A Superb Historical: Love's Awakening (Ballantyne Legacy, Book 2) by Laura Frantz

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Love's Awakening
by Laura Frantz
Copyright 2013
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800720421
The Story:
The path to true love lies somewhere between two feuding families 

In the spring of 1822, Ellie Ballantyne leaves finishing school and returns to the family home in Pittsburgh only to find that her parents are away on a long journey and her siblings don't seem to want her to stay. Determined to stand her ground and find her place in the world, Ellie fills her time by opening a day school for young ladies.

But when one of her students turns out to be an incorrigible young member of the Turlock family, Ellie knows she must walk a fine line. Slaveholders and whiskey magnates, the Turlocks are envious of the powerful Ballantynes and suspicious of their abolitionist leanings. As Ellie becomes increasingly entangled with the rival clan--particularly the handsome Jack Turlock--she finds herself falling in love with an impossible future. Will she betray her family and side with the enemy? 

2014 Olympia, Coming Soon!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013



Authors, take note!


In SIX WEEKS, Clash of the Titles opens its doors for submissions to the 2014 Olympia.


The Olympia is COTT's yearly contest for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by their audience—readers well-versed in Christian fiction yet not associated with the CBA industry.
Authors write for readers, so why not have readers be the judges?
Finalists in the contest will also have their work read and judged by three industry professionals!

Time Lord Party Winners!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thank you to everyone who made the Time Lord Party last week such a success. I'm thinking about making it an annual event, it was that fun. I loved chatting about the Doctor and his adventures with you all and I love giving out prizes! The four lucky winners have all been contacted and are listed below! Even if you didn't win this time, I encourage you to keep trying your luck. I have some great new giveaways coming up that you won't want to miss.

Review Double Feature: The Invention of Sarah Cummings by Olivia Newport & Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Invention of Sarah Cummings by Olivia Newport
The Story:
In a world where everyone is putting on a show, there is a love that is genuine.

Sarah Cummings has one goal in life--to break into Chicago's high society. Desperate to stop serving dinner to members of the wealthy Banning family and to start eating at society tables, Sarah spends her meager free time altering cast-off gowns to create the perfect wardrobe for her future life.

When opportunity knocks at a chance meeting, she presents herself as Serena Cuthbert, weaving a fictitious past to go with her fictitious name. But as she gets closer to her goal--and closer to Simon Tewell, director of St. Andrew's Orphanage--Sarah finds that she must choose between the life she has and the life she dreams of.

Can she piece together the perfect life from scraps? Or will it all come unraveled in the face of true love?

My Thoughts:
The Invention of Sarah Cummings is by far the best book in the Avenue of Dreams series. Caught up in a deception that she believes will spur her rise to wealth and the life she's always dreamed of, Sarah juggles life in service with the life of a socialite. In the midst of a sweltering Chicago summer while the family's away, she thinks it will be easy to keep up the charade but little does she know that when she's found out, her life will forever be changed and not necessarily for the better.

Sarah Cummings is an interesting sort of character. In spite of living in the 1800s, she's relevant. A lot of people wish they could change and rise above current situations in their lives, thinking that wealth and fame will somehow make life better. With the help from friends who work with her and the director of the orphanage where she once lived, she realizes that it's not the things that are important but being true to oneself and being where God wanted her. There's a bit of romance too. Where the previous books may have had a bit more of a romance woven in, I thought that this felt the most authentic. It was sweet and really tugged at the ol' heartstrings.

The Invention of Sarah Cummings is definitely not a story that you want to miss. Even if you're like me, not a big fan of the two previous books, I highly recommend this book. It's not preachy, but subtle in it's spiritual message so even if you aren't necessarily a fan of Christian fiction you may want to give this a try!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”


Dangerous Passage by Lisa Harris
The Story:
She's dedicated her life to ending violence. But has she moved too deep into a treacherous world?

When two Jane Does are killed on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia, detective and behavioral specialist Avery North discovers they share something in common--a magnolia tattoo on their shoulders. Suspecting a serial killer, Avery joins forces with medical examiner Jackson Bryant to solve the crimes and prevent another murder. As they venture deep into a sinister criminal world, Avery and Jackson are taken to the very edge of their abilities--and their hearts.

Dangerous Passage exposes a fully realized and frightening world where every layer peeled back reveals more challenges ahead. You'll be hooked from the start.

My Thoughts:
Bones (the TV series) -- that's the first thing that came to mind when I read this book. That's not a bad things but when it comes to Christian fiction it's a bit new and interesting! Crimes scenes, murder, human trafficking, autopsies, they all happen here. Did I mention the workplace romance? Oh yeah, it's there and it really adds to the drama of the story. It's not as volatile as the Booth/Bones thing, but nonetheless interesting.

Suspense fiction centered around police departments and big cities have kind of dropped off of my reading radar but I am SO glad to have picked this one up. It's gotten kind of boring. I've seen more damaged characters in Christian fiction than you can shake a stick at since I've been reading for almost 30 years, but Avery North was more complex and interesting. I think some of her story was a bit overkill but all in all Dangerous Passage really impressed me. I LOVED that a major thread in the story was left open, which leaves me to believe that some major secrets are going to be revealed that shake up Avery's life even more. Way to hook your reader's, Lisa Harris! I can't wait to read what happens next!

Dangerous Passage is a must-read for suspense fans and readers who like a bit of mystery. If you like a bit of a cliffhanger, this is definitely a book to look into. Visit your library and request this one!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

“Available August 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

*I received complimentary books 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!


Cover Reveal: Love's Refuge by Sandra Leesmith

Friday, September 20, 2013

I don't know about you but I love a good book cover, unfortunately this year I haven't been impressed with what I've seen for upcoming releases. The cover for Love's Refuge, however, is totally gorgeous! I think I love it even more than the first book. The yellow title really pops on the mostly blue cover and really, who doesn't love the beach scene and a sweet kiss on the forehead? :-) I can't wait to read this one and hope you enjoy it too! 




Love’s Refuge will be released November 2013. Visit Seasons of Humility that month for more information about the book’s release and the blog tour.”

The Story: 
Skye Larsen loves her peaceful life on Leeza Island in Puget Sound – the tranquility, the friendly neighbors, and especially the safety from big-city dangers. So when cruel pranks start to escalate and changes threaten to overtake the island, Skye is determined to fight for her haven. The presence of a handsome vacationer and the unexpected feelings he awakens can’t distract her from her goal.

Danny Fraser doesn’t realize how desperately he needs a rest until he meets Skye. By allowing him to glimpse her simple way of life, she helps him reorient his priorities – and steals his heart in the process. But his work and home in Seattle keep Skye at bay.

An isolated island girl with painful memories. A dedicated city boy with a wild past. What will it cost for them both to find a refuge from their storms?

About Sandra:
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.



To enter to win this lovely Kindle bag from Sandra, visit the Rafflecopter form below!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Reading!


