4 Year Blogiversary Celebration Winners!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wow! I had more giveaway entries this week than ever before on my blog! Thank you ALL for making this such a fun and successful blogiversary party! I wish I could give you all a prize.

The winners as selected by Rafflecopter via Random.org are below. All winners have 48 hours to claim their prizes or they forfeit said prize and another winner will be selected. Be sure to reply to that email I sent you if you won a prize!

Day 1: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd
Winner ~ Laura P (Claimed)

Day 2: A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Winner ~ Kay D

Day 3: Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman
Winner ~ Bluerose (Tammy W) (Claimed)

Day 4: Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell
Winner ~ Elizabeth R (Claimed)

Day 5: Roses Have Thorns, Tea cups, Garden Flag
Winner ~  Rachel85137 (Claimed)

Happy Reading!

Clash of the Titles: Spotlight on Historical Romance Favorite, Lena N. Dooley

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Prolific author Lena Nelson Dooley has done it again! She's released yet another stunning historical romance. The COTT Blog Alliance is honored to feature her latest work, Catherine's Pursuit. It is book three in the McKenna's Daughters series and follows Maggie's Journey and Mary's Blessing.
"A heartwarming tale filled with history, adventure, faith, and love." --Lisa Wingate, bestselling and award-winning author of Dandelion Summer and Firefly Island

Raised by her father, Catherine McKenna has never lacked for anything, surrounded by people to take
care of her every need. On her eighteenth birthday she discovers that not only did her mother die when she was born, but she has two identical sisters. Although her father vowed not to look for his daughters, Catherine made no such promise. Setting out on her own with one clue and her maid in tow, she's determined to find her sisters.

Collin Elliott has seen better days. After losing his ship to a violent and unexpected storm, he is trying to recover--physically and emotionally. When Angus McKenna sends him to find, follow, and protect his daughter, he wants nothing more than to finish his task and return home. Can he help her find her sisters?

And will the discoveries they make along the way teach them both what's most important in life?


A Blogger's Review of the Catherine's Pursuit:

What a great book! As Lisa Wingate says on the front cover, it is indeed a “heartwarming tale.” The story is fully satisfying (once you reach the end) and provides a complete conclusion for the McKenna’s Daughters series. While I still haven’t had the chance to read book 2, Mary’s Blessing, I did read and greatly enjoy book 1, Maggie’s Journey – incidentally, I think #1 had my favorite cover…but this one is a close second. They’re all so neat! Anyway, back to Catherine…this book isn’t a stand-alone, but even though I’ve missed book 2, I didn’t have trouble following (though there were a few parts that weren’t clear because I hadn’t read it yet). Moral of the story – read both of the first ones before this one if at all possible. There are some series where you would be totally lost if all you read was book 3, but that’s not quite true here. Catherine was a lovely girl and made for a gutsy heroine. I loved the historical detail that seemed to be worked into each scene throughout the book, especially the travel scenes. This is a fascinating story and one I think you’ll enjoy!
-Charity at http://austenitis.blogspot.com

A bit about Lena:

Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 700,000 books in print.
Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with over 20 signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins, and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books.

Happy Reading!

4 Year Blogiversary, Final Day Giveaway: Tea Cup Set, Tea Time Garden Flag, & One Copy of Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd

Friday, April 26, 2013

Thank you all so much for bearing with me throughout these 4 wonderful years. For those of you who just found my blog this week, WELCOME! I hope you like what you see here. I wish I could give you all a ton of prizes I luv you all that much! Since I can't give prezzies to everyone (sad face) I have to host giveaways with a select number of random winners. Read on to see what you have the chance at nabbing today...

In case you don't know, I am a fan of pretty much all things British, especially regency set novels and British television. While it isn't a Regency novel, Sandra Byrd's Roses Have Thorns IS set in England and it IS one of my all-time favorite books. I don't know about you but I can't think of anything more British than tea so I thought I'd give away another copy of Roses Have Thorns (slightly used), a brand new "Tea Time" print garden flag, AND an adorable, brand new, floral tea cup set (2 cups, 2 saucers, and storage box) all to one lucky winner!

