Book Reviews, Fiction

Thirst of Steel by Ronie Kendig | Feature

I’m so excited to share about Ronie Kendig’s latest Thirst of Steel! It just released yesterday, so be sure to grab your copy! I’m a bit behind on all the things, so more to come on the book, but didn’t want to miss the chance to give a shout out to the fabulous Ronie and Tox!

ABOUT THE BOOK: Dismantled centuries ago, the sword of Goliath is still rumored to thirst for its enemies’ blood. Cole “Tox” Russell only wants to begin his life with Haven Cortes, but he must first complete a final mission: retrieve that sword and destroy the deadly Arrow & Flame Order.

The AFO, however, is determined to claim the sword. Wielding their father’s life over Tzivia and Ram Khalon, they threaten to expose Ram’s long-held and dangerous secret while demanding Tzivia locate the sword. With the Wraith team slowly being torn apart, things only worsen when Mercy Maddox, a new operative, emerges with the stunning news that the sword is tied to both Ram’s secret and a string of unsolved serial murders.

Tox, Ram, and the others are forced to set aside fear and anger to focus only on the enemy. No matter the cost, Wraith must stop or take the enemy down with them.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

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Book Reviews, Fiction

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden | Book Review

I wanted to love this book, I did. Elizabeth Camden is one of my favorite Inspy fiction authors and one reason being, she writes about such unique pieces of history. An early 1900s female Doctor and biochemist? Count me in!

But y’all, there were just bits I couldn’t get past. One, is that I’m not a fan of the instant attraction/in love. You might be a fan, but it sometimes felt a little over the top for me.

One of my biggest hang ups was a decision Rosalind made I struggled with. Vague? Yes, but to say any more would be too much of a spoiler. Not only that, but there weren’t any real consequences to her choices. Instead, things ended up nicely tied up with a bow. For what they each dealt with, I felt the resolution needed more depth.

While not my favorite from Camden, I look forward to future reads.

(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

As a biochemist in early 1900s New York, Doctor Rosalind Werner has dedicated her life to the crusade against waterborne diseases. She is at the forefront of a groundbreaking technology that will change the way water is delivered to every household in the city–but only if she can get people to believe in her work.

Newly appointed Commissioner of Water for New York, Nicholas Drake is highly skeptical of Rosalind and her team’s techniques. When a brewing court case throws him into direct confrontation with her, he is surprised by his reaction to the lovely scientist.

While Rosalind and Nick wage a private war against their own attraction, they stand firmly on opposite sides of a battle that will impact far more than just their own lives. As the controversy grows more public and inflammatory and Rosalind becomes the target of an unknown enemy, the odds stacked against these two rivals swiftly grow more insurmountable with every passing day.

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Book Reviews, Fiction

The Ladies of Ivy Cottage by Julie Klassen | Book Review

Living with the two Miss Groves in Ivy Cottage, impoverished gentlewoman Rachel Ashford is determined to earn her own livelihood . . . somehow. When the village women encourage her to open a subscription library with the many books she has inherited or acquired through donations, Rachel discovers two mysteries hidden among them. A man who once broke her heart helps her search for clues, but will both find more than they bargained for?

Rachel’s friend and hostess, Mercy Grove, has given up thoughts of suitors and fills her days managing her girls’ school. So when several men take an interest in Ivy Cottage, she assumes pretty Miss Ashford is the cause. Exactly what–or who–has captured each man’s attention? The truth may surprise them all.

Meanwhile, life has improved at the coaching inn and Jane Bell is ready to put grief behind her. Now if only the man she misses would return–but where is he? As the women of Ivy Hill search for answers about the past and hope for the future, might they find love along the way?

As with the first book of this series, I could not wait to dive into Julie Klassen’s latest and go back to Ivy Hill! As she always does, Klassen once again captured my attention fully, with each and every character.

While the first book isn’t completely necessary to read this one, I admit, it makes it so much more enjoyable. It would be easy to think that a book with some many people, especially three women, could get lost or overwhelming, but nope. It only gives you more characters to love. Much like Jane Austen’s characters draw you in, so does each one in these.

There’s romance, there’s scandal (what Austen-inspired novel doesn’t have that right? :), the unexpected and the resolutions you so thoroughly enjoy. I’m purposely not going into each character, as I want the readers to go in without too much from me. But trust me when I say that each character has their own journey you root for and not all is as it seems. The only bad thing about this novel, is that I have to wait for the final in the series releasing late 2018. So rude…

What series do you wish BBC would pick up and make into a mini series? I really need this one to be brought to life.

(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Book Reviews, Fiction

The Sound of Rain by Sarah Loudin Thomas | Book Review

Judd Markley is a hardworking coal miner who rarely thinks much past tomorrow until he loses his brother–and nearly his own life–in a mine cave-in. Vowing never to enter the darkness of a mine again, he leaves all he knows in West Virginia to escape to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It’s 1954, the seaside community is thriving, and Judd soon hires on with a timber company.

Larkin Heyward’s life in Myrtle Beach is uncomplicated, mostly doing volunteer work and dancing at the Pavilion. But she dreams of one day doing more–maybe moving to the hollers of Kentucky to help the poor children of Appalachia. But she’s never even met someone who’s lived there–until she encounters Judd, the newest employee at her father’s timber company.

Drawn together in the wake of a devastating hurricane, Judd and Larkin each seek answers to what tomorrow will bring. As opposition rises against following their divergent dreams, they realize that it may take a miracle for them to be together.

Sarah Loudin Thomas has written a well researched historical and very romantic story. There’s no doubt about that. If you enjoy romance set in interesting places and times, I think you should check this one out. It’s definitely a love story for the hopeless romantics.

But, I can’t say it was my favorite of her novels. You see, this one isn’t like her previous novels and series, where the heroines each had unique qualities and characteristics. I LOVED that about them. It was such a different take on a historical fiction novel (with the thread of romance as well), and it added a creative layer to the story and the different relationships of the characters. I was hoping for something like that again. I know it’s not always fair to judge novels that way, but I’m human internet :).

So while this isn’t my favorite from Thomas, if you love all things romance, be sure to give this one a chance.

(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Book Reviews, Fiction

A Dangerous Legacy by Elizabeth Camden | Book Review

Another book by Elizabeth Camden means another excellent read! What makes her such a strong writer, is her ability to remain fitting and true to the time period she chooses, but also makes the plot intriguing and gives you a heroine you can root for.

Lucy Drake’s mastery of Morse code has made her a valuable asset to the American news agencies as a telegrapher. But the sudden arrival of Sir Colin Beckwith at rival British news agency Reuters puts her hard-earned livelihood at risk. Newly arrived from London, Colin is talented, handsome, and insufferably charming.

Despite their rivalry, Lucy realizes Colin’s connections could be just what her family needs to turn the tide of their long legal battle over the fortune they were swindled out of forty years ago. When she negotiates an unlikely alliance with him, neither of them realizes how far the web of treachery they’re wading into will take them.

I enjoyed the relationship between Colin and Lucy. There were some frustrations (which again, were very fitting for the time period), but I thought Camden did an excellent job with that part of the story.

I really liked Lucy (and Colin too!). But Lucy, there was a realness to her that’s sometimes missing in heroines. She was hardworking, committed, loyal, and brave. I thought her development was honest and encouraging. Plus her relationship with her brother? Loved it!

And the story had me intrigued the whole time – I was curious with each new piece revealed and enjoyed the satisfying ending. Once again, the unique piece of history Camden focused on was fascinating and I love learning new bits of history, especially with my background of journalism.

What characteristics make you like a heroine?

(Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

Where to Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD | Goodreads

Bookish Radness

14 Books I Read In 24 Hours

It’s no great revelation that I’m a fast reader, but there are some books out there that anyone can read in a 24 hour period. Why? Because certain books simply cannot be put down. So if you’re looking to add a book or two (or 14) to your list for Spring Break or a Sunday afternoon, here’s several to consider!

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

“Rebecca is a work of immense intelligence and wit, elegantly written, thematically solid, suspenseful..” –Washington Post

“Daphne du Maurier created a scale by which modern women can measure their feelings.” –Stephen King

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .

The novel begins in Monte Carlo, where our heroine is swept off her feet by the dashing widower Maxim de Winter and his sudden proposal of marriage. Orphaned and working as a lady’s maid, she can barely believe her luck. It is only when they arrive at his massive country estate that she realizes how large a shadow his late wife will cast over their lives–presenting her with a lingering evil that threatens to destroy their marriage from beyond the grave.

First published in 1938, this classic gothic novel is such a compelling read that it won the Anthony Award for Best Novel of the Century.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he’s been appointed God’s executioner.

In Copper Creek, Montana, Gwen Marcey is struggling to put together her life after cancer and divorce. When her dog retrieves a skull of a murder victim and leads her to the victim’s grave, Gwen uses her forensic art ability to identify a serial killer. She is horrified to discover all the victims look like her fourteen-year-old daughter.

