Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes: Blogtour & Giveaway

Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes
Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey.
Summer 1886
Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.
But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal?
A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her.
All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.
It is not often that you find a story so beautifully composed with gut-wrenching loss and heart happy healing. The juxtaposition of these two weave a captivating story. Bleeding Heart is definitely not your run of the mill romance. It hits hard on loving through loss, drawing on raw emotion and tangible grief while gently introducing wounded hearts to the healing power of kindness and self-sacrifice.
And THAT is what makes this novel such a wonderful read – it’s relatable, it’s real – instead of leaving the reader with wistful reflections of a flowery romance, Bleeding Heart reveals a greater purpose. Confused hearts, misguided assumptions, glimpses of mercy, and the joy of open hearts echo our not-so- fiction lives almost as well as they  resonate with Ms. Stokes fiction and the character’s she’s created.
With an obvious love for language and a gentle wisdom that trickles down through her words, Ms. Stokes has penned a book worth reading.

Get your own copy {here}

Don’t miss out on this awesome giveaway!
“Journey to the West” Giveaway! One U.S. resident (randomly drawn) will receive a signed copy of Bleeding Heart and a collection of items from the story’s settings, handpicked by the author.

An Inspirational Historical Romance by Amber Stokes:
Amber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing her debut novel, Bleeding Heart.

Check out more on Bleeding Heart tomorrow at
And, find out about the rest of the tour {here}

***Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Death by Living: Life is Meant to be Spent by N.D. Wilson

Death by Living: Life is Meant to be Spent
N.D. Wilson

N.D. Wilson’s latest non-fiction read leans in to the death by living concept with a quick pace and a modern tilt.  Relying heavily on the “story” of life, Wilson recounts tales from his grandparents and parents and, eventually, his own experiences as well as his children’s.  The mainstay of his book, recognizing that life is fleeting, that each moment creates our past, is represented thoroughly throughout the pages.  Ideas such as: we are all authors of our own story, we are all led but we choose where our feet will travel next are heavily narrated by Wilson’s words. And, philosophies of living each moment to the hilt, loving more, laughing more, more more more, find their homes between the pages as well.

I was quite excited to receive this book, especially after browsing some of the excellent reviews it has earned. I expected a narration similar to Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz – raw and modern. And, that’s what I found. Wilson’s unique writing style is contemporarily choppy and to the point with brilliant flourishes thrown in that catch readers’ imagination and spark images of melty icecream and thick green grass and crowded airplanes. This, I enjoyed; the descriptors – the carefully selected language that created a well written book.

But, Death by Living is lacking. And, it’s lacking where it counts. It’s lacking the substance that those beautifully imaginative words should describe. I read and read and failed to encounter the God part. The moment where the personal narration ends and God’s mighty hand begins. Instead, I found a geared-toward-the-masses read that never really hit the hard stuff. Sure, God is tucked between phrases and living life from His blessings is present, but this contemporary read feels more like a secular “live life to the fullest” and less like a book based in truth.

***Thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. And, to Radiant Lit who made it happen. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Audience of One

I heard snippets of an interview this morning with KirkCameron where he, primarily, addressed his thoughts on marriage and relationship. Fireproof is up there on the list of movies the hubby and I like to watch together, but I have to say I didn’t really know much about Kirk Cameron and his faith journey.
So, off to google I went…

Check out Kirk’s testimony (in his own words) THEN, wait for the last few moments when he unassumingly drops the words “as a Christian, my responsibility is to live for an audience of one…” into the converstion.

I’m certain I’ve heard something similar before. Many times, probably. But, in complete transparency, this is something I have to remind myself on an (almost) daily basis.

As women, I think we have a difficult time with fitting in, keeping up, and saving face

The more I know God and what he thinks and says, the less it matters whether others are impressed with me.
It’s almost unexplainable, the sense of satiation and completeness that invade the heart when our eyes are fixed on the cross. At the cross of Christ, God declares not only that we are forgiven, but that we are family. He calls us children, beloved children. There is a tenderness and enduring love that characterizes our Father God.
Read more from Christine Hoover /Desiring God {here}

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Quarryman's Bride: A Book Review {Welcome to Minnesota}

The hubby and I are headed up to Minnesota (yes, I’m from Wisconsin and I say the “o” funny) tomorrow for a quick visit to friends and a tiny adventure up north. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with Tracie Peterson’s newest novel in the Land of Shining Water so you can have your own Minnesota adventure too!

From the Author’s Website:

Emmalyne Knox and Tavin MacLachlan were destined to be together...until the tragic deaths of Emmalyne's youngest sisters. Family tradition mandates that the youngest daughter should remain single to care for her parents in their old age, and now that daughter is Emmalyne. Her father unyielding, Emmalyne surrenders to her duty, heartbroken. Tavin leaves town, equally devastated.
Years later, Emmalyne's family moves, and she and Tavin meet again. Their feelings for each other are as strong as ever, but their painful past and Emmalyne's father still stand between them. Soon both families are in the midst of the growing conflict rising between the workers at the granite quarry that Tavin's father owns and operates. When a series of near-fatal accidents occur, Tavin must figure out who is behind the attacks before someone gets killed.
Bound by obligation, yet yearning for a future together, can Emmalyne and Tavin dare to dream that God could heal a decade-long wound and change the hearts of those who would stand in the way of true love?
It’s no secret I am an avid fan of Tracie Peterson and, her last book The IceCutter’sDaughter, became a new favorite. Following Merrill’s story comes that of Emmalyne. I was excited for the next book in the series, hoping for more Minnesota adventure (I’m partial to the Midwest, what can I say) but found that the Quarryman’s Bride was quite a different read.

Emmalyne’s quiet nature and dutiful heart make for a gentler story and the inevitable meeting of her and Tavin is a bit drawn out. However, I enjoyed Ms. Peterson’s descriptive prose of daily chores, simple action and heartfelt duties carried out on the late 1800’s Minnesota land.

Tavin’s anger toward Emmalyne seems, at first, misplaced. But, I found that my sympathies for his broken heart grew as I read. His harsh words and dismissive attitude aren’t that unlike my own at times and, once again, the author’s gift for conviction and heart-change shone through.

The climax and remainder of the tender story is well-known by the reader before it happens, but eagerly welcomed none the less. And, I found that I liked the slower pace more than anticipated. A lovely read, once again, from Tracie Peterson.

***With thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. 

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong: A Book Review

Welcome to Last Chance

Running from a past she wants no part of, Lainie Davis finds herself stranded in Last Chance, New Mexico. Not exactly the final destination she had in mind, but the small town hospitality of ranchers and farmers has Lainie second guessing her plans to leave. As weeks go by, Lainie just may have escaped the life she was running from. But, she can’t quite shake the grasps of her old life when an unexpected package at the bottom of her knapsack is discovered. And Nick, boyfriend from that old life, wants it back. When news that Nick is locked up for good reaches her, she settles in to life in Last Chance finding friendship and romance along the way,
A job at the local diner keeps her days full and, catching the eye of heartthrob Ray fills heart with high hopes. But, the more Lainie sets down roots in Last Chance, the more she vainly tries to protect her heart. As she struggles to guard her heart from the hurt she’s so used to finding, Lainie must learn to trust her new Last Chance family - as they may have become her only chance.

Ms. Armstrong has a good start to “A Place to Call Home” with Lainie Davis and Last Chance. It is the people of Last Chance that make her story shine. Fayette, owner of the local diner, has every ounce of home-style charm a girl could as for. Ray, artist turned bartender, keeps the romantic plot moving along. And his Grandmother, bless her, has the kind of humor and wisdom that makes you want to curl up with a cup of cocoa and listen for hours.

The storyline is one we’ve heard before – girl on the run, past catching up with her. I did find it a bit challenging to stick with as I was kept waiting for the clash of her old life and new life to happen, and was kept waiting for a while.

There seem to be plenty of loose ends to tie up as the book ended a bit abruptly but this is Book 1 of the series and these characters definitely have staying power. I’m looking forward to what Cathleen Armstrong brings us next.

***With thanks to Revell Books for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion. And, to Radiant Lit who made it possible!

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