Blog Update!

Friday, May 30, 2014

As you may know, we had a family emergency last month and I didn't do a lot of blogging or reading for that matter for many days. I'm slowly but surely catching up on all my reading. Usually I like to vary my posts between books, TV, and just life in general, but lately it's been books books books! I hope that my reviews are helpful for those of you creating your summer reading lists.

In case you missed my review, I highly suggest adding Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, by Serena B. Miller to your romance piles. ;-) If you prefer to watch a movie rather than read, (hey, we all like to mix it up a little on occasion, right?) be sure to check out the TV movie on UP TV this weekend, June 1 @ 7PM EST! The trailer and a link to a viewing party are below.

Litfuse Blog Tour: A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Stitch and a Prayer
by Eva Gibson
Copyright 2014
Abingdon Press
ISBN: 9781426772528
The Story:
A quilt becomes a labor of love for a lonely wife mysteriously separated from her young husband.

After her fiancé returns from the Klondike gold rush in 1897, Florence Harms sets about building a new life in her new marriage—even though the lingering effects of illness have left her weak and vulnerable. She and her young husband, Will, work tirelessly to clear the land around their Northwest cabin, content with their modest life.

But then a stranger comes knocking and Florence suddenly senses a restlessness in Will’s spirit that she had never seen before. When he leaves her with only a note that tells her he will return before their baby’s birth, she is devastated, and the illness that stiffened her joints returns. Counting the days until Will walks back through her door, Florence busies herself with a Tree of Life quilt displaying a map of the farm they call home. Doubts claw at her heart as Florence struggles to believe Will’s promise to return to her. Will her labor of love—and faith in God—sustain her as she waits to see her beloved once again?

My Thoughts:
Historical fiction is my favorite genre -- it's where I got my start as a grown up reader decades ago. I threw out The Babysitter's Club and met Rhett Butler via Gone with the Wind. Ever since I picked up that first romance at my grandma's, I've been hooked. Fictionalized glimpses of the past often make the reader curious about what really took place during the time in which the novel is set. The best stories make the reader want to know more. Unfortunately with A Stitch and a Prayer I wasn't sucked into the world of Florence Harms. It was a struggle to finish the story, even though it rang in at a scant 197 pages.

Sail Away to Venice with The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli (My Review)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Gondola Maker
by Laura Morelli
Copyright 2014
ISBN: 9780989367103
The Story:
From the author of Made in Italy comes a tale of artisanal tradition and family bonds set in one of the world's most magnificent settings: Renaissance Venice.

When Luca Vianello, the heir to a renowned gondola-making enterprise, experiences an unexpected tragedy in the boatyard, he believes that his destiny lies elsewhere. Soon he finds himself drawn to restore an antique gondola with the dream of taking a girl for a ride. Lovers of historical fiction will appreciate the authentic details of gondola craftsmanship, along with an intimate first-person narrative set against the richly textured backdrop of 16th-century Venice.

Book Trailer:

My Thoughts:
Venice, Italy, is at the top of a lot of people's bucket lists -- including mine! I'm a bit of a realist and the way things are going right now, I won't be headed there any time soon. Thankfully, with books like The Gondola Maker by Laura Morelli it's easy to take the trip on the Grand Canal and "see" Venice and all of its rich history.

Luca Vianello is the heir to his family's gondola making business. When the boatyard is unexpectedly and accidentally destroyed, he has no other choice but to flee his home. With the help of some new friends, he's able to pull together a life as a boatman for the painter, Trevisan. When a devious councilman finds out about one of Luca's new friendships, Luca's life will be changed yet again.

Book Review: One More Last Chance (A Place to Call Home, Book 2) by Cathleen Armstrong

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One More Last Chance
by Cathleen Armstrong
Copyright 2014
Revell Publishers
ISBN: 9780800722470
The Story:
Some things never change . . . and some things change you forever.

Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason--because it doesn't change. After a relationship gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip 'n' Dine, he's shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.

As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance--just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.

With the same evocative writing and charming characters that won fans for her debut novel, Cathleen Armstrong invites you back to Last Chance for a heartwarming, romantic story of two people navigating the twists and turns of life in a small town.

Heck Yes! Doctor Who Series 8 Teaser Trailer!!!!!!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Can you tell I love Doctor Who? Yeah... it's pretty bad when you get excited over 15 seconds of video, but I won't apologize for being a geek. Enjoy the trailer if you haven't already done so, ladies and gents! Happy Friday!

Action-Packed Suspense: Fatal Exchange by Lisa Harris (My Review)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fatal Exchange
by Lisa Harris
Copyright 2014
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721916
The Story:
Desperate times create desperate people. And desperate people are dangerous . . . 

