Monday, December 31, 2012

January's Author of the Month

Welcome to 2013, all you fantabulous HCR lovers out there!

I hope you enjoyed my post for last months author...I personally think that author is the best. *wink*

I am SO totally excited to be featuring a very talented (and might I add hilarious and very faithful) author. Everybody, give it up for Margaret Brownley!!!!

When I discovered Margaret's books, I literally couldn't put them down.

Just sayin'...if you haven't read them yet then you are missing some great stories. I have reviews for all her "inspy" romances, so make sure you check those out as well!!!

Margaret has answered some fun questions for me, so I hope that you enjoy getting to know more about her!!

Also! If you want to be entered to win her new book, follow my blog (if you don't already...) and post this link on FB! You will have to leave me your email if you want to be notified of winning!!! Believe you me, you will want to win this'un!! (As you will see at the end of this post, there is ANOTHER different contest Margaret is doing, so make sure you read all the details to enter BOTH contests!!)


Tell us about yourself!  

First, let me say thank you, Amber, for inviting me to visit with your readers.
As for me, I was always a storyteller and constantly in trouble as a child for making up stories. The writer part was harder to acknowledge, partly because English was my least favorite subject.  My eighth grade teacher told me not to even think about being a writer. Diagram a sentence?  You gotta be kidding?

I might have spent the rest of my life scribbling in notebooks and writing amusing notes to my kids’ teachers had I not “volunteered” to edit my church newsletter. After I made the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, my former preacher took me aside and said, “Maybe God’s calling you to write fiction.”  And so that’s what I did.  I now have more than 25 novels to my credit, plus my first non-fiction book Grieving God’s Way: The Lasting Path to Hope and Healing was published in July.

On the personal side: My husband and I have three grown children.  As for hobbies, I like to herd cattle, chase down bad guys, and rob stages.  Wait at minute. That’s not me; that’s my characters!


What is your favorite novel of all time and why?

I don’t know that this was my favorite of all time, but the one that made a lasting impression on me was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I was around nine when I read it and it was the first book that made me cry. I wanted to be a writer like Jo March.

What is your favorite scripture in the Bible?

I have to say Mark 10:27: “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”  I gave you the King James’ version because that’s the Bible that’s handy in this historical writer’s office.

Your stories, are fun and fast paced! Where do you get your inspiration for your stories?

I get my ideas mostly from reading: An article in the National Enquirer about Avon ladies selling to Amazon natives inspired an older historical novel of mine.  I looked up Avon and discovered that the first Avon “lady” was a door-to-door book salesman.  He gave out perfume hoping to entice women to buy his books, but the perfume proved more popular.  Not only did this give me a great idea for a story but some good advice about what not to give away when promoting a book.  

The idea for my current Brides of Last Chance Ranch series came from the N.Y. Times archives:
In 1861 fifty ladies of the first Church of Milford in New York formed a society of old maids. It cost five dollars to join the group and members had to vow never to marry. The interest earned from the money paid for the annual dinner, with the principal going to the woman who remained unmarried the longest.

According to an article in the New York Times thirty years later in 1891 all but fifteen of the original fifty had married.  By then the prize money had risen to a thousand dollars.  I’ve not been able to find the winner’s name—and being a romantic I sincerely hope there wasn’t one— but the best part of being a writer is where real life fails, inspiration takes over.

www.margaretbrownley.com


How to Enter the HONK IF YOU LOVE BOOKS contest:
In WAITING FOR MORNING set in the Arizona Territory in 1896, Dr. Caleb Fairbanks introduces the residents of the Last Chance Ranch to his beloved "horseless carriage" named Bertha.  When Caleb and his backfiring Bertha incite gunfire from former dance hall girl, Molly Hatfield, the handsome doctor knows he's in for an adventure with the intriguing woman and her spirited wheelchair bound kid brother, Donny.
Share your memory of a car that played an important role in your life's story for a chance to win a $100 gas card. Email your story (no more than a couple of paragraphs) to contests@nancyberland.com.  Contests ends January 31.

Margaret, thank you SO much for being my author of the month--this is a real treat and I KNOW people are going to love this new novel as much as all your others. Thank you for following God's path and blessing us all with your talents.

God Bless and Happy New Year!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Snowflake Bride

Holy romantic tension, Batman!!

Book rating: Here a little, there a little

Ladies, let me tell ya, Jillian hart knows how to write a beautiful story. Her style is full of elegant prose, and like I said before, she can weave romantic tension worthy of Margaret Mitchell! The only thing I found to be a disappointment was the lack of excitement--which of course, being that I'm a drama queen, I must have in an HCR. *teehee*

And so, the absence of good old fashioned drama made the story drag s bit, which is the only reason I can't give it a higher rating. That being said, her other books like Calico Bride are loaded with excitement!!

In this sweet story, Ruby Ballard is looking for work to help her family's farm and serendipitously lands a job at the house of a man she's secretly in love with. Problem is, every girl in town is in love with the dashing Lorenzo and Ruby knows he will never be interested in a poor girl like her. (Can anyone say Cinderella?! That's what this story reminded me of...in a way...)

Lorenzo (hello! love that name!) is SO debonair! Love him! He has been in love with Ruby since he first laid eyes on her, but she will hardly give him the time of day. However, he won't give up that easily, and he strives through the course of the book to "win her heart"...little does he know he already has!

If you prefer a slower pace, this will be right up your alley. I did think the characters were fun and completely lovable. You could easily read this in a day (if your kids don't ever get hungry...) and you will be swooning your way through the book, believe you me.

Happy Reading!
Buy it! (kindle edition)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Doctor in Petticoats

"Is there a Doctor in the house?!" (Eh hem. I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself...)

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

Aw. My friends, you can't go wrong with a Connealy book. You just can't. I mean, every story is different, and some are better than others, but every one has something about it you can enjoy.

This story is fun, fast and fabulous! Beth McClellan (you'll remember her from Petticoat Ranch) has just gone to school to become a nurse, but she likes to consider herself a doctor--and she's good enough to be one. When she crosses paths with a man named Alex Buchanan--a man who's running from his past--her healing skills take on a whole new meaning.

The protagonists in this story are enjoyable--though different. One thing I liked about this was actually the questions at the end. So if you read this book, read the questions at the end--it will give you good food for thought. One of the questions deals with Alex and what a troubled character he is and why it is that so many women want to help troubled men. Very thought provoking...

Anyway, I did think Alex was a bit too needy of a leading man for me. I prefer the strong, stable type (although with the obligatory weaknesses, etc). And Beth was great too, but I had a bit of a hard time relating to her for some reason. But don't let that stop you from reading it!

The thing I liked most was the side story about another McClellan girl, Mandy. So fun! I can't wait for her story!

Grab your Winchester, and a cup of warm cocoa and enjoy the excitement!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A Home in Drayton Valley


There’s a Ned for every Nelly.

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

First of all, I want to thank Bethany House for sending me this book in exchange for my honest review. I always appreciate being a part of their blog tours.

