Litfuse Blog Tour: Seagrass Pier by Colleen Coble (My Review)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Seagrass Pier
(A Hope Beach Novel, Book 3)
Copyright 2014
Thomas Nelson Publishers
ISBN: 9781595547842
The Story:
Seagrass Pier is the perfect place for Elin to hide from a killer, but an old love's ability to see her true heart could be her undoing. 

When Elin Summerall contracted a virus that damaged her heart, she was lucky to get a transplant. At first it was an overwhelmingly good gift. But then she began to remember a murder she never witnessed—the murder of her heart's donor.

When she reveals what she knows to a disbelieving police officer, she's exposed as a witness and must flee for her life to a remote cottage on Hope Beach.

Fearing what might happen to her daughter and mother, she asks Marc Everton for help, though she hasn't seen him since the night her father died. She remembers that night with shame, and she never told Marc about their daughter.

Marc is less than convinced that Elin's "memories" are real. He is blindsided by the news about his daughter, but for her sake, he agrees to help. Then he begins to notice the small ways Elin is different. She now likes coffee, her musical tastes have changed, and she's ditched her jeans and sneakers for dresses and high heels.

As Elin tries to stay alive and bring the killer to justice, she begins to doubt her own identity. Did her new heart save her life only to cause her to lose herself? And if she's really changed, why does her new heart love Marc just as much as her old one did?

Sneak a peek:


My Thoughts:
Colleen Coble's Hope Beach series is the perfect read if you're a landlocked beach lover like me. I've been pining away for the Outer Banks, but unfortunately my vacation isn't coming up anytime soon. Seagrass Pier was the suspenseful escape I needed.

Color of Danger by Alexa Verde (My Review)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Color of Danger
Secrets of Rios Azules Series, Book 1
by Alexa Verde
The Story:
Former runaway Mari Del Lobo works hard to save her struggling restaurant and to trust people again. Dallas surgeon Dr. Luke Goodman turns her world upside down with terrifying news. A recent murder has her late brother's - aka the Smiling Killer - signature and MO. When attacks on her escalate, Mari fights her growing attraction to the good doctor as fiercely as she fights for her life. To rescue herself and those she loves, will she be able to stop the murderer before he strikes again? 

Luke couldn't save his fiancée from the Smiling Killer, but he'll do anything to prevent more murders, even ask help from the serial killer's sister. Finding a kindred tortured soul and the perpetrator's next target in Mari, Luke is determined to protect the stubborn ex-rebel. But Mari would rather face danger than risk the safety of the man she comes to love.


My Thoughts:
These past few months I've read a bunch of books on both ends of the spectrum, half have been lackluster and half have become new favorites of mine. Alexa Verde's e-book Color of Danger I'm happy to say has fallen into the latter category. I'm not usually overly fond of suspense unless it's written by writers on my tried and true authors list, so sometimes I'm a bit reluctant to give new authors a try, especially when I have so much on my plate. I am SO glad I had the opportunity to read the freshman release in the Secrets of Rios Azules series.

Great News for Fashionable Fangirls!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Captain America Cardigan from Her Universe
We all know of sites like Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest allow us to connect with people who are devoted to certain fandoms. I didn't realize that clothing companies like Her Universe and now Lucky Brand are creating gear so said fangirls can express their love of all things sci-fi and American auto design with cute, feminine styles to wear when it's time to step away from the computer and venture out into the wild! I have learned that the online store can be a beautiful place for the fangirl. 


Hydra Glow Plus Size Tee from Her Universe
Can you say geek chic? I am in love with the Captain America cardigan. If it's anything like their TARDIS sweater, which I own, it will definitely be a staple piece! Her Universe has been a favorite of mine for a few years, but they've really been adding a lot of cool new styles recently, including an all new Marvel line which was just announced late last week! A sweet bonus: They have plus sizes, so fangirls of almost every will look cool!

