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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: A Beauty So Rare by Tamera Alexander


About the book:
Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.
My rating:
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My thoughts:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up (May 30th)


Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and hope to read this coming week, and (when applicable) the current giveaways/giveaway winners. Occasionally I'll post some other stuff as well. Be sure to follow my Pinterest boards "Free Kindle Books" and "Book Deals" to see the good deals/freebies I share about. :)

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've accomplished (reading-wise) this past week. :)

 What I've read this week:


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Interview & Giveaway! James Pence ~ Author of Unseen!


Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, James!! Will you tell us a little about yourself?


I’m 58 years old and I live in North Texas with my wife Laurel. We’ve been married almost 34 years, have two grown children and one awesome granddaughter. We live on about six acres in the country and have two dogs and two cats. In addition to being a writer, I’m a performance chalk artist and singer. And (in all my spare time) I teach karate to homeschoolers.

What is your novel, Unseen, about?

Unseen is the story of how a man who lost his wife and children in an auto accident, and who is angry with God, comes to grips with God’s goodness and sovereignty in his loss. When two children who are being pursued by a religious cult are dumped into his lap, he must rescue them and return them to their mother, who is in hiding. In doing so, he finds a reason to live.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

A personal tragedy launched me on the path to becoming a writer. Back in 1987, when Laurel and I were expecting our first child, we learned 20 weeks into the pregnancy (via a sonogram) that the baby had severe birth defects and would not live long after she was born. God took us on an amazing and difficult journey over the next few months, and during that time I decided that someday I’d write a book about the experience. I never did write that book, but I did become a writer.

What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

If I’m dealing with a particularly nasty bout of writers block, I break it by closing down my laptop and writing by hand. Works every time.

Where do you like to write?

I do most of my writing at the dining room table.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

I mow our six-acre property (push mower) and listen to audio books as I work. I also enjoy playing keyboard and singing, and I draw and paint with pastels and watercolors.

What is your favorite genre to read and why?

Well-written suspense/thrillers. To me, a good thriller is the literary equivalent of a roller coaster ride. I love it when an author keeps me turning the pages.

What is your least favorite genre to read?

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Review: The Diamond Secret by Lenora Worth


About the book:
He's a pirate, an adventurer—and Esther Carlisle has just let him into her New Orleans antiques shop. Cullen Murphy claims he knew Esther's late father…and that her wild-dreaming daddy discovered the true location of the legendary chocolate diamond. Esther knows she should show the handsome treasure hunter the door. And she will. In a minute. Everything changes when gun-wielding thugs barge in and start shooting. Esther may not trust Cullen, yet staying at his side is the only way for her to find the diamond first—and stay alive.

But some treasures can be found only with the heart….

My rating:
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My thoughts:

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished Yet


Top Ten Series I Haven't Finished Yet


Most of these series I haven't finished just because of time constraint, but I'll get to them someday. :)

1. The Homeward Trilogy (need to read books 2 & 3)
2. Secrets of Roux River Bayou series (just need to read the third/last book)
3. The Secret Lives of Will Tucker series (need to read book 2 & 3)
4. MILA 2.0 series (read the prequel and really liked it; need to read books 1-3)
5. A Breed Apart series (just need to read book 3)
6. The Culper Ring series (I've read the first four novels/novellas, just need to read the last one)
7. Daughters of the Potomac series (just need to read the third/last book)
8. Song of the River series (need to read books 2 & 3)
9. Intervention series (need to read books 2 & 3)
10. Red Returning Trilogy (I've read book one and, even though I liked it, I don't think I'll be continuing the series).

That's my Top Ten. What's yours?
Monday, May 26, 2014

Weekly Giveaway Link-up #20

Welcome to Weekly Giveaway Link-up hosted by Crystal @ Just Another Book Lovin' Girl and me. This is a linky where you can submit your blog's Christian book and book-related giveaways and find other giveaways. A new link-up will be posted every Monday.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up (May 24th) & Giveaway Winner!


Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and hope to read this coming week, and (when applicable) the current giveaways/giveaway winners. Occasionally I'll post some other stuff as well. Be sure to follow my Pinterest boards "Free Kindle Books" and "Book Deals" to see the good deals/freebies I share about. :)

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've accomplished (reading-wise) this past week. :)

 What I've read this week:


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Beauty So Rare ~ Tamera Alexander (TLC Book Tour)



Series: A Belmont Mansion Novel
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (March 25, 2014)

About the book:

Plain, practical Eleanor Braddock knows she will never marry, but with a dying soldier’s last whisper, she believes her life can still have meaning and determines to find his widow. Impoverished and struggling to care for her ailing father, Eleanor arrives at Belmont Mansion, home of her aunt, Adelicia Acklen, the richest woman in America–and possibly the most demanding, as well. Adelicia insists on finding her niece a husband, but a simple act of kindness leads Eleanor down a far different path–building a home for destitute widows and fatherless children from the Civil War. While Eleanor knows her own heart, she also knows her aunt will never approve of this endeavor.

Archduke Marcus Gottfried has come to Nashville from Austria in search of a life he determines, instead of one determined for him. Hiding his royal heritage, Marcus longs to combine his passion for nature with his expertise in architecture, but his plans to incorporate natural beauty into the design of the widows’ and children’s home run contrary to Eleanor’s wishes. As work on the home draws them closer together, Marcus and Eleanor find common ground–and a love neither of them expects. But Marcus is not the man Adelicia has chosen for Eleanor, and even if he were, someone who knows his secrets is about to reveal them all.

I'm currently reading this book and I'll post my review as soon as I can. Really good so far. :) In the meantime, you can check out my review for book one in this series, A Lasting Impression (I loved it!)

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*


AmazonB&NGoodreads

Click here for the complete blog tour list, to see what other reviewers thought about A Beauty So Rare!
Monday, May 19, 2014

Weekly Giveaway Link-up #19

Welcome to Weekly Giveaway Link-up hosted by Crystal @ Just Another Book Lovin' Girl and me. This is a linky where you can submit your blog's Christian book and book-related giveaways and find other giveaways. A new link-up will be posted every Monday.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bout Of Books 10 -- Wrap-Up Post!

Bout of Books

I didn't read as many books as I had wanted, but I did read quite a bit!

I finished these books:

Review: A Lasting Impression by Tamera Alexander


About the book:
Claire Laurent's greatest aspiration is to paint something that will bring her acclaim. Yet her father insists she work as a copyist. A forger. When she's forced to flee her home, her path collides with attorney Sutton Monroe, who shows her kindness by not turning her in to authorities. But when he later refuses to come to her aid, Claire fears she's sorely misjudged him. Finding herself among the elite of Nashville society, Claire believes her dream of creating a lasting impression in the world of art is within reach--but only if her past remains hidden. 

The Federal Army destroyed Sutton's home, confiscated his land, and threatens to destroy his family's honor. His determination to reclaim what belongs to him reveals a truth that may cost him more than he ever imagined--as well as the woman he loves. 

Set at Nashville's historic Belmont Mansion, a stunning antebellum manor built by Adelicia Acklen, A Lasting Impression is a sweeping love story about a nation mending after war, the redemption of those wounded, and the courage of a man and woman to see themselves--and each other--for who they really are.

My rating:
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My thoughts:

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: A May Bride by Meg Moseley


About the book:
 A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed. 

She thinks she has prepared for her wedding all her life...but it seems she may have forgotten the most important part. Ellie Martin, a country girl in Atlanta, has dreamed of a traditional wedding all her life—a wedding just like the one her younger sister is planning back home. Their single mom will pay for Alexa's wedding, but Ellie started her own wedding fund years ago. She only needs to find a groom. At a wedding at her church, Ellie bumps into a man who's one of the guests. She's noticed him around the neighborhood, but today he introduces himself as Gray Whitby. They embark on a whirlwind romance, but her mother doesn't trust freewheeling men like Gray. When Ellie risks her own future for her sister's sake, Gray feels betrayed. Will he always play second fiddle to Ellie's family? Will Ellie and Gray reconcile their differences so her dream wedding can come true, or will the romance they've begun come crashing down?
My rating:
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My thoughts:

Review: An April Bride by Lenora Worth


About the book:
A year's worth of novellas from twelve inspirational romance authors. Happily ever after guaranteed. 

War changes everything…even their love. 

