Thursday, February 28, 2013

March's Author of the Month

Happy Friday!!

Can you believe we are already running headlong into the third month of the year?! WOW!

Well, February was wonderful and I hope you were able to become more acquainted with Amanda Cabot. She is so sweet, and fun and VERY talented! It was an honor to feature her last month.

As for March...drum roll, please. Ladies, hold on to your seats, because this month we are featuring the one, the only--
MARY CONNEALY!!! AHHHHH!!!!! I know!! Isn't it great?

I have read loads of Mary's books and every one of them has captured my imagination within the first few pages. There are still more I need to read, and I CAN'T WAIT!!

It's a thrill and an honor to have Mary on my blog this month! Here is the interview, ladies! Enjoy!!

Tell us about yourself! Please include something unique/funny that people may not already know. *big grin*

I just had my 24th book release, which is unbelievable to me. I write romantic comedy…with cowboys and the publishers seem to keep wanting more of them. I’m the mother of four adult daughters and grandma to two. I live on a farm/ranch in Nebraska with my very own romantic cowboy hero.
Unique and/or funny? I remember as a teenager a good friend of mine, Leslie and I used to always joke around about how AVERAGE we are. We were middle of the road grades, not bad just average. Moderately good at sports. Not awful, but we weren’t gonna start varsity. Medium popularity…everything was average. We weren’t even DEAD middle, because it would be odd to be THAT average, so a few A Grades. An occasional toe onto the volleyball court. We laughed about it, but we thought it was really true.
I’ve lost contact with her now, mostly but she’s got a doctorate and teaches at a university—after almost not going to college, and I’m a published author. So we did okay for a couple of average chicks.

The humor in your books is fabulous! Have you always had a "silly" side? 

I don’t know about silly, I think sarcastic is more like it. Which honestly, is pretty strange. I had a nice, quiet, decent life. Where did all the sarcasm come from?

Of all the characters in your books, which one do you relate to the most and why?

Wow, I’m not sure about relating to them. I think I mostly write characters that are how I’d LIKE to be, not how I really am. I’m a pretty quiet person. (you might even say AVERAGE). I’m pathologically non-confrontational.  So the heroines I write are always taking on anyone who gets in their way (including the heroes) and that’s not me at all.

What is your favorite scripture? 

I have so many I love, that this is a hard question, but the one I’ll share here is Psalm 27:1 because I think there is so much truth in it, and I use it in my books a lot. Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is my stronghold; Of whom shall I be afraid?
I think if we could just hang onto this verse and know that in life and in death, we have nothing to fear as long as we believe, we would all live different, bolder, more Christ-like lives. 

Wasn't that great?! Thank you, Mary, so much! You are such a talented author, and your stories have really inspired me to live a "different, bolder, more Christ-like" life. I'm so happy you are following God's path for you and blessing so many people's lives in the process. Thank you again, and God bless!

Mary has been gracious enough to offer to do a GIVEAWAY!! You KNOW you want to win a copy of her new release SWEPT AWAY, which is available THIS MONTH!!! 
So, here's the dilly-o. To enter, you must post a comment (with your email) and tell me what your favorite Connealy book is--unless you are new to her books, in which case tell me what you'll read first--and make sure you follow me on FB or on this blog and that's it! How easy, right? I will be doing the drawing on March 8th, so be sure to check back and see if you are the happy winner!!

Happy reading everyone, and happy March!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

When the Heart Heals

Gotta love post-Civil War romances!

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

This was my first Ann Shorey book, and it won't be my last. Her writing style is beautiful and very easy to read--nothing heady or flowery (not that that's bad by any means). I found it very easy to picture what was happening and where--and for me, that's a big deal. Not every author can pull that off to satisfy my tastes.

Rosemary Saxon is a gifted nurse who knows her way around an herb garden. But certain people aren't so quick to appreciate her skills and someone in particular is not happy to have her in town--and let's her know it! The doctor, Elijah Stewart, needs help with his practice, but he finds his new assistant to be quite outspoken and unconventional. Not to mention beautiful and intriguing. Then, when the threats against Rosemary deepen, she had to decide if she can stand strong or if she will leave--and change her future forever.

Well you know me. "I gotta have my drama". (Say it like the old POPS cereal commercial...) For me, this book had a tendency to drag and I was gagging for more romance between the characters. For that reason, I have to give it this rating. BUT...that being said, the story is very sweet. Great for those looking for something on the mild side.

PS. I like the cover. Do you?

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

I'm grateful to Revell for giving me this book in exchange for my honest review.
Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

Surrender the Dawn

Question: How do you spell "rugged and totally dreamy in every way" using only ten letters?

Answer: Luke Heaton

Book Rating: Best of the Best
(see my rating system)

It's official. This is one of my favorite series. Loved every single one of these books and I would go back for more if I could.

In this spantabulous tale, Cassandra Channing is desperate to get the money she needs to save her families estate. When all other possibilities fail, she is forced to go to the town rogue for help.

