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Book Giveaways

G'morning, all! Okay... there's a lot of great bookish news up on the blog today. First, there's a giveaway (all of the details can be found below), then there's a new book review and you'll also find a post about my experience being a judge for 2013 INSYs. But enough about all of that, onto the point of this post.

Been excited to share some fun giveaways with you all. In honor of the INSPYs, I am giving away three novels that were chosen as semifinalists in the INSPYs - and ironically, the two I planned on giving away were two that I adored and also up for grabs will be a copy of the 2013 INSPY Romance winner, The Breath of Dawn. Read about the giveaway details below - and good luck to everyone!

Participants from the US and Canada may enter. It runs from today until July 8th; I chose to run the giveaway longer than a week (which is what I initially planned to do) since the July fourth weekend is setting up to be a bit busier than I'd originally planned
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
As a child, Lydia Pallas became all too familiar with uncertainty when it came to the future. Now, she's finally carved out a perfect life for herself--a life of stability and order with no changes, surprises, or chaos of any kind. She adores her apartment overlooking the bustling Boston Harbor, and her skill with languages has landed her a secure position as a translator for the U.S. Navy.

However, it is her talent for translation that brings her into contact with Alexander Banebridge, or "Bane," a man who equally attracts and aggravates her. When Bane hires Lydia to translate a seemingly innocuous collection of European documents, she hesitantly agrees, only to discover she is in over her head.

Just as Bane's charm begins to win her over, Lydia learns he is driven by a secret campaign against some of the most dangerous criminals on the East Coast, compelled by his faith and his past. Bane forbids any involvement on Lydia's part, but when the criminals gain the upper hand, it is Lydia on whom he must depend.
The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

Morgan Spencer has had just about all he can take of life. Following the tragic death of his wife, Jill, he retreats to his brother's Rocky Mountain ranch to heal and focus on the care of his infant daughter, Olivia. Two years later, Morgan begins to make plans to return to his home in Santa Barbara to pick up the pieces of his life and career.

Quinn Riley has been avoiding her past for four years. Standing up for the truth has forced her into a life of fear and isolation. After a "chance" first meeting and a Thanksgiving snowstorm, Quinn is drawn into the Spencer family's warm and loving world, and she begins to believe she might find freedom in their friendship.

The man Quinn helped put behind bars has recently been released, however, and she fears her past will endanger the entire Spencer family. As the danger heightens, she determines to leave town for the sake of the people who have come to mean so much to her.

Fixing problems is what Morgan Spencer does best, and he is not willing to let Quinn run away, possibly into the clutches of a man bent on revenge. But Morgan's solution sends him and Quinn on an unexpected path, with repercussions neither could have anticipated

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother

asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance, takes a leave of absence from her job as a social worker, and the two of them set off.

Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man her grandmother has hired to renovate the house. From the first moment she meets Matt, Kate can't help but be attracted to him--he's got a combination of good looks and charisma that draw and tug at her. But she knows there's zero chance of a romance between them. Matt's in love with his dead wife, and even if he weren't, Kate realizes that she's way too ordinary for him. For Matt Jarreau is no ordinary guy. Kate discovers that he was once a great NHL hockey player who left the sport when his wife--an honest-to-goodness former Miss America--was diagnosed with brain cancer. Matt's been hiding from people, from God, and from his past ever since. Yet Kate is absolutely determined to befriend him, to try to reach him, to help him in some small way.

No, Kate's not looking for love. She knows better than that by now. But when the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and
Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?
.a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway Best of luck, everyone!

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  1. A good romance novel...something with some action and plot that is believable and two characters that I like and have good features. Some that are friends at first then slowly fall into a meaningful love. While at the same time it is a little funny and definitely swoony :)

    Thank you so much for the giveaways Rissi!!!

    1. *high five*

      Love the friends-first-then-fall-in-love angle on love stories, Sierra! Makes the romance seem more "real" in a novel that has to convince us of a genuine love story in a mere 300 hundred pages and a timeframes that takes place in a matter of weeks.

      Thanks for entering - best of luck!