Keep in mind, to be entered you HAVE to fill out the form below. If you have any problems with the form or have any questions feel free to email me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com. US residents only. I'm not responsible for prizes lost, damaged, or misdirected by the post office. Complete giveaway rules at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading!

4 Year Blogiversary, Day 4 Giveaway: Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thank you all so much for sticking with me and making these past 4 years so much fun! I hope you are having a nice time with me during this impromptu blogiversary celebration. Hopefully next year the party will be even bigger, who knows I might go for two weeks or even an entire month! Depending on my schedule, I'll definitely work on extending the festivities next year. In the meantime today's giveaway is a gently used copy of Siri Mitchell's historical romance, Unrivaled. This one is definitely a book for those with a sweet tooth since it looks at the world of candy making in the 1900s.

Giveaway is open to US residents only. Complete rules listed on the form. Be sure to fill out the form below or you won't be entered to win! If you have any questions about the form just email me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com.

Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

About the book:

Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager--a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin. 

Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading!

4 Year Blogiversary, Day 3 Giveaway: Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Almost right from the start of this blog author Julie Lessman has been such a good friend to me. Julie is always the first to sign up if I have a party or want to interview authors. She's a great friend and an amazing author.

To celebrate my blogiversary I'm giving away a copy of her new book, Love at Any Cost, book one in her new Heart of San Francisco series. You can read my review HERE if you would like.

Don't forget to enter this giveaway to win your own gently used copy! Also, don't forget to read Monday's post HERE for links to my other giveaways! Giveaways open to US residents only. YOU MUST FILL OUT THE RAFFLECOPTER BELOW TO BE ENTERED TO WIN. If you have questions about the form please feel free to email me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com

Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Reading!

4 Year Blogiversary Day Two Giveaway: A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Thank you all so much for celebrating with me. Without you, this blog wouldn't nearly be as fun for me to do. I love interacting with you all each and everyday through this site and through Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook! 

Today's "thank you" prize is a gently used copy of Jody Hedlund's A Noble Groom. I tried to include a few extra entries for those of you who may not have Facebook or Twitter accounts. Please send me an email if you have any questions. 

Don't forget, if you didn't enter yesterday's giveaway for a brand new copy of Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd that giveaway is still open HERE

Also, remember to come back everyday to enter to win more books AND the grand prize on Friday!

Giveaways open to US Residents only.

A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Read my review of A Noble Groom HERE.

Happy Reading!

Surprise! It's My 4 Year Blogiversary Party with Giveaways!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Photo from Pinterest.

In case you didn't know it's my 4 year blogiversary! I can't believe I've been at this for so long! it seems like yesterday that I first posted that picture of baby Coco but it was really March 3, 2009. Like my dad always says, the older you get the faster time goes. Le sigh.

Last year, I celebrated my 3 year blogiversary in April since I was so busy in March and this year the month kind of got away from me too so this week is the official party! You don't want to miss it. I'm giving away books all week and the grand prize is going to be AWESOME! I've never given away anything quite like it before. If you want a prize "spoiler", check out this tweet. ;-) 

There's no blog button this year, but please help by spreading the word about this party on Twitter or on Facebook! 

Don't forget to visit this blog tomorrow for a new post with a new prize to win! Each blogiversary giveaway will be open until Sunday, April 28, 2013. Remember this post, it will be updated with links to all the other giveaways that will be going on at this blog later in the week.
Photo from Pinterest.
To start things off right and to thank you all for being such awesome friends, I'm going to giveaway the book that I reviewed earlier today, Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd! So as my blog header says, "Have a seat and enjoy a good book" ...and a piece of virtual blogiversary cake! Yum!

Day 1 Prize:


Day 2 Prize:
A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund


Day 3 Prize:
Love at Any Cost by Julie Lessman


Day 4 Prize:
Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell


Final Day Prize:
Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd, "Tea Time" garden flag, and tea cups

Happy Reading!

Blog Tour + My Review: Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd

Roses Have Thorns:
A Novel of Elizabeth I
By Sandra Byrd
Copyright 2013
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781439183168
The Story:
From the acclaimed author of To Die For comes a stirring novel told that sheds new light on Elizabeth I and her court.