Though Emily Hunt comes from a family of cops, the relatively quiet life of a high school teacher suits her just fine. She's saving up to buy a house, slowly moving forward after her brother's death, and settling into a life she loves. So the last person she wants to spend time with is Mason Taylor.

An undercover cop, Mason is enemy number one as far as her family is concerned. His involvement in the death of Emily's brother is still up in the air, and now he expects her to help him with a case. Mason has been working with one of her students, Rafael Cerda, whose brother has been kidnapped by a drug cartel. And with time running out to meet their demands, Rafael is getting desperate.

Emily will have to draw on all of her strength to handle what happens next . . .

Fatal Exchange will draw you into a complex matrix of intertwining lives, unraveling secrets, and unexpected love.

Learn more about Fatal Exchange on Revell's site!

Litfuse Blog Tour: Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio by Serena B. Miller + Movie News!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio
by Serena B. Miller
Copyright 2010
Summerside Press
ISBN: 9781609360023
The Story:
A mysterious outsider casts a long shadow on Ohio's Amish country. Policewoman Rachel Troyer has always looked after her three elderly Amish aunts, proprietors of a farmhouse inn near Sugarcreek, Ohio. The idyllic town is popular with tourists, who come to sample its famous Amish goods. But one thing is clear to Rachel - Joe Matthews is no tourist. When the bearded stranger lands on her aunts' doorstep, begging shelter for himself and his young son, Rachel is suspicious. Will she be able to uncover Joe's secrets despite her aunts' - and her own - growing affection for him?

My Thoughts:
Now that I've read almost all of Serena B. Miller's Amish books, I can safely say that she's a favorite author of mine when it comes to Plain fiction. Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio, was her debut novel with Summerside Press in 2010. I can see why she's so popular. LFYI Sugarcreek, Ohio, is a great mix of contemporary romance and Amish fiction that will please the most picky readers.

Rachel Troyer, a policewoman with roots deep in the Amish community of Sugarcreek, does her best to look out for her elderly aunts. She persuades them to close their Amish bed and breakfast and to retire to a quieter, less busy life. Little does she know that the last guest to step foot on the farm will have such an impact on all their lives.

Joe Matthews and his toddler son are running -- from a life of crime or just a troubled past, Rachel has no idea. She just knows that something isn't right where Joe is concerned. Proving himself worthy of Rachel's trust is a lot more difficult than making friends with her elderly aunts. Joe wants to leave his past behind, but it threatens to pop up at every turn. Joe, his peaceful life, and his new found friends could be in danger.

Book Review & Giveaway: The Baron's Honourable Daughter by Lynn Morris

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Baron's Honourable Daughter
by Lynn Morris'
Copyright 2014
ISBN: 9781455575596
The Story:
Bestselling author Lynn Morris weaves an inspirational Regency era romance rich in period detail. 

When her stepfather suddenly dies, Valeria Segrave finds she must take charge of her grieving mother and the vast estate which now belongs to her six-year-old half brother, the new Earl of Maledon. Though capable, Valeria is frustrated to find each day brings a new struggle as she tries to establish her authority with servants, stewards, and solicitors-all men. As a young woman with no blood relation to the earl, they are all too ready to dismiss her.

Much to her chagrin, she must rely on the assistance of her stepfather's distant kinsman, Alastair, Lord Hylton. He is handsome and noble, and Valeria senses under the veneer of his gentlemanly behavior that she never measures up to his expectations of a refined lady. In light of that, accepting his help and feeling under a burden of gratitude to him is almost unbearable. Even when Valeria leaves the country estate for the glittering London Season, where she gets into a series of escapades, Lord Hylton is always there to witness, criticize, and correct her behavior. But if Alastair insists on engaging in a battle of wits and wills with the lively Valeria, she'll stop at nothing to prove that he's met his match.

My Thoughts:
Regency romances and novels by Lynn Morris are some of the very best stories you can get if you're looking for entertaining and enthralling reads. If you're a Morris fan you know it's been years since we've last had the chance to read new material from the author. It's always exciting when authors we love start writing again and I was counting down the days until The Baron's Honourable Daughter. Maybe it's because the bar was set so high for me after having read the spectacular Cheney Duvall series all those years ago, but The Baron's Honourable Daughter didn't live up to my high expectations. It's always difficult to write a negative review for a book, even more so for one whose author I highly respect and admire. Unfortunately, I did not connect with this story in any way and have to be honest in my critique.

Book Review: The Pelican Bride (Golf Coast Chronicles, Book 1) by Beth White

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Pelican Bride
by Beth White
Copyright 2014
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721978
The Story:
She's come to the New World to escape a perilous past. But has it followed her to these far shores?

It is 1704 when Frenchwoman Geneviève Gaillain and her sister board the frigate Pélican bound for the distant Louisiana colony. Both have promised to marry one of the rough men toiling in this strange new world in order to escape suffering in the old. Geneviève knows life won't be easy, but at least here she can establish a home and family without fear of persecution for her outlawed religious beliefs.

