What I've Been Up To...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Some of you may be wondering where I've been lately, well I'm glad to say there are a few good reasons why I haven't been posting a whole lot in the past few weeks. Sometimes it's hard to believe but I do have a life outside of cyberspace (I know, right?!). I've been visiting with family and working on new creative projects on top of all the reading I need to do in order to keep this blog informative and relevant. Family and the new creative endeavor I'm working on have been taking up A LOT of my time but it's not a bad thing in the least! I'm happy to say that the "project" I've been working on is somewhat book related and it might potentially lead to an even bigger project - my own online store!

By now you're probably all wondering what in the world I'm talking about so I'm going to tell you. I've been making book purses! What the heck is a book purse you may ask, well it's as simple as it sounds, a purse made from the cover of a book. Inspired by what I've seen around cyberspace including some great book covers and some gorgeous fabrics begging to be turned into something, I decided what better way to show my love of books than to make a purse out of one! This is not even close to being a "Renee's Original Idea" as there are many places you can go right now to buy a book purse but some are quite pricey. My goal was to create a functional bag that looked super cute while at the same time being durable and most importantly usable and inexpensive. I checked Wal-Mart, Joann's, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble and with all of the materials I got this is what I made.

From this...


to this!!!

Sherlock Holmes Book Purse

From this...


to this!

The Chronicles of Narnia Book purse

Over the past few weeks I've posted photos to Facebook of the different stages of the purse while I was making it and I got a great response from my friends. A few of my friends even suggested that I start up a store and sell the purses online. Depending on how the first two "experimental" purses I have made hold up I'm definitely considering it. My mother is a phenomenal seamstress and she has been a lot of help with this project. Since she enjoys sewing so much I am thinking about partnering with her to sell not only the book purses but other handmade goods such as aprons and other types of handbags. What does this mean for this blog? Well I'm not sure yet but it could mean a little less posting from me. Depending on whether or not I decide to go ahead with the online store the number of posts will probably vary depending on how busy I get. That won't be for a while yet but I just wanted to give everyone a heads up. Don't worry, I won't be giving up this blog anytime soon, reading and reviewing books are still my first loves.

So now that you've all seen what I've been working on what do you think? Are the book purses cute? Are they something you would ever buy? Cute or not cute?

P.S. The pages of the books are still intact and completely readable. As a book lover I don't think I'd have the heart to make these purses if I couldn't save the story! :-)


Happy Reading!

Clash of the Titles: HUGE Summer Reading Sale

Friday, July 27, 2012


Clash of the Titles has a BIG week coming up! 

Wednesday marks the beginning of our June Releases Clash, hosted by the lovely Gail Pallotta. She'll introduce you to five amazing new books, so get your voting finger ready.

Saturday, we'll announce the three finalists in the 2012 Laurel Awards. Our judges have been raving about the books, saying they wished they had more than just the first two chapters. Remember, this year's judges are readers like you, who have no connection with the writing or publishing world. You could be one of them! If you're interested in being a judge for the upcoming Olympia Award, please email us at contactcott(at)gmail(dot)com.

Our current judges are still sending in their score sheets, but by Saturday, we'll have the final tally!

In the meantime, we'd like to pass along that Astraea Press is having a HUGE Summer Sale. Almost all of their stock is available for $.99 on Kindle and Nook. To whet your appetite, here are five titles from their Inspirational line. The sale lasts until the end of July, but get your e-books today, before you forget!

JUST A LITTLE FAITH by Amy Norris
Contemporary Romance

Paxson Taylor’s recent relocation to St. Louis leads her to a life different from what she’s experienced in the past. Through her work with a small charity, she meets and attracts the attention of professional baseball player, Sebastian Quinn. Flattered, Pax tempers her desire for the handsome playboy with her need to serve her God—a God Seb doesn’t believe exists. Through unspeakable tragedy, they grow closer and with disappointment, drift apart. How can two people from opposite ends of the faith spectrum reconnect when they need each other most?