As my opening comment suggests, there’s someone for everyone. In turn, I believe there is an author/book for every reader. Unfortunately, I do believe that Kim Vogel Sawyer and I are not a good match as far as reader/author are concerned. I have read only two of her other books, and even though I rated one pretty high, I think I am done reading her stories. But I don’t say that to discourage you. Because again, she might fit your style just swimmingly.

If you will read many of the other reviews about this book, you will find they are glowing. Honestly, I had a hard time finding many things that I liked about this book. But again, that’s just me I guess. And, I know you hear this from me all the time, but…I think I must have a serious disease when it comes to how I feel about a book’s cover… This cover didn’t help my preconceived notions about this story one iota. Of all the covers of HCR’s I’ve seen so far this is the one I liked the very least.

Tarsie Raines—the heroine in this story—loses her dearest friend on the way to Kansas and promises to care for her children…and her husband.  Pretty fun plot, although we’ve seen that before. Had the potential for fabulous romance. But for me it didn’t deliver. Tarsie wasn’t really a character that I enjoyed. She had a thick accent (as did many of the characters in this book) and for some reason that made me disconnect with her. I’ve read other books where characters had accents and it didn’t bother me, but her accent bothered me. I simply could not bond with her. I tried—I really did!

Also, the stories where mom’s die are always hard for me since I am a mom and the thought of dying when my kids are still so young is just too much for me, so that aspect I didn’t like. 

As for Joss—the leading man… how do I say this nicely…. I didn’t like him at all. He was coarse, and he drank a lot and didn’t care about his kids and was brash and mean at times... Yikes. For me, that’s not the kind of leading man I warm to. Of course, he turns around at the end, but for the most part I was discouraged at his behavior and it made me not care about what happened to him. Does that make sense? I understand that we like to see characters that are flawed, but in my opinion he was too flawed.

The gospel aspect of the story was strong, so if you are just looking for a great "historical christian" you may enjoy it.

I feel bad having to write such a review, but so it is.  If you have read any others of hers and love them, and think I ought to give it a try let me know! Otherwise, I will say "so long" to Vogel Sawyer.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cowboy Christmas




This book is better than any Hallmark Christmas movie!! And that’s sayin’ somethin’, cuz I love Hallmark Christmas movies.

Book Rating: Best of the Best

Annie Talbot has been given the gift of singing, and she uses it to spread the word of God. But, when the new leaders of the traveling missionary troupe want her to sing bawdy tunes and wear inappropriate clothing, she runs away—and just in time! However, she fears her father—whom she hasn’t heard from—won’t be happy to see her.

As far as leading ladies are concerned, Annie is great. But, this is how I typically feel about all of Connealy’s characters. She is strong-willed and sweet. She believes in Christ and is always striving to do what is right. What’s not to like? Though I must say, she is so determined to do things her way--even though it puts her in danger--at times I felt like strangling her.

Now, Elijah Walker, the leading man, is fabulous. I can say—in all honesty—that he is my favorite leading man from all of her books. He’s rugged and tough, but tender when he needs to be. He is humble and recognizes when he needs to change, and does it. Plus, he's drop-dead handsome. Wow. The perfect man. *teehee * When Eli crosses paths with Annie, he gets a lot more than he bargained for—in a good way.

One thing I enjoy about Connealy’s books is that there’s always a great villain—or at least the conflict is VERY strong. I love that! The more drama the better (most of the time). That’s what keeps me reading! I know something even more fabulous and more exciting is just a few pages away. No wonder Connealy has won so many awards. She knows what she’s doing!

The Christmas element of the story wasn’t very strong until the last quarter of the book, but it’s so worth it, and if you don’t get misty eyed at the end I’ll eat my hat.

(P.S. This is the kind of book cover I like. No faces. It's creative and cute, but doesn't take away from my own interpretation of the characters.*big cheesy grin*)

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Greatest Author


What is the best selling book of all time, and who is it’s author?

 If you said the Bible, and Jesus Christ--you are right! (OK, I know that prophets and other such men did the actual writing, but Christ is really the "author" wouldn't you agree?!)

Being that this is December, and the month where the world joyously focuses on the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, I thought it was only fitting to feature Him as the author of the month.

The book of Hebrews calls Christ the "author and finisher of our faith."

Our Savior is truly the greatest Author of all time. His writings bring such joy, comfort and peace that we should turn to the scriptures daily and feast upon His words. I love the quote, "When you want to speak to God, pray. If you want God to speak to you, read your scriptures."

Christ came to earth as an innocent child, to bring to pass the eternal life of man by dying for each of us. He suffered all things so we need not suffer. Through His atonement we are saved and “with his strips we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) I know that Christ knows us individually—He can help us in our trials because He already suffered what we now suffer. He can take us from the slums of sin into His glory if we will but trust in Him, and do His will. Again, in Hebrews 5:7 it says: He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.


Christ lived a perfect life—a life He asks us to emulate. Of course, we are imperfect and will always be sinners. But we can be perfect through Christ because of his sacrifice for us, and because of His love we can enjoy the blessings of a joyous eternity at the right hand of God.

Being a Christian isn’t easy. God requires a broken heart and a contrite spirit. He requires us to forgive “seventy times seven” and love all men no matter their wrongs against us. At times it feels as though the very jaws of hell have opened beneath us and we may fear that we are lost forever--but God is faithful. I have a testimony that Christ is always with us and will never leave us comfortless. John 16:33 is likely my favorite scripture (it’s hard to just pick one!). Christ says to us: In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

What greater comfort can we have then from God? He has overcome the world!

I know that Christ lives. I know He is the Word, the Great I Am. I know that “He came to earth, oh, wondrous plan/To suffer, bleed and die for man.” The story of His birth never ceases to bring tears to my eyes and warmth to my soul. God’s love for His children is without end—it is fathomless! I feel His love daily and I hope someday, to sing praises with the angel choirs in heaven— “Glory to God in the Highest!” I am humbled to the dust, knowing that the Author and finisher of my faith, is my eternal friend--my Savior.

I pray that you will feel His love this season, and that you may remember that Christ was born for you—He lived for you, and He died for you. He rose again on the third day, having conquered death and hell, and because of Him, we can live forever. Praise be to God!

I want to close this post with my favorite verse, of my favorite Christmas hymn, O Holy Night:


"Truly He taught us to love one another, 
His law is love and His gospel is peace. 
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother. 
And in his name all oppression shall cease. 
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, 
With all our hearts we praise His holy name. 
Christ is the Lord! Then ever, ever praise we, 
His power and glory ever more proclaim! 
His power and glory ever more proclaim!"




This is my prayer and my testimony. In His glorious name, amen.

Happy Reading and Merry Christmas!



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christmas Roses

Prepare to get all choked up...

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

I'm starting on my Christmas book reviews now and I'm loving it! This adorable holiday story written by Amanda Cabot will have you sniffling your way through the end. 

As with many HCR's, I began this book prepared for a great romance, but in that respect it didn't deliver. However, the end was SO dang-flippin' cute it more than made up for the slow parts. (No kisses in this story...it's a very clean, very sweet book that--in my opinion--you could have your daughter read. Which in fact, I believe could be said for all Cabot books. I have only read one other by her--Summer of Promise, but it too was very clean. For me, her style borders on unexciting, but the messages and just plain lovable characters make her stories enjoyable.)

