Friday, May 31, 2013

Conclusion of the Love's Miracles Blog Tour!

What a fun experience this has been! I've loved being a part of it - seeing the success of the book's freebie promotion, reading readers' reviews, enjoying Sandra's interview responses. It's all been a blast, and I so appreciate the participating bloggers' enthusiasm, as well as the excitement of Sandra's author friends and her new readers!

It's bittersweet to see the blog tour come to an end. But we have happy news: winners' names! And I'll share some of the results of the blog tour, as well!

Winners!

In addition to the big prize pack, Sandra also offered some giveaways in conjunction with a couple of interviews. Did you catch them? Sandra offered a copy of The Price of Victory on Carolyn's blog, and winner's choice of The Price of Victory or Current of Love on Kara's blog. 

Carolyn's winner: Sherida!

Kara's winner: Karen and Gerard (one blogger name)!

Congrats, Sherida and Karen & Gerard! Be looking for my e-mail! Sandra noted that she can sign the winner's book to whomever the winner wants, so if you already have a copy, you can share one with a friend. =)

And now for the winner of the blog tour prize pack (three books, gift card, bookmark, and tote - see more detailed descriptions in this post)! Can we get a drumroll please?

And the winner is...

Kamila Moe Borkowska!

Congratulations!! Be on the lookout for my e-mail, and enjoy all of your goodies!

Acknowledgements

A blog tour is definitely a community thing, and Sandra and I are so grateful for the following people...
  • All of the participating bloggers: Carolyn, Vince, Kara, Kav, Renee, Tammy, Sherida, Julie, and Virginia. (If you missed any of their posts, do be sure to check out these links!) There would be no blog tour without bloggers, so thank you for all you do!! We appreciate your time, your thoughtfulness, and your enthusiasm tremendously!
  • Christy of Belle on a Budget, for making such a beautiful bookmark especially for our giveaway! 
  • Friends of Seekerville and other readers who shared the blog button, visited the blog posts, downloaded the book, and spread the word in various ways. Word of mouth is crucial, and you all have been such a big help!
  • Green Beans Coffee. I doubt anyone at your company has any idea about this blog tour, but I'm grateful for your Cup of Joe for a Joe program, and I hope that including one of your totes in our giveaway might help others learn of it. =) Keep supporting troops and doing what you do!
  • Sandra, for taking a chance on me and letting me share this journey with you. It has been a wonderful experience so far, my friend, and I look forward to our future projects!
Results

Before I sign off and officially say goodbye to the tour, I wanted to let you all know a few stats:
  • Over 2600 copies of Love's Miracles were downloaded during the Memorial Day weekend freebie promotion.
  • Love's Miracles made it onto the "Top 100 Free" Kindle books list for two genres: "Historical Romance" and "Thrillers."
  • The stats change hourly on Amazon, and Love's Miracles lingered between the 20s and 40s on those two lists during the weekend. But on the last night of the promotion - before it went back to $2.99 - Love's Miracles made #15 on the "Top 100 Free" list for "Historical Romance" and  #9 for the "Top 100 Free" list for "Thrillers."
  • The blog tour Rafflecopter giveaway garnered over 200 entries (not all from different people, but all for different types of entries). This caused Sandra to gain more fans on Goodreads, more followers on Twitter, etc.
  • There are 5 reviews up on Amazon so far (4 and 5-star reviews).
Beyond numbers, though, I believe the success of the blog tour is also shown in the reviews that shared how the book impacted the reviewers, in comments of support and eagerness, and in the general enthusiasm with which Sandra's book was received. Freebies can possibly lead to negative reviews by those who were expecting something different, and it's hard to say how far the freebies go in building up sales. And yet, I think Love's Miracles' re-entry into the world has been quite a happy one so far, and I'm so grateful to have been a part of it and to watch all of you show Sandra such love and support. Book bloggers rock! And that is all she wrote. ;)

Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour: Stealing the Preacher

Here's a description of the book:

"A cowboy who wants to be a preacher. An outlaw’s daughter who wants to change his mind.

On his way to interview for a position at a church in the Piney Woods of Texas, Crockett Archer can’t believe it when he’s forced off the train by an outlaw and presented to the man’s daughter as the preacher she requested for her birthday. He’s determined to escape–which would be much easier if he could stop thinking about Joanna Robbins and her unexpected request.

