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Treat Yourself to a Good Book in 2012!

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Every year I try to make a list of the best books that I've read throughout the year and every year it gets more difficult to narrow that list down but that's a good thing right since that means I'm reading so many wonderful stories. Well once again I've decided since it's hard enough to pick a select few books that I loved that I'm not going to put them on a ranked list but just give you eleven (sorry...couldn't narrow it to JUST ten) of the books that I thought were amazing enough to earn spots on my keeper shelf. :-) I gave so many books 5 star ratings this year but here are a few that I REALLY REALLY loved. If you're looking to treat yourself to a book for the new year I'll just bet any of these will keep you thoroughly entertained.

Wolfsbane (Discarded Heroes, Book 3) -- by Ronie Kendig


The Colonel's Lady -- by Laura Frantz


Waterfall (River of Time, Book 1) -- by Lisa T. Bergren


Yesterday's Tomorrow -- by Catherine West


Heiress (Daughters of…

Merry Christmas!

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I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! Here are this years holiday carols as performed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Whether you're a "Steeler Girl" or not I hope they put a smile on your face.


All-American Romance: Come A Little Closer by Dorothy Garlock

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My Thoughts:
I absolutely adore fiction set in the 1940s. Dorothy Garlock best-known for her American romance never disappoints with her timeless stories of love. Her latest novel from Grand Central Publishing entitled Come A Little Closer blends the turmoil of a nation recovering from war with a touch of small town and romance.

Christina Tucker a former nurse in Worl War II longs to continue her career helping people heal both physically and mentally so she agrees to take a position helping Dr. Samuel Barlow at his general practice. If she survives the trip to her new home she just may be able to fulfill her dreams. When Christina unexpectedly meets the doc's two nephews her desire to help goes beyond nurse/patient kinship and she must decide between two intriguing brothers both with their own shares of baggage.

If you're at all familiar with Ms. Garlock's stories you know that simple settings and complex romance are her style. In Come A Little Closer she delivers just th…

Clash of the Titles: Meet 'n Greet Our Blog Alliance Members!

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~by Gail Palotta

Thank you to our blog alliance partners



Jessica Keller works from an office her husband set up for her in their Chicago home. Using a bright orange laptop she posts five days a week. She blogged big-time in college, garnering a huge following. She says, “It got to the point where people I didn’t know would walk up to me and start talking…about my life because they were addicted to my blog.” 

After graduation she ended that blog and went to work in the records department of law enforcement. She figured her blogging days were over, but she started writing novels. She thought about author blogs she loved and wanted to “create a place like that so…someday when a novel-length piece is published…” she’ll already have a blog.

Her blog reflects her love of baking, her communications and Biblical studies degree and her enthusiasm for books. She’ll read over one hundred this year. On Mondays she muses about life in general. Tasty Tuesdays give cooking advice and recipes. On Wri…

Christian Fiction Book Club: She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

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December Book Pick: She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
Okay so as you may know I love history as a matter of fact I have a degree in it. One of my very favorite eras in the history of our nation is the Victorian Era. From the clothing, the attitudes, the transitioning of our nation and the mystique of the upper-crust society I love it all and anytime I can read a book that combines my love of all things Gilded Age with my other love, romance I'm thrilled. Siri Mitchell moved to my must-read list after her 2010 book, She Walks in Beauty. Not only is the cover amazing but the story between the pages is magnificent as well, it was definitely on my 2010 favorite books list and is still quite possibly one of the best books I've read period. When Joy and Serena @ Edgy Inspirational Romance were taking volunteers to lead up the December book club for this book I jumped at the chance. If you've read the book feel free to join in and even if you haven't you can still join in t…

Clash of the Titles Historic Covers Champion: Spring for Susanna by Catherine Richmond

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*by Michelle Massaro

Last week Clash of the Titles held their first ever Clash of the Covers. This fast-paced clash was different than their usual fare, because instead of judging the author's story, we judged how well their cover designs matched their theme or made us want to pick up the book. There were four books to vote on, from authors Cathy, Erica, Lacy, and Maggie. The books were MarryingMiss Marshal, Spring For Susannah, A Bride's Portrait,and Deeply Devoted.


It was a VERY CLOSE race and it saw enough voter participation to max out the scoreboards!