Time Lord Party, Final Day: A Review & A Thank You!

Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot


Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka
Feature: Approx. 78 mins
Bonus Features: Approx. 60 mins
Color

DVD Overview:
The TARDIS lands in a small English village in 2003, where the population is living in fear from a malevolent alien force. With the help of UNIT and his new friend Alison, the Doctor discovers that a race called the Shalka are residing underground, preparing to strip away the earth’s ozone layer and embark on a full-scale invasion of the planet. Voice talents include Richard E. Grant as the Doctor and Derek Jacobi as the Master.

My Thoughts:
Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka is one of my all-time favorite Doctor Who episodes and that's saying a lot because I'm not normally a fan of animated features unless they're from Disney! I was more than a bit skeptical going into this. A few of the reasons that I enjoy the live action series so much is the little nuances and amusing facial expressions of the actors on the screen. It's impossible to catch the twinkle of the eye or even something like the movement hair. Surprisingly, even though these details weren't present in this feature, the actors voicing the Doctor, Alison, and even the Master really brought the characters to life. Richard E. Grant, Sophie Okonedo and Derek Jacobi are just a few of the famous actors who lent their voice talents to this little masterpiece and later starred alongside the Doctor in the live action series. You know how great they were in the new series so you can imagine how wonderful they were in this animated bridge between classic and new Doctor.

Now for the monsters -- the Shalka. The Shalka, a reptilian-like alien species didn't have much to say, but as you may have guessed from the title of the DVD, their screams are quite grotesque -- not to mention the fact that they took over human bodies to lead earth and humanity into death and darkness. Aliens that can grow out of human foreheads is enough to give anyone the shivers! The Shalka are indeed a very frightening alien, up there with the Weeping Angels and the Silence. 

I was very impressed with the animation, the story-line, the monsters, and each of the characters. As much as I enjoyed this, I was a little disappointed that the ending was left open for more adventures with the Doctor and Alison but to my knowledge, there never were any. Still, Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka is yet another wonderful DVD for anyone who loves Doctor Who and for those who want to build their DVD library with shows the whole family can watch and enjoy together.

Doctor Who Scream of the Shalka is available now on DVD from Amazon and other stores.

 ~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

 *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/publicist for review purposes. I received no compensation. 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.*

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

A great big thank you to everyone who stopped by this week. I hope you will continue to visit and check out more reviews, giveaways, and previews featuring Doctor Who and other series' that I love. Just a warning, I'm a HUGE fan of British dramas and since Downton Abbey will be airing soon I'll probably be posting more than usual about that series too! Chances are, when I'm not posting about it here, I'll be pinning it to my Pinterest boards! If you haven't already, consider following me over there. Also, if today is your first day here, you can still have time to enter all of my Time Lord Party giveaways. To make it easier for you to find them, I've included the links below. Feel free to share with your friends so they can enter too! Note: If you posted my button on your blog prior to this week's party, I will manually add the 5 bonus entries into each giveaway before I randomly select a winner. Thank you all so much for making this week such a success! I've really enjoyed sharing in the fun of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who AND my birthday. I'm definitely considering making the Time Lord Party an annual event! Good idea? ;-)

Day One: Doctor Who, Last of the Gaderene by Mark Gatiss

Day Two: Doctor Who, Dark Horizons by Jenny T. Colgan

Day Three: Doctor Who poster

Day Four: Doctor Who, The Ice Warriors DVD, The Silent Stars Go By by Dan Abnett, and a $5 McDonald's Arch Card.


All giveaway winners will be announced this weekend on this blog! Good luck!


First Wild Card Blog Tour + Review: Beyond These Hills by Sandra Robbins

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 (September 1, 2013)

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

In the romantic conclusion to the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, Sandra Robbins tells a story of love and loss. The government is purchasing property to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Laurel Jackson fears she’ll have to say goodbye to the only home she’s ever known. Can she find the strength to leave?

Visit the author's website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

In the romantic conclusion to the Smoky Mountain Dreams series, Sandra Robbins tells a story of love and loss. The government is purchasing property to establish the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Laurel Jackson fears she’ll have to say goodbye to the only home she’s ever known. Can she find the strength to leave?



Product Details:
List Price: $13.99
Series: Smoky Mountain Dreams (Book 3)
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (September 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736948880
ISBN-13: 978-0736948883


AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Cades Cove, Tennessee

June, 1935

  The needle on the pickup truck’s speedometer eased to thirty miles an hour. Laurel Jackson bit back a smile and glanced at her father. With his right hand on the steering wheel and his left elbow hanging out the open window, he reminded her of a little boy absorbed in the wonder of a new toy.

The wind ruffled his dark, silver-streaked hair, and a smile pulled at the corner of his mouth as the truck bounced along. His eyes held a faraway look that told her he was enjoying every minute of the drive along the new road that twisted through Cades Cove.

If truth be told, though, the truck with its dented fenders wasn’t all that new. He’d bought it a few months ago from Warren Hubbard, who’d cleaned out a few ditches in Cades Cove trying to bring the little Ford to a stop. Rumor had it he kept yelling Whoa! instead of pressing the brake. The good-natured ribbing of his neighbors had finally convinced Mr. Hubbard that he had no business behind the wheel of a truck.

Laurel’s father didn’t have that problem. He took to driving like their old hound dog Buster took to trailing a raccoon. Neither gave up until they’d finished what they’d started. Mama often said she didn’t know which one’s stubborn ways vexed her more—Poppa’s or Buster’s. Of course her eyes always twinkled when she said it.

The truck was another matter entirely. Mama saw no earthly reason why they needed that contraption on their farm when they had a perfectly good wagon and buggy. To her, it was another reminder of how life in Cades Cove was changing. Laurel could imagine what her mother would say if she could see Poppa now as the speed-
ometer inched up to thirty-five. Land’s sakes, Matthew. If you don’t keep both hands on the wheel, you’re gonna end up killing us all.

But Mama wasn’t with them today to tell Poppa they weren’t in a race, and he was taking advantage of her absence to test the limits of the truck. At this rate they’d make it to Gatlinburg earlier than expected. When she was a little girl, the ride in their wagon over to the mountain village that had become a favorite of tourists had seemed to take forever. Now, it took them less than half the time to get there.

She glanced at her father again and arched an eyebrow. “You’d better be glad Mama stayed home.”

Her father chuckled. “Do you think she’d say I was driving too fast?”

Laurel tilted her head to one side and tried to narrow her eyes into a thoughtful pose. “I’m sure she wouldn’t hesitate to let you know exactly how she felt.”

A big smile creased her father’s face, and he nodded. “You’re right about that. Your mother may run a successful business from a valley in the middle of the Smoky Mountains, but she’d just as soon pass up all the modern conveniences the money she makes could provide her. Sometimes I think she’d be happier if we were still living in that one-room cabin we had when we first married.”

Laurel laughed and nodded. “I know. But I imagine she’ll be just as happy today to have us out of the way. She can unload her latest pottery from the kiln and get the lodge cleaned and ready for the tourists we have coming Monday.”

Her father’s right hand loosened on the steering wheel, and his left one pulled the brim of his hat lower on his forehead. “It looks like business is going to be good this year. We already have reservations for most of the summer, and our guests sure do like to take home some of her pieces from Mountain Laurel Pottery.”

Laurel frowned. There would be guests this summer, but what about next year and the year after that? A hot breeze blew through the open window, and she pulled a handkerchief from her pocket. She mopped at the perspiration on her forehead before she swiveled in her seat to face her father. “Having the lodge and the pottery business is kind of like a mixed blessing, isn’t it?”

He frowned but didn’t take his eyes off the road. “How do you mean?”

Laurel’s gaze swept over the mountains that ringed the valley where she’d lived all her life. Her love for the mist-covered hills in the distance swelled up in her, and she swallowed the lump that formed in her throat. “Well, I was just thinking that we get paid well by the folks who stay at our lodge while they fish and hike the mountain trails, and Mama makes a lot of money selling them her pottery. But is the money worth what we’ve lost?” She clasped her hands in her lap. “I miss the quiet life we had in the Cove when I was a little girl.”

Her father’s forehead wrinkled. “So do I, darling, but you’re all grown up now, and those days are long gone. Change has been happening for a long time, but our way of life officially ended twelve years ago with the plan for the Smokies to become a national park. Now most of the mountain land’s been bought up by the government, and there’s a park superintendent in place over at Gatlinburg. I guess we have to accept the fact that the park is a reality.”

A tremor ran through Laurel’s body. She clutched her fists tighter until her fingernails cut into her palms. “No matter what we’re doing or talking about, it always comes back to one question, doesn’t it?”

Her father glanced at her. “What’s that?”

“How long can we keep the government from taking our land?”

“Well, they don’t have it yet.” The lines in her father’s face deepened, and the muscle in his jaw twitched. “At the moment, all the land that borders our farm has been bought and is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There aren’t many of us holding on in the Cove, but we’re not giving up without a fight. I have a meeting with our lawyer in Gatlinburg today to see how our court case is going. You can get your mama’s pottery delivered to Mr. Bryan’s store, can’t you?”

 “I didn’t know you had a meeting with the lawyer. Don’t worry about the pottery. Willie and I can take care of that.”

A smile cracked her father’s moments-ago stony features at the mention of her younger brother, who was riding in the truck’s bed. “You make sure that boy helps you. He has a habit of disappearing every time I have a job for him. I sure wish he’d grow up and start taking on some responsibility around the farm.”

Laurel laughed. “Willie’s only twelve, Poppa. When he’s as old as Charlie or me, he’ll settle down.”

Her father shook his head. “I don’t know about that. He’s always gonna be your mother’s baby.”

Before she could respond, the truck hit a bump in the road and a yell from behind pierced her ears. Laughing, she turned and looked through the back window. Willie’s face stared back at her. “Do it again, Pa,” he yelled. “That was fun.”

Her father frowned, grabbed the steering wheel with both hands, and leaned over to call out the window. “Be still, Willie, before you fall out and land on your head.”

Willie stood up, grabbed the side of the open window, and leaned around the truck door to peer into the cab. “Won’t this thing go any faster?”

Her father’s foot eased up, and he frowned. “We’re going fast enough. Sit down, Willie.”

The wind whipped Willie’s dark hair in his eyes. He was grinning. “Jacob’s pa has a truck that’ll go fifty on a smooth stretch,” he yelled. “See what ours will do.”

The veins in her father’s neck stood out, and the speedometer needle dropped to twenty. “If you don’t sit down and stay put, I’m gonna stop and make you sit up here between your sister and me.”

“I’m just saying you ought to open this thing up and see what she’ll do.”

The muscle in her father’s jaw twitched again, and Laurel put her hand over her mouth to keep from laughing out loud. How many times had she seen her no-nonsense father and her fun-loving brother locked in a battle of wills? Her father took a deep breath and shook his head.

“Willie, for the last time…”

Willie leaned closer to the window, glanced at Laurel, and winked. “Okay. I’ll sit, but I still think we could go a little faster. Jacob’s gonna get to Gatlinburg way before we do.”

The truck slowed to a crawl. “Willie…”

A big grin covered Willie’s mouth. “Okay, okay. I’m just trying to help. I know Mr. Bryan is waitin’ for these crates of Mama’s pottery. I’d hate to get there after he’d closed the store.”

“He’s not going to close the store. Now for the last time, do as I say.”

“Okay, okay. I’m sittin’.”

Willie pushed away from the window and slid down into the bed of the truck. Her father straightened in the seat and shook his head. “I don’t know what I’m going to do with that boy. He’s gonna put me in my grave before I’m ready.”

Laurel laughed, leaned over, and kissed her father’s cheek. “How many times have I heard you say that? I think you love sparring with him. He reminds you of Mama.”

For the first time today, a deep laugh rumbled in her father’s throat. “That it does. That woman has kept me on my toes for twenty years now.” He glanced over his shoulder through the back glass toward Willie, who now sat hunkered down in the bed of the truck. “But I doubt if I’ll make it with that boy. He tests my patience every day.”

Laurel smiled as she reached up and retied the bow at the end of the long braid that hung over her shoulder and down the front of her dress. “I doubt that will happen. You have more patience than anybody I know. There aren’t many in our valley who’ve been able to stand up to the government and keep them from taking their land. Just you and Grandpa Martin and a few more. Everybody else has given up and sold out.”

There it was again. The ever-present shadow that hung over their lives. Cove residents were selling out and leaving. How long could they hang on?

“Seems like we’re losing all our friends, doesn’t it?” Her father shook his head and pointed straight ahead. “Like Pete and Laura Ferguson. We’re almost to their farm. I think I’ll stop for a minute. I promised Pete I’d keep an eye on the place after they moved, and I haven’t gotten over here in a few weeks.”

Ever since Laurel could remember there had been a bond between her father and the older Pete Ferguson. Each had always been there to lend a hand to the other, but now the Fergusons were gone. Their land sold to the United States government and their farm officially a part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

She glanced at her father’s face, and she almost gasped aloud at the sorrow she saw. The court case he and Grandpa Martin had waged over the past year had taken its toll on him. He was only a few months away from turning fifty years old, and Grandpa would soon be sixty-five. They didn’t need the worry they’d lived under for the last twelve years. Why couldn’t the government just give up and allow them to remain on their farms in the mountain valley that had been their family’s home for generations? That was her prayer every night, but so far God hadn’t seen fit to answer.

Her father steered the truck onto the dirt path that ran to the Ferguson cabin. The wildflowers Mrs. Ferguson had always loved waved in the breeze beside the road as they rounded the corner and pulled to a stop in the yard.

