Sunday, October 31, 2010

Simply Marvelous Monday (42)

Shelia at ,One Person's Journey Through a World of Books gets all the credit for this one...

On Simply Marvelous Monday's here at Debbie's Book Bag, we want to know, What are you reading?


Valeria's Cross by Susan Wales and Kathi Macias (My Review)
Heart of Stone (Irish Angels - Book 1) by Jill Marie Landis (My Review)
The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan (My Review)
A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter (My Review)
Emily's Chance (The Callahans of Texas - Book 2) by Sharon Gillenwater (My Review)
Petra: City in Stone (Lost City - Book 1) by T.L. Higley (My Review)
Secrets of a Scandalous Bride (Widow's Club - Book 4) by Sophia Nash (My Review)
7th Heaven (Women's Murder Club - Book 7) by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro (Review coming soon)

Favorite's of the Week: The Miracle of Mercy Land was a refreshing change in Christian Fiction, A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury is Historical Fiction at it's best and Petra: City in Stone was just really, really good LOL!

Other Stuff Going on this Week: A Discovery of Witches Preview and Giveaway


The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund (Christian Fiction)
Act Like We're in Love by Christi Barth (Romance)
Bound by Trust by Lila Munro (Romance)
Little Shepherd by Cheryl Malindrinos (Children's Storybook)
Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman (YA Fiction)
City of Tranquil Light by Bo Caldwell (Fiction)
Fated by S.G. Browne (Fiction)
When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes (Fiction)
Devotions for the God Girl by Hayley DiMarco (Christian Devotional)

Current E-book: Desperate Duchesses ( Desperate Duchesses - Book 1) by Eloisa James
Current Audio Book: The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Book 1) by Rick Riordan

What I'm Looking Forward to this Week: I had several author requests from this week that I'm really excited about. These are up and coming authors who are adding some new voices to their respective genre's. I can't wait to finish them up and let you know about them. There will be several accompanying interviews, guest posts and giveaways, so keep your eyes open this week!


Roses by Leila Meacham (For review from Hachette Book Group)

A Woman and Her Workplace: Building Healthy Relationships from 9 to 5 by Rosemary Flaaten (For review for Kathy Willis Communications)

Kasey to the Rescue: A Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle by Ellen Rogers (For review via Shelf Awareness)

The Forever Queen: The Lost Kingdom - 1066 by Helen Hollick (Fro review from Sourcebooks)

Moonlight Bleu by Renee Rearden (For review from the author)

Legacy of Pemberley (Pemberley Chronicles - Book 10) by Rebecca Collins (For review from Sourcebooks)

All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed and Me by Jeff Dunham (For review from This is Molotov)

The Phoenix Charm (Magic Knot Faery World - Book 2) by Helen Taylor Scott (For review from the Author)

Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble (Jolie Wilkins - Book 1) by H.P. Mallory (For review from the Author)

To Kill a Warlock (Dulcie O'Neil - Book 1) by H.P. Mallory (For review from the Author)

Review: Secrets of a Scandalous Bride

Secrets of a Scandalous Bride (The Widows Club series - Book 4) by Sophia Nash

Publication Date: February 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Paperback, 384 pp
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN-13: 9780061493300
ISBN: 0061493309

(Received for review from the author)

Synopsis (

Elizabeth Ashburton lives behind a charming, happy facade in an effort to forget her former life. But when she is forced to confront the devil from her past, her friends in the dowager duchess's widows club can not save her, and Elizabeth turns to the last man on earth willing to help her...

The extraordinarily powerful Rowland Manning has never pretended to be anything but a bastard, in every way imaginable. Through innate grit and determination, he built an astonishing empire and he'll do anything and everything to save it. Yet, the one thing he secretly craves... something even he can not name, can never be purchased with his kingdom of riches.

Each has something to win. Each has something to lose. Only love will determine if the price redemption and sacrifice is too high.


