Guest Post from Author Kristy Cambron and GIVEAWAY

Kristy Cambron, debut author of The Butterfly and the Violin, is on the blog today! I asked Kristy to write about what books we would find on her Ideal Bookshelf, and she has graciously agreed to share a glimpse of her shelves with us. Read to the end to enter the giveaway for a signed copy of her book.

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My Ideal Bookshelf:  Kristy Cambron

When I think back on the books that have changed my life, there are a few that fly to the top of the list.

When I need to smile: I admit– sometimes I just love fun books. I can pick one up and it doesn’t have to possess an intricate plot or in-depth characterization. I may simply want to free my mind with a story that can give a temporary escape, and yes, just make me smile. The one book that I’ll read again and again for its sheer brilliance in making me grin every time I turn the pages, is THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL. It is the best of swashbuckling adventure, history, romance and bravery– in pen and ink. Read it. I dare you to frown.

When I need to think: I always turn to NIGHT, by Elie Wiesel. It’s haunting. Real yet terrifying. It’s still breathing life into our understanding of humanity, nearly sixty years after its first publication. This portrait of the Holocaust moved me so profoundly that I left changed from the first time I read it. Now, I pick it up again once a year and pray that I never forget what matters in life.

When I need to dream: I have an insatiable need to collect travel books. Yes, they provide extremely helpful research for a writer’s scene-setting. But more than that, I just want to dream. I long to plot out a trip on the maps, to follow the streets in a city I love (Ah… Je t’aime, Paris!), and think about all the things I’ll do when I get there. Café au lait, s’il vous plait!

When I need to fall in love: There’s nothing and no one better than Jane. True, Charlotte Brontë’s JANE EYRE is my favorite novel. But as a genre that started this reader’s love affair with clever dialogue, memorable characters, and an electric wit that cannot be toppled – Miss Austen is the gold standard. I love to fall in love, and her books carry you away in it time over glorious time.

When I need to learn: I own a rather large collection of history books. When I want to step back in time, I walk over to one of my bookcases and pick a treasure from the shelf. Whether it’s archaeology, art history, non-fiction or Christian historical fiction, I’m captivated by where we’ve been as a human race. Finding context in the past is like looking into the deeper parts of who we are.

When I need to believe: The Bible is always there. Its instruction for my life’s journey with Christ and the sheer beauty within the pages is matchless when anything else is stacked against it. My Dad’s Bible was given to me after he passed away; it stays on my home office desk for daily use. It’s the only book I couldn’t hope to live without.

GIVEAWAY!

Kristy is giving away one signed copy of The Butterfly and the Violin!

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HOW TO ENTER:

What book (or books) would be on your ideal bookshelf and why?

WANT EXTRA ENTRIES? (let me know in the comments)

-Follow Bookshelves and Windows

-Share this giveaway on social media

Thanks for entering! Contest is only open in the U.S. and ends July 29, 2014. Winner will be notified by email.

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a simple bookish birthday wish

As my birthday is in the month of July, I did a little Twitter experiment. I asked my Twitter friends this question:

“My birthday is in a few days and I want YOUR favorite book! What is your favorite novel?”

I got quite an array of book recommendations from my Twitter friends, some I talk to all the time and others I wish I talked to more often. Are you interested in the answers I got?

The Ones I’ve Already Read that are Awesome:

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Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
all of Jody Hedlund’s books
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Burning Sky by Lori Benton
Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Silenced by Dani Pettrey
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

The One I’m Most Excited to get my Hands on:

The Covered Deep by Brandy Vallance (I mean, read this synopsis):

Bianca Marshal is an incurably romantic bookworm who’s holding out for the perfect husband. She doesn’t want much, just that he be (1) a true believer in Jesus Christ (2) devastatingly handsome with a slightly wild look in his eyes (3) brilliant and humorous like Mark Twain (4) a foreigner, possibly a disgruntled duke (5) able to quote Bible verses AND Shakespeare (6) a more than capable kisser, and (7) adore her completely.

Finding a man that meets the requirements of “the list” in the foothills of the Appalachians has proven impossible. Bianca’s mama insists that there’s no such thing as a perfect true love, and that Bianca’s ideal man is pure fiction. On the eve of her twenty-fifth birthday, Bianca discovers a devastating statistic. Her chance of marrying is now only eighteen percent. But the “S” word—spinsterhood—is not something she’s willing to accept. She’s going to prove the statistics and her mama wrong. Bianca wins an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for the perfect romantic hero. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of the Holy Land, Bianca’s true love will be revealed, but not without a price that might be too heavy to pay. (Summary taken from Brandy Vallance’s website)

It releases on October 14, 2014.

The Ones I’m Most  Interested in (should I try them?):

The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
The Outcast by Jolina Perersheim
Somebody Like You by Beth Vogt
Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade
To Know Her by Name by Lori Wick

Many Thanks to my Twitter friends! I had fun discovering new books and hearing your suggestions.

