Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best of 2014: MUSIC!

Best of 2014: MUSIC!

Best New Band/Artist: Veridia

Best Song of 2014: Furious Love by Veridia

Best Album of 2014: Attack by Disciple

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Best of 2014

The Best of 2014

{Best Books}

Fantasy: Destined for Doon by Cary Corp & Lorie Langdon

Historical: Searching for Home by Jessica Keller

Romance: TIE! Tried and True by Mary Connealy & Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer

Dystopian: Revolutionary by Krista McGee

Contemporary: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Young Adult: Saving Yesterday by Jessica Keller

New Adult: How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

Non-Fiction: be Rebellious by Megan Clinton

Best Book Overall: Storm Siren (#1) by Mary Weber

{Honorable Mentions}
(In no specific order.)

1. The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

2. Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

3. Rebels by Jill Williamson

4. Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

5. Oath of the Brotherhood by C.E. Laureano

{Best Films}

1. God's Not Dead

2. Unstoppable

{Best TV Shows}

1. Once Upon a Time (ABC)

2. Forever (ABC)

What are your favorites of 2014?

Monday, December 22, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Torn Asunder by Alana Terry

BLOG TOUR: Torn Asunder by Alana Terry

{About the Book}

After graduating from the Secret Seminary, Hannah and Simon are ready to return to their homeland. Their training has equipped them to carry the gospel to a country ravaged by darkness and despair. If necessary, they’re even prepared to face the North Korean labor camps, but the hardest part of their mission isn’t the hunger, cold, and incessant danger. The hardest part is cutting off contact with one another. In this world of spies, secret police, and informants, Hannah and Simon learn that staying together won't compromise their ministry. It could cost them both their lives.

Two undercover missionaries delivering a single message of hope. Two Christians willing to die for the sake of the Good News. One love – more powerful than terror, more beautiful than life, and more dangerous than either of them could possibly imagine.

A love so strong, nothing but the grave could overcome it.

{ My review}

My Rating: 5 Glorious Stars!!

Torn Asunder is a phenomenal follow up to Slave Again. Torn Asunder was just as suspenseful, heart-wrenching, and emotional as The Beloved Daughter and Slave Again. Alana really knows how to capture human depravity through written words. The Whispers of Refuge series is one that stays with you even long after your have finished the book. It's these kinds of books that make you realize that slavery is still very real in this world, even in the United States. In fact, the city in which I live is one of the top cities that is currently dealing with an epidemic of human trafficking. It's these books and the fairly new A21 Campaign that has inspired me to get involved with this issue, even if it is just educating others that Human Sex Trafficking is very much real and that we can't (especially us Christians) sit idle by and do nothing. Do yourself a favor and start this series!!

Note::: Because this series does deal with the mature theme of Human Trafficking I would recommend this book for ages 16+.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2015 Releases

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated 2015 Releases

I can't believe it's already time to talk about our most anticipated 2015 releases. 2014 has just flown by and we're only a month away to ringing in the new year. I've already done a post on upcoming 2015 releases, but I'm going to try my best to slim that list down to my most anticipated-must buy 2015 releases.

1. Siren's Fury by Mary Weber
Book #2 in Mary's Storm Siren trilogy is coming. And I want answers.

2. Shades of Doon by Carey Corp & Lorie LangdonBook #3 in the Doon series. Again I want answers.

 3. Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
Steampunk, Alternate London, & aerial cities!!

4. A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer
I will read ANYTHING by Karen. Suffice to say I am so STOKED!!

1. All Fall Down by Ally Carter

2. An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund
One of my favorite authors is trying her hand at one of my favorite genres, YA Medieval Fantasy.

3. The Woods Edge by Lori Benton
I didn't care much for her first book, but I did enjoy her second. Maybe...hopefully I'll enjoy this one too.

4. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
That cover. The premise. MUST BUY!!

1. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson
I just adore Mel's books and this one is a cross between Swan Lake and Robin Hood. I will read anything Robin Hood related. (The BBC series Robin Hood ruined me.)

2. From the Start by Melissa Tagg
I have loved both of Melissa's previous books and I can not wait to dive into this one. Nobody writes cute RomComs like Melissa.

3. The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings
Now I haven't read The Murder Complex yet, but that doesn't mean I can't get excited for the sequel.

4. The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki
I haven't read Allison's previous novel, The Traitor's Wife, but I plan to. I'll be buying  TTW after Christmas and also pre-ordering TAE.

I know I didn't stick with just doing ten, but hey it's only an extra two. And there were many more that just didn't make the cut, but it was close. If you want to see other 2015 releases I'm excited about that didn't make this list please see this post:

What 2015 releases are you MOST excited about? Tell me in the comments section below.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

REVIEW: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

REVIEW: Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More--Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

{About the Book}

With a foreword by Eric Metaxas, best-selling author of "Bonhoeffer" and "Amazing Grace."

The enthralling biography of the woman writer who helped end the slave trade, changed Britain's upper classes, and taught a nation how to read.

The history-changing reforms of Hannah More affected every level of 18th-Century British society through her keen intellect, literary achievements, collaborative spirit, strong Christian principles, and colorful personality. A woman without connections or status, More took the world of British letters by storm when she arrived in London from Bristol, becoming a best-selling author and acclaimed playwright and quickly befriending the author Samuel Johnson, the politician Horace Walpole, and the actor David Garrick. Yet she was also a leader in the Evangelical movement, using her cultural position and her pen to support the growth of education for the poor, the reform of morals and manners, and the abolition of Britain's slave trade.

"Fierce Convictions" weaves together world and personal history into a stirring story of life that intersected with Wesley and Whitefield's Great Awakening, the rise and influence of Evangelicalism, and convulsive effects of the French Revolution. A woman of exceptional intellectual gifts and literary talent, Hannah More was above all a person whose faith compelled her both to engage her culture and to transform it.

{My Review}

Rating: 4.5 stars!

Going into this book I knew exactly who Hannah More was, but I didn't know that much about her or her life in much detail. First of all, I was so happy when this book showed up and it was in hardcover. I guess the CBA market is finally getting it when it comes to hardcovers. Now when it comes to the actual content of the book, it was chock full of so much information about Hannah More. When I finished the book I feel like I had sat down with Hannah More herself and interviewed her. It felt like it was Hannah telling her story instead of an autobiographer. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

BLOG TOUR: Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson

BLOG TOUR: Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson

{About the Book}

Back in fifth grade, Micah Knight got an Amish pen pal, and over the years, they've exchanged many letters--and many secrets. At age seventeen, Micah finally has the chance to meet her pen pal face-to-face. The only problem is that because of confusion about her name when the pen pals were assigned, her pen pal was a boy, Zack Miller. And all this time, Micah's never told Zack that she's actually a girl! While she wants nothing more than to experience life on Zack's Amish farm, she's afraid he'll hate her for deceiving him all these years. But she makes up her mind to face the music--and that's where the fun really begins. 
Bestselling author Melody Carlson brings young adults another fascinating tale of worlds colliding, secrets being revealed, and friendships forming. Teens will love this story of miscommunication and mishaps along the way to the truth.

{My Review}

Rating: 3 stars.

I really have to stop trying new Amish fiction. I know I keep saying I'm going to stop reading Amish fiction, but then a new one comes up and I say to myself that I need to give this genre another shot. I completely regret doing that. In my opinion Amish fiction has just gone downhill. The writing wasn't very good, flat characters that I couldn't connect to, and a not that great cover.