I requested this book from the author to review, some time ago when I first started my blog. I didn't have a good schedule set up then, and it took me awhile to get the in's and out's of blogging under control. So I'm going back on the weekends and reviewing those books I got right at the beginning along with my regular reviews.

Secrets of a Scandalous Bride is the fourth book in The Widows Club series by Sophia Nash. This book has a dash of intrigue, lots of steamy romance and the ever present English ton. Sophia Nash has a knack for witty dialogue and colorful characters and this book is no exception.

Elizabeth Ashburton isn't what she appears to be. She is posing as a widow to avoid a man who wants to marry her. She isn't just fleeing marriage, this man may have been the man who killed her father. General Leland Pymm is beloved by most of England, including the Prince Regent, no one would have suspected him of killing Elizabeth's father on the battlefield in order to leave her alone and defenseless. She seeks help from a very unusual source. The extraordinary and powerful Rowland Manning, scoundrel, self-proclaimed basterd and businessman. Rowland is also tied to General Pymm through a contract for warhorses that could mean the success or failure of his business. But when Manning meets Elizabeth everything changes. Is he willing to let Elizabeth be blackmailed into marrying Pymm for the sake or his business or will he throw it all away for love?

I really enjoyed this book. There isn't much better than a good Regency romance with great characters and witty dialogue. I really liked the verbal sparring between Elizabeth and Rowland. Their banter was exciting and fun to read. Rowland's character was also a refreshing change. He doesn't pretend to be a scoundrel he really is one. He tried to kill his brother, extorted money from his sister-in-law and that's just the beginning. I loved the way his character transformed through out the book and we were able to see the reasons he became how he was. I liked the idea that he was missing something but had no idea what until he met Elizabeth.

This was a quick and fast paced read. I liked the characters and the dialogue. I thought that the author did an excellent job of making the Rowland's decision difficult in one way and easy in another. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good historical romance.

Secrets of a Scandalous Bride is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Sophia Nash's first three Regency romances won eight national awards, including a RITA award, Romantic Times Award for Best Regency Romance, and a spot on the American Library Association's Top Ten Romances of the Year. Her first single title Historical from Avon/Harper Collins hit shelves in June 2007. Raised in America and France, Sophia began her writing career as a television producer for CBS, and also held stints as a congressional speechwriter, and a nonprofit CEO before pursuing her long-held dream of writing fiction.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Discovery of Witches Preview and Giveaway!

To celebrate the Halloween season here at Debbie's Book Bag, we have a very interesting giveaway for you!

It's a two-part giveaway to showcase the upcoming release of A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
, which will release on February 8, 2011. Check out the synopsis of the book and a an awesome book trailer.


A richly inventive novel about a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon an coveted treasure lost for centuries - and she is the only creature that can break it's spell.

Debut novelist Deborah Harkness has crafted a mesmerizing and addictive read, equal parts history and magic, romance and suspense. Diana is a bold heroine who meets her equal in vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and gradually warms up to him as their alliance deepens into an intimacy that violates age-old taboos. This smart, sophisticated story harks back to the novels of Anne Rice, but it is as contemporary and sensual as the Twilight series - with an extra serving of historical realism.

Part 1 of the giveaway is for a finished copy of the book, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness which will be mailed to the winner when it releases in February.

Part 2 is for Book Buttons based on the book. These will be shipped as soon as a winner is chosen.


!.) You must be a follower of this blog to enter!
2.) You must leave a comment with your e-mail address on this post.
3.) The deadline for this giveaway is Midnight November 13th EST.

Review: Petra

Petra: City in Stone (The Lost City series - Book 1) by T.L. Higley

Publication Date: September 2010
Publisher: B & H Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, 344 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781433668562
ISBN: 1433668562

(Received for review from B & H Publishing Group)

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

She believed the city hidden in rock would protect her from the past - until it threatened to destroy her future.

