Friday, October 21, 2016

Lena Goldfinch's YA Triple Trick-or-Treat Cover Reveal + Giveaway

In  celebration of Lena Goldfinch’s upcoming release, HAUNTING JOY: BOOK 2, she’s revealing three brand-new book covers! The two HAUNTING JOY books are light paranormal stories, and SONGSTONE is a fantasy romance. All three books are sweet—and slightly spine-tingling—young adult reads, perfect for cozy autumn nights!


“A sweet and charming ghost story that completely won me over.” —Lena Coakley, Witchlanders 

Joy’s new dress has a secret—one with a little supernatural history, one that’s a little more than she expected.

It all starts one ordinary afternoon, when seventeen-year-old Joy tries on some thrift-store clothes. The little white dress fits perfectly. Trouble is, now it won’t leave her alone. Soon Joy is swept up in an extraordinary journey to help a ghost complete some unfinished business.

If only that didn’t involve Joy driving through dangerous intersections...
Or calling up her high-school crush, Nick...
Or getting stuck in a cemetery after dark.

Just how much is Joy willing to risk to uncover the truth?



Joy’s story continues with another ghost, this time a boy who seems intent on disrupting her senior year…

Coming soon!


“An original fantasy world inhabited by superstitious tribal nations and intriguingly developed characters.” 
—Serena Chase, USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog 

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.

Kita can meld song into stone—a skill called “storytelling,” which is greatly honored in a world with no written word. But Kita is slave to a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it. Yet each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He’s come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom—and she’ll risk her life to take it.



LENA GOLDFINCH writes sweet historical western romance / inspirational romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs.


No tricks with this giveaway—just a treat for three lucky winners! Each winner will get a copy of one of Lena’s featured books (winner’s choice): Haunting Joy: Book 1; Haunting Joy: Book 2; OR Songstone.

Note: Paperback copies are only available to winners who are US residents. Ebook versions are available to all winners. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discover which hero from Lena’s YA books is your dream hero! Possible results include Nick from Haunting Joy, Pono from Songstone, Rundan from The Language of Souls, Jovanni from Aire, and Troy from Take a Picture.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Special Silver Book Birthday + Giveaway

Join me in wishing a happy book birthday to the second book in a poignant, dramatic, and romantic historical fiction series by Rachelle Rea Cobb! :) This two-week celebration includes an awesome giveaway too! So please read on to learn more about this series and to get your name in the drawing...

* * *

ABOUT The Steadfast Love SERIES 

In 16th-century Europe, the Reformation rages between Protestants and Catholics. Gwyneth, half-Dutch, flees from England to Holland to escape the man who murdered her parents. When he follows her there and insists he came to rescue her, will she trust this man called Dirk? When tragedy strikes, will their steadfast love erode?

ABOUT The Sound of Silver (Book Two)

The stalwart saint and the redeemed rebel. One fights for faith, the other for honor…

After Dirk rescues Gwyneth from the Iconoclastic Fury, she discovers that faith is sometimes fragile—and hope is not as easy as it may seem. Gwyneth continues her quest to learn more about the love of God preached by Protestants she once distrusted.

Meanwhile, Dirk’s quest is to prevent his sullied name from staining hers. Will his choice to protect her prove the undoing of her first faltering steps toward a Father God? Once separated, will Dirk and Gwyneth’s searching hearts ever sing the same song?

Read my thoughts on The Sound of Silver (Book Two) and The Sound of Diamonds (Book One)!


Times gone by snatch Rachelle Rea Cobb close, so she reads and writes about years long ago—her passions include the Reformation, Revolutions, and romance. Rachelle wrote the Steadfast Love series during college. Five months after she graduated, she signed a three-book deal with her dream publisher, WhiteFire. She's a homeschool grad, Oreo addict, and plots her novels while driving around her dream car, a pick-up truck. In June 2016, she married a man with the same name as her fictional hero, and they live happily ever after in Small Town, South.


Enter using the Rafflecopter form below to win a beautiful necklace created by Baubles, Beads and Stuff and your choice of any one of Rachelle’s three books (the series begins in Book One, of course, but in case you have one or two of her books already, Rachelle will gladly send you the next one to read!). 

International friends, the paperback & necklace giveaway is open to continental U.S. addresses only (sorry!). But do still enter, because one international winner will also be chosen to receive an e-book.