Celia Anderson is a widow caring for a young daughter while running a boarding house in a small Wyoming town.  When Mark--a traveling carpenter--comes to town looking for his long-lost father, he needs a place to stay for just one night. Little did they both know how their serendipitous meeting was actually God working in their lives.

I must admit, my favorite part of this book is when Mark comes to find Christ and connects with Joseph (as in Mary and Joseph) and what he might have experienced with being called to be the Savior's "earthly" father. Mark wants to be a father to Celia's daughter (as well as a husband to Celia, of course!) but he isn't sure he can do it...you'll have to read the rest to find out how he comes to terms with it.  I have always LOVED thinking about Joseph and what he experienced and felt through the whole miraculous story of Christ's birth, and I was just thrilled to see that Cabot included that in this book.

A side note here...have you noticed the trend toward many characters/stories with a Swiss, Dutch or "the like" background? Celia had that heritage as well and I found it fascinating that it seems to be so popular. Other books such as the Blue Willow series by Brendan and the book I just reviewed by Miller...and I know there are other books that have characters from Holland, Norway, Switzerland, etc. Have you noticed that too?

Anyway back to this book...

The end will melt your little 'ol heart. I was so touched and I know you won't be able to escape the sticky sweetness...have a tissue ready!! When you read this one let me know what you think about it!!

*Thank you to Revell for providing this review copy to me for free.*

Happy Reading!


Friday, November 16, 2012

My Latest Top Ten...

Happy Friday!!

It's been a while since I have updated my TOP TEN and I thought it was about time. I have read so many wonderful novels lately (by some truly AMAZING authors) that I figured I better make a new list.

Here they are...in VERY particular order. *wink* Again, you can expect this list to change again in a few months when we finally get settled into our new house and I can get back to my regular reading schedule--I like to devour a new book every few days, but my addiction will have to go on the back burner for a while.

1. To Win Her Heart
2. A Bride Most Begrudging
3. A Heart Revealed
4. The Doctor's Lady
5.The Measure of a Lady
6. Within My Heart
7. The Colonel's Lady
8. Short-Straw Bride
9. Unending Devotion
10. A Hope Undaunted

I have a HUGE to-be-read pile. Here are just a few of the books that I will be reviewing in the next several months...in NO particular order. *wing again*

Cowboy Christmas, Mary Connealy
Wrangler in Petticoats, Mary Connealy
Sharpshooter in Petticoats, Mary Connealy
Doctor in Petticoats, Mary Connealy
A Home at Drayton Valley, Kim Vogel Sawyer
Christmas Roses, Amanda Cabot
Betrayal, Robin Lee Hatcher
Letter Perfect, Cathy Marie Hake
The Certain Spark, Cathy Marie Hake
The Silent Governess, Julie Klassen

So, tell me your top ten! What books will you read over and over again?!  Hope you have a great weekend and look for my review of Christmas Roses in the next few days!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Light in the Window

A pure joy!

Book Rating: Best of the Best

As I've mentioned before, I am a Lessman addict. All of her stories are heartwarming and truly uplifting. (Uh, not to mention ridiculously romantic and always filled with drool-worthy leading men.)

This lovely book was no different. A Light in the Window recounts the romance between Patrick O'Connor and Marceline Murphy. Now that I know how these two fabulous characters got together--and the faith and passion that fueled their lasting relationship--I totally want to go back and read the rest of Lessman's books over again!

Marcy is such a strong woman, and her faith is magnificent. She is a great example of trusting in the Lord and staying true to what you believe. (Have you noticed how I'm talking about her as if she's a real person?! That's what Lessman does--she makes these characters so dang real, you feel like you know them!) Marcy has been in love with a man named Sam O'Rourke for many years and he cares for her too--but his "passion" is very physical and Marcy isn't sure what to do... Enter, Patrick O'Connor. (Patrick and Sam are actually best friends...that's what makes this so awesome!!)

Patrick has got to be one of my favorites. His love for Marcy is so powerful that he changes who he is and turns from a well-known rogue to a strong follower of Christ. Not only is he good looking, he's sweet with children, and thinks about others before he thinks about himself. *Awww!* The ending totally made me teary!!

There are some great twists and turns, but over all, I just felt that this was a sweet, thoroughly enjoyable story and you won't be able to put it down. The spiritual message was lovely--Lessman has orchestrated another truly fabulous tale.

If you are looking for a perfect holiday themed HCR my friends, your search is over. This book is available now so if you haven't ordered it--what are you waiting for???!!! Snuggle up in your favorite spot with a nice warm cup of cocoa and enjoy!!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!


Friday, November 9, 2012

Stealing the Preacher

Holy Guacamole!!!!!

Ladies, I'm so excited about Karen's next book I think I'm gonna make a paper chain to count down the days before it comes out.

Here's a little blurb to whet your appetite!!


"On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can scarcely believe it when he's forced off the train by a retired outlaw and presented to the man's daughter as the minister she requested for her birthday. Worried this unfortunate detour will ruin his chances of finally serving a congregation of his own, Crockett is determined to escape. But when he finally gets away, he's haunted by the memory of the young woman he left behind--a woman whose dreams now hinge on him.

For months, Joanna Robbins prayed for a preacher. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. A man to help her discover answers to the questions that have been on her heart for so long. But just when it seems God has answered her prayers, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett to stay in her little backwoods community? And does the attraction between them have any chance of blossoming when Joanna's outlaw father is dead set against his daughter courting a preacher?"

Is that not totally exciting?!?!

The only thing that I'm not thrilled about is the people on the cover. I really wish the HCR market wouldn't use people's faces! I wonder why they do that. Does that bother anyone else?

Happy Reading!!
PS This book comes out June 1, 2013!!!!!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Who's the Happy Winner?!

Good morning, good morning!!! 

I am very pleased to announce that the winner of the drawing is:

Shan Hogan!!  Shan, I'm very excited for you and I know you will love her books!

Can't wait 'til next month ladies. Thank you to all who entered and thank you for your comments and following my site.

God bless you all and have a wonderful day!!

Happy Reading!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Promise to Love


I would categorize this book in the "mildly satisfying as far as romance is concerned" category.

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

As my opening statement suggests, I read this book looking forward to a great romance--cuz it had AH-MAZING potentiel, but in my opinion it fell short. Let me explain why...

Ingrid Larsen is looking for her brother who has disappeared into the lumber camps of Michigan. (This was a fact that I felt was not touched on too greatly for a large portion of the book actually...) She "crosses paths" with Joshua Hunter--a man who has just lost his wife and has been left with five children. She offers to marry him and whammo--they are husband and wife--and they don't even know each other! I was expecting there to be tons of great romantic tension, but I just didn't really feel it...bummer.

There is a lot of fun mystery and excitement surrounding Joshua's former wife's death. In fact at times I thought it was a bit creepy, but in the end I just felt plain sorry for the woman. I don't want to give too much away--but I wasn't clear on whether she had a condition that made her that way, or if she was just "bad." (You'll have to tell me what you think!)

Ingrid was a likable gal. However, the fact that she spoke such broken English made it difficult for me to connect with her for some reason. I also almost got this feeling that she was too strong and didn't really have any weaknesses. I like to see a heroine really growing in some way.

And Joshua, well, I liked him alright, but he wasn't the kind of hero that makes your knees go weak or anything. I had a hard time getting close to his character as well. Am I the only one that feels this way?

As for the spiritual aspect of things, I thought it was very nice and I found it uplifting and encouraging.

I do really like Miller's style and I thought she kept the action going and did an excellent job of keeping me hooked, but I just would have liked a lot more romance.

Happy Reading!
Buy It!

*Thank you to Revell for providing me with a free review copy*

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

November's Author of the Month: Julie Lessman


Greetings to all of my fellow HCR addicts! It's November, can you believe it? (I do know this is a few days early, but with  my personal schedule it was now or a few days late and I chose now...*big grin*)

October was wonderful and I LOVED having Stacy and Joanne in the spotlight. Please tell me you've read their stuff! Well, if you haven't yet, there's still time to repent... *just teasing!* They really are fabulous authors and they have more books in the works--yay for us!!

This month I am beyond excited to feature, the one, the only: JULIE LESSMAN!! As you know, I just recently read ALL of her books and I loved every single one. She is a dear, sweet lady with a hilarious sense of humor and a killer writing style! Her books will have you sucked in with the first sentence. No, I'm not just saying that--they really will. Along with creating living, breathing characters, her messages of faith and Christ are very inspiring!

(Now, all you readers may be wondering about the GIVEAWAY! Well, I am happy to say that I will be doing the drawing on NOV 8! So, if you want to be entered to WIN, please SHARE this post on FB, TWITTER or by FOLLOWING this blog!!! And you will RECEIVE 1 point for DOING each of those things for Julie's CONTEST!!! YAY!!! So, you MUST tell me what you did so that you can get all the points you deserve, whether it be 1, 2 or 3! Make sure when you include your email that it's a spam-free format, IE: historicalchristianreview(at)gmail(dot)come. You will love her books if you haven't read them and you'll want to be entered in her contest for sure!!)

I must try and reign in my excitement over this interview...down, Amber down. {teehee} Below, you will find her answers to my questions. Be prepared for a good time, y'all! This woman is 100% lovable!

Tell us about yourself! And please, include one fun/silly/unique fact that people may not already know!

Well, I’m a baby boomer (how’s that for side-stepping the age issue?) married to a man who makes me feel like I’m living my own personal romance novel. I have a 29-year-old son and a doctor daughter-in-law (for whom I prayed since my son was a baby) and a precious year-old granddaughter. I also have a 25-year-old daughter that just graduated from law school who hates to read (and, yes, it’s true—I paid her $20 just to read the first chapter of A Passion Most Pure. I’m happy to say it hooked her, and the rest of the books didn’t cost me a dime! ).

My romance-writing career began at the tender age of twelve when I read Gone With the Wind, after which I immediately sat down to begin my own novel, a 150-page, single-spaced manuscript that is actually the basis for my debut novel, A Passion Most Pure. I was SO hooked on romance after reading GWTW, that when I was in high school, I actually dressed up as a nun to go to a free showing for the local religious and clergy. One of my friends had a sister in the convent, so she loaned us novice habits and off we went! I sat there mesmerized, shoving free popcorn into my mouth as I watched the tug-o-war between Rhett and Scarlett. It was one of the most fun times of my teens … until we ran into the nuns from our high school! Whew, we got into trouble … but it was soooo worth it!

You have created SO many wonderful characters in your books. If you could BE any of the O'Connors who would you pick?

Uh-oh … probably Charity, because I’m pretty much a pistol just like her and, well, Mitch Dennehy happens to be my favorite hero of all those I’ve written—hubba, hubba! But to be honest, both Faith and Charity reflect my personality A LOT. Faith, the sister heroine of A Passion Most Pure, is my spiritual self and mirrors the intimate relationship I have with God. Like Faith, I talk and pray to Him as naturally as if He is my best friend (and He is!), but I also get angry with Him too. You might say that Faith and I are emotionally engaged with the God of the Universe—we laugh with Him, tear up at His goodness, and worship Him with all our hearts.

Charity, the sister heroine of Book 2, A Passion Redeemed, is my rebellious and “passionate” self, before I came to the Lord. You see, I was a wild child of the seventies, like so many of us today, and actually pulled many of the shenanigans that Charity pulls on Mitch in book 2. Hard as it may be for some people to believe, I absolutely LOVE Charity (just like I loved Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind), maybe because she is so wonderfully flawed and needy of love, not unlike I used to be before Christ. In fact when my husband read A Passion Redeemed, I was shocked to discover that he didn’t like Charity AT ALL. The poor guy—I didn’t have the heart to tell him he’s been married to her for over 34 years, although clearly without the looks!

The romance in your stories is THE BEST! Where do you get the inspiration for the romance (and awesome kisses *wink*) in your books?

HA! I keep a picture of my hubby when we were married right next to where I write, and let me tell you, that’s pretty darn inspiring!! But I think I was always meant to be a romance writer because as a little girl, I used to sneak downstairs to watch romantic movies after my parents went to bed, totally enamored with the idea of romance and falling in love. I thrived on wonderfully romantic old movies like Kisses for Breakfast, Pillow to Post, and Susan Slept Here, That Touch of Mink, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and my all-time favorite, Gone With the Wind.

Initially my inspiration was Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara, because from the moment I read Gone With the Wind, I was hooked on romance. So much so that as I said before, I immediately set out to write (along with thousands of other love-struck young girls, I’m sure), what I hoped would be “the great American novel.” Obviously my dreams of grandeur didn’t go anywhere, but in 2001, I was sitting in a beauty shop reading a Newsweek cover article about how Christian books, movies and music were on the threshold of exploding. Something in my spirit said, “Now is the time to finish your book,” so I started it the next month. Hard to believe that almost forty years passed before God breathed new life into that early attempt and inspired me to finish my childhood novel of passion—only this time the “passion” would be for Him!

I have been so inspired by the Christian messages you include in your books and it's obvious you have a strong love of Christ. What is your favorite Bible story/scripture?

Well, when you’re a hyper CDQ (caffeinated drama queen), you tend to have LOTS of favorite Scriptures because frankly you need them to hold you up! But as far as being a writer, my favorite would have to be 2 Corinthians ll:3: Do not let my mind “be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

Why? Because I wish I’d known what an emotional roller-coaster it was going to be AFTER I got published. Like a lot of unpublished writers, I thought all the anxiety and self-doubt would dissipate after I signed on the dotted line. I mean that would validate me, right? Give me confidence as a writer? But I discovered (AGAIN!) that true confidence is not in accolades from your editor or a really good review, but instead in where your heart is with God. HE is my confidence when my sales rankings on Amazon.com are high or low, which is why I CLING to this Scripture and many others.

Any final words?