Cassia, a destitute young woman in need of hope, seeks refuge for her little boy in Petra, home of his dead father's estranged family and capital of the flourishing Arabian empire. Surely this rock-carved city, hidden away between towering sandstone cliffs, can protect them from their past and provide for their future.

But the boy's father was not the man she believed, and when a murderous queen plots to take Cassia's son, her hopes of security are ripped away.

As the plot against the young Alexander unfolds, Cassia finds unexpected allies in the mysterious followers of The Way, who sacrifice everything to help Cassia rescue her son from the queen and her pagan gods. But it will take more than new friends to have her son.

It will take a power beyond any Cassia has known - and a faith that can save a city.


I found this book really interesting. I have heard stories about Petra all my life. The city made of stone. Author, T.L. Higley continues to amaze with the first in a new series, Petra: City in Stone. Higley's attention to detail and descriptions of the city could only have come from someone who had been there. There is a real authenticity to her writing and I believe she has crafted a novel that historical fiction fans as well as Christian fiction fans will love.

Cassia, has lived in fear for far too long, her husband Aretas thinks of her and her son as nothing more than possessions to do with as he pleases. When he is murdered for cheating a caravan leader, Cassia is left with no way to provide for their son, Alexander. She decides to make the fateful journey to Petra the city her husband always talked about where his family remains.

Julian, is a Christian living in Rome. When his outspoken words cause the deaths of several of his friends in the arena, he decides he can no longer stay in Rome because he cannot stay silent. He journey's to Petra, trying to outrun his heartbreak.

When Julian and Cassia meet their attraction for each other is secondary to the storm that is brewing Petra. Cassia has learned that her husband was a lot more than he led her to believe. Her son Alexander is heir to the throne and Queen Hagiru will stop at nothing to destroy him, so that her own son can be King. Julian must face many trials and tribulations as he attempts to rescue Alexander and teach Cassia about Jesus in the process.

I really liked this book. The attention to detail that the author gave to every aspect of the book was amazing. The descriptions of the city itself as it may have been in 100 AD will make the reader feel like they are really there, walking down the streets with Cassia or worshiping with Julian. I have always enjoyed stories written about the early Christian's and what they had to face. Julian's experience with his friends in the arena was a reminder of how much we have to be thankful for in being able to witness about Jesus without the fear of retaliation.

The characters in this book were very well written. I really identified with Cassia, a single mother trying to protect her child. It was easy to see that she had come out of very abusive relationship. Her husband used her a punching bag as well as someone to give him pleasure. He obviously didn't care about her or her son. With is death she was given an opportunity to learn about Jesus even in the midst of the turmoil surrounding Alexander. It reminds me that God sometimes works in mysterious ways. Julian's character had a very strong faith and because he could not remain silent he risked the lives of those around him, but he could not be silent. He was courageous and had a great faith. I liked his character a lot.

I would recommend this book to both historical and Christian fiction fans. It is very well written. Easy to get into and it's hard to put down. The love story as well as the story of faith are both portrayed in an honest and forthcoming manner. I think readers will be enthralled by the story and engaged with the characters.

Petra: City in Stone is available NOW from your favorite bookseller from B & H Publishing.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

T.L. Higley holds a degree in English Literature and has written three previous novels and more than fifty drama productions for church ministry. She is especially passionate about "breaking down emotional and philosophical barriers that people have put between themselves and Christ."

On My Wish List (7)

On My Wish is hosted by Book Chick City each week. The idea is to spotlight books we have on our wishlists. These are books we really want to read but haven't had the chance to buy yet. They can be old books, new books, books that haven't even released yet, but that you intend to buy when they do. A Mr. Linky is provided so that we can keep up with each others selections each week.

I generally choose three books a week from my wishlist to share with you. Blood on Silk is a book that satisfies my paranormal sensibilities. Memoirs of a Geisha is one I've wanted to read forever, loved the movie. Darkest Edge of Dawn is the second book in an Urban Fantasy series by Kelly Gay.

