Friday, November 29, 2013

Goddess Tithe- Anne Elisabeth Stengl

18458653My Rating: 4 Stars


When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?

My Thoughts: This story goes into one of Lionheart's adventures during his travels that is not described in the novels. Though it is told from Munny's perspective, Lionheart is a central character. The moment I realized that he was in this novella, I think I might have screamed... and scared my dog.

The new culture described in this novella, that of seafarers, was amazing and added a new depth to the world of The Tales of Goldstone World. The action was brilliant and some of Lionheart's comments were hilarious.

My one complaint was that it was not long enough. There were a few things that felt as though they should have been explained better or had their own plot twist (the peonies for example). Perhaps they will make an appearance in a later novel? (Looks as Anne Elisabeth in question).

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Until That Distant Day- Cover Reveal

Paris, France


Colette DeMer and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. 

Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.

Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?

Coming April 25, 2014


Until That Distant Day

Opening of Chapter 1

I was born believing that the world was unfair and that I was the person to make it right. 

One of my earliest memories is of Papa setting me atop a nail keg in the forge; I could not have been older than two at the time.

“Colette, give Papa a kiss,” he said, tapping his cheek.


“Come and sit on my knee.”


My response to every order was the same, asked with genuine curiosity. I did not understand why his watching friends chuckled. Why should I press my lips to Papa’s sweaty, prickly cheek? Why should I hop down from the keg, where he had just placed me, and run to sit on his knee, a most uncomfortable perch? I felt justified in requesting a reason for each abrupt order, yet he never bothered to give me one.

Mama, when thus questioned, provided an answer in the form of a sharp swat. This I could respect as definitive authority, although the reasoning behind it remained dubious.

My little brother Pascoe was born believing that the world was his to command. As soon as he acquired his first vocabulary word, “No,” he and I joined ranks in defiance of established authority.

Many impediments cluttered the path of destiny in those early years: parents, thirteen other siblings, physical ailments, and educational difficulties. And as we grew into adulthood, more serious matters intervened, even parting us for a time. But I will speak more of that later. For now, let me assure you that, no matter the obstacles thrown in our way, our sibling bond seemed indissoluble; the love between us remained unaffected by any outside relationship.

Pascoe and I were young adults when revolutionaries in Paris threw aside the tyranny of centuries and established a new government based on the Rights of Man. From the seclusion of our little village in Normandy we rejoiced over each battle fought and won; and when our local physician, Doctor Hilliard, who had first mentored then employed Pascoe for several years, was elected as deputy to the National Assembly from our district, a whole new world opened at our feet. 

My story truly begins on a certain day in the spring of 1792, in the little domain I had made for myself in the kitchen at the back of Doctor Hilliard’s Paris house. Perhaps it wasn’t truly my domain, for it did not belong to me. I was merely the doctor’s housekeeper and could lay no real claim. Nevertheless, the kitchen was more mine than anything had ever been, and I loved that small, dark room; especially during the hours when sunlight slanted through the bubbled-glass kitchen windows, making bright, swirling shapes on the whitewashed walls, or each evening when I arranged my latest culinary creation on a platter and left it in the warming oven for the doctor to discover whenever he arrived home. That kitchen was my home. Not the home I had grown up in, but the home I had always craved.

On that particular day, however, it did not feel the safe haven I had always believed it to be. Loud voices drifted down from the upper floor where the doctor and Pascoe were in conference, disturbing my calm. When I closed the connecting door to the dining room, the angry voices drifted in through the open kitchen windows. I couldn’t close the windows; I might smother of heat. Yet I needed to block out the sound, to make it stop.

So I slipped a filet of sole into a greased skillet and let it brown until golden on both sides. The hiss and sizzle did not quite cover the shouting, but it helped. Then I slid the fish onto a waiting plate lined with sautéed vegetables fresh from my kitchen garden; and I topped all with an herbed wine-and-butter sauce. A grind of fresh pepper finished off my creation.

But my hands were still trembling, and I felt as if something inside me might fall to pieces.

Pascoe often shouted. Shouting was part of his fiery nature, a normal event. He shouted when he gave speeches at section meetings. He shouted about overcooked meals or inferior wines. He shouted when his lace jabot refused to fall into perfect folds.

But never before had I heard Doctor Hilliard raise his voice in anger.