Thanks, Amber, for allowing me to connect with your readers. I LOVE to hear from reader friends, so if they like, they can contact me through my website at http://www.julielessman.com, either by sending an e-mail via my site or by signing up for my newsletter at http://www.julielessman.com/sign-up-for-newsletter/. My newsletter is chock-full of fun info on my books and there’s always a contest featuring signed book giveaways including two right now to win a Kindle Fire or have a character named after you or a loved one in my next book. Contest details can be found at http://www.julielessman.com/contest/. Also, I have a cool feature on my website called “Journal Jots” at http://www.julielessman.com/journal-jots1/, which is a very laid-back, Friday journal to my reader friends that would give your readers an idea as to my relaxed style of writing. Or readers can check out my favorite romantic and spiritual scenes from each of my books on the “Excerpts” tab of my website at http://www.julielessman.com/excerpts/. Finally, I can be found daily at The Seekers blog at http://seekerville.blogspot.com/, a group blog devoted to encouraging and helping aspiring writers on the road to publication.

Hugs,
Julie


Was that not AMAZING?! Oh, Julie, I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to do this! I have truly loved getting to know you, and I know that God is working through you to bless people's lives, because I know you have blessed mine. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world!

Now, all you readers may be wondering about the GIVEAWAY! Well, I am happy to say that I will be doing the drawing on NOV 8! So, please comment below--and tell us your FAVORITE Lessman character --and leave your email address if you want to be entered to WIN!!!

And lastly, Lessman's ebook A LIGHT IN THE WINDOW comes out this month as well!! I cannot wait for that! So, if you are like me and are chomping at the bit for another awesome Lessman story you are in luck! Check out her website at http://www.julielessman.com/ for more details and exciting giveaways such as a Kindle Fire, having a character named after you in Julie's next book, $50 and $20 gift cards, and free books!!


God Bless all you wonderful ladies out there, and HAPPY READING!!






Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Heart Revealed


Wowy-kazowy!

This book is now in my top ten!!!

Book Rating: Best of the Best

I was not at all prepared to be so totally consumed, and truly LOVE this book as much as I do. (Somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I hear a second grader sneering, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it?” Very funny, Joey. Very funny.)

There are many reasons why I will certainly be re-reading this book, but one major reason stands out above the rest. And her name is Emma Malloy.

Emma is SO wonderful and I could not love her more. She is by far my very favorite heroine out of all of Lessman’s books. Her strength, faith and unending devotion are traits I would love to emulate. She has quite a haunting past, (so does Sean...) but she holds herself with grace despite it all. Oh! And the way her relationship with Sean develops is absolutely, heart-meltingly delectable!

Now, speaking of Sean…to me, he is just as amazing, and ranks up there with Luke. I may be a bit prejudice, because his personality is very much like my husband's, so I couldn’t help but like him, right?!  *teehee * Sean is a very manly man—I just swoon at how he loves Emma! Ah! Holy cow. I think I’m gonna re-read this again starting tonight.

I have to say something really quickly about Luke since I mentioned him earlier... You better have your smelling salts on-hand because, believe it or not, he just gets more scrumptious and you will likely faint from his all-consuming deliciousness. (You didn’t think it was even possible for him to be more yummy, did you? Oh, it’s possible!)

The other inter-twining stories are also just as wonderful. I mean, all of it. Totally fabulous. Need I say more?! I don’t think so. If you haven’t read it, please do yourself a favor, will ya? Buy it, borrow it, whatever you please, but Marvin K. Mooney will you please read it now?! *teehee *

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Hope Undaunted


*tap, tap, tap * Is this mic on? I’d like to dedicate this song to Luke McGee. “You make me feel/ You make me feel/ You make me feel like a na-tu-ral woman. Wom-a-a-an.”

Get your towels ready, ladies. Luke is 100% delicious.

Book Rating: Best of the Best

Seriously. Best of the best. I loved this book from beginning to end.

Now, if you’ve read all these books then you are familiar with all these lovely characters and know their histories. It would be hard to pick this up and read it, expecting it to make sense, if you haven’t already enjoyed the first three.

Katie O’Connor is the heroine here and honestly, I had a bit of a hard time liking her at the beginning since she is SO stubborn, but... she really grew on me and I loved her by the end. (Speaking of the end, in my opinion this was the BEST ending of all her books.)

Luke McGee was a character you came to know in the last book as Cluny. He was only a kid in that one, but “he’s all growed up” and gals, he’s a hunka-munka!! I totally fell in love and I will be surprised if you don’t swoon all over him like everyone else does. *wink * I wish I could write a 20 page essay on this guy, because there is so much depth to his character, and I LOVED everything about him. He is devoted, caring, sweet, gentle, kind, tough, rugged, manly—not to mention H-O-T! (I like to think about him looking a bit like Chris Evans of Captain America fame. Yum!)

Katie and Luke knew each other as kids and had a playful love/hate relationship. Mostly hate. But, now that they are older they can’t deny the chemistry. The problem is, Katie is in love with Jack and Luke doesn’t want anything do with her. But that’s all about to change!

ALL of Lessman’s books are wonderful and I can’t wait for you to enjoy them like I do. Her messages of Christ and faith are always uplifting and I know you will feel the desire to be more like our Savior and share His love when you read these stories.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Twice Promised


This novel is very cute, but you wanna know what I liked the most? The title! (And as a side note, I very much dislike “faces” on the covers of books, but I really thought this girl looked like how they describe her in the story. Very pretty.)

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

I just really, really love the title of this book! TWICE PROMISED. Perfect!

This story comes right after DEEPLY DEVOTED and in that book you became acquainted with Greta Olsen, the lovely young sister of Catherine Olsen. (I have a feeling Anna’s story will be next, but I could be wrong. She’s the youngest sister by the way…*wink *)

Greta was madly in love with a man named Bryan in the previous story, but at the beginning of this book we find out that he died. Very sad. Greta saw how well the mail-order-bride thing worked out for her sister, so she gives it a try herself. Little does she know there is another woman who's come to Central City, Colorado to marry the same man! And, she knows even “littler” than that, that the man she came to marry is the brother of the man she just lost! Hooo! Crazy, huh?

I thought this story was just plain cute. I can’t think of any other word that describes it as well. You actually get to follow two couples as they fall in love—the more romance the better, right? That being said, I thought the actual romance was a bit slow at times and for some reason I had a hard time becoming very attached to the characters as adorable as they were.

Jess (the main leading man…Zach was the other one, but I won’t go into detail on him) just didn’t do it for me. I know that all leading men can’t be the same or these books would get real boring, real fast (or would they?…hmmm…Drew O’Connor…). Eh hem. I digress. There wasn’t much about him that I found appealing. I think Brendan wanted to describe how much he needed a woman’s influence in his life, but for me he came across as messy, forgetful and disorganized. So, that was a bit of a disappointment, but wasn't a complete turn-off.

Overall, very enjoyable read and I do recommend it.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

*Thank you to Revell for the free review copy*

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Passion Denied


I liked this book for different reasons than you may think...

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

You will never read a Lessman book and be disappointed. Never. Her stories are well crafted and the romance to die for.

For some reason, this story’s main characters just didn’t do it for me. But, because I was invested in them—after getting to know them through the other books—I kept reading. And so, even though the main thread of the story wasn’t as enticing as the others, I kept on reading because, like I said, these people are family now! I gotta see what happens next! I wanted to find out what would happen with Charity and Faith, etc. (I love Charity to death now, by the way...) It was the sub-plots of the story that actually drew me in the most. I really couldn't get enough!