Like Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Sandra Byrd has attracted countless fans for evoking the complexity, grandeur, and brutality of the Tudor period. In her latest tour de force, she poses the question: What happens when serving a queen may cost you your marriage—or your life?

In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancĂ© has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.

My Thoughts:
Sandra Byrd has done it again. Just when I thought I couldn't become anymore intrigued by Tudor history she pens another stellar book that makes me want to know more, more, more! Each story in the Ladies in Waiting series, Roses Have Thorns included, has an authentic feel. From clothing, to court life, to dialogue you can't help become immersed in the story and feel as if you are a part of it. The best thing is that not only are historical settings and figures brought to life but romance as well. 

From the beginning we follow 17-year-old Elin von Snakenborg from her home in Sweden as a young woman unsure of what her future holds to a mature, married woman with a family. The perils she faces as part of Queen Elizabeth's inner circle mingle with those of her own personal life and one is always left unsure of whether or not Elin, later known as Helena, will find true happiness and love. I for one was a little worried that Helena's husband, who will remain unnamed to prevent spoiling the story, was guilty of cheating but he redeemed himself to become one of my favorite characters in the book.

I thoroughly enjoyed Roses Have Thorns and I am sad to see this series end. I can't get enough! Drama, romance, history, this book has it all in spades.

~ My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ~

Order a copy of Roses Have Thorns HERE.

My review of To Die For.

My review of The Secret Keeper.

*I received a complimentary ARC from the author. I was not obligated to provide a positive review. *

Meet Sandra:
After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn. To Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I, will publish in April, 2013.

Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens.

A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has also published many nonfiction articles and books. She is also passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Please visit www.sandrabyrd.com to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype. 

Connect with Sandra on Twitter: www.twitter.com/sandrabyrd 

Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sandrabyrdwrites

Connect with Sandra on Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/SandraByrdBooks

Visit Sandra's blog HERE and enter to win a copy of Roses Have Thorns, an Elizabethan inspired necklace, or a $25 e-gift certificate to HeirloomRoses.com! 

Also, stay tuned to this blog for your chance to win a copy of Roses Have Thorns and many other new Christian fiction releases this week!

Happy Reading!

Terrific New Series by Julie Lessman: Love at Any Cost (The Heart of San Francisco, Book 1)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Love at Any Cost
(The Heart of San Francisco, Bk. 1)
by Julie Lessman
Copyright 2013
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721671
The Story:
He’s looking to take care of his family. She’s looking to take care of her heart. Trouble is . . . love’s looking to take care of them both.

Cassidy McClare is a spunky Texas oil heiress without a fortune who would just as soon hogtie a man as look at him. Jilted by a fortune hunter, Cassidy travels west hoping a summer visit with her wealthy cousins in San Francisco will help her forget her heartache. But no sooner is she settled in beautiful California than Jamie McKenna, a handsome pauper looking to marry well, captures her heart. Can love prevail when Jamie discovers that Cassidy is poorer than he is? And can Cassidy ever learn to fully trust her heart to a man?

Bestselling author Julie Lessman brings the delectable Gilded Age to life in this sumptuous new series. Join your favorite romantic storyteller as she moves to the hills of San Francisco for more romance, passion, and surprising revelations.

My Thoughts:
There are many reasons why Julie Lessman is one of my favorite authors, the main reason being that each and every story she writes leaps off of the page with faith and passion in spades. Her latest series, the first of her many books not to feature the O'Connor clan, The Heart of San Francisco centers around a West Coast family, the McClares, living in the heart of California. Lessman's trademark flare for drama, which I absolutely love, is present in Love at Any Cost and while a bit toned down didn't make me love the story any less. While I adored  the O'Connor sisters, they were kind of...well...volatile! This story had more of a sweet, Little Women feel to it than her Daughters of Boston series. I absolutely loved the sisterly bond between Cassidy and her aunt and cousins. The camaraderie between the McClare's was easy, it reminded me of my own close relationship with my cousin. I guess the only teeny, nit-picky thing about this book was that sometimes the characters seemed a bit too modern for 1902 but it didn't make me not totally love and enjoy the story. I cannot WAIT to see what unfolds in the lives of the McClare clan next! Please, keep these books coming Ms. Lessman!