COVER CANDY: 2015 Releases

COVER CANDY: 2015 Releases

Thomas Nelson

Born into two different classes, James and Camille shouldn’t even know each other. But when the pursuit of a missing ruby brings them together, much more than a mere acquaintance is ignited.
The daughter of a curiosity shop owner, Camille would never be considered a lady. Nor does she want to be. With a fiery personality, she dreams of adventures far beyond the walls of her family’s modest business. But when her father thrusts a mysterious box into her hands and disappears, her whole world—dreams and all—shifts.
James is an apothecary, tending to the health needs of the town of Bentworth. His father, a well-known explorer and collector, is quite wealthy from the spoils of his adventures until one risky gamble and a stolen gem leave him on the edge of ruin. Seeking his father’s approval, James picks up the hunt for the stolen ruby, leading him to the door of Camille’s curiosity shop.
With both of their lives in danger as the ruby remains at large, James squires Camille away to the Bentworth School, believing that would be the last place her pursuers would look for her. They both find their hearts and dreams heading in a new direction, but before they are free to embrace their future they must solve the mystery looming around them. The more they uncover, however, the harder it becomes to know whom to trust. And they begin to realize that recovering the ruby may require a great sacrifice: their newfound love and maybe even their lives.
July, 2015

Curiosity Keepers sounds like an amazing read. Sarah's last trilogy, Whispers on the Moors, is a favorite of mine. So I can not wait to read this new trilogy. With that said the cover isn't my favorite. I think the covers from Sarah's last trilogy we're much better.

What if everything you think is true and real about your life is a lie?
Ava’s life in the coastal South appears nearly perfect after her recent marriage to the powerful and handsome Mitchell Carson. She loves her husband and the family they have created. Even Mitchell’s young son from a previous marriage, Jack, with his superhero ambitions, can’t imagine life without Ava. Outwardly, Mitchell appears to be a caring husband and doting father, but as Ava soon discovers, there is a dark side to Mitchell Carson that she never imagined.
When Graham Thomas, a lawyer with a secret past, stumbles into Ava’s life, everything changes. Mitchell’s jealous streak emerges after an innocent encounter between Graham and Ava, and Mitchell soon convinces himself that Ava is unfaithful. When Mitchell starts divorce proceedings and a custody war, Jack is caught in the middle, which soon makes him question Ava’s pure intentions. As Ava searches for a way to save her family she begins to uncover her husband’s secret past and capacity for unhinged jealousy and rage.
July, 2015

Center of Gravity sounds like that realistic fiction novel I have been looking for. The story sounds so intriguing and original. The cover is simple, but encapsulates the title and the story.

Stories are told of a witch who lives in the woods outside of town. But where does truth end and legend begin?
A group of teenagers find strange prints seared into the ground around their campsite. They follow the tracks, thinking it will lead to fun.
But it doesn’t. They eventually arrive at the edge of Alvaretta Graves’s property—house of the legendary Riverwood Witch. When an agrument that arises turns violent, Alvaretta places a curse on them.
The sickness comes the next day, gripping residents one by one. Fear overtakes the town, and panic soon follows.
The posse that makes its way back to the witch’s home is armed with guns and Bibles and is searching for an end to the sickness and violence. But they are in no way prepared for what they discover there.
August, 2015

Billy Coffey's upcoming release is my kind of book. It has that creepiness I love and a great story to go along with it. The synopsis kind of reminds me of the Salem Witch Trials. This is a book I am highly anticipating. The cover is perfect for this book and the cover is something I have been asking for in the CBA market. Something different and artistic.

Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he’s been appointed God’s executioner.
In Copper Creek, Montana, Gwen Marcey is struggling to put together her life after cancer and divorce. When her dog retrieves a skull of a murder victim and leads her to the victim’s grave, Gwen uses her forensic art ability to identify a serial killer. She is horrified to discover all the victims look like her fourteen-year-old daughter.
The murderer is a “lone wolf,” a member of the terrorist group Phineas Priesthood—and he has a score to settle with Gwen. Unraveling the tangled Christian Identity movement, where race—not grace—provides salvation, Gwen is in a frantic rush against time. She must use all her skills to uncover the killer before he can carry out his threat to destroy her and everyone she loves.
August, 2015

This is another cover I really like because it's different than the norm in CBA, like the cover above.

