Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Monthly recap: What I read...

This is so much fun! When author Naomi Rawlings contacted me about doing a blog post together every month, and sharing a recap of what we read, I was tickled pink! 

Starting now, at the end of every month I'm going to do a quick post about all the books I read and the ratings I gave them. I will ALSO include a link to Naomi's website so you can go over there and see what she read! Sweet, huh? I have had a blast getting to know Naomi! And (this is so awesome) I'm going to feature her in January as my author of the month! You're gonna love her I know it!

Her website is Inspirational Romance Ratings, and you can twinkle on over there by clicking here. It's a fabulous website, by the way, and she reviews Christian books in several genres, so that's cool!!

So, here's my list:
(And... for those of you unfamiliar with my rating system, you can read about it here.) Let me know what you think about this new venture! I'm excited and I hope you enjoy it also!!

Elusive Hope
Rating: Best of the Best (in my top 5)

The Miner's Lady
Rating: Here a little, there a little

Gun Powder Tea
Rating: Up All Night'er

The Wedding Journey
Rating: Here a little, there a little

Sisters of Mercy Flats
Rating: Meh

Monday, October 28, 2013

Elusive Hope

Me at page 1: Holy crud, I already love this.

Me at page 64: Whaaaaaat? Ok. This is BEYOND amazing and I haven't even gotten a hundred pages in.

Me at page 190: I'm creeped out (in a good way, of course--fun mystery)! What's going on in this crazy jungle?! Can't go to sleep yet...must keep reading!

Me at page 245: AHHHHH! This could not be more gripping. Seriously!

Me at the end: I'm ready to start reading it all over again. It is now in my TOP FIVE!

MaryLu, this is your best yet and even though I LOVED everything about it, I must say: You had me at Hayden.

Book Rating: Best of the Best

As you know, I've read a lot of books--not as many as you have perhaps, but I've done my fair share. I've rated a lot of books in my highest category and I've gushed about lots of novels. But PLEASE, please understand that I cannot find words enough to express how INTENSELY I love this story. It had all the right elements, and I seriously could not put it down. For me, this is MaryLu's best and without a doubt it is in my TOP FIVE!!

Magnolia is not your typical heroine--and I loved that! I found her to be deep and complex, even though on the surface she seemed shallow and self centered. She grew so much and I loved watching her learn about herself and also how she understood more about Christ and how He sees each of us. You don't get this kind of leading lady very often and I just adored her.

Hayden (swoon!) is just about perfect. Rugged, dashingly handsome, street smart, cunning and witty. He is on a mission to find his father and nothing is going to stop him. I loved getting in Hayden's head and watching as he struggled to understand what he was dealing with--internally and externally. But even more than that, I LOVED how he was always jumping to her rescue!! *sigh* He changes much like Magnolia (though in different ways) and I found that as they fought, and struggled and as their passion grew--I just loved them more and more.

Never a dull moment--so much excitment! And OH, the romance! Plenty of great kisses in this one!!

Sometimes you can really enjoy a book--love it even, but there might be a part or two that didn't really grip ya. Not so here, ladies. I savored every word.

PLEASE get yourself a copy of this and make it pronto, capiche? You'll have to let me know what you think of it when you are done. I KNOW you will love it.

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

My Hope Is Found and Interview with Joanne Bischof

I am SO excited about today's post! (Can you hear my gleeful squeal?) I have been looking forward to this for WEEKS!!! Joanne has become such a dear friend, and I am THRILLED to be able to do with post with her today.

By now you are likely familiar with the sleep-stealing, heart-tugging, life-giving series by Christy nominated author Joanne Bischof.

If you still have not read them--or at least haven't yet read book three, I will refrain from giving too much information away and simply say-- "Go read it!!" *hehehe* You might lose an entire night's sleep, but you'll thank me later. Believe me.

My review of MY HOPE IS FOUND can be read here. (Quick recap: the book is amazing, not unlike the first two. I hear you humming in agreement. *big grin*) I really can't say enough about how marvelous this entire series is and about Joanne's talents as an author. She truly uses God's gift to share His light and love--

I'm THRILLED to have Joanne on today! She was kind enough to answer some of my questions in a video!! YAY! How fabulous, right?