To learn more about Julie and her books please visit her WEBSITE.

“Available April 15, 2013 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.* 

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

Happy Reading!

COTT: A Look At BETRAYAL by Anne Patrick

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Today, we're excited to highlight another book by Anne Patrick. Anne first visited Clash of the Titles back in 2011--my, how time flies!

Drew Presley's wife was murdered while he was serving his country in Iraq. Giving up a career he loved, he's returned to Dauphine Island to care for his son and try to make a new life for them. The unsolved murder of his wife continues to plague him. The islanders are very protective of their own and he fears a killer is among them. The more he searches for answers though the more dangerous it becomes. Just as troublesome is his attraction to his son's second-grade teacher.

Trudy Walsh was Nora Presley's best friend so the bond she has with Nora's motherless child is only normal. What troubles Trudy is the growing feelings she has for Reed's father. How can she be so attractive to this man when Jack Diamond is all she's ever thought about?

When Drew begins to suspect Jack of his wife's murder, sparks begin to fly. What secrets lie in Gianni's Cove, and what do they have to do with Nora's murder?

*An Amazon 'Top 100' Bestseller in Christian Suspense!
(Way to go, Anne!)

Below are a few of the reviews for Betrayal

Amazon and B&N Reviews
"Anne Patrick is a mesmerizing author. I just began reading her books last year and have already read all 14 of her books listed on Amazon Kindle. I love the portrayal of a mystery, love story, and a strong faith based main character. The books are captivating and Betrayal was as good as all of her books." ~ Sharon

"Anne Patrick is a favorite author of mine and Betrayal is a great addition to her Wounded Heroes Series! You'll take a ride on a ferry, tour a lighthouse, eat at a local pizzeria and even scuba dive! I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Dauphine Island and meeting all the locals….I especially liked trying to figure out who was behind everything but you don't really find out until the end. Speaking of the ending, well...you don't want to miss that!" ~ Sherry

"I love Anne Patrick any way. Another fantastic addition to this series. Ties in characters from previous books, really keeps you guessing about "whodunnit?". Has some slow areas throughout the book. Overall, an excellent story written well." ~ Denise

"Well developed characters, seamless plot, a little mystery and some romance, all in a context of growing faith. Well done. Very entertaining." ~ Undivided

Author Bio:
Anne Patrick is the author of more than a dozen novels of Romance, Mayhem & Faith, including the award winning and bestselling WOUNDED HEROES SERIES, FIRE AND ASH, and TIES THAT BIND. When she isn't working on her next novel she enjoys spending time with family and friends, and traveling to foreign countries to experience new cultures and adventures. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she now makes her home in Kansas.

To learn more about Anne, please visit her website: www.annepatrickbooks.com or blog: www.suspensebyanne.blogspot.com.  She loves to hear from her readers!

Happy Reading!

Litfuse Blog Tour + My Review: A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Noble Groom
by Jody Hedlund
Copyright 2013
Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764210471
The Story:
Michigan, 1880

Annalisa Werner's hope for a fairy tale love is over. Her husband failed her in every way and now his death has left her with few options to save the family farm. She needs a plentiful harvest. That, and a husband to help bring it in. Someone strong, dependable. That’ll be enough. A marriage for love...that's something she's given up on.

So her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom. 

Then a man appears: Carl Richards, from their home country of Germany and a former schoolteacher--or so he says. He's looking for work and will serve on the farm until her husband arrives.

With time running out, she accepts his help, but there's more to this man than he's admitting. He's also gentle, kind, charming--unlike any man she's ever known. But even as Carl is shining light into the darkness of her heart, she knows her true groom may arrive any day.

My Thoughts:
Jody Hedlund is a stellar storyteller and A Noble Groom once again proves why she's one of my all-time favorite historical fiction writers. As always with her stories this book is captivating from the first. The romance is right up there with that of my favorite "edgy" inspirational fiction writers, Julie Lessman and Deeanne Gist. It's simply a spectacular story!