For months, Joanna had prayed for a minister. A man to breathe life back into the abandoned church at the heart of her community. A man to assist her in fulfilling a promise to her dying mother. But just when it seems her prayers have been answered, it turns out the parson is there against his will and has dreams of his own calling him elsewhere. Is there any way she can convince Crockett he ended up right where he was supposed to be?

With her signature blend of humor, history, and lively western romance, two-time RITA Award finalist and bestselling author Karen Witemeyer delivers a Texas love story sure to steal your heart."

My Rating

Spring

My Review

Karen Witemeyer's books are as comforting as chocolate - her writing silky smooth, the romance delicious, and the heart of it all too good to resist. She has the Christian Historical Romance genre down to a sweet science. And might I add that the covers her stories are "wrapped" in are so lovely and enticing? (I'm glad that Bethany House went with this cover - with the pretty pink and chocolate dress, the soft background colors, and the connection with a piece of the plot, which is always fun!)

I love the mixture of humor and seriousness, cute situations and sobering ones - all tied together with a ribbon of faith throughout the pages. Stealing the Preacher is signature Witemeyer in that way, with another quirky premise that leads to a heartwarming story.

This particular book might come across as a tad more "preachy" than some of her other books because of its premise (the hero is a preacher and the heroine has a certain loved one's salvation weighing on her heart), but the compassion and passion evident in the pages are touching. I think what kept me from loving it quite as much as some of her other books was the plot... Not to say that there weren't exciting elements, but it felt like the basic storyline was stretched out to fill up the pages. I just didn't think the stakes were high enough throughout the entire book to keep me completely enthralled. Everything felt rather soft and slow - from Crockett's decision-making, to the building up and breaking down of relationships, to the passing of events. (And I confess that I generally prefer my love triangles a little heavier on the "male" than the "female" elements.)

But for a gentle story in the Witemeyer tradition, with enough tension in parts to keep the story moving, Stealing the Preacher is an enjoyable read. I'm definitely curious to see whether Witemeyer writes a story for another Archer brother, or whether she introduces an entirely new cast. Her characters are great and her storytelling delectable, so I'm eager for more of her sweet stuff!

*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion, to be shared during the Litfuse Publicity blog tour.*

Book Trailer



About the Author

Two-time RITA finalist and winner of the coveted HOLT Medallion and ACFW Carol Award, CBA bestselling author Karen Witemeyer writes historical romance because she believes that the world needs more happily-ever-afters. She is an avid cross-stitcher, shower singer, and bakes a mean apple cobbler. Karen makes her home in Abilene, Texas, with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at www.karenwitemeyer.com

To Buy the Book: click HERE

Blog Tour: Check out the reviews from other blog tour participants HERE.

Litfuse Contest

Karen Witemeyer is "kindling" the excitement for Stealing the Preacher (Bethany House) with a Kindle Fire Giveaway and connecting with readers at her June 18th Facebook Author Chat Party!

StealingPreacher300

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Stealing the Preacher by Karen Witemeyer 
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends at 4pm on June 18th. Winner will be announced at the "Stealing the Preacher" Facebook Author Chat Party on June 18th. Connect with Karen for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Karen will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Stealing the Preacher and join Karen on the evening of June 18th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 18th!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour: Undeniably Yours

Here's a description of the book:

"When Meg Cole’s father dies unexpectedly, she’s forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire. The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father’s Thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who’s determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him a profound desire to protect. The more time he spends with her, the more he longs to overcome every obstacle that separates them and earn her love.

Just when Meg realizes she can no longer deny the depth of her feelings for Bo, their fragile bond is broken by a force from Meg’s past. Can their relationship–and their belief that God can work through every circumstance–survive?"

My Rating

Spring

My Review

The beginning of Undeniably Yours swept me away - the warm embrace of a sweet romance with a partly grand, partly down-home setting and great characters to populate it. I loved all of the dichotomies and how they added conflict to the story, as well as urging character growth. The book has a great premise that can hook a romance fan, and the overall plot doesn't disappoint.