Some of the comments included:
Spring for Susannah - Susannah is aware of the man but she looks as though she could turn away, or turn towards him.
Marrying Miss Marshall seems to speak volumes about the heroine-just in her position.


The cover of A Brides Portrait, really sells the title by having the woman with a camera on it. Caught my attention.
I love cover C...looks like the "old west"!!!


Marrying Miss Marshal. Hmm, w…

A Seriously Suspense Filled Story: Attracted to Fire by Diann Mills

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My Thoughts:
When it comes to romance Julie Lessman is queen, when it comes to fairy tales nobody weaves a tale like Melanie Dickerson but when it comes to suspense DiAnn Mills is your gal! In her latest Lone Star state romantic drama, DiAnn takes on the Secret Service and a killer with an agenda that could affect the state of the nation. With her trademark for writing a "good" bad guy and ability to keep a reader guessing Attracted to Fire is sure to please. I love her characters too but the hero prevented me from enjoying this story as much as I could have. Ash was too much of a jerk for me to like him anymore than a little even though he does improve by the conclusion of the story. The chemistry between Ash and Meghan felt forced. I think it would have been more natural for a friendship to develop rather than a full blown romance. If you're looking for a great romance you might want to pass on this but if you're looking for drama and an adrenaline rush I'd say…

Free Preview: The Christmas Singing by Cindy Woodsmall

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Like Amish fiction? Check out Cindy Woodsmall's Plain taleThe Christmas Singing. I'm sure if you have a reader in the family this will make a wonderful holiday gift too. :-) I've read Cindy's books in the past and they've all been wonderful so I'm sure this won't disappoint!


The Christmas Singing (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

Clash of the Titles: Meet Christine and Pamela!

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by Delia Latham Christine and Pamela! A huge welcome to blogger and author Christine Lindsay! Christine is another extraordinary member of the COTT Blog Alliance. On Wednesdays she posts the COTT weekly article, and on Fridays she posts either an editorial/devotional or a review on a book. 

What's her blog like? Christine wants her blog to be somewhere a reader can find a true inspirational story to encourage their faith. For example, on her blog she has in book-length the entire story of her experience as a birthmother. From the moment she found out she was pregnant, to the relinquishment of her child, and to their reunion 20 years later.

Do not miss this testimony. Her birth-daughter, Sarah, modeled for the cover of Shadowed in Silk. Take a look at how it all came together—it's well worth the read.
I asked Christine who she is outside the realm of writing and publication and all that jazz.


"I am so ordinary, it's hilarious. I used to be an administrative assistant, goi…

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally: A Story for Gals Who Love the Gridiron!

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My Thoughts:
Okay let's face it I'm probably not in the female majority when I say I'd rather stay home on Sunday and watch the big game than go to the mall but it's true. I love football--always have, always will. I was raised on it and I live right smack in the middle of Steelers nation and in an area where everyone knows what WPIAL means. Friday night lights...yeah we live it here. That said when I got an email from Sourcebooks about a YA book centered around football and romance I jumped right on it and boy am I glad I did! Catching Jordan is, you know I have to say this, a touchdown!

In the age of dystopian fiction I've kind of gotten used to kick-butt heroines and it's all gotten a bit...blah. I'm so happy to say that Jordan, our girl in Catching Jordan is that kick-butt heroine but she's totally realistic and easy to relate to and absolutely refreshing! She doesn't fight for her life in some kind of sci-fi/futuristic world but on the football…

Girls Playing with Boys: Guest Post by Miranda Kenneally author of Catching Jordan

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Girls Playing with Boys: According to statistics there are over 1,200 female high school football players across the country. What are some of the positives and negatives of blurring the lines between female and male sports? Do you support it?

Positives:
* Girls can be just as strong and fast as guys. Why not prove it?
* If girls prove they are as awesome as guys on the field, they can prove they’re awesome off the field.
* I can’t wait until we have a female president of the USA.
Or even a Vice President!

Negatives:
* Girls’ body frames are more fragile than guys’. They get hurt more easily. I would be remiss if I didn’t say this.
* I don’t think there are any other negatives!


I definitely support girl power. One woman who truly impresses me is former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I bet she’d get along well with my character in Catching Jordan, Jordan Woods. Not only is Dr. Rice a beautiful woman, she’s smart and she followed her dreams. She loves football, and would love to b…

A Texan's Promise by Shelley Gray: A Story With Cowboys and Romance!

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I'll be the first to admit that I'm not the world's biggest Amish fiction fan but I thoroughly enjoy each of Shelley Gray's Plain stories. When I learned that she was writing and historical western series I knew I had to read it. The first book, A Texan's Promise did not disappoint. Ms. Gray's stories are traditional but in the best sense. In A Texan's Promise she takes the damsel in distress plot and adds a bit of faith and hope in the mix and the result is a finely told love story for any reader's keeper shelf.

From the very first page I can almost guarantee you will be hooked. The chemistry between Vanessa and Clayton is terrific. In spite of the unthinkable circumstance that led them away from the Circle Z Ranch I loved the way that their romance developed--slowly and tenderly. I was slightly frustrated by Clay's actions midway through the book but what is a romance without a man getting some fool notion in his head now and then?

If you're a…

Waterfall Winner!

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Thanks to everyone who entered my Waterfall giveaway. The winner as chosen by random.org is...

LINDA!
Linda has been contacted and has claimed her prize. If you didn't win this time don't worry there will be more giveaways soon!

Giveaway Time: Waterfall by Lisa Bergren

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About the book:
Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.
Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved…
and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know…and love itself.

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds… until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.
And thus does she come to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight…

I Heart Time Travel!

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Recently it seems as though a theme has come up in my watching and reading habits. I realized last night after I finished reading Cascade (Book 2 in the River of Time series by Lisa Bergren) that I *might* be a bit obsessed with time travel--but for good reason. Time travel is simply fascinating! It's so complex, I can't even begin to understand the "science" behind it but wanting to go back in time is probably something we all wish we could do. How many times have you thought about stopping yourself from wearing those bell bottoms in 1998 or reuniting with a deceased loved one?

As a history lover I've always thought it would be neat to go back to Gettysburg in 1863 to hear Lincoln give the Gettysburg address or to just spend a few days with Jane Austen. I know that I probably wouldn't last 5 minutes without my computer or (gasp!) my daily glass of Mountain Dew but it would still be fun wouldn't it? Well until the TARDIS shows up outside my house I'll…

Clash of the Titles Winner: Laura V. Hilton

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Guest post by Delia Latham


The Amish are known for their quiet, unassuming manner. Their love of all things peaceful…and shunning of competitive pastimes.

Well. I'm afraid that all flew out the window in the COTT Clash featuring Amish fiction. It was a fight to the finish.... a nose-to-nose race...a no-holds-barred dash to the finish line!

Contestants were:

Suzanne Woods Fisher (Click on the cover to read Suzanne's Excerpt A)

and
Laura V. Hilton (Click on the cover to read Laura's Excerpt B)

Both authors hit the ground running with sizzling teasers that presented a definite challenge to our readers. Both were super-fantastic! Both offered a tantalizing glimpse into an amazing read.

But only one of these fabulous excerpts could take the win.

When at last the dust died down…the crowd silenced in expectation…and the winner stood revealed…

LAURA V. HILTON held the finish line ribbon firmly in hand! CONGRATULATIONS, LAURA!
The choice was not an easy one, as our readers made perfectly clear…

Another Great Movie Trailer!

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I know, I know I already posted a movie trailer this week but I couldn't help myself from posting this trailer for The Vow starring Channing Tatum (Dear John) and Rachel McAdams (The Notebook). I'm a sucker for all things romantic and while this looks like a real tearjerker I definitely have to see it! I don't know about you but I think 2012 looks like it's going to be an amaaaaaazing year for movies!



Meet Julie Arduini and Renee Chaw (Me!)

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*guest post by Michelle Massaro Today it is my pleasure to shine the spotlight on two more amazing women who are both members of the COTT Blog Alliance.

Julie Arduini was born on Good Friday with tornado warnings. A description that she says could not be more accurate!

She lives in NE Ohio with her husband and two children. She's also a step-mom to two adult children who live in out of state. Her writing is featured in ten books (learn more on her site!) She also blogs monthly for the marriage counter at the Internet CafĂ©. She loves serving in children’s and women’s ministries through her local church and Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) chapter.

Julie says: "I love my strong coffee, lilacs, NCIS, and Beth Moore Bible studies (not in that order!)"

Her site has been up since December 31, 2006 and was her first act of surrendering fear of what others would think about her. That fear had kept her from doing what she loved since childhood but her baby step into blogging quickly …