Thursday, February 28, 2013

Goodbye to Yesterday by Wanda E. Brunstetter

This is book one in "A Lancaster County Saga," a serialized novel where each part releases each month for six months.  Luke Stoltzfus has been out of work for a while and it's starting to wear on his new marriage to Meredith.  When his uncle calls from Indiana and offers to sell him his business, he readily agrees even though it will mean using a big chunk of their savings and learning the trade for a few weeks there.  He catches a bus headed into a blizzard.  When tragedy strikes, what will happen next?

I had a hard time getting into this story.  It didn't feel like much happened and then ended on a cliffhanger.  I also wonder how it will work being split into six parts over six months.  I liked Luke, but felt a little annoyed with Meredith.  I definitely want to find out what happens next!

I received this book free from Handlebar Central in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Memory Jar by Tricia Goyer

This is a fascinating story about how one person can influence someone's life.  Even though Sarah Shelter lives in West Kootenai, Montana, where a lot of Amish bachelors come to hunt for months out of the year, she hasn't fallen in love.  Ever since her best friend Patty died a couple years ago, she's held people at arm's length, the same way she's kept her memories in a jar instead of close to her heart.  That all changes when she meets Jathan Schrock.  Will he really understand who she is and can he trust her in return?

I liked how the story revealed memories she had of Patty and the wisdom she gained from knowing her.  This one person had a profound impact on who she became and it's amazing to think how important one person can be to someone else.  The romance was sweet and I liked the struggle between fighting for your dreams or fulfilling other people's plans for you, especially a parent's.  I was a little frustrated with Jathan, but I could understand where he was coming from.  This is the first book in the Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and it's worth the read!

I received this book free from Zondervan in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, February 25, 2013

Secretly Smitten by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, & Denise Hunter

I loved these cozy romances set in the town of Smitten!  The four stories feature three sisters and their mother.  Slightly overweight Tess has a crush on a guy she's known since high school, who's now widowed with a child.  She feels she could never compete with his first wife, though, who always looked so put together.  Flighty Zoe has finally decided what she wants to do for a career: start a matchmaking service.  Will it even get off the ground when she meets Will, the new town manager who plays by the rules?  Their mother Anna was heartbroken when her husband left them to start a new family.  Could she ever trust and love again?  Clare is predictable and likes to play it safe, but when she spontaneously hires a stranger, will she come to regret it or take a risk on love?  One of the story lines running through them all is about dog tags found in the attic of Grandma Rose from her first love who died in the Korean War, but how did they get there?  The three sisters decide to investigate the mystery.

I love the romance in each of the stories.  There are a lot of sweet moments, but also some real issues each woman has to face in their path to love.  The town sounds like an ideal place to live and I love the feel of community there.  I also liked the mystery woven through all the stories.  This is the second book set in Smitten, but it isn't necessary to read the other one first, and there is a third book planned for January 2014.  I can't wait!  I definitely recommend it!

I received this e-book free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Picture Perfect by Janice Thompson

Cover ArtThis is a humorous story about Hannah McDermott, a photographer who still lives at home with her parents!  She's trying to get her photography business off the ground and has scored a great job taking pictures of a famous country star's wedding, but she's worried she'll lose the job to her competitor, Drew, and come in second like she's always done. Will Hannah finally let go of her past?  And why can't she stop thinking about Drew?  Is he really her competition or could he be something more?

I really enjoyed the quirky characters and funny situations in this book.  I could relate to Hannah's feeling of being stuck in a rut and her fear of failing.  The romance was cute and I loved the Irish sayings throughout.  This is the first book in a new spinoff series from Weddings by Bella and Backstage Pass and it was fun getting to know Bella and her big Italian family, along with the stars from the other series.  I haven't read those yet, but I definitely plan to.  If you like amusing stories, definitely check this one out!