She's also offered to do a giveaway, so after you've watched the video, post a comment and tell me what you thought was most interesting! Remember, to be entered you must follow my blog and/or FB page and leave your email address. As always, I will do the drawing a week from today. (Nov. 4)

Thank you again SO much, Joanne! It is a pleasure to have you here and I wish you all the best with your marvelous books.

Happy Reading!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Miner's Lady

A ridiculously beautiful cover. My self-esteem dropped a few notches--OK, it was like ten notches--when I glimpsed the more-than-gorgeous girl on the cover. Yet, the story itself, unfortunately, really didn't capture me.

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

This story followed a very similar theme as in book two of the series, The Quarryman's Daughter. Two families feuding, tragedy at the mine, etc. I suppose it would have been fine if I hadn't read book two, but this idea/plot seemed a bit old for that reason. Also, I don't know what it was, but the Italian family thing didn't do much for me either. Which is weird, cuz I love all-things Italy.

Chantel is a kind, sweet girl and when her younger sister Isabella falls in love with the son of the Calarco family, she agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando. However, after an incident with Dante--the other Calarco son, Chantel isn't sure what to do. She can't deny the attraction between them--but two relationships between the Panetta's and the Calarco's can only mean trouble.

For me, there simply wasn't enough romance. Bummer, I know. The Christian element was there, and very strong as in all of Tracie's books, but again, it just wasn't the plot for me.

You know I am huge fan on Tracie Peterson and even though this particular story didn't tickle my fancy, that doesn't mean you won't like it. She's a great author and I plan on reading more of her books for sure.

Have you read this? What did you think--am I off my rocker?

~~Thank you to Bethany House for my free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.~~

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Gunpowder Tea

I *heart* Margaret Brownley!!

Book Rating: Up All Night'er

There's no such thing as an unlikeable Brownley book. I see you nodding your head--you know what I'm talkin' about!

In this conclusion to her BRIDES OF LAST CHANCE RANCH series, Brownley orchestrates a truly fun and engaging story that is reeeaaallly hard to put down.

Seriously, this author knows how to do romance! I knew going into this that there would be plenty of kisses and romantic tension to keep me happy--love that!!

Miranda Hunt is a skilled detective and assumes the name Annie Beckman to try and catch the Phantom--a notorious train robber--who is believed to be somewhere near the Last Chance Ranch. Little does she know that the handsome Mr. Branch is also an undercover detective on the trail of the same outlaw. If only Miranda can keep her mind on her work, and away from the handsome, intriguing and ever-mysterious ranch hand...

What a great plot! Very unique and kept me interested throughout the story. Quick, wit-filled dialogue and excellent Christian theme. I recommend this highly! And the really fun part is that you get to see the other characters here and there as well, which I LOVE! The only problem is... I never read book two!! I gotta get on Amazon...

Everything is so well intertwined--I really can't say enough about it. When you read it, you'll have to let me know what you think!

Happy Reading!
Buy it!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Two Reviews Are Better Than One

Good evening, ladies!

I've been doing a bunch of reading lately--is that any surprise?! *wink* And I would like to devote this post to two books I've finished in the past week.

The Wedding Journey

Book Rating: Here a little, there a little

I thought this little LIH was very cute. If you are needing a quick read, lots of adorable romance and a fun setting, this has it. However, for me the heroine was a bit too blunt and at times naive for my taste. (But the hero sure seemed to like it! *teehee*) Cheryl St. John is a talented writer, conveys the emotions and situations very skillfully, but her style really wasn't my cup of tea.
All of that being said, its a sweet story and I would recommend reading it.
(Buy it!)

The next story, however . . .

Sisters of Mercy Flats

Book Rating: Meh. . .