Blood on Silk (The Awakened by Blood series - Book 1) by Marie Treaner

The debut of a seductive new contemporary series of vampires, lust, and revenge

While in Romania researching historical superstitions, Scottish academic Elizabeth Silk comes upon the folk tale of Saloman, a seductive prince staked centuries ago, legends most powerful vampire. Now, in the ruins of a castle crypt, Elizabeth discovers supernatural legends that have come alive. Her blood has awakened him. Her innocence has aroused him. But Elizabeth unleashes more than Saloman's hunger and it's going to unite them in ways neither could have imagined.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

An epic on an intimate scale, Memoirs of a Geisha, takes the reader behind the rice-paper screens of the geisha house to a vanished floating world of beauty and cruelty, from a poor fishing village in 1929 to the decadence of 1940's Kyoto, through the chaos of World War II to the towers of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, where the gray-eyed geisha Sayuri unfolds the remarkable story of her life.

Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan series - Book 2) by Kelly Gay

It takes a strong woman to keep the peace in a city of endless night...

Deep beneath Underground, a cunning bid for power and revenge has begun - one that threatens to make Atlanta the new battleground in the ultimate confrontation between good and evil. The powers of hellish Charbydon have the upper hand after plunging the city into primordial night. And under the cover of darkness, a serial killer targets the most powerful Elysians in the city, the angelic Adonai. For Detective Charlie Madigan and her siren partner Hank, tracking the deadly predators is all in a day's work... but this case will test the limits of their strength and friendship as it draws them into a deadly world of power plays, ancient myths, explosive secrets, and a race against time that risks all Charlie holds dear.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: Comfort Food

Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs

Publication Date: May 2008
Publisher: Penguin
Format: CD
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781616804527
ISBN: 1616804521

(Audio book from the Libary)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

Shortly after turning 50 , TV cooking show personality Augusta "Gus" Simpson discovers that the network wants to boost her ratings by teaming her with a beautiful, young new co-host. But Gus isn't going without a fight - whether it's offset with her two demanding daughters , on-camera with the ambitious new diva herself, or after-hours with Oliver, the new culinary producer who's raising Gus's temperature beyond the comfort zone. Now, in pursuit of higher ratings and culinary delights, Gus might be able to rejuvenate more than just her career.


I really liked this audio book after I got into it. The person who was doing the reading was older and had a bit of gravel to her voice and it took me little while to get used to that, but as I got used to Gus as character it made a lot of sense and became very natural. Kate Jacobs has created another great bunch of characters with this one. They are very quirky and very real characters. I decided to check this one out because I was a big fan of The Friday Night Knitting Club and a certainly wasn't disappointed.

Gus has been hosting a TV cooking show for a really long time. She's a FoodTV staple, a star and everyone looks to her for guidance. Gus loves to throw parties, but when she turns 50 she realizes this is one party that she'd like to forget about. Feeling blue, she soon learns that the network is thinking of canceling her show. She needs a new gimmick, something that will resonate with younger foodies. With a new culinary producer and an interesting idea for a new show, Gus plans to kick it off with a bang.

Unfortunately, the weather has other idea's. Gus's new live show is almost a bust, when she decides to use what shes got. Her daughters, her friends, and anybody she can get to sit in for the first show of "Eat, Drink and Be." When the boss throws another wrench in the works by making Gus use a new co-host Carmen Vega, Gus is upset but makes it work. The show becomes an instant success but is still has to worry about the all important ratings. Meanwhile Gus's daughters have issues of their own. Her friend next door has barely left the house in ten years. She is partners with her daughter's ex-boyfriend and the new culinary producer is not only good at his job but doesn't take no for answer where Gus is concerned. And now the new co-host is younger, prettier and full of ambition.

This strange bunch makes up an awesome group of characters who in the end all seem to work out their differences and find what they want most out of life. My favorite besides Gus was Oliver, he used to be a financial whiz, but he was unfulfilled by all the wealth and the prestige. He was a foodie at heart and ended up giving it all away to do what he loved.