What book would you give your friend for their birthday?

Review: Captured by Love

Jody Hedlund is one of my favorites, so I was obviously excited to get my hands on her newest book! Let me tell you, she does not disappoint.

Captured by Love by Jody Hedlund
Bethany House, 2014

This book is pure reading pleasure. Jody Hedlund never fails to pack her stories full of danger, angst, and action. I always have the undeniable need to keep turning the pages when it comes to one of her books.

Rebellious Heart still holds its place as my favorite of Jody’s, but Captured by Love is a sweeping story of childhood friends who reunite as adults. Sparks fly between the two as they realize just how much their relationship has changed. The growing attraction they feel for one another complicates their lives, as each has an already determined path planned that doesn’t include the other. Not to mention, Angelique is engaged to Pierre’s brother, Jean.

Combined with rich historical detail and a flair for moving the plot forward at the perfect pace, Jody Hedlund has won me over again. Don’t miss this one!

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

Summary (from the back cover):
Michigan Territory, 1814

A voyageur and a young woman swept up in a time of upheaval and danger
discover firsthand the high price of freedom.

The British Army has taken control of Michilimackinac Island and its fort, forcing the Americans to swear an oath of loyalty to the crown in order to retain their land. Pierre Durant is a fur trader who returns after being away from the island for years, only to find the family farm a shambles and those he cares about starving and at the mercy of British invaders.

Torn between the adventurous life of fur trading and guilt over neglecting his defenseless mother, Pierre is drawn deeper into the fight against the British–and into a relationship with Angelique MacKenzie, a childhood friend who’s grown into a beautiful woman. She now finds herself trapped by the circumstances of war and poverty, and the cruelty of her guardian, Ebenezer Whiley.

As tensions mount and the violence rages on, Pierre and Angelique must decide where their loyalties rest and how much they’ll risk for love.

Interview with Debut Author Kristy Cambron

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If you’ve spent any amount of time visiting my blog, especially in recent weeks, you know how much I love debut Author Kristy Cambron. If you haven’t read my review of her book or how we became friends, click on the links to be taken to them.

Today, I have Kristy on the blog with an awesome interview. This is an excerpt from the interview I had with Kristy that I used for writing the Family Fiction article in the July 2014 issue. Please join Kristy and I, as she has so much to share with her readers.

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Review: The Butterfly and the Violin

“This child, is our worship. To live and survive and play to God from the depths of our souls. This is the call that binds us. When we worship in the good times, it brings God joy. But worship in the midst of agony? That is authentic adoration of our Creator. An orchestra will worship together, as one body. As one song. A family must do no less.” Chapter 24, page 235

 

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The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
A Hidden Masterpiece Novel, Book 1
Thomas Nelson, 2014

Happy Release Day! Today, July 8th, is The Butterfly and the Violin’s official release date. Go get yourself a copy! Congratulations, Kristy!

My Thoughts:

When I started reading this book, I was unprepared for the depth of emotion I was about to experience. It is a poignant story of pain, beauty, and faith. One that intricately weaves the lives of two women in two different time periods who are forever connected by one painting.

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Review: Mark of Distinction

“I nodded to them, feeling trapped and unable to speak my own truths. I studied them, wondering if everyone in this room was caught up in a charade, and we were all only playing our parts.” (Chapter 22, page 258)

Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta
Price of Privilege, Book 2
Tyndale House Publishers, 2014

My Thoughts:
Mark of Distinction picks up where Born of Persuasion left readers. The revelation that Julia is Lord Pierson’s daughter changes her life, as she is thrust into the world of the elite, hopelessly trying to navigate her new surroundings. Her life is forever altered as she is placed in a position of great wealth.

In this new and unfamiliar world, Julia struggles through uncertainty, pain, anger, fear, and heartache. Her brokenness is displayed for the reader to watch as she longs to be loved and accepted by her father. She yearns to find where she belongs and has moments of hope despite the fascinating yet unpredictable world of wealth and power.

This book is just as exciting an entertaining as the first, bringing more unexpected twists and introducing new and intriguing characters. Hidden secrets threaten to be exposed as Julia’s fragile life is put on display. While the book reveals some answers, plenty of questions replace them and deepen the mystery of Julia’s story.

The Charactes: Lord Pierson, Lord Dalry, Mr. Macy, Mr. Forrester, and Edward are all compelling and complex characters. They all leapt off the pages: the good ones, the villains, and the ones you can’t quite figure out. There is so much I want to say, yet it would spoil it for readers, so let’s just leave it at I WANT MORE. Is the third book really not coming out until next year? Because I don’t know if I can wait that long.

Summary (from the publisher’s website):
London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself—but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal—substantiated or not—can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate—but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan.