Saturday, August 31, 2013

Conclusion of the Bleeding Heart Blog Tour!

Well, these past two weeks have been awesome, if you don't mind me saying so! A little crazy, but definitely in a good way. ;) And today I have lots of exciting things to share as we bring the Bleeding Heart blog tour to a close - so do get comfortable! (But not too comfortable, so you can quickly jump up and dance around the room should the need arise! Yes, I'm a big dreamer, LOL.)

(I'm including some quote pics from Bleeding Heart throughout the post. The pics are ones I took in Northern California or Oregon and edited via PicMonkey. If you're read Bleeding Heart, do feel free to share a favorite quote in the comments section, if you have one! I'd love to hear what lines stood out to you.)


I have 2 winners to announce today!

The first is the winner of the Bleeding Heart "Journey to the West" prize pack, which includes a signed coy of Bleeding Heart when it's available, a copy of Falk's Claim: The Life and Death of a Redwood Lumber Town by Jon Humboldt Gates, a redwood bookmark, Pacific Northwest playing cards, and a wooden train whistle from Virginia City, Nevada. And the winner is...


Congratulations!! Be on the lookout for my e-mail! I hope you enjoy your "Journey to the West" via these items. =)

Now for the winner of the $10 gift card! I included the names of those who guessed the correct title of the sequel to Bleeding Heart (which I'll announce in a moment), as well as the names of those who suggested an actor to portray Zachary Taylor (I'll announce my choice for that in a moment, too!). And the winner is...


Congratulations!! I appreciate you and all those who participated in the series-extras games. Hope they were fun! I enjoyed reading all of your guesses and suggestions. =)

As for the other book giveaways at other blog tour stops, they'll be announcing their own winners, so be sure to check in with them!


So...anyone curious about that title and actor??


There were actually 7 people who guessed the correct title for the sequel to Bleeding Heart (assuming I don't change it between now and when I actually write it, LOL). And that title is Morning Glory! I love what Julie said as an explanation for her guess:

It sounds so spiritual and uplifting after the tragedies that have befallen the characters. 

I thought so, too! We've got the first title, Forget Me Not, which connotes feelings of longing, wistfulness, and fear. It's an uncertain thing, but also full of tremulous hope. Then we've got the sequel (the first published book), Bleeding Heart. Very dramatic, sorrowful, and poignant, suggesting tragedy but also hinting that a heart that can bleed is also a heart that can be healed. And finally, there's the third in the series - Morning Glory. I've already heard about a potential "Myghal petition" to make sure he gets an HEA. ;) While I can't guarantee what will happen to the characters in that book (I'm generally a "pantser" who likes to see where the story goes and how I grow during the writing process), I really do hope that a third book will be one that that has a dawning hope - an embracing of joy after trials, and an eye-opening perspective on life and eternity. We'll see what happens!

Short Story

In case you missed the update, my current writing project is Fairy Slippers, a companion short story featuring Zachary Taylor (the cook) from Bleeding Heart. You can learn more in a previous post. In that post I asked for some suggestions to help me give a fact to Taylor - and of those suggestions, I decided to go with Richard Armitage, suggested by Jaguar Hero. (Surprise, surprise, given my love of North & South!) But I had to find just the right picture to kind of suggest darker looks, a fuller face, a piercing gaze, a strength born of experiences and self-confidence, but also a depth - a well of gentleness beneath it all. Take a look at the pic I found:

What do you think?? It might not be a perfect likeness, but I think the "feeling" might be right. Would love to hear your thoughts! 

I'm looking forward to finishing this Cinderella-themed story within the next few weeks, hopefully. It's been fun so far! After that, I plan to move on to Forget Me Not...


If you haven't already seen the links I've splashed all over Twitter, you can learn more about Forget Me Not on the new site (my cover designer made me a new header, which is so pretty!). You can also check out the Pinterest board and add the book on Goodreads.

