Knights, Damsels and Conversations That Matter

Hello my lovelies! The March issue of Family Fiction is now live, and I am so incredibly honored to share that I wrote the cover article on the amazing Jody Hedlund and her awesome new YA novel, An Uncertain Choice.

Click on the book cover above or HERE to read the magazine!

Will you be reading An Uncertain Choice? I have, and it’s really good- I recommend it!


February #HedlundChallenge2015 Discussion Time!

Hedlund LogoHello everyone! February’s discussion of Rebellious Heart is being hosted by Jamie at Books and Beverages, so head on over to join us! It’s our favorite AND we have a super special behind-the-scenes look at how the book cover came to life. Don’t miss out!

.>>> Check out the post here! <<<

(The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!)

Review: The Vow by Jody Hedlund

News flash! Jody Hedlund is entering the world of YA fiction, and you need to check it out!

The Vow by Jody Hedlund
An Uncertain Choice Novella #0.5
Zondervan, 2015

This sweet novella follows 14-year-old Rosemarie as she navigates budding feelings and hopes for a happy future with a great young man. Written in the first person point of view, hearing Rosemarie’s thoughts gave this novella a fresh perspective. I think changing the POV for her new YA series is a great move for Jody.

I have to say my favorite aspect of this novella was Rosemarie’s parents. I loved the picture of her parents’ love and relationship and how it was something Rosemarie longed for in her own life. Their relationship is an example to her of what a loving relationship between husband and wife should look like and she wants what they have.

This short novella introduces us to Lady Rosemarie’s world, and will draw readers into Jody’s medieval novels.

*With thanks to the author for a free e-copy of this novella in exchange for my honest review.*

Summary (from the author’s website):
In this historical romance novella by Jody Hedlund, young Rosemarie finds herself drawn to Thomas, the son of the nearby baron. But just as her feelings begin to grow, a man carrying the Plague interrupts their hunting party. While in forced isolation, Rosemarie begins to contemplate her future—could it include Thomas? Could he be the perfect man to one day rule beside her and oversee her parents’ lands?

Then Rosemarie is summoned back to her castle in haste. The disease has spread, and her family is threatened. And the secret she discovers when she returns could change her future forever.

SABOTAGED by Dani Pettrey Feature: Saying Goodbye & Who Said It? Quiz

Get your copy of SABOTAGED by Author Dani Pettrey!

Can you believe this series is coming to an end? I am so sad, as I have grown fond of the McKenna family and their adventures. But, I’m also so very content, as the last book was wonderful. Perhaps my favorite. The book is great as a standalone (although I recommend reading the series in order), and the perfect ending to the series. I mean, that epilogue? Perfection.

So, let’s take a look back, shall we?

Submerged I read when I found it as a free ebook deal. And I was totally blown away by how much I loved it. I even talked about how Dani Pettrey took a bookish pet peeve of mine and changed my mind. I was impressed. Read my review of Submerged here.

Shattered was my favorite (here’s my review). I just absolutely adored Piper and Landon. Shattered is now tied with Sabotaged, as I can’t decide which one is my favorite.

Well, I think I’ll settle for Piper and Landon as my favorite couple and Sabotaged my favorite book of the series. That sounds good, right? I posted my review a couple days ago if you’d like to read it here.

What now? Well, if you haven’t read the series yet, you should! But, if you’re like me, wondering what Dani will write next, she has revealed her next series. It is called Chesapeake Valor, and it will be a four book series! So, I’m pretty much looking forward to that!

In celebration of this final book in the Alaskan Courage series, I put together a short Who Said It? Quiz for everyone to participate in. No worries, there’s no spoilers! Aren’t you wondering how well you know the McKennas?

Curious to know if you answered correctly? Highlight the blank space here to see how you did. (But take the quiz first!!) Warning: [1. Reef 2. Kayden 3. Gage 4. Kirra] Tell me how you did in the comments!

Announcing March’s #HedlundChallenge2015 | An Uncertain Choice

(The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year!)

Hedlund LogoIn March, we are reading An Uncertain Choice, Jody’s first YA novel. And, as it has a short prequel novella that complements the story, we will also be reading The Vow.

We chose An Uncertain Choice this month because the book releases officially on March 3rd and we don’t want to wait any longer to read it!


An Uncertain Choice

Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.

Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart.