It has been a V-HERY long time since I've rated a book in my lowest category. And, as you know I really don't like to do it. This little story had a lot going for it, but in the end, well, I found everything completely lacking.
The heroine Abigail, in my opinion, had nothing going for her and I hate to lay blame at her door, but I must--she did this story in, in my opinion. I suppose the author was trying to create a relationship between the hero and heroine that was full of jocular sparring, but I didn't see it. As for the hero, he had too many issues (that were mentioned too late in the book) for me to relate to him.
It was a quick read, very short and very fast. There was some good adventure, but it was tainted by Abigail's tedious personality.
Again this is all my own opinion.

Feeling adventurous? (Pun intended *teehee*)
Buy it!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October's Author of the Month

Fall is finally here! 

Welcome to October's Author of the Month post! Grab yourself a mug of some delicious apple cider or hot chocolate--something fall-worthy--and get ready for fun!

I'm thrilled to be able to feature Robin Lee Hatcher, a fabulous author who has written dozens upon dozens of books, both historical and contemporary. Her latest historical romance BELOVED is out and ready to get into your pretty little hands! (I've read the first few pages, and WOW, its amazing. I can't wait to read the whole thing!)

And to whet your appetite for her latest book, Robin has offered to giveaway the first TWO books in the series, BELONGING and BETRAYAL! How fabulous is that?! To enter, you must be a follower of my blog and/or FB page and leave a comment with your email address. I will be choosing a winner one week from today!

But before I continue with the interview let me say a big THANK YOU to Melissa Jagears, who was featured last month. She is just delightful and her debut novel, A BRIDE FOR KEEPS was excellent . . .  make sure you read it-- or else! *wink*

OK! Let's get on with the interview!!

Tell us about Robin! We'd love to get to know you more. If you want, please include something silly or funny that we might not know about you. :)

I began writing my first novel in 1981, and it was published in January of 1984. Since then, I have written 71 novels and novellas. I wrote 30 books for the general mass market, and then I began writing stories that were faith-based. I served for five years on the board of directors of Romance Writers of America, including two years as their president. I have lived in Idaho all my life and have a deep love for my state and its history, which is why I set most of my books here in Idaho, whether they are contemporary or historical stories. In my non-writing world, I'm a wife, mom, and grandma.

Had you always wanted to be a writer? When was it that you really knew God was leading you to write?

Although I was always writing, no, I did not always want to be a writer. I wanted to be a movie star. Since that would have meant being on a diet for the rest of my life, I think I chose the right profession.  It was frustration with the ending of a novel that caused me to want to try to write a book. I didn't really do it with publication in mind. I just wanted to see if I could do it.

You have written so many wonderful books. Do you have a one that stands out as a favorite, or one that is extra special to you--and why?

All of my books are special to me in one way or another. The two most often named as readers' favorites are The Forgiving Hour and Ribbon of Years. The protagonist in Ribbon of Years, Miriam, was inspired by my mother, so her story is special to me. And my most fun characters to write about were Katie and Ben in Catching Katie and Cleo and Sherwood in Fit To Be Tied.

If you had three wishes (frivolous or serious...) what would they be?

I'm going to sound like a contestant in a beauty pageant, but I would have to start off with (1) world peace. It grieves my heart, the troubles in our nation and around the world. Come, Lord Jesus!

(2) To get to write fiction right up to the very end of my life.

(3) To suddenly love to cook. (There's a plaque on my refrigerator that says: "I only have this kitchen because it came with the house." Enough said.)

Lastly, what are your "top three" historical Christian romance books?

I hate this question because I have many, many author friends who have written many, many wonderful books. Thus any list of three could change (with the exception of book #1) depending upon the day and my mood and how good my memory is.

1) REDEEMING LOVE by Francine Rivers
2) A VOICE ON THE WIND by Francine Rivers
3) TO WHISPER HER NAME by Tamera Alexander

YAY! Wasn't that great? I just love getting to know these wonderful Christian ladies, who are so willing to share their gifts with us. Thanks, Robin! It's been an honor to have you. God bless you and keep writing, cuz we will certainly keep reading!! *big grin*

Now, don't forget to enter the giveaway!! This series is amazing and you won't want to miss it!

Happy Reading!