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a great contemporary read, with a little romance and a lot of friendships.

Comfort Food is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Kate Jacobs is the author of The Friday Night Knitting Club and Comfort Food. A former magazine writer and editor, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband.

Review: Emily's Chance

Emily's Chance (The Callahan's of Texas series - Book 2) by Sharon Gillenwater

Publication Date: October 2010
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group/Revell Books
Format: Paperback, 338 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780800733544
ISBN: 0800733541

(Received for review from Revell Books)

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

Emily Rose may be in the tiny West Texas town of Callahan Crossing for the moment, but it's just a rung on her ladder to success. Her work at the Callahan Crossing Historical Museum will look good on her ever-growing resume as she attempts to break into the prestigious world of a big city museum curator. Little does she know that cowboy and contractor Chance Callahan has decided that he can convince her to stay - both with the town and with him. As he helps Emily restore the town's history after a devastating fire, can he help her uncover the value of love?


Sharon Gillenwater's second addition to the Callahan's of Texas series is filled with heartbreak, that is transformed by the healing power of love. Emily's Chance is a book that readers will find a refreshing change in Christian Fiction. I think that Western themes should have their own sub-genre under the Christian Fiction umbrella. Gillenwater's book has a western theme, but with a unique main character.

Emily Denny is a woman on a mission. She has a goal and she knows how to get it done. The west Texas town on Callahan Crossing is just a means to an end for her. Breaking into a career as a top museum curator takes a lot of hard work and she is determined to show her parents that she can do this and succeed at it. But, she didn't count on meeting Chance Callahan. Chance knew from the moment he met Emily that she was the one. The one he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. Now he just has to convince her of the same thing. It will disrupt her well laid plans, but perhaps God has another plan. Working together to restore what can be salvaged from a devastating fire, Chance and Emily get closer even as she pulls away. Can Emily let herself get close to Chance and run the risk of losing her dream?

I enjoyed this book. Sharon Gillenwater has a unique gift of creating characters that unexpected and different. Emily wants to be a museum curator, not the career I generally expect to find in a Christian Fiction selection with a western theme. I was pleasantly surprised at how normal that choice seemed in this novel. I really liked the aspect of Emily and Chance working to try to piece together the history of the town. I have always been a history fan and this sat really well with me.

One of the underlying themes of the book was restoration and how a person's heart can be restored just as the history of the town was. Another theme was how sometimes our best laid plans are not what ends up happening. I can think of many times in my own life when I thought I had it all figured out. How could God not be in this situation when it was something I'm sure he would have liked? Sometimes you just aren't where you need to be when you need to be there and something has to happen to get you back on track. I believe Emily thought she was working toward a goal that God would want her to complete, but it wasn't what he had in mind for her. I think it's amazing how God works and this book is a clear reflection of that idea.

Available October 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of the Baker Publishing Group.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Sharon Gillenwater was born and raised in West Texas and loves to write about her native state. The author of several novels, including Jenna's Cowboy, she is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers. When she's not writing she and her husband enjoy spending time with their son, daughter-in-law, and adorable grandchildren.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (4)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer at Crazy-For-Books. The Hop is a great place for bloggers to connect, get to know each other a little better and share a love for reading that can't be matched. The Hop runs from Friday to Monday, you can hop now or come back and hop later. You've got to try it... it's soooo fun! There is a Mr. Linky provided at Crazy-For-Books, so let's start hopping!

Here is the question for this week:

What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?

My Answer:

I'm like Jen on this one... I'm in the process of making one of my rooms into a personal library, books shelves one three walls and a large window, with window seat in the other wall. This has always been a dream of mine. It isn't a huge room, but a great place for some great chairs an awesome reading lamp and lots an lots of books... I can't wait to get it finished....

Review: A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury

A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury: A King, a Prince and the Knight Who Betrayed Their Dynasty by Edith Pargeter

Publication Date: November 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format: Paperback, 384 pp
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781402239915
ISBN: 1402239912

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

A masterful tale of 14th century England, as fans of Edith Pargeter's The Brothers of Gwynedd have come to expect. Henry Bolingbroke, banished and deprived of his inheritance by Richard II, returns and deposes the king to become Henry IV. He is aided by powerful lords, especially by his friend, Harry "Hotspur" Percy. But his triumph quickly fades in the face of the ever growing crises. Not only is Wales rebelling, but the question of how Richard II really died lingers, causing dangerous trouble. The king also has powerful enemies poised to pounce, as he and his kingdom are drawn inexorably to a bloody collision some two miles from Shrewsbury.


I really enjoyed Edith Pargeter's, The Brothers of Gwynedd and was really excited to get this book for review. I was certainly not disappointed with A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury, this is historical fiction at it's best. The historical facts with a sprinkling of fiction. Pargeter fills in those little details that history seems to have left out, with plausible facts and possible outcomes.

To begin with another title probably would have suited me better, LOL but it is definitely accurate. Harry "Hotspur" Percy's rebellion led up the events that we history buffs know as The War of the Roses. Henry Bolingbroke had been discredited and fallen out of favor with Richard II. Many believed that Richard II had to be removed as king because he was considered manic depressive and was basically a loose cannon. The lords could never predict his behavior and felt he was a liability to the crown, therefore they supported Henry Bolingbroke as a successor to the crown even though there were others who had a better claim to the throne.

Henry Bolingbroke became, Henry IV, but he let the power go to his head and became increasingly hard to deal with. Harry Percy's help in getting him on the throne was now needed to remove him from it. Rumors continued to spread that perhaps Richard II didn't commit suicide, and it's eventually revealed that Bolingbroke had Richard starved to death. Rebellion in Wales is imminent and the tide is changing for Henry IV. Percy's faction openly rebels against Henry IV and he is drawn ever closer to a bloody battle near Shrewsbury.

Sir Harry Percy evolves as the prominent character in a book about kings. He is not only loyal to what he believes England to be, he works diligently toward keeping it that way. His character is one that readers will identify with. Percy is very outspoken and doesn't mince words. He says what he means and means what he says. He was always loyal to England and honest in his manner of dealing with the Kings. The nickname "Hotspur" is said to come from his impulsive nature, but here he appears to be very methodical and does what has to be done. He is the "go to" guy in this book. He gets thing done that others don't want to deal with. I liked his character a lot and thought it really showed what the age of chivalry had to offer from a knight.

This is a book historical fiction fans as well as Edith Pargeter fans will love. It was originally published in 1972 and brings to the table, a very vivid portrayal of 14th century England and powerful cost of politics. It must have been a very dangerous business to be King, one after the other several kings and queens of the past were murdered all for political gain. I've always been a history buff so this sort of novel really appeals to me as a reader. I recommend it to readers who are interested in the events that led up to the War of the Roses and to people who are interested in good historical fiction, Edith Pargeter was one of the best.

A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag.

Edith Pargeter (1913-1995) has gained worldwide praise and recognition for her historical fiction and historical mysteries, including The Brothers of Gwynedd quartet. She also wrote several novels of crime fiction as Ellis Peters. She was awarded the OBE (Order of the British Empire) award.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Enquiring Minds Want To Know is a new weekly meme hosted by Dollycas' Thoughts. How well do you know your favorite bloggers? This meme is designed for us to find out a little bit about each other each week. A Mr. Linky is provided so we can keep up the things we learn. Please help us make this meme a success. Join in and post your answers to Dollycas' questions each week... it's fun and entertaining.

This is week nine and here the questions and my answers for the week:

1.) What is your favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday would have to be Thanksgiving. I really enjoy getting together with family and friends and have a great dinner with foods we love and then sitting around watching the game or heading out for the first Christmas shopping of the year!!!