The murderer is a “lone wolf,” a member of the terrorist group Phineas Priesthood-and he has a score to settle with Gwen. Unraveling the tangled Christian Identity movement, where race-not grace-provides salvation, Gwen is in a frantic rush against time. She must use all her skills to uncover the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her and everyone she loves.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

In a Drought, It’s the Darkest Cloud
That Brings Hope

It’s 1954 and Perla Long’s arrival in the sleepy town of Wise, West Virginia, was supposed to go unnoticed. She just wants a quiet, safe place for her and her daughter, Sadie, where the mistakes of her past can stay hidden. But then drought comes to Wise, and Perla is pulled into the turmoil of a town desperately in need of a miracle.

Casewell Phillips has resigned himself to life as a bachelor…until he meets Perla. She’s everything he’s sought in a woman, but he can’t get past the sense that she’s hiding something. As the drought worsens, Perla’s unique gift divides the town in two, bringing both gratitude and condemnation, and placing the pair in the middle of a storm of anger and forgiveness, fear and faith.

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd

Rebecca Ravenshaw, daughter of missionaries, spent most of her life in India. Following the death of her family in the Indian Mutiny, Rebecca returns to claim her family estate in Hampshire, England. Upon her return, people are surprised to see her… and highly suspicious. Less than a year earlier, an imposter had arrived with an Indian servant and assumed not only Rebecca’s name, but her home and incomes.

That pretender died within months of her arrival; the servant fled to London as the young woman was hastily buried at midnight. The locals believe that perhaps she, Rebecca, is the real imposter. Her home and her father’s investments reverted to a distant relative, the darkly charming Captain Luke Whitfield, who quickly took over. Against her best intentions, Rebecca begins to fall in love with Luke, but she is forced to question his motives–does he love her or does he just want Headbourne House? If Luke is simply after the property, as everyone suspects, would she suffer a similar fate as the first “Rebecca”?

A captivating Gothic love story set against a backdrop of intrigue and danger, Mist of Midnight will leave you breathless.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

On a rainy afternoon, a mother’s life is shattered as her son slips from her grip and runs into the street . . .

I Let You Go follows Jenna Gray as she moves to a ramshackle cottage on the remote Welsh coast, trying to escape the memory of the car accident that plays again and again in her mind and desperate to heal from the loss of her child and the rest of her painful past.

At the same time, the novel tracks the pair of Bristol police investigators trying to get to the bottom of this hit-and-run. As they chase down one hopeless lead after another, they find themselves as drawn to each other as they are to the frustrating, twist-filled case before them.

The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E Ladd

“It is not just a ruby, as you say. It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished. And it is rumored to either bless or curse whomever possesses it.”

Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop on Blinkett Street. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille has no choice but to accept help from the mysterious stranger who came to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content working as a village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may or may not be the answer to his questions.

Curious circumstance throws them together, and an intricate dance of need and suspicion leads the couple from the seedy backwaters of London to the elite neighborhoods of the wealthy to the lush, green Surrey countryside—all in the pursuit of a blood-red gem that collectors will sacrifice anything to possess.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, each will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.

Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen

One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.

But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it.

A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.

If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?

Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

An unforgettable story of courage and romance. Will Valancy Stirling ever escape her strict family and find true love?

Valancy Stirling is 29, unmarried, and has never been in love. Living with her overbearing mother and meddlesome aunt, she finds her only consolation in the “forbidden” books of John Foster and her daydreams of the Blue Castle–a place where all her dreams come true and she can be who she truly wants to be. After getting shocking news from the doctor, she rebels against her family and discovers a surprising new world, full of love and adventures far beyond her most secret dreams.

Price of Privilege by Jessica Dotta

Having finally discovered the truth of her birthright, Julia Elliston is determined to outwit Chance Macy at his own game. Holding a secret he’d kill to keep, however, is proving more difficult than she imagined.

Just when Julia thinks she’s managed to untangle herself from Macy’s clutches, he changes tactics with a risky ploy. As the scandal of the century breaks loose, drawing rooms all over London whisper what so far newspapers have not dared to print: Macy’s lost bride is none other than Lord Pierson’s daughter–and one of the most controversial cases of marital law ever seen comes before Victorian courts.

Though Julia knows Macy’s version of events is another masterful manipulation, public opinion is swaying in his favor. Caught in a web of deceit and lies, armed only with a fledgling faith, Julia must face her fiercest trial yet.