  2. A "good" romance novel:

    Hmmm...believable characters, believable plots and believable love. ;) And as I forge through the ranks of romance novels...something that's unique and not already been done a thousand times. Which I'll readily really hard to do. :D

  3. *holding my breath*

    But since I won the last one...I'm sure my mustard seed of "luck" is completely expired. ;)

    1. True it is hard not to fall into cliché elements, Kellie. I like to say that as a "writer" I understand the difficulty to be unique - as a reader, the stereotypes grow wearying. :) Either way, I like it when character's and their respective relationships are genuine. :)

      Impossible! Surely you'll be a winner in one of them!? :)

      Wishing with you!

  4. A "good" romance novel--
    I need to like the heroine and also the hero, but not necessarily from the beginning. The characters are the most important to me, but I also want there to be a good plot--some major problem(s) to resolve. I like to see growth in the characters, or if it is a short romance, at least growth in one of them.
    may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

    1. A likable cast of (good) characters is a must, Kay. If the protagonists aren't likable, the story is difficult to connect with then it's almost too "painful" to finish. Most the time the characters should "define" the story since I've read some books that let the setting rule and by the end, I feel like none of the characters "meant" anything to me during the experience.

      Thanks for sharing!

  5. a good romance novel has to have some action and not just all love and such :) and you shouldn't be able to guess who the girl/guy will go with as soon as that character comes into the book :)

    1. ...they say actions speak louder than words, Kaylee. Many examples do prove that. If a romance is only "words" and not, as you suggest, "action," then it's likely to be less authentic.

      Thanks for sharing! :)

  6. A good romance has two characters with amazing chemistry and descriptive words.

    1. Excellent thought, Alyssa. Good chemistry is always important and I miss it when there isn't a "spark" between the leading couple. :)

  7. A good novel has a lot of humor. And not a lot of crying. =)

    1. Depends on the novel's subject for me, Maria. If it's an emotional book in which the characters *need* to display genuine emotion a few tears can go a LONG way. That being said, I've experienced some awkward, disappointing emotional scenes also and that does no one credit.

      Humor makes a book entertaining and all the more fun! :)

  8. A good romance book to me shows love slowly, and also shows the hardships as well of the joys of being in love - not just all the good stuff about romance but all that comes with living.

    1. Very wise, Kara.

      Much as I am an avid rom-com fan I am, I respect realism in books. Authentic romances are more joyful which is part of the reason I love books that deal with romances after the I Do's are spoken.

      Thanks for participating - and following along. :)

  9. A good romance novel for me, means watching the characters become best friends and keeping their relationship chaste until marriage. :-)

    That is SO cool that you got to be a judge for the INSPYs!

    1. YES! *high five* to you, Rosie. Anytime the best friend angle enters the story, I am all for it. It seems to lend authenticity to romances that need to be condensed in such a short time frame. And remaining chaste doubles the "swoon." ;)

      It *was* cool, Rosie; what a wonderful learning experience!

  10. A good romance is having a believable story line between 2 people trying to find each other. Lots of action and suspense!!!

  11. Hallo Rissi,

    One of the best recent examples of an all-encompassing romance for me would be the Daughters of Boston series by Julie Lessman! Beginning with *A Passion Most Pure* where the family is introduced to you, and within the pages of the first installment of the trilogy you begin to see the stitchings of how the romance and love shared between Marcy and Patrick have become the strength by which has held the family together. Their life and world is upturned by war as much as the growing years of their children, that will test their will and limitations of tolerance for each child's learning mistakes and choices of free will. What I appreciated about the novel(s) is the measure of realism that is etched into the stories. There is a hearty underpinning of everyday life and woe that I know helped knit this family into my heart!

    Romance to me, is an honest intent between two people to walk through life together, celebrating the little moments and finding little nestlements of joy that bring love into their life and world as often as they can remember not to let life's strife and tribulations detach themselves from each other. I love romantic heroes and heroines in period pieces too, but sometimes, it's nice to see an ordinary family struggling through different moments of their lives, and coming back together at the end of the day (or event) still in love, and still willing to keep the romance alive.

    1. Hello again, Jorie. :)

      Most of the time, I enjoy Julie's novels - tremendously. To be honest though, I do see one too many flaws in the characters that leaves me a bit skeptical in how "healthy" those romances are because they are SO terribly focused on the physical. That worries me as a reader who believes romance should be (and is) much more than just that. Initial attraction is about physical, but these books play with fire and push the chords of being "above board" too often. Julie's earlier series ('Daughters of Boston,' 'Winds of Change') are both really good reads, however I took issue with her new series.