Bride-to-be Stella Carson can't wait to marry her longtime sweetheart Marshall Henderson. But Marshall has been away serving his country and has suffered a head wound. After being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, he has distanced himself from Stella, asking her not to visit him in a Washington, D.C., hospital. Marshall returns to Louisiana just four weeks before the wedding, but as the big day draws near, Stella wonders if the man she's loved for most of her life has become someone else. Can true love conquer all for Stella and Marshall, even the tragedy of war?
My rating:
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My thoughts:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Wrap-up (May 16th) & Giveaway Winners!


Weekend Wrap-up is where I share what I read this past week, am currently reading, and hope to read this coming week, and (when applicable) the current giveaways/giveaway winners. Occasionally I'll post some other stuff as well. Be sure to follow my Pinterest boards "Free Kindle Books" and "Book Deals" to see the good deals/freebies I share about. :)

Feel free to join along and post your own Weekend Wrap-up on your blog/site (if you do, please leave the link in a comment so I can stop by) or, in a comment, share what you've accomplished (reading-wise) this past week. :)

 What I've read this week:


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bout of Books 10.0: Day Four ~ Spell It Out Challenge!

Bout of Books

Hosted by kimberlyfaye reads
"Use the first letter in any book you’ve read or want to read to spell out a word. You can choose first name, initials, your birthday month, or your zodiac sign."

I decided to spell out my first name - Melanie.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Chateau of Secrets by Melanie Dobson


About the book:
A courageous young noblewoman risks her life to hide French resistance fighters; seventy years later, her granddaughter visits the family’s abandoned chateau and uncovers shocking secrets from the past.

Gisèle Duchant guards a secret that could cost her life. Tunnels snake through the hill under her family’s medieval chateau in Normandy. Now, with Hitler’s army bearing down, her brother and several friends are hiding in the tunnels, resisting the German occupation of France.

But when German soldiers take over the family’s château, Gisèle is forced to host them as well—while harboring the resistance fighters right below their feet. Taking in a Jewish friend’s baby, she convinces the Nazis that it is her child, ultimately risking everything for the future of the child. When the German officers begin to suspect her deception, an unlikely hero rescues both her and the child.

A present day story weaves through the past one as Chloe Sauver, Gisèle’s granddaughter, arrives in Normandy. After calling off her engagement with a political candidate, Chloe pays a visit to the chateau to escape publicity and work with a documentary filmmaker, Riley, who has uncovered a fascinating story about Jews serving in Hitler’s army. Riley wants to research Chloe’s family history and the lives that were saved in the tunnels under their house in Normandy. Chloe is floored—her family isn’t Jewish, for one thing, and she doesn’t know anything about tunnels or the history of the house. But as she begins to explore the dark and winding passageways beneath the chateau, nothing can prepare her for the shock of what she and Riley discover…

With emotion and intrigue, Melanie Dobson brings World War II France to life in this beautiful novel about war, family, sacrifice, and the secrets of the past.

My rating:
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My thoughts:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Review: Love In The Wind by Elizabeth Goddard


About the book:
SAILING IS MADDIE CRAMER'S ESCAPE

Now she's counting on it to bring her closer to the biological father she's just met. But her chances of winning the regatta—and his approval—are in jeopardy unless she can find a new crewmate. Enter Grady Stone, a perfect fit for Maddie's crew in more ways than one.

Maddie and Grady grow close as they spend time together on the water. But Maddie, wary of emotional entanglement, guards her heart closely. And Grady's here only to help Maddie win the race, then he's off to a new job. The day of the race will test their ability to sail together—and the trueness of their love.

My rating:
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My thoughts:

Review: Love On The Slopes by Elizabeth Goddard


About the book:
SHANNON DE CROIX HAD BIG PLANS

But a serious injury ended her dreams of making the nation's top ski team. Now, with her handsome coach, Hudson Landers, at her side, Shannon hopes to compete again. But though she trusts Hudson's judgment, she wants to train harder.

Hudson cares too much about Shannon to let her risk her life just for the sake of competition. He fears that one more fall could destroy her future and break her heart. Can Shannon and the disabled kids he coaches show him that falling down and getting back up again is what faith and love are all about?

My rating:
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My thoughts: