Thursday, July 31, 2014

THE BUTTERFLY AND THE VIOLIN Kindle Fire Giveaway and Facebook Party from @KCambronAuthor!

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Free? Kindle Fire? Yup!

Read on for my review of "The Butterfly and the Violin" and make sure you enter the giveaway too!


about the book....


And then came war . . .

Today. Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world’s elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.
Vienna, 1942. Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna’s vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family's tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.
The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele’s barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshiping God with her gift?
As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait—Adele—they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God’s faithfulness never falters.

my review....

"The Butterfly and the Violin" is a beautifully written novel from a newer voice to the Christian fiction scene, Kristy Cambron. The story alternates between the present world of Sera and the past world of Adele, and Cambron does so seamlessly, tying the two different plots into a unified whole. The story brings to life the horrors of Auschwitz in heart-breaking detail, as seen through the eyes of Adele and a group of women who make up the women's orchestra at the death camp. Though I have read several stories about Auschwitz, Cambron depicts the past in a unique manner, highlighting how the guards required musicians to play for the camp while the trains unloaded and people were sorted, some to work, some to die. Through the stories of Adele and Sera, Cambron uncovers what it means to be alive and to be who God created us to be. She explores themes of forgiveness, and shows how beauty can exist in the midst of evil. In many of the scenes, I was profoundly moved, both by the lyrical writing and the powerful story conveyed. I see a bright future for Cambron, and am pleased to see that this novel is the first in a series, with more to come from Cambron's pen!

Fans of historical novels will enjoy this first book in the series, from the wonderful characters to the story that will both leave your heart-aching and inspired by the hopeful story of Adele and Sera. 4 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.



 about the author....



Kristy CambronKristy Cambron has been fascinated with WWII since hearing her grandfather’s stories. She holds an Art History degree from Indiana University and works as Communications Consultant. Kristy writes WWII and Regency fiction and placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons. Website: www.kristycambron.com Twitter: @KCambronAuthor Facebook: Kristy-L-Cambron-Author








Find out more about the book on the publisher website:  http://www.thomasnelson.com/the-butterfly-and-the-violin.html






And now for the giveaway…


Welcome to the launch campaign for debut novelist Kristy Cambron's The Butterfly and the Violin. Romantic Times had this to say: "Alternating points of view skillfully blend contemporary and historical fiction in this debut novel that is almost impossible to put down. Well-researched yet heartbreaking. . . ."

Kristy is celebrating the release of the first book in her series, A Hidden Masterpiece, with a fun Kindle Fire giveaway and meeting her readers during an August 7th Facebook author chat party.


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 One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 7th. Winner will be announced at The Butterfly and the Violin Author Chat Party. Kristy will be connecting with readers and answering questions, sharing some of the fascinating research behind the book, hosting a fun book chat, and giving away some GREAT prizes. She will also be giving an exclusive look at the next book in the series, A Sparrow in Terezin!

So grab your copy of The Butterfly and the Violin and join Kristy on the evening of August 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 todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 7th!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Riveting Biblical fiction: "In the Field of Grace" by Tessa Afshar




Courtesy of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance, check out an introduction and my review of "In the Field of Grace" by Tessa Afshar:



This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
In The Field of Grace
River North; New Edition edition (July 1, 2014)
by
Tessa Afshar


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


TESSA AFSHAR was voted "New Author of the Year" by the Family Fiction sponsored Reader's Choice Award 2011 for her novel Pearl in the Sand. She was born in Iran, and lived there for the first fourteen years of her life. She moved to England where she survived boarding school for girls and fell in love with Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, before moving to the United States permanently. Her conversion to Christianity in her twenties changed the course of her life forever. Tessa holds an MDiv from Yale University where she served as co-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School. She has spent the last thirteen years in full-time Christian work.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Destitute, grief-stricken, and unwanted by the people of God, Ruth arrives in Israel with nothing to recommend her but Naomi's, love. Her loftiest hope is to provide enough food to save Naomi and herself from starvation.