The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr

When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded on the streets of Bunard, Willet Dura is called to investigate. Yet the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers. As Willet begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to the city, no closer to answers than before, but his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, a twist seen at the edge of his vision, and it’s as though he can see their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he’s been passed the rarest gift of all: a gift that’s not supposed to exist.

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he’s pulled into a much more dangerous and epic conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world–a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his own tortured past if he wants to survive.

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon

One summer night in 1930, Judge Joseph Crater steps into a New York City cab and is never heard from again. Behind this great man are three women, each with her own tale to tell: Stella, his fashionable wife, the picture of propriety; Maria, their steadfast maid, indebted to the judge; and Ritzi, his showgirl mistress, willing to seize any chance to break out of the chorus line.

As the twisted truth emerges, Ariel Lawhon’s wickedly entertaining debut mystery transports us into the smoky jazz clubs, the seedy backstage dressing rooms, and the shadowy streets beneath the Art Deco skyline.

Jaded by Varina Denman

Ruthie Turner resents the Christians in her small Texas town, but when she falls for the new preacher, she must release her bitterness…and learn to love. On the surface, nothing seems to change in this dull town-yet God always works beneath the surface.

What are some your favorite quick reads?

Author Interviews

4 Questions with Award Winning Elizabeth Camden | Author Interview

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

It’s always such a joy to be able to feature some of my favorite authors! One of those? Elizabeth Camden. Not only because she covers such interesting parts of history, but I love the women she creates, women who are strong and inspiring. And what better way to kick off the week than with a 4 Questions and giveaway right?

Elizabeth Camden is a research librarian at a small college in central Florida. Her novels have won the coveted RITA and Christy Awards. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband near Orlando, Florida.

1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
Easy! I would never have dreamed that I’d be writing and publishing novels. It was one of those pie-in-the-sky dreams I worked hard for, but never really expected it would happen. And when it did? It was more thrilling, more challenging, and more heartbreaking than I ever imagined. It’s one thing to write novels in the privacy of your home, quite another to hand it over to others who will slice and dice the text, pick out a cover for it, and send it out into the world where it will be subject to the slings and arrows of public opinion. For the most part folks have been very kind to my books, but I sweat bullets over each one. I never thought about the realities that happen on the other side of getting that first book contract.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I wish I’d been more of a risk-taker when I was younger. I was always very cautious and worked hard, trying to save money for a rainy day, buckle down to get an education, become gainfully employed, etc.

But I’ve always had a couple of wild, unfulfilled dreams. I wanted to move to Alaska for a year and work in a fish cannery. When I was in college I met a girl who did the Alaska-thing, and I immediately glommed onto it as a wild, wonderful adventure I wanted to try, but I was too timid to pursue it. I wish I had. I know the work would be hard, smelly, and uncomfortable, but I wish I had such a year in my memory bank. Now that I’m older I realize that my early twenties was the perfect time to do such a thing. It’s too late now. I’ve got elderly parents who I’m a caregiver for, and a husband who has zero interest in moving to Alaska. When I was in my twenties I was so worried about money and building my own safety net that I didn’t realize it was the perfect time to do something wild and adventurous.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Oh my….there isn’t any one thing I can point to. The days I am happiest are not linked to grand events. They come in the quiet moments, or at the end of a long day when I’m tired in both body and mind, but have the satisfaction of a job well done. Those are my happiest times.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
I worry that we are robbing our kids by trying to keep them constantly amused and stimulated. Television, video games, amusement parks. Now we can stream movies to kids riding in a car. Kids who are bombarded with this sort of entertainment don’t know what to do when the power fails. They grow into adolescents who expect to be entertained, but lack the ability or emotional heft to venture forth and become productive.

There is a certain magic to going out in your own backyard to search for fossils among the rocks in the garden, or riding a bike on a hot summer’s day. Perhaps even more importantly, there is terrific value in learning to do something hard. Kids who train for a sport, build model airplanes, or join the scouts learn great skills. When my husband was in boy scouts he learned to build a fire, catch, skin and cook a fish. This leads to a sense of accomplishment that no video game can ever provide. So I hope the next generation can move away from short attention spans and learn to enjoy things that are hard. Those are the things we are proudest of.

Then again, my husband says my Indian spirit name is “Dream Killer,” and I never learned how to have fun. Maybe that’s true, but I’ve also learned to derive immense satisfaction from sinking my teeth into a big, hard project, and I learned that skill when I was only a kid. I hope the next generation can put down their cell phones and learn to enjoy doing something hard.

