Showing posts from September, 2011

Blog Tour: Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor

Highland Sanctuary by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
If you're a fan of Christian fiction or romances set in the Scottish highlands and read them as often as I do you are always looking for new authors in the genre. Last May I discovered new author Jennifer Hudson Taylor through her sweet inspirational, Highland Blessings (currently free for Kindle download!) and I became an immediate fan. This time she once again takes us back to the Highlands with the second book in the series, Highland Sanctuary. You won't be disappointed and the great thing is you do not need to have read Highland Blessings to get this story!

First things first when it comes to this book--discussing the heroine. Yes, I always make it a point to say whether or not I liked the heroine and hero of the romances that I read pointing out things like character flaws, attitude, and whether or not they're unique. This time I can say that Serena Boyd is one of the most unique and interesting of any Christian fiction char…

Review (Christian Fiction): A Most Unsuitable Match by Stephanie Grace Whitson

A Most Unsuitable Match
by Stephanie Grace Whitson
Copyright 2011
Bethany House Publishers
336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0881-2
Historical Fiction

From the publisher:
Miss Fannie Rousseau is a young woman of privilege traveling west to uncover the truth behind a family secret.

Mr. Samuel Beck is on a mission to atone for past failures that still haunt him.

Their meeting aboard a steamboat to Montana sparks an unlikely attraction. They are opposites in every way... except in how neither one can stop thinking about the other.

Will the end of the journey bring the end of their relationship, or is it just the beginning?

My Review:
~2.5 stars~
This summer has been the year for great historical reads and last summer was a great time to be a reader too. I enjoyed Stephanie Grace Whitson's 2010 release, Sixteen Brides however this book left a lot to be desired. From the back cover copy and all of the reviews I had read I was expecting a lot of drama and a great plot but the first half of the…

More About Me!

If you want to learn a little bit more about me and visit a great site that features Christian Fiction books visit CLASH OF THE TITLES today. Myself along with fellow blogger, Julie Arduini are featured guests today. Leave a comment there if you are so inclined, we'd love to hear from you!
"Meet Julie Arduini and Renee Chaw"

Clash of the Titles Winner: Delia Latham

Congratulations to Delia Latham for taking the crown in last week's Staff Clash. Two anonymous COTT staffers went into the ring and readers had another hard choice to make. Some said:
"This was a cruel choice!! LOL! They were both excellent." (About Delia's excerpt): "Beautiful words expressing emotion and making the reader want more." "Intense emotions on both excerpts! Great job!" "Terrific excerpts!"(About Katie's excerpt): "I need to know Wulf better! I have a feeling he's dreamy.""Awesome clash with two well-written, emotion-packed scenes! Great job, authors!"Of course, nobody knew at the time that those authors were Delia Latham and Katie McCurdy.
Both are recent additions to the staff. Delia has come on board as a Blog Alliance Correspondent, and Katie is the official Talent Scout. (Looks like COTT scouted some talent when they found these two gems.)
This fun excursion was a great interjection into the …

Review (Young Adult Fiction): There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

There You'll Find Me
by Jenny B. Jones
Copyright 2011
Thomas Nelson
320 pages
ISBN: 9781595545404
Juvenile Fiction/Religious/General

From the publisher:
Grief brought Finley to Ireland. LOVE WILL LEAD HER HOME.

Finley Sinclair is not your typical eighteen-year-old. She’s witty, tough, and driven. With an upcoming interview at the Manhattan music conservatory, Finley needs to compose her audition piece. But her creativity disappeared with the death of her older brother, Will.

She decides to study abroad in Ireland so she can follow Will’s travel journal. It’s the place he felt closest to God, and she’s hopeful being there will help her make peace over losing him. So she agrees to an exchange program and boards the plane.

Beckett Rush, teen heartthrob and Hollywood bad boy, is flying to Ireland to finish filming his latest vampire movie. On the flight, he meets Finley. She’s the one girl who seems immune to his charm. Undeterred, Beckett convinces her to be his assistant in exchange…

Downton Abbey News!

For a limited time you can watch Downton Abbey, the Emmy award winning Masterpiece Classic series that I absolutely loved completely free on! While others are watching series two already we people in the United States have to wait until January (boohoo) but in the meantime if you haven't seen the first series now's your chance to catch up. Also check out the extras about the series on the new PBS Downton Abbey website while you're there including the preview for series two. Doesn't it look amazing? I'm so excited to see what happens next to the Crawley's and the staff at the Abbey.

Season Two Preview
Watch the full episode. See more Masterpiece.

Clash of the Titles Anniversary Announcement!

Happy Anniversary, Clash of the Titles!
It's been almost a year since COTT opened its voting-booth doors and invited everyone in. Over the past twelve months, readers have chosen 25 Clash winners and received 48 free books. And along the way, a family formed. That family consists of the voters, authors, staff, and the 25+ blogs who have banded together in mutual support with COTT.