And here's a super exciting update: Lena Goldfinch has already started on the cover design! SQUEE!! (Such a FUN part of the process!) Poor Lena... I found a few pins to add to our secret board on Pinterest the other night, mainly for reference, and Lena promptly got sucked into the cover-design process. We were planning on working on the cover design in November, haha! As it is, I'm absolutely in love with where the design is going, and I can tell you that, as far as it looks now, it will be an absolutely beautiful companion and complement to the cover of Bleeding Heart!

So here's a potential schedule for Forget Me Not stuff:

~ Mid-October: cover reveal!
~ Late November/early December: e-ARCs sent out to reviewers
~ January: e-book release and blog tour
~ February: paperback release (oooh, maybe a Valentine's Day release??)

If you're interested in being part of the cover reveal, do let me know!

Bleeding Heart

I still have some news about Bleeding Heart, too!

1. If you haven't yet picked up a Kindle copy of the book, it's on sale for $.99 this weekend! Celebrate Labor Day weekend with an inexpensive trip to the Old West. =)

2. I've ordered my proof copy of Bleeding Heart, which should be arriving this next week or early the following week!!! SQUEE again!! I'm sure I'll share a picture of me and my first paperback! And as soon as I get my copy and approve it, it should hopefully be available for order on Amazon and CreateSpace! Huzzah! Links to come soon... 


Special thanks to Melissa Tagg, Serena Chase, Diane Estrella, MaryLu Tyndall, Rissi, Julie Graves, Miranda Uyeh, Kara, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Audrey, Ariel Wilson, Rachelle Rea, Jana Grissom, Renee Chaw, Lydia, Casey Herringshaw, Faye, Vince Mooney, Abbi Hart, Melanie, Kate, Michelle, Melanie B., Lena Nelson Dooley, Rebeka B., Sherida Stewart, Meagan Davenport, Rel Mollet, Carissa, Kav, Alyssa, Michelle Griep, Samantha Jo, Grace, Amber M., Rebekah Gyger, and Ganise. You all made my blog tour so epic - there would be no tour without you! Thank you so very much for your support, your posts, your tweets, your reviews, your time, and your encouragement. ♥

As you can hopefully tell from the "news" section above, the fun is far from over! Beyond my writing projects, I also have an "Autumn Bash" coming in late September featuring 6 fabulous authors - as well as some exciting publicity projects throughout the fall. So stay tuned, old followers and new! A new season is upon us. =)

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour: On Distant Shores

Here's a description of the book:

"Caught between the war raging around them and the battles within, two souls long for peace—and a love that remains true. 

Lt. Georgiana Taylor has everything she could want. A boyfriend back home, a loving family, and a challenging job as a flight nurse. But in July 1943, Georgie’s cozy life gets more complicated when she meets pharmacist Sgt. John Hutchinson.
Hutch resents the lack of respect he gets as a noncommissioned serviceman and hates how the war keeps him from his fiancĂ©e. While Georgie and Hutch share a love of the starry night skies over Sicily, their lives back home are falling apart. Can they weather the hurt and betrayal? Or will the pressures of war destroy the fragile connection they’ve made?

With her signature attention to detail and her talent for bringing characters together, Sarah Sundin weaves an exciting tale of emotion, action, and romance that will leave you wanting more."

My Partial Review

On Distant Shores has a promising beginning - kind of a slow waltz back into the lives of characters from With Every Letter, with a few spins and turns as the reader gets new perspective from previous secondary characters. I found it interesting that the book begins before the ending of With Every Letter, although it quickly catches up to where that first book in the "Wings of the Nightingale" series left off.

As for the rest of my thoughts on the book... I'm afraid I'm going to keep you in suspense a little longer! Unfortunately, I'm behind on my reading, and I have some other projects currently on my mind. I'm not quite a quarter of the way through the book, but I'll definitely plan on sharing my full review once I've finished. (Aiming for early next week - we'll see!) I apologize for the delay, and I thank you for your patience!