Where to Buy (Preorder): Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD

Discussion Date: March 24, 2015

We’re discussing Rebellious Heart next week, so get ready for another fun discussion!

Interested in joining our Facebook group for more fun and extras? Join us!

Review: Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey

First of all, I just need to say this: I love the McKenna family. What happens when you put the good girl and the reformed bad boy together? You get an amazing story, that’s what!

Sabotaged by Dani Pettrey
Alaskan Courage, Book 5
Bethany House, 2015

Reef has fascinated me from the beginning of the Alaskan Courage series. At his absence at the beginning of the first novel, I was immediately curious to discover his story. In this final installment, we get a surprisingly pleasant and satisfying answer to that question. What a great book, not only as a stand alone, but also as the conclusion to the series.

Kirra and Reef have known each other since grade school, but have never been in the same circle. When Kirra’s uncle disappears after passing on cryptic information to Kirra, her and Reef are thrust together to figure out what is happening before it’s too late. I loved the history between Reef and Kirra and how their past added layers to their relationship. Between growing up together and now being adults, a lot has happened, and the mounting feelings they have for one another makes the tension between them so engaging.

This book has become my favorite in the Alaskan Courage series. These characters felt so real to me, their fears, their past hurts and pain, and their fledgling hope. With each book Dani Pettrey has written, I have come to love her writing style more and more. She keeps getting better. Addicting suspense at its finest!

I was so immersed in this novel, but I didn’t want it to come to an end. How can I say goodbye to the McKennas?

*With thanks to Dani Pettrey and the publisher for a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. I am on Dani Pettrey’s influencer team.*

Summary (from the back cover):
Growing up, goody-two-shoes Kirra Jacobs and troublemaker Reef McKenna were always at odds. Now, working together as search-and-rescue for Alaska’s arduous Iditarod race, a growing attraction seems to be forcing aside old arguments. Then Reef catches Kirra sneaking from camp in the middle of the night.

Kirra’s uncle, a musher in the race, has disappeared. Kirra and Reef quickly track the man, but what they discover is harrowing: Frank’s daughter has been kidnapped. Kirra and Reef, along with the entire McKenna family, are thrown into a race to stop a shadowy villain who is not only threatening a girl’s life–but appears willing to unleash one of the largest disasters Alaska has ever seen.

Business in the Books- Preorder Incentives (1)

Today I’m introducing a new feature that I am really excited about. As some of you may know from reading my About Me page, I have my degree in Business Administration. Therefore, my new feature is combining my business background and my love for books.

My degree in Business Administration has given me an eye for what works in marketing and my love for books gives me a reader’s perspective. Combining two things that are a big part of who I am, Business in the Books was developed to showcase the promotions for books that stand out as an effective marketing device to hook readers by adding value to their purchases while effectively making them valuable life-long customers. In this feature, I will highlight the promotions that I find most intriguing as a reader and innovative for the business side of books. *This feature is meant to highlight effective marketing tools. This does not mean I recommend these books, as it is possible I have not read them.*

In recent months, I have seen promotions with this basic setup: If you preorder this book, the publisher will also give you this extra something. I find this effective as a marketing tool because readers are more likely to preorder the book, which gives the publisher a projection on sales. It’s also advantageous to readers because they get more for their early purchase. Below are three examples of the “preorder incentives” marketing tool.

1. Thomas Nelson- Preorder and get another book free

Back in October, Thomas Nelson had a promotion to preorder Sarah E. Ladd’s novel, A Lady of Willowgrove Hall and receive an e-copy of The Butterfly and The Violin by Kristy Cambron free. All the reader had to do was send the publisher their confirmation email saying they had preordered, and BAM!, you got a copy of Kristy’s book.

Why is this a great promotion? Not only did Thomas Nelson get more preorders for Sarah E. Ladd’s book, but they gave the reader another Thomas Nelson book. That means readers will be more likely to get hooked on these authors and buy their future books. That’s what I call a win-win. Click the image above to see the promo on the author’s Facebook page. [Disclaimer: this promotion is now over.]

2. Zondervan- Preorder and win chance to meet the author

rhauck bitb

This one is pretty awesome, and as a reader, impossible to pass up. Zondervan has a promotion going on right now that’s super simple and a great opportunity to get readers excited about the book.

Rachel Hauck’s How to Catch a Prince is releasing at the end of this month. If you preorder the book between now and then, not only do you get bonus content, but you also are entered for the chance to win a Skype date with the author herself!

Tell me that isn’t an awesome promotion! Readers want to feel a personal connection to their favorite authors, and it doesn’t get more personal than this. Yes, not everyone will win the Skype date with Rachel, but the chance to win it will make it impossible not to preorder her book.

This promotion ends February 24, 2015. If you’d like to enter, click here.

3. Penguin- Preorder and get the book immediately

Normally when you preorder a book, you have to sit and wait for it to arrive at your doorstep on/after the release date. Which can be torture, am I right? Who wants to wait?

That’s what makes Penguin’s promotion for Jon Acuff’s Do Over crazy awesome. If you order the book right now, Jon will email you a temporary copy of his book [it disappears on April 7th, the release date, because you will receive your preordered copy].

No waiting. No agonizing over when the book will arrive. You get it right away, along with extra incentive’s Jon tells you about on his website. And when you’re talking about do overs, you always want them immediately, so this promotion is perfect. The people who want their do overs can start right away.

This promotion is awesome, just like Jon. It ends March 31, 2015. If you’d like more information, click here.

What are your thoughts on preordering books? Will you be preordering any of these books now?

Also, if you have an idea you’d like to see me highlight in this Business in the Books feature, please share it with me in a comment below or send me an email.

Review: Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt

Wish You Were Here by Beth K. Vogt
Howard Books, 2012

My Thoughts:
Just read the back cover of this one, and I think you’ll want to read it. I did. I mean, there’s a kiss in the first chapter. CHAPTER ONE, PEOPLE! That rarely happens, so I was hooked.

This book has the cutest premise, although it is so much more than that. Huge complications arise (this is definitely an understatement), as Allison is getting married in a few days when she kisses her fiancé’s brother.

Allison has been with her fiancé Seth for several years now. She is comfortable with Seth because it is the constant, stable relationship in her life. But is comfortable enough?

Enter Daniel, Seth’s older brother, who thrives on travel and adventure. Quite different from his brother, but I instantly loved him. Daniel is the best.

The book goes much deeper than a romance. It discusses difficult issues, including self-harming, picking up the pieces of a life that goes off-course, and listening to God’s voice (sometimes the right decision is the scary one).

But my FAVORITE part of this novel was the friendship between Allison and Meghan. They were two best friends who tell each other everything. And it made me miss my friends from college. It’s so hard to stay in touch when you don’t live on campus and go to classes together. Allison and Meghan reminded me of a few close friends I don’t see often enough anymore. Hello, nostalgia!

And the cute postcards Daniel always sends Alli on his trips are the cutest chapter markers, lending a down-to-earth touch to this novel.

P.S. Was it just me, or did Seth come off a little stalker-ish? Just wondering what everyone else thought…

Summary (from the back cover):
Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?

Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.

Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancé’s trust lead to a true happily ever after?

Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

Review: Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden
Bethany House, 2015

“The room was surrounded by two floors of book stacks that soared all the way to skylights cut into the ceiling. Balconies lined the second and third stories and were open to the bookshelves. Was there anything more inspiring than being able to look up and see oneself surrounded by thousands of books all the way to the ceiling three stories above?” (51)

Anna O’Brien was a lovely character. She’s quiet and content with her life as a map librarian at the Library of Congress. Anna seeks the truth and is always striving for accuracies with the maps she works with, so when she comes across a mysterious inconsistency, she can’t let it go. As she pursues the truth and the necessity to right a wrong, she falls deeper into secrets that are beyond what she can imagine.

Luke Callahan was a character I struggled with. I really wanted to like him, and he had such promise. He is a passionate man who seeks to follow his dreams and encourage others to follow theirs, and he strives for justice, fairness, and honesty in all he does. I especially loved how he pursued Anna in the first half of the story. But, in the second half of the book, I started to lose any warmth I had for him. There were three distinct moments when I was really disappointed by his behavior, and you know the saying: three strikes and you’re out. I just didn’t like how he treated Anna.

Nevertheless, as always, Elizabeth Camden has written another compelling novel with sharp, intelligent characters and a vibrant setting rich in history.  She always captures my attention and this novel is no different. As Anna unfolds the mystery she has stumbled upon, will she discover the truth? And if she finds it, will she ever recover?

*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.*