SLIDER

Cover Candy, Edition 17

Friday, February 28, 2014

If we have to turn the calendar on a new month, I think the best way to end a month is to see some new pretty cover art...right!? After sharing some covers a few days ago, the bulk of popular Christian fiction publishing houses have released their crop (thanks Rel for making me aware BH released theirs) of upcoming (late 2014) covers concepts. In addition to publishing houses like Bethany House and Revell (still waiting on several of these but - squee! - we have a synopsis for Julie Lessman's next novel), I have added in a few others that I missed the first time around and there are some beautiful, upcoming designs. Take a look.

Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley
 
Synopsis: Not available
 
September 2014
 

Thief of Glory by Sigmund Brouwer
 
Synopsis: In the early 1940s, Jeremiah Prins was a 12-year-old living a content life as the son of a school headmaster in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). When Holland declared war on the Japanese in 1941, the situation changed swiftly. The Japanese army invaded, and Jeremiah and his family were placed in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp-a camp Jeremiah finally escapes and returns to Holland. Yet wartime complications force him to abandon a marriage engagement with Laura Jensen. The young man flees to California, where he struggles with the lingering anger and war stress he faced as a child.

Determined to find some kind of redemption, a now-elderly Jeremiah tries to make sense of his life by journaling of all that he does not want to reveal to his children about his past, intending to leave his writings as an apology after he is gone.

An online encounter puts Jeremiah in touch with his true love from the war years, Laura, and when they meet again, it triggers the time bomb of long-buried secrets. Even seventy years later, if uncovered, these secrets can harm everyone who matters to Jeremiah. - Goodreads
 
August 2014

At Bluebonnet Lake by Amanda Cabot

*excited about this one since Amanda has said it's too be a contemporary!

Synopsis: Not Available

October 2014


Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly

thanks Grace for pointing out this pretty!

Synopsis: Deep in the ocean, in a world not so different from our own, live the merpeople. Their communities are spread throughout the oceans, seas, and freshwaters all over the globe.

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be winning the love of handsome Prince Mahdi. And yet Sera finds herself haunted by strange dreams that foretell the return of an ancient evil. Her dark premonitions are confirmed when an assassin's arrow poisons Sera's mother. Now, Serafina must embark on a quest to find the assassin's master and prevent a war between the Mer nations. Led only by her shadowy dreams, Sera searches for five other mermaid heroines who are scattered across the six seas. Together, they will form an unbreakable bond of sisterhood and uncover a conspiracy that threatens their world's very existence.

May 2014
 
Nowhere to Turn by Lynette Eason
 
Synopsis: Not Available
 
September 2014
 

Perfect Couple by Jennifer Echols

Synopsis: Can your heart be put to a popular vote?

As yearbook photographer, Harper is responsible for capturing those candid moments that make high school memorable. But her own life is anything but picture perfect. Her parents' bitter divorce has left her wondering what a loving relationship would look like. And ever since the senior class voted her and star quarterback Brody the “Perfect Couple That Never Was,” her friends have been on her case to ask Brody out.

Brody doesn’t lack in female admirers, but Harper can't see herself with him. He seems confused about why they were matched together, too. They’re total opposites—the last people in the world who would ever be compatible, let alone the “perfect couple.” Yet ever since the class paired the two of them, they've found themselves drawn together--first by curiosity, then by an undeniable bond.

The trouble is, though they're very attracted to each other and both of them admit this, they have a hard time getting along or even communicating clearly. If they’re the perfect couple, this shouldn’t be so difficult! Soon it becomes clear their class was wrong, and they throw in the towel. But after they walk away, both of them feel so changed from making the effort that they can’t forget each other. What if that means this match made in hell is the perfect couple after all? - Goodreads

January 2015
 
The Jewel by Amy Ewing
 
Synopsis: Violet Lasting is about to be sold. In the Lone City, young girls from the poorest Circle are taken from their families and auctioned off as surrogates for royal women, to live in the opulence and comfort of the heart of the City—the Jewel—where they must use their abilities, known as the Auguries, to make healthy children the royalty are no longer able have themselves.

But behind the Jewel’s glittering walls, Violet quickly discovers a world of secrets, lies, and cruelty, where surrogates are abused, humiliated, and even killed. When an unlikely friendship offers her an opportunity she never dreamed possible, Violet clings to the hope for a chance at a better life—until a forbidden romance changes everything. Suddenly, Violet finds herself in a different kind of danger, one far more powerful and deadly than she ever could have imagined. - amyewingbooks.com

September 2014


Love's Fortune by Laura Frantz
 
Synopsis: Sheltered since birth at her Kentucky home, Rowena Ballantyne has heard only whispered rumors of her grandfather Silas’s vast fortune and grand manor in Pennsylvania. Then her father, Silas’s long-estranged son, Ansel, receives a rare letter summoning him to New Hope. Rowena makes the journey with him and quickly finds herself in a whole new world— filled with family members she’s never met, dances she’s never learned, and a new side to the father she thought she knew. As she struggles to fit in during their extended stay, she finds a friend in James Sackett, the most valued steamship pilot of the Ballantyne’s shipping line. Even with his help, Rowena feels she may never be comfortable in high society. Will she go her own way . . . to her own peril?

With her signature attention to historical detail and emotional depth, Laura Frantz brings 1850s Pennsylvania alive with a tender story of loss, love, and loyalty in this final installment of the Ballatyne saga. - LauraFrantz.com
 
September 2014

 
Take a Picture by Lena Goldfinch
 
Synopsis: A young (temp) paparazzi photographer falls for a teen pop star...

This lighthearted contemporary romance for teens and young adults points its lens at Troy Alexander (19), an aspiring singer turned temp paparazzi photographer, and teen pop diva, Ashlyn Sunshine (19 going on 25).

Troy Alexander is detoured on his road to fame as a lead singer, so he takes a job as a temp paparazzi to earn enough money to get home from his gap year in New York City. His assignment lands him in the path of Ashlyn Sunshine, pop music diva and former child actress. They end up spending one memorable summer afternoon together...
 
March 2014


Trails and Targets by Kelly Eileen Hake
 
Synopsis: After their father’s death, the four Darlyn sisters discover the family farm is mortgaged to the hilt. With an unscrupulous creditor proposing indecent solutions to their uncertain future, the girls leave their childhood home—and childhood itself—behind. Soon a unexpected hero finds himself saddled with the slew of sisters and their surprising skills. But only one thing’s for sure: the sharpshooter named Beatrix hits the mark of his lonely heart. Plagued by past failures and forced to make their own way, find out what happens as the Dangerous Darlyns take to the road in Trails & Targets! - Goodreads
 
October 2014
 
 
Deceived by Irene Hannon
 
Synopsis: Not Available
 
October 2014
 
A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings
 
Synopsis: Having fled a difficult home life, Civil War nurse Abigail Stuart feels like her only friend in the world is sweet but gravely wounded patient Jeremiah Calhoun. Fearing he won't survive, the Confederate soldier's last wish is that Abigail look after his sickly sister at home. Marry him, return to his horse farm, and it'll be hers.

Left with few choices, Abigail takes him up on his offer and moves to Missouri after his death, but just as the family learns to accept her, the real Jeremiah Calhoun appears--puzzled to find a confounding woman posing as his wife. Jeremiah is determined to have his life back to how it was before the war, but his own wounds limit what he can do on his own. Still not fully convinced Abigail isn't duping him, he's left with no choice but to let the woman stay and help--not admitting to himself she may provide the healing his entire family needs.

December 2014
 
 
Synopsis: Abigail Foster fears she will end up a spinster, especially as she has little dowry to improve her charms and the one man she thought might marry her--a longtime friend--has fallen for her younger, prettier sister.

When financial problems force her family to sell their London home, a strange solicitor arrives with an astounding offer: the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eaten clothes in wardrobes, a doll's house left mid-play . . .

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem to know something about the manor's past, the only information they offer Abigail is a warning: Beware trespassers who may be drawn by rumors that Pembrooke contains a secret room filled
with treasure.

Hoping to improve her family's financial situation, Abigail surreptitiously searches for the hidden room, but the arrival of anonymous letters addressed to her, with clues about the room and the past, bring discoveries even more startling. As secrets come to light, will Abigail find the treasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?
 
December 2014
 

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Synopsis: Annith has watched her gifted sisters at the convent come and go, carrying out their dark dealings in the name of St. Mortain, patiently awaiting her own turn to serve Death. But her worst fears are realized when she discovers she is being groomed by the abbess as a Seeress, to be forever sequestered in the rock and stone womb of the convent. Feeling sorely betrayed, Annith decides to strike out on her own.

She has spent her whole life training to be an assassin. Just because the convent has changed its mind doesn't mean she has. - Goodreads

November 2014 
 
Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman
 
Synopsis: From ugly duckling to swimming with the swans …

But is she over her head when it comes to love?
 
Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the District Attorney’s office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school—and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram’s vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a little sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man? - Julie Lessman
 
October 2014
 

Dixie Belle by Debby Mayne

Synopsis: In book one of the Uptown Belles series, sparks fly when Cissy Hillwood arrives in New York City from her Alabama hometown and meets her uncle’s fiercest competitor.

In this fish-out-of-water contemporary romance series, three Southern belles living and working in New York City develop a friendship based on their fondness and homesickness for the South. Although they’re different from each other in many ways, they share a love for the South and faith in Christ. And they each fall victim to Cupid, one at a time and when they least expect it. At least they have each other for venting, laughing with, and…shopping. - Amazon

May 2014

Love Gone Wild by Amy Matayo
 
Synopsis: As the daughter of a well-known politician, Anna Lloyd has been groomed for success. There’s only one problem: for her, success never sticks. From her law school entrance exam to her ACT scores to her six attempts at a flippin’ driver’s license, she’s been on a first-name basis with failure her entire life. Well, she’s sick of being second-rate, and she wants a chance to prove herself before the responsibilities of real-life kick in permanently. And it just so happens that a new reality television show offers a way to test her strength…and the strength of her relationship. Now, all she has to do is convince her lawyer-boyfriend to swallow his pride and come along and hope they survive thirty days in the Alaskan wilderness. Maybe then, she’ll come home with some answers.

Texas-bred rancher Jay Maddox wants one last chance at fun. After a lifetime of being responsible for siblings, mortgages, and a dysfunctional mother, he’s ready for an adventure that’s all his own. So when his young, new girlfriend proposes a challenge—spend thirty days in Alaska with nothing but nature, wildlife, and each other to survive while cameras film it all—he agrees. Why not? They both like a challenge, and winning comes with money. Besides, maybe the experience will test their level of commitment to each other. Though truthfully, marriage is the last thing on his mind. After witnessing his parent’s messy demise and his mother’s subsequent breakdown, it might never be.

When both of them arrive with their significant others to begin taping the show, they’re joined by three other couples, and all are eager to get started. Until the producers make a decision that throws everything into chaos. Now Jay and Anna are alone in the wilderness—forced together against their will into a partnership neither one bargained for. How is Anna supposed to get her boyfriend to commit to her when she’s stuck with this southern cowboy instead? How is Jay supposed to survive a solid month with this big-city girl who gets under his skin in more ways than one?

And more importantly, where is God’s plan in this crazy, little arrangement?
 
March 2014 
 
A Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller
 
Synopsis: Yearning for a fresh start, Ewan McKay travels with his aunt and uncle from northern Scotland to West Virginia, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial assistance from his uncle Hugh. Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, but it's Ewan who gets the business up and running again. Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Besides, Ewan has resolved he'll focus on making the brickmaking operation enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business
and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Scotland.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work may come to naught. As his plans begin to crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. She and her mother may have a way to save the brickworks, and in turn Ewan may have another shot at winning Laura's heart.
 
September 2014

 
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal
 
Synopsis: What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?

Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.

If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss. - Goodreads
 
June 2014
 
A Matter of Heart by Tracie Peterson
 

Synopsis: Texas born and raised Jessica Atherton is a wealthy young woman whose heart was broken when the man she intended to marry wedded another. But her world is upended when two men come into her life and both manage to stir her heart. Harrison Gable is a rich young lawyer who intends to travel the world and live a life of opulence. His ambitions match Jessica's dreams, but her heart has begun to change.
 
Austin Todd, former Secret Service agent, enjoys working now as a Texas Ranger cattle inspector. But learning of forged gold certificates and missing printing plates, he's drawn back into the world of intrigue and agrees to help solve the case. Austin is well-thought-of and admired in the community. Jessica is drawn to his kind nature and the unspoken pain she sees in his eyes.
 
Will Jessica choose financial security or follow her heart?
 
September 2014
 
 
Emeralds and Ashes by Leila Rasheed
 
Synopsis: In the third and final book in our romantic historical YA series, heroes emerge and tragedies unfold as the servant and gentry at Somerton Court face World War I.

The murmurs of war have turned into a bloody conflict that will touch the lives of every member of the Somerton household.

Despite the pleas of his family, Lord Averley steps forward as soon as the call is made for men to fight the Western front. Mere weeks later, the news arrives: Lord Averley has been killed in the Battle of Marne. Without an obvious heir, Somerton falls into chaos. Half of the staff has already left for the war or industrial work.

Sebastian Templeton can no longer show his face in public. Ever since the publication of a now infamous photo of him and his former valet embracing, an unspeakable word has followed Sebastian everywhere--a word with the power to destroy a man's reputation forever. Knowing charges and a trial will soon follow, Sebastian does the only thing he can think of to escape: he volunteers for a war he feels is senseless and despicable, leaving beyind the boy he loves, but knows can never have.
Meanwhile, after a whirlwind romance with the Duke of Huntly, Rose Averley finds herself trapped in Egypt when war breaks out during their honeymoon. Alexander vows to return Rose to home and safety, but with no end in sight, Rose knows she cannot sit idle as those around her suffer.
In the final installment of the At Somerton series, the war to end all wars will take an unbearable toll on the household and leave each member forever changed.
 
January 2015

 
Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay

Synopsis: Lizzy, our heroine, is an accomplished chef who has lost her gift for cooking. Really, Lizzy has lost a lot, but she’s unaware of how much until she surprises herself and others by offering to help cook for Jane while Jane undergoes chemotherapy. In that place, Lizzy not only learns to connect with food again, but she also connects with others as her heart softens and heals. It was a delight to watch this sharp, spunky and sophisticated young woman put love, in all its wonderful and varied forms, back into her life.

- from Katherine Reay

October 2014

 
Picture Perfect by Holly Smale
 
Synopsis: "My name is Harriet Manners, and I'll always be a geek." It's the hilarious third book in the GEEK GIRL series! Harriet Manners knows more facts than most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is 'Ever Upward'. She knows that one in thirty-eight people living in the US lives there. But she knows nothing whatsoever about modelling in the Big Apple and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or 'becoming a brand' as the models in New York say. And even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures coming your way aren't from your boyfriend...Does geek girl go too far this time? The laugh out loud follow-up to GEEK GIRL and MODEL MISFIT will have you in stitches! - Amazon
 
March 2015

 
Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer
 
Synopsis: Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal. - Goodreads
 
October 2014
 
You're up, friends!
 
For those of you who haven't already seen these, give us your thoughts - or those who have, either way. Which of these caught your eye... which are going on your pre-order lists!?
 
Share any thoughts below.

Q&A with Michelle Madow!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

To help celebrate the debut week of Michelle Madow's first publishing house book, The Secret Diamond Sisters, there are two fun events going on here on the blog. A week ago, there was a review of the novel, now this week we have a giveaway thanks to the fabulous Amber Stokes (enter if you're curious about the book) and now, Michelle has stopped by with a quick, fun Q&A.

- Who was your favorite character to write and who the most challenging?
 
My favorite character to write is Madison! She's always involved in drama and conflict, which is fun for me to play around with. Yes, she's the Queen Bee "mean girl," but she also has a lot of internal struggles. She tries to always exude confidence, but she's really still trying to figure out who she is. The most challenging to write is Peyton. She's holding onto a lot of anger, and she doesn't forgive easily, which is opposite of my personality. 

- What do you hope readers take away from The Secret Diamond Sisters?
 
Firstly, above all else, I want readers to be entertained and feel like they had FUN while reading The Secret Diamond Sisters. This is a light read that I hope will leave readers feeling happy when they're finished. Each of the four main characters is very different, so readers will be sure to find one they relate to more than the others (and they will probably find one that is the complete opposite of them, too.) But I would love for readers to keep an open mind to the characters who act differently from the ways they would act. The main characters don't make the best decisions at all times -- they mess up, they act before thinking, they give into peer pressure, and they aren't sure of who they are yet. But this is realistic to what many teens go through (it certainly is realistic to my friends and I when we were teens). Each of the four main characters is going through an internal struggle, and trying to find their place in the world. I hope readers can put aside personal judgments and see the world from each of these four girls' eyes, and maybe even apply this to their own lives and become less judgmental of their peers -- because you never know the struggles that a person is hiding on the inside. 
 
- Just for fun, who would you cast in the roles of the Diamond sisters and/or any other main protagonists from The Secret Diamond Sisters? 
 
Rissi: not long after I sent Michelle these questions, she posted a blog answering this question, you can either have a peek at the faces behind the characters in the giveaway post or visit Michelle's full-length post on her own blog.
 
Thanks so much for taking the time to visit, Michelle. I appreciated your answers and enjoyed getting some insight into the lives of these characters. Curious to see what is next coming for the Diamond sisters and this new world they've found themselves trying to navigate.
 
Dreaming Under the Same Moon extras:
 
 
Learn more about Michelle:
 
Michelle Madow has visited Las Vegas every year since she was fifteen years old, and was inspired to write The Secret Diamond Sisters while walking through the beautiful Wynn Hotel. She grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore, then went to Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. She wrote her first novel, Remembrance, in her junior year of college, and later went on to self-publish it as book one in the Transcend Time Saga. She wrote The Secret Diamond Sisters in the year following graduation, and is so happy to finally share it with the world!

Michelle lives in Boca Raton, Florida, where she is writing more novels for young adults. She loves reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling, shopping, sunshine, Disney fairy tales, and Broadway musicals. She loves connecting with readers online, so be sure to follow her on Facebook (facebook.com/MichelleMadow), Twitter (@MichelleMadow), and Instagram (@MichelleMadow).

 
Website: www.michellemadow.com
 
The Secret Diamond Sisters

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton. 

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

Praise: 

"Sexy and often electrifying ... Gossip Girl meets The Princess Diaries in a city that never sleeps."

--Booklist 
 
"This quick and entertaining read is filled with glitz and glamour ... get ready for one crazy and fabulous ride."

 
--RT Book Reviews 
 
“Highly addictive! Hold on tight, because The Secret Diamond Sisters throws you head first into the Vegas fast lane. Three every day teens navigate the slippery slope of wealth, popularity, and too much freedom, along with family drama, cat fights, and more gorgeous guys than should be legal. A fun ride not to be missed!” 
 
- Rachel Harris, author of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

Best of Team USA Olympics 2014, Part 2

Good morning, friends. I promise this will conclude my Twitter and blogging ramblings about the 2014 Winter Olympic games but I couldn't let them go without sharing the favorite moments of the next weeks of competition - especially after sharing favorite wins from the first week.