Luke Heaton (yeah, I just heard you sigh. You know he's awesome.) can't believe the beautiful and fiery Cassandra has asked for his help, and he fears he'll only let her down like he has everyone else in his life.

As Cassandra begins to see past Luke's habits of drinking and gambling, she also isn't ready to open her heart to him for fear he will break it like he has done with all the other girls in town. Luke on the other hand, finds himself wanting to leave his unhealthy habits behind and be worthy of Cassandra's love.

There is a mountain of drama--always good. And the romance is top notch, as is the Christian elements in the story. Also, I think the thing that I loved most about this book is that it happens at the same time as SURRENDER THE NIGHT and so there are a few scenes in this book that are also in the other one and we can see what is happening from the other characters point of view. It was fabulous! In fact, I had figured that might happen, and wondered how Tyndall was going to pull that off. She did an amazing job.

If you like American history, you will want to read this for sure.

Now, I did find two things to be a bit of a disappointment. First, again the cover is nice, but Cassandra is described as having auburn/red hair and the lady on the cover has black hair. Bummer. Also, it ended way to fast! That can also be said for the other books in the series. I REALLY wanted to see an epilogue or something--anything to let me see the characters happy together in their home, or after marriage, etc.

But those are minor infractions when you consider the majesty of the stories in this series. Please go read them--you will love them!!!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Three for the price of one: Calico Bride, The Reluctant Outlaw and The Unexpected Bride

I have been wanting to write reviews for these books for a long time! There's nothing like a good LIH when you're hankerin' for a fun, easy-to-read romance that you know will have a good message. They are light and fun. Though, if you are wanting something with a bit more passion, you might want to search for a stand-alone novel like A PASSION MOST PURE, etc.

So here, are three quick reviews of three very fun LIH's.


Book Rating: Up All Night'er

This was the first Jillian Hart book I ever read, and I found it very enjoyable. Very enjoyable indeed. It bordered on a tad cheesy at times for my taste, but hey--like I always say, one man's cheese is another man's cheesecake. *big grin*

Lila Lawson dreams of excitement  like the kind she reads about in her favorite novels. But when Burke Hannigan--the new deputy in town--arrives, she gets more than she bargained for!!


Book Rating: Up All Night'er

Juliana O'Malley and Evan Harris are thrown together by fate. Juliana thinks that Evan is a terrible outlaw, but his gentlemanly ways contradict everything.

This was a very fun book. For me, it was very fast and kept me wanting to turn the page. I think I might actually want to read this again someday.


Book Rating: Up All Night'er

One of the things I liked most about this book was the dress the woman is wearing on the cover! So beautiful!

Haydon Bowen never wanted to marry again after the tragedy of his first marriage, but his brother had different ideas for him...

Rainelle Devonwood is glad to be a mailorder bride to excape her evil brother. But when she learns her "husband" didn't actually know she was coming, she does her best not to let Haydon drive her away.

I enjoyed the romantic tension in this story and the message of Christ was very good.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Good Morning!!!

I am very pleased to announce that AMY CAMPBELL is the lucky winner of this month's drawing!!

Thank you gals for entering--look for a great giveaway next month as well!

God bless you all and have a great week!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Surrender the Night


With book in-hand, I am raking my fists at the skies! Why did this glorious tale have to end?! WHY!?

Loved this book. Loved it.

Book Rating: Best of the Best

If the last book in this series proves as utterly, throat-clenchingly awesome as the first two, this will be my new favorite series. Hands down.

A Rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but the Rose in this story is a character unlike any other! She is sweet, but not too sweet. Courageous and speaks her mind, but isn't too brash. She is beautiful  but isn't afraid to get dirty. Holy cow. I loved her. When they build a theme part for HCR fanatics like me, I will be the first in like to get her autograph. (Can you tell we've got Disneyland and Disney Princesses on the brain at our house? *wink*) But I digress...

This story starts off with a bang! I knew I liked Alexander Reed from SURRENDER THE HEART, but it wasn't until I started this one that I realized he was the hero in this story! Can I just say--Alexander Reed, where have you been all my life! Oh my merciful heavens, this guy is fabulous. Definitely up there in my top ten hunks. Probably in my top three.

When Alex stumbles upon his superior officer Garrick preparing to assault an innocent American woman (Rose) he is forced to do something drastic to save her life. (Can't tell'll have to read it.)
In turn, Rose must risk her own life to save him, and it only gets a thousand percent more wonderful as the story goes on.

I must admit, it is rare that I read a story where I literally do not want to miss a single word. This was one of those stories. I savored it all. Fabulous Christian message, excellent drama and swoon-worthy romance.

The only draw-back, if you can call it a draw-back, is the cover. I think the lady--although beautiful--didn't look much how I envisioned the character, and she looked very 20th century. But oh well--its the readers imagination that counts, right?!

