Perfect Halloween Read: Fathom by Merrie Destefano

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fathom
by Merrie Destefano
Copyright 2012
About the Book:
Everything is changing . . . Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater. 

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister or her mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.


My Thoughts:
I love Merrie Destefano's adult urban fantasy fiction and when I learned that she was writing a full-length young adult novel I just knew I had to read it. With her flair for writing unusual characters and plot lines with unexpected twists and turns she never disappoints and her new book Fathom is no exception - in fact it's my favorite book from Merrie! She combines the struggles of a girl struggling with fitting in in high school with a dash of mystery and a spooky Celtic legend that makes this the absolutely perfect Halloween tale.

Kira Callahan's mom and little sister mysteriously vanished years ago. Kira can still picture the blood and hear the screams from that night. Even now at 16 she can't escape the nightmares and the haunting memories. Living with her dad and Irish grandmother she's grown up on Celtic legends and stories and something about them intrigues her. One day, after a group of beautiful strangers show up at Crescent Moon Bay she learns that there is much more to her past and her future that she never thought possible. She also learns why she is so drawn to the water and its cold, crashing waves.

In a world of YA dystopian fiction and vampires and angels it's refreshing to read a novel centered around ancient tales of Selkies and sea monsters. Destefano does an excellent job of making Kira likeable and relatable while still making her completely unique and interesting. I can see a possible love triangle taking shape between Kira, her friend Sean and "new guy", Caleb which could be very interesting especially since we learn some interesting tidbits about both Sean, Caleb and the Selkie legend. Fathom's ending is most definitely a cliff-hanger and I hope Ms. Destefano doesn't keep us waiting too long to see what happens next!

Note: Isn't the cover great? It fits the story so well. As of right now this is only available in e-book form but it's soon to be released in paperback!

To learn more about Merrie visit her WEBSITE.

~ My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ~

*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!


Special Halloween Post: The Scarier, The Better by Merrie Destefano

Renee here, I don't usually post a lot about young adult fiction or paranormal fiction but I love it and probably read just as much in those genres of fiction as I do Christian or historical fiction. Merrie Destefano is one of my favorite writers of adult paranormal/urban fantasy fiction. With her latest release, Fathom, she's written a paranormal tale starring a teen heroine and so far I'm hooked!

For Halloween Merrie has typed up a special post about her love of edge-of-your-seat tales and a bit about Fathom. Grab that Halloween candy, sit back and enjoy! Stay tuned to this blog for my review of Fathom later today! For now, here's Merrie!

Image from Pinterest
~The Scarier, The Better By Merrie Destefano~
There’s something about being scared that’s a little bit fun. It’s almost like being tickled. As long as it doesn’t go too far, it’s a blast. When I was a teenager I loved going to scary movies. The thing is—the movies back then weren’t like they are now. I went to see things like The Fall of the House of Usher and The Tomb of Ligeia and The Masque of the Red Death. I sat on the edge of my seat while Vincent Price alternated between being the hero and the bad guy. Villains were either caught or punished, fair maidens were saved and ghosts were vanquished.

That’s probably why I almost always add a slight element of horror to my stories. There’s a part of me—that teenage me—that wants to continue exploring dangerous/frightening scenarios in a safe environment. Anything can happen between the pages of a book. Dreams can be real. People can rise from the dead and walk through the front door. Aliens can invade and threaten to take over the world.

Sea monsters can kill the people you love.

When I was writing Fathom, my debut YA novel that released on October 1, I wanted to create something that was in between a ghost story and a contemporary coming of age tale. There are definite elements of horror in the book, but it tends to take a back seat— where it sits quiet, waiting and watching, a shadow that you see from the corner of your eye. Just enough to startle you, but not enough to make you scream. 

Nothing is as it seems in Fathom. Like in a horror movie, the heroine (sixteen-year-old Kira) discovers secrets when we do—something that keeps the chill factor going strong. She doesn’t know what’s around the next corner, so neither does the reader.

The edge of your seat was designed for books like this. Fathom would make a perfect Halloween read. As long as you keep the lights on and the doors locked.

Fathom 
by Merrie Destefano
Copyright 2012

Fathom Blurb:
Everything is changing . . . Turning sixteen can be hell, especially if everyone in town thinks your mother killed herself and your sister. All Kira Callahan wants to do is swim, hang out with her best friend, Sean, and ignore the kids who torment her at school. That is, until one day when she gets invited to a party. For three minutes her life is wonderful—she even kisses Sean. Then somebody spikes her drink and some girls from out of town lure her into the ocean and hold her underwater.  

Kira soon discovers that the group of wild teenagers who have come to visit Crescent Moon Bay are not as innocent as they seem. In fact, nothing is as it seems—not the mysterious deaths of her sister or her mother, not her heritage, not even her best friend. And everything seems to hinge on the ancient Celtic legends that her mother used to tell her as a child.