$.99 on KINDLE
$.99 on NOOK





LIZZIE AND THE GUERNSEY GANG by April W Gardner
2012 Selah Award winner in youth fiction
Middle grade historical/adventure

Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German troops invade, she knows it will never be the same again. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and Cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it. With the right tools and a little help from a boat named, Trina, they'll be off the island in no time. When things start going wrong, Lizzie wonders about God's plan. From the looks of it, He might expect them to live under Nazi rule…forever.


$.99 on KINDLE
$.99 on NOOK



THEN SENTENCE by Elaine Cantrell
Contemporary Romance

How could he do it! How could her father bring into their home the guy who burned the church? Yeah, it was an accident and her dad’s a minister, but if he wanted to save this man’s soul, why didn’t he go to the prison to do it?  And no matter how cute the criminal is, no matter what anyone says, she doesn't watch him all the time. Nice girls don't fall for guys like Clint.  Do they?


$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK






THE MULLIGAN MAN by Monique O'Connor James
Short Story


When six kids are at a party, partaking in a little too much fun, one of them is killed. The Mulligan Man, a character straight out of folklore appears offering them the chance to fix all the wrongs. In order to complete the deal, the teenagers must find out the truth of what happened, perform a random act of kindness, and become friends.
If they meet these stipulations, he will allow them to bring their friend back from the dead. In the process they learn not to judge, to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and that love can bridge even the boundary of death.
$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK

THE PECULIAR PRINCESS by Christina Graham Parker
Romance


Sent back four hundred years to reclaim her birthright as Princess of Dresdonia, Lexy Newberry discovers the only thing harder than living without electricity is guarding her heart from the perplexing Lord Lukas Reynard.

$.99 on Kindle
$.99 on NOOK



FOR MORE CLEAN FICTION IN OTHER GENRES SEE ASTRAEAPRESS.COM

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Happy Reading!


Litfuse Blog Tour: Inescapable (Road to Kingdom, Book 1) by Nancy Mehl

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Inescapable (Road to Kingdom, Bk 1)
by Nancy Mehl
Copyright 2012
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764209277
About the Book:
Lizzie Engel is used to running away. At eighteen, she left her Mennonite hometown, Kingdom, Kansas, with plans never to return.

But five years later, the new life she built is falling apart. Lizzie knows she's being followed, and she's certain the same mysterious stranger is behind the threatening letters she's received. Realizing she'll have to run again, the only escape Lizzie can manage is a return to the last place she wants to go.

Once she arrives in Kingdom, Lizzie is confident she'll be safe until she comes up with a new plan. In reacquainting herself with the town and its people--especially her old friend, Noah Housler--she wonders if she judged her hometown and her Mennonite faith too harshly. However, just as she begins to come to terms with her roots, Lizzie is horrified to discover the danger she ran from is closer than ever.

No longer sure who to trust and fearful for her life and the lives of those around her, Lizzie finds she has only one place left to run--to the Father whose love is inescapable.

Book Trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qq7-xzUPkpI


My Thoughts:
Who would have thought that a small Mennonite community in Kansas would make for such a great setting for a suspense story? I wasn't expecting to be so entertained let alone kept wondering who Lizzie's mysterious stalker could be. In a town of about 300 souls I didn't think much could go unnoticed but nobody seemed to know who the mysterious man in the red cap was and I for one couldn't have predicted the outcome to this book!


As a reader who's used to contemporary Amish fiction (minus the suspense) I found Inescapable to be a refreshing change. I enjoyed the characters, the romance and the setting however I did have some issues with the story. The relationship with her old friend Noah developed almost too quickly. It's been years since they've seen each other and they both led very different lives in the interim. I thought a few talks about their lives and each others faith and how they've changed would have made their relationship more realistic. Other than that the book was excellent. 


Inescapable is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who likes a bit of romance and mystery. If you're not necessarily a fan of plain stories this one might still be a book to pick up. I look forward to reading  book two soon!