Thank you so so much Elizabeth! I love your books, so it’s a pleasure featuring you on the blog!

Where to Connect with Author
Website | Facebook

 

Author Interviews

4 Questions with Award Winning Author Siri Mitchell | Author Interview

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

Happy Monday everyone! Another week and another awesome 4 Questions for y’all! I have another lovely author for y’all to meet, so please enjoy getting to know more about award winning author Siri Mitchell! Also, if you haven’t read her latest, check out the giveaway at the end!

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists Chateau of Echoes and The Cubicle Next Door. A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. Visit http://www.sirimitchell.com

I included a couple questions about her latest release, Like A Flower in Bloom, because I loved it, so enjoy!

1. Where did your inspiration come from for this novel? Your write novels covering such different and interesting time periods or topics, they’re always so fascinating!
I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed them! The inspiration for this novel came from my library’s used book sale. I try to pay attention to my intuition as I browse because it always seem to know what I’m going to write before I do. On one of my visits, I picked up ‘Women of Flowers’ by Jack Kramer. It’s a collected biography of female Victorian botanical illustrators. There were dozens of them and they created such beautiful work, but in order to be published, most of them had to assume a man’s name or sell their work to a male editor so it could be published within his collections. It seemed so unjust and it made me so angry! The anger simmered for a couple years in my subconscious until it popped out in a story synopsis that I subsequently sold to my publisher.

2. What’s something you hope readers take away from this novel?
The best way to honor God is to be who he made you to be. His approval is so much more important than society’s.

And now 4 Questions!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would have never imagined 5 years ago?
I really didn’t expect that I would still be living in the same house that I was back then. As a child, my father’s jobs had us moving quite often and then after graduating from university, I married an Air Force officer and moved around some more. This will probably jinx it, but in July, it will be the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I would have studied history in college. I got my degree in human resources management, but I’ve always loved history. Back then I didn’t quite understand that it was ok to do things that were easy and enjoyable. I had a sort of Puritan-ethic that encouraged me to take the hard road. Doing difficult things = ‘good for you’. Kind of like eating kale I suppose. Blech. In any case, taking the hard road led, in my case, straight to accounting and Introduction to Bonds(!) which I dropped before I could flunk it. They still don’t make any sense to me.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
Outside of family milestones, I’d say it has to be when I went back to visit Paris after having moved away. I came up out of the metro, stepped onto the sidewalk and without even thinking said, “It’s so good to be home!” Not ‘good to be back’, but ‘good to be home.’ I hadn’t known that I’d missed it so much until then.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Beyond anything you do or say, beyond everything you don’t do or don’t say, you have worth. You have worth simply because you are.

Thank you so so much Siri! An inspiring and encouraging interview to read :). Hope y’all enjoyed it too! Be sure to connect with Siri around the internets if you haven’t already!

Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Bookish Radness

Book Blogging Programs | Blogger Resources

I’ve talked a little bit about book blogging review programs in the past, but since then, I’ve expanded my horizons :). After chatting over SkiWees Book Corner about it (if you missed the show, you can catch it here!), I thought it would be fun and helpful to share the ones I’m a part of and hear from y’all about some of your favorites. So let’s dive on in!

Blogging for Books

This book blogging site for the Crown Publishing Group (in the Christian Fiction world: WaterBrook Multnomah Fiction) was recently revamped and is AH-Mazing. The options people. The options! Cook books, Christian fiction, fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, crafts…seriously… all the books! They aren’t lying when they say over two million books.

I just started with them, but my first book is The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton, so I’m not complaining. I look forward to reading many more books for this site!

Bethany House Blogger Review Program

I’m a huge fan of Bethany releases. So many of my favorite authors publish books through them, so I always look forward to the monthly emails (I know when they come out each month and trust me….I’m ready to request!)! I’m on the list for fiction and non-fiction, you know to keep my options fresh.

There’s a handful of options each month to choose from and you only get to pick one (which is soooo hard sometimes!). You also have the option of e-book or hard copy. I’m so glad to be a part of this program. It’s great.

Litfuse Publicity

I’m so glad this publicity firm exists. They are so much fun to work with and make it so easy to promote and be part of book tours. When I see an email from them, I know something awesome awaits!

They really do make it easy. They send you the book (hard copy or e-book), send you all the graphics and codes you need for your post and there’s always awesome contests to enter. I still have hope that one day I’ll win one.

