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Femnista: Speculative Fiction


For the past three years, each October 31st has presented a special edition of Femnista. This year, our editor has followed in that same tradition and put out another fun, festive and freaky (in a basically good kind of way) issue of the online e-zine.

This issue covers an awesome array of topics - everything sweet, sassy and scary - and of course, some talented writers who pull that off. Included in this issue is the sweet, all-American television "classic" from the 90's, Early Edition; BBC's newest phenomenon Orphan Black; delve into the world of Once Upon a Time or the wackiness of Going Postal and much more!

Click the link below to download the issue and read it at your leisure or find the link in the sidebar (under "read Femnista") to page through the issue. Let us know what you think of the design or what you'd like us to someday tackle - basically just anything you're enjoying and of course, please feel free to share the issue on Pinterest, Tumblr or Twitter (you can find the "share it" buttons at the very bottom of the blog). We'd very much appreciate it.

Femnista, Speculative Fiction: October 2013
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Cover Candy, Edition 14


Happy Tuesday, all! So I just came across some all new cover pretties from Bethany House and since many of them weren't included in the last post (but the synopsis was), I thought I'd share them since some of you were expressing interest in certain novels of these upcoming novels.

Find new books from Jen Turano, Karen Witemeyer plus more!


Synopsis: In the shadow of the nation's capital, Kate Livingston holds a respectable position as a government statistician when she encounters a rival from her past, the insufferable Trevor McDonough. A Harvard-trained physician, Trevor never showed the tiniest flicker of interest in Kate, and she's bewildered at the way he suddenly seeks her out. Surprising even herself, Kate agrees to Trevor's entirely unexpected and risky proposal to work side-by-side with him in his quest to rid the world of tuberculosis, a contagious and deadly disease.

As Kate begins to unlock the mysteries of Trevor's past, she realizes there is much more to him than she could have imagined. His hidden depths may fascinate her, but his most closely guarded secrets and a shadowy enemy lurking in the background carry a serious threat to their future.

When the truth of the past comes out, threatening to destroy everything they hold dear, how will Trevor and Kate ever overcome all that stands in their way?

August 2014
Bethany House

Synopsis: When Amelia Wagner takes over the running of her father's newspaper in Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have consequences. Her father's revealing articles about Great Western Investment

Company's business methods have caught the notice of the wrong person, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements.

Determined to find the truth, Amelia goes through her father's notes and begins to interview members of the community. She can't seem to shake Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company.

The more Ben and Amelia learn, the more Amelia's father's claims appear to be accurate. In fact, it's probably worse than he realized. Even Ben is beginning to wonder if he's become a pawn in the workings of a corrupt empire. But Great Western isn't about to stand for a female reporter and one of their own men bringing down their lucrative schemes. Working against time, and never knowing what danger lurks around the next corner, Ben and Amelia set out to reveal all they've discovered before Great Western silences them for good.
 
June 2014
Bethany House


Synopsis: It is 1814 and the British have taken hold of Mackinac Island and its fort, forcing American residents to swear an oath of loyalty to the British crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a voyageur--a fur trader who left his family home to find freedom and adventure. He's been gone five years and when he returns, his family's farm is at the mercy of the British invaders.

Torn between the life he's grown used to and guilt over leaving his brother and mother, he's drawn back into the loyalist fight against the British--and into a relationship with Angelique Labelle, a beautiful local girl who's been befriended by the daughter of the British commander. As tensions mount and the threat of violence increases, both Angelique and Pierre must decide where their loyalties rest, how far they will go to find freedom, and how much they will risk to find love.

July 2014

Bethany House

Synopsis: When asked what he does for a living, Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: "I'm in the navy."

But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping its crew trained and focused during 90-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and carries it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating in the Pacific Rim, the navy is glad to have him.

Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, pretty, and very smart. She's a civilian, but she understands life in the navy. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.

Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. But a breakup she didn't see coming has her focusing all her attention on what she does best--ocean science research. She's on the cusp of a breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop's perspective and help. Because what she's told the navy she's figured out is only the beginning. If she's right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter...

May 2014

Bethany House


Synopsis: Alice Chesterfield is a woman pursued. Having survived an attack that left her scarred and her father dead, she is never free from the fear and memories of the man who is responsible.

Texas seems to be an answer to Alice's prayers, and when she has the opportunity to relocate to a ranch near Dallas, a new man captures Alice's attention. Robert Barnett is unlike any man Alice has ever known: He doesn't seem to mind the scar she bears, nor does he worry about the obstacles that stand in their way--including Jessica Atherton, the woman he's supposed to marry.

But there are storm clouds gathering, and Alice's peaceful sanctuary is threatened when she learns the truth about her father's dishonest dealings and the mother she thought was dead. Disillusioned, Alice must learn to place her trust in God as she seeks a measure of peace for her future...and for her heart.

June 2014
Bethany House


Synopsis: Two years ago, Zayne Beckett's departure from New York City to meet up with his almost-fiance caused Agatha Watson no small amount of grief. So he is the last person she wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Looking worse for the wear, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and taken back East to his family. Even though she's over him, Agatha can't help feeling sorry for him and realizes she'll have to be the one to get the stubborn man back home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere. Content to sit and mope over his recent bad fortune and the desertion of his not-quite-fiance, he's prepared to drag his heels all the way back to New York. That is, until he and Agatha find themselves slipping back into the strangely enjoyable bickering and bantering of their old friendship.

It isn't until they arrive in New York City that Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies. When his attempts to repay her for helping him go sadly awry, Agatha proves herself just as stubborn as Zayne. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?
 
July 2014
Bethany House

Synopsis: When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals--the Jenkins brothers--on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary--someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.
 