I received this book free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

When the Heart Heals by Ann Shorey

Cover ArtThis is a well-written and interesting romance!  Rosemary Saxon worked as a nurse during the Civil War, a job a lot of people view as not appropriate for a woman.  Two years after the war, she needs to support herself and goes to work for the new doctor in town, Elijah Stewart.  They're immediately at odds with each other, but there are also sparks of a romantic variety.  When Rosemary is threatened, will they discover the culprit?

I really like the variety of characters, from headstrong and impetuous Rosemary to the eccentric townsfolk.  Her use of herbs and plants for tonics is interesting and I love how she got so involved in people's lives, whether they wanted her to or not!  The romance is sweet, though I wish it would have been a bit more drawn out.  This is the second book in the "Sisters at Heart" series, which reads fine as a stand-alone, but I definitely want to read the first and revisit the people of Noble Springs. I highly recommend it!

I received this book free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Click on the link below to enter contest; ends March 7!
Enter the Tea with Rosemary Sweepstakes

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Sale for Kindle! Sandwich, With a Side of Romance!


I'm not sure for how long, so check before buying.

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

PictureThis is an intriguing story about Mazie Hartford, a young woman who has it all. She's starting a great job in the fall and has a wonderful boyfriend who wants to marry her.  So why can't she say yes?  Is she hesitant because he's of a different race? Her great-grandmother, Mimi, wonders if she might hold the answer and starts to tell her the story of a quilt she bought years ago.  Each patch tells a story from Harriet Tubman's life and her story just might hold the key.

This story started out a bit slow for me, but I was immediately interested in learning about Harriet Tubman.  I didn't recall much from my school years, so I felt like I was learning it for the first time.  She led a fascinating and hard life and her faith in God is what kept her going.  I had a harder time getting into Mazie's story, but I liked the secret revealed and how the ending tied the stories together.  This is an inspiring story and worth checking out!

For opportunities for free copies of THE MOSES QUILT by Kathi Macias, please follow this book tour on Facebook at: This blog host was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for posting the book review on this blog. CSS Virtual Book Tours are managed by Christian Speakers Services (

About the Author: Kathi Macias

Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

David Sticker Book!

This is a colorful paperback of the story of David from the Bible.  It contains the stories of when he is anointed by Samuel to be king, slays Goliath, plays his harp for King Saul, has to hide from Saul, and finally is crowned king. It features four full pages of stickers!  Because of the stickers, it's for kids three and up.

I really like the color and the illustrations in this story. It's bright and the facial expressions are great!  I think both boys and girls would like this book, especially since the stickers feature a variety of items they'd both enjoy.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications in exchange for an honest review.

Check out Kregel's site! Kregel

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Promise for Miriam by Vannetta Chapman

book title frontThis is a charming story about Miriam, a 26-year-old Amish schoolteacher who wonders if she'll ever marry for love.  She's immediately intrigued by the new widower Gabe and his daughter Grace, especially the mystery of what has happened to them in their past.  Why does Gabe keep to himself and why won't he share the circumstances surrounding his daughter's disability?  When a close call finally changes Gabe's ways, will he turn to Miriam for help?

I liked the various issues this book dealt with, from grief to a disability to the marketing of the Amish lifestyle.  The story is told from Miriam's, Gabe's, and Grace's point of view; I liked getting the child's perspective in addition to the adults'.  The romance was sweet.  This is book one in the new "Pebble Creek Amish Series."  Be sure to look for it if you enjoy Amish fiction!

I received this book free from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Free for kindle! Heiress by Susan May Warren

Heiress (Daughters of Fortune)Free through March 4th!

bk 2 on sale for $1.99!