Read an excerpt HERE!

About Merrie:
With twenty years’ experience in publishing, Merrie Destefano left a 9-to-5 desk job as the editor of Victorian Homes magazine to become a full-time novelist. Her first two novels, Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles and Feast: Harvest of Dreams were published by HarperVoyager. Fathom is both her first YA novel and her first indie published novel. When not writing, she loves to camp in the mountains, walk on the beach, watch old movies and listen to alternative music—although rarely all at the same time. Born in the Midwest, she now lives in Southern California with her husband, their two German shepherds and a Siamese cat.

Follow Merrie on...
Twitter: 
http://www.twitter.com/merriedestefano

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1205132688

Website:
http://www.merriedestefano.com

Blog:
http://www.merrie-destefano.blogspot.com

Happy Reading!




A Flight of Fancy (The Daughters of Bainbridge House, Book 2) by Laurie Alice Eakes

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Flight of Fancy
(The Daughters of Bainbridge House, 2)
by Laurie Alice Eakes
Copyright 2012
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800734671
About the Book:
Her head is in the clouds. His feet are planted firmly on the ground. Can love cover the distance? 

Cassandra Bainbridge may be a bit of a bluestocking, but when Geoffrey Giles is near, love seems a fine alternative to passion for Greek and the physics of flight. With his dashing good looks and undying devotion to her, the earl of Whittaker sets Cassandra's heart racing with his very presence. It seems his only flaw is his distaste for ballooning, the obsession that consumes so much of her thoughts.

When a terrible accident compels her to end her betrothal, Cassandra heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. With time on her hands and good friends to help her, she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when Lord Whittaker slips back into her life, will she have to choose between him and her dream?

My Thoughts:
Almost everyone I know loves a Regency romance every once in a while and Laurie Alice Eakes is one author who can pen a good Christian themed romance. If you're so inclined The Daughters of Bainbridge House series offers a tales of three sisters who find love that are worthy reads for every regency fan. This second installment reintroduces us to Cassandra Bainbridge and Geoffrey Giles in a tale that is completely different from most any romance set in this time period that I have ever read.

Cassandra, as you may know is something of a bluestocking, preferring books and research to traditional dancing and teas. Her favorite hobby is most definitely nontraditional even for the gentlemen of society, that hobby is hot air ballooning. Geoffrey hates that she's putting her life in danger and tries to persuade her otherwise but that's difficult to do since they are no longer betrothed. To top it all off his life and livelihood are also in danger with the Luddite uprisings that are threatening his mills. A Flight of Fancy is full of adventure and danger that leaves you wondering if Cassandra and Geoffrey will ever find out if their love is true.

The story starts off in quite the dramatic fashion and ends on a rather equally impressive note. Riots in the street and a hot air balloon ride fraught with misfortunes definitely makes for an interesting story. However, I was disappointed a bit in the fact that both Cassandra and Geoff believed they were so guilty of sin and as such were being punished by God. It just seemed kind of depressing especially since BOTH of them were carrying that load for almost the entire book. They were in love and engaged so I think it was only natural that they showed some affection for each other in the way that they did without feeling guilty. Still, that bit aside this was a terrific story. I loved the details concerning 19th century balloons and all the technical aspects of flying a balloon and prepping it for a trip. It definitely makes me want to give it a go someday and that's saying a lot because I'm not exactly one for heights! It will be interesting to see where Honore's story goes. The poor thing has had so many bad turns at the hands of scoundrels and rakes that I hope she gets a well deserved happily ever after. Overall this was a good regency that I'd definitely read again!


~ My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ~

To learn more about the author visit her WEBSITE.

“Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*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!




Paranormal Fantasy Fiction: Kiss of Death (Kiss Trilogy, Book 2) by Debbie Viguie

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kiss of Death
by Debby Viguie
Copyright 2012
FaithWords
ISBN: 9780446570848
About the Book:
In the wake of a failed attempt to defeat the vampire Richelieu, Susan and her friends are weakened and divided. Raphael must set aside his animosity and join with his enigmatic sire Gabriel to discover a powerful weapon before Richelieu claims it. Meanwhile, Susan and her cousin Wendy translate a 12th century diary belonging to their ancestor, Carissa, to learn the origin of their family's connection with the vampires. As Carissa's story of love and betrayal unfolds, they discover the secrets of the present will only be revealed by solving the mysteries of the past.

My Thoughts:
While I'm a huge fan of Christian fiction I'm also a huge fan of paranormal fiction. Debbie Viguie's Kiss trilogy combines my love of both genres in an intriguing and thought-provoking way. You may wonder how a vampire fits into Christian fiction but fantasy is a tool often used in story-telling (think books by C.S. Lewis) to make difficult themes easier to understand. The symbolism of the blood in this story is certainly easy to see. However, the book isn't in the least bit preachy so even if you don't like Christian fiction this is still an entertaining and fast-paced story. While the book continues where Kiss of Night leaves off it can still be enjoyed by those who haven't read the first story.