Update: You can read my full review HERE.

*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.*

About the Author

Sarah Sundin is the author of With Every Letter and the "Wings of Glory" series. In 2011, A Memory Between Us was a finalist in the Inspirational Reader’s Choice Awards, and Sarah received the Writer of the Year Award at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A graduate of UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy, she works on call as a hospital pharmacist. During WWII, her grandfather served as a pharmacist’s mate (medic) in the Navy and her great-uncle flew with the US Eighth Air Force in England. Sarah lives in California with her husband and three children. Visit for more information.

To Buy the Book: click HERE

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

My Reviews of Other Sundin Books: A Memory Between Us, Blue Skies Tomorrow, With Every Letter

Litfuse Contest

Sarah Sundin is celebrating the release of her latest novel, On Distant Shores, with a Romantic Weekend Getaway giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A $200 Visa Cash Card (good for a perfect couple's getaway)
  • With Every Letter and On Distant Shores by Sarah Sundin
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 2nd. Winner will be announced September 3rd at the "On Distant Shores" Author Chat Party on Facebook. During the party Sarah will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills, announcing the winner of the Weekend Getaway, and giving away a ton of books, gift certificates, and more. Oh, and she'll also be giving party goers an exclusive look at the next book in the Wings of the Nightingale series.

So grab your copy of On Distant Shores and join Sarah on the evening of September 3rd 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!)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wanted: A Face for Zachary Taylor

I'm back with another series-extras post! I was planning on doing a "guess the scene" game to go along with the Bleeding Heart soundtrack, but since I'm currently working on that companion short story I keep mentioning, another idea has revealed itself. Hope you'll still find it fun!

Last week, I began a $10 gift card giveaway with a "guess the title" game. There's still time to enter if you haven't yet done so! Just leave a comment on that post with your guess for the title of Bleeding Heart's sequel. (More details HERE.)

Today you have a chance to get another entry in the drawing for the gift card (so this is not a new drawing, but a continuation of the one started last week)! Here are the rules (with a little background)...

I'm working on my contest entry for the Five Glass Slippers writing contest hosted by author Anne Elisabeth Stengl. I'm doing a Cinderella retelling called Fairy Slippers, set not long about a year after the end of Bleeding Heart in Falk, California in 1887 1888 (*I've already noticed a revision I have to make, LOL*). Rebeka of The Other World inspired me to consider writing a story about Zachary Taylor, one of Bleeding Heart's secondary, just so you all know, Zach is back!

I think this is a really fun writing prompt and an exciting contest, so I'm happy to give it a shot while telling a little more of Zachary Taylor's story. I hope you'll get to hear more about my entry in 2014 - either because it did all right in the contest (the top 5 entries will be published in a book titled Five Glass Slippers), or because it didn't make it, in which case I'd consider self-publishing it as a $.99 e-book or something. =)

Anywho, back to this contest! I got distracted by Pinterest again (what can I say?), and decided to create a board for this project. I have an actress in mind for the heroine, Margaret Richmond. But I'm having a tough time thinking of an actor who fits Zachary's looks and demeanor well. Here's a brief recap of his character:

~ Tall, dark hair, muscular
~ 42 years old
~ Served in the Confederate Army during the War Between the States (the Civil War)
~ Works as a cook in Falk, a redwood lumber town
~ Kind of gruff and doesn't say much, but a bit of a softy once you get to know him
~ Sings war ballads at the Saturday night dances

I would love your help in putting a face to Zachary Taylor! Gotta find that perfect pin for my Pinterst board, you know? ;)

