Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: My Favourite Authors

1. Catherine Marshall, author of Christy.

2. L.M. Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.

3. Janette Oke, author of the Love Comes Softly series.

4. Francine Rivers, author of Redeeming Love.

1. Kristy Cambron, author of The Butterfly and the Violin.

2. Laura McNeill, author of Center of Gravity & Sister Dear.

3. Karen Witemeyer, author of the Archer Brothers series.

4. Melissa Tagg, author of Made to Last.

1. Shannon Dittemore, author of the Angel Eyes trilogy.

2. Jennifer Erin Valent, author of the Jessilyn Lassiter trilogy.

3. Tosca Lee, author of Demon: A Memoir.

4. Rachelle Dekker, author of the Seer trilogy.

1. Rachel McMillan, author of The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder.

2. Jody Hedlund, author Luther and Katharina.

3. Jill Eileen Smith, author of the Daughters of the Promised Land series.

4. Mary Connealy, author of the Wild at Heart series.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Favourite Fictional Couples

Favourite Fictional Couples 

Note::This list is in no particular order except for the top 2.

1. Christy Huddleston and Neil MacNeil

Do I really need to justify why Christy and Neil are #1? Nope, if you've read the novel and seen the popular TV series it's self explanatory.

This scene ya'll. 

2. Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe

Again, no explanation needed.

3. Travis Archer and Meredith Hayes

Short Straw Bride is my favourite of all of Karen Witemeyer's novels. And Travis is my favourite Archer brother. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book and everything else by Karen.

4. Luke Stone and Ruthy MacNeil

Read it.

5. Levi Grant and Eden Spencer

Such a beautiful story about second chances and love.

6. Beckett Rush and Finley Sinclair

A great YA about letting go.

7. Gideon Westcott and Adelaide Proctor

A cowboy with a British accent. What else do you need?

8. Crockett Archer and Joanna Robbins

The first KW novel I ever read. And while it isn't my favourite KW novel, it most definitely has a special place in my heart.

9. J.T. Tucker and Hannah Richards

The book with a character that just makes you angry for the first half of the story.

10. Darius Thornton and Nicole Renard

Pirates, a feud over a dagger, and exploding boilers.

These are only ten of my favourite fictional couples. I have many, many more but this post would be too long. So who are your favourite fictional couples?

REVIEW: Beyond the Silence by Trace Peterson & Kimberly Woodhouse

About the Book

Lillian Porter has always wanted to fulfill her mother's dream of going west, so when she hears about a nanny position in Angels Camp, California, she defies her grandfather and takes a chance on a new future. But she quickly wonders if she made the right choice. There are rumors in town that her new employer, Woodward Colton, caused the death of his wife. This accusation doesn't match the man Lillian comes to know--and Mrs. Goodman, Woody's long-time housekeeper, is decisively on Woody's side--but many in town stay far away from Lillian because of her association with the Colton family.

Lillian's six-year-old charge, Jimmy, was there when his mother died, and he hasn't spoken a word since. Gently, Lillian tries to coax him out of his shell, hoping he'll one day feel safe enough to tell her the truth about what happened. But the Colton olive farm is no longer a safe place. Lillian encounters suspicious characters on their land and mysterious damage done to the farm. Will Mrs. Goodman and Jimmy be able to speak what they know in time to save Lillian from tragedy?

My Review

Beyond the Silence by Tracie Peterson and Kimberly Woodhouse I believe is the forst book in a new series, but I'm not completely sure. Beyond the Silence is a Historical novel centered around the themes of love, healing, and redemption. But being a Western it also has that action as well. The actual writing was fine, but sometimes the writing felt a little disjointed in my opinion. The overall result is a 4 star novel that I would recommend, but isn't one I'll read again.

REVIEW: Curio by Evangeline Denmark

About the Book

Grey Haward has always detested the Chemists, the magicians-come-scientists who rule her small western town. But she has always followed the rules, taking the potion the Chemists ration out that helps the town’s people survive. A potion that Grey suspects she—like her grandfather and father—may not actually need.

By working at her grandfather’s repair shop, sorting the small gears and dusting the curio cabinet inside, Grey has tried to stay unnoticed—or as unnoticed as a tall, strong girl can in a town of diminutive, underdeveloped citizens. Then her best friend, Whit, is caught by the Chemists’ enforcers after trying to protect Grey one night, and after seeing the extent of his punishment, suddenly taking risks seems the only decision she can make.

But with the risk comes the reality that the Chemists know her family’s secret, and the Chemists soon decide to use her for their own purposes. Panicked, Grey retreats to the only safe place she knows—her grandfather’s shop. There, however, a larger secret confronts her when her touch unlocks the old curio cabinet in the corner and reveals a world where porcelain and clockwork people are real. There, she could find the key that may save Whit’s life and also end the Chemists’ dark rule forever.

My Review

Curio is the first book in the Curio series by Evangeline Denmark, daughter of Fantasy author Donita K. Paul. Curio is is a mix of Steampunk and Fantasy elements. Perfect for fans of either genres and should not be missed. Curio is mostly from Grey Howard's POV with alternating POV from time to time. There is more than one romance to cherish within these pages. That's a big plus for Romance readers like myself. I actually haven't read a Steampunk novel in years, but this novel was a great re-introduction to the genre for me. And I am very much looking forward to the next installment.

REVIEW: The Woman Who Would Be King by Kara Cooney

About the Book

An engrossing biography of the longest-reigning female pharaoh in Ancient Egypt and the story of her audacious rise to power in a man’s world.

Hatshepsut, the daughter of a general who took Egypt's throne without status as a king’s son and a mother with ties to the previous dynasty, was born into a privileged position of the royal household. Married to her brother, she was expected to bear the sons who would legitimize the reign of her father’s family. Her failure to produce a male heir was ultimately the twist of fate that paved the way for her inconceivable rule as a cross-dressing king. At just twenty, Hatshepsut ascended to the rank of king in an elaborate coronation ceremony that set the tone for her spectacular twenty-two year reign as co-regent with Thutmose III, the infant king whose mother Hatshepsut out-maneuvered for a seat on the throne. Hatshepsut was a master strategist, cloaking her political power plays with the veil of piety and sexual expression. Just as women today face obstacles from a society that equates authority with masculinity, Hatshepsut had to shrewdly operate the levers of a patriarchal system to emerge as Egypt's second female pharaoh.

Hatshepsut had successfully negotiated a path from the royal nursery to the very pinnacle of authority, and her reign saw one of Ancient Egypt’s most prolific building periods. Scholars have long speculated as to why her images were destroyed within a few decades of her death, all but erasing evidence of her rule. Constructing a rich narrative history using the artifacts that remain, noted Egyptologist Kara Cooney offers a remarkable interpretation of how Hatshepsut rapidly but methodically consolidated power—and why she fell from public favor just as quickly. The Woman Who Would Be King traces the unconventional life of an almost-forgotten pharaoh and explores our complicated reactions to women in power.

My Review

The Woman Who Would Be King is a non-fiction biography of the ancient Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, who as the title suggests would eventually become Pharoah of Egypt after the death of her husband. Queen Hatshepsut is one of the most interesting characters of Ancient Egyptian history and I always am looking for books about Hatshepsut, Cleopatra, Nefertiti, Tut, etc. I have been infatuated with Ancient Egyptian history sice I was a young child and it maintains today. I enjoyed the book about the Queen Hatshepsut. It was interesting of course, but most of the information in this book I already knew about Queen Hatshepsut. There wasn't much in here that was new to me and I should have realized that from the beginning. Otherwise it was good and I would recommend it to other history buffs or those new to Ancient Egyptian history.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

COVER REVEAL: The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall

About the Book

Violet Hawthorne is beyond mortified when her brother transforms her deceased parents’ respectable country inn into a brothel to accommodate the lumberjacks in the area. When her reputation is compromised, she finds herself forced to enter into an engagement with Vance Everstone. Can she trust this man she hardly knows who has a scandalous reputation in his own right?

Releases October 2016.


About the Author

Dawn Crandall is the ACFW Carol Award nominated author of the award winning series The Everstone Chronicles from Whitaker House. The series consists of three books: The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart and The Captive Imposter. The next "Everstone" book, The Cautious Maiden, will release Fall 2016. 

Dawn is represented by Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary. Apart from writing books, Dawn is also mom to a precious little boy (born March 2014), is expecting her second baby (June 2016), and also serves with her husband in a pre-marriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.


Monday, January 18, 2016

FILM REVIEW: Flower Shop Mystery: Mum's the Word

I have something fun and different planned for today. It's my first ever film review and I'm very excited about it because it's a review for Flower Shop Mystery: Mum's the Word. The first film in the Flower Shop Mystery movie franchise. So far I've enjoyed every film series Hallmark Movies & Mysteries has released, but to be perfectly honest I was on the fence whether I'd actually sit down and watch this one. When I had heard Brooke Shields was starring in this franchise I was kind of surprised. I've just never been a fan of Brooke Shields so I had planned to more than likely skip this one. Then I watched the TV promo very closely and saw that Brennan Elliot was to appear as a possible love interest. It was in that moment I decided I was going to watch this movie.