Tyndale House

Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’s spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing Ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.
But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.
Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.
May 19th 2015

Of the entire batch of covers this one is my favorite. I love the mirroring on this cover, from what I understand the top part represents Heaven and the bottom represents Hell. I just adore this cover and I can not wait to have a copy for my bookcase.

England, 1940. Clare Childs knew life would change when she unexpectedly inherited the Maggie Bright—a noble fifty-two-foot yacht. In fact, she’s counting on it. But the boat harbors secrets. When a stranger arrives, searching for documents hidden onboard, Clare is pulled into a Scotland Yard investigation that could shed light on Hitler’s darkest schemes and prompt America to action.
Across the Channel, Hitler’s Blitzkrieg has the entire British army in retreat with little hope for rescue at the shallow beaches of Dunkirk. With time running out, Churchill recruits civilian watercraft to help. Hitler is attacking from land, air, and sea, and any boat that goes might not return. Yet Clare knows Maggie Bright must answer the call—piloted by an American who has refused to join the war effort until now and a detective with a very personal motive for exposing the truth.
The fate of the war hinges on this rescue. While two men join the desperate fight, a nation prays for a miracle.
May 2015

Another cover that absolutely gorgeous! I love the neutral colour palette with the big red letters.

An impetuous love swept Blessing Brightman away from the Quaker community, into the highest ranks of Cincinnati society. But behind the glitter of ballroom and parlor, her spirit slowly eroded in an increasingly dangerous marriage. Widowed young, determined never to lose her independence again, Blessing reclaimed her faith and vowed to use her influence to fight for women’s rights and abolition.
Gerard Ramsay, scion of a wealthy Boston family, arrives in Cincinnati hoping to escape his father’s clutches with a strategy that will gain him independence. His plan is soon complicated, however, by the enchanting widow. Never before has a woman spoken as if she’s his equal—or challenged him to consider the lives of others.
In a city nearly ablaze with racial tensions quickly dividing the country, can two people worlds apart possibly find common ground?
July 2015

I love the concept for Lyn's Quaker series. It's simple and to the point.

Artist Alison Schuyler spends her time working in her family’s renowned art gallery, determined to avoid the curse that has followed the Schuyler clan from the Netherlands to America and back again. She’s certain that true love will only lead to tragedy—that is, until a chance meeting at Waterloo station brings Ian Devlin into her life. Drawn to the bold and compassionate British Army captain, Alison begins to question her fear of love as World War II breaks out, separating the two and drawing each into their own battles.
While Ian fights for freedom on the battlefield, Alison works with the Dutch Underground to find a safe haven for Jewish children and priceless pieces of art alike. But safety is a luxury war does not allow. As time, war, and human will struggle to keep them apart, will Alison and Ian have the faith to fight for their love, or is it their fate to be separated forever?
August 2015

Another beautiful cover. I love the lady on the top and Big Ben and Parliment on the bottom.

Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins

The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings

With short, fast-paced, alternating point-of-view chapters, The Death Code starts several weeks after The Murder Complex ended. Zephyr keeps the secret about Meadow close—that if she dies, The Murder Complex will be destroyed, too. Meadow, desperate to find her brother, father, and little sister, is determined to fearlessly fight to the end, even if it means sacrificing herself and her friends, new and old. The Death Codeintroduces a memorable cast of secondary characters and delivers a vivid and scary thrill ride read.
April 2015

I have yet to read The Murder Complex, (and I do plan to buy it & read it). Lindsay's dystopian story really intrigues me and the cover is sooooo PRETTY!! Blue and black is my favorite color combo ever!!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Torn Asunder by Alana Terry

Free Ebook Giveaway From Alana Terry

Torn Asunder is the upcoming release from award-winning Christian suspense novelist Alana Terry. You can pre-order Torn Asunder on amazon now for only 99 cents and have it delivered right to you when it's released in December. As an added bonus, Alana, along with recording artist Cherie Norquay, is offering free downloads of one of the songs featured in Torn Asunder.

