Monthly Recap: June 2014

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Books I Read:

And INSPY reads:

Book Reviews:
A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino
Shattered by Dani Pettrey
Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta

Bookish Posts:
Kristy Cambron featured in…

Fun things to check out around the web:
Check out the July issue of Family Fiction magazine. I was able to write an article on the lovely debut author, Kristy Cambron.

Also, INSPY awards were announced! Check it out to see which books/authors won.

What did you read this month?

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Kristy Cambron featured in…

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I have had the loveliest time getting to know debut author, Kristy Cambron. I initially touched bases with her through her blog and was able to get on her launch team for The Butterfly and the Violin. From our first interaction through email, it was apparent that Kristy has a kind and gentle spirit. She has befriended me, prayed for me, and has genuinely been interested in getting to know who I am. She has truly blessed me with her friendship.

I then proceeded to email her a very long list of questions to answer for me, and through her answers, I saw a glimpse of her heart. I can say with confidence that Kristy is beautiful both inside and outside.

The thing that has blessed me the most? When I was going through a difficult time in my personal life, I shared it with Kristy. One night, I got home late from a full day of work, and sitting in my inbox was an email from Kristy. Yes, she and I were discussing a business-related topic, but the first thing she wrote to me was not about our project. She asked how I was doing. She told me that I had been in her thoughts and prayers. And even thinking about that in this moment, it nearly brings tears to my eyes to know she cares.

Today, the July issue of the Family Fiction magazine is live. I had the wonderful opportunity of getting to know Kristy, and the article I wrote on her and her debut novel is something I hope you will enjoy reading. Read about Kristy and her inspiring journey to publication.

Review: Born of Persuasion

This book. THIS book. It was amazing.

Ten minutes early to work? I read. Lunch break? I read. Brushing my teeth before bed? I read. I was captivated by this novel.

Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta
Price of Privilege, Book 1
Tyndale House Publishers, 2013

My Thoughts:
This is Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, and if it is any indication of what her writing career will bring, I am very much excited. She is a skilled writer who kept me glued to the pages the entire length of the novel. I was completely wrapped up in it.

Julia Elliston narrates the troublesome time in her life following the death of her parents. She has an unknown guardian sending her away, but in the two months she has before her departure, she seeks to attain her future. From there, things get crazy. Crazy awesome.

The eerie atmosphere of this book coupled with the mystery and intrigue that fills each page creates an exciting read. Because this book is written from Julia’s point of view, we only see and feel what she feels. Thus, her confusion and uncertainty make the reader feel her emotions and fear in the midst of all that is going on around her. As Julia tries to navigate her rapidly changing life, she makes misguided decisions that further entangle and complicate her predicament.

And the characters! Edward. Mr. Macy. These two men couldn’t be more different. Edward is kind, honorable, and self-sacrificing. Mr. Macy is all charm, yet there is a sinister, dangerous man lurking beneath his well-constructed exterior. Will Julia fall for this untouchable man, or be led back to the safety of her childhood love? Does she even know her own heart? And how will the things Julia does not know affect her life?

So many shocking moments are in this book. I was continually surprised by unexpected twists and turns that I had not anticipated, which made this read very enjoyable.

Yes, it ends on a cliffhanger. And I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Mainly, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? I must find out!

Summary (from the publisher’s website):
The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

Review: Shattered

Shattered by Dani Pettrey
Alaskan Courage, Book 2
Bethany House, 2013

My Thoughts:
Remember when I said Reef had to come back into the picture sooner or later? And that he would be interesting to meet? Well, he has arrived! And with a bang, I might add!

We are introduced to Reef like this: covered in blood, and soon after he is arrested for murder. His sister, Piper, is determined to prove his innocence and will stop at absolutely nothing to do so. But lifelong family friend and deputy, Landon Grainger, is determined to find proof to base his investigation on, whether the killer be the brother of the woman he loves, or someone else… Evidence doesn’t lie.

Dani Pettrey is a gem of an author. I absolutely love her writing and will not hesitate to pick up any of her books. Her characters come alive and feel real and genuine. They are authentic characters that I am drawn to. I loved Piper and Landon’s relationship in Shattered. They have known each other their entire lives, but their relationship is changing. Together, they learn to be open with one another and find love; all while tracking down the real killer and exonerating Reef.

I got so caught up in this story that I didn’t take notes. And I always take notes! It was so good, I couldn’t put it down. I tried to slow my reading to make it last longer, but that didn’t really work. I finished it far too quickly and now I must get my hands on Stranded!

Suspense, romance, and an adventure that takes unexpected turns; what more could you want in a novel?

Summary (from the publisher’s website):
When her prodigal brother Reef’s return to Yancey, Alaska, is shattered by his arrest for murder, Piper McKenna is determined to protect him.

Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he’s also sworn to find the truth. And he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth puts Landon’s career in jeopardy.

When Piper launches her own investigation, Landon realizes he must protect her from herself–and whatever complications await as the two follow clues deep into Canada’s rugged backcountry. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

Review: A Place in His Heart

A Place in His Heart by Rebecca DeMarino
The Southold Chronicles, Book 1
Revell, 2014

My Thoughts:
When I first saw Laura Frantz’s endorsement for this debut novel from Rebecca DeMarino, I knew I wanted to read it.

Rebecca DeMarino’s debut novel follows the lives of Mary Langton and Barnabas Horton through the early years of their marriage and the struggles they faced together as they traveled to the New World. This novel is enriched by Rebecca’s personal connection to Mary and Barnabas, as they are her ancestors. She tells their story with close attention to historical accuracy and a distinct sensitivity towards the real emotions her characters experienced.

While this story is inspired by Rebecca’s heritage, I had a difficult time enjoying this book. Barnabas marries Mary after his wife dies because his sons need a mother, and Mary quickly falls in love with him. However, Barnabas desperately clings to the memory of his late wife, Ann. He can’t let her go, which I understood in the early pages of the book. However, this goes on for the entire length of the novel, which spans roughly ten (?) years, which became quite frustrating for the reader, much like it upset Mary. She so quickly learns to love Barnabas, yet he can not, will not, return her love or even try to. This dynamic between the couple made it difficult to like the characters.

Throughout the book, readers catch glimpses of Mary and Barnabas’ lives together. (Almost) Every chapter jumps a few months or years into the future. This was jarring in the beginning; however it served the story well. It gave the reader the ability to see how the characters’ lives were progressing and moving forward. In the end, this book fell short for me, but historical fiction fans should give this book a try!

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*

Book Synopsis (from the publisher’s website):
She could cross an ocean, but could she ever win his heart?

Anglican Mary Langton longs to marry for love. Left at the altar and disgraced in her small hamlet, she is being pressured to marry the eligible son of the London milliner. Puritan Barnabas Horton still grieves the loss of his beloved wife, but he knows his two young sons need a mother.

With tender hearts, Mary and Barnabas take a leap of faith and wed. But when Barnabas’s secret plans to move his family to the New World to escape persecution come to light, Mary’s world is upended. How could she possibly leave her papa and her dear sister?

And will she ever reach the secret places of her husband’s broken heart?