But God has other plans for her life. While everyone considers Ruth an outcast, she is astounded to find one of the most honored men of Judah showing her favor. Long since a widower and determined to stay that way, Boaz is irresistibly drawn to the foreign woman with the haunted eyes. He tells himself he is only being kind to his Cousin Naomi's chosen daughter when he goes out of his way to protect her from harm, but his heart knows better.

Based on the biblical account of Ruth, In the Field of Grace is the story of a love that ultimately changes the course of Israel's destiny and the future of the whole world.


If you would like to read the first chapter of In The Field of Grace, go HERE.

Purchase the book here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0802410979

My review....


I  have read a number of different fictional accounts of Ruth and Naomi's Biblical story over the past many years, and I can say hands down that "In the Field of Grace" simply shines above the rest! Their story has been beautifully reimagined, all while faithfully following the account that has been laid out in the Bible. I absolutely enjoyed Afshar's take on Ruth, from the mistreatment she suffered at the hands of her own family, to the welcoming arms she finds with Naomi, to the blossoming that occurs as her character faces challenge after challenge and emerges all the stronger. After reading this novel, I could more easily understand why Ruth would have made the decision to leave her own land and her own people and go with Naomi. Not only that, but I loved how Ruth's relationship with God develops and how Ruth shines as an example of someone who grows from a fledgling relationship with God to one where she cannot help but draw others to God through her faith. The characters are wonderfully developed and Ruth and Boaz's story was filled both with tender moments and those that left me smiling as well. This is one of those novels that has found a permanent place on my shelf and which I will be fondly taking down to devour once again!

I leave the pages of this story with a fresh appreciation for Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz, and God's faithfulness to us, his people. I highly recommend this book and award it 5 out of 5 stars.

Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher and CFBA for the purposes of this unbiased review.



Monday, July 21, 2014

"Firewall" by DiAnn Mills (with CFBA)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Firewall
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 1, 2014)
by
DiAnn Mills


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


DiAnn Mills believes her readers should “Expect an Adventure.” She is a fiction writer who combines an adventuresome spirit with unforgettable characters to create action-packed novels. Her books have won many awards through American Christian Fiction Writers, and she is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader’s Choice award for 2005, 2007, and 2010. She was a Christy Award finalist in 2008 and a Christy winner in 2010.

DiAnn is a founding board member for American Christian Fiction Writers, a member of Inspirational Writers Alive, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and is the Craftsman Mentor for the Christian Writer’s Guild. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops.

DiAnn and her husband live in Houston, Texas. Visit her website or find her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/diannmills


ABOUT THE BOOK

After a whirlwind romance, Taryn Young is preparing to board a plane at Houston International Airport, bound for a dream honeymoon, when a bomb decimates the terminal. Injured but still alive, she awakens to discover her husband is missing and they’re both considered prime suspects in the attack. Further, the FBI is convinced her husband isn’t who he appears to be.

Agent Grayson Hall’s number-one priority is to catch those responsible for the day’s act of terror. All evidence is pointing to Taryn and her new husband. But his instinct tells him her pleas of innocence are genuine. Is her naiveté just for show, or could she truly be another victim of a master scheme, possibly linked to the software she recently developed for her company?

With both their lives and reputations on the line, and the media outcry for justice increasing with each passing minute, Taryn and Grayson have no choice but to trust one another . . . and pray they can uncover the truth before they become two more casualties.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Firewall, go HERE.

The book can be purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1414389930
 
 
My Review...

To be added once the book arrives in the mail.... :)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Will remind you of the important things in life: "A Woman of Fortune" by Kellie Coates Gilbert

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about the book....


You never know what you're really made of until you lose everything.

Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream--designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living.

Author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers a story both poignant and emotionally gripping that celebrates the kind of fortune that lasts.



my review....

The first in what promises to be a top-notch series of books, "A Woman of Fortune" wooed me from the first page and held me captive until the satisfying conclusion. I greatly enjoyed Gilbert's first book "Mother of Pearl" and so looked forward to her next release with great anticipation - and I was duly rewarded indeed! I am thoroughly impressed that the author could tackle such weighty emotional issues and weave a character-driven novel that completely captured my interest and kept me glued to the pages. Her characters grew and changed before my very eyes, and stepped off the pages until they felt like a friend walking alongside me.