When she falls in love with Tristan Lanier, an expatriate cartographer-turned-farmer whose checkered past is shrouded in mystery, Geneviève realizes that even in this land of liberty one is not guaranteed peace. Trouble is brewing outside the fort between the French colonists and the native people surrounding them. And an even more sinister enemy may lurk within. Could the secret Geneviève harbors mean the undoing of the colony itself?

Gulf Coast native Beth White brings vividly to life the hot, sultry South in this luscious, layered tale.

“Available April 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

My Thoughts:
Sometimes as a romance reader the, "been there, done that" deja vu feeling is difficult to escape. The settings are often very similar and the characters can seem "cookie cutter". With Beth White's The Pelican Bride, you get not only a unique and interesting setting and time period that isn't often explored as well as some complex and interesting characters that make the world of the 18th century Deep South come to life.

Book Review: Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Fair Play
by Deeanne Gist
Copyright 2014
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781451692419
The Story:
Saddled with a man’s name, the captivating Billy Jack Tate makes no apologies for taking on a man’s profession. As a doctor at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, she is one step closer to having her very own medical practice—until Hunter Scott asks her to give it all up to become his wife.

Hunter is one of the elite. A Texas Ranger and World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character, and skill. Hailed as the toughest man west of any place east, he has no patience for big cities and women who think they belong anywhere but home…

Despite their difference of opinion on the role of women, Hunter and Billy find a growing attraction between them—until Hunter discovers an abandoned baby in the corner of a White City exhibit. He and Billy team up to make sure this foundling isn’t left in the slums of Chicago with only the flea-riddled, garbage-infested streets for a playground. As they fight for the underprivileged children in the Nineteenth Ward, an entire Playground Movement is birthed. But when the Fair comes to an end, one of them will have to give up their dream.

Will Billy exchange her doctor’s shingle for the domesticated role of a southern wife, or will Hunter abandon the wide open spaces of home for a life in the “gray city,” a woman who insists on being the wage earner, and a group of ragamuffins who need more than a playground for breathing space?

Learn more about the book and where to purchase it from the Simon and Schuster website!

My Thoughts:
Deeanne Gists's books are always a wild ride to say the least. Her characters usually have some cute or distinctive quirks that make them memorable and therefore make her stories stand out from the pack. In Fair Play, the doc with the unique name and the man with the stubborn streak as wide as Texas, Billy Jack Tate and Hunter Scott, clash at every turn to make this one of the most fun books I've read in a while. At times, Billy Jack had a tendency to be a bit childish and silly and Hunter was definitely hard-headed to a point that sometimes made him difficult to like, but in the end both compromise to help the poorest children of the city and learn a lot about love in the process.

Personal Update

Just in case you've been wondering where I've been this past week or so, I'm typing this post to let you all know what's been going on. Last Tuesday, we had to take my dad to the ER. He was having chest pains at work. He ended up having to get a stent put in one of the major arteries of his heart -- it was 90% blocked. The doctors said the pain he was having wasn't caused by the major artery but rather a smaller blood vessel that isn't really treatable. Needless to say my dad is still in some pain, which they say will eventually subside, but at least he's home now. As you can imagine blogging was the last thing on my mind. Just driving back and forth an hour everyday to the city was tiring. Add to that worrying and sleepless nights and you're... well... too pooped to do much of anything! Thanks everyone for sticking with me here and for being patient with me. If I owe you a book review, I promise I'll get to it as soon as I can. I'm working on them now! In the meantime, if you could keep my dad in your thoughts and prayers for complete healing and a speedy recovery, I would really appreciate it. Thank you all again! xoxoxo

Book Spotlight Just for Cat Lovers: Cats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too by Cindy Vincent

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cats Are Part of His Kingdom, Too
by Cindy Vincent
As Christians, sometimes it’s hard for us to comprehend the love our Heavenly Father has for us, His Earthly children. Author Cindy Vincent began to realize the depth of His love after caring for several rescued cats and then bringing them into her home. That’s when she began to notice the parallels between her relationship with these precious felines and God’s relationship with us. After all, as a pet Mom, she works in so many behind-the-scenes ways to make life wonderful for her little feline family, much like God works behind the scenes to make life wonderful for us. Yet much like her cats have no comprehension of all that she does for them, we have no comprehension of all that God does for us.

Before long, she began to see lots of parallels, and decided to put these down in the form of Daily Devotions, to demonstrate just how very much God loves us.

Purchase the Kindle ebook on Amazon (The book will be free for Kindle May 2-6, 2014!)
Purchase the paperback on Amazon
Purchase the paperback on Barnes & Noble
Add the book on Goodreads