Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Dancing Master Review

The Dancing Master
Julie Klassen
Thomas Nelson
January 7, 2014
4 stars!

[About the Book]

Leaving London, dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire--but is stunned to discover that dancing is prohibited! He finds an unlikely ally in Miss Julia Midwinter, but her questions about his past are becoming harder to evade. Together, can they bring new life to this quiet village--and heal long-kept-secret scars?

4 stars! I enjoyed Julie Klassen's latest novel, The Dancing Master. The main characters were very likable. And Alec, *dreamy*. Regency England is one of my absolute favorite literary genres and when I heard last year that Julie was releasing a book in this genre I was so happy. And I have to say I was not disappointed. In some parts it even reminded me of Pride and Prejudice. If you want a light read, I recommend The Dancing Master.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Sixteen Blog Tour

 [Interview with Emily Rachelle]

First, why don’t you tell us about your debut novella, Sixteen? 

Well, the short version is that Sixteen is a coming-of-age story about a sixteen-year-old girl in the 1990's. Here's the long version:

Nicole "Nikki" Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it's no surprise that Matt's age is all her mom sees. Just because he's twenty-four and she's sixteen doesn't mean he's a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki's dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine...
Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship - with Matt, her parents, her best friend, and most importantly, God.

Where did you get the idea for Sixteen? Any specific inspirations?

I don't really have one thing I can point to -- several different factors all lined up, and lined up in the perfect timeframe, to cause Sixteen's creation. I don't want to say too much, since there's a whole other blog post on "The Story Behind Sixteen." Basically, take a new high schooler just discovering the world of writing outside school. Add in a move from Okinawa, Japan to Georgia, USA. Throw in abortion, the pro-life movement, and Mother's Day. That all adds up to the (admittedly not so great) first draft of what's now Sixteen.

What was your writing schedule for Sixteen? And how long did it take to write?

First: I don't set writing schedules. I always fail deadlines. I've given up NaNo. So I can't answer that.
Second: Partly due to the previous fact, I don't generally keep track of the timing of my writing, even in past point-of-view. All I can say is I know the very short first draft of the story took me about a week or two. Then I realized it was nowhere near ready for anyone to see, and hid it on my computer. Nearly a year later, I found it there on accident, and decided to read over and do revisions. (Easiest rewrites I have ever done, and probably will ever do, in my life. Still don't know how that happened.)

Not until after I gave it to Mom for a gift did I really pursue self-publishing, which came with a whole lot more work. Editing took longer than writing and rewriting combined, mostly because I hate editing. (But I love my editor. It's an odd feeling.) I refuse to disclose just how long I dragged that out.

This is something I ask every author I talk to, when did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

I still don't intend on making a living off my writing. It's never been my plan. So "career writer" was never a realization of mine. However, I discovered writing in fourth grade, and knew I wanted to stick with it when I wrote a kids' chapter book about talking rodents in seventh or eighth grade.

Of all the characters in the story, which is your favorite? Who did you most enjoy creating?

My favorite's probably Nikki - although the more I think about Christy, the more difficult a decision this becomes. Nikki's a rebel and a wild child and, quite honestly, everything I'm not. Christy's the kind of girl I could hang out with and have heart-to-hearts over popcorn at a sleepover.

Enjoying creating a character is a very different matter. I'd have to say Mr. Johnson, Nikki's dad. It's an answer that surprises even me, but I feel like his quiet, soft, wise manner balances the craziness of so many other characters. He almost never gets angry and always listens to every side of the story. He understands people's character and desires better than they themselves do at times. Most importantly, he keeps Nikki and her mom connected during their head-butting and acts as a sort of middleman. He can see both sides and does his best to keep both balance and peace in the Johnson home. Writing his parts is like breathing a sigh of relief after every Mom-Nikki spat.

If you could go back and do it over, is there anything about your novel that you would change?

I'd give some of the minor characters more time in the story. Matt, as the love interest, already have several scenes, but of course there can never be too many sigh-worthy scenes with the hero. His younger sister Abigail is a darling that would totally melt readers' hearts, and everyone loves her. And I feel like Claire Monroe could become a really awesome character. She'd totally rock a few scenes of her own. I've seriously considered writing a book just for her, but the right story has yet to grab the two of us. If it ever does come along, trust me, I will get it out there.