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Emma Read-Along: Week 2 Discussion

Welcome to Week 2 of the Emma read-along! You can learn more about the read-along schedule in this invitation post.

Today we're going to discuss Vol. I: ch. 15-18 and Vol. II: ch. 1-10. (If your copy isn't divided into volumes, then this should translate to ch. 15-28.) If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Emma read-along tag.) If you still have to catch up on some reading, you're welcome to check in later this week or whenever you're ready. :)

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

~ ~ ~

Emma Volume I: Chapters 15-18 &
Volume II: Chapters 1-10

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and four questions for each week's reading.

Favorite Quote


"[Emma] listened to [Harriet] and tried to console her with all her heart and understanding—really for the time convinced that Harriet was the superior creature of the two—and that to resemble her would be more for her own welfare and happiness than all that genius or intelligence could do."


Miss Bates: "Do come in. Who do you think is here?—Miss Woodhouse and Miss Smith; so kind as to call to hear the new pianoforte. Do put up your horse at the Crown, and come in."

Mr. Knightley: "Well...for five minutes, perhaps."

Miss Bates: "And here is Mrs. Weston and Mr. Frank Churchill too!—Quite delightful; so many friends!"

Mr. Knightley: "No, not now, I thank you. I could not stay two minutes. I must get on to Kingston as fast as I can."

[Rather showing your hand there, aren't you, Mr. Knightley? ;)]

General Impressions

I've seen both the 1996 adaptation of Emma as well as the PBS Masterpiece miniseries version, and I confess that one of the really nice things about finally reading the book is achieving a better understanding of the little intrigues and nuances of the plot. The "Mr. Dixon" drama between Emma, Frank Churchill, and Jane Fairfax didn't quite make sense to me before. Now I think I have a better grasp of the situation, and I'm sure I'll get an even clearer picture of it all over the next two weeks.

I think I'm with Mr. Knightley in regards to Frank Churchill. Mr. Churchill seems to be acting more like a boy than a responsible man—a boy who likes playing mind/heart games and enjoys attention. And I'm over it. :P

To me, it seems Emma is genuinely torn between a true care for Harriet and the Martins, and a strong belief (i.e.: pride) in her own correct assessment of the proper outcome. I wish Harriet wouldn't be so easily swayed by her friend... I wish she could make up her own mind in this, while still showing respect for the thoughts and advice of others. It's painful to read about the interactions between Harriet and the Martins! There's such an obvious longing on both sides for things to have turned out differently. *sigh*

All in all, this was an interesting section to read, and I do like the complexity of all the characters, their quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. And if it isn't too improper to say this, I do admit it's rather fun reading Miss Bates's lines out loud, in a very rushed and frenzied manner. ;)

Discussion Questions

Feel free to answer one, two, three, or all four of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!

1. Has your opinion of Emma changed at all during this past week's reading? What stood out to you most about her words and thoughts regarding Harriet, Mr. Elton, Frank Churchill, and/or Jane Fairfax?

2. What are your first impressions of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill? Do you find one more intriguing/mysterious than the other?

3. Which character do you admire the most at this point?

4. If you were a character in this book, which character do you think you'd most like to be matched with from what we know about everyone so far? [I'm thinking romantically, but you can also say who would be your best match as a friend or relative. :)]

Join us next Sunday for our third discussion! 
(Vol. II: Ch. 11-18 & Vol. III: Ch. 1-6...OR Ch. 29-42)

UPDATE: Discussion post will likely be a few days late... My apologies!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Charming Story with a Dash of Danger | Review of The Silent Songbird

About the Book

Evangeline longs to be free, to live in the world outside the castle walls. But freedom comes at a cost.

Evangeline is the ward and cousin of King Richard II, and yet she dreams of a life outside of Berkhamsted Castle, where she might be free to marry for love and not politics. But the young king betroths her to his closest advisor, Lord Shiveley, a man twice as old as Evangeline. Desperate to escape a life married to a man she finds revolting, Evangeline runs away from the king and joins a small band of servants on their way back to their home village.

To keep her identity a secret, Evangeline pretends to be mute. Evangeline soon regrets the charade as she gets to know Wesley, the handsome young leader of the servants, whom she later discovers is the son of a wealthy lord. But she cannot reveal her true identity for fear she will be forced to return to King Richard and her arranged marriage.