In the hunt for the vampire Richelieu we follow Susan, Wendy and the vampires Raphael and his sire, Gabriel as the travel Europe searching for Holy Relics before Richelieu can get his hands on them and use them to gain unknown power. The fast-paced tale jumps back and forth between the 12th century with Gabriel and Carissa with notes from Carissa's diary and the present day search for Richelieu. Both Gabriel and Raphael seemed to have battled the same thing, their feelings for a living, non-vampiric woman.

In both of their stories the tension shivers just below the surface. It's a really intoxicating and thrilling mix that makes for quite a tale. The human characters have that likeability factor that is oh so important but the vampires have that mystique about them. You don't know quite what to make of them. Are they good? Are they evil? Will they find the artifacts or won't they? And most importantly, can they be redeemed? I will be curious to see how this series concludes especially since the final book is titled Kiss of Revenge. That just sounds so chilling, doesn't it? If you're looking for a spooky book to read this weekend I'd definitely recommend the Kiss books!

~To learn more about the author visit her WEBSITE

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

*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: Living in Harmony, New Amish Fiction!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012



The Clash of the Titles Blog Alliance is proud to share great August release with its readers.
Ink still damp from the presses, Living in Harmony by Mary Ellis, currently sits on a store shelf near you! Want more good news? It’s the first in a series—perfect time to jump on board.



About the book:
Living in Harmony is the first book in bestselling author Mary Ellis's New Beginnings series. It's about fresh starts and love...and how faith in God and His perfect plan for our lives provides us with the peace and joy we desire.

Amy King--young, engaged, and Amish--faces difficult challenges in her life when she suddenly loses both of her parents in a house fire. Her fiancé, John Detweiler, persuades her and her sister Nora to leave Lancaster County and make a new beginning with him in Harmony, Maine, where he has relatives who can help the women in their time of need.

John's brother Thomas and sister-in-law Sally readily open their home to the three newcomers. Wise beyond his years, Thomas, a minister in the district, refuses to marry Amy and John upon their arrival, suggesting instead a period of adjustment and counseling. During this time Amy discovers an aunt who was shunned. She wishes to reconnect with her, but this puts a strain on her relationship with John.

Can John and Amy find a way to live in happily in Harmony before making a lifetime commitment to one another?

For those addicted to Amish stories, you won’t want to miss this one. To everyone else, this might be the book that gets you hooked on this wildfire genre.

Here’s what reviewer Rachel Brand of the Christian Manifesto has to say about Living in Harmony:

Just when you think nothing new and original can come out of the Amish genre, a book like this comes along and proves that you’re completely wrong.
It’s hard to express exactly what I loved so much about Living in Harmony. It’s not just the setting, the new community and the realistic secondary characters that made this novel so refreshing and unique. Mary Ellis crafted her hero and heroine as incredibly relate-able characters, flawed human beings who prove that even the Amish don’t have perfect relationships or marriages.
Each character had their own personality and purpose in the novel, which means that there’s bound to be at least one character that every reader can relate to.
If you need a little bit more realism in your Amish fiction, or just don’t want to read a happily-ever-after romance, then Living in Harmony is the book for you.

About the author:

Mary Ellis grew up near the Amish and fell in love with them. She has now written nine bestselling novels set in their communities. When not writing, she enjoys gardening, bicycling, and swimming. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate. Her debut Christian book, A Widow's Hope, was a finalist for the 2010 ACFW Carols and the Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

You can find Mary at these locations:
www.maryellis.net
blog: www.maryeellis.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mary-Ellis/126995058236

 Happy Reading!



Winner of Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan + Swag!

Monday, October 22, 2012

I'm sorry I'm so late in posting this but thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway for a copy of Twice Promised by Maggie Brendan. I wish I could give you all a copy! There was only one winner however and that person is...

Marissa E!

Marissa has been notified that she won and has already claimed her prize! Thank you all again for participating and remember if you'd still like to read the book you can order it online at almost any store!

Happy Reading!


Celebrate Christmas Early with A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman

A Light in the Window KINDLE ED.
by Julie Lessman
Copyright 2012
(E-book)
About the Book:
One Woman. Two Men. One stirs her pulse and the other her faith. But who will win her heart? 

Marceline Murphy is a gentle beauty with a well-founded aversion to rogues. But when two of Boston's most notorious pursue her, she encounters a tug-of-war of the heart she isn’t expecting. Sam O’Rourke is the childhood hero she’s pined for, the brother of her best friend and a member of the large, boisterous family to which she longs to be a part. So when his best friend Patrick O’Connor joins in pursuit of her affections, the choice seems all too clear. Sam is from a family of faith and Patrick is not, two rogues whose wild ways clash head-on with Marcy’s—both in her faith and in her heart.