So, here's how you can get another entry in the $10 gift card drawing:
  • Leave a comment with the name of the actor you think fits Zachary's character well. A link to a pic would be even better! Please also include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. (If you know I know it, you don't have to include it, but otherwise please do, so your entry can be counted.)
  • I kind of like more old-fashioned movies for actor pics, and I love to make a connection between a specific role the actor played and my character. (You can find examples of this on my Bleeding Heart and Forget Me Not boards.) However, you don't have to suggest the "winning" pic for your entry to be counted!
  • The winner of this double-play (two chances to win) giveaway will be announced at the conclusion of the blog tour on Saturday, August 31st.
Looking forward to hearing your suggestions! Don't forget that there are more Bleeding Heart blog tour posts this week (you can find all the links HERE) - and please don't hesitate to ask me if you have any questions about this giveaway or the tour.

Friday, August 23, 2013

My Review of Into the Whirlwind (CFBA Tour)

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Into the Whirlwind
Baker Publishing Group (August 15, 2013)
Elizabeth Camden


A research librarian and associate professor, Elizabeth Camden has a master’s in history from the University of Virginia and a master’s in library science from Indiana University. She has published several articles for academic publications and is the author of four nonfiction history books. Her ongoing fascination with history and love of literature have led her to write inspirational fiction. Elizabeth lives with her husband in central Florida.


 After her father's death, Mollie Knox takes over his watchmaking company and uses her head for business to solidify the good name of the 57th Illinois Watch Company. Her future looks bright until the night her beloved city is destroyed in the legendary Great Chicago Fire. With her world crumbling around her, Molly must do whatever it takes to save her company in the aftermath of the devastating fire.

Zack Kazmarek is an influential attorney with powerful ties to the political, mercantile, and ethnic roots of Chicago. His only weakness is Mollie Knox, a woman who has always been just beyond his reach. However, all bets are off after the fire destroys Chicago, and Mollie is in desperate need of assistance. Just as Zack finally begins to pursue the woman he loves, competition arises in the form of a hero from her past who can provide the help she needs to rise from the ashes.

While Mollie struggles to rebuild, the two men battle for her heart. One has always loved her, but the other has the power to save her. In the race to rebuild the city, can she survive with her business and her heart intact?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Into the Whirlwind, go HERE.




Thrillingly, frustratingly, undeniably unique. Elizabeth Camden once again proves her talent for writing historical romance with depth and creativity in Into the Whirlwind.

The most action-packed event of the novel happens early on, with most of the story being about the characters' struggles resulting from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Those struggles range from daily survival (for a time) to financial difficulties, relational misunderstandings and hardships, business changes, and romantic uncertainties. There is plenty of resulting tension to keep the plot interesting long after the fire burns out and the city starts to heal.

Some of that tension is aggravating in the extreme, as Zack and Mollie both got on my nerves in turn. Of course, I do appreciate that the reason for that was often due to their very real faults and rash choices. While their actions and words aren't always commendable, their defense tactics are often painfully easy to relate to.

Into the Whirlwind lacks the emotional undertow that pulled me under in Against the Tide, and it's missing that certain sparkle that made me fall in love with The Rose of Winslow Street. The writing felt a bit repetitive in some ways, too. However, despite it not being my favorite of Camden's, her extensive research, her intriguing characters, and her fresh plot still make this book a worthwhile and engaging read - and I look forward to seeing what exciting story Camden pens next!

*With thanks to the publisher through CFBA for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Thursday, August 22, 2013

TBR Spine Poetry

After seeing wonderful pics from blogging friends Kara (Flowers of Quiet Happiness) and Ruth (Booktalk & More), I simply couldn't resist taking on the challenge of coming up with some "spine poetry"!

These two "poems" are all from books in my TBR or "currently reading" stacks (both YA and Christian fiction)...

Welcome to Last Chance
On Distant Shores:
Shadow and Bone...
Shades of Mercy
All in Good Time
For Darkness Shows the Stars.

The Elite:
Born of Persuasion.
A Noble Groom,
The False Princess - 
Wishing on Willows...
Burning Sky,
Into the Whirlwind...
Love at Any Cost.