Baroness (Daughters of Fortune (Summerside Press))

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar

Harvest of RubiesThis is an amazing story set during the time of Nehemiah of the Old Testament.  Sarah, the fictional cousin of Nehemiah, is the queen's favorite scribe, a job usually held by men.  She believes her worth is based on her achievements and that no one will want her for herself.  When she does the queen a great service, a marriage is arranged for her to a wealthy Persian aristocrat.  This means she must give up the job she loves to marry Darius, a self-involved man who couldn't possibly be happy with her for a wife.  When she loses her job, her control, will she turn back to the God she believes abandoned her?  Will she find where her true worth lies?

This is well-written and actually a quite humorous story.  Sarah is sarcastic and the wedding scene, while embarrassing and I felt for her and Darius, is also pretty amusing.  I like the changes she goes through physically, spiritually, and emotionally throughout the story.  I really like how she had to learn to go on after losing what she loves, to make a completely new life for herself.  The Persian culture was fascinating to learn about.  There's an excerpt included for the sequel and I'm looking forward to seeing what their future holds.  This is definitely a must-read!

I received this book free from Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Moody Publishers

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn

Sisterchicks in Gondolas! by Gunn, Robin JonesThis book felt like a refreshing and much needed mini-vacation!  Jenna and her sister-in-law, Sue, receive a free trip to Venice in exchange for cooking for a men's retreat.  Jenna's a single mother of a 20-something and wondering what the next season of her life will hold while Sue has been struggling for a couple of years after her husband was injured in an accident.  They both need this time away to reflect and have fun.

Jenna knows just enough Italian to get into trouble,and Sue makes an impression with her untameable hair and Southern drawl; these sisterchicks have a blast wherever they go!  They meet some very interesting people, including flirty gondoliers and singing vendors, two of the more humorous scenes in the book.  They explored some beautiful areas and became experts in gelato!

I loved going on this journey with them; the only thing better would have been going with them for real!  They were so fun to hang out with and I was sad to see it end.  This is one of many Sisterchicks books and the first one I've read, but it won't be the last! They each stand on their own and this came out in 2006, but now has a beautiful, updated cover!  Funny, well-written, and a great message about God's grace.  I definitely recommend this book to any woman, no matter your age!

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for an honest review. I'd appreciate it you would rate my review!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rebekah by Jill Eileen Smith

Cover ArtGo behind the scenes of the Biblical Rebekah and walk a mile in her sandals!  We're introduced to Rebekah months before her marriage to Isaac and see the strained relationships she has with her mother and brother Laban.  She journeys far to become the wife of a man she's never met and and we see what she's thinking and feeling.  We gain insight into Isaac also as the event of his childhood where his father Abraham almost sacrificed him deeply affected his relationships with his mother and father and ultimately with Rebekah and their sons Jacob and Esau.  Ultimately, we come to understand how Rebekah could have deceived her husband in order for Jacob to get the blessing instead of Esau.

I really enjoyed the insight into Rebekah's life.  I came to understand her and Isaac's choices and how a person can get so focused on being right that it consumes them at the expense of others.  The message of the harmful effects of pride and the importance of forgiveness is timeless.  This is book two of the Wives of the Patriarchs, but can be read as a stand-alone.  While this is a fictional account based on what might have been happening behind the scenes, I felt like I gained a greater understanding of these people who were all too human, just like the rest of us.

I received a free copy of this book from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Jill Smith will be the featured guest on a Live interactive Video Chat Session sponsored by “Shindig” on Tuesday February 19th at 7:00 pm EST!!  It’s free to attend, and you can meet Jill and ask any questions you have for her!  Go here to RSVP and find out more details about this event. 
Join best-selling author Jill Eileen Smith as she presents ten facts and/or possibilities you might not know about the Patriarch Isaac's wife Rebekah. Do you have a question about the people in the Bible you've always wanted to ask? Jill will take questions about biblical characters, biblical fiction, and about any of her books in the Wives of the Patriarchs or Wives of King David series. So please, plan to join us!

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Free for Kindle and Nook! A Wild Goose Chase Christmas!

This is a cute story I reviewed before Christmas and it's free for a limited time!