The romance is really what made and broke the book for me. Meg's struggles and fears trigger Bo's protective instinct, and a fictional hero who wants to protect the heroine definitely makes this romance fan happy! I love pretty much all my fiction with a good dose of romance, so I think it's rather hard for a book to overdo it for me. And I hesitate to say that the romance in this book is overdone... I think it's more that it's sometimes portrayed in a way that comes across as too obsessive.

This was actually my issue with Wade's first book, really. I think it stood out to me more at the end of My Stubborn Heart, but it was still lingering in Undeniably Yours - this feeling that the main characters (in this story, particularly Bo) are too consumed with their romance. The sacrificial nature of Bo's love is admirable, certainly - no question! But it appears that, at times, his life becomes completely centered on Meg and their budding relationship. It's not necessarily in words, as there are references to his faith in God and his desire to put God first, but it's more in how his thoughts and actions are portrayed. Perhaps I'm being overly sensitive, but the romances in Wade's first two books do strike me as unhealthy in parts.

While those comments may suggest that I didn't care for this book, I really did enjoy it, in general. I enjoyed getting to meet some interesting characters. I enjoyed getting to witness Meg mature. I enjoyed the subtle suspense thrown into the mix on occasion, eventually leading up to a romantic-suspense-type ending. And I enjoyed the romance for the most part. This is a well-rounded book with some really sweet moments and revelations, and I'm curious to see what Wade will write next in this series!

*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion, to be shared during the Litfuse Publicity blog tour.*

Book Trailer

 

About the Author

"Becky Wade is a graduate of Baylor University. As a newlywed, she lived for three years in a home overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, as well as in Australia, before returning to the States. A mom of three young children, Becky and her family now live in Dallas, Texas. Visit her website at www.beckywade.com."

To Buy the Book: click HERE

Blog Tour: Check out the reviews from other blog tour participants HERE.

Litfuse Contest

Becky Wade is celebrating her latest swoon-worthy novel, Undeniably Yours (Bethany House), with a Kindle Fire giveaway and hosting an Author Chat party on Facebook {5/29}!

UndeniablyYours

One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire
  • Undeniably Yours and My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 28th. Winner will be announced at the "Undeniably Yours" Facebook Author Chat Party on May 29th. Connect with Becky for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! Becky will also share an exclusive look at her next book and give away books and other fun prizes throughout the evening.

So grab your copy of Undeniably Yours and join Becky on the evening of May 29th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 29th!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Road Trip and Coming Attractions!

I'm so excited to be off on my first solo road trip!! I'll be making the one-day drive (about 7 hours) up to Oregon tomorrow to attend my first roommate's wedding on Saturday and to spend close to a week with my second roommate and her husband. So blessed to have this chance to celebrate and make new memories with these wonderful friends!

Don't worry, though - I've heard all the warnings and cautions and tips from my parents, so I'm set! *wink* (But seriously, I wouldn't mind any prayers for safety, and for my parents' peace of mind. I'm grateful they're allowing me to take one of the cars and giving me this chance to test my independence a bit, and I don't want them to worry too much about me.)

So I'll be bringing the GPS, clothes and necessities, a wedding gift, etc.... But even though I'm new to this sort of thing, I believe a road trip also requires:

Music

I love listening and singing along to music while I'm driving! Here are the CDs I'm bringing with me:
That last one is assuming that it arrives today... Don't let me down now, Amazon Prime 2-day shipping! **Update: It came! I love you, UPS!

I'm also bringing along Heist Society by Ally Carter on CD (audiobook), which I've been saving for this occasion, so there's that, too!

Books

How can you go on a vacation without one...or two...or a ton of these?? I'm planning on bringing Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, as well as Falk's Claim by Jon Humboldt Gates (research for Bleeding Heart!) and my Kindle (which has a nice variety of reading options on it).

I realize I probably won't have a lot of time for reading... But it's better to make like a Boy Scout and be prepared than to be left hanging somewhere with no reading options!! (At least, that's my opinion on the subject. You all agree, right?)

Coming Attractions

In the meantime, I still plan to share a book review next Tuesday (Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, for the Litfuse Publicity blog tour), and the Love's Miracles blog tour will still be in full swing. Don't forget to follow along and check out all of the fun interviews, giveaways, and reviews! You can keep up-to-date by visiting the blog tour page.While I might not be around on social media sites quite as often as I generally am, I'm still planning on checking in on things while I'm gone and spreading the word about the blog tour and all that jazz!

And when I get back? The winner(s) from the blog tour will be announced on May 31st, and I'll wrap up the tour then. And on the following Monday, June 3rd, I'll be revealing the cover for my debut novel, Bleeding Heart, along with a new blog especially for the book!!! So excited!!! (Huge thanks to all those who are helping me with the cover reveal!)

Well, that's it for now! Just be sure to stay off the sidewalks tomorrow - and don't mind the girl rocking out to her tunes as she travels the highways and Interstates. ;)

(Disclaimer: Despite the pictures of Cars Land, I'm not actually going to Disneyland...at this point in time, anyway! Still holding out hope for a family vacation there later this summer. Maybe! Regardless, I thought the pictures from last year's trip were fitting for a road-trip post, don't you think?)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Launch of the Love's Miracles Blog Tour!!!

I'm so excited to announce the beginning of the Love's Miracles blog tour! Sandra Leesmith has been a wonderful client to work with - we've had so much fun figuring out the details and navigating this crazy thing called self-publishing. And Sandra has been very patient with me as I've learned the steps right alongside her!

(I should also take this moment to thank the amazing Lena Goldfinch for her unending willingness to answer my questions, and for designing the beautiful cover! You're awesome, Lena!!)

Now, here's the lowdown about this super cool blog tour...

Schedule

First things first: If you ever feel "lost" at any point during the tour, or if you want to catch up on posts you missed, or if you want to learn how to help us spread the word, visit the blog tour page. Links to all of the participating blogs are there (which will be replaced with direct links once the posts are published), along with other pertinent information, just so we can keep things organized. (I really, really love organization - what can I say?) The blog tour buttons (like the daisy one in my sidebar) all link back to that page, as well.

Here's the schedule, so you can see all the posts we have to look forward to:
If, for some reason, this schedule doesn't end up going exactly as planned, you can blame me for sending too many e-mails and confusing the bloggers, LOL! But seriously, Sandra and I are very grateful for their participation!

 Giveaways and Freebies!

That's right - lots of goodies for you all during this blog tour! I'll start by showing you the big prize package Sandra's offering to one U.S. resident:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Note: For the "Leave a Blog Post Comment" entry, you can leave a comment on any of the stops along the tour. This same form will be on various blog tour posts, but no matter where you enter, your entries will be counted. If you need further clarification on any of the other ways to enter, please feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me at amberstokes@corban.edu.

Want to learn a bit more about the prizes?

Love's Miracles

About the Book: "Dr. Margo Devaull came to Dominic Zanelli's mountain retreat confident that she could help this Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both free – and save their last chance for love."

Add it on Goodreads; purchase at Amazon.com.

Current of Love

About the Book: "Janelle Edwards is a sultry singer who's nursing a perpetually broken heart. Everett Jamison, III is a handsome workaholic with no time for love on his busy agenda. Both have sworn off relationships and marriage...but on a cozy steamboat cruise up the Mississippi River, the two keep crossing paths. They try hard to ignore the growing attraction, even as family and friends urge them on. But when danger threatens the ship, Janelle and Rett must make a decision: continue running from their emotions - or let the tides of passion sweep them away. A light Southern romance sweetened with a splash of humor, Current of Love blends brilliant storytelling with endearing characters to make even the biggest skeptics believe in love again."

Add it on Goodreads; purchase at Amazon.com.

The Price of Victory

About the Book: "Sterling Wade, a successful professional cyclist, finds the one thing he's missing in life—a woman to love. But Debra Valenzuela refuses to allow a relationship with any man to interfere with her determination to become a professional cyclist.

When Debra is seriously injured during a race, her ambition and wish to succeed and win her father's love are put to the test. With Sterling at her side during her rehabilitation, Debra learns that love is not a race to be won, but something to be earned. Can Sterling help Debra follow her dream and in the process discover new purpose for his own life? Will they accept the price of victory?"

Add it on Goodreads; purchase at Amazon.com.

Daisy Bookmark


Made by Christy, owner of Belle on a Budget, this bookmark was specially designed for this giveaway. It matches the book's cover, featuring a daisy - which plays an important, symbolic role in Love's Miracles and ties in with the title. (As a side note, I've purchased one of Christy's bookmarks, and I love it! Dainty and very pretty.)

Tote Bag


In addition to the prizes above (and the Amazon.com gift card, which is rather self-explanatory), Sandra will order the winner an "I Love Our Troops!" tote bag from the Green Beans Coffee Custom Store. This fits for three reasons: 1) It's a tote bag - what better way to carry your new books around?? 2) It says "I Love Our Troops" - fitting in with the military theme of the book. 3) Green Beans Coffee has a great program called Cup of Joe for a Joe that we want to draw attention to...

I first learned about Cup of Joe for a Joe on the Seekerville blog, I believe. It was over two years ago when I decided to send a cup of coffee and a note to one of our soldiers overseas. He wrote me back, and we became e-mail pen pals for a short time. (You can read a message he once forwarded to me HERE.)

We didn't stay pen pals for very long, but it was still a special experience for me. I did, however, find a long-term pen pal via K.C. Frantzen (author of the "May the K-9 Spy" books). She introduced me (through e-mail) to the soldier she became pen pals with through the same program, and he and I started e-mailing. Our e-mails have become sporadic, but we're still in touch despite the fact that he's finished his time in the Army. I'm grateful for his friendship, and our fun book swaps. :)

All this to say, all it takes is $2.00 and a little note to brighten a soldier's day and maybe make a new friend. So, if reading Love's Miracles or following this blog tour makes you want to do something for a soldier, I recommend this program!

Other Giveaways and Freebies

Be sure to visit all the stops along the tour during the next two weeks - there might be little surprise giveaways in there!

As for the "freebies," Sandra is offering Love's Miracles for FREE on Kindle during the Memorial Day weekend: May 24th through May 27th. So mark your calendars and spread the word! If you're looking for a Memorial Day read, Love's Miracles - with its Vietnam-vet hero and its sympathetic look at the struggles of war veterans - is a great choice. And you can't beat that price!

Conclusion

Why does it feel like I just wrote an essay? LOL. I hope you'll have fun browsing all of the information above, as well as learning more about Sandra and her re-release at the different stops along the tour. Again, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me if you have any questions about the tour!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Review of Roses Have Thorns



Here's a description of the book from Howard Books:

"In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancĂ© has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle.

But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

A rich, tautly woven tale of love, deception, and grace, Roses Have Thorns vividly conjures the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart."

My Rating

Spring/Summer

My Review

Sandra Byrd's "Ladies in Waiting" series is a three-course banquet of historical delicacies. The research is rich and the scope is solid. Roses Have Thorns, the conclusion to the series, is similar in flavor to its two predecessors but is also a well-written tale in its own right.

Part of that similar "flavor," if you will, made it a little difficult for me to be completely swept away by these stories. I admire them and I enjoyed them, but the determination to cover so much time and so many events made the books feel more like documentaries with extended anecdotes than, say, Saturday-night movies. Certainly interesting, but not quite as personally captivating as it might be if the reader had more focused time with the characters in one place vs. always being on the move from one place to the next and from one year to the next.

But that's the nature of these books and these characters - there's just so much to tell in such a short amount of time! And Byrd tells it well. Roses Have Thorns covers about twenty-five years of Queen Elizabeth's reign (close to forty if you count the epilogue). And yet, while that may seem rushed, the flow of the story actually feels a little slow - not really in a slow-paced way, but in the sense that it's so epic and feels so long. At least for me, it took a while to finish the book.

The journey is certainly rich, though. Recurring themes, admirable sacrifices contrasted with very human emotions and tendencies, interesting myths and fables, uncertain loyalties, mystery, romance...it's all mixed in there, with the religious divisions and confusion of a kingdom serving as a suspenseful and fitting backdrop to personal divisions and confusion.

Elin's/Helena's love life kept me intrigued and often took surprising turns. The men in her life didn't always do right by her, in my opinion, but then, Helena wasn't always perfect, either. Byrd does a great job of showing how all of those in such high positions were truly human. (Although I must add that I don't know if I could handle the workings of high society and court life back then! So much to remember...so much to watch out for and to hold back...)