Wesley le Wyse is intrigued by the beautiful new servant girl. When he learns that she lost her voice from a beating by a cruel former master, he is outraged. But his anger is soon redirected when he learns she has been lying to him. Not only is she not mute, but she isn’t even a servant.

Weighed down by remorse for deceiving Wesley, Evangeline fears no one will ever love her. But her future is not the only thing at stake, as she finds herself embroiled in a tangled web that threatens England’s monarchy. Should she give herself up to save the only person who cares about her? If she does, who will save the king from a plot to steal his throne?

Releases November 8, 2016!

My Rating


My Review

For fun and easy reading, I can always count on Melanie Dickerson's books! And I always enjoy trying out each new fairy-tale retelling.

The Silent Songbird is a retelling of The Little Mermaid. While you won't find the ocean starring in this tale, you will find a water rescue and a heroine (Evangeline, or "Eva") with a beautiful singing voice.

Eva is an interesting character. At times I found her a bit immature, which made it hard to really dive deep into her story and cheer her on. But she is supposed to be rather young, and her insecurities have a way of making her endearing in time, especially combined with her innocence and moments of insight and growth.

The hero (Wesley), on the other hand, pretty much swept me off my feet. ;) Granted, he's not perfect, and he has his own moments of immaturity and obliviousness. Still, I found him to be quite sweet. His family's interactions are touching...and especially fun to read about if you're familiar with one of Dickerson's earlier books, The Merchant's Daughter!

While The Silent Songbird didn't turn out to be a favorite, it met my expectations for an entertaining historical read with generally charming characters and a good dash of danger.

*With thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for providing me with an e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Other Melanie Dickerson Books I've Reviewed...
The Healer's Apprentice | The Merchant's Daughter | The Fairest Beauty | The Princess Spy | The Golden Braid | The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest | The Beautiful Pretender {Possibly my favorite so far!} | A Spy's Devotion {Regency}

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Emma Read-Along: Week 1 Discussion

Welcome to Week 1 of the Emma read-along! You can learn more about the read-along schedule in this invitation post.

Today we're going to discuss chapters 1-14 (Volume I). If you came prepared, go ahead and share your thoughts in the comments section or in your own post! (Feel free to use the image above, linking back to the Emma read-along tag.) If you still have to catch up on some reading, you're welcome to check in later this week or whenever you're ready. :)

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

~ ~ ~

Emma Volume I: Chapters 1-14

Discussion Format: One favorite quote, some general impressions, and four questions for each week's reading.

Favorite Quote

"Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief. Nothing so easy as for a young lady to raise her expectations too high." ~ Mr. Knightley

General Impressions

It's too bad Jane Austen has another book with "pride" in the title. Because I'm thinking this book might be deserving of such a title! We could call it Pride and Power or Pride and Performance. Emma does put on quite a show, doesn't she? ;)

The thing is, as much as Emma gets on my nerves now and then, I can't completely hate her character. For one thing, she displays a genuine love and protectiveness over her family (her father and sister), which we especially see during her sister's visit, when Mr. John Knightley puts Emma on edge.

She also displays rare moments of authenticity and vulnerability.

After a visit to "a poor sick family"...

These are the sights, Harriet, to do one good. How trifling they make every thing else appear!—I feel now as if I could think of nothing but these poor creatures all the rest of the day; and yet, who can say how soon it may all vanish from my mind?
(She displays real compassion to this family, we're told, and she's affected by the visit. But she also acknowledges how easy it is to move on and lose sight of the misfortune of others.)

And during her argument with Mr. Knightley about Harriet Smith and Robert Martin...

I know that such a girl as Harriet is exactly what every man delights in—what at once bewitches his senses and satisfies his judgment. Oh! Harriet may pick and choose. Were you, yourself, ever to marry, she is the very woman for you.
(This is in response to Mr. Knightley saying, "Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do." Perhaps I'm reading too much into Emma's reply, but I sense almost a bitterness here. She knows that Harriet has a "real, thorough sweetness of temper and manner, a very humble opinion of herself," which she feels is something men truly desire. And I think Emma is self-aware enough to realize that her character in this regard is very different than Harriet's. In fact, she even jokingly tells her little niece in Mr. Knightley's hearing, "Little Emma, grow up a better woman than your aunt. Be infinitely cleverer and not half so conceited" [emphasis mine]. I just wonder if she feels that she isn't entirely what men desire...if perhaps there's a self-consciousness and fear beneath all the logical reasons she gives for not being married.)

Emma is smart, funny, loving, and very much human, and so I like her character for these reasons. But I feel like I have a lot to learn from the very-much-human side of her that displays a LOT of pride and vanity.

A farmer can need none of my help, and is therefore in one sense as much above my notice as in every other he is below it.
How can Emma imagine she has any thing to learn herself, while Harriet is presenting such a delightful inferiority?
I must see somebody very superior to any one I have seen yet, to be tempted [to marry]... I would rather not be tempted. I cannot really change for the better.

I know there is plenty more in the story to talk about (and I'm curious to hear what stood out most to you!), but since I feel like humility is a running theme in my life (as something I need to continually learn and grow in)—it's even in my blog title :) —I wanted to take a moment to address Emma's pride.

How easy it is to let pride creep into our relationships. To feel like it's all about us and our accomplishments and the things we feel we "deserve." Granted, there is the other extreme that always gives without being restored and refuses to stand up when things are wrong. But I think I find it easier, myself, to fall into the prideful spectrum. I think this line from the first chapter is something I can relate to...

The real evils indeed of Emma's situation were the power of having rather too much her own way, and a disposition to think a little too well of herself.

All that to say, I see Emma's tale as a bit of a cautionary one, and I'm sure there's a lot still to learn from her story!

Discussion Questions

Feel free to answer one, two, three, or all four of these questions in the comments section or in your own blog post!

1. What are your first impressions of Mr. Knightley and his relationship with Emma? Do his words about her and his attitude toward her suggest genuine care or a sense of superiority?

2. Mr. Knightley tells Emma, "You have been no friend to Harriet Smith" (ch. 8). To what degree do you agree or disagree with this statement based on Emma's thoughts and actions?

3. Who is your favorite secondary character so far? (Someone besides Emma or Mr. Knightley.) What do you admire or find interesting about that character?

4. Which Woodhouse do you most closely match: Emma, her sister (Isabella), or her father?

Join us next Sunday for our second discussion! 
(Vol. I: Ch. 14-18 and Vol. II: Ch. 1-10)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The Emma Read-Along Begins...

Today marks the beginning of the Emma read-along! For all the details of our schedule, please visit the invitation post. Our first discussion (on chapters 1-14) will take place next Sunday, October 9th. If you'd like to break up the reading evenly, two chapters per day ought to do it. :)

If you're on Twitter, you can join the continuous conversation using the #EmmaReadAlong hashtag. Feel free to tweet your favorite quotes, update the group on your reading progress, share some quick thoughts each day, or simply let others know the read-along is happening!

And to get us off to a fine start, we have a giveaway! What might make your reading experience this month even more enjoyable? How about a pumpkin spice latte? (Or, if you're a non-coffee person like me, a hot chocolate?) Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!

Fine print: Giveaway open to those 18 years old or older. (But void where prohibited by law.) Drawing ends at midnight PT on October 9, 2016. Prize to be delivered via email. 

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Monday, September 26, 2016

You're Invited to the Emma Read-Along

Dear Friend, 

Are you longing to savor a classic tale on sunny autumn afternoons and chilly fall nights? Have you been eager to become acquainted (or reacquainted) with the refined world of Jane Austen? Then please accept this invitation to join fellow book-lovers for a read-along of Emma, beginning Sunday, October 2nd, and concluding Sunday, October 30th. 

The schedule will proceed as follows...
  • Week 1 ~ Read Vol. I: Ch. 1-14
  • Week 2 ~ Finish Vol. I // read Vol. II: Ch. 1-10
  • Week 3 ~ Finish Vol. II // read Vol. III: Ch. 1-6
  • Week 4 ~ Finish Vol. III
Thus we shall read about 14 chapters a week (or 2 per day). Discussions will be held on Sundays...
  • Week 1 Discussion: October 9th
  • Week 2 Discussion: October 16th
  • Week 3 Discussion: October 23rd
  • Week 4 Discussion: October 30th
It would be a delight to see you here next Sunday (October 2nd) to launch this grand event! And together we shall do our best to make this a fun experience for all. (Perhaps a Twitter watch-along is in order, as well?)

A Fellow Reader

P.S. Please feel free to take the button above and share it on your blog or social media page to announce your participation in the read-along! You can also join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #EmmaReadAlong.

P.P.S. Would you like to see how a Jane Austen read-along works? I invite you to peruse past posts: Persuasion and Prayers Read-Along; Northanger Abbey Read-Along