2.) Are you dressing up for Halloween? If yes, as what?

Nope not me... I've dressed up in years past as many different things, but my favorite costume was a sexy gypsy LOL... (nope that's not me... I have pics but I have no idea where they are!)

3.) If you have kids are they dressing up? Again if yes, what are they dressing up as?

Well, my oldest daughter is too old to Trick-or Treat but she is dressing up as Rabbit to walk the neighborhood with my sisters kids. My youngest is wearing a beautiful Mardi Gras mask... Here they are, with just their masks on...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: The Miracle of Mercy Land

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan

Publication Date: September 2010
Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, 352 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780307457059
ISBN: 0307457052

(Received for review from a freelance publicist working with Waterbrook Multnomah)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

What if you had the power to amend the choices you made in the past? Would you do it even if it changed everything?

Mercy Land has made some unexpected choices for a young woman in the 1930's. The sheltered daughter of a traveling preacher, she chooses to leave her rural community to move to nearby Bay City on the warm, gulf-waters of southern Alabama. There she finds a job at the local paper and spends seven years making herself indispensable to old Doc Phillips, the publisher and editor. Then she gets a frantic call at dawn - it's the biggest news story of her life, and she can't print a word of it.

Doc has come into possession of a curios book that maps the lives of everyone in Bay City - decisions they've made in the past, and how those choices affect the future. Mercy and Doc are consumed by the mystery locked between the pages - Doc because he hopes to right a very old wrong, and Mercy because she want's to fulfill the book's strange purpose. But when a mystery from Mercy's past arrives by train, she begins to understand that she will have to make choices that will deeply affect everyone she loves - forever.


This book is definitely a change of pace for Christian Fiction. River Jordan incorporates a bit of magic in The Miracle of Mercy Land, which is something most writers of Christian Fiction would shy away from. The author however uses 'magic' to teach a great lesson about the choices we make in life and how the effect everyone around us.

Mercy Land was born in a bolt of lightening to a circuit riding preacher on the banks of Bittersweet Creek, a small Alabama town in the 1930's. As she becomes a young woman, Mercy gravitates to the lights of bigger town, Bay City on the gulf. She becomes a reporter for the local paper, The Banner and under the tutelage of Doc Phillips, publisher and editor.

When Doc receives a mysterious book of maps, he decides to let Mercy in on his secret. This isn't any old atlas. It has the map of every person in Bay City's lives. When a person makes a decision it appears on their personal map. It shows not only the choices they've made in their past but how it effects their future. Will Doc be able to change the past and make up for a mistake he made long ago? Will Mercy's past catch up with her as she attempts to solve the mystery of the book?

This book is based on a principle that I've heard in the past called the butterfly effect, which basically says that if even the smallest changes were made in the past it could effect the future in catastrophic ways. I loved how River Jordan was able make this principle come to life in this book. If each of us had the opportunity to go back and change the past would we do it, if we knew it could possibly change everything?

Maybe I haven't had the most spectacular life, with lots of twists and turns, but honestly I think I would be afraid to change the past. I'm not sure what it would mean for my future. Everyone makes choices, every single day and this book really brought home the point that we have to choose with the greatest of care, with the knowledge that every single choice effects not only us, but everyone around us.

I loved the book. I thought the subject was new and different for Christian Fiction. I thought the characters were easy to identify with. I think that Doc's need to change the past because of something he did was understandable. Mercy's desire to bring the purpose of the book to fruition was compelling even in the face of her own past. The story was engaging and full of surprises. It did get a bit bogged down with allegory toward the end for a bit, but all in all this was an excellent book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes Christian Fiction but wants to find a new twist or to new readers to the genre, that want something different and exciting. I look forward to River's next book and can't wait to read her others.

The Miracle of Mercy Land is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one an easy 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

River Jordan is a storyteller of the southern variety and spent ten years as a playwright with the Loblolly Theatre Group. She now teaches and speaks on "The Power of Story" around the country. She is currently completing a work of fiction and a collection of essays.