Doctor Hilliard was never angry. Doctor Hilliard never displayed emotion. At most, he might indicate approval by the glance of a benevolent eye or disapprobation by the merest lift of a brow. Yet there could be no mistaking the two furious voices overhead. I well knew Pascoe’s sharp tenor with its sarcastic edge; but now I also heard the doctor’s resonant voice crackling with fury.

I managed to slide the hot plate into the warmer alongside a crusty loaf of bread and closed the door, using a doubled towel to protect my shaking hands. 

Behind me the connecting door was flung open, and Pascoe burst in as I spun to face him. “Gather your things; we are leaving,” he growled. His eyes blazed in his pale face, and the jut of his jaw allowed for no questions. He clapped his tall hat on his head as he passed through the room.

I donned my bonnet and sabots and picked up my parasol. “What has happened?” I asked just above a whisper.

“I’ll tell you once we are away from this house.” His lips snapped tight. His chest heaved with emotion, and he grasped a portfolio so tightly that his fingers looked white.

I could not recall the last time I had seen my brother in such a rage.

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader's Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

Check It Out: The book page-

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 25, 2013

Writing Tip- Two Stories at Once

There always comes that moment when you begin to procrastinate. You have written a little bit (but not even close to your goal for the day) and you get distracted. Pinterest calls to... Facebook begs to be checked.... Look- I can see outside through the window!

It's tough to stick in there, to keep writing. And we all have a little tricks to keep us on track, like Write or Die, the absolute cruelest writing app I have ever seen. My new favorite actually came to me last week.

You see, I have two books that I am currently writing: the sequel to Bonded Souls and a surprise story that I will reveal once I have more of it written. I also tend to have the bad habit of writing one or so pages and then getting distracted (unless it is a really intense scene). One day, I was writing on the yet to be revealed story and kept thinking of Bonded Souls, so I shift over to that one. Two pages later, I thought of the first story and went back. Three hours later, I found that I had written a total of 3,000 words and had not checked the internet once, just by switching between stories.

And now, that is how I write, with both books open, taking turns in each. I write faster, with fewer distractions, and I write more. For those of you writing a first draft, and you have multiple story ideas, it might be worth trying.

Here is a question for all of you. Would you like a contest where the prize is a guest post spot? You could shamelessly plug your book, work-in-progress, or blog, even all three if you wanted to. How it would work is that I would post pictures as hints to a major component of my new story, and the first person to guess what it was, would win. Tell me what you think!

Either way, here is a first hint:

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Bride for Keeps- Melissa Jagears

17350829My Rating: 3 Stars

Description: Although Everett Cline can hardly keep up with the demands of his homestead, he won't humiliate himself by looking for a helpmate ever again--not after being jilted by three mail-order brides. When a well-meaning neighbor goes behind his back to bring yet another mail-order bride to town, he has good reason to doubt it will work, especially after getting a glimpse at the woman in question. She's the prettiest woman he's ever seen, and it's just not possible she's there to marry a simple homesteader like him.

Julia Lockwood has never been anything more than a pretty pawn for her father or a business acquisition for her former fiance. Having finally worked up the courage to leave her life in Massachusetts, she's determined to find a place where people will value her for more than her looks. Having run out of all other options, Julia resorts to a mail-order marriage in far-away Kansas.

Everett is skeptical a cultured woman like Julia could be happy in a life on the plains, while Julia, deeply wounded by a past relationship, is skittish at the idea of marriage at all. When, despite their hesitations, they agree to a marriage in name only, neither one is prepared for the feelings that soon arise to complicate their arrangement. Can two people accustomed to keeping their distance let the barricades around their hearts down long enough to fall in love?

My Thoughts: I had thought for sure, by the description that I would love this novel. Mail-order bride stories always enthralled me, and this one had really good conflict between the characters, but nothing else. Everett and Julia had a lot to work through from their pasts in order to love each other. They both had fears and hurts to deal with.

Yet there was almost no outward conflict. From the first chapter, I thought there was a hint at a reappearance of Julia's past, but that never happened. And their current problems never boiled over. If either of these had happened, the novel would have been easily four stars, if not five. There were some other issues I wish had been addressed (like Rachel's meddling), but were of lesser importance.

Those who prefer a sweeter romance, with little external conflict, this book would be a keeper. The main characters were contently at odds and Everett was one of the most patient men I have ever read about.