Lizze has been head over heels for John Brady for many moons. But, she fears he will never see her an anything more than his little buddy. So she tries to move on…but it’s almost impossible for her to forget her one true love. As for Brady, he knows that his feelings for her are growing, but for both of their sakes (he’s hiding something major), he keeps tries to keep things platonic. Good luck with that, Brady. *snicker *

Talk about drama. There is TONS of delicious drama in this novel. You will be on pins and needles until the last few pages!!

I read this so dang fast. In fact, my mother-in-law swiped it from me when I was only a few chapters in and I had to wait until she was done to finish it! But, that was OK because she was done in a few days, she loved it that much! Yep, just goes to show you won’t be able to put it down. Guaranteed.

Happy Reading!
Buy it! 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Love Surrendered


This is an excellent romance. Just remember: do as I say, not as I do.

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

Allow me to let you in on a little secret. This was Lessman’s last book about the O’Connor family and I broke a cardinal rule. Again. I read this book first! Bad idea. As much as I loved it, it was confusing to me because I had no idea who all the characters were, etc.

So, that’s why I’m telling you to do as I say, not as I do.
*cheesy grin * You really need to read these books in order. I promise they will just get better and better, and the stories will make more sense to you when you understand the family dynamics, and so forth. Some series books you can read out of order, but in my opinion you can’t with these.

I love the “pure passion” in all of Lessman’s stories. You will devour all the romance, but it never goes too far which is wonderful. The messages in this story were strong and very clear to me, and I enjoyed that a lot. Now a’days people don’t often think about the importance of purity before marriage, but in Lessman’s books I find that to be a continuing theme and I really appreciate that.

Annie Kennedy is a sweet and innocent young girl who almost gets sucked into the wrong crowd. But the O’Connor family helps her stay close to Christ. Steven O’Connor (who has been a naughty boy in younger days) is falling for her, but a HUGE secret might keep them apart.

In this story, as I mentioned in my review of A PASSION MOST PURE, the leading man had a VERY serious relationship with Annie's sister...and then he goes and falls in love with Annie. To me, it was a bit uncomfortable, but in the end it wasn't so bad. But wow, this story really kept me guessing until the last few pages.

As far as leading men go, Steven really didn't make me swoon. It's hard to put a finger on why, but let's just say I wasn't crazy about him and I didn't care too much for the way he treated Annie even though he didn't really treat her badly... Anyway, what did you think of him?

I liked this book a lot and honestly (now that I’ve read the first three Lessman books) I will go back and read it again (after I read the next two books…) because I understand who all the characters are and I know it will make more sense.

In the end, you will be very sad to finish this story. I am SO attached to all these characters and I hate to see a great series come to a close. But c’est la vie. You can go back and read them over and over if you didn’t feel like you got a good fill. I imagine that I will do just that…these people are like family now! *wink *

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

*Thank you to Revell for the free review copy*

Sunday, September 30, 2012

October's Authors of the Month: Stacy Henrie and Joanne Bischof


 Welcome to October, all you lovely ladies out there! September was wonderful and I LOVED featuring Jody Hedlund. She is a doll. I hope that you have already read her new book UNENDING DEVOTION at least three times, because it really is that wonderful!!

One of the blessings of having my blog, is that I get to "meet" new people who truly enrich my life--and that's how I feel about the ladies I am spotlighting this month.

For October, I am featuring TWO new and TOTALLY wonderful authors!  I am thrilled to introduce to you (if you don't already know them) Stacy Henrie and Joanne Bischof! (This is where we stand up, cheer, whistle and clap until our hands hurt!!!) I have read both LADY OUTLAW and BE STILL MY SOUL, and each story is wonderful and uplifting. If you haven't read them go out and yourself a copy of each ASAP! *teehee*

So, here you go, you awesome HRC fans! Here's my questions for these ladies and their FUN answers.
Also, BOTH authors has been sweet enough to offer to do a book GIVEAWAY! If you want to be entered to win, please comment and TELL ME what you liked most about these interviews, and please remember to include your email address. The drawing will take place ONE WEEK from tomorrow (Oct 8th). I'm very excited to see what you all have to say!


STACY HENRIE~



First, give us the low-down on Stacy Henrie: (Tell us about you, and include something fun and funky...if you want! :)

My husband and I have been married 11 years, last month - we actually met in high school, though we weren’t boyfriend/girlfriend. By the time we married, we’d known each other seven years. Which is probably why my heroes and heroines seem to always start out as good friends! J I’m a stay-at-home mom to our three children - two boys and a girl.

I’m a California-native, but I’ve lived in Utah most of my life. If I could live anywhere, I’d probably say England. I’ve always had a fascination with the British Isles. It was actually on a trip to England, before I got married, that I got my first story idea!

In addition to writing and reading, I love digital scrapbooking, interior decorating and singing. I also enjoy acting and ballroom dancing, though I haven’t done either in years! J I have a fear of heights and sharks, and I can’t talk or read about blood without getting sick. (Though I just made it through typing that sentence okay, so that’s a victory!)

I’ve always liked history and reading historical fiction, so it’s only natural that I like to live out those “olden days” through my characters! My favorite historical time period is the 19th century, though with writing my new WWI series, the early 20th century is really growing on me. I’m a Downton Abbey fan and wish January would hurry up and get here already so I know what’s going to happen next!

I’m a chocoholic! If a dessert doesn’t have some kind of chocolate in it, then it’s not really dessert, in my opinion.  I’m not a big candy person, though. However, I recently discovered Dove dark chocolates and it’s definitely challenged my whole candy philosophy.


How long had you known you wanted to be a writer?

As an 11-year-old, I wrote in my journal that one of the things I wanted to accomplish in my life was to write and publish a book. I wrote poems, started some stories and wrote a 50-page novella. But it wasn’t until a couple months after my oldest son was born that I got serious about writing.

LADY OUTLAW is my first published book. I also have a three-book, WWI series coming out with Grand Central Publishing in 2014. 


Tell us your favorite things about Jennie and Caleb! What did you enjoy most about them when writing your book?

Jennie and Caleb’s romance was so fun to write because they’re both struggling to overcome and forgive the past, and it’s through helping each other that they are able to do this.

Caleb didn’t always have the tragic past that he does now, but once I added that element, I loved him so much more! He can be a tease and has a fairly laid-back personality, similar to my husband.

Jennie, on the other hand, is quieter until one gets to know her, but she loves to banter with those she knows well - she and I are alike in those two respects. J I love Jennie’s independence and bravery. It was fun giving the typical outlaw tale a twist with a female outlaw, but I also love Jennie’s journey back to a life of honesty and hope.

I liked exploring the idea of what would make one desperate enough to turn to outlawing, but on the flip side, how things - like land or wealth - are not what matters most in life. In the end both Jennie and Caleb give up something they thought they wanted/needed for the other, which shows their growth and love for each other.



What is your favorite scripture story?