June 2014
Bethany House
 
So... now you've seen them, which captured your fancy?
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Once Upon a Time, Season Two (2012)



Not all stories end with the coined phrase happily ever after. Some travel through dark forests and defeat evil witches, others tear apart loved ones for emotional turmoil. No matter the ending, all have to begin somewhere, once upon a time…
With the whole of Storybrooke awakened from the effects from evil Queen Regina (Lana Parrila) and her powerful curse, its people are scrambling to reunite with loved ones, in the process rediscovering who they really are. No one is happier to be reunited than the Charmings – Snow (Ginnifer Goodwin) finally knows that her daughter is Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) and she isn’t about to let anything tear them apart again. When a twist of fate sends Emma and Snow falling through a magical portal opened by Regina, David (Josh Dallas) loses his wife and daughter all over again – it’s a separation he wouldn’t be prepared to settle for were it not for Henry (Jarred Gilmore), whose own needs outweigh David’s desire to put aside all rational thought and go to any means necessary to find Snow again.
On the other side of the portal is a portion of The Enchanted Forrest that was not destroyed by Regina’s evil. There, Princess Aurora (Sarah Bolger) has just been found and awakened by Prince Phillip (Julian Morris) who, along with Mulan (Jamie Chung) has been fighting off demons for years just to find Aurora and see her safely returned back to the only sect of people left who’ve survived these many years protected from the only threat that is left – Cora (Barbara Hershey). When a sacrifice is demanded, life is lost and Emma, Snow and Company discover that Henry and Aurora’s fates are intertwined – and Emma may have to trust their safe passage back to Storybrooke to a man (ColinO'Donoghue) with a twinkle in his eye, something that does not come easily to the woman who has already had her heart broken...
After two years of being a sold-out Oncer, I’m still not sure what it is that I love most about this show. It’s not the (dialogued) script or special effects, which then leaves the story arcs, characters, costumes and settings. All of those elements are comingled in one of the most sparkling (small screen) cinematic packages that any of us have or will be likely to run across in a while. ABC developed a – I think this is safe to say – brilliant concept when this foray into the fairy tale land first teased viewers with its magic. Where they’ve failed is in the scripting – if possible, I think the dialogue has gotten more sappy that usual. Nearing the halfway point of season two, I would be lying if not admitting that the show slowly but effectively got stronger in its intricacies. By the time we reached the breaking point of Rumplestiltskin obvious improvement was there, however week-after-week, episode-after-episode surprised me how “bad” the special effects were. Even on the small-screen and given all of the technology at the fingertips of the people behind-the-scenes, I’m amazed that there isn’t more credulity to the imagery in fairy-tale land.
I think what keeps me coming back is the clever interpretation of the famous fairytale sagas. The writer’s intertwine the fates of character’s you’d never imagine would have connections and takes our dim, safe perspective of these iconic names and challenges our ideas of them. If ever you thought you knew these personalities (as Disney would have us know them!), you may find that turned upside down. Some newbies crop up in season two (Aurora, Captain Hook, Mulan and more!) plus we catch up with old favorites such as Ruby (Meghan Ory), Belle (Emilie De Ravin) or the Seven Dwarves. Within these characters is where the heart and soul of this show is. Of course, a select number of them turn out to be evil villains but what’s most interesting is they all have a “trigger” that could resurrect them back to their former selves – all of them once had goodness in their hearts and instead of embracing that, they’ve chosen evil over goodness. Regina cracks ever so slightly whenever she’s confronted by Snow’s kindness; Rumple keeps Belle at a distance because she could be the catalyst that turns his heart backwards. These personalities (or rather the good guys) is what ensures my return. Also making fun guest spots are Lesley Nicol and Annabeth Gish.
Surprisingly, the costumes are a flaw. the present-day ensembles are way better than the past; in Storybrooke, Mary Margaret and Belle have an adorable vintage-vibe going on and in the past the girl’s dress looks “cheap” (unless they’re having adventures – in that case, everyone does look pretty cool). Season two does “up” its concepts and the “bigness” of its storytelling. There are some fabulous twists and the stories constantly keep us on our guard, never knowing if the appearance of a new character will turn out good or bad. Because of this, for anyone who may be contemplating watching this series, you’d be best to watch it in its proper order as there are dozens of trails that intersect. This season forces enemies to work together and also takes some risks while working hard to flesh out the main cast of characters. If you like productions that are unusual and full of fairytale throwbacks, then you’re missing some unique fun by not watching this show. I may have complaints about it and feel cheated out of some things that writer’s don’t push harder to perfect and captivate, however I’m not about to give up because all of the Storybrooke stories are actually quite good. I know I’m ready to delve into its version of mermaids and Neverland. How about you?
Share any thoughts you may have about Once Upon a Time! What was your favorite thing about season two; do you like season three thus far? Speculate below!
(What to know: Aside from some swordplay and magic, the violence is relatively non-graphic – more fantasy “violence” than anything. The Evil Queen is constantly scheming something and because of that she uses multiple spells to get what she wants – she kills various people with magic; a man is beaten up, a woman strapped to a table and tortured [electric shocks], and various characters have their hearts ripped out of their chests. We see some of Frankenstein's work. We meet a "seer" whose eyes are in her hands. There are a few innuendoes and a scene or two of a married couple in bed along with another woman and her lover. There are a few profanities. The show is rated TVPG.)   
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Giveaway Winner!


Good Tuesday afternoon, all! I hope you're all having a nice week during this the last few days of October. I've been staying busy which has meant that I've neglected my review writing and emails. However on the upside, I did get started on some Christmas card material which is awesome. I'm forever ending up being the procrastinator when it comes to that sort of thing. I start out really well, but then, inevitably a Saturday afternoon a week before Christmas rolls around and WHAT I still don't have those cards done which means I rush through them on said afternoon. *sigh* This year I shall not fall into that trap.

Anyway, ramblings are not why you're here today! We have a giveaway winner to announce (yay!). The recent giveaway featured a DVD copy of The Heart of the Country up for grabs and the winner is...

■ Jillian H.