As poorly as Annalisa had to live, especially dealing with her good for nothing first husband, she still had the true pioneer spirit that I like to think all of our real ancestors had. She didn't give up even when her very life was threatened by the man who possibly murdered her husband. Resilient is the one word that comes to mind with each of Hedlund's heroines and Annalisa is no different. I immediately liked the hero too. Even though he was somewhat snobbish fallen nobleman I still felt that character connection that is absolutely necessary for me when reading any book, but especially in romance. The chemistry between both Annalisa and Carl smoldered but I liked that it developed naturally as they got to know each other and wasn't really a love at first sight, dive-into-the-romance, story.

As I noted earlier, this is definitely a bit edgier than Jody's previous novels but that made me love it all the more. It's passionate, moving, and inspirational with the potential to be a true Christian fiction classic! A Noble Groom is a book for even the pickiest reader's keeper shelf.

*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.* 

To read what other reviewers are saying about the book go HERE.

Buy your own copy HERE.

~ My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ~

Meet Jody:
Jody Hedlund is the bestselling author of "The Doctor's Lady" and "The Preacher's Bride". She won the 2011 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award, the 2011 Award of Excellence from the Colorado Romance Writers and was a finalist for Best Debut Novel in the 2011 ACFW Carol Awards. Currently she makes her home in central Michigan, with her husband and five busy children. She loves hearing from readers on Facebook and on her blog.

Visit her website, www.jodyhedlund.com



Jody Hedlund is celebrating the release of A Noble Groom by giving away a Kindle Fire and hosting a Facebook Author Chat Party {5/8}! 


One "noble" winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire

  • A copy of A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 7th. Winner will be announced at the "A Noble Groom" Author Chat Party on May 8th. Connect with Jody, get a sneak peek of her next book, try your hand at the trivia contest, and chat with readers just like you. There will also be many fun giveaways -- gift certificates, books, and more!

So grab your copy of A Noble Groom and join Jody on the evening of May 8th 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 today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 8th!

Happy Reading!

Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd Blog Tour Schedule + Giveaways!

Monday, April 15, 2013

If anyone is interested in reading an incredible story on what life was like for royalty in the 16th century I highly recommend Sandra Byrd's Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I. If you are already over your book buying budget for the month there are many opportunities during the CBA blog tour to enter to win the book! Visit the blogs below to check out reader reviews or enter the giveaways where available!

Monday, April 15 - Kimberly S. @ The Book Barista (Review and Giveaway)

Tues., April 16 - Serena C. @ Edgy Inspirational Romance

Wed., April 17 - Margaret C. @ Creative Madness Mama

Thur., April 18 -  Jendi @ Jendi’s Journal

Fri., April 19 -  Lynelle C. @ Aspired Writer

Sat., April 20 - Kathleen B. @ Lane Hill House (Review and Giveaway)

Mon. April 22 - Renee @ Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot

Wed. April 24 - Deena P @ A Peek at My Bookshelf

Thur. April 25 - Ruth A. @ Booktalk and More

Sat. April 27 - Rissi C. @ Dreaming Under the Same Moon (Review & Giveaway)

Mon. April 29 - Megan D. @ Hardcover Feedback (Review and Giveaway)

Wed. May 1 - Annette K. @ A Well Watered Garden

Thur. May 2 - Veronica S @ Veronica’s Views

Fri. May 3 - Meagan M @ Blooming with Books (Review and Giveaway)

Sat. May 4 - Lydia M. @ The Overweight Bookshelf (Review and Giveaway)

Sun. May 5 -Theresa G. @ Faith and Family Reviews

Wed. May 8 - Colletta M @ Colletta’s Kitchen Sink (Review & Giveaway)

Thur. May 9 - Ruth H. @ My Devotional Thoughts (Review and Giveaway)

Fri. May 10 - Patricia J. @ Live and Dream a Little Dream (Review and Giveaway)

Mon. May 13 - Tammy G. @ Tammy Book Parlor (Review and Giveaway)

Tues. May 14 - Casey H. @ Writing for Christ (Review & Giveaway)

Wed. May 15 - Debra B. @ English Epochs (Review and Giveaway)

Happy Reading!

Another Terrific Amish Tale from Author Serena B. Miller!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Hidden Mercies
by Serena B. Miller
Copyright 2013
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781451660357
The story: 
At seventeen, Tobias Miller smashed his cousin’s car into a tree, killing his brother only four hours before he was scheduled to marry Claire Shetler. Unable to live with his father’s bottomless grief and anger, Tobias left the Amish church and ran away to join the Marines. Twenty-seven years later, Tobias, now called Tom, returns to Mt. Hope, Ohio, a wounded, decorated Marine helicopter pilot, and rents an apartment over Claire’s workshop.

A widowed Amish midwife, Claire is struggling to support her family. When Tom rents her room she does not recognize the disfigured soldier as the boy she once knew. She only sees the money as a godsend, though she is nervous about having a strange man so close by. Claire never dreams that she will end up falling in love with a battle-scarred soldier.

As Claire and Tom fight their way through the traumas of the past, they discover the tender mercies God has hidden along the way—including a loving father who has been praying for his prodigal son to come home and a God who makes all things new.

My Thoughts:
Even though Hidden Mercies is not labeled as a series we are once again in Mt. Hope, Ohio, with some old familiar characters from An Uncommon Grace (a good book!) as well as some new faces. Each character, Amish and Englisch alike, struggle with their pasts. Claire, with the sudden death of her young fiance that changed her life forever and Tom, the one who believes he was responsible for causing the accident that took his older brother's life. After decades of grief, despite leading two very different lives, Claire as an Amish midwife and Tom as a helicopter pilot for the Marines they come full circle and are once again brought together.

My favorite thing about this story was the authentic feel that it had. Grace and her husband from the first book set in Mt. Hope play a part in this story as well and I absolutely loved that everything wasn't bright and sunny 100% of the time for them. Where some books tend to gloss over what struggles very different people face when they marry or have a serious relationship, this book doesn't do that. I think there was more headbutting in this book between those two than there are cowboys at a rodeo! I don't mean to overlook Claire and Toms's story. That in and of itself made this book hard to put down but I just loved to get to read what happened next to two of the very likeable Amish fiction characters from An Uncommon Grace.

Hidden Mercies is a great combination of real-life strife along with a sweet love story and a HEA that makes any romance just about perfect! Serena Miller writes good historical fiction stories but I think Amish fiction is her sweet spot. I look forward to hopefully reading more about Mt. Hope and its residents. Hopefully Becky, Grace's sister, will make an appearance soon!

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~

To learn more about the author visit her WEBSITE.

*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!

A Very Special Giveaway from Author Sandra Byrd!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Roses Have Thorns:A Novel of Elizabeth I
by Sandra Byrd
Copyright 2013
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781439183168
As you may or may not know from reading this blog I just adore the Ladies in Waiting series by Sandra Byrd. I've enjoyed each book immensely and the latest, Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I which made it's debut on Amazon and in stores everywhere today, is no exception! Check out my review of the first two books HERE and HERE and look for my review of Roses Have Thorns next week.

To celebrate the release of Roses Have Thorns, Sandra is offering a very special "Books and Blooms" giveaway where you have the chance to win 1 of 3 terrific prizes. If you're like me, there's nothing better than that feeling you get when you win a great book. Sandra is offering a book, OR a handmade Elizabethan style necklace from fellow my blogger Christy Janes' Etsy shop, Belle on a Budget OR a $25 e-gift card to Heirloom Roses.

YOWZAS! is the word that comes to my mind when I look at that prize list! If that's what you think too, you won't have a chance at winning unless you stop by Sandra's blog, read the rules and fill out the Rafflecopter form HERE. For extra entries fill out the Rafflecopter and go HERE and repin the giveaway button on one of your Pinterest boards. While you're at it you can check out Sandra's Pinterest page too. She's new there and would love some more friends!

The best of luck to you if you decide to enter Sandra's great giveaway!

P.S. I'm going to be hosting my very own giveaway next week in honor of Roses Have Thorns so stop back. You won't want to miss it. Trust me. ;-)

Happy Reading!