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!


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.


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*

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I forgot!

Just FYI:

The DRAWING for the BOOK GIVEAWAY will be one week from today! That way people can have a good chance to enter!

Sorry I didn't put that in the previous post!

Happy Reading!