So much fun to try "writing" poetry in a new way! Have you all tried this? Or have you come up with some other ways of "writing" poetry or stories?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Of Prequels and Sequels!

The Bleeding Heart blog tour is moving right along! You can catch up on the first posts (as well as take a look at what's coming) HERE. Today's official stop is at author Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Tales of Goldstone Wood blog, where you'll find an interview regarding my writing journey, as well as an excerpt from chapter 2. Would love to see you there!

Now for one of those fun series-extras posts I promised you...

Forget Me Not (Prequel)

If you've been following all the Bleeding Heart news, you've most likely heard about Forget Me Not. (Or perhaps you remember this post from April 2011?) It's the first novel I wrote, although it has yet to be edited. That's my goal - to finally edit the book this autumn, then publish it this winter. =)

So I'm sure you'll be hearing more about the story on Twitter in the coming months as I work on it - and I seriously cannot wait to have another cover reveal, especially since Lena Goldfinch should be doing the cover design again! (Squeee!)

In the meantime, I've started a board for Forget Me Not on Pinterest, if you want a little glimpse at the setting and the hero. I hope to add more pics eventually, so you can follow the board if you'd like to be the first to see how I envision the characters, etc.

Visiting Virginia City again a few weeks ago made me even more eager to revisit this story of my heart... (The pic above is one view from Edith Palmer's Country Inn at dusk. My family and I love that place!)

The Sequel 

I'm so thrilled by the feedback I've received from readers/reviewers expressing interest in a certain character's continuing story! While I haven't started writing a sequel for Bleeding Heart (and it will probably be a while before I can, as I'm planning on focusing on Forget Me Not and a companion short story first), I do have a title in mind. I seriously feel like that's a big part of the battle, because the titles shape these stories so much - the theme, the tone, the plot.

So here's the "fun" part of today's post - we're going to play "Guess the Title"! ;) Here are your hints:
  • As far as I know, this would be Myghal's story. (If you know the story behind Bleeding Heart and the fact that I'm sort of a "pantser," you'll understand why I'm wording it this way...)
  • The title continues in the theme of the titles of the first two books (i.e.: flower name).
I'll put the names of those who guess correctly in a drawing for a $10 gift card. (All I ask is that you please leave an e-mail address so I can send you your gift card if you win. Only comments with a correct guess and an e-mail address will be entered in the drawing.) There will be at least one more (hopefully fun!) chance to get your name into the hat, so to speak, so be on the lookout for that! The winner will be announced at the end of the blog tour.

Looking forward to seeing your guesses! And do feel free to ask me any questions about the prequel, the sequel, or the companion short story. I can't promise I'll be able to answer everything in detail, but I'd still love to chat with you. =)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

3...2...1 - The Bleeding Heart Blog Tour Has Begun!

Does anyone know where the first half of August went?? There's so much going on this month - but it's been packed with blessings for me so far, and I hope it's been the same for you! And, well, here it is August 18th, which means that the Bleeding Heart blog tour is go for launch!

I've been overwhelmed by the support I've received for my debut novel. My inbox has been inundated with fabulous interview questions for the tour, and the first reviews have been wonderful to read. I hope you enjoy visiting all the stops along the tour! While some of the interview questions were very similar, each interview is unique - and there will also be plenty of reviews, some extra e-book giveaways, and some other special posts along the way. 

Here's an overview of the blog tour schedule (but be sure to visit the official blog tour page on the Bleeding Heart site for direct links when they're available, as well as the latest information about the tour):

Sunday, August 18th
Monday, August 19th 
Tuesday, August 20th
Wednesday, August 21st
Thursday, August 22nd
Friday, August 23rd
Saturday, August 24th
Sunday,  August 25th
Monday, August 26th
Tuesday, August 27th
Wednesday, August 28th
Thursday, August 29th
Friday, August 30th
Saturday, August 31st

If you haven't picked up your copy of Bleeding Heart yet, it's currently only $2.99 for Kindle. (Or you can try your luck in one of the giveaways - or wait for the paperback version, which is coming soon!)