Laurel’s eyes grew wide, and she stared, unbelieving, through the windshield to the spot where the Ferguson cabin had stood as long as she could remember. Her father groaned and climbed from the truck. For a moment he stood beside the vehicle’s open door, his hand resting on the handle. He shook his head as if he couldn’t believe what he saw. Then he closed the door and took a few steps forward.

Laurel reached for the leather bag that sat on the floorboard near her feet, unsnapped the top flap, and pulled out her Brownie box camera before jumping from the truck. She hurried to stand beside her father, who stood transfixed as he stared straight ahead. Willie, his face pale, climbed from the back of the truck and stopped next to their father. No one spoke for a moment.

Willie pulled his gaze away and stared up at their father. “Where’s the house, Pa?”

Their father took a deep breath. “I guess the park service tore it down, son.”

A sob caught in Laurel’s throat as they stared at the barren spot of land that had once been the site of a cabin, barn, and all the outbuildings needed to keep a farm productive. “But why would they do that, Poppa?”

Her father took a deep breath. “Because this land is now a part of the park, and they want it to return to its wild state.”

Willie inched closer to their father. “Are they gonna tear our house down too?”

Her father’s eyes darkened. “Not if I can help it.” He let his gaze wander over the place he had known so well before he took a deep breath and turned back to the truck. “Let’s get out of here. I shouldn’t have stopped today.”

Laurel raised the camera and stared down into the viewfinder. “Let me get a picture of this before we go.”

Her father gritted his teeth. “Take as many as you want. Somebody’s got to record the death of a community.”

None of them spoke as she snapped picture after picture of the empty spot that gave no hint a family had once been devoted to this piece of land. After she’d finished, the three of them returned to the truck and climbed in. When her father turned the truck and headed back to the road, Laurel glanced over her shoulder at the spot where the house had stood. She had always looked forward to visiting this home, but she didn’t know if she would be able to return. Too many of her friends were gone, scattered to the winds in different directions. The holdouts who still remained in the Cove lived each day with the threat that they too would soon be forced from the only homes they’d ever known. If her family had to leave, they would be like all the rest. They would go wherever they could find a home, and the ties forged by generations in the close society of their remote mountain valley would vanish forever.











Andrew Brady set his empty glass on the soda fountain counter and crossed his arms on its slick white surface. The young man who’d served him faced him behind the counter and smiled. “Can I get you somethin’ else, mister?”

Andrew shook his head. “No thanks. That cold drink helped to cool me down some. I didn’t expect it to be so hot in Gatlinburg. I thought it would be cooler here in the mountains.”

The young man grinned and reached up to scratch under the white hat he wore. “Most folks think that, but our days can be a bit warm in the summertime.” He glanced at several customers at the other end of the counter and, apparently satisfied they didn’t need any help at the moment, turned his attention back to Andrew. “Where you from?”

Andrew smiled. “Virginia. Up near Washington.”

The young man smiled and extended his hand. “Welcome to Gatlinburg. My name is Wayne Johnson. My uncle owns this drugstore, and I work for him.”

Andrew grasped his hand and shook it. “Andrew Brady.”

“How long you been here, Andrew?”

“I arrived Thursday.”

Wayne picked up a cloth and began to wipe the counter. He glanced up at Andrew. “You enjoying your vacation?”

Andrew shook his head. “I’m not in Gatlinburg on vacation. I’m here on business.”

Wayne shrugged. “I figured you for a tourist. Guess I was wrong. They come from all over now that the park’s opening up. I hear that we had about forty thousand people visit Gatlinburg last year. That’s a far cry from what it was like when I was a boy. We were just a wide spot in a dirt road back in those days. But I expect it’s only gonna get better.”

Andrew glanced around the drugstore with its well-stocked shelves and the soda fountain against the side wall. “It looks like this business is doing okay.” He shook his head and chuckled. “I don’t know what I expected, but I wouldn’t have thought there’d be so many shops here. Mountain crafts are for sale everywhere, and the whole town is lit up with electric lights. It looks like the park has put this town on the map.”

Wayne propped his hands on the counter and smiled. “I guess folks in the outside world thought we were just a bunch of ignorant hillbillies up here, but we been doing fine all these years. We’ve even had electricity since back in the twenties when Mr. Elijah Reagan harnessed the power on the Roaring Fork for his furniture factory. He supplied to everybody else too, but now they say we’re gonna have cheap electricity when TVA gets all their dams built.”

Andrew nodded. “I guess it’s a new day for the people in the mountains.”

“It sure is, and we’re enjoying every bit of it.” He picked up Andrew’s dirty glass and held it up. “You sure you don’t want a refill?”

Andrew shook his head. “No, I’d better be going. I have some things to do before I head out to Cades Cove tomorrow.”

Wayne cocked an eyebrow. “Only one reason I can think why you might be going out there. You must be joining up at the Civilian Conservation Corps.”

Andrew pulled some coins from his pocket to pay for his soda and laid them on the counter. “No, I’m not with the CCC. Just intend to visit with them a while.”

Wayne shrugged. “There’re a lot of CCC camps all over the mountains, and those boys are doing a good job. You can see part of it when you drive into the Cove. They built the new road there. It sure makes gettin’ in and out of there easier than it did in years past. I reckon Roosevelt did a good thing when he put that program in his New Deal.”

“Yeah, it’s giving a lot of young men a chance for employment.” Andrew smiled, picked up the hat that rested on the stool beside him, and set it on his head. “Thanks for the soda.”

Wayne studied Andrew for a moment. “You never did tell me exactly what your job is. What brought you to Gatlinburg from Washington?”

“I work with the Park Service. I’m here on a special assignment.”

Wayne’s eyes narrowed, and his gaze raked Andrew. “Special assignment, huh? Sounds important, and you look mighty young.”

Andrew’s face grew warm, and his pulse quickened. Even a soda jerk could figure out that a guy who looked like he’d barely been out of college for a year couldn’t have gotten this job on his own. But with his father being a United States congressman and a supporter of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, it hadn’t been hard for his father to arrange this appointment.

The worst part for him, though, had been his father’s command that Andrew had better not embarrass him on the job. He swallowed the nausea rising in his throat and tried to smile.

“I guess I’m just lucky they thought I was qualified.”

“Well, congratulations. Come in for another soda the next time you’re in town.”

“That I will.” Andrew turned and headed for the exit.

When he stepped outside the drugstore, he stopped and stared at the newly paved road that wound through the town. Before long that stretch of highway would wind and climb its way up the mountainsides all the way to Newfound Gap that divided the states of   Tennessee and North Carolina. He’d heard that spot mentioned several times as the ideal location for the dedication of the park, but the event was still some years away. His assignment here would be one of the factors that determined when it would take place.

