Sunday, December 23, 2012

Wildflowers from Winter - a Waterbrook Multnomah review

It's not too often that I read something emotional that doesn't leave me disheartened. I don't like novels that have horrific loss, grief, pain. Real life has enough of that, and I prefer to lose myself in something light . . . and hopeful. Wildflowers from Winter, written by Katie Ganshert, is one of those books that has grief and loss. The difference with this book, though, is that the characters feel real, and Katie doesn't write the grief so that you feel like you've had your heart ripped from your chest. Thank you!

Iowa native Bethany Quinn has made her life in Chicago as an architect, leaving her painful past behind her. But when her mother calls to tell her that her once-best friend has had a loss in her life, Bethany painfully makes her way back to Peaks, Iowa. Staying with her grandfather on his farm (who happens to have farm hand Evan Price living with him) while she pays her respects, Bethany vows to not stay long. Her job is demanding, and problems wait for her in Chicago. However, when she suddenly inherits the farm and Evan inherits the farmhouse, things become more complicated. Evan wants the land, but she wants to sell and have her own business. Meanwhile, Bethany struggles with her past and issues in Chicago. Torn emotionally, Bethany has to make several decisions and determine where she stands with God.

The characters in this story feel so real. No put-ons, no dramatic flair, just real-feeling people dealing with their problems. And while this book has romance in it, it's not one of those novels that is empty romance (or what my husband calls "fluff puff"). This is a great first novel by Katie, and I look forward to reading more from her!

I highly recommend that you visit this link at her website, where you will find the first three chapters of the book as well as background information on the novel!

I received Wildflowers from Winter as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.

No Safe Harbor - a Bethany House review

I have read some great books lately, and Elizabeth Ludwig's No Safe Harbor is one of them! This is one of those books that I love--it drew me in from the first page, left me with questions I wanted answered, and by the time I got to the last page, my questions were answered! This novel is very well written, the dialog matches the characters, and the scenes unfold naturally. It has a soft ending, making way for the second story in the Edge of Freedom series which is due for release sometime in 2013.

Set in the late 1890s in New York City, No Safe Harbor tells the story of Cara Hamilton, who has sailed from Ireland in hopes of finding her brother Eoghan whom she fears is dead. She finds her way to a female boardinghouse with the help of a countryman. Knowing that she should not reveal her brother's name because of the danger that it could put her and him in, Cara is guarded. But when a fellow Irishman named Rourke offers to help her, her wall gradually comes down. When she finds out who Rourke is and the whereabouts of her brother, Cara is forced to decide between Rourke and her own twin brother.

No Safe Harbor is filled with suspense, intrigue, romance, and edge-of-your-seat anticipation! If you like historical fiction, this one won't disappoint!!

About the Author 
Elizabeth Ludwig is an award-winning author whose work has been featured on Novel Journey, the Christian Authors Network, and The Christian Pulse. Her first novel, Where the Truth Lies, which she co-authored with Janelle Mowery, earned her the 2008 IWA Writer of the Year honors. This book was followed in 2009 by “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” part of a Christmas anthology collection called Christmas Homecoming, also from Barbour Publishing.

In 2010, her first full-length historical novel Love Finds You in Calico, California earned Four Stars from the Romantic Times. Books two and three of Elizabeth’s mystery series, Died in the Wool (Barbour Publishing) and Inn Plain Sight (Spyglass Lane), respectively, released in 2011.

Coming in 2012 is Elizabeth’s newest historical series from Bethany House Publishers. No Safe Harbor, the first book in the Edge of Freedom Series, will release in October, with two more books following in 2013 and 2014.

Elizabeth is an accomplished speaker and teacher, and often attends conferences and seminars, where she lectures on editing for fiction writers, crafting effective novel proposals, and conducting successful editor/agent interviews. Her popular literary blog, The Borrowed Book, enjoyed a wide readership in its first full year, with more than 17,000 visitors in 2011. Along with her husband and two children, Elizabeth makes her home in the great state of Texas.

I received No Safe Harbor as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Bethany House Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Wicked Wager - a review

I received an email from author Anya Wylde a couple of months ago, asking me if I would read and review her novel. The Wicked Wager is a cozy mystery with a little bit of romance thrown in. This is not a Christian fiction novel, but neither is it profane.

The story starts out with two characters--the heroine Miss Emma Grey, and Lord Richard Hamilton--in Regency England. Lord Hamilton decides upon Miss Grey as his wife, and while the family mostly supports the two, Miss Grey's uncle--the Duke of Arden--does not. Not persuaded to be thwarted by the Duke's decision that they not be wed, Lord Richard plots a scheme to trick the Duke into allowing him to wed Emma. What results is an interesting tale of woes, frustrations, and murder! As a who-dun-it type of story, The Wicked Wager is a story that nicely weaves some romance, mystery and a splash of comedy here and there.

The story started out a bit slow and dull to me. It didn't feel like it had much content at first. I struggled to hold on through several chapters, but then things took off a little. The characters seemed very corny, flaky if you will. There were a few instances where there were POV issues. I had a hard time in places trying to figure out which character was acting narrator at the time.

There were secondary characters in the book who fell in love. I felt that they added to the storyline, but their story, I felt, began to take precedence at one point and I lost interest in the actual main characters' story.

At the end when the murder mystery evolved and then was preparing to be solved, the explanation by the Duke went on and on. I felt like there was too much emphasis in the "explaining" of the murder.

Overall, this story was an interesting read. It had sort of a classical Jane Austen type of tone to it. I think that this author is one to watch. With some more editing and focus on POV, there will be some interesting reads come from Anya Wylde.

Thank you to Anya Wylde for the free copy of her book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Cover Girl BLASTFLIPSTICK Giveaway

CONGRATULATIONS TO NIKKI S. for winning the BLAST Flip Stick giveaway!!! I have emailed you, so please check for details on how you can receive your win!

As some of you may already know (especially if you participated in last week's giveaway)I received a box of new lip shades from BzzAgent. Covergirl has a new product out called blastflapstick. It's two lipsticks in one, a double-ended stick. One one side is a creamy shade, and on the other is a glittery shade. I received three tubes: stunner, minx, and vixen. Two of the tubes I knew right off the bat wouldn't look too great on me, so I chose one to review and decided to give the other two away! Last week, I gave away the "stunner" tube. Today, I'm starting the giveaway for the other--minx!

The shade that you see on the left is the shade I'm giving away. The name is "minx" and it's #855. These lip shades are matte in texture. They won't leave a glossy shine, but instead have a shimmery look or what I'd call slightly frosty. One side of the tube is creamy, and the other side provides the shimmery look that you'll get.

In addition to the tube of lipstick, you'll get some coupons for you and your friends for $2 off one COVERGIRL Blast Flipstick Lipcolor.

Scroll down to enter to win this. You can enter once a day. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway  
This giveaway is only open to residents in the U.S.  Winners will be randomly chosen by and will have 48 hours to respond from the time I send the alerting email. Failure to respond within 48 hours will result in a new winner being selected.
I received this product as a result of a BzzAgent campaign. I received this product for free in exchange for my honest opinion. My opinions are my own.