Hooray! Congrats, Jillian. You should have an email asking for a mailing address in your inbox; please just get back to me by November 1st with that information. For everyone else, I do wish I could send you all a copy (thank you for participating and sharing about the giveaway) but keep your eyes open as there will be a couple new book giveaway opportunities popping up on your dashboard that you're all invited to join in! Also, keep a lookout for that new Femnista issue I've been promoting on Twitter and a fun author Q&A. I look forward to seeing you all then.

Until then... stay happy!
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Stardust (2007)


If its cast wasn’t enough incentive for the would-be viewer, this “adult” fantasy book-to-screen adaptation actually boasts a clever script – and that means this is a winner.  

Nearly twenty years after being left on his father’s doorstep, Tristan Thorn (Charlie Cox) is in love. He’s found the woman whose heart he wishes to win in the local beauty, Victoria (Sienna Miller). Only trouble is, Tristan has to compete for her hand against a school mate. Hoping to woo her, Tristan promises the impossible: he’ll bring back a fallen star for the honor of her hand. There’s just one problem with that – Wall, the village Tristan calls home is protected by a wall from the realm of Stronghold and none of its citizens have been allowed to cross to the lands unknown beyond that point. Not one to be deterred and with a sense of wanderlust – same as his father (Nathanial Parker), Tristan forges ahead. Once he reaches his destination, Tristan finds that the star is far from a lump of stardust. Her name is Yvaine (Claire Danes) and she’s nothing he expected, and in order to keep her safe, he’ll have to embark on an adventure – one that pits him against a wicked sorceress (Michelle Peffier) and pirates! – he never expected.

 Believe it or not, there was once a time when fantasy films, books or any other form of “fantastical” entertainment was taboo in my house. Only recently did I settle in for a re-watch of this film which sparked a new angle of thought in regards to this story, and writing this review has reminded me that it was probably Stardust that really opened my perspective and made me curious about the genre in broader terms. From then on out, many similar films found a place as favorites and this movie falls among them. I don’t watch this movie very often and for the life of me I cannot logically say why not. On the upside when I do get around to settling in and popping it into the player, it’s that much more fun because those time spans in-between viewings make me forget what a glittering piece of fun this film truly is.

Fantasy addicts know that it takes a unique filmmaker who can merge humor and adventurous danger to fans satisfaction. That is the sort of fairytale lover I am, and this script does that with whip-smart and zany precision. There were dozens of times when I giggled over some of the sequences without feeling like the comedy was “overdoing” things or as if I was being cheated out of an action adventure at the cost of a comedic mess or vice versa. This is one of those films that really “has it all”; there are several breath-catching moments (both good and bad) and of course, any romantic will get their fill of swoon-worthy gestures (I know I sure did!). The creative genius behind this motion picture was Matthew Vaughn (X-Men, First Class) pulling double duty as both a scripter and director. Though I cannot say how this adapted to screen (based on a novel by Neil Gaiman, who – random trivia time! – also wrote a pair of Doctor Who episodes), the script works well as more of an “adult” fantasy epic and despite some unnecessary winking implications here and there, the story enthralls.

Before they were familiar faces on television screens across America or widely known as favorite Austen heroes, this movie featured some awesome talent! Not the least of which was its leading cast – that pulled together everyone from the familiar (Danes, Peffier) to the unknown (Cox). Also playing a role in this whimsical flick is Mark Strong, Rupert Everett, plus (briefly) a young Ben Barnes and a nearly unrecognizable Henry Cavill. Everyone in this cast is stupendous! What I love most is that by playing these roles, not only do they seem to have wonderful chemistry but it’s as if none of them are taking their roles too seriously – no one seems to be having more fun with it than this group of talent, which is plain to see unfold and makes the viewer all the more invested in the film. But then that’s just what a good cast should do – and this one in particular commands a lot of attention. The costuming is pretty (as it always is in these sorts of flicks), and like many before and since, Cox’s transformation from boy to man is well recognized, especially when he proves he can a.) wield a sword with expertise and b.) pull off swishing around one of those long coats that demands notice!

If you like this genre, nothing does up the magic, enchantment or adventure better than Stardust. The title is enticing and the build-up to the ever-important climatic ending better than many of its peers. In short, really all that needs to be said is that this is any fantasy lover’s dream. It’s humorous, atmospheric (the effects aren’t bad either!) and just plain charming.

(Parental review: It’s revealed two men are homosexual [one is very subtle, the other shows a scene of a man cross-dressing in his room]. A baby is born out-of-wedlock; there are various minor sexual innuendoes and it’s implied but uncertain whether an unmarried couple are intimate with each other. There is plenty of witchcraft and magic; witches kill animals [out of frame] and use their dead body parts to predict things. A man is turned into a woman [for “comical” purposes, we see her bust form] along with a few other sexual gags. Voodoo magic is employed once. It’s implied a ghost is naked [the camera never shows anything below the waist]. Brothers kill each other [throwing them out windows, poisonings, slit throats] and there is a “panel” of ghosts present through much of the film. There are a few profanities littered about. The film is rated PG13.)
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Cover Candy, Edition Thirteen + Upcoming 2014 Fiction


Morning, all. So today, I was going to post a review but you know, once some ALL-NEW cover pretties showed up on my Twitter timeline (via the lovely Rel, thanks for that!), I figured I'd go on an Internet scavenger hunt for some additional "new" cover art. Below is the result of that.

What else is a girl to do?

Some of these you've all likely seen, but for those of you who haven't (or those who have; feel free to chime in if you didn't get all those "oohs" and "aahs" out elsewhere), share you're thoughts! I'd love to know your favorites.
 