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review of Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd

This is a fun chick lit book with a French twist!  Single 24-year-old Lexi has just lost her job.  She knows she should find something that pays well, especially if she wants to move out of her parents' house.  But she can't resist accepting a job at the French bakery downtown, where she can surround herself with French culture and get to know her cute French coworker better!  Is he really interested in her, though?  She goes from no prospects to two when sparks fly with a customer.  What will her future hold?

I loved this story!  I can totally relate to not being sure where you're headed in life.  Do you get a job with good pay and security or do what you love? If you're blessed, you get both.  The French language and culture are practically their own characters in the story, which I loved, and you're going to need to find a bakery immediately while reading this book!  I love food, so I really liked the descriptions of pastry and recipes Lexi would try.  This is a fun story, but also has a serious side. I definitely recommend it!

Kindle version is free through Feb. 14th. I have the link on my previous post.  Also available in paperback.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Free Kindle book: Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd!

I read this book a few years ago and loved it!  I was excited to see there are now two more in the series.  I'll post reviews soon on all of them!  Make sure to grab the first one now because it's only free through the 14th!  Books 2 & 3 only .99!

About the book:
Book One in the French Twist Series.

Lexi Stuart is at a critical crossroads. She’s done with college but still living at home, ready to launch a career but unable to find a job, and solidly stalled between boyfriends. 

When a lighthearted conversation in French with the manager of her favorite bakery turns into a job offer, Lexi accepts. But the actual glamour is minimal: the pay is less than generous, her co-workers are skeptical, her bank account remains vertically-challenged, and her parents are perpetually disappointed. Her only comfort comes from the flirtatious baker she has her eye–but even may not be who he seems to be!

So when a handsome young executive dashes into the bakery to pick up his high profile company’s special order for an important meeting–an order Lexi has flubbed–she loses her compulsion to please. Something inside Lexi clicks. Laissez la révolution commencer! Let the revolution begin! Instead of trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations for her life, Lexi embarks on an adventure in trusting herself and her God with her future–très bon!

Meet Sandra:

After earning her first rejection at the age of thirteen, bestselling author Sandra Byrd has now published more than forty books. Her adult fiction debut, Let Them Eat Cake, was a Christy Award finalist, as was her first historical novel, To Die For: A Novel of Anne BoleynTo Die For was also named by Library Journal as a Best Books Pick for 2011 and The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, was named a Library Journal Best Books Pick for 2012. Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I, will publish in April, 2013.
Sandra has also published dozens of books for tweens and teens.
A former textbook acquisitions editor, Sandra has also published many nonfiction articles and books. She is also passionate about helping new writers develop their talent and their work toward traditional or self publication. As such, she has mentored and coached hundreds of new writers and continues to coach dozens to success each year.

Please visit to learn more, or to invite Sandra to your bookclub via Skype.

Connect with Sandra on Twitter:

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Link to buy Let Them Eat Cake: 
Link to buy Bon Appetit:
Link to buy Piece de Resistance:

Enter to win a box of petit fours!

Free Kindle book! Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman!

A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change Book #1): A Novel

 Here's the link:


Make sure you check the price when buying. I'm not sure how long it will be free.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

All for a Song by Allison Pittman is an intriguing story set during the Roaring Twenties!  Dorothy Lynn Dunbar is the daughter of a preacher and engaged to a preacher in her little town of Heron's Nest, but she wonders about the world outside.  As her wedding approaches, she decides to visit her sister in St. Louis.  There she sees a different way of life and meets Roland, who has movie star good looks and charm, and who is interested in her singing and songwriting.  He works for Aimee Semple McPherson, a woman evangelist, and wants Dorothy to travel with them and sing for the crowds of people who come to the crusades.  With the lure of fame and the chance at a different love turn her away from everything she's ever known?