Roses Have Thorns is a long but beautiful glimpse into the end of the Tudor era. It uses lofty language and grand imagery to convey a story of flawed characters who don't get things perfectly, but who try to do the best that they are able as they seek faith and love and duty.

*With much gratitude to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

You can purchase the book now on Amazon.com! And there's an awesome giveaway on Sandra's blog that goes through the end of the month, so be sure to check it out!

Monday, May 13, 2013

We Have A Winner!

It was a close call, my friends... I thought I might have to extend the giveaway deadline and e-mail Jocelyn Green for help! I guess it's been too long since I've done a "Mondays for the Military" post, because I don't think I've ever had a giveaway where I didn't get any entries at all! (Or maybe I'm choosing to block out those times from my memory, LOL.)

In any case, I'm so pleased (and relieved!) to announce that we do have a winner of the Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs...

Julie!

She has two nieces who are military wives, so it's wonderful to know that this will find a good home. =)

If you know of any military wives or happen to be one yourself, you can check out this post to learn more about this edition of the New Testament, the editor, and a special offer! 

And thanks again to Zondervan for offering this giveaway!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

My Review of The Remedy



Serena Chase's "Eyes of E'veria" Blog Tour continues! You can click the button above to see the page on Serena's website dedicated to the tour, or you can visit her Facebook page to get all the updates. And if you missed it, be sure to check out my review of the first book in the series, The Ryn, HERE (post includes a Rafflecopter giveaway form!).

Here's a description of the book from the author's website:

"PURPOSED by birth. DESTINED by prophecy. REVEALED by Truth. 
Now, her time has come. 

Having come to terms with her long-hidden identity, Princess Rynnaia E’veri is ready to take her rightful place. But before she can join her father at Castle Rynwyk, she must endeavor to fulfill a 200-year-old prophecy and defeat the Kingdom’s ancient enemy, the Cobelds. Joined by her faithful knight, Sir Julien de Gladiel, and a gifted group of friends, Rynnaia must trek a dangerous path through canyons, forests, and into the very depths of a mountain where, if the prophetic scrolls prove correct, she will face an unknown foe, alone. Treacheries will be discovered, sacrifices will be made, friends will be lost, and love will be tested, but if even one line of the riddled prophecy is misinterpreted, Rynnaia will fail . . . and the Kingdom will fall.

Beginning at the point THE RYN ended, THE REMEDY concludes an epic re-imagining of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White & Rose Red, but the Eyes of E’veria series is only beginning . . ."

My Rating

Spring

My Review

The Remedy is an ultimately exciting sequel to The Ryn, continuing the epic tradition of its predecessor and leaving just enough tantalizing hints about the future of certain secondary characters to leave the reader eager for more of the "Eyes of E'veria" series!

The beginning was a little rough for me in comparison to the great beginning of The Ryn. The pacing starts out sort of slow, and there's quite a bit of recapping from the first book. (That might be more helpful to those who haven't read The Ryn, however. It just kept me from really being drawn into the flow of the story for a while.) After all the foreshadowing and planning in The Ryn, I guess I was just eager for the actual journey to get started. *wink*

The plot really picks up close to halfway through the book, and from then on it's a thrilling, harrowing, surprising adventure as Rynnaia and her faithful companions seek the Remedy for the sake of the kingdom and all those they love. Lots of unexpected twists and lessons in humility along the way! The characters are spared very little of the danger and suffering such an undertaking entails. But the ending is completely satisfying and extra special for those who have read both parts of the story.

It's a pleasure to rejoin this great cast of characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Chase takes some of them in future novels. (If I wasn't already excited by the references in The Remedy to the potential plot of the third book, this Pinterest board would have me curious!) Chase offers a great "remedy" in this series for bookshelves deficient in a sweet mix of fairy tales and fantasy (with some romance, of course!).

*With thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC e-version of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

You can purchase The Remedy (Kindle e-book) now at Amazon.com!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Of A New Addiction, My WIP, and The Blog


Happy Wednesday, everyone! I have a few unrelated announcements and whatnot today...