An OK Installment in the Port Aster Secrets Series

Monday, June 23, 2014

Blind Trust
Port Aster Secrets, Book 2
by Sandra Orchard
Copyright 2014
Revell Publishers
ISBN: 9780800722234
The Story:
Kate's not sure how deep this deception goes--but she'll do whatever it takes to find out. 

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money and can't believe that it came from her sweet elderly neighbor. Or that it has landed her in the middle of another of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation--and one that strikes too close to home for comfort.

As family secrets come to light, her world--and her budding romance with Tom--begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But then will it be too late for her and Tom?


My Thoughts:
I loved that this story continued where the first one left off with the same characters, but sadly this just did not keep my attention like Deadly Devotion did. We're once again catching up with Kate Adams and Detective Tom Parker in the midst of a big mystery surrounding Kate and her family's past and the cutthroat business of pharmaceuticals. This story has the same familiar characters with a few new ones showing their faces, this time involving counterfeiting and poisoning. I will say this, Sandra Orchard definitely knows how to weave a storyline that is complex and intense even if a little predictable. I hated the fact that one of the characters who played such an important role in all the to do surrounding GPC, I had pegged pretty much from the beginning. Darn me and my Holmes-like deductive skills. That together with the fact that a large portion of the story focused on a plant wasn't that interesting to me. As a whole, this series is still one of the better ones I've read so far and I'm definitely planning on reading book 3 to see what happens next in Port Aster.

A Fun Summer Read: Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pride, Prejudice, and Cheese Grits
Jane Austen Takes the South, Book One
by Mary Jane Hathaway
Copyright 2013
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781476777504
The Story:
This hilarious Southern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice tells the story of two hard-headed Civil war historians who find that first impressions can be deceiving. 

Shelby Roswell, a Civil War historian and professor, is on the fast track to tenure—that is, until her new book is roasted by the famous historian Ransom Fielding in a national review. With her career stalled by a man she’s never met, Shelby struggles to maintain her composure when she discovers that Fielding has taken a visiting professorship at her small Southern college.

Ransom Fielding is still struggling with his role in his wife’s accidental death six years ago and is hoping that a year at Shelby’s small college near his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi, will be a respite from the pressures of Ivy League academia. He never bargained for falling in love with the one woman whose career—and pride—he injured, and who would do anything to make him leave. 

When these two hot-headed southerners find themselves fighting over the centuries-old history of local battles and antebellum mansions, their small college is about to become a battlefield of Civil War proportions.

With familiar and relatable characters and wit to spare, Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits shows you that love can conquer all…especially when pride, prejudice, love, and cheese grits are involved! -

See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Pride-Prejudice-and-Cheese-Grits/Mary-Jane-Hathaway/9781476777504#sthash.Iv3BLzH6.dpuf


My Thoughts:
Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well known novels in the world and it's no wonder it's still so popular 200 years after its publication. Jane Austen certainly knew what she was doing when she introduced Darcy to England and the rest of the world. As a result of its popularity, there have been many Austen inspired spin-offs courtesy of modern day authors -- some have become great successes (who knew P & P & Zombies would be a bestseller!?) and some have flopped. Pride, Prejudice and Cheese Grits by Mary Jane Hathaway is one of the most recently released stories based upon the classic tale and I'm happy to say I think it's a great success!

Litfuse Blog Tour: Out of the Ruins by Karen Barnett (My Review)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Out of the Ruins
The Golden Gate Chronicles, Book 1
by Karen Barnett
Copyright 2014
Abingdon Press
ISBN: 9781426780578
The Story:
Abby’s shattered faith in both God and man is challenged when the terrible earthquake hits 1906 San Francisco.

While her sister lies on her deathbed, Abby Fischer prays for a miracle. What Abby doesn’t expect, however, is for God’s answer to come in the form of the handsome Dr. Robert King, whose experimental treatment is risky at best.

As they work together toward a cure, Abby’s feelings for Robert become hopelessly entangled. Separated by the tragedy of the mighty San Francisco earthquake, their relationship suddenly takes a back seat to survival. With fires raging throughout the city, Abby fears for her life as she flees alone through burning streets. Where is God now? Will Robert find Abby, even as the world burns around them? Or has their love fallen with the ruins of the city?