      I am an advocate of free will (Christians sometimes forget this when discussing theology) so any story that depicts that is a plus.

      Romance to me, is an honest intent between two people to walk through life together, celebrating the little moments...

      Well said! Agree with you - romance needs to be genuine and "feel" that way when a reader journeys with a couple. Certainly in real life, this is a healthy way to approach love also. Anything less and it's not likely to last.

  12. A good romance? Hmmm. Mainly it's sweet and swoonworthy and well written and at least slightly believable-as if it could happen in real life. I do enjoy when the characters are friends first. I can handle love at first sight sometimes. But I'd prefer they have a little bit of time to get to know each other first. Christian fiction usually handles this well. Secular fiction, as in YA which I read quite a bit of, doesn't handle it quite as well. There's a lot of insta-love going on there. Some I like better than others. :)

    1. Love at first sight is a tricky business. Like you say, Kara I think it's okay sometimes but most the time there needs to be "more" to a first meeting. I'd rather have a fun, innocent, flirty meet-cute than discover a character is "in love" five minutes after they meet the hero/heroine.

      There is a knack to it - that's for sure!

      My impression of YA fiction is a love/hate relationship. There are too many wishy-washy emotions usually; I think authors get away with that because the characters are teens (immature) - and well, that's what young kids are like. Most don't know their hearts and minds yet. They think they are "in love" but once they break up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, the process starts again with someone new. Makes me glad not to be a part of that world. :)

  13. While I will definitely answer the question -- I must say, I love all the comments! They give a true picture of the depth and complexity desired in a "good" romance.

    For me, one is never simple and it's never easy because we aren't simple and easy and if it a romance is going to last -- why would we read one without that potential -- it has to dig into some of the difficult stuff right before our eyes. I'm also with you on "chaste" -- I think it makes for a better story because the writer has to dig deep and get beyond the obvious. Physical is fun...but Captain Wentworth putting Anne Elliot in the carriage was as "swoon-worthy" as any scene we'll find and that only involved hand-holding.

    I think It all comes down to complex, 3-D characters -- because they'll have nothing less than that kinda love. Thanks for asking the question, Rissi.

    1. Thanks for playing along, Katherine - I still count a comment as entries when I do this on a giveaway but it's fun to add a question. :)

      I like what you say about romance. It shouldn't be "easy" (we *are* complicated people - us women especially! ;D) but I confess the romantic in me enjoys the "cuteness" in romance stories; I admire realism but also enjoy the simpler moments that authors creatively put into stories. Anytime I come across a romance book that goes beyond the "I Dos," that is a plot that totally "gets" to me because the falling-in-love phase can sometimes fall into "pretty" traps rather than the seriousness of all that real love takes.

      Chaste is better. There doesn't always have to be a focus on the physical - it's worrisome if there is. Many people don't believe "chaste" relationships can still exist - I feel sorry for those people. How wrong they are - and what they are missing! Jane Austen knew how to get to a girl's heart - her heroes are (mostly!) swoon-worthy. One of my mother's favorite "romantic" endings is the new adaptation of The Four Feathers, she loves it because it lacks a passionate embrace or kiss - to her, that spoke volumes in comparison to most endings.

      Thank you for commenting, Katherine! Appreciate you taking a moment to drop by. :)

  14. CHEMISTRY! As it took me days to figure out, lol! Thanks for hosting this giveaway, Rissi, I've been really wanting to get my hands on "Against the Tide". :-)

    1. Ooh, I am rooting for you then, Gwendolyn! That's a great one - in fact, I do need to get a review up. :)

      Chemistry is a must also - even in a relationship that builds as "friendship" there needs to be a good connection. Thanks for answering! :)

  15. A good novel has to have believability. Lots of chemistry and romance. Also I like a little bit of humor!!!

    1. As do I - humor always brings the book full circle; it's nice to enjoy a laugh now and again, especially if a story gets a bit too "heavy."

  16. A good romance is a journey of two hearts finding home together with joy, passion and God.

    1. Great call, Merry. I like how you phrased your idea of a good romance. :)


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