It’s hard to pick just one! The one that comes to mind right away, though, is when Jesus heals the woman who’d been sick for 12 years. I love how she had such complete faith, that despite all she’d been through and the lack of a cure, she just knew that if she touched the hem of Jesus’s garment she’d be totally healed. And she was. Her faith is the kind of complete faith I want to have in my Savior.




JOANNE BISCHOF~ 



First, tell us about you! (You can include something fun/silly if you want.:)

I'm one part writer, one part homeschooling mommy and one part domestic arts nerd. My husband and I joke that he's the mathematician and I'm the mess maker. We're a good fit and while he balances the check book, I'm usually in the kitchen, stirring something up with flour or at the table doing a craft of some sort. The kids and I have so much fun spending our time together working in the garden or reading books and when I'm not writing, I absolutely love to be with my family.



What do you love most about this genre of book?

I love historical romance because of the added element of suspense that it lends to romance. Culture was so different back then. Rules had to be followed. I think of Stacy's book, Lady Outlaw, a heroine who's an outlaw is absolutely fascinating. With Be Still My Soul, a goodnight kiss gone wrong results in a shotgun wedding. If these stories happened today, they probably wouldn't have been such a scandal. But historically speaking, honor, decorum and manners adds a whole other element to a love story. The setting or time period is almost a character of its own. I think that's what makes writing historical romance so fun!


Tell us how you came up with the idea for your story!! What did you like best about writing it?

I really wanted to show how love can blossom even between two very mismatched people. Even when all hope seemed lost. I absolutely love to write about redemption. Taking someone like Gideon, who is an unlikely hero, and show his growth through the story--his grown that makes him taking strides toward becoming a man to deserve Lonnie, was a challenge. I hope readers will see in this story that hope is never lost and that the seemingly impossible is unattainable when God works in a life.



What is your favorite story in the Bible?


This might not qualify as a story, but it's what comes to mind. Ephesians 4:28 is one of my absolute favorites. "Let him who stole, steal no longer, but rather, let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need."