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Writing Tip- Villains

Have you ever read of those villains who are just evil to the core? Who have nothing, and I mean nothing, redeemable about them? Who kick puppies and make children cry? Everyone has, I am sure.

But- resist the temptation to write them!! A villain who is only evil, only cruel, is a flat character and will easily be forgotten by your readers. I'm not saying that the villian can not start out this way, but as your story progresses, you need to reveal more layers to their story, personality, and beliefs.

Believe it or not, it is extremely rare that any person considered evil, actually thinks of themselves as thus. They either believe that they are working to a greater good (end justifies the means) or that they are really not doing anything wrong at all.

Take some of the villians of Once Upon A Time for example:

Regina, the Evil Queen, who became evil after the love of her life was murdered before her eyes.

Rumpelstiltskin, who became the Dark One so that no one could take his son from him.

And Hook, who became a pirate to fight the unjust deeds of his king.

While their beginnings were honorable, the path they chose was not. And those of us who watch will always remember them for it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gratitude Giveaway- Tour

Today I want to thank all of my followers for supporting my in my first year of blogging. In the season of Thanksgiving, I have chosen to take part in the giveaway HOP, for which all of my followers can win. There are two, the first is international and the second is US only.

Thanks, also, to I'm a Reader, Not a Writer for hosting!


When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.

Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.

Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lily Winter's wings are folded so tightly around her daughter that when empty nest arrives, she feels she can no longer fly. But Lily's lonely, widowed life changes in a heartbeat when she goes to visit a woman who is almost a stranger to her-a woman who also happens to be her mother. During their fiery reunion, her mother reveals a dark family secret that she'd been hiding for decades-Lily has an identical twin sister who was put up for adoption when they were just babies.

 Without looking back, Lily-with her fear of flying-boards a jumbo jet and embarks on a quest to find her sister which leads half way around the world to Melbourne, Australia. Befriended by imprudent Ausie, he might prove to be the key to finding her sister. But her journey becomes a circle that leads her back home to attempt a family reunion and to find the one dream she no longer imagined possible-the chance to fall in love again.

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Beloved- Robin Hatcher

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Description:  Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for seven years, Diana's infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition----she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

My Thoughts:  This was a sweet read. Tyson and Diana had a cute reunion. Really, everything was cute, from their parents to the pets. I kept reading because the relationships were beautiful. However, their was little excitement.

Of everything that happened, I continuously envisioned something grander. The villains and love rivals could have caused so much more damage to the main characters. If the situations had lived up to their potential, this novel could have been riveting, rather than cute.

I would still suggest this novel to anyone looking for an adorable romance. The writing was beautiful and I loved the characters. I just wish that their had been more of the adventure promised in the back cover copy.

I received a copy from Litfuse in exchange for an honest review.

Robin Lee Hatcher is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Belovedwith an iPad Mini giveaway! 
  One winner will receive:
  • An iPad Mini
  • Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 15th. Winner will be announced November 16th at Robin's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin's blog on the 16th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Readers Needed


To those of you who have followed me for a while, you know that I have written a full fantasy novel and am working on making it better. To that end, I am looking for three to four readers, who can read it in two to three months and provide detailed feedback on. I do not require that you have been reader before, only that you read a lot (preferable in the fantasy genre) and give honest responses.

Here are more details:

-Three to four readers for Bonded Souls.
-Can read it within two to three months.
-Give honest feedback.
-Can answer some questions pertaining to each chapter.
-Enjoy fantasy.

If you are interested, please email me at lotsofbooks1 (at)live(dot)com. You can read about Bonded Souls here, and look at my pinterest board for it here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Writing Tip- There is Always a Price

I have gone on an Once Upon A Time kick. I love this show. Seriously. And it has so much that we can learn about writing.

Rumpelstiltskin's most famous quote is "Magic always comes with a price, Deary." And he is right. In this post at Go Teen Writer's, Jill Williamson talks about different types of "magic". The special abilities that our characters have. And every one of these abilities should cost the character something, whether it is energy or faith.

Not only does magic have a price, but so does every decision and word spoken. Never should something happen, that does not cost a price. Because then it is too easy, then it is not real.

Your hero saves the princess.. what does he lose to do so? Your heroine finds her freedom... what does she sacrifice to gain it?