Tyndale Blog Network

I haven’t reviewed a ton for Tyndale yet, but the ones I have, I’ve really enjoyed. Jessica Dotta’s novels are published through them, so that’s all the evidence needed to sign up. Each month they send out the new releases and you can request one from the list (although now you can request two!).

They have plenty of options for fiction and non-fiction, so there’s lots of variety as well.

BookLook Bloggers (formerly BookSneeze)

This is the site for Thomas Nelson, Zondervan and Westbow Press E-Books. I love the variety. Love it! From non-fiction, fiction, children’s books, devotionals and bibles, there’s plenty to choose from. The two I have right now are a photographer’s memoir and a book written by Dr. King’s niece. I’m really excited about them! They have awesome fiction options as well and you have the option for applying to receive more than one at a time.

Another plus for BookLook is they are available beyond the month of release (same as Blogging for Books).

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Moody Blogger Review Program

Moody Publishers has a fantastic history and continue to produce Gospel-centered books and resources. Their fiction wing, River North Fiction, has published some of my favorite authors, including Tessa Afshar (biblical fiction) and Jocelyn Green (Civil War history fiction), so I’m a fan.

They have pages and pages of options to choose from, not just new releases, so the choices are endless. Once you review one, you can go back and simply request another one. Done.

Revell Reads Blog Tour Program

This program is a lot like Bethany’s program (they’re under the umbrella of Baker Publishing), so you can’t expect much of the same! The one difference is they request the reviews to be posted between specific dates (since it’s a tour). I’m also on the fiction and non-fiction lists, so like the others, it’s always fun seeing the email pop up in my inbox.

B&H Publishing

I’m rather new to this one as well, but it’s been a pleasant experience thus far. They have a site with all the options available for reviewing. I’ve also been able to email them requests too. While they send out emails of new and available books to choose from, the website site also has past options available too.

NetGalley

I haven’t done too much with NetGalley, besides the times I choose to get the e-book from one of the other publishers. I learned recently you can get auto approved for certain publishers, so when you request it, you automatically get it. There’s ridiculous amounts of options and you’ll never be in need of more books. It’s only e-books though, so if you’re anti e-reader, then you won’t like this one ;). With so many other programs, I’m not sure when I’ll dive more into this one, but I do like being a member!

What programs are you a part of? Any specific ones you really like?

Author Interviews

4 Questions With Author DeAnna Julie Dodson

(This interview is part of my 4 Questions Project, where I get the chance to chat with authors and tell stories of people, life, and adventure. Be sure to check out previous interviews here!)

One of my favorite books last year belongs to the one and only DeAnna Julie Dodson! The book? Rules of Murder (A Drew Farthering Mystery), written under the pen Julianna Deering. It’s kicked off the beginning of a fabulous new mystery series full of Agatha Christie vibes and English accents. So if y’all haven’t dived into the world of Drew Farthering, why you must.

DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her new series of Drew Farthering mysteries set in 1930s England debuts with Rules of Murder (Bethany House, 2013) and will be followed by Death by the Book (Bethany House, 2014). She is represented by Wendy Lawton of the Books & Such Literary Agency.

I’m so excited to host DeAnna on the blog and join 4 Questions, so let’s dive right in!

1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
After more than a decade of no contracts, I am amazed that I am now a Bethany House author. Their editorial and support staff are a dream to work with, and they’re all incredibly sweet. Everything they do is first class, and I am blessed to be with them. Having them publish the book (and series!) of my heart is just an added bonus.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I would have more actively written and pursued publication after my medieval trilogy was published in the late ’90s. It took me about ten years to get back into the swing of things, but thanks to my wonderful agent, Wendy Lawton, things are better than ever. I believe God doesn’t waste anything, so I’m sure that ten years of “lost” time was beneficial to me and my writing in one way or another. I’m just glad I got a second chance.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
My cat Elliot passed away in August of last year. I had just lost another cat, my sweet Emily, and was heartbroken to lose my boy, too. But when I was at the vet’s office letting Elliot go, they brought me a tiny little orange kitten who needed a home. I was sold. Even though a “toddler” kitten is always a handful, he brought me such joy from that moment on. He makes me laugh every day, and I couldn’t imagine being without him.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
You are loved, and you are forgiven. God loved you enough to give Himself (Jesus) to die for any- and everything you’ve ever done wrong. He wants you to come to Him and will never turn you away if you do.

Thank you so much DeAnna for taking the time to hang out at Books and Beverages! Be sure to connect with DeAnna around the web! With her next coming out at the end of February, Death By Book, you don’t want to miss out on any of the news!

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