This is cause for major celebration! So COTT is doing it up to the nines.

Clash of the Titles' first annual Tournament of Champions begins next month! Over the course of four weeks, past winners from the previous year will compete in a series of clashes for the ultimate prize: the Laurel Award. The Laurel, COTT's most prestigious honor, is awarded by public vote to a single author among the year's champions.

Voters are expected to turn out in droves to support their favorites and participate in games just for readers. Each week, COTT sponsors—consisting of various authors and staff—will issue…

Review (Christian Fiction): A Lancaster County Christmas by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A Lancaster County Christmas
by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Copyright 2011
Revell Books
208 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1995-1

From the publisher:
Mattie Riehl was hoping to give her husband, Sol, the Christmas gift they have both longed for--news that a baby was on the way. But as usual, she is disappointed. The holidays bring an acute awareness to Mattie that her dream of a big Amish family isn't likely to become a reality. Will those empty chairs at the table ever be filled?

Then a winter storm raging outside blows an impatient young woman and her husband into the Riehl home on Christmas Eve--and into a much slower pace of life.

Both couples are about to find out if they can weather the storm--and if miracles still happen at Christmastime.

My Review:
~4 out of 5 Stars~
The chill in the air signifies that winter isn't far away and the holiday season is almost upon us. If the northernly breezes don't get you in the Christmas mood, A Lancaster County Chr…

Review (Christian Fiction): To Die For by Sandra Byrd

To Die For
by Sandra Byrd
Copyright 2011
Howard Books
352 pages
ISBN: 9781439183113

From the publisher:
To Die For, is the story of Meg Wyatt, pledged forever as the best friend to Anne Boleyn since their childhoods on neighboring manors in Kent. When Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes her best friend Meg along for the ride. Life in the court of Henry VIII is thrilling at first, but as Anne's favor rises and falls, so does Meg's. And though she's pledged her loyalty to Anne no matter what the test, Meg just might lose her greatest love—and her own life—because of it.

Meg's childhood flirtation with a boy on a neighboring estate turns to true love early on. When he is called to follow the Lord and be a priest she turns her back on both the man and his God. Slowly, though, both woo her back through the heady times of the English reformation. In the midst of it, Meg finds her place in history, her own calling to the Lord that she must f…

Review (Christian Fiction): The Faith of Ashish by Kay Marshall Strom

The Faith of Ashish
by Kay Marshall Strom Copyright 2011 Abingdon Press 320 pages ISBN: 9781426709081 Fiction/Christian/Historical
From the publisher: “His name is Ashish. His name is Blessing. The boy is my blessing.”
Virat and Latha named their son Ashish, for he is the light and glory of their world. Yet a simple drink of water from the wrong cup changes them forever. Virat, Latha, and Ashish are Untouchables in 1905 India, members of a caste who must never contaminate the world of the other, higher, castes.
When Ashish is in desperate need of a doctor, Virat risks everything to save his son and ventures into the dangerous realm of the high caste. There, the strength of a father’s love, the power of a young British nurse, and the faith of a child change the lives around them.

My Review:
~4 stars~
Going into this book I wasn't sure how I was going to like it. When I pick up fiction I'll admit that I'm a romance junkie so a book set in India focused on the struggles of an Untouch…

Winner of All These Things I've Done...

Thank you all so much for entering my giveaway of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin. The lucky winner as chosen by is...

Megan D.
Megan has 48 hours to respond to the email I sent or another winner will be selected. Thanks to Tara @ Zeitghost Media for the giveaway.

FIRST Wild Card Blog Tour + My Review: Hailee (Montana Skies, Book 3) by Penny Zeller

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:
Penny Zeller
and the book:
Hailee, Book 3 in the Montana Skies Series Whitaker House (September 6, 2011) ***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling of Whitaker House for sending me a review copy.***


Penny Zeller is an author, wife, mother of two, and inspirational speaker. She’s known for her down-to-earth prose and creativity in conveying spiritual truths with clarity and humor. On her blog “A Day in the Life of a Wife, Mom, and Aut…

Review (Christian Fiction): Deeply Devoted (Blue Willow Brides, Book 1) by Maggie Brendan

Deeply Devoted (Blue Willow Brides, Book 1)
by Maggie Brendan
Copyright 2011
Revell Books
336 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3462-6
Historical Romance

From the publisher:
She is staking her future on a man she's never met. Can she learn to love him?

When Catharine Olsen leaves Holland for Wyoming as a mail-order bride, she brings some extra baggage with her: two sisters, her mother's set of Blue Willow china, and a tragic past. As she steps off the train, Peter Andersen is glad to see that she is everything her letters showed her to be. But he is a bit perturbed by her unexpected companions. How will he support them all? And what other secrets might Catharine be keeping from him?