While overseeing the Christmas play fundraiser for the St. Mary’s parish soup kitchen—A Light in the Window—Marcy not only wrestles with her attraction to both men, but with her concern for their spiritual welfare. The play is based on the Irish custom of placing a candle in the window on Christmas Eve to welcome the Holy Family, and for Marcy, its message becomes deeply personal. Her grandmother Mima cautions her to guard her heart for the type of man who will respond to the "light in the window," meaning the message of Christ in her heart. But when disaster strikes during the play, Marcy is destined to discover the truth of the play’s message first-hand when it becomes clear that although two men have professed their undying love, only one has truly responded to “the light in the window.”

My Thoughts:
There aren't too many authors whose books I'll stay up until the wee hours of the morning reading but Julie Lessman is one of those. Following her theme of "Passion with a Purpose" this November the prequel to her best-selling Daughters of Boston and Winds of Change series's tells how it all got started. In spectacular form as always Lessman treats readers to a love story with characters who are passionate about life as they are about their faith and they aren't afraid to show it. A Light in the Window is one of the finest examples of self-published fiction that I've read, period.

Marcy Murphy is a young woman with her future ahead of her and she knows what she wants AND what she doesn't want! When both of Boston's most notorious rogues express their interest in Marcy you can bet they'll quickly learn she isn't going to fall at their feet. Like any good love triangle you can expect quite the back and forth between Marcy, Sam, and Patrick. If you have read Julie's other books you know how the story ends but don't expect to be bored with a "predictable" story. Nope. Nah-uh. Not in this book!

A Light in the Window is just the kind of story to warm the cockles of your heart and get you in the Christmas mood. If you're lamenting the end of this family saga like I was you will want to put this on your Christmas wishlist. It's a great way to conclude the series or start it off if you will! As of right now it's only available in e-book format but the price is cheaper than a print book so take advantage if you're a Julie Lessman fan or are looking to read one of her books for the first time!

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

*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.*

To celebrate the release of A Light in the Window Julie is running some great contests on her website. To check them out click the link below.







Happy Reading!



Broken Hearts Are Mended in A Promise to Love by Serena B. Miller

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Promise to Love
by Serena B. Miller
Copyright 2012
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721176
About the Book:
Can a marriage of convenience ever become one of true love?

Ingrid Larsen arrives in Michigan in 1871 with little more than the clothes on her back and a determination to find her brother, who has disappeared into the dangerous lumber camps. Destitute and barely hanging on to hope, the young Swedish immigrant crosses paths with Joshua Hunter, a newly widowed farmer with eyes the color of the ocean she had crossed and five rambunctious children to raise on his own.

Marriage would solve both of their problems, and Ingrid finds herself proposing in broken English to a man she barely knows. Many difficulties lie ahead--but the hardest battle of all will be winning the heart of her new husband.

My Thoughts:
~ 4.5 stars ~
I liked The Measure of Katie Calloway (read my review HERE) but this story I loved! First off it's a marriage of convenience story (bonus points for this as it's one of my favorite romance themes) and secondly there's actually a whole lot going on in the latter half of the story that was based on a real historical event (double bonus points, I love history). The only reason it's not a 5 star book is because Josh really upset me at the beginning of the story. He said something to Ingrid that no man should ever say, especially a romance hero who we're supposed to like! I realize that he was hurting and was an emotional wreck but when he uttered the same phrase toward Ingrid as the antagonist of the story who I immediately hated with a passion it made me not like him much at all. He eventually redeems himself though so it's not all bad.

I enjoyed this book because I loved Ingrid as a character. She didn't take any foolishness from Josh and she fought for his kids even though they weren't her blood and she'd only known them for a few days. She showed spunk while still maintaining the proper 19th century character. Sometimes characters can come across as too modern but Ingrid wasn't. Throughout the story she spoke in broken English but not enough to distract from the story or become annoying. The last few chapters of the story were very action-packed and I really liked that especially since it evolved around a drought and fire that actually happened in 1871 Michigan.

This story has it all death, betrayal, doubt, romance, etc. to make for an interesting read. A Promise to Love shows that Serena Miller is not only a talented contemporary fiction writer (read my review of An Uncommon Grace HERE) but also a gifted historical romance writer. Hopefully we once again get the chance to visit the 19th century through the pen of Ms. Miller in the future!

To learn more about the author visit her website HERE.

“Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*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!



Amish Fiction from Tricia Goyer: The Memory Jar (Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors, Book 1)

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Memory Jar
by Tricia Goyer
Copyright 2012
Zondervan
About the Book:
Every year, 30-40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive 'resident' status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides! Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she's also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart. Now she's met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

Meet the Author:
Tricia Goyer is the award winning author of over thirty books including Beside Still Waters, Remembering You, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences and is the host of Living Inspired. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife.

Find out more about Tricia at http://triciagoyer.com.


My Thoughts:
~ 3.5 stars ~
When it comes to heartrending and emotional fiction nobody does it better than Tricia Goyer. With her latest book The Memory Jar we're once again treated to a story of loss and hope set in Montana and Ohio Amish country. Fans of her previous Amish novels will be delighted to know that Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors starts off wonderfully and will surely continue to improve as the series progresses. To be honest this story took a long time to get into but the last third of the book involving an incident with Jathan Schrock as a boy and his father and Sarah and the discovery about her deceased friend Patty nearly had me in tears. Throughout most of the story both seemed rather impetuous and juvenile but they both grew up amidst a family tragedy that I really think made them more easy to relate to and like. The flashbacks to Sarah's youth and her time with her best friend, Patty really gave this story a unique twist. If you're looking for a romance I didn't think this reads like a love story but more of a coming of age story or even a women's fiction book. In spite of the series' name this isn't a fluffy read by any stretch but it's worth a look if you're looking for a solid Amish tale.

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

*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.*



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Celebrate with Tricia by entering her Amish Kindle Gift Pack Giveaway and RSVPing to her Facebook party on November 7th. (And be sure to catch the fun video trailer or try your hand at one of the simple, keepsake crafts Tricia has put together on her website.)

”

One fortunate winners will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Custom-made Memory Jar Kindle Cover
  • Amish-made decorative items {Wall hanging, horse/buggy and Amish houses}
  • The Memory Jar {Be swept away by this captivating series.}
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 6th. Winner will be announced at the ”Memory Jar Author Chat Party on 11/7. Connect with Tricia for an evening of book chat, Amish trivia, and a live video chat! There will also be a chance to win gift certificates, books, and other fun prizes!

So grab your copy of The Memory Jar and join Tricia on the evening of the November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book – don’t let that stop you from coming!)
”””

Don’t miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

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

Happy Reading!


Summerside Press's American Tapestries Series Debuts with Authors Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson

Thursday, October 18, 2012

About the Books:
Queen of the Waves
by Janice Thompson
Copyright 2012
Summerside Press
~Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson~
When pampered Jacqueline Abington secretly elopes with the family gardener, she asks another woman to take her place on the much anticipated maiden voyage of the Titanic. Tessa Bowen hails from a poor corner of London but has been granted the opportunity of a lifetime—a ticket to sail to America aboard a famed vessel. But there’s a catch: she must assume Jacqueline’s identity. For the first time in her life, Tessa stays in luxurious quarters, dresses in elegant gowns, and dines with prestigious people. Then a wealthy American man takes an interest in her, and Tessa struggles to keep up the ruse as she begins falling for him. When tragedy strikes, the game is up, and two women’s lives are forever changed.



~Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson~
Where the Trail Ends
by Melanie Dobson
Copyright 2012
Summerside Press
A young woman traveling the Oregon Trail in 1842 must rely on a stranger to bring her to safety. But whom can she trust with her heart?

For two thousand miles along the trail to Oregon Country, Samantha Waldron and her family must overcome tremendous challenges to reach the Willamette Valley before winter. Together they weather autumn storms, hunger and thirst, and the dangers of a wild and unfamiliar country. But when their canoe capsizes on the Columbia River, they must rely on handsome British exporter Alexander Clarke to rescue them from the icy water.

Alex escorts Samantha and her young brother, Micah, to Fort Vancouver. There Samantha is overwhelmed with men vying for her affections, but the only one who intrigues her-Alex-is the one she cannot have. When his betrothed arrives unexpectedly from England to escort him home, Samantha becomes determined to create a home for herself and Micah in the fertile valley far away from the fort. But how will an unmarried woman support herself and her brother in the wilderness alone?

Then Micah disappears into the wilderness one rainy night, and Samantha must rely on the man she loves-the man she’s trying desperately to forget-to rescue her brother before it’s too late.


About the Authors:
~Meet Janice~
Award-winning author Janice Thompson, who also writes under the name Janice Hanna, has published nearly eighty books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. She formerly served as vice president of the Christian Authors Network and was named the 2008 Mentor of the Year by the American Christian Fiction Writers. Thompson lives in Spring, Texas, near her four grown daughters and young grandchildren.

She leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends and two mischievous dachshunds. 

Readers can keep up with Janice Thompson by visiting janiceathompson.com, becoming a fan on Facebook or following her Twitter.