Bloglovin'

In case you haven't already seen this, you can follow my blog via Bloglovin'! This is just an option as a way to keep tabs on this blog once Google Reader is out, if you'd like. And I'm just posting this link here because I apparently have to do so in order to "claim" my blog on Bloglovin'. So there you go! ;)

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Pinterest

Yes, I did it. I created an account on Pinterest! I was a little hesitant to join the craze at first because of potential copyright issues (not to mention that Twitter, Goodreads, and blogging were enough to keep me busy, LOL!). But I've been trying to give credit where credit is due through links and such, so hopefully I'm doing this right! 

Anyway, my cover designer (the lovely and talented Lena Goldfinch, who's also now on Pinterest!) decided to create a "secret" board for us as an easier method for communicating cover ideas, and let me tell you, it's been fun! But, of course, as soon as I got into that I just had to keep going with other boards...

You can find my main page on Pinterest HERE. And if you're interested, I've created boards for my WIP! There's one for the characters and setting of the book (etc.), and another for the "soundtrack" to accompany the reading experience. Hope you enjoy browsing them!

(Speaking of Bleeding Heart, I just got edits back a couple of days ago!! I'm so blessed by Elizabeth Ludwig's assistance and friendship, and I'm excited to fix and polish BH so it's ready to present to others. My current hope is to have a cover reveal in June and a blog tour at the beginning of August, but we'll see how it goes! Do feel free to e-mail me if you're at all interested in being a part of either of those when the times comes: amberstokes@corban.edu)

Blog Design

Lastly, I noticed my dear blogging friend, Rissi, updated her blog's look:

Doesn't her blog look snazzy? And so cute!

Her update reminded me that it was high time my own blog got dressed up for a new season! It's been wearing its spring clothes since mid-winter, LOL. So I've given it what I hope is a more summery look!

The new background and color scheme speak of sunny days and clouds made for dreaming and floating upon through one's imagination. The main picture above is one from our trip last summer to Sunriver, Oregon - the Big Obsidian Flow near Bend. I like the matching blue sky and clouds (hope they fit pretty well with the background!), but I also like the symbolism in the picture. It speaks of adventure and new territory. There are rocks and shadows that suggest struggles during a journey, but the whole scene is one of hope with the expansive sky and the brightness in the distance. I'm hoping that, if it's the Lord's will, my upcoming journey with self-publishing will be an exciting adventure, with the shadows and rocks along the path only strengthening my trust in Him and the sweetness of His gifts.

Well, that's all for today! Hoping to have some new book reviews to share with you soon! In the meantime, how are you all doing? Any fun new addictions, blog designs, or what-have-you that you'd like to share?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday for the Military: Military Wives' New Testament (Giveaway!)

Happy Monday, everyone! It's been a long, long time since I've shared a "Monday for the Military" post, but when Rachel from Zondervan contacted me regarding a giveaway opportunity, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.

If you're a military wife (or you know of one), this giveaway is for you!

About the Military Wives' New Testament

"When a woman’s husband serves in the military, she is required to sacrifice as well, adding a level of strain to everyday life that most people can’t understand. Frequent moves, unpredictable schedules, extended deployments, reintegration—and, in some cases, caregiving—all make a military spouse hungry for the stability and peace found in God’s Word.

The NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs is designed to address the unique needs, hopes, fears, struggles, and insecurities of military wives. With 90 devotionals written by military wives and edited by Jocelyn Green, a former military wife who actively ministers to wives whose husbands are serving, this New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs is designed so that women in this unique situation feel as if they have a companion on their journey.

The NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs includes:
• Devotions that provide hope, encouragement, and spiritual growth
• Preface written by Jocelyn Greene
• Scripture from the New International Version
• Topical Index and other study helps

'The military wife fights battles of their own with unseen enemies: loneliness, weariness, fear, discouragement,' said Green. 'The truth of God’s Word is both her weapon and her shield. With special devotions written by and for fellow military wives, this New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs serves as soul armor for the heroes at home.'

As military wives serve their country in their own way, the words of Green and other seasoned military wives bring help and hope, alongside God’s Word, to encourage and embolden them."

The Editor

Did you catch that name? The devotionals included in this version were edited by Jocelyn Green! I had the pleasure of interviewing Jocelyn twice in the past for my "Mondays for the Military" feature regarding the devotionals Faith Deployed and Faith Deployed...Again. (You can read those interviews HERE and HERE.)