What do you feel makes a great story?

There's a saying in writers' groups that "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader." I don't believe in that 100% - I enjoy writing too much to cry over my characters' heartbreak. Maybe I'm heartless, but I really do look at the story from an outside perspective. I don't get caught up in writing the way I do when I'm reading or even watching a television show. That might be due in part to the fact that I plan out all major story events before writing any of the story, so I have time to prepare for the emotion onslaught.

However, that saying does hold at least partial truth. The writer has to feel the emotion of the readers and the characters -- which may not always be the same emotions, but often are. You can't be grinning ear to ear when writing a sorrowful scene, unless it's from the villain's point of view. Nor can you be glum and moody and depressed while writing the big romantic moment. It just doesn't feel right.

 Last question and it’s a fun one. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

As a person in general? Too many to count. But as a writer? Well, I read Pride and Prejudice while doing the first rewrites of Sixteen, and readers familiar with that classic might notice a few similarities between Lizzie Bennet's parents and Nikki's. I've noticed other instances of similarities between my current writing project and whatever book I just finished.

To be a bit more general... I don't know, actually. I think every book a person reads has some influence on them, be it great or small, negative or positive. This holds true for writers just like any other reader - and, yes, that influence can often affect their own writing. That's the beauty in books. They always affect the reader, and they affect every reader in a different way.



 [About the Book]

Nicole "Nikki" Johnson has never gotten along with her mother, so when she meets a great new guy, it's no surprise that Matt's age is all her mom sees. Just because he's twenty-four and she's sixteen doesn't mean he's a creeper! Thankfully, Nikki's dad allows Nikki and Matt to be together and see how things work out. Their relationship is fantastic and Nikki is on cloud nine...
Until the Fourth of July picnic, when things go too far. Now a very changed Nikki has to make choices that will affect her every relationship - with Matt, her parents, her best friend, and most importantly, God.

[About the Author]

Born in Panama, Emily Rachelle has traveled throughout the country and the world with her Air Force family. Currently, she lives with her parents and three brothers in middle Georgia. While Emily enjoyed reading as far back as she remembers, writing didn't come to her until she learned the forms of poetry and the basics of story in fourth grade. Since then, she's written scripts for homeschool dramas, poems for birthday presents, and stories for friends and family to enjoy. Sixteen is her debut into the professional world of words. You can find Emily at her blog, Emily Rachelle Writes, Emily Rachelle Writes.




Thursday, January 16, 2014

Smitten Book Club by Various Authors Review

                                   Smitten Book Club
                                   Thomas Nelson
                                   January 14, 2014
                                   5 stars!!



                                                                             [About the Book]

"Consider that your beau is like a coveted novel whose compelling first lines you've just begun to read." --A Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship"

At a rummage sale, Heather, a member of the Fireside Book Club, discovers a turn-of-the-century romantic advice book written by a once-famous Smitten, Vermont, resident. When she shares the precious volume with her friends in the club, they find clues about a hidden treasure rumored to be buried in their tiny town.

As Heather, Abby, Lia, and Molly take turns reading the book, each projects onto it her own literary tastes. Heather sees it as a mystery. Abby discovers delicious dashes of Jane Austen. Lia sees in it the idealism of a bygone day. And Molly just wishes they'd made the book into a movie!

One by one, each of the women finds romantic love--often in spite of the historic book's advice. And in searching for the legendary gold, the friends discover the best kind of treasure. The kind that brings hope and healing to each of their hearts.


Smitten Book Club was written by various Christian authors, including the late Diann Hunt, who recently lost her battle with cancer. Smitten Book club follows four women who take turns reading, "A Gentlewoman's Guide to Love and Courtship", and the four women see the book differently. For example, Heather sees the book as a mystery.  While they each read the book they also find their own romantic love along the way. 