Synopsis: After graduating from the Secret Seminary, Hannah and Simon are ready to return to their homeland. Their training has equipped them to carry the gospel to a country ravaged by darkness and despair. If necessary, they’re even prepared to face the North Korean labor camps, but the hardest part of their mission isn’t the hunger, cold, and incessant danger. The hardest part is cutting off contact with one another.

In this world of spies, secret police, and informants, staying together might not just compromise their ministry. It could cost them both their lives.

A Christian romantic suspense from the author of The Beloved Daughter, which won awards from Women of Faith, Grace Awards, Readers' Favorite, The Book Club Network, and more.

Pre-order Torn Asunder for only 99 cents or enter the giveaway below! You can also sign up to get a free mp3 song download from Cherie Norquay, whose work is put out by Grammy-award-winning producer, Phil Naish, and whose lyrics helped inspire certain scenes in Torn Asunder. Click below or get her free song downloads here. (Several of her song lyrics also appear in the novel itself.)

You can also sign up below to help spread the word about Alana's fundraiser to help rescue North Korean refugees on a modern-day underground railroad.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 7, 2014

REVIEW: Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

REVIEW: Surprised by Love by Julie Lessman

{About the Book}

Shy and unattractive as a child, Megan McClare has always been teased by her classmates. But when she returns home from her senior year in Paris, the wallflower has suddenly blossomed into a beauty. With ambitions to become a lawyer or doctor, Megan accepts an internship at the district attorney's office only to discover that she will be working with Devin Caldwell, a boy who mercilessly mocked her at school--and with whom she was hopelessly enamored. She turns to her dear friend Bram Hughes for support and advice. But Bram's vision is clouded by his sudden unwelcome attraction to a girl he had always thought of as a kid sister. He advises forgiveness, but can he forgive himself for pushing the woman he loves into the arms of another man?

{My Review}

Rating: 1.5 stars!!

Oh boy, where do I begin describing my feelings about this novel. Well, by the rating you can tell I did not like it in the least bit. First of all, the covers in Christian Historical Fiction need to change. It's the same dang thing every time, a girl on the cover. I'm waiting to more artistic covers or really just something different, hardcovers even. Now when it comes to the actual story it's the same old, same old. A cutsey romance with really, to me at least, no depth to be seen. And there is a....wait for it.....LOVE TRIANGLE. If you have read my blog at at all you guys know how I loathe love triangles. The just drive me absolutely mad. In the end there wasn't much to redeem this story for me. The very reason for the 1.5 star rating. Needless to say I probably won't pick up another Julie Lessman book.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

REVIEW: VIP by Manic Drive

REVIEW: VIP by Manic Drive


Rating 3.5 stars!

Manic Drive is back with a brand new album titled, VIP, however this wasn't exactly a complete hit for me. While some of the songs ( about 2 or 3) were definitely top tap worthy tunes, the rest were just ho hum for me personally. It has been a long time since I have listened to Manic Drive, it does remind me why I never became a major fan like I am with say VERIDIA, DISCIPLE, or RED. For me VIP was an average Pop-Rock album, nothing really stood out to me.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

REVIEW: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

REVIEW: The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson

{About the Book}

Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha---one of the few who speaks his language---understands the wild story. Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin's message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself 'Lord Colin' is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy---not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she's sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook's wicked plot.

{My Review}

Rating: 4.5 stars!!

Melanie Dickerson's newest release, The Princess Spy, was an absolute joy to read. I have only read one other book in her Faerie-tale series and I loved it. So I knew I would have to get my hands on a copy of this novel. And I am so glad I did. This retelling of The Princess and the Frog was a breath of fresh air. Different enough to be an original story for Melanie, but also enough to recognize that this is a retelling. Fantastic job Mel!!