But if you weren't aware of her non-fiction, it's quite possible you've heard of her recent fiction releases, Wedded to War and Widow of Gettysburg. I haven't yet read them (although they're both on my Kindle), but I've heard good things about them!

You can learn more about Jocelyn and her works at her website.

Buy 1, Give 1 Free!

In addition to the giveaway below, Zondervan wants to share this special offer:

With every purchase of the NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs, you will receive an additional copy to share with a friend for free!

To get your free copy:
  • Visit www.churchsource.com and create an account 
  • Add 2 copies of NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (9780310421078) to your cart 
  • Enter promo code BD5W11 at checkout 
  • Offer valid 5/1/2013 through 5/31/2013
Giveaway!

Now, to enter the giveaway for a copy of the Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs...
  • Leave a comment with your e-mail address. (The e-mail address is required so I can contact you if you win.) If you've read one of Jocelyn's books, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Or you can just say why you'd like to win (i.e. "I'm a military wife," or "I have a friend who would be blessed by this," etc.).
  • A winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on the blog next Monday, May13th.
  • Good luck! And thank you so much to Zondervan for offering this giveaway!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Client's Cover Reveal! ~ Love's Miracles by Sandra Leesmith

So excited this day is finally here!!! I've been having a lot of fun putting together the cover reveal and blog tour for Sandra Leesmith's re-release, Love's Miracles. And it's been a great experience so far overseeing this book's journey to being self-published and shared with a new audience. Can't wait for all that is yet to come!

But first things first! We have a beautiful cover to share with you!


Thoughts on the Cover

I had the pleasure of working with Lena Goldfinch on the cover (I need to clarify that she did all the work - I just helped her brainstorm!), and I'm so pleased with how it turned out!

After reading the book, I knew I wanted a daisy on the cover. Its symbolism and tie-in with the title made it a necessity in my mind (but you'll have to discover the scene that made me feel this way for yourself!). The daisy's connection with the title colors on here is perfect, and the golden-yellow color goes well with the sunshine pouring across the trees in the background.

I'm just in awe of how Lena put the background together! (Let's just say that it's not all one photo - it's a beautiful blend of different images designed to give just the right sense of the book's setting and its atmosphere/isolation.)

As for the couple, my dad pointed out how "imperfect" they are. Not that they aren't lovely people, but they aren't edited to be perfect, you know? My dad noted the mole on the woman's nose and the man's unshaven look. And I think the "imperfections" make the models that much more real. Their expressions are perfect, though, for this story! There's a hint of sweetness, a smile playing about the woman's mouth, that speaks to the romance and the hope. But there's also a seriousness about them both - perhaps a longing for connection, unspoken fears. The nature of this story (about a Vietnam veteran and a psychologist) makes the tone darker than many romances, and so the seriousness depicts that well.

And I think the black at the top helps with that, too. The colors and moods all give hints to the story behind the cover, and I say "bravo!" to Lena for getting so much across in such a simple and yet polished way.

About the Book

Want to know what this book is all about? So glad you asked! Here's the synopsis:

"Dr. Margo Devaull came to Dominic Zanelli's mountain retreat confident that she could help this Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both free – and save their last chance for love."

I've helped Sandra edit/rework this book to be a generally clean romance, although we kept a few swear words, some violence, etc. in the story in order to maintain a sense of realism and to show the hardships military men and woman endure.

Cover Reveal and Blog Tour

I'm so pleased to have a lovely group of bloggers helping Sandra and me to spread the work about this book! Today and tomorrow they'll be sharing their own cover reveal posts, where you can learn more about Sandra and Lena, maybe read a teaser from the book, and read others' thoughts about the cover! You'll find a list of the links and more at the Love's Miracles Blog Tour page here on this blog. Be sure to check in there often in the coming weeks for links and info!

The official blog tour is set for May 20th-31st (to coincide with Memorial Day and the book's release in Kindle format), and there will be reviews, giveaways, interviews, and more! It's going to be a blast! If you'd like to help spread the word, you can take the button below or check out the group of them on the blog tour page. Thank you in advance for your help!


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I'd love to hear your thoughts on the cover! What sort of mood/tone does it convey to you? Does it make you want to read the book? (If it does, consider marking it "Want to Read" on Goodreads!)