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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review: The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd (Litfuse Tour)

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd
Whispers on the Moors series: Book one
Thomas Nelson / 2013
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book:

Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?

Darbury, England, 1814

Amelia Barrett, heiress to an ancestral estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s infant baby. She'll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father, Graham, a sea captain she’s never met.

Tragedy strikes when the child vanishes with little more than a sketchy ransom note hinting to her whereabouts. Fear for the child’s safety drives Amelia and Graham to test the boundaries of their love for this infant.

Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she examines her soul and must face her one weakness: pride.

Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline.

Both must learn to accept God’s sovereignty and relinquish control so they can grasp the future He has for planned for them.

My rating:
My thoughts:

The Heiress of Winterwood was a very good read! The story completely blew me away! I believe this is Sarah E. Ladd's debut novel, but I wouldn't have been able to tell that by reading the book.

The Heiress of Winterwood starts off with a good prologue, but it was the first chapter that really grabbed my attention. I could tell Amelia was a great woman right away. I loved how protective she was of Lucy and that she was willing to do anything to care and raise her. I also loved her tenacity. Graham was another wonderful character. I loved how real he was about his grief over losing his wife and it was nice to see his character grow.

A few times the writing/story seemed a little conflicting, but I did read an ARC copy so it might be different in the finished version. Not a big deal - at least to me. I didn't like when a character heard/felt replies from God - it's a pet peeve of mine.

Still, I really enjoyed The Heiress of Winterwood and it held my attention throughout. The book even had a little mystery - which I loved. A very good read that I definitely recommend if you enjoy historical romances. I look forward to reading Sarah E. Ladd's next book.

*I received a complimentary ARC copy of this book for my review. 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.*


Sarah Ladd is celebrating the release of The Heiress of Winterwood with a Downton Abbey Kindle Prize Pack Giveaway!
 One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • Downton Abbey, seasons 1-3
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 30th. Winner will be announced on 5/2/13 {HERE}.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Interview & Giveaway! Deeanne Gist ~ Author of It Happened At The Fair!

Welcome to Christian Bookshelf Reviews, Deeanne!! Will you tell us a little about yourself and your new book, It Happened at the Fair?

My husband and I have just celebrated our 30th anniversary. We have four grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and a dog named Cowboy—who makes a cameo appearance in It Happened at the Fair.

A little about the new book:

Our hero, Cullen McNamara, travels to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with his most recent invention, but the noise in the Fair’s Machinery Palace makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.

He becomes distracted watching her lips and finds his attraction for her growing with each encounter. This isn’t good because not only does he have big plans for his future, but he has a girl back home. Della Wentworth could ruin everything.
What is something the average reader wouldn't know about you? 

Kristan Higgins, a wonderfully talented author and very good friend of mine, leaned over at lunch one day and said, “We have decided you were a cheerleader in high school and that you married the captain of the football team. Are we right?”

“I was a cheerleader,” I admitted, “but I didn’t marry the captain of the football team.”


I shook my head. “He was Athlete of the Year … twice.”

So there you have it. I’m a cliché. J
Do you have any writing quirks?

The following few sentences took me three hours to write. I’ll explain why after your read it:

            Cullen curled his tongue against his teeth and whistled for the dog. “Cowboy! Come here, fella. Get on up here and let’s see if this is working again.”
            A black-and-white border collie bounded across the yard and onto the animal-powered treadmill, activating the flywheel, which moved the walking beam up and down, which then pumped the churn-dasher attached to it.
            The backdoor opened again. “Charlie!” Mrs. Sappington called, stepping onto the porch. “Oh, Cullen. Ya fixed it.”
            Pushing the brake lever, he stopped the treadmill and let Cowboy jump off. “It was no problem, ma’am. Your new churn’s just a little shallower than the last. All I had to do was drill a new hole closer to the fulcrum.”
            She smiled, her round cheeks rosy from the warmth of the kitchen. “The problem wasn’t drillin’ the hole. The problem was knowing the exact spot ta drill it in. I sure do ’preciate it.”

 In this passage I was trying to give readers a glimpse of Cullen’s mechanical genius. So first, I had to come up with something original and interesting for him to invent. That took a lot of hunting and discarding of ideas before stumbling across a dog-powered treadmill that people used back in the day to power their butter churns and various other devices.

Then, I had to figure out what parts of the treadmill could break (so he could fix it). In order to do that, I had to read up on exactly how it was built and how it worked.

Then I tried to find what its weak points were. I ended up sending a diagram of it to my dad (who happens to be a mechanical genius) and interviewing him. He described three different ways it could break and why they might be a challenge for someone who wasn’t mechanically minded. I chose the placement of the fulcrum because it was the least complicated to describe and it also took into account some mathematical calculations.

Bottom line, what looks like a little interesting tidbit included for a bit of color (which it is) will many times have taken me several hours to research and write.
Where do you like to write?

I write in a study just off my breakfast room. I’m most productive when I have complete silence and I have turned off the internet in order to keep from being distracted.

What is the best and/or worst part about being a writer?

The best part is receiving the finished bound book in the mail and hearing from my readers. The worst part is the deadlines. Hate those. :-/ 
A few this-or-that questions:

Coffee or Tea? Coffee.

Early-bird or Night-owl? Early bird.

Cats or Dogs? Love them both! We currently have a dog, but I grew up with cats.

Are you currently working on any new novels? If so, could you give us a hint?

Readers can actually get a sneak peek at the two main characters in next year’s book by downloading an electronic short story, Tempest in the White City. It’s about Hunter Scott who is one of the elite. An 1893 Chicago World’s Fair guard specifically chosen for his height, physique, character and ability to serve and protect. When he is overcome with debilitating abdominal pain, he stumbles to an infirmary only to discover the doctor is female. Female. But even worse, she has the nerve to diagnose him, the toughest man west of anyplace east, with constipation—an unspeakable ailment in mixed company. The two of them face off in the short story and my 2014 release will tell their full story.

