Friday, February 24, 2012

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall - a Litfuse Review

The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen is like reading a classic! Love Jane Eyre? Like Jane Austen? This book will remind you of those types of classics. Klassen did her homework--this novel, taking place in early-1800s England is written so well that I could almost picture myself beside the characters.

Margaret Macy, born to a fairly well-to-do family, finds herself in a quandry. Her step-father has decided how Margaret's inheritance should fall--by her marriage to his nephew. The nephew's character is questionable and disgusting to Margaret, and the only way that she knows how to get away from the man (and at the same time receive her inheritance rightfully in three months) is to run away and hide. To do this, though, she has to be quite crafty--she dons her deceased father's spectacles and wears a brunette wig over her blonde hair. Otherwise, she will surely be caught by her stepfather's watchers.

What she didn't realize was that her running away would require her to do a task that she was not quite prepared for--that of a servant! Quite spoiled by having had her own maid to help her, Margaret is now on her own and finds herself the servant of two of her previous beaus--Nathaniel and Lewis Upchurch. Having to clean up after them including emptying their chamber pots, a task Margaret abhors at best.

While Margaret has had to humble herself during her servitude, she begins to see the value of others and focus her feelings not only on herself, but on others.

This book has been a joy to read. At times it made me laugh at Margaret's exploits, and Klassen does a brilliant job of making each character seem real. If you love historical fiction with a little romance tied in, you will want to buy this book. It's a keeper!!

You can go here to read more reviews about this book. And if you go to this page you can find an excerpt of the book!

Julie Klassen loves all things Jane--Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for sixteen years and now writes full time. She has won the Christy Award: Historical Romance for The Silent Governess (2010) and The Girl in the Gatehouse (2011) which also won the 2010 Midwest Book Award for Genre Fiction. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, visit

Don't miss the perfect blend of Regency-era romance and mystery in The Maid of Fairbourne Hall! Grab a copy and then be sure to enter Julie's Kindle Fire Giveaway and RSVP for her Author Chat party on Facebook! Swoon.

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire
  • A Julie Klassen Library (The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Silent Governess)
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 3/14/12. Winner will be announced at Julie's Fairbourne Hall Book Chat Party on 3/15. Julie will be hosting an evening of chat, trivia and a sneak peek of her next book - bring your friends! She'll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books and a Downton Abbey Prize Pack (Seasons 1 and 2)!

So grab your copy of The Maid of Fairbourne Hall and join Julie and friends on the evening of March 15th for a book chat party.

Enter via Twitter
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Don't miss a moment of the fun. RSVP today and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on March 15th!

I received The Maid of Fairbourne Hall as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to give a favorable review; my opinions are my own.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Heart of Gold - a BookSneeze Review

Heart of Gold, written by Robin Lee Hatcher, stole my heart! At 294 pages, this historical fiction book is an enjoyable read.

Shannon Adair grew up in Virginia and loved the life that she and her parents had. But when her mother died and Virginia was torn by war and death, Shannon's minister father Delaney decided that it was time to go elsewhere. When Shannon and her father arrived in Idaho territory, it was not with excitement. Grand Coeur was a mining town, and there were very few women. Shannon held bitterness in her heart that her wonderful life had changed.

Matthew Dubois was a stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo, and when his sister and her son moved in harboring a heart-wrenching secret, Matthew ends his driving days in exchange for working in the office. Once Matthew realizes that his sister is dying, his goal is to find someone who can be a mother to his nephew, and Shannon Adair seems to be the perfect fit.

Shannon, holding on to her pride, has to decide where her feelings lie--with her own pride or with the man who has stolen her heart.

I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I read a lot of books, and not all books leave a big impression on me, but this one has. There is a portion of the book that I want to share that really touched my heart. The way Robin wrote this part was truly beautiful and poetic. It's a portion where Matthew's sister Alice is lying on her bed, thinking about leaving this world and her son Todd behind. (Chapter 15, page 135)

     Her eyes closed, she pressed the side of  her face against Todd's thick, unruly hair and breathed in. He smelled of little-boy sweat and puppy-dog slobber, of pinecones and wood smoke. And suddenly she felt like crying, for she was certain she would miss these smells, even in heaven.
     Forgive me, Father. I don't mean to cling to this world. It's only-
     Her breath caught in her chest as the strangest of sensations swept over her. She would almost swear that someone had touched her hair, had breathed deeply of her scent. And an instant later an overwhelming sense of being loved swirled around her, a love so big it encompassed her son as well.
     "Ma? You all right?"
     She opened her eyes. "Yes, I'm all right, darling. I really am all right."
If you enjoy Christian historical romance, this one will be right up your alley. If you'd like to read an excerpt, Robin has a portion of it on her website. You can go {here} to read.