The Roaring Twenties was a decade of such change and I enjoyed learning more about it, from life after World War I to the changing fashions.  I really liked the how the story went from modern-day Dorothy, who's 107, to what was happening back then, but the author's careful not to reveal which life she chooses until the very end!  I was frustrated with some of Dorothy's choices, but I liked her overall, especially as her older self.  I could definitely relate to her wanderlust. I enjoyed Allison's writing very much and look forward to checking out her other books!

I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Allison Pittman
Allison Pittman
Award-winning author Allison Pittman left a seventeen-year teaching career in 2005 to follow the Lord's calling into the world of Christian fiction, and God continues to bless her step of faith. Her novels For Time and Eternity and Forsaking All Others were both finalists for the Christy Award for excellence in Christian fiction, and her novel Stealing Home won the American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award. She heads up a successful, thriving writers group in San Antonio, Texas, where she lives with her husband, Mike, their three sons, and the canine star of the family—Stella.

Q & A

1. What was your inspiration for this book, All for a Song?
There were so many different pieces that came together with this book; it’s hard to name just one. First, I was introduced to, and then became fascinated with Aimee Semple McPherson, and while I wasn’t ready to take on her story, I knew I wanted to create my own characters to somehow come into her sphere. She was a woman who embraced both ministry and fame, and I wanted to create a character who had that same opportunity. With that, I am so inspired by the decade of the 1920’s—such sweeping social changes, shifts in moral centering, an explosion of choices and opportunities for women. It was a time to test one’s faith—to go against the new norms in pursuit of righteousness. Such a challenge!
2. Tell me about your main character Dorothy Lynn. Was her character based upon anyone in particular? The young Dorothy Lynn, no, not really—not beyond any other singer/songwriter out there. She’s a young woman with a message and a voice, so maybe she’s a mash-up of every musician I know. The older Dorothy Lynn, Miss Lynnie, is somewhat based on the mother of a friend of mine. His mother went to be with the Lord while I was in the final stages of writing this novel, and at her funeral, I learned that she had a stroke years before her passing, during which she had a glimpse of Heaven, and had spent her intervening years longing to return. I remember going home from that celebration of her life and re-writing just about every Breath of Angels scene, incorporating that into Dorothy Lynn’s story. It was exactly what the story needed, and brought about a depth I couldn’t have imagined in the initial draft.
3. What lessons or truths will your readers find in the pages of this novel?
I hope that they learn that it’s good to take a chance, to take hold of opportunities that come your way, even if it doesn’t always make sense to do so. Yes, there are times that require periods of prayer and reflection and guidance-seeking, but then there are times when you have to hop on the next train and trust that God has the details well in hand. Along with that, I’d want them to know that while there is breath, there is opportunity for grace and forgiveness, but we might need to humble ourselves. There’s a theme of a longing for home, no matter how enticing the alternative seems.
4. Although this novel is set in the 1920s, how does Dorothy Lynn’s story still resonate today?
The world today wants nothing more than to entice young women to exploit themselves in some way, and the enemy wants nothing more than to make us think that we are beyond redemption. We all make stupid, thoughtless, reckless decisions; we all get ourselves into such unbelievably embarrassing messes; we all disappoint our loved ones. The world tells you to move on; God tells you to go back.
5. As a writer, what did you particularly enjoy about crafting this story?
Oh, my goodness. As a historical writer, I loved the time period—that sort of new, innocent fumbling with innovations of the time. One of my favorite scenes was when the 107-year-old Dorothy Lynn experiences her first iPad. (By the way, I had to make her that old in order to make all the history “fit.” I spent every day for a month watching the Willard Scott segment on the Today show making sure that her age would be believable. Wouldn’t you know? Every week there’s somebody that tops the 105th birthday!)
6. What is your hope for this story? How would you like it to impact readers?
I would love it if this book would prompt a reader to reach out to somebody they feel they have lost. Reconciliation is hard—whether you’re the perpetrator or the victim of whatever “wrong” that happened. But life is short, even if you’re going to get more than a century of living, at some time that final day will come. Close those gaps in your life. Offer and ask for forgiveness. Leave a legacy of grace.
7. How has this novel helped you to grow as a storyteller?
My tendency (a very purposeful one) is to leave my stories with a bit of an “unfinished” edge. I like my characters to leave the page on the cusp of fulfillment, so that my readers can have the pleasure of imagining those final, satisfying moments. A good friend (and, coincidentally a fan) of mine said, “I love your books. I hate your endings. I’m just going to have to accept that this is what an Allison Pittman story does.” So—how fun was this to write the most definitive ending, ever! To open a story on the last day of a character’s life—so totally new for me.
8. What is the best advice or encouragement that you have received?
It goes back to a conversation I had with James Scott Bell back when I’d written approximately 7 chapters of what would become my first novel, Ten Thousand Charms. The whole conversation is chronicled in Chapter 16 of his fabulous book The Art of War for Writers. (I’m the “young woman” – which I was, at the time, sort of…) Anyway, I was frustrated and discouraged, and he explained to me that this writing thing was like a pyramid. At its base, you have everybody who ever thinks they maybe might want to try to start writing a book someday. At the top is Max Lucado. The rest of us are somewhere in-between. “Your job…is to keep moving up the pyramid. Each level presents its own challenges, so concentrate on the ones right in front of you.” I love and welcome every new challenge.