Thank you so much for being here! Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers and where can we find you on the web?

I have a very active community on my website (IWantHerBooks.com) and on facebook (Facebook.com/DeesFriends) and would love for you to join me! I’ll also be doing a live webcast on May 22nd, 8:00pm EDT. There will be lots of giveaways and interaction. Details here: https://www.facebook.com/deesfriends/app_361311570652139


Want to win a copy of Deeanne's new book, In Happened At The Fair? Enter via the Rafflecopter form below for your chance to win. Giveaway is only open to residents of the Continental US. Ends 5/14

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 29, 2013

I'm Signing Up For Bout of Books 7.0! Are You??

Bout of Books
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 13th and runs through Sunday, May 19th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 7.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
My goal:

My goal is to read/finish five books during the read-a-thon.  

My Updates:

I’ll post updates regularly on Twitter (@LoveBeingVegan) throughout the read-a-thon and keep track of my reading with a progress bar (on blog's sidebar). I'll post a final post here (on my blog) once the read-a-thon is over.

What I Hope To Read:

Since the read-a-thon doesn't start for a few weeks, I really don't know what I'll be reading, but I hope to read five of the following books (subject to change):

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review: Duchess by Susan May Warren (Litfuse Tour)

Duchess by Susan May Warren
Daughters of Fortune: Book Three
Summerside Press / 2013
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book:

When her country needs her, will she have the courage to surrender her glittering world and her one true love? 

The golden age of Hollywood is in the business of creating stars. Rosie Worth, now starlet Roxy Price, has found everything she's wanted in the glamour of the silver screen. With adoring fans and a studio-mogul husband, she's finally silenced the voices-and grief-of the past. Her future shines bright...until the fated Black Friday when it all comes crashing down. When Roxy loses everything, she finds herself disgraced and penniless. Her only hope is to join forces with Belgian duke Rolfe Van Horne, a longtime film investor. But Rolfe is not who he seems, and he has other plans for Roxy and her movies-plans to support a growing unrest in Europe, plans that could break her heart and endanger her life.

My rating:
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My thoughts:

I had a feeling going into Duchess that it would be a good read - I just didn't know how good. I loved this book so much and it is definitely a favorite of mine now. Wow, Susan May Warren definitely knows how to write a gripping story with a great message. Duchess had me feeling so many emotions and there were a few times I started crying because the story was so touching.

I loved the characters! Rolfe was such a great guy - I absolutely loved his character and would say he was my favorite from Duchess, though Rosie is a close second. I'm sad Duchess is the final book in the Daughters of Fortune series - I just don't want to say goodbye to them yet - but the ending was wonderful and wrapped things up very well.

The whole movie making aspect in Duchess was really interesting and I loved getting a glimpse into that world. I also really liked another part of the story, but I won't tell you what it is as I don't want to spoil it for future readers.

Duchess was a fantastic book and I completely loved reading it! If you enjoy books with drama, romance, intrigue, and a great message, I definitely recommend Duchess - just be sure to read Heiress and Baroness first or I think you'll be a little confused about some things (this is definitely a series best read in order).

*I received a complimentary copy of this book for my review. 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.*


Susan May Warren is celebrating the release of Duchess with a Kindle Fire HD Giveaway.

One "glam" winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle Fire HD
  • Signed copies of Duchess, Baroness and Heiress
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 4th. Winner will be announced on 5/7/13 at Susan's blog.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review: Desecration by Jennifer Hartz

Desecration by Jennifer Hartz
Future Savior Series: Book Four
Desert Breeze Publishing / 2012
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads

About the book:

Charis' latest time paradox has left me staggering. The history of Meric is being unraveled right before my eyes. While some unimaginable questions are being answered, even more start to creep up. Will we make it out of this place alive? Will we make it back to Meric in time to stop Leticia and save our friends? Will I ever marry Shaw, the man of my dreams? 

I guess only time holds the answers to these questions. Considering I'm not even in my own time, I'm not so sure anymore. One thing I do know is I never would have thought Meric's origins would have been in this place.

My rating:
My thoughts:

Desecration was a good dystopian/fantasy novel that I enjoyed reading. I loved getting to go back to Meric and continue Christina's and Shaw's journey - though the ending is another great cliffhanger that makes ya want to read the next book as soon as possible. ;)

I found it very interesting how in Desecration we learn a lot about the Guardians and what led to Meric. I was surprised by many things in the book and really liked not being able to guess how everything would turn out.

There were some things I didn't personally care for in Desecration. One of them was the heated scenes - there were a few that were just too much for me (especially the bathroom scene). The other thing I didn't like was some of the words used (i.e. "oh my G**", b*st*rd, etc.). Just my personal reading preference.

The characters were great. I already knew that I liked Shaw and Christina from reading the first three books in this series, but I also ended up liking Timothy very much. :)

Overall, I enjoyed reading Desecration. I recommend this book to mature readers who enjoy fantasy/dystopian novels with romance and don't mind some edginess. I'm looking forward to reading Revelation, the next book in Hartz's Future Savior series.

*I received a complimentary eBook copy of this book from the author for my review. 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.*

Friday, April 26, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up & 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.

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:

 photo 16117750_zps11366251.jpg

What I'm currently reading:

  What I hope to read next week:

Yes, I'm hoping (and going to really try) to read all of these books this coming week. We'll see if I can - it'll definitely be a challenge! :)

Reviews posted this week:

Giveaway Winner!

The winner is...


*Winner has claimed their prize

There you have it, that is what I'm reading this week! What about you?
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