I learned this verse while walking the amazing path of redemption with my husband. He was saved just over a year ago and it's been a miraculous time in our marriage. So many blessings, including the birth of our third child. This verse is a constant reminder that change can always happen, but that it is a choice, an action...and it's work. When men and women rise up, and with God's help, decide to make the right choice, grow, become a person that both honors God and their family, it's one of the most awing events.



~~~

Wasn't that fun?! I love these ladies, and I have had a wonderful time communicating with them. I thank you both--Stacy and Joanne--for letting me spotlight you!!  God Bless you!!

Happy Reading!

A Passion Redeemed


Two things happened to me when I read this book. First, I fell madly in love with Mitch Dennehy. Second, my self-esteem reached record lows after reading about how flippin’ gorgeous Charity O’Connor is. Don’t worry, I’ve found a good counselor... *wink *

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

This is the second book in the mega-saga known as The Daughters of Boston. Holy cow. I can see why everyone likes these books so much. I feel like I’ve been sucked into a clean/uplifting kind of soap opera and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen next!!

Charity O’Connor is the star of this lovely book. (‘member her? She’s the one I wanted to feed poison to after book one. *teehee * But, she has grown on me in a good way and I'm really beginning to like her.) She is sure that Mitch is the man for her—but Mitch is not so convinced. (She gets him in the end though, don’t worry.)

Speaking of Mitch…he will leave you breathless, ladies, so just be prepared. If you read book one then you are already familiar with his total and complete masculine dreaminess. And you will get your fill here, so be sure to enjoy every juicy (and I mean juicy!) morsel.

Mitch loves God and wants to make sure he is following His will for him. Charity on the other hand, has a ways to travel before her testimony is strong. But her journey is very good, and I have a feeling she will be growing even more as the books continue.

I do want to say something about a serious issue that is addressed in the book that hit close to home for me and it may do the same for you, so I wanted to make you aware. Charity was sexually abused as a child, and I was a bit surprised to find that out. This is a BIG issue for Charity to deal with (as it is for anyone who has suffered such abuse) and Lessman handled it well.

The romance is great, as always!! Also, the spiritual messages were SO enlightening.

Again, a fabulous story and I imagine that you will have a hard time putting it down. I did!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!




Monday, September 24, 2012

A Passion Most Pure


Only one word comes to mind. Epic!

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

Everyone has been telling me I gotta read Julie Lessman. And finally, I finished her first novel! Literally, I stayed up all night. (Well, OK maybe just until midnight…a mom’s gotta have a few hours of sleep, right. *wink *)

First of all, I’m a big fan of Boston, MA so that was a winner for me right there. Lessman’s style is very easy to read and downright beautiful. She adds just enough detail to make it come alive, but you don’t feel bogged down with unneeded fluff.

In this story Faith O’Connor is trying to deal with an unrequited love, so to speak. She has been head over heals for Collin McGuire for many years. But, as luck would have it, he’s in love with her sister. Say, what? (Yes, now, for me this was S-uper weird, and apparently, this is a theme in Lessman’s books because I also just read her latest book A LOVE SURRENDERED…review coming Oct 1, just FYI…and it was the same thing in that story. Only, that one was even more crazy if you can believe it. Personally, I do not think that I could kiss someone that my sister kisses all the time. And I mean "kisses" because both relationships Faith and Charity/Collin are going on at the same time. I’m sure it happens…like I say, that’s just a personal thing and it was weird for me.)

Anyway, back to the book. Faith is a strong Irish girl and her faith in God is wonderful. She tries to get Collin to turn his life to Jesus, but he won’t, and her grief is complete.

Collin is determined to marry Charity except—he’s not really sure he loves her because he has growing feelings for Faith that he never thought he would have. AHHHHH! Those emotions play with poor little Faith and everything just gets more intense as the book goes on.

Speaking of Charity. Wow. That girl is pure, unadulterated EVIL! I don’t like to use this word, but seriously, I hated her. I really did. The next book in the series is about her, and I just don’t know if I can read it. PLEASE, please tell me she changes. Some one please tell me she finds Christ and becomes a nice person, so I can read the next story!!

There is really SO much that happens in this book that it’s impossible to explain it all. Needless to say, it has a happy ending and leaves you hanging for the next one.

This book doesn’t really follow traditional HCR fashion, in that, you will read from MANY character’s POV. For me, this wasn’t really a bad thing, but I didn’t love it either. Because I spent so much time in other people’s heads (the parents, and others…) I didn’t really feel myself understanding the main characters as well as I would have liked. So, for that reason alone, I cannot give it my highest rating.

The passion really is totally awesome. I loved it. I plan on staying up until midnight (or later if I’m feeling daring) reading the rest of her books.

So, long story short (no pun intended…) I love Lessman, and I loved this book. If you haven’t read her stuff, you’ll want to put it at the top of your to-be-read list, ladies!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beauty for Ashes

Oh man. This is a tough review to write...

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

I really thought this book would be a winner. Unfortunately, I couldn't like it.

Carrie Daly is a young widow--her husband died at the Battle of Shiloh. She's trying to move on with her life although there's an emptiness that surrounds her. As far as leading ladies go, I really hate to say it, but she is one of my least favorites.  First of all, I had a hard time remembering she was a widow--because she hardly talked or thought about her deceased husband at all, whether she liked or didn't like him, missed or didn't miss him. Either way, I didn't get much of a sense of her feelings about it, so in that respect she wasn't established well. And she seemed to move aimlessly through the book without a real established conflict/goal, etc.

Also, there was A LOT of contention between characters many of the characters. Carrie's brother Henry marries at the beginning of the book, and the woman he marries is also a widow who has two boys. *huff* If there is anything that really gets my goat, it's very naughty children who's parents do not discipline them! That's exactly what happens with those boys (arg!), and they do so many bad things, I literally could not stand it!  Sorry, I may be getting carried away, but really--their behavior caused a lot of anxiety for many of the characters and that was a bit of a problem for me. (understatement!)

Griff Rutledge, the leading man, was an honest fellow and a good guy, but I didn't feel like he was in the book a whole lot. I would have liked to see more interaction between the two main characters. This lack of interaction, for me, made the romance pretty "blah".

The spiritual nature of the book was the one very good thing. I enjoyed the references to Christ, scriptures, etc. It was indeed inspiring in that respect, so if you read it for no other reason than that, you won't be sorry.

I really don't like writing reviews that are not glowing, but I find that the more of these that I read, the more particular I get. Do you find that happens to you?

Anyway, if you read this book--let me know what you think. I may be off-base here, so tell me what your opinion about the story is.


Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wooing the Schoolmarm


Here is another lovely LIH, m’ladies. Dorothy Clark is a great author. I think I will read all her books from here on out.

Book Rating: Up All Night’er

Willa Wright has sworn off men. But, when the new Reverend shows up in town, he sets her heart a’flutter. Will she be able to trust again, and can Reverend Matthew Calvert deal with his new life’s challenges, while trying to make the charming (but cold) schoolmarm fall in love with him?

Well, you’ll just have to read to find out!  *teehee *

This story was a quick, very enjoyable read. All LIH books get to the meat of things right-off, so you never have to wonder when the leading man and leading lady will finally meet or when they will start feeling attracted to each other. It happens in the first chapter. Yay!

Willa is a sweet girl, who hasn’t had many great “men” examples in her life. She works hard and keeps her life in strict order—promising herself never to open her heart again. I found Willa to be a lovable very enjoyable character. But, sheesh, her friend Ellen was a piece of work! Let me know what you thought about Ellen if you’ve read the book…

Matthew Calvert is a leading man anyone can love. Aside from his good looks and spiritual nature, he is caring for his niece and nephew after the death of their parents and the way he loves them is enough to melt anyone’s heart!

The romantic tension was strong, but I wouldn’t say this story was necessarily dripping with romance. However, I do recommend it.

Through the book Willa gains a stronger testimony of God, and I enjoyed seeing her faith in Him grow.

Let me know what you think about this one, y’all!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Me + video review = epic fail (LOL)

So...I totally deleted the video review because it was terrible. Thanks for the suggestions, but it was painfully obvious that I am not good on camera. You can all be relieved, knowing I will never do another one. *LOL*

Sorry to all of you who had to watch it and thank you for not giving up on my blog due to a momentary lapse in judgement.

Look for more mind-blowing reviews coming soon!

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Deeply Devoted



Yay! A Maggie Brendan book I can recommend!! (Not that I didn't really recommend JEWEL OF HIS HEART, but I just didn't care for it as much as I enjoyed this one.

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

This is the first book in a great new series--The Blue Willow Brides. Catharine and her two sisters are coming from Amsterdam because Catharine has answered a "mail-order-bride thing-a-ma-jig". Peter, the leading man, is a bit surprised that Catharine didn't mention in her letters that she was bringing her sisters and it makes him wonder if he's done the right thing marrying someone he's never met--if maybe she is hiding anything else...hmmmmmm....

Needless to say, there are some struggles between the two main characters, but it all works out very nicely in the end, of course. *teehee* I thought the romantic elements were first-rate, so I can't imagine you'll be disappointed in that way.

The sub plot...I couldn't like it. The mother/son relationship was just weird to me...I actually had to skim it all. But the rest of the book is really worth it and my faith in Brendan's books has been renewed thanks to DEEPLY DEVOTED, so you can look for a review of her next book TWICE PROMISED, sometime in Oct.

Let me know what you think of this book if you've read it and if you like Maggie's style.

Happy Reading!!
Buy it!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Who's the happy winner?!

Good Morning everyone!

First, thank you to ALL of you that entered the drawing! Its always wonderful to have you stop by and read about each new featured author--and as a bonus of course, enter to win!

Well, I just did the drawing and DEBBIE is the happy winner!!

Please come by next month, all of you--I will be featuring TWO new authors and I believe each of them will be doing a giveaway!!!! YAY!

God Bless you this wonderful weekend.

Happy Reading!!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Love's Reckoning


The Amber Perry before LOVE’S RECKONING, and the Amber Perry after, are two different people. Still lovable and charming, mind you *wink *—but different. 

Book Rating: Best of the Best

I’m a big fan of Laura Frantz--her writing is exquisite! The world she creates with her words is purely enchanting. Julie Lessman has a quote on the back of the book, stating that LOVE’S RECKONING is truly epic and I could not agree more! 

This novel reads like a Dickens (amazing prose!) with the heart-wrenching power of JANE EYRE. It reminded me a bit of WUTHERING HEIGHTS as well, only with a much happier ending...and a way better leading man and lady. *teehee*

If you are not familiar with “old” language you might find this book a bit difficult at first. Personally, I like it, so it didn’t bother me. However, there’s a lot of “tis” and “twas” and such throughout the story, so if you are unfamiliar with that kind of thing it may take you a while to get used to it. But, I plead with you, do not let that sway you away from enjoying this book--because there really is so much to enjoy.

I want to start off with talking about Silas Ballantyne. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. He is 100% towel-worthy. (Meaning you’ll be drooling severely over him. Just like you did with Red Shirt in COURTING MORROW LITTLE.) This is my opinion, but Silas is Frantz's best leading man so far!  Who can’t like a Scot! Hello—romantic!

A blacksmith by trade, Silas comes to York County to work for Leige Lee. Lee happens to have two lovely daughters, Elspeth and Eden. I don’t want to give too much away, but Elspeth is pure evil, and as my little brother use to say, she's in "big trouble spanking". Excuse my language, but likely you'll want to wring her pretty little neck by the end of the book. Eden on the other hand is sweet, kind and innocent.

Eden Rose Lee (beautiful name!) is a great leading woman. She’s unique in that she’s not the fiery, strong-willed, out-spoken leading lady that we see so often in these stories. (Those ladies are great, don’t get me wrong.) Eden’s quiet nature was endearing--I truly loved her. Did I mention she’s also amazingly gorgeous? She and Silas make a great pair!!

The love affair between Silas and Eden is heart-wrenching and heart-warming all at the same time. I am sure I will be reading this book again. Probably starting tonight...

I don’t want to forget the spiritual message! It’s wonderful, and Frantz's use of scripture is beautiful!

Be prepared for the twists and turns. You’ll lose sleep, because you’ll read it all night, so just be ready. *teehee *

Congratulations, Laura on another winner!!!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

*Thank you to Revell for the free review copy*