Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"finding mr. darcy: high school edition" by erin butler


Finding Mr. Darcy: High School Edition


Release Date: 09/16/14

Swoon Romance
Jane Austen reboots are a dime a dozen ... and I'm a sucker for all of them! Some are definitely better than others, and I feared Finding Mr. Darcy was headed for mediocre territory. Fortunately, this novel is a twist on Pride & Prejudice that I didn't see coming.

Sixteen-year-old Liza Johnson takes fangirl to a whole new level of crazy when she decides to take dating advice from her literary hero: Jane Austen.

With the help of her best friends, Liza sheds her ancient-speak and complete Austen wardrobe for something a bit more modern in an attempt at finding her very own Mr. Darcy.

Enter Will, the new kid and Liza's Darcy incarnate. Add her BFF's ex to mix and the sexy Brit who kisses with an accent, and Liza is in trouble.

So, what's a girl to do? Without her mom to go to relationship advice, Liza turns to the only person she can truly trust with matters of the heart via her mother's copy of COMPLETED WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN.

It's too bad Austen's heroines have never played Spin the Bottle or Seven Minutes in Heaven. Liza's determined to find her true Austen-esque happy ending, but if she can't trust herself instead of books, she just might end up in her own tragic love story.


Finding Mr. Darcy: High School Edition is not without its flaws, but it has such a fun, winning spirit about it that you end the novel with a smile on your face ... and you have trouble remembering what exactly you didn't like in the first place.

Never fear, though: I do remember one thing I took issue with. Most of the time, I give the author a lot of leeway when it comes to realism. But the instant the principal sent Liza and Will to New York City together—with Will driving and no adult supervision—in the middle of the school day and without parental permission, I wanted to chuck the book against the wall. (Or in this case, my Kindle ... which is why I refrained.) I work at a school. A high school principal would never do that. Talk about liability issues! If something like that happened at my school, heads would roll.

Aside from that one glaring annoyance, I did enjoy the novel. As I said before, it's a twist on Pride & Prejudice that I didn't expect. I think the author is actually quite clever here, as she assigns names to the characters that cause you to assume one thing (provided you know P & P), but you find, as Liza does, that you really can't put characters in a box. (In that way, Finding Mr. Darcy reminds me of the fabulous BBC miniseries Lost in Austen, which you can watch the first episode of free.)

Finding Mr. Darcy won't change the world, but it is an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon. Sometimes, that's all you need. 3 stars.

Content note: There are a few mild wear words sprinkled throughout the novel, and some makeout sessions get a little hot and heavy. If this were a movie, it would be a mild PG-13.

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Erin Butler is lucky enough to have two jobs she truly loves. As a librarian, she gets to work with books all day long, and as an author, Erin uses her active imagination to write the kinds of books she enjoys reading. Young Adult and New Adult books are her favorites, but she especially loves the ones with kissing scenes.

Erin lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, a stepson, and doggie BFF, Maxie. She prefers to spend her time indoors reading and writing, but will venture out for chocolate and sunshine. She is the author of BLOOD HEX, a YA paranormal, HOW WE LIVED, a contemporary New Adult novel, and FINDING MR. DARCY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, a contemporary YA.

Author Links:
http://www.erinbutlerbooks.com/
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3273590.Erin_Butler
https://twitter.com/ErinButler
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Erin-Butler/222797011068049


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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this ebook free for review via YA Bound Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, September 20, 2014

"evergreen" by susan may warren

Fans of Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series will love this glimpse into the lives of John & Ingrid, the Christiansen parents.

An empty nest has Ingrid Christiansen dreading the upcoming holidays, but her husband, John, couldn't be more excited about this new season of life. He even has a surprise trip abroad planned. He’s sure she'll love it. What’s more romantic than Christmas in Paris?

Before he can stop her, however, Ingrid agrees to spearhead a major church project. Then their faithful dog, Butterscotch, needs emergency surgery, draining their savings. And then—because disasters strike in threes—an unexpected guest arrives, dredging up old hurts.

As a beautiful blanket of snow transforms the north woods into a winter wonderland, a deep chill settles over John and Ingrid’s marriage. With the holidays fast approaching, their only hope of keeping their love evergreen depends on turning the page on the past and embracing a new chapter of their future.

I'd be hard pressed to name a series I'm enjoying more than Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series. Each of the novels focuses on one of John & Ingrid Christiansen's adult children. Up to this point, we've seen glimpses of John and Ingrid, but we haven't really gotten to know them. But Evergreen, a novella that falls after the third book in the series (When I Fall in Love), rectifies that.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this novella. After all, how interesting could empty nesters be? Well, I shouldn't have doubted; Evergreen is every bit as engaging and heartwarming as the novels about John and Ingrid's children. There's also a depth of emotion—both good and bad—that I didn't anticipate. Yes, I cried. Twice.