Speaking of giveaways...

"Journey to the West" Giveaway!

I've put together a prize package for the tour designed to give one lucky winner a special "journey to the West." In addition to a signed copy of my book (when the paperback becomes available), I'm including items I've handpicked from the various settings of Bleeding Heart. There's a deck of playing cards with pictures from the Pacific Northwest, which I bought at the Multnomah Falls gift shop in Oregon. There's a redwood bookmark and a copy of Falk's Claim: The Life and Death of a Redwood Lumber Town (a book about one of the settings which greatly aided me during the editing process and is a fascinating read), which I bought at a gift shop at Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. And there's a wooden train whistle (and a post card which I'll use to write a message to the winner) that I bought in Virginia City, Nevada.

All of these prizes will go to one winner who enters via the Rafflecopter form below! The winner will be announced at the end of the tour. Please note that this particular giveaway is U.S. only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope you have a great time visiting all of the fabulous blogs participating in the tour. And be on the lookout for a couple of special posts here (at this blog) during the tour - I want to share some fun extras and such with my readers!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Litfuse Publicity Blog Tour: The Letters

Here's a description of the book:

"Rose Schrock is a Plain woman with a simple plan. Determined to find a way to support her family and pay off her late husband’s debts, she sets to work to convert the basement of her Amish farmhouse into an inn. While her family, especially her cranky mother-in-law, is unhappy with Rose’s big idea, her friend and neighbor, Galen King, supports the decision and he helps with the conversion. As Rose finalizes preparations for visitors, she prays. She asks God to bless each guest who stays at the Inn at Eagle Hill. As the first guest arrives and settles in, Rose is surprised to discover that her entire family is the one who receives the blessings, in the most unexpected ways. And she’s even more surprised when that guest decides to play matchmaker for Galen King."

My Rating


My Review

The Letters took me longer to get into than some of Fisher's other books - and the "feel" of it was different than her other series, at least in my mind. It's kind of a quiet story about especially quirky characters...but even though they took longer to win me over than I expected, win me over they did.

When I started the book, I was less than impressed. I honestly don't know how much of it was my mood and how much of it was a change in Fisher's writing style (or, more likely, a view of it I just hadn't seen before). The writing seemed choppy and slightly juvenile. While I felt bad for what the characters were going through, I didn't feel overly invested in their lives. Some were sweet, but they either came across as unoriginal or overly quirky.

I kept reading. Little moments elicited chuckles from me. Scenes started to weave together into a bigger picture. Familiar faces dawned on me far later than they did for many other fans, I'm sure, but it was kind of fun to be surprised! And, while the story didn't turn out to be a complete favorite for me, I found myself touched by the gentle lessons and the bonds these characters forged.

The title is a bit misleading, as letters don't play as prominent a role as it might suggest (although that doesn't mean their role isn't important). But if you're looking for a getaway to find some perspective, consider taking a visit to The Inn at Eagle House. You'll be reminded of the joys of love and family, and the peace that comes in knowing you're not alone. And for those who like interconnected books, Fisher just keeps adding layers to the stories and characters she's written, with the promise of more to come!

*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.*

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of the Inn at Eagle Hill series, Lancaster County Secrets series, and the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, as well as nonfiction books about the Amish, including "Amish Peace." She is also the coauthor of a new Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Her interest in the Anabaptist cultures can be directly traced to her grandfather, who was raised in the Old Order German Baptist Brethren Church in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner and a Christy Award finalist. She is a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. For more information, please visit and connect with her on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

To Buy the Book: click HERE

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

My Reviews of Other Fisher Books: The Waiting, The Search, The Keeper, The Haven, A Lancaster County Christmas

Litfuse Contest

Suzanne Woods Fisher is celebrating the release of the first book, The Letters, in her new series by giving away 2 iPads, 2 Kindle Fires and 2 Nook HDs! Wow!