Filled with sweet romance and vivid characters, Deeply Devoted highlights a clash of cultures as a highborn European and a simple wheat farmer learn to love one another and trust God with the past--and the future.

My Review:
~5 stars~
This spring I read a beautiful mail-order bride story by Catherine Richmond…

Clash of the Titles Champion: Sarah Sundin's A Memory Between Us

The other day my daughter orally lamented a previous conversation. “I always think of my best come-backs too late.” I know how she feels, although I’m probably on the other end of the spectrum—I often wish I hadn’t said X or Y once the conversation is done. At least in writing we can carefully craft our words, which should make it easier, right? Not necessarily. Writing effective, authentic, snappy dialogue is a skill that must be honed. And yet, when done well, it plunges the reader deep into the story and provides vivid characterization. This last week two authors threw their “chatty-keyboards” into the Clash of the Titles' ring and although both excerpts were phenomenal, Sarah Sundin, author of A Memory Between Us, wowed readers with her printed banter. Here’s a snippet of her COTT competing excerpt: Jack made out Ruth’s shapely figure coming down Northgate Street. She couldn’t afford the new olive drab uniforms some of the nurses wore, but she sure looked smart in the dark blue j…

It's Christmas in September!

To celebrate the release of her first Christmas book, Suzanne Woods Fisher has teamed up with her publisher, Revell, to bring you the "Christmas in September" iPad Giveaway! The winner will be announced on 9/27 at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party! Details below. Tell your friends and join in the fun (9/7-9/27).

Oh and be sure to follow the blog tour here - many of the bloggers have copies of the book to giveaway! 

Suzanne and Revell will be presenting one merry winner with a Christmas Prize Pack (valued at over $600):

A Brand New iPad 2 with Wi-Fi$25 gift certificate to iTunesA copy of A Lancaster County Christmas

To enter, click one of the icons below. But, hurry the giveaway ends on 9/26.

But, wait! There's more! The winner will be announced at the A Lancaster County Christmas Facebook Party on 9/27 at Suzanne's author page. During the party she'll be revealing something *BIG* - you won't want to miss it. She'll also be hosting a book chat, tr…

Book Birthday Party Winners!

Thank you all so much for making this past week so enjoyable! I love my birthday and I'm so glad I was able to share it with my author friends and you readers! Thank you again!!!

Using here are the winners who were drawn from each day's giveaway entries...

Day One: The Colonel's Lady by Laura Frantz
Winner: Melanie D. (frequentreader...)

Day Two: Book of Choice by Julie Lessman
Winner: Melissa D. (bookcrazy...)

Day Three: Love Finds You on Christmas Morning by Trish Perry
Winner: Amy A. (blstef1...)

Day Four: Deeply Devoted by Maggie Brendan + signed bookplate
Winner: Rebecca F. aka RivkaBelle

Day Five: A Bride's Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas
Winner: Kim A (bearstitch...)

Final Day: Deadly Pursuit and A Lancaster County Christmas
Winner: Jeannie 

**Winners have been emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be selected.**

Book Birthday Party Finale

All good things must come to an end or so they say. Although this is the last day of my Book Birthday Party that doesn't mean that there isn't more fun to be had at this blog. If you're an old follower or a brand new one I hope you stop by again. Don't be a stranger.

To all of the authors I've met, thank you for giving of your time and sharing about your new "babies." I'm very excited to read all of your books as I'm sure are the readers who stopped by this week. Since this was such a hit I've very seriously thinking about hosting a Book Birthday Party again for a future month so any authors who might be interested give me a yell.

To thank everyone for making this week such a blast I'm offering my own September book giveaway--Irene Hannon's Deadly Pursuit AND Suzanne Woods Fisher's A Lancaster County Christmas to one lucky winner! To be entered all you need to do is fill out the form, no comment required although I'd appreciate…

Book Birthday Party, Day Five: Author Erica Vetsch

I'm sorry to say that this is the final day of guest posts but it's not the end of the party! Come back tomorrow for my very own post and giveaway. I don't like to think about packing away leftovers so be sure and devour every word of this interview with first timer to Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot, Erica Vetsch. It's been fun getting to know all these great authors and their books. Be sure and stop by everyone's sites and blogs if you want to know more about them.


Please tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing for those who don’t know.
I’m a native Kansan transplanted to Minnesota. I’m a wife and mom of two teens, the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, and a history museum addict. I’ve always loved reading and spinning stories in my head, and I finally started putting those stories down on paper. Writing historical fiction allows me to combine my two favorite passions, history and fiction.

I’ve noticed that B…