Andrew took a deep breath of fresh mountain air and turned in the direction where he’d parked his car. Several tourists brushed past him, but it was the approach of a young man and woman who caught his attention. Obviously honeymooners, if the glow of happiness on their faces was any indication. Ignoring everybody they passed, they stared into each other’s eyes and smiled as if they had a secret no one else knew.

Andrew shook his head in sympathy as they walked past him and wondered how long it would take them to face up to the reality of what being married really meant. He’d seen how his friends had changed after marriage when they had to start worrying about taking care of a family. He’d decided a long time ago it wasn’t for him. He had too many things he wanted to do in life, and getting married ranked way below the bottom of his list. Convincing his father of the decision, though, was another matter. The congressman had already picked out the woman for his son’s wife. “The perfect choice,” his father often said, “to be by your side as you rise in politics.”

Andrew sighed and shook his head. Sometimes there was no reasoning with his father. He wished he could make him…

His gaze drifted across the street, and the frown on his face dissolved at the sight of a young woman standing at the back of a pickup truck. Her fisted hands rested on her hips, and she glared at the back of a young boy running down the street.

“Willie,” she yelled. “Come back here. We’re not through unloading yet.”

The boy scampered away without looking over his shoulder. She shook her head and stamped her foot. Irritation radiated from her stiff body, and his skin warmed as if she’d touched him.

As if some unknown force had suddenly inhabited his body, he eased off the sidewalk and moved across the street until he stood next to her. “Excuse me, ma’am. Is there anything I can do to help?”

She whirled toward him, and the long braid of black hair hanging over her right shoulder thumped against her chest. Sultry dark eyes shaded by long lashes stared up at him, and a small gasp escaped her lips. “Oh, you startled me.”

His chest constricted, and he inhaled to relieve the tightness. His gaze drifted to the long braid that reached nearly to her waist. He had a momentary desire to reach out and touch it. With a shake of his head, he curled his fingers into his palms and cleared his throat.

“I’m sorry. I heard you calling out to that boy, and I thought maybe I could help.”

Only then did her shoulders relax, and she smiled. Relief surged through his body, and his legs trembled. What was happening to him? A few minutes ago he was mentally reaffirming his commitment to bachelorhood, and now his mind wondered why he’d ever had such a ridiculous thought. All he could do was stare at the beautiful creature facing him.

She glanced in the direction the boy had disappeared and sighed. “That was my brother. He was supposed to help me move these crates into the store, but he ran off to find his friend.” She smiled again and held out her hand. “My name is Laurel.”

His hand engulfed hers, and a wobbly smile pulled at his lips. “I’m Andrew. I’d be glad to take these inside for you, Laurel.”

“Oh, no. If you could just get one end, I’ll hold the other.”

He studied the containers for a moment before he shook his head. “I think I can manage. If you’ll just open the door, I’ll have them inside in no time.”

She hesitated as if trying to decide, then nodded. “Okay. But be careful. These crates are filled with pottery. My mother will have a fit if one piece gets broken.”

He took a deep breath, leaned over the tailgate of the truck, and grabbed the largest crate with Mountain Laurel Pottery stamped on the top. Hoisting the container in his hands, he headed toward the store and the front door that she held open.

As they entered the building, a tall man with a pencil stuck behind his ear hurried from the back of the room. “Afternoon, Laurel. I wondered when you were going to get here.”

She smiled, and Andrew’s heart thumped harder. “We didn’t leave home as early as we’d planned.” Her smile changed to a scowl. “Willie was supposed to help me, but he ran off.” And just as quickly, her expression changed again to a dazzling smile. “Andrew was good enough to help me get the crates in.”

Mr. Bryan helped Andrew ease the crate to the floor and glanced up at him. “Any more in the truck?”

Andrew nodded. “One more, but it’s smaller. I don’t need any help getting it inside.”

“Then I’ll leave you two. I’m unboxing some supplies in the back.” Mr. Bryan turned to Laurel. “If anybody comes in, holler at me, Laurel.”

“I will.”

A need to distance himself from this woman who had his heart turning somersaults swept over Andrew, and he hurried out the door. Within minutes he was back with the second container, but he almost dropped it at the sight of Laurel kneeling on the floor beside the first one. She opened the top, reached inside, and pulled out one of the most beautiful clay pots he’d ever laid eyes on. Swirls of orange and black streaked the smoky surface of the piece. She held it up to the light, and her eyes sparkled as she turned it slowly in her hands and inspected it.

He set the second crate down and swallowed. “Did you make it?”

She laughed and shook her head. The braid swayed again, and he stood transfixed. “No, my mother is the potter. I help her sometimes, but I didn’t inherit her gift. This is one of her pit-fired pieces.”

She set the pot down and pulled another one out. She smiled and rubbed her hand over the surface. Her touch on the pottery sent a warm rush through his veins.

“Exquisite.” The word escaped his mouth before he realized it.

She cocked her head to one side and bit her lip. “Exquisite?” she murmured. She glanced up at him, and her long eyelashes fluttered. “I’ve searched for the right word for a long time to describe my mother’s work. I think you’ve just given it to me. They are exquisite.”

He swallowed and backed away. “Is there anything else I can do for you?”

She shook her head. “No, thank you. You’ve been a great help.”

“I’m glad I could be of service.” He searched his mind for something else to say, something to prolong his time with her, but his mind was blank. He took a deep breath. “I need to go. It was nice meeting you, Laurel.”

She smiled. “You too, Andrew. Goodbye, and thanks again.”

“Goodbye.” He slowly backed toward the door.

Outside in the fresh air he took a deep breath and pulled his hat off. He raked his sleeve across his perspiring brow and shook his head. What had just happened? He’d felt like he was back in high school and trying to impress the most popular girl in his class.

He closed his eyes for a moment, and the image of her holding the pottery in her hands returned. He clamped his teeth down on his bottom lip and shook his head. She’d misunderstood. It wasn’t the pottery he was describing when the word had slipped from his mouth.

Exquisite? The word didn’t do her justice.

And she had a beautiful name too. Laurel. He straightened, and his eyes widened. He hadn’t even asked her last name.

He whirled to go back inside the store but stopped before he had taken two steps. His father’s face and the words he’d spoken when Andrew left home flashed in his mind. Remember who you are and why you’re there. Don’t do anything foolish. People in Washington are watching. He exhaled and rubbed his hand across his eyes.

For a moment inside the store he’d been distracted. He was the son of Congressman Richard Brady, and his father had big plans for his only living son.

He glanced once more at the pickup truck that still sat in front of the store and pictured how Laurel had looked standing there. When he’d grasped her hand, he’d had the strange feeling that he’d known her all his life. How could a mountain girl he’d just met have such a strange effect on him?

He pulled his hat on, whirled, and strode in the opposite direction. Halfway down the block he stopped, turned slowly, and wrinkled his brow as he stared back at the truck. The words painted on the containers flashed in his mind, and he smiled.

It shouldn’t be too hard to find out her last name. For now he would just call her Mountain Laurel. His skin warmed at the thought. A perfect name for a beautiful mountain girl.

He jammed his hands in his pockets and whistled a jaunty tune as he sauntered down the street.

My Thoughts:
Beyond These Hills, the conclusion to the Smoky Mountain Dreams series is a good example of sweet and simple romance. There isn't a lot of drama nor is there a big conflict, rather it's reminiscent of some of the earlier Christian romance from authors like Janette Oke. Maintaining the small town, close knit story, Robbins tells a tale of young love and great changes in clear cut way. If you're looking for huge plot twists and high dramatics, you won't find them in this book. I like a bit of the soap opera-y in my stories so this ended up being a bit "sleepy" for me. The good thing is there wasn't an unlikable character in the story. Sometimes heroines can come off as feather-brained and annoying, but Laurel Jackson was not. While the romance moved a bit too fast for my taste, I still enjoyed the easy interaction between Laurel and Andrew. All in all, Beyond These Hills may not have been a favorite of mine but it still was an enjoyable book. Younger readers and fans of prairie romances will probably want to give this book and the others in the series a try!

~ My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ~

Happy Reading!


Time Lord Party, Day Four: The Ice Warriors DVD Review + a "Cool" Grand Prize Giveaway!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot

Photo from www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/classic/gallery/icewarriors/06.shtml

DVD Overview
Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors (Story 39)
In the distant future, Earth faces a new Ice Age. While a dedicated team of scientists battle to hold the approaching glaciers at bay, a startling discovery is made deep within the ice … an alien warrior, frozen for millennia. When the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton), Jamie and Victoria arrive they soon discover Earth is under threat from the Ice Warriors – fearsome Martians intent on conquering our planet for themselves.

My Thoughts:
If you're a fan of the Doctor Who series, chances are you've come across the Ice Warriors. Most recently, we met Ice Warrior Skaldak in the series 7 episode, "Cold War." As intimidating as a trapped Ice Warrior in an immobilized submarine may be, the Ice Warriors first appeared in the earliest years of the classic Doctor Who series, a whole bunch of them stuck on earth during a new Ice Age is ten times more frightening. Imagine watching a handful of these giant creatures lurching after you with no way to stop them -- until the Doctor that is. In this newly remastered 6 episode set from BBC DVD that's exactly what you get, a group of Warriors hellbent on reshaping the earth's climate to make it their perfect home no matter who gets in their way.

Varga, an Ice Warrior
Photo from the BBC Doctor Who website
"The Ice Warriors" first aired in 1967 but surprisingly it doesn't feel like a 1960s production. Sure, the costumes and the black and white picture let you know that you're watching something filmed in the 60s but the special effects weren't all that bad. While watching the extras included with this terrific set -- interviews with producers and actors involved in the making of the Ice Warrior episodes etc. it was mentioned that in spite of the low budget, this story turned out surprisingly well and I have to agree! The avalanches, the snow, and even the ice were a lot more realistic than the set in most of the newer Doctor Who episodes. The only thing that bothered me a little were episodes 2 and 3. The video for those episodes had been lost with only the original audio remaining, exclusively for this DVD the episodes were animated. The animation was flat and 2 dimensional so the characters looked and moved like paper dolls on the screen. I would have loved for it to have been more 3 dimensional. That said, I am so glad that the BBC included the animations in this set. It would be a shame to not be able to watch this gem of a story in its entirety.

As for the actors themselves...brilliant! Let's face it, there were bits where they flubbed their lines and the monsters bumbled things up, but I thought it led to a sort of authenticity. I don't know about you, but I think I'd become more than a little incoherent when faced with a huuuuge, scary Martian who wanted to kill me and destroy the planet! Patrick Troughton (the Doctor), Frazer Hines (Jamie), and Deborah Watling (Victoria) all had great chemistry together. Jamie and Victoria's little conversations concerning Miss Garrett's costume was hilarious. In spite of the terrible danger that the Doctor and his companions find themselves in, there's always a moment or two that elicits a giggle.

"The Ice Warriors" is a terrific set for anyone who's a longtime Whovian or someone who's just starting out. If you want to start off your Doctor Who viewing with the classic episodes, this story set is a good one! Adventure, danger, and thrills abound in this great collection from the BBC.


Doctor Who: The Ice Warriors is available now on DVD from the BBC America Shop online and other stores. 

~ My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ~
  

 *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher/publicist for review purposes. I received no compensation. 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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Thanks to everyone for all of your kind comments and making this party such a great success! I'm sure the Doctor would put his seal of approval on the entire event, I know I certainly do. I appreciate each and every one of you and I am so glad to celebrate 50 years of the Doctor with you during my birthday week.

Originally, this was meant to be a review post with the grand prize giveaway to start tomorrow, but since the party is going so well, I thought I'd publish the grand prize giveaway today instead. I want to give everyone a few extra days to enter to win the big prize pack. Remember, you can also get extra entries in the Day Two and Day Three (Doctor Who poster) giveaways by tweeting the message in the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of each giveaway post! If you haven't entered the Day One giveaway for a copy of Last of the Gaderene, you can still do that too! Now for the grand prize...

One winner will receive an Ice Warriors themed gift pack
~ A gently used copy of the classic Doctor Who story, The Ice Warriors on DVD
~ A paperback copy of The Silent Stars Go By by Dan Abnett (featuring the Ice Warriors)
~ A $5 McDonalds giftcard for a McFlurry, a Cherry Berry Chiller, or maybe some ice cold Sweet Tea!


Such a "cool" prize pack, huh? ;-) 

US residents, ages 18+ only. Void where prohibited. I'm not responsible for lost, misdirected or damaged prizes. Complete giveaway rules are listed on the Rafflecopter form. To be entered to win, you must fill out the form. Depending on the browser that you use, you may have to give the form some time to load. If you have any questions or problems with the form contact me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Time Lord Party, Day Three Giveaway: Doctor Who Poster!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot

Thank you so much for hanging out here these past few days! If today is your first day here don't forget to stop by and enter Monday's giveaway, Last of the Gaderene by Mark Gatiss and Tuesday's giveaway, Dark Horizons by Jenny T. Colgan! And now for today's giveaway...

I thought I'd switch things up a bit. I know not everyone likes to read (REALLY?), but pretty much everyone likes fun, colorful things to brighten up their home or dorm room walls. In my opinion, there's no better way to do that than with a Doctor Who poster! Since we're celebrating the 50th anniversary of the series this week on my blog, I thought this huuuuuge (36" x 24"!) Doctors Collage poster featuring all of the Doctors would make a fun giveaway.