Two grand prize winners will receive:
  • An iPad
  • The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Four second place winners will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HD or a Nook HD - winner's choice!
  • The Letters by Suzanne Woods Fisher
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on August 17th. All winners will be announced August 19th at Suzanne's blog.

Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to visit Suzanne's blog on the 19th to see if you won one of the great prizes! (Or better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

My Review of Doon

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

"Despite outward appearances, Veronica Welling’s life is far from perfect. Her boyfriend is more into her competition, her mom treats her like a meal ticket, and the blond stranger who keeps appearing out of nowherewell, he’d be darn near perfect, if he were real. After Vee catches her boyfriend cheating, an epic summer in Scotland with her best friend Mackenna Reid seems like the ultimate escape. Neither girl has any clue they’re about to step into a destiny bigger than they could ever imagine.

Through a series of clues left by Kenna’s aunt, Vee and Kenna open a portal and are transported to a thriving kingdom outside of time and place. For Vee, the land of Doon is the fairytale she’s always longed for, complete with the gorgeous blond strangerwho happens to be a flesh and blood prince. But rather than acting like her knight in shining armor, Jamie MacCrae treats her like a leper. Meanwhile, Jamie’s brother Duncan shows obvious interest in Kenna, but she shuts him down, fearing that a “love connection” will prevent her from returning to the modern world.

But the girls’ presence in Doon could break the enchantment that protects the realm. In order to save Doon, the girls must risk everythinglife, love, and futurebefore the kingdom vanishes forever into the mists.

Doon is inspired by the premise of the musical Brigadoon, used with generous permission from the Alan Jay Lerner Estate and the Frederick Loewe Foundation."

My Rating


My Review

With such a whimsical, grand, and mysterious cover - not to mention an intriguing blurb - I was eager to get my hands on this one! A recent viewing of Brigadoon and the start to a summer vacation provided good timing to dive into this magical adventure...

The story begins with typical YA drama that didn't quite endear me to Veronica. But the hint of an epic love story (via visions) and the promise of an epic land beyond the bridge made me eager to keep reading. The buildup hooked me, and the exciting twists kept me interested. While I had my issues with some of the characters and the outcomes, I will say this - Doon is engaging!

As for those issues... My favorite characters, by far, were Fergus and Duncan. The sweetest relationship, in my opinion, was the one shared by Fergus and Fiona. Protectiveness, understanding, kindness, thoughtfulness for others - these two definitely provided a contrast to the craziness of the other romances. As much as I loved Duncan - his humor and big heart and swoon-worthy rescues - his match kind of got on my nerves with her self-centeredness, especially since her revelation near the end didn't seem to last. Her insecurities and uncertainties could have made her relatable if she had shown more character growth throughout the story, instead of the flip-flopping at the end.

And Jamie? Well, let's just say this hero did not win me over. I'll admit I remained curious as to how he would react to things and how things would work out for him and his match, but his strong jealousy, his thoughtlessness, and his rudeness/temper were far from romantic. 

The connections to Brigadoon are fun, although I confess I missed some of the tender charm and lightheartedness found in the musical but lacking in this retelling. Doon is definitely a YA story, full of angst and immature romantic tension and more of an emphasis on the magic. Christian fiction fans who also enjoy secular YA books might be more open to this than strict Christian fiction fans, as there is some crudeness and an emphasis on the physical appearance (read: hotness) of the male leads. And while I think the references to Doon's "Protector" are supposed to be references to God, I confess that they didn't quite work for me. It wasn't always clear who they were referring to, and the strong magical elements at the end didn't seem to mesh well with a spiritual theme, at least in my opinion.

