched his body fiercely to face her. Julian stood nearly a cubit taller than his mother, but Ariella had retained all the strength of her youth, along with the beauty. “There is nothing that can be done, my son.”

He yanked his arms from her grasp. “Do not say that!” Julian searched the cavea behind him, full to overflowing with the purple-edged togas of senators. “Where is Father? Is he here?”

“Julian, think! You must think.” Ariella’s voice was urgent and low and her clutching fingers again slowed Julian’s restlessness. “You will bring more harm – “

“I do not care!” His voice snagged with emotion, and he fought to harden the feelings into action. “I must end this.”

“You cannot, son.”

He turned flashing eyes on Ariella. “It is my fault! Do you not understand? I should be down in those cages.”

Ariella’s eyes misted. “I would not lose both my son and his betrothed on the same day.”

Betrothed. The word washed more guilt over Julian’s stricken soul.

A senator, one of his father’s friends, walked past and paused to hold out an arm in greeting to Julian. “Fine day for the games, is it not?”

Julian straightened at once, resuming the noble bearing trained into him since childhood, and returned the man’s grip. He nodded once in agreement, but did not speak. The senator moved on, and Julian dropped his shoulders, ashamed that he had not made a statement.

Ariella seemed to read his thoughts. Her dark eyes held his own. “It will take more than a day to change the Empire.”

Julian looked out over the yellow sand of the arena. “But this day, Mother, this day we must!” He slapped a hand against the top of the marble wall. “I am going to find Father.”

“Julian, you know that he can do nothing – “

He spun on her. “No. I am tired of both of you, always moving about your circles quietly, behind closed doors, the truth spoken only in whispers.” He lifted his own voice as an example. “There is a time to speak!”

Ariella’s nostrils flared, but she said nothing. Turning from her, Julian stalked to the nearest break in the seating and ascended the tiers alongside his father’s section. Here, the nobility did not sit on wooden planks as the rest of the citizens, but were given cushions or even chairs for comfort. He scanned the rows of seats for his father’s graying head, and instead met his dark gray eyes.

Julian shook his head and opened his mouth to shout across the intervening seats, but his father held up a hand, then stood and excused himself from his colleagues. He slid along in front of a dozen other senators, and emerged at the end of the row beside Julian.

Quietly, he spoke into his son’s ear. “I have just now heard. It is outrageous.”

Julian’s hands balled into fists at his side. “You must do something.”

“What can I do, Julian? The emperor has ruled, and Trajan is not a man to be defied.”

Across the arena, Julian watched as a trapdoor slid upward and a huddled band of men and women were prodded onto the sand at the end of Roman spears. Julian’s heart pounded with the shortness of the time left and he turned on his father with the frenzy of desperation. “She is out there, Father!”

But his father’s eyes held only grief, not anger. Not the fiery anger that could change the future, even now.

Julian pushed past him, down the steps. If his parents would do nothing from their positions of influence, then he would stop this madness from a position of strength.

It had been his fault, all of it. Trajan had made his stance clear. As long as they kept to themselves, did not flaunt their disagreement with imperial policy, did not take a public stand, they would be left alone. But that had not been enough for Julian. Passionate about the truth, eager to show himself a leader and foolish enough to believe himself invincible, he had spoken too loudly, in too many places.

And now this. Vita and the others arrested, convicted, and sentenced without his knowledge. Julian had brought this on them all, but he had escaped their fate.

At the terrace level he circled the arena toward the imperial box. The amphitheatre was one of the few places where the public had access to the divine emperor. Julian grasped at the thin hope that he could get near enough to plead for Vita’s life.

He had not loved her. Not like he should, though he had tried. He had never known a more virtuous woman. The arranged match between them was a good one. But Julian had never felt more than the flame of admiration and respect for her, and he saw nothing but the same in her eyes. Still, they would have been married.

We will be married.

The foot-stomps of the crowd rose around him like a hundred thousand drumbeats. The cadence resonated in his chest and pushed him forward. He knew that sound. It was the sound of a mob hungry for blood.

Terror drove his footsteps. He could not look to the arena. Not even when he heard more trapdoors rise and the low growl of beasts begin.

The crowd screamed as one, and their shouts lifted to the pale blue sky like a puff of evil smoke from the underworld. Julian’s bones seemed to turn to water. He raced on. The emperor’s raised box was in sight.

But then they were beside him again, both his parents this time, grasping at his arms, pulling him backward.

“It is too late, son.” His mother’s voice held the grief of both the present and the past, for she had seen much sorrow in the arena in her day.

His father turned him to the wall to face the sand. “You must say goodbye, Julian. You must say goodbye.”

He let his parents hold him there at the marble wall. He scraped his hands across the top, then gripped the white stone.

Lions. Six of them. Circling, circling the knot of friends in the center of the bright yellow sand that had been brought from one of the hills of Rome and spread on wooden planking to soak up the blood of gladiator, beast, and the condemned.

The lions charged at once, but for Julian, the moment stretched out, like a thread of silk spun from a slow-turning wheel, and though the crowd still bellowed, in his head all had gone silent and he saw only his group of friends, crumpling in on themselves like sand flowing into a sinkhole.

The lions must have roared before they pounced, though Julian heard nothing, and felt only the relentless scraping of his own hands across the stone wall. He scraped until his hands were torn and bloody, wanting to bleed with her, wanting to bleed with all of them, as he should have.

The sun had risen to pour its rays into the center of the arena, and the yellow sand beneath them turned to molten gold in the light, an oval of liquid gold with Vita and the others drowning in the center of it. He saw her face for a moment, lifted to heaven.

His mind disconnected and drifted strangely, then, to the words at the end of the Apostle John’s Revelation, and his vision of the New Jerusalem with its streets of pure gold.

Would Vita fall asleep in this golden sand and wake to streets of gold?

The beasts did their job well and quickly, and when it was over and the mutilated bodies of his friends lay scattered across the sand, Julian woke from his stupor and felt the guilt of every lost life bear down on him as though the stones around him had collapsed on his head. He tasted bile rising in his throat, and turned away from the wall to retch onto the paving stones.

His parents held his arms as he emptied the contents of his stomach. He heard the jeers directed toward him. When he stood, the tear-streaked faces of both his parents matched his own.

But he found no solace in their shared grief. They did not have to bear the guilt of it as he did. As he always would. He pulled from their embrace and escaped the amphitheatre, running back the way he had come, running like a haunted man.

Days later, when his guilt and grief had hardened into bitter anger, he tried once again to change the minds and policies of the Roman government. But in the end he brought only more disgrace, and more danger, upon his family.

In the cool of the evening three days after Vita’s death, he stood at the terrace wall of his father’s lavish villa in the Roman countryside, looking down into the flowered gardens his mother had commissioned, and listening to the fountain that trickled night and day into the central pool. He inhaled deeply of the night air, dragging in the scent of roses.

His guilt over Vita’s death had not abated, and he had added to it with his actions in the days since. His brazen words in the Senate House, and later the Forum, had identified him as one who should have also met his death in the arena that day.

Perhaps that was his wish. To be arrested himself, to be thrown before the gaping yaw of a dozen lions, to be given what he deserved.

But his family. He had not wanted the same for his family. His only brother, long since stationed in some military outpost, had never embraced the family’s beliefs, but even he could be reached by the long arm of the empire, and brought back to face condemnation with the rest.

Behind him, slaves stirred to prepare the evening meal and lit torches on the veranda. His parents would appear soon and they would all pretend that their privileged life continued.

But Julian had made a decision. His life in Rome was over. To protect his family, he must disappear.

He thought of his brother’s stories of the provinces that lay at the edges of the Empire. Of Britannia, of Judea. But even there the Roman army could search out a man. No, he must go further east than even Judea.

There was a place, a hidden city he had heard tales of since he was a boy. Stories that had sparked his imagination and given him the desire to travel across the desert sand to discover the city tucked between the rock cliffs of Arabia.

Petra. Capital of the Nabatean kingdom, wealthy center of the east-west trade route, and beyond even the Roman Empire’s reach.

Julian rubbed his hands together, palms still raw from being torn open the day Vita died. Yes, it was a good plan.

He would flee to Petra.





My Review:
Sadly I don't get to read many books that are set during the age of the Roman Empire. I have however read some terrific ones this year including Francine Rivers' A Voice in the Wind. When I had the chance to read Petra, City In Stone I was thrilled especially since it was set during that time period but it was not set directly in Rome.

Petra focuses on Cassia a young woman who is fleeing her hard life in Damascus for a new start in the stone city of Petra along with her young son, Alexander. Life in Petra is far different from what she expected and she faces more danger than she ever thought possible. At the same time meets followers of the Way and her life is forever changed.

I'm so happy I got to read Cassia's story and as my first book by author T.L. Higley I can say that it has made me curious to read her other older series, Seven Wonders. While at times I didn't feel the connections between the characters the pacing of the story made up for it. From the interaction between Cassia and Julian I didn't think a romance was in the making but I'm "kinda sorta" glad at how this book turned out. If you are a fan of a story with a very strong Christian message and a lot of action, Petra definitely has it! Overall I would say this is a good story with a really intriguing setting that I hope to see more of in the next book in the series.

Waiting on Wednesday: Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy, Book 1) by Lauren DeStefano

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Jill over @
Breaking the Spine hosts a weekly meme that features one book that you can't wait to be released! Be sure to visit Jill's site to see what she and other readers can't wait to get their hands on.

This week's pick is Wither by Lauren DeStefano, not only does it sound terrific but it definitely has one cool cover! Check it out!




From the author's website:
What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Available March 2011 from Simon and Schuster Children's!

Terrific YA Fiction!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I know I said that I wasn't going to be featuring a ton of YA fiction on my blog but lately I've been reading some awesome YA stories that I just had to share with you! I wish there were books like this when I was in high school...kids these days are soooo lucky. I guess I'm feeling my age, after all I am almost a quarter of a century old.

Here's some YA that's been holding my bookmarks. :-)

I just finished Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

A fresh, urban twist on the classic tale of star-crossed lovers.
When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel before her eyes. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, and he is about to threaten everything she's worked so hard for—her flawless reputation, her relationship with her boyfriend, and the secret that her home life is anything but perfect. Alex is a bad boy and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.
In a passionate story about looking beneath the surface, Simone Elkeles breaks through the stereotypes and barriers that threaten to keep Brittany and Alex apart.

**********

I'm currently typing a review for The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

Two Hearts. One Hope.Rose has been appointed as a healer's apprentice at Hagenheim Castle, a rare opportunity for a woodcutter's daughter like her. While she often feels uneasy at the sight of blood, Rose is determined to prove herself capable. Failure will mean returning home to marry the aging bachelor her mother has chosen for her---a bloated, disgusting merchant who makes Rose feel ill.When Lord Hamlin, the future duke, is injured, it is Rose who must tend to him. As she works to heal his wound, she begins to understand emotions she's never felt before and wonders if he feels the same. But falling in love is forbidden, as Lord Hamlin is betrothed to a mysterious young woman in hiding. As Rose's life spins toward confusion, she must take the first steps on a journey to discover her own destiny.

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I plan to read Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget.

Have you read any good Young Adult books lately? Do you have any recommendations?