■ Shout-out to Rosie here; we talked back when Welcome to Last Chance first came out since both of us were curious about book two. Now we can read about it! :)
 
Synopsis: Sarah Cooley has come home to Last Chance, New Mexico, for one reason--because it doesn't change. After an engagement gone bad with a man who wanted to change everything about her, Sarah is more than ready for the town whose motto may as well be, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Chris Reed, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to spark some change in the little town. As the new owner of the Dip 'n' Dine, he's shaking things up to draw folks from all over the Southwest into his restaurant.

As it turns out, the winds of change are blowing into Last Chance--just not in the ways that Sarah or Chris might expect.
 
May 2014
Revell Books
 
 
Synopsis: Thrilling, exhilarating, haunting, and heartbreaking, The Here and Now is a twenty-first-century take on an impossible romance. Ann Brashares’ first novel for teens since The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is about a girl from the future who might be able to save the world . . . if she lets go of the one thing she’s found to hold on to.

Meet seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve. Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country. She came from a different time—a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community. Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth. But everything changes when she falls for Ethan Jarves.
 
April 2014

 
Synopsis: Contemporary Romance to Make You Laugh, Cry, and Fall in Love

When Kate Darby swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor, she ends up trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Terrified, she breathes a prayer that changes her life: "God, if you're real, I want to know you."

It's Nick Sheridan who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick is handsome, confident, and seems to develop a habit of rescuing her, but Kate is in town only until her grandmother recuperates from a stroke. She's not planning to fall in love with one of the locals.

Nick Sheridan is a reformed veteran of life in the fast lane, a new Christian, and a travel writer. When he sees a car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action. He doesn't expect to be swept off his feet by the car's occupant. He's made a vow: no dating for a year. And it's a vow he intends to keep in spite of his attraction to Kate Darby...
 
May 2014
Bethany House
 
 
Synopsis: Harper Mcallister is a sweet but spoiled freshly minted rich girl whose dad decides she needs a shot of reality. His plan: send her to his childhood sleepaway camp, Whispering Pines. Ziplines, mud, bugs, and bears are not Harper's thing and she'll hilarious have to navigate that world without her iPhone or beloved Twitter account. Can she hack it with the help of some former "Sleepaway Girls"?

April 2014
Poppy
 
 
Truth Be Told
by Carol Cox
 
■ No cover art, yet, but here's the story!
 
Synopsis: When Amelia Wagner takes over the running of her father's newspaper in Granite Springs, Arizona, she vows to carry on the paper's commitment to reporting only the truth. But Amelia soon learns that even the truth can have consequences. Her father's revealing articles about Great Western Investment

Company's business methods have caught the notice of the wrong person, and pressure mounts for Amelia to retract her father's statements.

Determined to find the truth, Amelia goes through her father's notes and begins to interview members of the community. She can't seem to shake Benjamin Stone, a Great Western employee who's been assigned to keep tabs on her for the good of the company.

The more Ben and Amelia learn, the more Amelia's father's claims appear to be accurate. In fact, it's probably worse than he realized. Even Ben is beginning to wonder if he's become a pawn in the workings of a corrupt empire. But Great Western isn't about to stand for a female reporter and one of their own men bringing down their lucrative schemes. Working against time, and never knowing what danger lurks around the next corner, Ben and Amelia set out to reveal all they've discovered before Great Western silences them for good.
 
June 2014
Bethany House
 
Synopsis: As first graders, Avery and Nora bonded over a special trait they shared—they were both adopted.

Years later, Avery is smart, popular, and on the cheerleading squad, while Nora spends her time on the fringes of school society, wearing black, reading esoteric poetry, and listening to obscure music. They never interact...until the night Nora approaches Avery at a party, saying it’s urgent. She tells Avery that she thought she found her birth mom—but it turned out to be a cruel lie. Avery feels for Nora, but returns to her friends at the party.

Then Avery learns that Nora overdosed on pills. Left to cope with Nora’s loss and questioning her own actions, Avery decides to honor her friend by launching a search for her own birth mother. Aided by Brody, a friend of Nora’s who is also looking for a way to respect Nora’s legacy, Avery embarks on an emotional quest. But what she’s really seeking might go far deeper than just genetics…
 
February 2014

 
Synopsis: Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Puritan Barnabas Horton is still in love with his deceased wife and needs only a mother for his two young sons. And yet these two very different people with very different expectations will take a leap of faith, wed, and then embark on a life-changing journey across the ocean to the Colonies. Along the way, each must learn to live in harmony, to wait on God, and to recognize true love where they least expect to find it.

This heartfelt tale of love and devotion is based on debut author Rebecca DeMarino's own ancestors, who came to Long Island in the mid-1600s to establish a life--and a legacy--in the New World.
 
June 2014
Revell Books
 
 
Synopsis: In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride.
 
July 2014
HarperTeen
 
 
Synopsis: The day Eden met Ryan changed her world forever. Actually, not just her world. Ryan has time traveled from the future to save the world. In a few weeks, Eden’s best friend Connor will discover a new planet—one where human life is possible. The discovery will make him famous. It will also ruin the world as we know it. When Ryan asks Eden for help, she must choose between saving the world and saving her best friend’s greatest achievement. And a crush on Ryan complicates things more than she could have imagined. Because Connor is due to make the discovery after the girl he loves breaks his heart. That girl is Eden.

Grounded in a realistic teen world with fascinating sci-fi elements, After Eden is a heart-pounding love triangle that’s perfect for dystopian fans looking for something new to devour.
 
November 2013
Bloomsbury

Synopsis: The yearbook votes have been cast. Senior year is about to get interesting.

Tia just wants to have fun. She’s worked hard to earn her reputation as the life of the party, and she’s ready for a carefree senior year of hanging out with friends and hooking up with cute boys. And her first order of business? New guy Will. She can’t get enough of his Midwestern accent and laid-back swagger.