If you want a great pick-me-up, cute, and romantic book to read during an open afternoon I suggest you buy Smitten Book Club.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Unstoppable by Nick Vujicic Review

Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic.  Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships.  Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.
 But how does that happen?  In Unstoppable Nick addresses adversity and difficult circumstances that many people face today, including:  

·         Personal crises 
·         Relationship issues
·         Career and job challenges
·         Health and disability concerns
·         Self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and addictions
·         Bullying, persecution, cruelty, and intolerance
·         Balance in body, mind, heart, and spirit  
·         Service to others

Through stories from his own life and the experiences of many others, Nick explains how anyone wanting a “ridiculously good life” can respond to these issues and more to become unstoppable. What’s standing in your way?  Are you ready to become unstoppable?


This book was exactly what I expected it to be. The information inside was nothing new due to the fact I already know Nick's story. Nick also gave som really good advice in the book as well. This is definitely the book you pick up if you need a pick-me-up book.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Morning Glory Cover Reveal + Giveaway!!!!

It is that time again, when me and my fellow bloggers help our buddy, author Amber Stokes, reveal the cover for her newest novel. If you go back through Literary And Lace's archive you will find the Bleeding Heart & Forget Me Not Cover Reveals! Now keep reading to discover the cover for Morning Glory!

[About the Book]

The depths of fear. The dawning of hope. 

Myghal’s story continues… Summer 2014


[The Book’s and Series’ Blogs]

In conjunction with the cover reveal, Amber’s doing a double “blog reveal,” as well! You can check out the book extras for Morning Glory (more coming soon!) on the Morning Glory Blog, and you can keep up with all the exciting news for the series on The Heart Springs Blog, the new home site for all three of the main books and the companion short stories!


[About the Author]

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. You can connect with Amber on her blog, Seasons of Humility.



[About the Cover Designer]

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.


Enter via the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win morning glory note cards (set of four) from Cindy Lindgren and lavender & copper flower earrings from Jaye L. Knight! Giveaway limited to U.S. residents only.

Now without further adieu what you all came here to see.......here is the cover for Morning Glory!!!

When I first got a glimpse at the cover of Morning Glory my mouth dropped to the floor. I think this is one of the most beautiful covers I have seen in a long time! The color scheme is gorgeous, all of the colors compliment each other so well. And can we just talk about the model's hair! I envy it. I am also a redhead, but would love my hair to be this shade of red. I can keep rambling about the cover, but I'll move on. I am also anxiously awaiting what Morning Glory will be about. Amber is keeping us in suspense. (Well played, Amber!) But I can assure you with the talent that is Amber Stokes, Morning Glory will be a MUST read!
I loved Bleeding Heart and I can't wait to read Morning Glory!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Serenity to Accept Review

Serenity to Accept
By Elizabeth Maddrey

Published by HopeSprings Books

Released on September 9, 2013

Rating: 5 Stars!!!



Serenity to Accept is the third book in the "Grant Us Grace" Series. I have never heard of the author before I saw this book up for review on the Book Crash website. Like many book review websites I thought it would take forever to get this book on my front porch. But, suprisingly, the book did not take longer than a week and half to reach my book greedy hands. LOL :)

Serenity to Accept is a book about struggling with your faith and also struggling to have the faith. Jason Garcia has made the decision to ONLY date other Christians. Jason would not have even had a second thought about that if he had not met Karin Reid. And Jason decides to bend his rule for Karin, as long as she will go to church with him. Jason and Karin almost complete opposites, almost! While Jason believes in God whole-heartedly, he still struggles with his faith. Karin, on the other hand, believes she does not need God. She has had so much pain in her so far short life and so she is upset with God. She believes God is not interested in her or her life.

Serenity to Accept was one of the last books I read in 2013 and I ended the year of 2013 with quite a BANG!!! First, I wanted to share a quote from the book that really struck me. "But the one thing my parents have always said is that we will never know how God is going to use the things that happen, so until we see the whole picture, we can't judge his plan." Whew!!! This quote blew me away. And it was something I needed to hear. 

If your a Christian who struggles with their faith, and every Christian does, than this is a book you NEED to pick up. Elizabeth Maddrey is an incredible author who really knows how to weave words. I will definitely be picking up more books by Elizabeth. :)

::: I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for a honest review.