To read what others are saying about the book go HERE.

To learn more about the author visit her WEBSITE.

~ My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ~

* I received my complimentary review copy from the publisher in exchange for posting my review for this tour.*
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Win a Handmade Mennonite Quilt from @NancyMehl! RSVP for her INESCAPABLE Facebook Party 7/26! Celebrate with Nancy by entering her "Inescapable" Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 7/26!

Find out what readers are saying here.


One winner will receive:
  • A Handmade Mennonite Quilt
  • A copy of Inescapable by Nancy Mehl
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 25th. Winner will be announced at the "Inescapable" Author Chat Facebook Party on 7/26. Nancy will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills (how much do you know about the Mennonites?) and giving away some great prizes!


So grab your copy of Inescapable and join Nancy on the evening of the July 26th for a chance to connect with Nancy and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book - don't let that stop you from coming!)

Enter via E-mail Enter via FacebookEnter via Twitter

Don't miss a moment of the RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 26th!

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Happy Reading!


My Review: Song of My Heart by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Friday, July 20, 2012

Song of My Heart
by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Copyright 2012
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764207860
About the book: 
Sadie Wagner has always been devoted to her family. So when her stepfather is injured and can't work, she decides to leave home and accept a position as a clerk at the mercantile in Goldtree, Kansas. Goldtree also offers the opportunity to use her God-given singing talent--though the promised opera house is far different from what she imagined. With her family needing every cent she can provide, Sadie will do anything to keep her job. 

Thad McKane comes to Goldtree at the request of the town council. The town has been plagued by bootlegging operations, and Thad believes he can find the culprit. After he earns enough money doing sheriff work, he wants to use it to pay for his training to become a minister.

Thad is immediately attracted to the beautiful singer who performs in Asa Baxter's unusual opera house, but when he hears her practicing bawdy tunes, he begins to wonder if she's far less innocent than she seems. And when Sadie appears to be part of the very crimes he's come to investigate, is there any hope the love blossoming between them will survive?


My Thoughts:
Kim Vogel Sawyer's westerns are sweet romances with great messages and Song of My Heart is no exception. I usually like her stories even though they can be a bit slow but unfortunately I could not connect with Sadie Wagner, the heroine of this story at all so this book wasn't one of my favorites. Often times in romance the heroine is a bit naive and I can live with that but Sadie was so naive that she almost seemed without sense.

The lack of communication in this book was also unbelievable to me. That her parents would encourage her to go off to a strange town based on a single letter from a cousin who said employment was available for her without asking any questions or urge her to ask them was crazy. If I was sending a child off who never had any experience outside of her home you'd better believe I'd at least make sure she knew what she was getting into! I don't want to spoil anything but a major traumatic event takes place a little over halfway through the book where there's a lack of communication between her and her family as well. I know she couldn't call or send an email in the 19th century but goodness, it didn't seem to affect her for more than a few pages. The story-line itself was interesting since it involved an opera house, bootlegging and illegal gambling so I did plug on with the book in spite of not liking Sadie just to see what became of the Baxter twins who were very amusing. 


Sawyer's books seem to be well researched and the settings very authentic so if you like that Song of My Heart might be a book to read. Be sure to check out Amazon and other book review sites to read what others are saying about the book.

To learn more about the author visit HER WEBSITE

~ My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*


Happy Reading!


Clash of the Titles Spotlights The Soul Saver

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


At Clash of the Titles, we're interested in the Christian Fiction that's making a splash, flying onto the scene in a burst of attention-grabbing technicolor and gripping our imaginations. Every month we're seeing batches of new stories hit the shelves and here's one that has also hit our hearts.

Dineen Miller's The Soul Saver recently competed on our website and garnered a lot of attention there. We just had to know more about this book and its author. Here's what we discovered...

About Dineen Miller:

Dineen Miller readily admits that one of the greatest lessons she’s learning about life is that there’s purpose in our trials. It’s all about trusting God and putting our hope in Him. Her favorite stories are of the miracles God has wrought in the lives of her family.