As the sparks start to fly, Will wants to get serious. Tia’s seen how caring too much has left her sisters heartbroken, and she isn’t interested in commitment. But pushing away Will drives him into the arms of another girl. Tia tells herself it’s no big deal…until the yearbook elections are announced. Getting voted Biggest Flirt along with Will is, well, awkward. They may just be friends, but their chemistry is beginning to jeopardize Will's new relationship—and causing Tia to reconsider her true feelings. What started out as a lighthearted fling is about to get very complicated…
 
May 2014
Simon Pulse
 
 
Synopsis: Anna Boyd almost lost her life to get what she wanted most in the world: freedom.

But just when it seems that her family has finally escaped Witness Protection, the illusion that Anna could resume a normal life comes crashing down.

The deadly man Anna knows as Thomas is still on the loose, and now he's using her as a pawn in a dangerous game with the drug cartel determined to silence her forever. When Thomas and a mysterious masked man capture not only Anna but also her fragile younger sister and her boyfriend, Anna decides it's time to break all the rules-even if it means teaming up with the lesser of two evils.

Anna will do whatever it takes to protect the people she loves and win her life back once and for all. But her true enemies are hidden in plain sight. Before long, Anna will learn that putting her trust in anyone may be the last mistake she ever makes
.
 
May 2014
Disney
 
Love Comes Home
by Ann H. Gabhart
 
■  Since Small Town Girl was one of the best surprises in my 2013 repertoire, I'm happy to know we'll have a chance to revisit Rosey Corner!
(No cover art for Love Comes Home.)
 
Synopsis: World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are busy welcoming the boys home. The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future. Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay. Evangeline wants a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church. Victoria wants what can never be--a life with a man who will never come back. And little Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.

Through the heartfelt storytelling of bestselling author Ann Gabhart, readers join these endearing characters as they walk an uncertain road. Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.
July 2014
Revell Books

 
Synopsis: Audrey Whitticomb saved her entire city.

Well, kind of. The superhero Morning Star (who just happens to be Audrey's mom) might have played a small part, and her sidekick, Leon-Audrey's sort-of boyfriend, who is gorgeous and frustrating-maybe helped, too.

But after two peaceful months, there is a vicious new threat in Minneapolis. Her name is Susannah, and she's a Harrower, a demon hell-bent on destroying people like Morning Star, Leon, and Audrey-the Kin. Like others before her, she seeks the Remnant, a Kin girl who has the power to unleash the inhabitants of the Beneath. But to what end?

Audrey already has a ton on her plate: dealing with her best friend Tink's boy drama, helping her other best friend Gideon figure out his nightmares, and exploring the highs and lows of "dating" Leon. But when she develops a powerful new ability, Audrey seizes on the chance to fight, despite her mother's protests and Leon's pleas.

As Audrey gets closer to figuring out Susannah's motives and tracking down the Remnant, she'll uncover more than she bargained for. The terrible truth is staring Audrey in the face. But knowing the truth and accepting it are very different things.
 
February 2014
Disney-Hyperion
 
 
■ Okay, as Rel pointed out, this one has  nice "twist." Usually gorgeous gowns are reserved for historical fiction and guess what!? This one is a contemporary. That's awesome. The story sounds interesting too plus I'm always up for trying new authors (this one is "new" to me) and of late, they've had an excellent track record.
 
Synopsis: Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream. Her world is filled with designer clothes, luxury cars, and stunning homes. But her Neiman-Marcus lifestyle comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly, she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must start over against incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living.

Poignant and emotionally gripping, A Woman of Fortune reveals the many ways we deceive ourselves and how resilience of the heart is essential to authentic living. Drawing on her experiences as a legal investigator, author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers emotionally gripping plots and authentic characters. Readers will love Claire's unbending determination as she strives to keep her family from falling apart and learns to embrace the kind of fortune that lasts.
 
June 2014
Revell Books
 
 
Synopsis: Since defeating Lord Scargrave with her music, Lucy, the last Chantress, has lived by the sea, mastering the intricacies of Wild Magic. But now her quiet life is about to end: the wheat crop has failed, the people are rebelling, and Lucy is called urgently back to King Henry IX’s court. There she finds the Inner Council planning to save England by making gold through alchemy. But the golden crucible—the critical element in the alchemical process—has been stolen, its guards murdered. Lucy is charged with finding the traitor behind the attack.                  

Meanwhile, enemies old and new are gathering. Scargrave's brutal Chantress-hunter has become King Henry's closest advisor. Lucy’s beloved Nat has fallen out of favor and is shunned by his colleagues; their romance means trouble for both of them. Worst of all, something goes wrong with Lucy’s magic. The palace is a labyrinth, and there’s a monster at its heart—a monster who may have the power to defeat Lucy once and for all.
 
May 2014

 
Synopsis: Claire Summers is a determined, independent single mother who is doing her best to make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed her. Keith Watson is a results-oriented workaholic with no time for a social life. As the executive assistant to a local philanthropic businessman, he's used to fielding requests for donations. But when a letter from Claire's eleven-year-old daughter reaches his desk, everything changes. The girl isn't asking for money, but for help finding the long-lost son of an elderly neighbor.

As Keith digs reluctantly into this complicated assignment, he has no idea how intertwined his life and Claire's will become--nor how one little girl's kindhearted request will touch so many lives and reap so many blessings.

Through compelling characters and surprising plot twists, Irene Hannon offers readers this tenderhearted story of family connections that demonstrates how life is like lilacs--the biggest blooms often come only after the harshest winters.
 
May 2014
Revell Books
 
 
■ Love how complimentary this one is next to its first book, Dangerous Passage. Plus, is it rocking the purple or what!?
 
Synopsis: Emily Hunt might come from a family of cops, but she never goes looking for an adrenaline rush. She lives the quiet--well, relatively quiet--life of a teacher and thrives on making a difference in the lives of her students. But she'll have to draw on a well of strength and savvy she didn't know she had as student Rafael Cerda takes her class hostage for ransom money to save his brother's life.