I am a member of BookSneeze, a fabulous program through Thomas Nelson. BookSneeze sends members free books to read and keep in exchange for written reviews on a blog and on a major retailer's website (such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unveiling the Kings of Israel - a Creation Conversations Review

If you love the Bible or have a fascination with archaeological history, this is the book for you. Young or old, this book will be sure to please. Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down is a hardback book with 170 pages filled with colorful pictures and chock full of information. Published by Master Books, this book will give you a correct recorded history of Biblical records.

I was anxious to get this book because my husband and I are both fascinated by history and Biblical history. My children enjoy learning about the Bible, and what better way to teach history and Bible knowledge at the same time? This is an excellent resource for a homeschool, a Sunday school, a church library or simply to have at your home.

Unveiling the Kings of Israel proves that there is Biblical evidence to support the Holy scriptures. We have proof that the Exodus occurred, proof of Kings David and Solomon, and many other proofs are displayed in this book. Inside you will find a map of modern-day Israel; pictures of Biblical landmarks such as the River Jabbok where Jacob prayed, Petra ruins and tombs carved into the stone walls, and Mount Sinai, to name a few; a diagram of Solomon's Temple; and information from Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

At this link, you'll find a preview of the book with index included.

I received Unveiling the Kings of Israel as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from New Leaf Publishing Group. My opinions are my own.

Waiting for Dawn

Oh my word! This book blew me away! Loved it! Waiting for Dawn is a short (novella) story written by Susan May Warren about a brave heroine who takes it upon herself to find her friend Jim Micah, who is MIA in Afghanistan. This novella is a prequel for Flee The Night--the first book in the Team Hope series.

Because of her link with the Department of Defense, contractor Lacey Galloway hatches a plan with Jim's best friend who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend Lieutenant John Montgomery.

Jim Micah has been in love with Lacey for years, and when he had introduced his best friend to her years before, he immediately regretted it. John stole her heart immediately.

Lacey finds herself torn between two men: one a dear friend, and another a handsome charmer.

This book grabbed me from the first word and kept my attention to the last. When the last page arrived, I began searching for where I could read more. Susan May Warren has caught my attention yet again! If you enjoy a nice suspense-filled romance, this book is sure to please!

I'm grateful to have been given the opportunity to read and review Waiting for Dawn through NetGalley. My opinions are my own.

When the Soul Mends - a WaterbrookMultnomah Review

Hannah Lapp had begun a new life in the "Englischer" world with her fiance Martin Palmer and his nephew and niece that he was raising. Fulfilling her dream of becoming a nurse has almost been brought to fruition when she gets the call to go back home to help with her sister. What Hannah was not prepared for was to have to work with her former fiance, Paul Waddell, in order to help her sister Sarah.

After having left her Amish community two and a half years prior with her heart broken, Hannah returns to her Old Order Amish community in Owl's Perch, Pennsylvania. When she returns to find that the community has had a terrible loss and that her sister's mental health is shaky, Hannah has to also deal with the reason for her departure.

Thrust back and forth between her Amish community and her life with Martin, Hannah struggles between where her heart wants to be.

I absolutely loved When the Soul Mends! If you're not familiar with Cindy Woodsmall's books, I encourage you to read them. If you enjoy Amish fiction, this one will easily be a favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this novel--they were portrayed very well. From Hannah's stubborn streak to Paul's annoyingly (LOL!) calm demeanor, Cindy has painted these characters very well.

The only bone that I have to pick (and it's not a big bone) is that I'd be more interested in knowing about Sarah's mental issues--what brought this about? Maybe Cindy has it in mind to write the next book in the series about Sarah (hint :P).

When the Soul Mends is third installment of the Sisters of the Quilt Series. You can go to Cindy's page and read an excerpt of the book if you're interested.

I received When the Soul Mends as a complimentary gift in exchange for review from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers. My comments and opinions are my own.