Perhaps the two "best" moments from the latter half of the Olympics was seeing the wonderfully talented Meryl Davis and Charlie White bring home the gold as well as the two-man bobsled team of Steve Holcomb and Steven Langton bring home a medal making Olympic history while doing so. Though I didn't watch it, it was fantastic to also hear that the young 18-year-old American skier (Mikaela Shiffrin) took home a gold and of course, to watch Ted Ligety earn a win. Also exciting was Alex Deibold's win - especially in a sport that is SO unpredictable (snowboard cross). I'm be remiss not to mention the excitement the American's gave us when they won the first gold medal's in new sports (like new snowboarding events - Jamie Anderson and Sage Kotsenburg - or the skiing disciplines) and finally, while they didn't medal, I'm excited to now be "in the know" of who is a rising star in women's figure skating - cannot wait to see two or all three of these women make a splash four years from now.

No matter what, I'm super proud of the athletes that represented the red, white and blue! Go, team USA!

...any favorite moments or events from the latter half of the Olympics you want to share?
Comment away.

Waiting on Wednesday (3)

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's been far too long since I participated in Waiting on Wednesday, and because I've that, this weeks spotlight has taken full advantage of all those missed weeks! There's not one or two books, there are four (yes, I went a little crazy) in an effort to make up time for all those missed weeks and beyond that, I have a contemporary theme going with some of the rising stars in the inspirational genre and a pro. It's just a good ole fashioned theme going on. Coincidence? I'll never say.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. Each week allows you the opportunity to spotlight an up-and-coming release you are excited about.

Those books are...


Books I'm Waiting on...
 
Silenced by Dani Pettrey
 
A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna's route leads her face to face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something sinister? When the case is handed to the overburdened sheriff, he turns to Jake Westin. With Jake's past now revealed, he's ready to use his talent for investigation again--but he could never prepare for where the case will take him.

Kayden and Jake soon realize that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is on to them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine. - May 2014
 
Why I'm Waiting: because I've been eager to read Kayden's story from day one! Now, I'll finally be able too.
 
Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg
 
Blake Hunziker has played nomad for five years and landed in his fair share of trouble too. But now he’s finally returning to his hometown–the Lake Michigan tourist town of Whisper Shore. Counting on a not-so-warm welcome, he’s surprised at not only a positive reception but also a job offer.
 
Determined to settle down and prove himself responsible, he agrees to the catch that comes with the job offer–coordinating the annual Christmas festival–even though he has no idea how he’ll pull it off.
Autumn Kingsley, inn owner and experienced organizer of the Christmas festival, has always dreamed of traveling the world. Now she has a job opportunity in Paris and a surprise potential investor coming to town who just might take on her family’s inn and finally leave her free to go. The only problem is that she has just two weeks to whip the inn into shape.
 
Their families have a long history of not getting along, but when Blake comes to Autumn for help with the festival, she actually agrees…in exchange for his help with the repairs to her inn. They may have struck a simple deal, but complications are quick to pile on when the guy who’s had enough of running away and the woman who can’t wait to leave join forces.- May 2014
 
Why I'm Waiting: Melissa has a fabulous sense of humor which makes her writing ideal for the rom-com yet at the same time she thinks "outside the box" and creates characters that melt out hearts.
 
Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade
 
Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school--irresistible. When their paths cross again after college--still irresistible. This time, though, Ty feels exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.

The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia's ready to be Ty's wife, but Ty's not ready to be anybody's husband. As a professional bull rider, he lives on the road and can't bring himself to settle down.

Five and a half years pass. Celia's buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty's achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the face of the one woman he couldn't forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.

How much will Ty sacrifice to make Celia's dreams come true, to win her trust, and to prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime? - May 2014
 
Why I'm Waiting: Becky has a knack for writing romance that "feels" very genuine and is never about the popularly coined term, insta-love or all about getting caught up in the romance ergo, I'm anxious to see how she tackles a marriage gone bad.
 
When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren
 
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she’d vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.

Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.

Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet. - July 2014
 
Why I'm Waiting: having recently read and reviewed It Had to Be You, I'm again finding myself playing the waiting game for Susan's next book. Much as a adore all of the other books Susan has written in the historical or suspense genre, I think her contemporaries are the ones that shine.
 