Find out more about Janice at www.janicethompson.com


~Meet Melanie~
Melanie Dobson has written ten contemporary and historical novels including five releases in Summerside’s Love Finds You series. In 2011, two of her releases won Carol Awards: Love Finds You in Homestead, Iowa (for historical romance) and The Silent Order (for romantic suspense). Prior to her writing career, Melanie was the corporate publicity manager at Focus on the Family and a publicist for The Family Channel. She later launched her own public relations company and worked in the fields of publicity and journalism for more than fifteen years. Melanie and her family enjoy their home in the Pacific Northwest. The entire Dobson family loves to travel and hike in both the mountains and along the cliffs above the Pacific.

When Melanie isn’t writing or playing with her family, she enjoys exploring ghost towns and dusty back roads, line dancing, and reading inspirational fiction.

Find out more about Melanie at http://www.melaniedobson.com.


My Thoughts:
~Queen of the Waves ~
4.5 stars
In a year of hundreds of books commemorating the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic I must say that I haven't been all that impressed by the books that I've read...until now. Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson is a mix of The Prince and the Pauper and Downton Abbey that caught my interest from the very first page. There's a dash of mystery, a touch of romance and of course all the sadness that surrounded the sinking of the ship a century ago. If you're a fan of Jame's Cameron's film Titanic you'll find this book has just as much drama and heartbreak as Jack and Rose's story. In my opinion the ending could have been tied up more nicely for Jacqueline Abingdon and her family (sequel please!) but all in all this was an excellent story as I've come to expect from Ms. Thompson. What a truly talented storyteller! Queen of the Waves is a terrific way for Summerside Press to start off their new line.

To read what others are saying GO HERE.

~Where the Trail Ends~
3 stars
Dobson deftly paints a picture of the struggles families faced on the path to a knew life that was known as the Oregon Trail. Samantha Waldron and her family could have easily been any one of our ancestors. While this book is labeled as romance I found it to be more of a coming of age story that focused on the perilous trail. Samantha is just what I've always pictured a pioneer woman to be, although young she doesn't let anyone make her do anything she doesn't want to do. She's definitely spirited and even a bit ferocious, like a bear guarding her cubs. Alexander Clarke on the other hand is not what I pictured a frontier man to be like but that's not a bad thing! He's wealthy, cultured, and a bit snobbish but he eventually comes around. Both their stories worked separately (they didn't meet  until halfway through the book) and I even liked the bits when they were together however I felt if this story was way too rushed at the end and the romance felt forced. I didn't feel any kind of romantic chemistry between then two and all of a sudden they were pronouncing their love for each other. If you're looking for a great historical story than this is it but if you're looking for a book with a lot of romance you might be disappointed. Melanie Dobson is still definitely an author I'll be watching for in the future.

To read what others are saying GO HERE.

*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.*

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Celebrate with Janice by entering to win a Kindle Fire!

 
One fortunate winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Where the Trail Ends by Melanie Dobson
  • Queen of the Waves by Janice Thompson
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on October 17th. Winner will be announced at the American Tapestries Author Chat Facebook Party on 10/18. Connect with authors Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson for an evening of book chat, trivia and fun! There will also be gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack to be won (10 copies for your book club or small group)!

So grab your copy of Queen of the Waves and Where the Trail Ends and join Janice Thompson and Melanie Dobson on the evening of the October 18th for a chance to connect with the authors and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the books – don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun, RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

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Happy Reading!


Clash of the Titles Announces Judges

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Clash of the Titles is proud to announce the round three judges for the Olympia Contest!


DEBORAH RANEY,
award-winning author of over 30 books

AMANDA LUEDEKE,
literary Agent of Macgregor Literary

STEVE HUTSON,
literary Agent of WordWise Media


Three privileged Olympia finalists will have their work read by the above judges. The winner will receive recognition on our site and a beautiful plaque similar to this one:
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The Olympia is currently OPEN for submissions.
If you're an unpublished author, don't miss out on this opportunity to get your work before these industry specialists!

Aspiring authors can visit our submissions guidelines for more information.

Please share the below button on your blog or website to help promote Christian Fiction.


Olympia Button


Happy Reading!


FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour: River of Mercy (The Riverhaven Years, Book 3) by BJ Hoff

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

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:

Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


 BJ Hoff’s bestselling historical novels continue to cross the boundaries of religion, language, and culture to capture a worldwide reading audience. Her books include Song of Erin and American Anthem and such popular series as The Riverhaven Years, The Mountain Song Legacy, and The Emerald Ballad. Hoff’s stories, although set in the past, are always relevant to the present. Whether her characters move about in small country towns or metropolitan areas, reside in Amish settlements or in coal company houses, she creates communities where people can form relationships, raise families, pursue their faith, and experience the mountains and valleys of life. BJ and her husband make their home in Ohio.


Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:


In this third book in the Riverhaven Years trilogy young Gideon Kanagy faces a challenge and an unexpected romance. Meanwhile, Gideon’s sister, Rachel, and the "outsider" Jeremiah Gant add to the drama with their own dilemma and its repercussions for the entire Riverhaven community.





Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736924205
ISBN-13: 978-0736924207



AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


 Prologue 

Too Many Long Nights

I feel like one who treads alone
Some banquet hall, deserted.

Thomas Moore

Amish settlement near Riverhaven, Ohio

November 1856

Rachel Brenneman had always liked to walk by the river at twilight.

There had been a time during the People’s early years at Riverhaven when she gave no thought to walking alone, day or night. After she and Eli were married, the two of them liked to stroll along the bank of the Ohio in the evening, discussing their day, planning the workweek, dreaming of the future. After Eli’s death, however, Rachel no longer went out alone after dark, although sometimes she and her ten-year-old sister, Fannie, took a picnic lunch in the early afternoon and sat watching the fine big boats and smaller vessels that traveled the great Ohio to unknown places.

Now though, venturing away from the community no longer felt safe, even in the middle of the day. In truth, there was nowhere that felt safe, not after the deadly attack on Phoebe Esch and the other troubles recently visited upon the People. At night, especially, Rachel stayed inside, sitting alone in her bedroom with the window scarcely open in deference to the weather, which had recently turned cold.

November was a lonely month. Rachel still loved to listen to the river from insider her home, but the nighttime sounds—the distant lapping of the water, the blast from a boat’s horn, the night creatures in communion with one another—never failed to set off a stirring of remembrance and an ache in her heart. Yet she couldn’t resist sitting there night after night, watching and listening, trying not to let her memories struggle to the surface of her thoughts, trying not to let new hope ignite the ashes of her dreams…

Trying not to think of Jeremiah.

But how could she not think of him? How did a woman love a man, even if their love was forbidden, and not see his face in her mind or hear his voice in her ear or remember the imprint of his smile upon her thoughts?

Common sense seemed to tell her it should be easy to put the man out of her head. They couldn’t be alone with each other. They couldn’t even pass the time of day unless they were in the company of others. If they happened to meet by accident, they were expected to separate as quickly as possible.

Yet even with all the rules and restrictions that kept them apart, Jeremiah Gant was still a part of her life. He flowed through her heart and traced the current of her days as surely and completely as the Ohio flowed through the valley, winding its way through the land, coursing through the days and lives of Rachel and the other Plain people.

Lately, there had been talk of leaving. Two years and more of unrest and harassment and threats— even death—had begun to wear on the Riverhaven Amish. It was rumored that talks were taking place among the church leaders, discussions of whether to remain in this once-peaceful valley that had become home to the entire community or to consider moving on.

There was no thought of fighting back, of seeking out the unknown adversaries and taking a stand against them. Even if the People could identify their tormenters, they would not confront them. The Amish were a people of nonresistance. They would not fight, not even to protect their own lives. It wasn’t their way. To strike out at another individual under any circumstances was strictly against the Ordnung, the unwritten but strict code that guided how they were to live.

The only person Rachel had ever known to defy the rule against fighting, even in self-defense, was Eli, her deceased husband. He’d gone against the Amish way when he defended Rachel against those who ambushed them on another November night, now four years gone. He had fought with desperation and all his strength, only to die at the hands of their attackers while allowing Rachel to escape.

She knew it was a grievous sin to have such a thought, but many had been the time she wished she could have died alongside Eli that terrible night rather than live through the grief-hollowed, barren days that followed his death. She had been totally devoted to Eli. Their marriage had been good, for they had been close friends as well as husband and wife. Rachel had thought she could never love another man after losing Eli.

And then Jeremiah Gant had come to Riverhaven, turning her life around, enabling her to love again— only to have that love forbidden. Even though Jeremiah had made it known he would willingly convert to the Amish faith, Bishop Graber refused to grant permission, once again leaving Rachel with a lost love and a broken heart.

Perhaps it would be better if they were to leave Riverhaven…leave the fear and the dread and the pain-filled memories behind.

Leave Jeremiah…

The thought stabbed her heart. Could she really face never seeing him again? Never again hear him say her name in that soft and special way he had of making it as tender as a touch? Never again see the smile that was meant for her alone?

In truth, it wasn’t only Jeremiah she would miss if they were to leave this fertile Ohio valley. She loved the land, the gentle hills, the singing river. She had come here when she was still a child, come from another place that had never truly been home to her. Here in Riverhaven though, she had felt welcome and accepted. At peace. At home.

At least for a time. It was almost as if she had become a part of the land itself. Even the thought of leaving made her sad beyond telling.

She sighed, knowing she should stir and make ready for bed, even though she felt far too restless for sleep. Would this be another of too many nights when her thoughts tormented her, circling like birds of prey, evoking an uneasiness and anxiety that would give her no peace?

Finally she stood, securing the window to ward off the cold, even though she sensed that the chill snaking through her had little to do with the night air. All too familiar with this icy wind of loneliness, she knew there was no warmth that could ease its punishing sting.


My Thoughts:
Fans of Amish fiction will be thrilled that the wait is finally over for the final book in the Riverhaven years trilogy featuring beloved characters Rachel Brenneman and Jeremiah Gant. As a fan of the series myself I can say it was well worth the wait. Parts of the story were very predictable especially when it came to Samuel Beiler and his pursuit of Rachel but there were a few twists that I did not see coming. The discovery that Asa, Gant's friend made concerning one of the slaves they were helping to escape north was really touching and bittersweet at the same time, so much so that I wish this book would have included more about the Underground Railroad and what happened to Asa. Still, BJ Hoff's ability to tell a compelling story shines through. She made a fictional Amish woman who lived over 150 years ago relatable and more importantly likeable with her struggles of the heart and with her faith. If you haven't read this series it's one I highly recommend especially if you're looking for stories of the early US Amish.

Happy Reading!


Giveaway: Twice Promised (The Blue Willow Brides, Book 2) by Maggie Brendan

Monday, October 15, 2012

In case you didn't read it I just posted my review of Maggie Brendan's new book, Twice Promised. If you're a fan of mail-order bride stories you don't want to miss this one and thanks to Revell and Maggie Brendan I have a brand new copy of Twice Promised and some swag from the author for one lucky reader! To be entered fill out the form below. Be sure to READ THE RULES on the form to make sure you're eligible to be entered and for details on how to get extra entries into the giveaway. :-)



About the book:
Two beautiful brides. One unsuspecting groom. Three weeks to figure it all out. 

Greta Olsen arrives in Central City, Colorado, as a mail-order bride, expecting to marry Jess Gifford, the man she's come to know through his tender letters. But when she meets Cora Johnson, she discovers she's not the only bride waiting at the train station for Jess.

Already shocked to find they must compete for Jess's affection, the young women can hardly believe it when not Jess but his brother Zach picks them up from the station--and reveals that Jess knows nothing about any mail-order bride, let alone two. Will either bride make the match she hopes for? 

Filled with surprises, misunderstandings, and tender romance, Twice Promised is the story of how two unlikely women become twice blessed.


Happy Reading!


Not One But Two Mail-Order Brides: Twice Promised (Blue Willow Brides, Book 2) by Maggie Brendan

Twice Promised
(Blue Willow Brides, Book 2)
by Maggie Brendan
Copyright 2012
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800734633
About the Book
Two beautiful brides. One unsuspecting groom. Three weeks to figure it all out.

Greta Olsen arrives in Central City, Colorado, as a mail-order bride, expecting to marry Jess Gifford, the man she's come to know through his tender letters. But when she meets Cora Johnson, she discovers she's not the only bride waiting at the train station for Jess.

Already shocked to find they must compete for Jess's affection, the young women can hardly believe it when not Jess but his brother Zach picks them up from the station--and reveals that Jess knows nothing about any mail-order bride, let alone two. Will either bride make the match she hopes for? 

Filled with surprises, misunderstandings, and tender romance, Twice Promised is the story of how two unlikely women become twice blessed.


My Thoughts:
If a mail-order bride (MOB) story comes along chances are I'll read it, that doesn't mean I'm not picky about what I read because I am but MOB stories just so happen to be my very favorites! In just a few short years Maggie Brendan has made her way onto my must read romance author list and this series has cemented her position as one of my favorite Christian romance writers. Twice Promised continues the Blue Willow Brides series that started with Deeply Devoted (my review HERE) and reintroduces us to Greta who we first met in book one. When all is said and done her story is just as entertaining and romantic as her sisters and I cannot wait to see how this series concludes.

If you've read the book synopsis you know that this is a bit different from your average MOB story. There aren't one but two MOB's who Zach, Jess Gifford's well meaning brother, sent for in hopes that one would catch his brother's heart. Let's face it when you put two women in the same house and let them know that they both are meant for one man you'd think things would get ugly between them but luckily both Greta and Cora learn to get along--no cat fights in this book. However that doesn't mean that things went smoothly for the ladies or for Zach and Jess. Jess's life was somewhat chaotic to start with so it was interesting to say the least reading how he dealt with such an unexpected surprise. He's a bit different than you average romance hero but you'll have to read the story to find out why, no spoilers here!

If you have the chance be sure to pick up this wonderfully romantic tale of misunderstandings and the mysteries of love. Blue Willow Brides is a fun, quick series that will definitely please all of you readers who are true romantics. If you enjoyed Deeply Devoted you will love this, Maggie Brendan sure knows how to write a love story!

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

“Available October 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*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!