While there were some things that really bugged me about the story, I did enjoy the adventure, and it was an easy read. The setup for a second book was a little frustrating for me, but maybe the authors will be able to add to the basic conflict set forth at the end of this book. Fans of the "River of Time" series by Lisa T. Bergren should find some things to love about the "time travel" (of a sort), the romance, and the problems the characters face. And fans of YA retellings with familiar YA elements but a few twists might find this a series to watch.

*With thanks to the publisher for providing me with an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

Will be available soon! (Release date: August 20, 2013)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Review of Blackmoore

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

"Kate Worthington knows her heart and she knows she will never marry. Her plan is to travel to India instead—if only to find peace for her restless spirit and to escape the family she abhors. But Kate’s meddlesome mother has other plans. She makes a bargain with Kate: India, yes, but only after Kate has secured—and rejected—three marriage proposals.

Kate journeys to the stately manor of Blackmoore determined to fulfill her end of the bargain and enlists the help of her dearest childhood friend, Henry Delafield. But when it comes to matters of love, bargains are meaningless and plans are changeable. There on the wild lands of Blackmoore, Kate must face the truth that has kept her heart captive. Will the proposal she is determined to reject actually be the one thing that will set her heart free?
Set in Northern England in 1820, Blackmoore is a Regency romance of a young woman struggling to learn to follow her heart with a delicious must-read twist."

My Rating

My Review

With an intriguing premise, haunting and romantic descriptions, and interesting plot twists, Blackmoore is a lovely and worthy sophomore novel from Julianne Donaldson. There is a lot to enjoy for historical-romance lovers, especially those who favor an atmospheric story full of imagination and sweet romance.

While there were a couple of things that kept Donaldon's debut Edenbrooke from being a complete favorite of mine, I still appreciated how engaging and inviting the story was, and Blackmoore followed suit for me.

Both books heavily emphasize the physical (albeit fictional) places they're named for, touting their merits, although I appreciated that Blackmoore offered a more roundabout journey to the end than Edenbrooke. Blackmoore does have a lot of flashbacks, which was neat in some ways as the scenes were often romantic or insightful, but also came across as a little overdone, at least in the e-ARC I read. And the romance - like the homes the books are named for - is rather idealized/idolized (though not without its drama, especially with such a strong-willed heroine).

While those elements kept me from falling completely head-over-heels in love, I still loved my visit to Blackmoore. The symbolism and emotions are poignant, and Henry - while a bit "too" perfect - is a fitting hero for such a story. Fans of Edenbrooke and respectable romances should be quite pleased with the overall presentation.

*With thanks to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for providing me with a temporary e-ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
This book will be available September 2013.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Conclusion of the Songstone Blog Tour!

What better way to spend a summer vacation than by taking an island trip full of romance and character growth through the pages of a book? It's been awesome seeing readers' reactions to Songstone during the blog tour, as well as learning more about the book and author through the interviews. Even if you're not the official Rafflecopter winner (announced below), everyone can be a winner by picking up a copy of the book (currently only $3.97 for Kindle!) and re-visiting the awesome blog tour posts!


The winner of the Sweet Summer Giveaway (which includes a signed copy of Songstone when it's available as a paperback, a sea glass necklace, and a gift card!) is...

 Ruth Hill!

Congratulations! Be sure to check your e-mail! You have 1 week to respond before another winner is chosen.

Thank you to all those who entered the giveaway and left comments on the blog tour posts! We hope you had fun following the tour. =)


This blog tour couldn't have happened without the following people...
  • The Studio of Glass Etsy shop, for allowing Lena to order the sea glass necklace ahead of time. It made a lovely addition to the giveaway package!
  • Lena. I've loved working with you on all our bookish projects, and I can't wait for all that is to come! Keep doing all the awesome things you do. =)
Keep up with Lena!

While this blog tour is now over, be sure to keep up with Lena - she's got great things coming, including some new book projects (and hopefully some new cover designs *wink*). Consider joining her newsletter so you don't miss any of the excitement!