And it turns out I was glad that I watched it. I was pleasantly suprised by it, specifically Brooke Shield's performance. I've always known that she's a good actress, I just didn't know how she would fair in a mystery/suspense setting. Of course based off of my statements above I was ecstatic to see Brennan Elliot on Hallmark again. Prior to this film we've seen Brennan in Cedar Cove as the easily hated Warren Saget, a cutthroat land developer and a few other Hallmark movies. It's nice to see a male actor with some depth on Hallmark and not some one so flat or cardboard like. And Beau Bridges...I really like that guy. He wasn't in much of the film, but I like him as Brooke Shield's dad. 

I'm looking forward to the next installment to the the Flower Shop Mystery franchise and am anxiously awaiting for some TV promos and an air date.

Below is the TV Promo:

Note::: All photographs and video are property of Hallmark.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

REVIEW: You're the One That I Want by Susan May Warren

About the Book

Owen Christiansen has been in a downward spiral since an injury ended his NHL career. But a job on an Alaskan crabbing boat offers a fresh start . . . maybe even a shot at romance with Elise “Scotty” McFlynn, the captain’s daughter.

Used to being one of the guys, to never relying on anyone, Scotty doesn’t believe in happily ever after―especially with someone like Owen. Her instinct is confirmed when Casper Christiansen arrives to drag his prodigal brother home, bringing with him a truckload of family drama―and even worse, the news that Casper is wanted for questioning in connection to a crime back in Minnesota.

But Owen is more than the sum of his mistakes, a truth both he and Scotty discover when she escorts both brothers to Deep Haven as part of her new job on the Anchorage police force. Thrust into an unfamiliar world of family, faith, and fresh starts, Scotty begins to see potential for a happy ending . . . if she’s brave enough to embrace it.

My Review

You're the One That I Want is the the sixth book in the Christensen Family series. When this series first started I never thought there would be this many books in the series and honestly counting this one I've only read three of the books. But that didn't deter me from enjoying this book. You're the One That I Want is the story of Owen Christensen who has been in a major slump since an injury ended his Professional Hockey career. And Owen has since taken a position as a crab fisherman in Alaska. 

Owen soon enough takes a liking to the crab boats captain's daughter, Elise "Scotty" McFlynn who is a member of the Anchorage Police Force. Owen's brother Casper shows up to try to pull Owen back home especially since Casper is wanted for questioning in a crime. Scotty, as per her job, is sent to escort Casper and Owen back home to Deep Haven where drama ensues...and maybe even a little romance.

Out of the ree books I've read so far in this series I like this one the most. I was more invested into the story, and the characters.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Re-Visiting Authors of Yesteryear: Catherine Marshall

I read a very interesting post yesterday by Miralee Ferrell on the History, Heroes, and Heroines blog. It's the beginning of a new series she's doing where she'll be revisiting authors of yesteryear. I loved the post so much I decided to do it myself. And as you can see by the photograph above today we will be revisiting author Catherine Marshall. Catherine Marshall was the author of the 1967 novel, "Christy".


In the year 1912, nineteen-year-old Christy Huddleston leaves home to teach school in the Smoky Mountains -- and comes to know and love the resilient people of the region, with their fierce pride, their dark superstitions, their terrible poverty, and their yearning for beauty and truth. But her faith will be severely challenged by trial and tragedy, by the needs and unique strengths of two remarkable young men, and by a heart torn between true love and unwavering devotion.

I first read Christy when I was in elementary school. I was a student who read at college level in the 4th grade so I had the option of picking books from the library of that level and as I scoured the shelves a red hardcover caught my eye and as I walked closer I noticed the spine of the book only said Christy. I was immediately intrigued and decided to check it out. What I didn't know was how quickly this book would become one of my lifelong favourites. As the synopsis says above it's the story of 19 year old Christy Huddleston, who leaves the comforts of home to become a teacher to the people of Cutter Gap in the Smokey Mountains. She meets a lot of interesting characters including a Miss Alice who becomes like a second mother to Christy. Reverend Grantland who is the pastor of the mission in Cutter Gap and is also pining for Christy's attention. Fairlight Spencer, the mother of some of the children Christy teaches become her best friend and confidant. And last but never the least she meets Dr. Neil MacNeil the town physician, who soon enough takes a liking to young Christy. The entire story revolves around her relationships with these people and others in town and of her faith being tested with trials and tragedies.

But I will say that I am not a fan of the love triangle in this story between Christy, Rev. Grantland, and Neil. If you ask a friend of mine, Rachel McMillan, who also has her own blog which I'll link below, she say she absolutely hates Grantland. And I have to agree with her. He comes off too protective, overbearing, and to be honest down right creepy. I wish Catherine had focused more on the romantic tension between Christy and Neil. Believe me there is plenty of that. But if you want to know who Christy ends up with then you'll have to read the book for yourself.

Heroes, Heroines, and History Blog: http://www.hhhistory.com/2016/01/re-visiting-authors-from-yesteryear.html

Rachel's Blog: http://a-fair-substitute-for-heaven.blogspot.com/

Sunday, January 10, 2016

MINI REVIEW: Step by Step by Candace Calvert

About the Book

Three years after a tragic accident left her a widow, ER nurse Taylor Cabot is determined to move on, checking off one item after another on her survival list. Her relationship with a handsome plastic surgeon even gives her hope for the last point—“fall in love again.” At least until crisis chaplain Seth Donovan steps back into her life, reawakening unanswered questions about her husband’s death.

While in San Diego to train community volunteers, Seth hopes to learn why Taylor is backing away from the crisis team and from their friendship. But nothing prepares him for the feelings that arise when he sees Taylor again . . . and sees her moving on with another man.

When a community crisis hits home and puts lives at risk, emotions run high and buried truths are unearthed. Will hope make the survival list?

My Review

Step by Step by Candace Calvert is the second book of her Crisis Team series. I don't normally read medical dramas/romances because it's just not my thing but Candance is an author in my area and I wanted to try our her books and I saw this up for review. I actually really enjoyed this story, the medical parts not so much, but the romance was so good. And Candace's writing is stellar.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

About the Book

All Allie Marshall wants is a fresh start. But when dark secrets refuse to stay buried, will her chance at a new life be shattered forever?

Convicted of a crime she didn t commit, Allie watched a decade of her life vanish time that can never be recovered. Now, out on parole, Allie is determined to clear her name, rebuild her life, and reconnect with the daughter she barely knows.

But Allie s return home shatters the quaint, coastal community of Brunswick, Georgia. Even her own daughter Caroline, now a teenager, bristles at Allie s claims of innocence. Refusing defeat, a stronger, smarter Allie launches a battle for the truth, digging deeply into the past even if it threatens her parole status, personal safety, and the already-fragile bond with family.

As her commitment to finding the truth intensifies, what Allie ultimately uncovers is far worse than she imagined. Her own sister has been hiding a dark secret one that holds the key to Allie s freedom."

I LOVE this cover!! Publishers have really amped up cover design for their 2016 releases.

About the Author

Laura McNeill has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. Center of Gravity is her first novel with Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson.

My Opinion

I liked and enjoyed Laura'a first novel, Center of Gravity, but based on the synopsis of Sister Dear I am expecting to completely love this book. Someone wrongly convicted of a crime sets out to find the truth and clear her name only to discover her own sister has been harbouring a deep, dark secret. I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on a copy soon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

REVIEW: The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

About the Book

In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor.

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever--if they can stay alive long enough to do so.

This cover is GORGEOUS, is it not?

My Review

So I first heard of this story over a year ago (I can't believe it's been that long already) when a friend of mine, I don't remember who, posted a comment on a photo of Rachel McMillan signing her book deal for a Sherlockian novel. The word Sherlockian was all it took for me to get excited for this story. And that story is now out in the world, well at least to those of us who got to read it early.

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder set in 1910 Victorian Toronto, Canada is the story of amateur slueths Jem and Merinda who are on the trail for a serial killer who is targeting young Irish women. And along the way they run into a super swoony Italian reporter whom Jem has the hots for. Well, once you meet Ray DeLuca you'll understand why. Trust me. Also Jasper Forth comes into the picture. Jasper is a Police Constable.

The story balances mystery, romance, and wonderful sarcasm and dry humour. Even when reading a story about murder I don't want to be depressed the entire time. So those moments of laughter were well appreciated. I also have to applaud Rachel's flawless research/details on Victorian Toronto. It made me want to visit Toronto even more than I did before.

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder gave me exactly what I wanted in a Sherlockian tale. I very much look forward to the next novella, "Of Dubious and Questionable Memory" coming in 2016 and "A Lesson in Love and Murder" coming October 2016.

Note:::I recieved an e-copy from the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for my review.