Doctors Collage Poster


All you have to do to enter, is fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Depending on what browser you use, the form may take a while to load. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com. Prize: One (1) 36"x 24" inch Doctor Who poster. US residents, 18+ only. Contest open until 12:am, September 21, 2013. Void where prohibited. I'm not responsible for lost, damaged, or misdirected prizes. Complete rules at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form. If at the conclusion of the giveaway, the above poster is no longer in stock on Amazon, a substitute Doctor Who poster of similar size and value will be selected.

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Geronimo!!!!






Time Lord Party Day Two: Review & Giveaway of Dark Horizons by Jenny T. Colgan

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot

First off, let me apologize for the lateness of today's post. My desktop computer decided it was going to take the day off and crash. As much as I myself like to take the day off sometimes, I don't appreciate it when my PC decides to do it with absolutely no warning. Thankfully, my brother is generously lending me his laptop for the duration of the party if need be! Three cheers for little brothers, eh? Hopefully nothing more goes wrong this week and I'll be able to publish the party posts in a more timely manner.

Now that I got that out of the way, let the partying begin!

Today I'm giving away from my personal library a book that I absolutely adore -- Dark Horizons by Jenny T. Colgan. It's one of the latest books in the Doctor Who collection that is supposedly geared at young adults, but I think is perfect for anyone! If you would like to enter this giveaway just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Give the form a bit of time to load, sometimes these things are a bit sluggish! Please read the complete giveaway rules at the bottom of the Rafflecopter form. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com!  Don't forget, you can still enter to win Last of the Gaderene by Mark Gatiss HERE!

Doctor Who: Dark Horizons
by Jenny T. Colgan
Copyright 2012
BBC Books
ISBN: 9781849904575

The Story:
“Now, you may or may not have noticed, but we appear to be on fire…”

On a windswept northern shore, at the very tip of what will one day become Scotland, the islanders believe the worst they have to fear is a Viking attack. Then the burning comes. They cannot run from it. Water will not stop it. It consumes everything in its path – yet the burned still speak.

The Doctor is just looking for a game on the famous Lewis chess set. Instead he encounters a people under attack from a power they cannot possibly understand. They have no weapons, no strategy and no protection against a fire sent to engulf them all.

Add in some marauding Vikings with very bad timing, a kidnapped princess with a secret of her own and a TARDIS that seems to have developed an inexplicable fear of water, and they all have a battle on their hands. The islanders must take on a ruthless alien force in a world without technology; without communications; without tea that isn’t made out of bark. Still at least they have the Doctor on their side… Don’t they?

A thrilling new adventure starring the Doctor, as played by Matt Smith in the acclaimed Doctor Who series from BBC Television.


My Thoughts:
As a fan of Doctor Who, reading the additional adventures is a great way to supplement one's need for the Doctor between new episodes or when you don't have access to TV. Dark Horizons, one of the newest stories featuring Matt Smith's Doctor is yet another wonderful example of a finely written science fiction book featuring everyone's favorite Time Lord.

This time, the Doctor faces yet another foe on earth who is decimating a small group of islanders as well as Viking ships in surrounding waters. Mysterious flames burn anything that floats above the water -- turtles, ships, men, etc. Only the Doctor knows that the strange burning isn't a sign from the gods. What he doesn't know is how to stop the strange alien race from consuming the island's inhabitants, the wildlife, and quite possibly the entire planet.

From seeing the Viking ship on the front cover and the flaming TARDIS on the back cover alone, I knew this was a book I had to read and I was in no way disappointed. Dark Horizons is one of the most spine-chilling and frightening Doctor Who adventures (and that includes the episodes on TV!) that I've come across. The Arill, is a collective species who need energy to thrive and the best place to get that energy on Earth in the Dark Ages is the human race. Basically, they burn up anything in their path and humans are consumed from the inside out. Needless to say, it's pretty gross stuff.

The Doctor doesn't have a companion in this series but makes friends with some Vikings, Henrik and Princess Freydis as well as little island lad, Luag. The Doctor, as always, is brilliant. A bit brash, a little bit clumsy, and a load of witty always make for an interesting tale and author Jenny Colgan definitely brought that out in this little adventure. Also, something that isn't always present in a Who adventure is romance! For me, this was an added bonus. It doesn't detract from the science-y or intensity of the book in any way, but rather lends more drama. Don't worry, it's not a romance novel. I can safely say, it's a book that even my teenage brother would enjoy.

Dark Horizons is a good story for anyone longing for an escape. While I certainly can think of a few aliens that I like a whole lot more than the Arill, I would be interested in "meeting" them again in a future adventure. Thanks to BBC Books, Jenny Colgan, and TLC Book Tours for another wonderful book.

~ 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.*

~ To read more about the book or to order a copy of go HERE.

~ Read what other's on the TLC Book Tour are saying about the book HERE.


Enter to win a copy of DARK HORIZONS!


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Fantastic!


A Welcome and a Giveaway!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot 

Hello to all you Whovians! It's day one of what I hope is going to be a fun week of talking Doctor Who (the last of the Time Lords) and anything that you might enjoy. Even if you've never seen the show, I encourage you to stop by everyday to learn more about the series and to enter the giveaways. For more information check out my earlier pre-party post HERE. If you are already a fan of the show, I'd love for you to share your Doctor moments in the comment section below. Each comment that you make will count as one entry into today's giveaway...



a paperback copy of Doctor Who: Last of the Gaderene by Mark Gatiss!

About the book:
The aerodrome in Culverton has new owners, and they promise an era of prosperity for the idyllic village. But former Spitfire pilot Alex Whistler is suspicious - when black shirted troops appear on the streets, he contacts his old friend Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart at U.N.I.T. The Third Doctor is sent to investigate - and soon uncovers a sinister plot to colonise the Earth. The Gaderene are on their way. An adventure featuring the Third Doctor as played by Jon Pertwee and his companion Jo.

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Share anything from your thoughts on the 12th Doctor, your favorite Doctor, or your favorite Doctor Who episodes. If you haven't seen Doctor Who and would still like to enter to win the book, just leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi book, movie, or TV series! If you grab the button from this blog's left sidebar, post it on your blog or website and let me know you did so in your comment you get 5 extra entries into the giveaway.

So, relax and enjoy the party! Did you remember to bring some bananas? If not, there are plenty in the TARDIS! As the Doctor would say, "Good source of potassium."

All giveaways are for US residents only. Ages 18+. Winner(s) for all giveaways will be selected at random on or around September 21, 2013, and notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to the email to claim their prize or another winner will be selected. I'm not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes. Void where prohibited. Any questions? Email me at steelergirl83(at)gmail(dot)com

Allons-y!