I love how "A Woman of Fortune" presents a very high calling to readers, to stand strong in our marriages no matter what storms may come. Nowadays it can seem like people can be quick to divorce when they shouldn't (where there is not infidelity or abuse that is). This book is like a breath of fresh air in a culture that seems to focus on personal happiness above all else, instead pointing to a perhaps harder road that is ultimately more fulfilling.

Gilbert deftly handles issues of betrayal and loss, and with heart-breaking realism paints a picture of how one person's actions can have devastating consequences to a family. Yet despite wading through some tough waters with these characters, I closed the pages of this book with a smile on my face, feeling like I'd been wonderfully entertained while reminded of the most important things in life.

Those readers who enjoy contemporary novels that may even leave a tear on their cheek should plan on picking up a copy of "A Woman of Fortune". It is time well spent! 4.5 out of 5 stars. 
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.




 about the author....

 



Kellie Coates GilbertKellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who investigated the largest cattle fraud case in US history. Her legal experience gives her an insider's view into how people react under pressure. Gilbert explores the complexity of relationships in her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances. The author of Mother of Pearl, she currently lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband. Learn more at www.kelliecoatesgilbert.com.









Thursday, July 17, 2014

A poignant historical novel: "Love Comes Home" by Ann H. Gabhart

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about the book....


When the flush of victory fades, there remains a winding road to an uncertain future.

World War II is finally over and the people of Rosey Corner are joyfully welcoming the boys home. The Merritt sisters in particular are looking toward the future. Kate is eager to start a family and live out her dream of happily ever after with Jay. Evangeline craves a beautiful house and encourages Mike to pastor a big-town church. Victoria wants what can never be. And Lorena is growing up and wondering more and more about her birth family.

Each sister must learn to hold her plans with a loose hand, trusting that God will guide and strengthen them as they share the joys and sorrows of life in their little corner of the world.

Award-winning and bestselling author Ann Gabhart invites you back to Rosey Corner for a heartfelt story that closes the distance between the things that were and things that can yet be




my review....

Gabhart's third book set in the small town of Rosey Corner is a poignant novel that explores loss, love, hardship, and new beginnings. It was a pleasure to become reacquainted with the characters from the first two books in the series (Angel Sister and Small Town Girl Corner), and there were many moments to celebrate with the characters (such as when husbands returned from war) but also many moments to experience their heart-ache. As is her strength, Gabhart does a wonderful job at fleshing out her characters and weaving their different stories into an ultimately satisfying whole. Her characters come alive with an aching beauty, and I found myself standing in their shoes feeling the pain they feel. Something I love about this book and indeed the whole series is the way Gabhart shows what a gift family is, even when they are also a pain! One of the characters finds themselves envying the Merritt family and it is easy to see why, for despite times they disagree or drive each other crazy, they are there for each other through thick and thin. I especially liked Aunt Hattie's role in this book as the elderly spiritual giant, and someone who often pointed the characters to the Lord in their times of pain. The words she speaks are filled with wisdom, such as when she says "Every soul is burdened down with troubles from time to time....But the Good Lord is right there helping you carry that load...A body has to keep on smilin’ for yo’self same as others, else the dark can overtake you”. What a great reminder that when we experience the troubles this life brings, we aren't alone, but have God, and his family, to walk alongside us.

Those readers who first grew to love these characters in "Angel Sister" will appreciate how this novel brings things full circle. I greatly enjoyed this solid read and award it 4 out of 5 stars.
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.




 about the author....

 

Ann H. Gabhart

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Words Spoken True, as well as several Shaker novels--The Outsider, The Believer, The Seeker, The Blessed, and The Gifted--and The Heart of Hollyhill series. She lives with her husband a mile from where she was born in rural Kentucky. Learn more at www.annhgabhart.com.









Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Don't forget to breathe! "Mindwar" by Andrew Klavan

 
 
After an accident caused him to lose his athletic prowess, his status as highschool quarterback, and his general meaning in life, Rick Dial has drowned out the pain with a new obsession with playing video games. But his world is again rocked off of its axis when Rick is suddenly taken to a secret location where he learns that a very deadly war is going on, one that threatens the very existence of society as he knows it. When he agrees to join the battle using his skills, he finds himself tested in ways he never imagined possible.
 
Andrew Klavan has again spun a clever young adult fiction tale that explodes with non-stop action and fast moving scenes. The pacing is unreal, as readers are thrust into a fantastic what-if scenario that had me thinking about how quickly life as I know it could change if this plot were possible! Klavan is an excellent author, and one who doesn’t waste any words, but quickly draws readers into the story and doesn’t let them leave. I found myself experiencing each scene alongside of Rick, with a wonderful feeling of realism that even had me feeling his claustrophobia in one of the scenes! Not only is the writing crisp, but the characters are also solidly developed, and readers will quickly grow fond of Rick as they experience his emotional turmoil and witness him dig deep to find a new purpose and a new courage for living. The book is clearly the first in the series, but resolves one of the plot lines in a very touching manner indeed. I am left craving more, and wishing that it were already 2015 so I could read the next installment!
 
I greatly enjoyed this book from start to finish and highly recommend “Mindwar” not only for young adults, but for anyone looking for an adrenaline filled summer read. 5 out of 5 stars.
 
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher via the Booklook Bloggers review program, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
 
 
about the author...
 
 
Award winning author, screenwriter and media commentator Andrew Klavan is the author of such internationally bestselling novels as True Crime, filmed by Clint Eastwood, and Don’t Say A Word, filmed starring Michael Douglas. Andrew has been nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award five times and has won twice. His books have been translated around the world. His latest novel for adults, The Identity Man, has been praised by Nelson Demille as “fast paced, intelligent and thought-provoking; a great read!” Television and radio host Glenn Beck says “Andrew Klavan never disappoints…one of the best illustrations of the power of redemption that I’ve ever read.” His last novel Empire of Lies was about media bias in the age of terror, and topped Amazon.com’s thriller list. Andrew has also published a series of thrillers for young adults, The Homelanders, which follows a patriotic teenager’s battle against jihadists. The books have been optioned to be made into movies by Summit Entertainment, the team behind the mega-successful Twilight film series. Learn more at his website:  http://www.andrewklavan.com/
 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Woohoo! Earn gift cards or cash with Swagbucks like me!!


About a year ago now I signed up for a Swagbucks account, and started earning points by searching, answering polls, doing surveys, playing games, etc. I've redeemed these points for things like Starbucks gift cards, paypal gift cards, and all sorts of other goodies.

If you haven't yet signed up for this, I encourage you to check it out. Who doesn't like a gift card now and again? Have fun!

Oh, to get you started use the sign up code “FreeGiftCards” and you will start with 50 extra SBs (the equivalent of 50 cents towards Starbucks!)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Introducing "Hope Deferred" by Elizabeth Maddrey (CFBA)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Hope Deferred
HopeSprings Books (July 1, 2014)
by
Elizabeth Maddrey


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Elizabeth Maddrey is a semi-reformed computer geek and homeschooling mother of two who loves a good happily ever after.

Elizabeth Maddrey began writing stories as soon as she could form the letters properly and has never looked back. Though her practical nature and love of computers, math, and organization steered her into computer science at Wheaton College, she always had one or more stories in progress to occupy her free time. This continued through a Master’s program in Software Engineering, several years in the computer industry, teaching programming at the college level, and a Ph.D. in Computer Technology in Education. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth is a voracious consumer of books and has mastered the art of reading while undertaking just about any other activity.

She lives in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her husband and their two incredibly active little boys.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Christian fiction for women.
Can pursuit of a blessing become a curse?
June and July and their husbands have spent the last year trying to start a family and now they're desperate for answers. As one couple works with specialists to see how medicine can help them conceive, the other must fight to save their marriage. Will their deferred hope leave them heart sick, or start them on the path to the fulfillment of their dreams?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Hope Deferred, go HERE.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Suspenseful, unique read: "Seagrass Pier" by Colleen Coble"

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about the book....