Tyndall's stories, characters and style really speak to me. Plus, she is writing in just about my favorite time period. (I'm all about Colonial.) I know I'm really gushing about this, and for some reason you may not find them as amazing as I do, but I would be VERY surprised if you did not at least enjoy it just a teensy-weensy bit.

So, go make yourself a happy lady, and get a copy of this story, then read it in the next twenty-four hours, because believe me, you won't want to miss it!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Happy Birthday Giveaway!

When I was born Ronald Reagan was President and shoulder pads were all the rage. Now, those were the good 'ol days. *wink*

But, here we are in 2013 and I think this decade is just as fabulous! So, to celebrate the birthday of someone who shall remain nameless *eh-hem* I have decided to do a GIVEAWAY!!! Since we are featuring Amanda Cabot this month, I will be giving away TWO of her books!!! SUMMER OF PROMISE and SCATTERED PETALS are both amazing stories and I know you will love them!

How to enter, you ask? First of all, if you don't already follow, you have to follow this blog and/or FB page. If you want to be entered two more times, get TWO of your friends to follow my blog or my FB page. That's it! Then comment below, with your email, etc. If you already follow, just comment and tell me your fav Cabot book and why. :) Pretty easy, huh?!

I will be drawing the name of the lucky winner in ONE week!!! (Feb 12!) That way you will have plenty of time to enter and find more people to enter as well. I am very excited and I hope you are two!! (Get it, "two" because I'm giving away two books?! *cheesy grin*)

All right, there you have it! Enter away, and PLEASE make sure you tell your friends!! I'll be sure to save a piece of cake for you.


(DISCLAIMER: the copies I am giving away are my own. The are in excellent condition, but you might find a dog-eared page here or there. If you are looking for a brand-spankin' new book, then I'm sorry to disappoint you. But again, you will hardly be able to tell these have been read at all. I just wanted to clarify in never know.)

Friday, February 1, 2013

February's Author of the Month

Greetings to all my fun, and FABULOUS HCR friends! 
So, what makes February such a great month? Well, aside from the fact that I was born in it *teehee*, February is awesome because this month I get to feature a wonderful author--Amanda Cabot!
Her stories resonate with readers because her characters deal with real issues and the romances are so sweet, and develop in a natural pattern. LOVE IT! Her writing style is beautiful and very easy to read. I always savor her novels.

It's an honor to be able to share with you her answers to my questions.

Here you are ladies!!!:

Tell us about Amanda! *wink* Have you always wanted to be a writer?

For almost as long as I can remember, books have been a major part of my life.  I love the fact that in addition to teaching me things, they can transport me to a different time and place.  As a child, I decided that the most wonderful thing in the world would be to be a writer and give others the pleasure that I found in books.  Of course, even then I somehow knew that it would be a difficult way to earn a living, so I took a “real” job, and writing became my second job.  I used to describe it as a case of “for love or money.”  Writing was what I did for love; the day job helped pay the mortgage.  Now I’m fortunate enough to be a fulltime writer.

What's the scripture that gives you the most encouragement when you're writing?

My favorite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”  I find comfort in knowing that God is with me wherever I go, and the fact that this is phrased as a command makes me determined to be strong and courageous, although I don’t always succeed.

Where do you get inspiration for the characters in your books?

Almost anywhere.  Do you think I’m kidding?  A snippet of music led to one book, a chance encounter with a carousel horse in – of all places – an interstate rest area led to six others.  Christmas Roses was inspired by a reader saying she wanted to read more about a minor character from Scattered Petals.  I didn’t actually use that character as my heroine, but the comment started the wheels turning.   When my editor asked for a trilogy set in Wyoming, I tried to imagine what kind of women would have come west at that time and decided to tell the story of three sisters.  Though they have very different personalities, they share a common background, which was fun to explore.

What is one fun fact about you that people might be surprised to know? *big grin*

I answered this in another interview and got so many responses that I thought I’d share it with your readers, too.  When I was a college student spending a semester in France, I was introduced to a lot of strange foods.  One day I was delighted because my French mother served what appeared to be hamburgers and fries.  At last, American food!  Imagine my reaction when I learned that the burgers were actually ground horsemeat.

Here's a fun little bio of Amanda as well:

From the time that she was seven, Amanda Cabot dreamed of becoming a published author, but it was only when she set herself the goal of selling a book by her thirtieth birthday that the dream came true.  A former director of Information Technology, Amanda has written everything from technical books and articles for IT professionals to mysteries for teenagers and romances for all ages.  She’s delighted to now be a fulltime writer of Christian historical romances.  Her Texas Dreams trilogy received critical acclaim, and Waiting for Spring, the second in her Westward Winds series, was just released.

Pretty neat, huh, ladies?!  I love learning about these authors. I hope you found this interview entertaining--I know I did.
Now, for those of you interested in a giveaway, I will be doing one in honor of moi. *big cheesy grin* Since my birthday is this month I'll be doing a giveaway...maybe even more, so be sure to keep watching the site and my FB page for details!

Thank you again, Amanda! God bless you!

Happy Reading!