...and you friends? What are you waiting on? 

Book Giveaway (Michelle Madow) from Amber Stokes

Morning, all. This Wednesday, we have an unexpected collaborative treat in store. Amber (of Seasons of Humility) has a copy of Michelle Madow's The Secret Diamond Sisters up for grabs (this is an extra ARC that is brand-new, unread) that she has in hand and she's generously offered up for a giveaway, which we'd love for one lucky U.S winner to be able to read, and in addition to that, one of the questions I had for Michelle (from her street team Q&A) coincidently showed up in a blog post! Since it was a fun question, I thought I'd share it in this blog post.

My question: just for fun, who would you cast as the Diamond sisters, or any of the main characters?

Here is the blog in which Michelle shared her choices.

SAVANNAH DIAMOND


My first choice for Savannah is Danielle Bradbery. She has Savannah's petite features, and since she won The Voice, I know she has Savannah's singing voice!

COURTNEY DIAMOND 


Alexandria Deberry is my first choice for Courtney Diamond. She has Courtney's sweet look, and long blonde, wavy hair. She just looks so nice in her pictures, and I can see her in the role perfectly.
 
PEYTON DIAMOND


Tracy Spiridakos is my top choice for Peyton. She has Peyton's high cheekbones, and tough attitude. Add a few blue streaks, and she's perfect!

BRETT CARMEL


I've pictured Steven R. McQueen as Brett since the first draft of the book! He has that intense, artsy, brooding thing about him -- but it looks like he can also be super sweet and loyal to the people he cares about.
 
If you want to see who Michelle casts as Madison, Nick, Oliver, Damien and the rest of the characters, read her blog!

For more giveaway details, read on below. Though - as always, first things first, here are the pesky rules:

This giveaway(s) is open to U.S. 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!

To be entered in the giveaway, just enter as much or as little as you like into the Rafflecopter widget... and good luck everyone! This ends on March 5th.

Synopsis: Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past. - Goodreads

Read the book review to get my personal thoughts on the book for more information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Dream Dress by Janice Thompson

Monday, February 24, 2014

 About the Book:
Author: Janice Thompson
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere:
Series: Weddings by Design – book 3
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Christian
Rating: 4 out of 5
As her author bio says, pulling the hilarity out of situations is indeed Janice Thompson’s specialty. She writes with a unique flair all her own that has cumulated in a series of books centered on one event; weddings. This book tells the story of wedding dress designer extraordinaire, Gabi Delgado. Or at least the wanna-be designer who is instead working in the shadow of and under a tyrannical boss that is more than a little threatened by his “material girl” when, suddenly by a twist of unavoidable events she becomes the designer everyone wants – particularly when it takes one of his top clients away from him. Things go from bad to worse when the reporter – Jordan Singer – assigned to write a piece on Demetri’s designs and successes also takes an interest in Gabi’s work and decides to feature her along with Demetri.

What little girl hasn’t at some point dreamt of dressing up in a white gown and standing across from the man she loves? Probably all of us at some point and manifested in that dream is Thompson’s unique spin from all angles of weddings. That’s what I've liked most about this series – Janice covers each perspective. From the wedding planner to the bakery, the photography to the flowers, the designer to the bride, no angle is left out of the equation! Like many of the novels before it, Gabi’s world is conflicted by something personal and the trigger for her was the abandonment of her father. Her past affects her present and future, especially when it comes to easily trusting men and as a result, Gabi has allowed her boss to expect the unreasonable of her and often scurries to do his bidding… until she finds her voice and in that moment, we realize that Gabi’s transformation is more than just outward.  

A sign of the author is also the strong female presence – we don’t just have a wide array of female characters (varying from different stages in life), the female mind is explored very realistically. I think this is Thompson’s most “girl power” novel to date. Its male lead gets little time on the pages, which means that instead of being heavy on the romance (which can be an advantage or disadvantage depending on the kind of reader you are), The Dream Dress is a kind of coming-of-age story done in a funny, comedic sort of way. The women aren’t just cookie-cutters; they read as genuine, realistic characters. Fans of Janice Thompson are going to really enjoy this next-to-last installment – there’s more with Bella Neeley and her crazy gang, we catch up with Hannah, Scarlet and of course, get to know Gabi, the girl who we may have underestimated. Hilarity, classic movies and a dream wedding gown is just the beginning The Dream Dress is another sweetheart of a book – with Janice Thompson’s signature flair written all over it.