My Thoughts:
Almost any time you pick up a Christian fiction book, you're pretty much guaranteed some sort of faith message woven into it. Sometimes they are overt and other times it's implied between the lines. Admittedly, I like my books to feature the latter. Often times stories can seem very preachy and those types of books just aren't my style. Out of the Ruins is one of those rare books where the Christian message is woven throughout, with Scripture references peppered in each chapter, but it doesn't seem forced. I actually felt the growth of both Abby Fischer and Dr. Robert King in their faith as natural and authentic.

As romances go, Out of the Ruins is one of my favorite novels of the year. I love it when two characters meet, we see that awkward stage of getting to know one another, and eventually see that friendship turn into something more. I especially enjoy a story where I can smile and laugh out loud on one page and cry when I flip to the next page. The best books (especially romances) allow a reader to feel a full range of emotions while reading. This story had me feeling hopeful, happy, sad, worried, and relieved all within the space of 300 pages.

A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino (My Review)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Place in His Heart
by Rebecca DeMarino
Copyright 2014
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800722180
The Story:
She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?

Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother.

With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas's secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary's world is upended. How could she possibly leave her papa and her dear sister?

And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband's broken heart?


My Thoughts:
I'll be the first to stand up and applaud Revell for publishing so many wonderful historical romances this year that have such varied locales and time periods around which they revolve.  A Place in His Heart is one of these books. Set in the 1630s-40s England and Massachusetts, it's not a period you often read about in historical Christian romance. Even though the book ended up not suiting my tastes, I'm sure some readers will enjoy it. On to the explanation of my rating...

A Woman of Fortune: A Texas Gold Novel by Kellie Coates Gilbert (My Review)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

 photo 20513c0f-4e11-4c14-938e-57ec44783791_zpsfdbfe4ca.jpg
A Woman of Fortune 
(Texas Gold, Book 1)
by Kellie Coates Gilbert
Copyright 2014
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800722722

The Story:
Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream--designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living. 

Author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers a story both poignant and emotionally gripping that celebrates the kind of fortune that lasts.

To learn more about the book, visit the Revell website.

My Thoughts:
I'm a snob. OK, not really. I like to think when it comes to real life I'm a nice person, but when it comes to my books I tend to root for the underdog or the down and out characters. Characters born with silver spoons in their mouths, who look down on others aren't that interesting to me. After having read the first few chapters of A Woman of Fortune, I really felt no sympathy for the characters at all and I was prepared to throw in the towel. A billionaire with spoiled brat children who takes part in fraud and Ponzi-like schemes to bilk hard working people out of their life savings in order to keep up extravagant lifestyles? Yeeeesh... not my cup of tea.

Oath of the Brotherhood by C. E. Laureano -- Fantasy & Faith in One Great Book

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Oath of the Brotherhood:
The Song of Seare (Bk. 1)
by C. E. Laureano
Copyright 2014
TH1NK/ NavPress
ISBN: 9781612915876
The Story:
In a kingdom where the Old Ways hold fast and a man’s worth lies entirely in his skill with the sword, Conor Mac Nir is a scholar, a musician, and a follower of the forbidden Balian faith: problematic for any man, but disastrous for the son of the king.

When Conor is sent as a hostage to a neighboring kingdom, he never expects to fall in love with the rival king’s sister, Aine. Nor does he suspect his gift with the harp (and Aine’s ability to heal) touches on the realm of magic. Then his clan begins a campaign to eliminate all Balians from the isle of Seare, putting his newfound home in peril and entangling him in a plot for control of the island that has been unfolding since long before his birth.

Only by committing himself to an ancient warrior brotherhood can Conor discover the part he’s meant to play in Seare’s future. But is he willing to sacrifice everything—even the woman he loves—to follow the path his God has laid before him?