Through this lens she also believes her years as a youth counselor, a Stephen Minister, a women’s ministry leader, and a small group leader fuel her desire to ignite the souls of others through words of truth.

In addition to writing for Spiritually Unequal Marriage, Dineen has won several prestigious awards for her fiction, and her devotional writing has been featured in Our Journey and Christian Women Online Magazine. She’s also a C.L.A.S.S. Communicator and has been featured on the Moody Radio Network, Family Life and Focus on the Family Radio.

Married for 24 years to a guy who keeps her young, she lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two adult daughters, who surprise her daily with their own creativity.

She is the co-author of Winning Him Without Words: 10 Keys to Thriving in Your Spiritually Mismatched Marriage and the author of The Soul Saver.

Links:

Websites:
http://www.dineenmiller.com
http://spirituallyunequalmarriage.com

Facebook pages:
https://www.facebook.com/DineenMiller.AuthorSpeaker https://www.facebook.com/SpirituallyUnequalMarriage

GoodReads author page:
http://www.goodreads.com/dineenmiller

The Soul Saver Booktrailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p07iTbP5SK8

Q & A with the Author

1. What inspired the story for The Soul Saver?

My own life. I wanted to write a fictionalized account of how God can work in amazing ways in our lives when we trust Him. The Soul Saver is that story—of how Lexie Baltimore desires to love her unbelieving husband in the way God is calling her to and the battles she faces with the enemy because she’s on the front lines praying for the salvation of her

husband. I wrote this book for all the Lexies out there, to encourage and remind them that we’re not alone. God is there working in ways we can’t even imagine!

2. A suspense novel in the Christian industry can often be difficult to write. What helped you overcome those obstacles?

Staying true to the message I felt God calling me to write. I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) conference in 2008 and by the end of the week, I left with a clear understanding that God wanted me to write this book. I stayed faithful to that calling and trusted God to find a place for it. Some in the industry either had reservations with the issue of being spiritually mismatched or with Tobias, a demon, who is simply a tool I used to show the spiritual warfare that is common in spiritually mismatched marriages. At one point I wondered if I would have to take him out, but my amazing agent, Rachelle Gardner, encouraged me to hold true to my story and she was right. The right timing and publisher did come along. I will be forever grateful to Barbour Books for giving The Soul Saver a chance.

3. What made you want to write in this specific genre?

I love intricate stories and characters. Suspense wrapped with the supernatural is something I’ve always loved to read. The amazing thing is, we live in a world full of suspense and the supernatural every day. My favorite stories have and always will be of the miraculous, of how God has provided, made His presence known, saved a lost soul because that is what’s really happening around us if we just take the time to notice it. God loves to wow us. I hope I can do a little of that to my readers too. They deserve it.

4. Do you have any future projects going on?

I have a novella coming out in August, A Love Meant to Be, that’s part of a collection titled Rendezvous in Central Park. I have the distinct privilege and honor of writing with Ronie Kendig, MaryLu Tyndall, and Kim Vogel Sawyer, three seasoned and very talented authors. I love this story because it’s a tribute to my father, a Vietnam vet who passed away in 2010. These stories span from the Civil War to WWII to Vietnam to present day conflict in Afghanistan.

About The Soul Saver:

When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out
On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope. But then came the tough missions—the ones that sent Lexie Baltimore into real battle. And she had a few battle scars to show for it.

Tormented that she can’t reach the one person she loves the most—staunch atheist and husband Hugh—Lexie finds her own hope waning when the battle comes to her doorstep in the shape of a pastor who represents everything she wants and everything her husband is not—a godly man.

Then false accusations and rumors spin her husband and family into a precarious position, and the only way out is to trust God. But how can she convince her husband when she’s struggling to trust God herself?

This time Lexie is the mission.

What others are saying:

“Deep, compelling, a beautifully written story of faith, hope, and the saving power of love. Dineen Miller hits home with this debut novel. The Soul Saver will stay with you for days after reading the last page.”