Through the pages of this novella, John and Ingrid became more than the wise, supportive parents we saw in the previous novels. They became real, fleshed out characters who I wanted to both hug and smack at various times. I'm sure I'll look at them differently when they appear in future Christiansen Family novels. 5 stars.

Buy the book.
Read Susan May Warren's blog post about Evergreen.
Read my review of When I Fall in Love.

Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. She served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church. Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA's Inspirational Reader's Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists. In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women's events about God's amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Find Susan online: website, My Book Therapy, TwitterFacebook


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers and the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"all's fair in love and cupcakes" by betsy st. amant

What single girl hasn't dreamed of falling in love with her best friend? (Well, first I'd have to find a guy best friend, and then I could go about the business of falling in love with him.) That's exactly what Kat Varland is facing—she's gone and fallen for her best friend Lucas. What Kat doesn't know is that Lucas has fallen for her, too...

Kat Varland has had enough of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry.

At twenty-six years old, Kat is still living in the shadows of her family in Bayou Bend, Louisiana. Still working shifts at her Aunt Maggie's bakery. Still wondering what to do with her passion for baking and her business degree. And still single.

But when Lucas Brannen, Kat's best friend, signs her up for a reality TV bake-off on Cupcake Combat, everything Kat ever wanted is suddenly dangled in front of her: creative license as a baker, recognition as a visionary . . . and a job at a famous bakery in New York.

As the competition heats up, Lucas realizes he might have made a huge mistake. As much as he wants the best for Kat, the only thing he wants for himself---her---is suddenly in danger of slipping away.

The bright lights of reality cooking wars and the chance at a successful career dazzle Kat's senses and Lucas is faced with a difficult choice: help his friend achieve her dreams . . . or sabotage her chances to keep her in Louisiana.


I love the competition shows on The Food Network. (Except for the horrible Cutthroat Kitchen. I hate it when the contestants are encouraged to sabotage each other.) So when I realized the majority of this novel would take place behind the scenes of Cupcake Combat (similar to Food Network's Cupcake Wars), well, I was all in.

The cupcake show does make a fantastic backdrop for All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes, but the characters are what truly makes it special. Lucas and Kat are both realistically flawed characters, and their stutter steps into a relationship, while a bit maddening, are totally understandable. I loved watching their relationship evolve, and the ending made me want to cheer.

All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is a well written, thoroughly enjoyable romance, and I can't wait to read Betsy St. Amant's next novel, which will feature Kat's sister Stella. Also, can we talk about that cover? Gorgeous. Maybe my favorite cover of the year! 5 stars.

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my review of St. Amant's "A February Bride" (from Zondervan's A Year of Weddings)


Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her young daughter and has a heart for sharing the amazing news of God's grace through her novels. A freelance journalist, Betsy is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to a Disney soundtrack with her daughter, Betsy enjoys inspirational speaking and teaching on the craft of writing.

Find Betsy online: website, Facebook

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

"all's fair in love and cupcakes" giveaway information

Somehow, I didn't realize until this morning that my review of Betsy St. Amant's All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes is due the same day as the Facebook party and giveaway. I don't have the book finished yet (it's fantastic so far!), so my review will go up this evening, but I want to make sure you know about the giveaway. Keep reading to see how you can win!

Don't miss Betsy St. Amant's latest fiction release, All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes. A "sweet" tale of two best friends and the choices they make between dreams and a possible "sure thing," St. Amant's novel is sure to satisfy your romantic-fiction craving.
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Betsy is celebrating with a fun Kindle giveaway and a Love & Cupcakes Facebook party! One winner will receive:
  • A brand new Kindle
  • All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Love & Cupcakes" Author Chat Party on 9/18. Betsy will be hosting a "sweet" book chat, giving away prizes, and answering questions from readers. She will also share an exclusive sneak peek at her next book project!

So grab your copy of All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes and join Betsy on the evening of September 18th 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 18th!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"tried & true" by mary connealy

Featuring a spunky heroine, swoon-worthy hero, and twisty plot, Tried & True kicks off Mary Connealy's new western series with a bang.

Saddle up for a wildly fun ride with the Wilde sisters!

Kylie Wilde is the youngest sister—and the most civilized. Her older sisters might be happy dressing in trousers and posing as men, but Kylie has grown her hair long and wears skirts every chance she gets. It's a risk—they are homesteading using the special exemptions they earned serving in the Civil War as "boys"—but Kylie plans to make the most of the years before she can sell her property and return to the luxuries of life back East.

Local land agent Aaron Masterson is fascinated with Kylie from the moment her long hair falls from her cap. But now that he knows her secret, can he in good conscience defraud the U.S. government? And when someone tries to force Kylie off her land, does he have any hope of convincing her that marrying him and settling on the frontier is the better option for her future?

I've been a fan of Mary Connealy's books for a while now ... and the fact that she's a Nebraskan who often tweets about Castle doesn't hurt! (#GBR) I enjoyed her Kincaid Brides series and really liked the Trouble in Texas series, but if Tried & True is any indication, the Wild at Heart series will be my favorite yet!

Not only is the romance in Tried & True sweet, but the danger surrounding Kylie is handled deftly—it's never over the top or unrealistic, and the resolution genuinely surprised me. These two factors combine to make a very satisfying novel. Now that I've read Kylie's story, I can't wait to dig into her sisters' stories! 4-1/2 stars.

See what others are saying.
Buy the book. 
Read my reviews of other Connealy novels.
Get Connealy's Out of Control, book one in the Kincaid Brides series, free for Kindle! (as of 9-17-14)


Mary Connealy writes fun and lively "romantic comedy with cowboys" for the inspirational market. She is the author of the successful Kincaid Brides, Lassoed in Texas, Montana Marriages, and Sophie's Daughters series, and she has been a finalist for a Rita and Christy Award and a two time winner of the Carol Award. She lives on a ranch in eastern Nebraska with her husband, Ivan, and has four grown daughters.

Find Mary online: website, Facebook,Twitter

Don't miss the first book in Mary Connealy's Wild at Heart series. In Tried & True, Mary is back with her signature humor and heartfelt story-telling.

Mary's celebrating by connecting with readers during a live webcast event and giving away a Kindle HDX.
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One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle HDX
  • Tried & True by Mary Connealy
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 23rd. Winner will be announced at the Tried & True LIVE webcast event on September 23rd. Connect with Mary for an evening of swoon-worthy book chat, fun trivia, laughter, a sneak peek at the next book in the Wild at Heart series, and more! Mary will also be taking questions from the audience and giving away books, fun prizes, and gift certificates throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Tried & True and join Mary and friends on the evening of September 23rd 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 signing up for a reminder. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 23rd!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

"christmas at rose hill farm" by suzanne woods fisher

A novel of love lost and found set during the 1977 Christmas season, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm takes the reader back to Suzanne Woods Fisher's beloved Stoney Ridge.

Bess Riehl is preparing Rose Hill Farm for her Christmas wedding, but her groom isn't who she thought it would be. Billy Lapp is far away from his Amish roots working as a rose rustler for Penn State and wants nothing to do with Stoney Ridge, his family, or Bess. And that suits Bess just fine. Why should she think twice about a man who left without a word, without any explanation? It's time she moved on with her life, and that meant saying yes to Amos Lapp, Billy's cousin and best friend. But as Bess and Amos's wedding day draws near, her emotions tangle into a tight knot. She loves Amos. Yet she can't forget Billy.

When a "lost" rose is discovered at Rose Hill Farm, Billy is sent to track down its origins. Get in, identify the rose, and get out. That's his plan. The only catch is that he's having a hard time narrowing down the identity of the lost rose, and he can't get those tropical blue eyes of Bess Riehl out of his mind.

As the history of the lost rose is pieced together, it reminds Bess and Billy—and Amos, too—that Christmas truly is the season of miracles.

"Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, this story will charm readers into the holiday spirit."

I've read many of Suzanne Woods Fisher's novels, but I haven't read the Secrets of Lancaster County series, which introduces Bess and Billy. This isn't really an issue, as the novel functions completely as a stand alone. But I did feel a bit of confusion regarding Amos. Through the first several chapters, I kept thinking, "Amos Lapp. Why do I know that name?" And then I realized that an Amos Lapp is the patriarch in the Stoney Ridge Seasons series. And then I came to a page where the year was identified as 1969, and it all came together. It's the same Amos Lapp! Because I already have an affection for the character, I found myself caring more about Amos's journey than Bess and Billy's, though I did care about them, too. (Also, dearly beloved Jimmy Fisher pops up, sort of, in a way that made me smile.) But none of this is really important ... I just wanted to share my experience in reading!

I've come to expect several things from Fisher's novels: relatable characters, spiritual lessons that pack a punch without being preachy, and laugh out loud moments. Christmas at Rose Hill Farm provides all three. It's charming and funny while dealing with serious family and spiritual issues. (When you read it, be on the lookout for Maggie Zook, who provides the biggest laugh in the novel. I'd love to spend more time with her!) Though it ended far too soon, I hope that we'll be able to visit these characters again. 4-1/2 stars.

See what others are saying.
Buy the book.
Read my reviews of Fishers' Inn at Eagle Hill books: The Letters, The Calling, "The Rescue" (novella) and The Revealing; The Stoney Ridge Seasons books: The Haven,The Lesson; and A Lancaster County Christmas.
Get The Choice, the first book in the Lancaster County Secrets series FREE! (as of 9-14-14)

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including Amish Peace. She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California.

Download Suzanne's free app! http://bit.ly/10Tygyi

Find Suzanne online: website, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest


Join best-selling, award-winning author Suzanne Woods Fisher for an Amish Christmas to remember. Filled with heart-twisting moments amid the sweet anticipation of love, Christmas at Rose Hill Farm will charm readers into the holiday spirit.

Suzanne is hosting a "Christmas Rose" iPad bundle giveaway and a nation-wide Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch in November. Enter the giveaway below and sign up to host a brunch HERE.
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TWO grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • A Rose-patterned iPad case
  • A Rose-patterned phone case (for any model phone)
  • A Christmas wreath
  • A set of Christmas hand-towels
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Five second place winners will receive:
  • Christmas at Rose Hill Farm by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 28th. All winners will be announced September 29th at Suzanne's blog.

rosehill-brunchbuttonHost a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch! This fall Suzanne is inviting book clubs across the nation to throw a Christmas at Rose Hill Farm Book Club Brunch. Sign up here between now and September 29. If you’re selected as one of the 50 hosts, you’ll receive a copy of the book plus two other Revell titles (give them away as party prizes or door prizes or keep them for yourself), a complete party kit, and a discount code to purchase copies of Christmas at Rose Hill Farm for your book club at a discount. Suzanne is also encouraging each book club brunch to collect non-perishable items for their local community shelter. She will be making a donation to her favorite charity (helping abused women and children) for every brunch that meets their goal. Click here for more details and to SIGN UP!

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 29th 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!)


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"the desire" by dan walsh & gary smalley

Bringing to mind Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series, The Desire follows the Anderson family through the ups and downs of life.

For two years, Allan and Michele have been trying to have a baby. The emotional ride has been taking a toll on their hearts—and their relationship. Michele is obsessed with researching fertility treatments while Allan seems content to spend his time—and their money—on supporting displaced children in Africa. Something's got to give. But they both hope it's not their marriage.

Still, God has a plan for Allan and Michele that they could never have imagined. And all it takes to set it in motion is a change of heart . . .

In The Desire, authors Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley pick up the story of the Anderson family, which began with The Dance and continued in The Promise. (Don't worry if you haven't read books one and two; this book works as a stand-alone novel. I hadn't read the other books in the series, and I didn't feel like I was missing much; there were just a few references that I didn't understand.) This book focuses on Anderson daughter Michele and her husband Allan and their struggle with competing desires—Michele's desperation for a biological child, and Allan's longing to help set up an orphanage in Africa.

The emotional parts of the book are done very well, and I had tears in my eyes multiple times. The story seems very realistic—like these events could really happen to a family you know. The infertility storyline feels very timely, as so many women struggle with it today.

I especially liked a subplot involving Christina, a pregnant teen who becomes close to the Andersons. I found her story to be the most touching of any in the book, and I look forward to reading more about her in the next book in this series.

The only thing I didn't really enjoy about the book was the way the spiritual lessons were incorporated. Don't get me wrong; the lessons about humility and the sufficiency of Christ are important ones. However, the way they're incorporated (through a Sunday School curriculum) felt out of place to me. When I read these sections, I felt like I was reading a Bible study book instead of a novel. It just became a little too preachy.

Overall, I enjoyed The Desire. It definitely feels similar to Karen Kingsbury's Redemption series (which she wrote with Gary Smalley), and that's a good thing. If these books would spawn a saga similar to the Baxters, well, I'd be a happy reader for years to come! 4 stars.

Buy the book.

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of many books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, The Discovery, and What Follows After. He has won three Carol Awards, and three of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for 25 years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best-known authors and speakers on family relationships and has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, and TODAY, as well as numerous national radio programs. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of many books, including the Baxter Family Redemption series with Karen Kingsbury and The Dance and The Promise with Dan Walsh. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Missouri.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Revell through the Revell Reads program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
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