Undercover cop Mason Taylor has been working with Rafael to find his brother and bring the cartel thugs who hold him to justice. Can he talk Rafael down from his impulsive actions? And is there something more sinister at work here than he realizes?

Fatal Exchange
draws readers into a complex matrix of intertwining lives and unraveling secrets, where every answer creates more questions. Romantic suspense fans will hardly want to come up for air.
 
May 2014
Revell Books
 
 
Synopsis: The year is 1911. And at The Manor, nothing is as it seems . . .

Lady Charlotte Edmonds: Beautiful, wealthy, and sheltered, Charlotte feels suffocated by the strictures of upper-crust society. She longs to see the world beyond The Manor, to seek out high adventure. And most of all, romance.

Janie Seward: Fiery, hardworking, and clever, Janie knows she can be more than just a kitchen maid. But she isn't sure she possesses the courage -- or the means -- to break free and follow her passions.

Both Charlotte and Janie are ready for change. As their paths overlap in the gilded hallways and dark corridors of The Manor, rules are broken and secrets are revealed. Secrets that will alter the course of their lives. . . forever.
 
January 2014
Point
 
 
Synopsis: After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.
 
April 2014
Walker
 


■ Aw, another novel from Janette Oke! I love the pretty, delicate look of the design. Plus, it's much more appealing to today's reader.
 
Synopsis: Janette Oke Returns with a New Prairie Romance!

After years of schooling, Beth Thatcher has graduated and is determined to become a teacher. But when she's assigned the position no one else wants--in the tiny mining town of Coal Valley, located in the rugged foothills of western Canada--she worries she doesn't have the courage to accept.

Inspired by the diary of her aunt Elizabeth, who went west to teach school several years earlier, as well as her father's encouragement, Beth eventually decides to put her trust in God and leave behind all she's ever known.

But the conditions in Coal Valley are even worse than she'd feared. A recent mining accident has left the town grieving and at the mercy of the mining company. The children have very little prior education, and many of the locals don't even speak English. In addition, Beth's heart is torn between two young men--both Mounties, one a lifelong friend and the other a kind, quiet man who comes to her aid more than once.

Despite the unexpected challenges, Beth is determined to make a difference in the rustic frontier town. But when her sister visits from the East, reminding her of all the luxuries she's had to give up, will Beth decide to return to her privileged life as soon as the school year is over?
 
February 2014
 Bethany House
 
 
Synopsis: After graduating from Fannie Farmer's School of Cookery in 1910, Charlotte Gregory is ready to stir things up. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to travel, lecture, and give cooking demonstrations on the very latest kitchen revolution--the gas stove--and certainly doesn't mind that the gas company has hired the handsome Lewis Mathis to perform at her lectures. Lewis encourages her work, especially her crusade to introduce fresh, appetizing, nutritious food to those convalescing in hospitals. But young hospital superintendent Dr. Joel Brooks is not convinced any changes should be made--especially by this outspoken young woman.

When Charlotte and Joel are coerced into planning a fund-raising gala for the hospital, will this combustible pair explode?
 
May 2014
Revell Books
 
 
Synopsis: Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't have...is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?
 
May 2014
HarperCollins
 
 
Synopsis: Bold, sophisticated, and flirtatious, Army Air Force flight nurse Lt. Kay Jobson collects hearts wherever she flies, leaving men pining in airfields all across Europe. So how can ruggedly handsome C-47 pilot Lt. Roger Cooper be all but immune to her considerable charms? In fact, he seems to do everything he can to avoid her.

Still, as they cross the skies between Italy and southern France, evacuating the wounded and delivering paratroopers and supplies, every beat of their hearts draws them closer to where they don't want to go. Can they confront the fears and misunderstandings in their pasts?

Sarah Sundin seamlessly weaves together emotion, action, and sweet romance into a tale that transcends time and calls us to believe in the power of love.
 
August 2014
Revell Books
 
 
Synopsis: Cassia Pappas has found herself in a nearly impossible situation. She wants to spend her time immersed in her new job at a Galveston Island floral shop, arranging blooms and brightening occasions with her lovely creations. But her huge Greek family–especially her father–has other ideas. They’ve all relocated to Galveston to open up a new family restaurant location on the Strand– directly across the street from the Rossis’ popular pizza place–and they want Cassia’s full participation.

To make matters worse, as Cassia is trying to develop a strong professional relationship with Galveston’s premier wedding coordinator, Bella Neeley, her own father is intent on stealing all of the Rossi family’s faithful customers. Not exactly the best way to get into Bella’s good graces!
Still, at least Alex, that hot delivery guy from the nursery, is always hanging around the flower shop . . .

Fan favorite Janice Thompson gives readers one more romp with Bella, Galveston, and the bustling wedding biz in the final installment of her popular series. Anyone who loves quirky families, loads of laughter, and tender romance will find themselves hooked.

August 2014
Revell Books
A Match of Wits
by Jen Turano
 
■ No cover art, yet, but here's the story!
 
Synopsis: Two years ago, Zayne Beckett's departure from New York City to meet up with his almost-fiance caused Agatha Watson no small amount of grief. So he is the last person she wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Looking worse for the wear, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and taken back East to his family. Even though she's over him, Agatha can't help feeling sorry for him and realizes she'll have to be the one to get the stubborn man back home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere. Content to sit and mope over his recent bad fortune and the desertion of his not-quite-fiance, he's prepared to drag his heels all the way back to New York. That is, until he and Agatha find themselves slipping back into the strangely enjoyable bickering and bantering of their old friendship.

It isn't until they arrive in New York City that Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies. When his attempts to repay her for helping him go sadly awry, Agatha proves herself just as stubborn as Zayne. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?
 
July 2014
Bethany House
 
 
Synopsis: For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can out-run, out-score, and outwit every boy she knows--including her long-time neighbor, and honorary fourth brother, Braden.

But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chi-chi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and bedazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pick-up game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.
 