                    — Tosca Lee, NY Times bestselling author of Havah: The Story of Eve

“When you combine stellar writing, intriguing characters, and a fascinating plot the result is a story like The Soul Saver. It’s the kind of novel I wish I had written.”

                    — James L. Rubart, bestselling author of ROOMS, Book of Days, and The Chair

Links to purchase The Soul Saver:

Amazon:
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1616265825/kittenscomefr-20

CBD.com:
http://www.christianbook.com/the-soul-saver-dineen-miller/9781616265823/pd/265823?product_redirect=1&Ntt=9781616265823&item_code=&Ntk=keywords&event=ESRCG

Barnes&Noble:
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soul-saver-dineen-miller/1104273979?ean=9781616265823&itm=2&usri=the+soul+saver

The Soul Saver Booktrailer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=p07iTbP5SK8


*Michelle Massaro is a 2012 Genesis Finalist and Assistant Editor with COTT. She loves to connect, so stop and see her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/MichelleMassaroBooks


Happy Reading!


Great Tudor Fiction: The Secret Keeper; A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Secret Keeper
by Sandra Byrd
Copyright 2012
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781439183144
About the book:
What she sees in secret, she may not tell. 


Mistress Juliana St. John is the lovely, forthright daughter of a prosperous knight’s family. Though all expect her to marry the son of her late father’s business partner, time and chance interrupt, sending her to the sumptuous but deceptive court of Henry VIII. Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, returns to Wiltshire to conclude his affairs with Juliana’s father’s estate and chances upon her reading as lector in the local church. He sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves and wants most to please, Kateryn Parr. Juliana’s mother agrees to have her placed with Parr for a season and Juliana goes, though reluctantly. For she keeps a secret. 


As Juliana accompanies Kateryn Parr to court, Henry’s devout sixth queen raises the stakes for all reformers. Support of firebrand Anne Askew puts the queen and her ladies in life-threatening jeopardy, as does the queen’s desire to influence her husband’s—and the realm’s—direction and beliefs. Later, without Henry’s strong arm, the court devolves to competition, duplicity, and betrayal. The risks could not be higher as Juliana must choose between love and honor, personal fulfillment and sacrifice. Ultimately, her course is driven by a final kept secret, one that undoes everything she thought she knew. 




My Thoughts:
Wow! Does Sandra Byrd know how to write a book or what? I'll be the first to admit that I don't often seek out books set in 16th century England but since having read To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn last year I make a point to read all Ms. Byrd's stories. I don't know a lot about the Tudors or English royalty but reading books like The Secret Keeper makes it feel like I'm living it up at court or that I'm right in the midst of a royal intrigue. 


Juliana St. John, a companion and maid of honor to Kateryn Parr, quickly becomes attached to the last wife of Henry VIII especially since Kateryn shows more affection for her than Juliana's own mother. Life within the palace's inner circles isn't without its disadvantages, especially to an innocent young woman like Juliana. The secrets that she must hold close abound and if they ever come out everyone could be in danger including the new queen herself. 


Writing seemingly authentic to the time characters and the ability to make the struggles of a person who lived hundreds of years ago relevant to the modern woman takes true talent and Sandra Byrd definitely has it! Every moment of Juliana's story was gripping, entertaining, and chock full of emotion. Getting to know Juliana as a naive young woman and follow her as she matured while in service to queen, king and country was truly a joy. Don't get me wrong there are definitely moments that will make you want to weep, especially concerning the treatment of women and assaults, but the ending was terrific without being an over the top happily-ever-after. I enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys Tudor court set fiction regardless of whether or not they like Christian fiction.


~ To learn more about Sandra and her other books visit her gorgeous WEBSITE! ~

~ My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*



Winner of The River Rose by Gilbert Morris

Friday, July 6, 2012

Thanks so much to everyone who entered The River Rose giveaway. The lucky winner as selected by random.org is...

Amy R. S.

Congratulations Amy! Amy has 48 hours to claim her prize or another winner will be selected. Many thanks to B&H Publishers for offering up this great book for giveaway. If you didn't win the book you can always order it from Amazon or your other favorite book seller.

Happy Reading!


Winner of A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, by Keli Gwyn

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Thank you to all who stopped by this week to chat with Keli. I enjoyed reading your comments and I know Keli did too! Remember if you aren't the lucky winner you can stop by Amazon or another of your favorite booksellers and order Keli's book. Also, I just posted my review of the book yesterday HERE if you want to check that out too.

And now for the winner...

Lysette!

Lysette has been notified by email that she won and has 48 hours to claim her book or another winner will be selected.


Happy Reading!


Perfect Summer Debut: A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, by Keli Gwyn

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, CA
by Keli Gwyn
Copyright 2012
Barbour Books
ISBN: 9781616265830
About the book:
Love Is Gold in El Dorado, California
Widow Elenora Watkins heads to California with her nine-year-old daughter, Tildy, eager to become a partner in a mercantile. When the mulish owner withdraws his offer because she’s a woman, she opens her own shop. She’s determined to prove herself capable of running a successful business without the help of anyone—including her controlling father, her seemingly distant heavenly Father, and one Miles Rutledge. 


Widower Miles Rutledge is not about to get involved with another willful woman like his late wife, especially when she’s his competition. But the beautiful Elenora may be too hard to resist. When another man appears out to claim Elenora’s heart, Miles searches for a way to win her back. . .while putting her out of business. 


Meanwhile, Maude Rutledge, Miles’s meddling mother, longs to see her son make a good match. And Tildy is just as bent on gaining a loving papa. 


The battle of wills begins, but can anyone win when the competition is more than they bargained for?


My Thoughts:
It's not often that so many debut novels impress me but so far this year I've read a ton (probably a ton, literally!) that I loved and would highly recommend for any romance readers. This latest debut, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, is making my list of awesome first books and has earned its spot in my permanent library. Going into this book I knew that I'd probably enjoy it simply because I've really enjoyed all the "destination" romances that have been published by Barbour but this one is by far my favorite.

Elenora Watkins left her old life behind with the hopes of starting a new life for herself and her daughter, Tildy as a junior partner in Rutledge Mercantile of El Dorado, California. Miles Rutledge's new partner, E. F. Watkins, is not quite what he was expecting especially since she's a Elenora and not an Edward. Unwilling to return to her old life Elenora takes her meager savings and starts her own little shop across the street.

Never before has the lyric, "Anything you can do I can do better..," come to my mind while reading a romance but it certainly fit with this story. I absolutely loved the back and forth competition between Miles and Elenora concerning everything from their shops, their violin playing, to shooting a gun all while watching them grow closer together. I was a little worried about Miles at first since he admitted to being something of a dandy but as the story unfolded he began to remind me of a certain Austen hero (yeah, that Darcy fellow) we all know an love. He was a bit cold at first but boy does he warm up! As for Ellie she is the perfect heroine. She is probably the most stubborn woman that I've ever come across in a book but it's not off-putting at all. Sometimes hardheaded heroines definitely make for some serious eye roll moments in a book but not so with Ellie! She definitely does not give in easily and she goes for EVERYTHING with gusto.

Between Miles and Ellie alone I didn't want their story to end but throw in her precocious daughter, Matilida aka Tildy, and you definitely have a winner. Hopefully Tildy grows up and gets her own story. She is a bundle of energy and never quits gabbing so I think I'd like her to meet a man whose ears she can talk off. ;-)

A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California, is a fine debut that was worth the wait. Keli Gwyn is a truly talented writer who has a knack for writing an engaging and fun story that's perfect to read on a sunny summer day. Bring on the next book Ms. Gwyn!



To learn more about Keli and her books take a look around her WEBSITE.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars *A Favorite!*

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.* 


Happy Reading!



Clash of the Titles: Clash of the May Releases!

Monday, July 2, 2012

This clash's host: Jennifer Slattery


My summer reading list is quickly growing. When you read the following two-sentence hooks, I'm sure you'll agree, these five May releases are must-reads indeed! Which one is drawing you the most? Please vote below, and check out www.clashofthetitles.com on July 5th to see who won. Happy Independence Day!


Spring Hope by Martha Rogers:

Libby Cantrell’s life has gone from bad to worse since her mother’s death. With an abusive father, and life in a brothel, she sees no hope for her future until she gains the courage to make her escape one cold winter night. 

When she arrives exhausted, hungry, and ill in Portersfield, Texas, Sheriff Cory Muldoon finds her in an alley and takes her to a doctor. 
A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa.










Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave—a secret that changes everything she thought about their marriage.



When Trusting God Is the Only Way Out 

On an average day, God started her missions in her sculpting studio, revealing the face of the person she would meet at the grocery store, bank, or playground. The goal was always the same. Reach the lost, bring someone back to God, restore hope.




Everyone in Fitzgerald Bay—except his law-enforcement family—is convinced Charles Fitzgerald murdered his children's nanny. Condemned by public opinion, his only hope for a replacement nanny to take care of his two-year-old twins is newcomer Demi Taylor.






Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Happy Reading!


The Conclusion to the Hanover Falls Series: After All by Deborah Raney

After All (Hanover Falls, Book 3)
by Deborah Raney
Copyright 2012
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781416599951
About the book:
Eighteen months after the tragic Grove Street Fire took the life of her husband, David, and four other heroic firefighters, Susan Marlowe thinks she’s finally beginning to heal. But then she discovers that David carried a secret to his grave. A secret that changes everything she thought their marriage had been. For the sake of their sons, can Susan forgive the unforgivable?

Andrea Morley lost her closest friend in the fire. But she has no right to mourn him. Instead, she must forever grieve in silence—because her dearest friend was someone else’s husband.

Peter Brennan carries the weight of the world on his shoulders. As Hanover Falls’ fire chief, he was responsible for the brave firefighters who lost their lives that awful November night. Can he ever shake the feeling that he should have somehow prevented the tragedy? As he tries to rebuild the team at Clemens County’s Station 2, it seems he might find comfort in the arms of the woman he least expected.



My Thoughts:
After three novels featuring the members of Clemens County Fire Station 2 and their families following a tragic fire at the Grove Street Homeless Shelter I'm sad to see this series end but I'm happy to say it ends on a high note. While not my favorite book of the series After All is a fitting conclusion to a series full of bittersweet moments.

Susan Marlowe's life is dedicated to running the new Hanover Falls's homeless shelter so much so that unbeknownst to her her husband turned to another woman. Peter Brennan, chief at Station 2 is feeling the stress of his job more so than ever after the fire that took the lives of a handful of his finest firefighters. Both Susan and Peter are a bit wary of each other but come together in the face of even more problems involving the homeless shelter and its residents.

With her trademark style of writing that pulls at your heartstrings Deborah Raney crafts a wonderful story of loss and love. Susan and Peter's growing feelings towards each other developed naturally and gradually that nothing felt forced or contrived. However Andrea Morley, the local fire inspector's story didn't quite mesh well for me. From what we were told about her past I would have the thought the story would have taken a completely different turn than what it did. I don't want to give anything away but I really think Bryn's story (Almost Forever) concluded wonderfully and very realistically. Throwing in the twist to the story with Andrea and Zeke in this book just didn't sit well with me because it felt forced, like everything had to end perfectly for all the "good" characters in the series. As I said earlier, I loved reading Susan and Pete's story, especially their mutual appreciation for a good, raspberry Tootsie Pop but the ending just wasn't what I thought it would be. I love Deborah's stories however and will continue to read whatever this talented woman writes!


To learn more about the author and this series visit HER WEBSITE!

~ My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ~

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Howard Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.*