In a secluded corner of Hope Beach, one woman must decipher a stranger's memories . . . before they cost her everything.


Elin Summerall was one of the lucky ones. Not only did she get a heart transplant, but the donor was a perfect fit. A miraculously perfect fit.

But when Elin begins having violent flashbacks--and vivid dreams of being strangled--she realizes that she has been the recipient of more than just a new heart . . . Elin is remembering her donor's murder.

Her strange affliction has attracted some unwanted attention: from the press, from the authorities . . . and from the killer himself. Now, living alone with her young daughter and aging mother, Elin is being stalked--by a man she's only met in her nightmares.

The police are dubious of her story, but one off-duty FBI agent is eager to help her: Agent Marc Everton, the father of Elin's daughter.

Of course, he doesn't know about that. Yet.

Now, in a remote cottage on Hope Island, Elin and Marc must probe the secrets buried in her borrowed heart. And there's no time to waste. One man is desperate to silence her--before she remembers too much.


my review....


The third book in the "Hope Beach" series is filled with twists and turns aplenty that will keep readers engaged from start to finish. I found the underlying premise of the novel to be wonderfully intriguing, where Elin is having nightmares that are not her own, but rather are from her heart donor. I can't even imagine what that would be like, to be on the verge of death until I received an organ from someone else, followed by subtle changes in my personality and memories of things that never happened to me! Such is the case with Elin. The trouble stalking Elin builds up page by page, but I will admit I was a bit disappointed by how Elin and Marc handle the escalating threats to her life. Although I can understand why it would be difficult for others to take Elin seriously as they cannot understand what she's going through, I did find myself wondering if it was realistic how Elin responded. After someone broke in and left threats of death, wouldn't she take further action like immediately install an alarm system or other such things? Nevertheless, I loved how Coble keeps us readers guessing about who the villains are, and the ending does bring surprises. Marc also proves to be a stand-up guy who shows what it means to be a steadfast father and friend.

I also enjoyed the character of Elin's mother, who adds a definite depth to the story, such as when she says "Contentment is found in your heart, Elin. It's not in a profession or in a relationship". How often do we try to find fulfillment in our jobs or in our earthly relationships, rather than in God? There were several such moments in the story that left me in deeper thought.

Although not my favourite book from Colleen Coble, "Seagrass Pier" offers up satisfying romance and intriguing suspense in an entertaining package. 3 out of 5 stars.

A review copy was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.




 about the author....



Colleen CobleCarol Award winner Colleen Coble lives with her husband, Dave, in Indiana. She is the author of dozens of novels including the Rock Harbor Series, the Aloha Reef Series, the Mercy Falls Series, the Hope Beach Series, the Lonestar Series and two Women of Faith fiction selections, Alaska Twilight and Midnight Sea. She has more than 2 million books in print.








Find out more about the book on the publisher website:  http://www.thomasnelson.com/seagrass-pier.html



The Revealing by @SuzanneWFisher | Enter to win 1 of 3 iPads and LOTS of books!

In The Revealing, the riveting conclusion to the Inn at Eagle Hill series, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher pulls out all the stops with a fast-paced tale of deception, revelation, and just the right dose of romance.

Suzanne is celebrating by giving away THREE iPads!
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  THREE grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Five second place winners will receive:
  • The Inn at Eagle Hill series (The Letters, The Calling, and The Revealing) by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on July 20th. All winners will be announced July 21st at Suzanne's blog. AND ... if you're looking for more in the Inn at Eagle Hill series, be sure to pick up the ebook novella, The Rescue, for just $1.99!

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!

Suzanne is also giving away two 10-book mystery prize packs! 

One of the major themes of The Revealing is learning to trust your intuition and instincts. These are God-given qualities that we sometimes are too timid or unsure of to act on. For a chance to win one of the 10-book prize packs, leave a comment on this blog and share about a time when your intuition or instinct saved the day—or a time you ignored it and missed an opportunity. 

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 21st to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)