In my book, Bonded Souls, Lan gets her life long dream, she becomes a rider. But the price is struggle, with a new husband, a new family, and a life long adversary. Othniel breaks free from his father, but he loses his comfort zone. And through the rest of the novel, they gain one thing, only to suffer for it.

Everything has a price, even if the one gaining is not the one paying. What do your characters pay?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gift of Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Sometimes where are books that I just get really excited about. Cinder my Marissa Meyer was one of them. And when I get excited, there is one person who I practically (ok, literally) beg to read it too. That person is my sister, Salyna, who agreed to read it because I promised her that it had great romance. You can read her review here.

It was only after her reading it that I found out her doing so made me eligible to win an ARC of Cress, Meyer's new book. Here were the rules it anyone else wishes to join in.


Are you dying to read Cress?
Do you love The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer?
Do you know someone who hasn’t read The Lunar Chronicles yet?
If you’ve said YES to all these questions, here’s what you do:
1.       Loan a friend a copy of Cinder.
2.       Write a blog post explaining why you gave that friend a copy of Cinder.
3.       Have your friend review Cinder on his/her blog OR on your blog.
4.       Share the review online using the #GiftOfCinder hashtag!
5.       Leave us the links for your blog post, review of Cinder, and social share on this post below!
We’ll pick twenty winners to receive an advanced copy of the upcoming Cress, the third installment in The Lunar Chronicles.
And mark your calendars… #CyborgMonday is coming on December 2, 2013.

Remember to check out my own review!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Gunpowder Tea- Margaret Brownley

My Rating: 5 Stars

Description:In a case that could change her career, Miranda uncovers a love that will change her life.

When Miranda Hunt sees the classified ad for an heiress to the legendary Last Chance Ranch, she knows assuming the identity of Annie Beckman is the perfect cover. As one of the finest agents for the Pinkerton Detective Agency, Miranda has been tasked with apprehending the Phantom – an elusive and notorious train robber thought to be hiding on the sprawling ranch.

But she isn’t the only one there with something to hide. Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert is working the scene undercover as well. And although their true identities are a secret, it is impossible for Jeremy and Miranda to hide the spark that flares between them.

But neither is about to let romance interfere with such a huge case. Besides, Miranda hasn’t removed Jeremy from her list of suspects yet. The closer they come to uncovering the identity of the Phantom, the more dangerous he gets – and no one on the ranch is safe.

But neither are their hearts – the longer Miranda and Jeremy spends working together, the harder it becomes to keep their feelings in check. Their careers – and their lives – depend on solving this case. Love will have to wait.

My Thoughts: I do not know just how to tell how much I loved this book. This novel had some of the best situational irony I have ever read. Two detectives who continuously get in each others way because they do not know the other is a detective. It was too funny.

Not only that, but the cast of characters was great. Everyone had their own personality, even the rarely mentioned ranch hands. And behind every character and suspicion lies a beautiful theme: "I once was blind, but now I see."

Annie and Branch are blinded by their assumptions and pasts. It keeps them from seeing what is right under their noses and what the future could bring. For private eyes, being blind can cost them their jobs... and their lives. But worse, it can cost them the plans God has for them.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Margaret Brownley's latest release, Gunpowder Tea, is receiving high praise, and she's celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway and a "Tea with Margaret" Facebook party!


  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on November 7th. Winner will be announced at the "Tea with Margaret" Facebook Author Chat Party on the 7th. Connect with Margaret and friends for an evening of book chat, prizes, and get an exclusive look at Margaret's next book!

So grab your copy of Gunpowder Tea and join Margaret on the evening of November 7th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word — tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK or TWITTER. Hope to see you on 11/7!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Glittering Promises- Lisa Bergren

Sorry about this being late, I did not have time to write it on Halloween.

13207223My Rating: 3 Stars

Description:America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try...

My Thoughts: I don't know if this book was any different than the last two, but it seemed a lot slower. I liked the writing and the description, but there was not much that happened through most of it. I noticed that I only found something gripping about every hundred pages. What did interest me, brought me back to keep reading, I just wish there had been more adventure with the pretty words.

Cora and Will's relationship continued to have a lot of conflict. Which upset me. I am not one for love triangles and this book had two. TWO. It was a large part of the conflict, Cora's money being the other part. While this worked in the first two books, I had hoped it would be over in this one.

I can't say that I disliked this book. There were some really sweet moments, some that were emotional, and a bit of adventure. But the drama and love triangles kept me from loving it.