It's a Time Lord Party!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

 photo 9120003e-807a-44da-a6fe-1e3800b33f49_zps746eff18.jpg 

Pardon the grammar, but there ain't no party like a Time Lord party as we Whovians (I promise, that's a word, we're in the dictionary!) have learned this over the years. With the 50th anniversary coming soon (for a crash course on Doctor Who go HERE), I thought to incorporate the Doctor into my birthday week festivities even if it's a bit early! Really though, what do dates and times, and for that matter locales, really matter when the Doctor travels through all of space and time in his TARDIS, right? Unless he decides to drop in, we mere humans are stuck setting dates and times and making plans for our special events here on earth. So, even if you aren't a Whovian, I invite you to mark your calendars for September 16 - 20th, and plan on having a great time! There will be reviews of Doctor Who books, DVDs, and some really awesome giveaways you won't want to miss. *Hint hint* giftcard. I would love for you to stop by with any questions or comments all week long, even if the Doctor would show, it won't be as fun without you!

Please feel free to grab the button for the party, it will be available later today on the left sidebar of this blog or just use the picture I made above and link it to this blog! If you post about the party and grab the party button that's soon to come OR the above picture for your blog with a link to this site BEFORE Sept 16th, come back and let me know in the comments below! I'll give you FIVE BONUS entries into each of the Doctor Who themed giveaways! If you don't have a blog, simply Pin, tweet, or post on Facebook about the party BEFORE Sept. 16th and let me know that you have done so below --  you'll still get the bonus entries! Please leave your email in your comment, so I can contact you if you win a prize during the party. Giveaways will be for US residents, ages 18+ only. Sorry.

I think it's going to be awesome and I can't wait to see you all! Bring your bananas, sonic screwdrivers and we'll have a good ol' time! In the meantime, enjoy some virtual Dalek cake!


Party On!




Kindle Freebie Alert: Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes

Monday, September 9, 2013

For a very limited time (Sept. 9 - 12), Bleeding Heart by my good friend Amber Stokes is available FREE for Kindle! I encourage you to check out this great book on Amazon and if you love it, leave a review! If e-books aren't your thing, you can purchase a paperback copy for just $9.49 (price subject to change). Either way, Bleeding Heart is a lovely debut Christian novel that's worth a read! Remember, to double check prices before you buy!

Bleeding Heart 
by Amber Stokes
Copyright 2013

To learn more about Bleeding Heart or the author go HERE.

If you want to check it out, my review of Bleeding Heart is located HERE.

Happy Reading!


Fall Into Love Ultimate Giveaway!

Sunday, September 8, 2013



Announcing the FALL INTO LOVE ultimate giveaway!

Join us as award-winning authors Tracie Peterson, Jody Hedlund, Nancy Mehl, Melissa Tagg, and Jen Turano take us on a journey for love in their upcoming novels. To celebrate the September/October book releases, we're hosting FIVE incredible giveaways with ONE fantastic grand prize drawing.  Enter all five contests and receive FIVE entries into the grand prize drawing with additional chances to enter the FALL INTO LOVE ultimate giveaway throughout the month of September!

The Prizes:
ONE GRAND PRIZE winner will receive the FALL INTO LOVE prize package - a $500 value! - containing everything you need to snuggle up with a great book...
• A 16GB Kindle Fire HD for all the books you want, right at your fingertips

• Fall into love as you fall into this beautiful free-standing wooden hammock

• A Sherpa & Micromink cream throw to keep you warm as the weather turns chilly

• A selection of gourmet caramel apples



FIVE INDIVIDUAL PRIZE PACKAGES!   Fall into love with these beautiful stories from 5 amazing authors, and enter each contest for your chance to take home a meaningful part of their story.  To learn more about each novel and to enter visit www.FallIntoLoveContest.com.

1) The Miner's Lady:   From award winning author Tracie Peterson, comes a beautiful story rich with the comfort of good food, the love of family, and the struggle for faith and forgiveness. Have a seat in Nonni's Italian kitchen with a basket of cultural delicacies and experience both the flavor and heart of Italian America with The Miner's Lady Giveaway!   ENTER HERE

AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 1st!



2) Unforeseeable  Settle into your favorite reading chair with author Nancy Mehl's delicious story of intrigue, danger, and suspense, all set against the serene setting of the small Mennonite town of Kingdom. Enter the Unforeseeable Giveaway to bring the delicious tastes of Mennonite life right into your home…    ENTER HERE…

AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 1st!




3) Made To Last  From author Melissa Tag comes the story of Miranda Woodruff, star of a home-building television show who apparently has it all, until it all threatens to fall apart. Read, laugh, and enjoy the hilarious misadventures of a heroine with a tremendous amount of skill, a lot to lose, and even more to discover about her own heart. As part of the Made to Last Giveaway, experience the joy of having the right tools, the right guides, and something beautiful to reward yourself with on a job well done.   ENTER HERE…

AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 15TH!

4) Rebellious Heart:   From Best selling author Jody Hedlund, Rebellious Heart brings the history of 1763 Massachusetts to life with the story of socialite Susanna Smith and poor country lawyer Ben Ross. When Susanna's decision to help an innocent woman no matter the cost crosses with Ben's growing disillusionment with their British rulers, the two find themselves bound together in what quickly becomes a very dangerous fight for justice. Bring the fight for justice and liberty to your home with this meaningful prize package.   ENTER HERE… 

AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 15TH!


5) A Talent for Trouble Set in the early 1900's, Jen Turano's spirited new book,  A Talent for Trouble, will leave you feeling like you have lived in the Victorian era of New York City, strolled through Central Park with your best hat on, and had a hilarious and unpredictable adventure with a new friend. With the prize package for A Talent for Trouble you can continue the adventure and bring some of Felicia's journey home with you.   ENTER HERE…

AVAILABLE OCTOBER 1ST!

How to Enter:


Click on one of the banners or visit www.FallIntoLoveContest.com (link to: http://www.fallintolovecontest.com) to submit your information. Each week during the five-week contest, we will reveal a new method of entering and increasing your chances for the grand prize.\


Week 1: Enter one or all of the individual novel giveaways. For every individual giveaway you enter, you gain one entry into the grand prize drawing. (Possible grand prize entries: 5)

Week 2: Like one or all authors on Facebook. Every author liked gains you one entry into the grand prize. (Possible grand prize entries: 5)

Week 3: Refer a friend. One grand prize entry awarded per friend, per contest. (Possible grand prize entries: 5)

Week 4: Submit a review of any book by one (or all) of the five featured authors. 3 entries awarded per review per author (limit one per author). (Possible grand prize entries: 15) **

Week 5: Pin a picture of you with one of the 5 featured novels. One grand prize entry awarded per picture per novel. (Possible grand prize entries: 5)

To enter via the methods available week 2-5, visit each individual giveaway and submit your information through the entry form. Follow the prompts for completing your bonus entries.


**Reviews can be submitted to AmazonGoodreads, or your own blog. To enter the contest via this method, paste a URL to the review in the entry form where indicated. Entries will be verified before final grand prize drawing.

More Information:


For details about the contest, prize packages, entry methods, or contest rules, visit www.FallIntoLoveContest.com.



Happy Reading!