July 2014
HarperTeen
 
Full Steam Ahead
by Karen Witemeyer
 
■ No cover art, yet, but here's the story!
 
Synopsis: When Nicole Renard returns home to Galveston from an eastern finishing school, she's stunned to find her father in ill health. Though she loves him, he's only ever focused on what she's not. Not male. Not married. Not able to run their family business, Renard Shipping.

Vowing to secure a suitable marriage partner, Nicole sets out with the Renard family's greatest treasure: a dagger personally gifted to Nicole's father by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Many believe the legend that the dagger is the source of all Renard Shipping's good fortune, though Nicole is sure her father's work ethic and honorable business practices are the keys to their success. Before she can board the steamer to New Orleans, Nicole finds her father's rivals--the Jenkins brothers--on either side of the gangplank, ready to grab her and steal the dagger. Quickly, she decides to instead travel north, to Liberty, Texas, where she can decide what to do next.

Darius Thornton needs a secretary--someone to help him get his notes in order. Ever since the boiler explosion aboard the Louisiana, Darius has been a man obsessed. He will do anything to stop even one more steamship disaster. The pretty young socialite who applies for the job baffles him with her knowledge of mathematics and steamships. He decides to take a risk and hire her, but he's determined her attractive face and fancy clothes won't distract him from his important research.

The job offer comes at exactly the right time for Nicole. With what Darius is paying her, she'll be able to afford passage to New Orleans in mere weeks. But Mr. Thornton is so reclusive, so distant, so unusual. He can create complex scientific equations but can't remember to comb his hair. And his experiments are growing more and more dangerous. Still, there are undeniable sparks of attraction between them. But Nicole is leaving soon, and if she marries, it must be to a man who can manage a shipping empire. Darius certainly doesn't fit that description. And the Jenkins brothers have not given up on kidnapping Nicole and seizing the Lafitte dagger for themselves.
 
June 2014
Bethany House
 
 
Synopsis: A warning to all young ladies of delicate breeding who wish to embark upon lives of adventure: Don't.

Sixteen-year-old Peggy is a well-bred orphan who is coerced into posing as a lady in waiting at the palace of King George I. Life is grand, until Peggy starts to suspect that the girl she's impersonating might have been murdered. Unless Peggy can discover the truth, she might be doomed to the same terrible fate. But in a court of shadows and intrigue, anyone could be a spy—perhaps even the handsome young artist with whom Peggy is falling in love . . .

History and mystery spark in this effervescent series debut.

November 2013

Which are your favorites?
Are they any of these going on your bookish lists...?
 
The comments are now yours.
 
Happy Friday, friends. 
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Heart of the Country (2013)


When faith-based films fall into the hands of the right filmmakers, there is a subtlety to their insights that can be incredibly moving. When they aren’t, it makes for a production that is disappointing and usually, awkward.

Like any small-town girl, Faith (Jana Kramer) left her southern roots behind to pursue a career in the spotlight. An aspiring musician, she heads to the lights of New York and plays small shows but instead of following her dreams, she meets and falls in love. Luke Carraday (Randy Wayne) is from a prominent, wealthy family, and marrying Luke means that instead of becoming a music star, Faith is instead in the tabloids on Luke’s arm as his new bride. Settling into life as a socialite, Faith’s world is tuned upside down when her husband is accused of insider trading at the investment firm he broke from his family’s business to join. Arrested and imprisoned for his alleged part in the scam, Faith is left without resources with their money is frozen which forces her back to a place she hasn't gone to in too long – home.

This movie surprised me. Going in, there were no real expectations for it which meant that as a viewer, I wasn’t sure what it’d be like. The story isn’t anything “new” (small-town girl sheds her past) however I liked how it unfolded; director and screenwriter John Ward took a few risks and dealt with some things I didn’t expect, yet it was all done without compromising the characters or making us dislike and/or question their attitude (which is discussed more later). Being only familiar with her work as a vocalist, I didn’t know what it’d be like to see Jana in a leading role. Fortunately she held her own; Faith is a good leading character even though her character has the misfortunate of falling into cliché reactions. Anyone who watches “Christian” films may also recognize Randy Wayne (To Save a Life) or Shaun Sipos from prior television series plus any classic TV fans are sure to enjoy seeing Gerald McRaney playing Faith’s father. The cast was surprisingly good, which leaves the production and story itself to chat about. If you want to hear about that, do pull up a chair. Thoughts on that are as follows.

As a “prodigal comes home” story, this works. The means by which Faith returns and eventually refuses to face her past are (as previously stated) stereotyped but then, what script isn’t. How Ward told the story ended up being a strength, starting things in the aftermath of the events surrounding Faith’s return and backpedaling to reveal the “why” through memories. Showing the story from this perspective offered a more emotional expectation plus added a bit of "mystery" without confusion. The quality of filmmaking in the movie was quite good also. Taking place in the southern country side adds some pretty scenery – especially a scene that involves Faith horseback riding – and there are also some really charming flashback scenes in the city, these scenes of Faith and Luke are precious. Faith’s view of love was clouded by what is commonly referred to as “the fairytale.” She met and fell in love with Luke at a point in her life when she looked at life through rose-colored glasses; she wasn’t in the best frame of mind to consider every aspect of marriage. There’s a line in the movie that reconciles this and sadly, it applies to many of the young marriages that too often befalls couples, much more than it should be!

The story is slow-moving at times and the subplots aren’t always explored as they should be (like the sister relationship), however at its heart, the movie is full of moments of familial sweetness and redemptive forgiveness. There is also a time for tears, yet what most surprised me was that even when things were looking bleak, the characters never caused us to doubt them; their actions may not have always been “right,” but even in their emotional confusion, they make a the better choice. I am not sure I’d brand this a favorite drama, however for anyone who enjoys Hallmark films, this was a sweet movie.

Have a look at the trailer:

(What to know: one character dies. A husband and wife accuse each other of lying and briefly a man is accused of cheating on his wife. The film is rated PG.)  
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Heart of the Country DVD Giveaway!


If you saw the latest review (Heart of the Country) that was posted on the blog today, and thought the film sounded good, you're in luck. To go with that new review, there's also a DVD copy of the film up for grabs! One winner will get an unopened copy of this movie since I happen to have a secondary one laying around. So, yay! This equals a giveaway. Read on below for details.

The RULES:

The giveaway(s) is open to U.S and Canadian readers. Also, please I will just ask that anyone who leaves a comment under "anonymous," please leave the same name you enter into the widget in your comment - it's not nearly as easy to try and match comments when there is no name and in fairness to everyone else, I want to be able to be sure everyone who used the Rafflecopter correctly has a fair chance at winning against those who abuse it - believe it or not, there have been a couple people that I could not verify. So please, I don't mean to overwhelm, but just keep this in mind when entering future giveaways. I'd sure appreciate it! 

About the Movie:

Country music's hottest young superstar, Jana Kramer, plays the lead role in this romantic tale of a prodigal daughter's inspirational journey home. When her husband is arrested, wealthy New York socialite and singer Faith Carraday (Kramer) returns to her Southern roots and the family she left behind years ago. Amongst the beautiful fields of rural North Carolina, Faith will try to rebuild her shattered life, her marriage and her belief in herself. But will Faith's father and sister find the grace to forgive and forget and can her love for the man she thought she knew survive the ultimate betrayal?

Rating: PG
Runtime: 90 Minutes

a Rafflecopter giveaway As always... best of luck, participants.
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Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren


About the Book:
Author: Lisa T. Bergren 
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2013
Find the Review Elsewhere:
Series: Grand Tour – Book 3
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 5 out of 5
There isn’t a historical series that has been more of a whirlwind than this atmospheric trilogy revolving around a girl coming of age in the most unusual circumstances. Classifying this as a “historical” is fair yet somehow doesn’t seem fitting since this novel covers so much ground (so much more than merely a historical delight), and seems unafraid to tackle deep-seated emotional scars as well as the delights of each city it visits – from the City of Lights to the Ruins of Rome. Having found her identity – both spiritual and as an heiress, Cora Diehl Kensington is ready to accept some of the responsibilities of being a Kensington particularly running the mines in the Morgan-Kensington ­­name that Cora’s father has built with his business partner; this angers the Morgan’s and leaves Cora at odds over future business decisions. When tragedy strikes, Cora is again fighting to keep her emotional identity intact and find a way to outsmart the people who are still pursuing the tourists with ploys to destroy them.  

From the very beginning, Lisa has entranced readers (in the best possible way) of this Grand Tour series, exciting us and engaging us with the story of  four young socialites who came together to form a close-knit family and made new friendships in the progression of each “journey.” There was much heightened excitement going into Glittering Promises and that excitement was definitely warranted! The first half of the novel follows in a “safe” manner and details touring experiences, and fortifies relationships, and then the second half put everything on hold and “upped” the adventure aspects. There are not one or two but three “big” game-changers and fortunately when all the dust settles, the good are still left standing – just as any good author should end a saga.

Throughout this entire series I was so impressed with the leading character, Cora. Told mostly through her first-person perspective I couldn’t help but believe that finally an author had given us a young character as real as one was likely to ever get. Raised as a simple farm girl and thrust into the spotlight when she discovers her biological father is actually a wealthy “copper king,” the inner-struggle within Cora not only “felt” genuine... it was quite realistic. With exception to her doubts about a suitor, how easily Cora became accustomed to lush amenities and lifestyle changes was nothing but accurate yet still there was a part of her who never forgot the roots she came from – that is what made Cora a heroine to applaud and wish well. Even if we’ve never been placed in the same situations she was, that was something relatable, a part of us wondering what our place in the world would be. Seeing how much stronger each of the relationships were in Glittering Promises was a joy. I adored experiencing the closeness between Cora and her sister’s or how easily Felix was rankled if anyone spoke out of turn towards his sister – their camaraderie and loyalty to one another was so much more mature and unbreakable compared to when it started and because of that, Lisa gave fans who only wanted a happy relationship between these friends and protagonist a lovely ending.  

Not only is the character growth outstanding but the author has also carved out an exceptional novel for any historical addict. There are pages of descriptions chronicling well-known places in Europe. Even as a girl who hasn’t seen Paris or been to mansions, I found these scenes well defined. Anyone who hasn’t read this series, I’d recommend reading them in the proper order. It’s not impossible to read them individually however there are many threads that carry through each. As a fan from the beginning, I don’t think Lisa could have ended this more exceptionally. If there was one thing that I was disappointed by, it’d be the revelation that one person whom I’d slowly came to trust was in reality, not a good person. There is a point when doubt creeps in but until then, still I was convinced. This one thing wasn’t enough to down the rating of the book or make me question the frame of the stories;. they were beautifully told and expressed, and while it’s sad to wave goodbye to Cora and her travelling companions, I’m also eager to embark on Lisa’s new adventures. The Grand Tour is not a journey anyone should miss. It’s a whirlwind of emotions, adventure, romance and history, all of which is effortlessly woven together by the pen of the talented Lisa T. Bergren. 
 
Synopsis: America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try... - Goodreads

Coming Next from Lisa T. Bergren:
The year is 2095. Gifted teens known as Remnants have been chosen and trained to act as humanity’s last hope to rectify the horrors that are now part of everyday life.

The Community has trained these teens as warriors and assigned them Knights of the Last Order as protectors. Together, they are a force that will be difficult to bring down.

But the Sons of Sheol, of course, are determined to do just that. As the Remnants begin their mission to course-correct humanity by saving and protecting key individuals, their enemies move to stop them, placing the entire world in peril. - via Goodreads, February 2014

 
Find out what fellow reviewers are saying about Glittering Promises!
 
Sincere thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.
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