Friday, February 8, 2013

October Baby by Eric Wilson & Theresa Preston

This is an amazing story!  I saw the movie first and the book follows the movie pretty closely, but we get added scenes and of course, what the characters are thinking!  This is the story of Hannah, a college student who feels like she doesn't fit in anywhere.  She finds out that not only is she adopted, but she's the survivor of a failed abortion attempt.  She goes on a road trip with the childhood friend she has a crush on and other friends to find any information she can on her birth mother.  It's a story of finding where you belong and that every life is beautiful.

I loved going deeper into the story and getting to know the characters better.  We get many of their perspectives and I loved knowing what they were thinking.  I liked the added romance and I laughed and cried throughout.  This is such an important story because it shows all of the lives affected by abortion and the importance of forgiveness, love, and hope.  The movie was very well done also.  Everyone should see the movie and the book is definitely worth checking out!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

5 Days to a Clutter-Free House by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims

Cover ArtIf you are a messie and want a push to get your house organized, then this is the book for you! The authors are both professional organizers and created a system where you invite a group of people to help you do a thorough clearing out of clutter in 5 days.  You can also do it by yourself but it will probably take longer.  It goes into labeled boxes and you go through these boxes later to sort what to keep and what goes. The second part of the book has tips and insight for maintaining the order you've created and for managing yourself, your house, your family, and your time.

I like the idea of such a fast result.  I found a lot of the tips helpful and their description of a messie and how they think hit close to home!  The authors are very encouraging and made me want to get busy right away!  I'm definitely going to utilize their plan and get organized! 

I received this book free from Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Available February 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Courting Cate by Leslie Gould

Cover Art This is a great story! Based on the Taming of the Shrew, this story is set in modern-day Paradise, Pennsylvania. Cate plays the shrewish older sister who has scared off anyone who's been interested with her prickly personality, while her sweet sister Betsy attracts men for miles around.  When their father makes a rule that Cate must marry before Betsy, neither sister thinks that is likely to happen.  However, when Pete, a new man in town seems interested, can Cate trust him with her heart or is there a different reason for his pursuit?

This was a well-written retelling of the classic story.  I really enjoyed getting to know Cate and the reasons for why she acts the way she does.  I loved that she is a book addict!  She does a lot of learning and growing in this story and I loved being on the journey with her.  The interactions between her and Pete are amusing.  I did wish there was a bit more romance between them.  We're introduced to characters in the next book, which will be a retelling of Romeo and Juliet, due out in May 2013.  I can't wait!