Synopsis: A seamstress at a swanky bridal boutique, Gabi Delgado dreams of doing more than ripping out seams and fitting dresses to doe-eyed brides. She wants to see her own dress designs gracing the young women of Texas. When Jordan Spencer, the editor of Texas Bride magazine visits the shop to do a feature, Gabi is devastated to lose her job in his very influential presence. Convinced she'll never get her dreams off the ground now, Gabi needs lots of encouragement--especially from her friend Bella Neeley--to take a chance and start her business. And as she gets to know Jordan, she discovers that she may have to take a chance on love as well. Could it be that she'll have to design her own wedding dress soon? – Goodreads  

Coming Next from Janice Thompson: 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 . . .
– via Goodreads, July 2014

Sincere thanks to the publisher, Revell for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

When Calls the Heart, Season One - Episode 7 (2014)

Friday, February 21, 2014

The partnership between Janette Oke and Hallmark Channel has been a successful ratings haul for the popular “Heart of TV” station. With the success of the Love Comes Softly saga (one that spilled over into adaptations without novels), they’ve again tackled more of Oke’s popular novels, this time centering on her Canadian West stories. Episode seven follows Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) being challenged with a student who suffers from a reading disorder. Not only does Elizabeth find herself met with barriers from the young man’s father, she is also exasperated by Jack’s attempts to smooth things over in the wake of her now ended romance with a miner – Jack (Daniel Lissing) on the other hand is flabbergasted over how to react to Elizabeth’s behavior towards him which pushes him to ask Abigail (Lori Loughlin) for advice.

Meanwhile, Abigail is experiencing changes of her own. Feeling bereft and as if she no longer has purpose, Abigail decides to tackle re-opening the café that has been shuttered and is now a mess. Signing a deal with the greedy business man Henry Gowen, Abigail has to choose between memories and finding a new identity.  
 
Highlights of this episode aren’t exactly what the promotional video would imply – or in my estimation it isn’t! Getting that out of the way, once again, this episode is darling. Like CBS’ short-lived (and underrated in my opinion) adaptation of Christy, I like the stories that slow down or “step away” from the more dominant plots (the emotional aftermath of the miner deaths or the romantic entanglements) to watch a new relationship develop and with Elizabeth’s teaching, there are scenes that allow for this to happen. In ‘Second Chances,’ the scenes between Elizabeth and her student are really sweet and I liked the progression of the script. Instead of the back-and-forth in the romance, this installment allows for some solid time in the world of Elizabeth’s profession – helping us glimpse more of the passion behind Elizabeth’s journey to Coal Valley.
 
In addition to the already widely-known ten episode order, news of more episodes also hit my notice this week (adding in two to the running) and of course, a push is already being made for a second season renewal. When comparing this to costume dramas of the BBC or British productions in general, this doesn’t live up to those same expectations just because the scale of the program isn’t as “big,” however for quality, wholesome family series, fans cannot expect more – or find anything more joyous than this adaptation. The acting of its leads, the pretty costuming and charming bouts of banter all help to propel this into a “classic” kind of series all its own brand. This is where When Calls the Heart shines and anyone who enjoys “bonnet” westerns or sweet faith-filled stories won’t want to miss this. 
 
Friends, what do you think of When Calls the Heart thus far? Do you have a favorite episode or expectation to come? Those of you who haven’t seen this yet are you anticipating it? Comment below…. I’d love to chat all about this with you!
 

Tune into the Hallmark Channel this Saturday, February 22nd, to watch,
‘Second Chances.'


Have a look at the promo spot for 007 episode, 'Second Chances.'
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