My Thoughts:
When it comes to fantasy fiction, I'll admit, I'm not always on board. Too many times stories I've read have been complex, unoriginal, or just flat out uninteresting. Oath of the Brotherhood by C. E. Laureano is an exception. From the very first page, I knew that this wasn't going to be a run of the mill young adult fiction story. Filled to the brim with fantasy, magic, and faith Conor Mac Nir's story blew me away. Yes, at times I had to keep flipping back to the glossary at the end of the book to keep the characters and places straight in my head, but when it came to Conor and Aine Nic Tamhais and their struggle against dark forces I was hooked.

Litfuse Blog Tour: Raptor 6 by Ronie Kendig (My Review)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Coco recommends Raptor 6
The Story:
Captain Dean Watters keeps his mission and his team in the forefront of his laser-like focus. So when Dean’s mission and team are threatened, his Special Forces training kicks into high gear. Failing to stop hackers from stealing national security secrets from the military’s secure computers and networks isn’t an option. Zahrah Zarrick is a missionary teacher to Afghan children in Mazar-e Sharif. And a target. When Zahrah is captured because of her expertise in quantum cryptology, compromising the US military, Dean is forced to crack the lockbox around his heart—a move that might come at the highest cost.

My Thoughts:
Who would have thought that this Austen loving, regency romance reading gal would count Ronie Kendig's 21st century military suspense novels among my all-time favorite stories. Each and every time I've picked up one of her novels, it's been nothing short of an exciting, fast-paced, dangerous thrill ride. I dare you to put her books down -- I know I can't!

Three Things I Love About Spring...

Monday, June 9, 2014








1. Flowers!
Peonies are my favorite -- they require little care and look like the more finicky rose. Check out how great the blooms are this year!







Coco takes a selfie.






2. Cool breezes on hot days
Life is "ruff".








The Perils of Lending Books to Friends

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Has this ever happened to you before, you lend a book to a friend only to get it back with dog-eared pages, water stains, or worse yet food stains? Yeah. I think it is a tragedy that has befallen us all at some point or another. Check out this fun video from Epic Reads about the drastic steps you can take if this ever happens to you again! I think she takes it rather well, I'd have sat in the corner and cried. :-P

 

Somebody Like You by Beth K. Vogt (My Review)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Somebody Like You
by Beth K. Vogt
Copyright 2014
Howard Books
ISBN: 9781476737584
The Story:
Can a young widow find love again with her husband’s reflection?

Haley’s three-year marriage to Sam, an army medic, ends tragically when he’s killed in Afghanistan. Her attempts to create a new life for herself are ambushed when she arrives home one evening—and finds her husband waiting for her. Did the military make an unimaginable mistake when they told her Sam was killed?

Too late to make things right with his estranged twin brother, Stephen discovers Sam never told Haley about him. As Haley and Stephen navigate their fragile relation­ship, they are inexorably drawn to each other. How can they honor the memory of a man whose death brought them together—and whose ghost could drive them apart?

- See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Somebody-Like-You/Beth-K-Vogt/9781476737584#sthash.XYV7E4Yh.dpuf

My Thoughts:
Somebody Like You just proves what a knack Beth Vogt has for penning a perfect romance centered around imperfect people. Haley Ames and her estranged brother-in-law, Stephen are both trying to cope with the death of husband and brother, Sam. Neither expects to find solace with each other but God has a different plan.

Review & Giveaway: While Love Stirs (The Gregory Sisters, Book 2) by Lorna Seilstad

Monday, June 2, 2014

While Love Stirs
The Gregory Sisters, Book 2
by Lorna Seilstad
Copyright 2014
Revell Books
ISBN: 9780800721824
The Story:
After graduating from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery in 1910, Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove--and certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to perform at her lectures.

Lewis encourages her work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?


My Thoughts:
If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. I feel like these would be Charlotte Gregory's words to live by if she were a contemporary heroine rather than an Edwardian lady. Since she's a sassy but ladylike heroine, Charlotte stirs up all kinds of trouble -- mainly because of stubborn, by the book, Dr. Brooks who sets her temper flaring and her heart aflutter.