Waiting on Wednesday (15)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is designed to showcase books that are about to release that we can't wait to get our hands on...

My choice this week is: All By My Selves: Walter, Peanut, Achmed, and Me by Jeff Dunham, releasing the week of November 2nd.

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

His You-Tube video's have been viewed more than 400 million times by fans all over the world. He has played to sold-out venues across North America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. He has sold more than six million DVD's, Forbes has ranked him in their celebrity 100 list of most powerful entertainers for two years running, and he has been the top touring comedian in the United States for the last two years. Whether he is breathing life into an old curmudgeon, an over-caffeinated purple maniac, or a screaming, skeletal, dead terrorist, Jeff Dunham is the straight man to some of the funniest partners in show business.

All by My Selves is the story of one pretty ordinary guy, one interesting hobby, one very understanding set of parents, and a long and winding road to becoming America's funniest comedian. With wit, honesty, and lots of great show business detail, Jeff shares all the major moments in his journey. From the toy dummy he spotted at the toy store when he was 8 years old to playing to arena's filled with screaming fans, Jeff takes readers behind the curtain to explain how he turned an old fashioned art form into something truly modern and hip. Best of all, Jeff's story is accompanied with asides and interruptions from his characters who share all the hilarious details Jeff himself is too embarrassed to include.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Review: Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone (Irish Angels series - Book 1) by Jill Marie Landis

Publication Date: February 2010
Publisher: Zondervan
Format: Paperback, 320 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780310328728
ISBN: 0310328721

(Received for review from Zondervan)

Synopsis (the authors website):

She had the darkest of pasts. And he had everything to lose by loving her. Laura Foster, free from the bondage of an unspeakable childhood, has struggled to make a new life for herself. Now the owner of an elegant boardinghouse in Glory, Texas, she is known as a wealthy, respectable widow. But Laura never forgets that she is just one step ahead of her past. When Reverend Brand McCormick comes calling, Laura does all she can to discourage him as a suitor. She knows that if her past were discovered, Brand's reputation would be ruined. But it's not only Laura's past that threatens to bring Brand down - it's also his own. When a stranger in town threatens to reveal too many secrets, Laura is faced with a heartbreaking choice: Should she leave Glory forever and save Brand's future? Or is it worth risking his name - and her heart- by telling him the truth?


This book is another great example of Christian Historical Fiction. Set in 1870's in a small Texas town called Glory, Laura Foster has begun a new life, far from her New Orleans past filled with a terrible childhood. She has a place of her own, money and respect. When Reverend Brand McCormick decides to call on her, she encourages him to look elsewhere. Because she knows that if her past were ever to be discovered Brand would be the one who suffered. But, Brand has secrets of his own. A mysterious stranger starts asking questions and revealing secrets that Laura doesn't want told. She has to decide whether to tell Brand the truth or leave Glory along with her new life forever.

Jill Landis has a knack for character development. Her characters were have vulnerabilities yet they show great strength. I think there were two different faith related themes in this one. One of the biggest ones themes that I can see from this book was moving forward from a terrible past. Forgetting what's behind and getting on with your life. You can't live in the past. Laura was trying to move on but she kept one food in the past, always worried that it was going to come back to haunt her. She had problems with being honest about what had happened to her because she thought it would ruin Brand's reputation, but you can't keep secrets from the person you love. The more secondary theme was doing what you say you will do. Practicing what you preach so to speak.

I thought the author did an excellent job of creating a heartwarming romance and still imparting a lot of knowledge about life and what it takes to make it through it. Landis' descriptions of this Texas town were also very well done. This is quick read and moves at a good clip.

Heart of Stone is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Jill Marie Landis is the bestselling author of over twenty novels including two of which hit The New York Times extended list. She has won numerous awards for her heartfelt characters and sweeping emotional romances with include Summer Moon and Magnolia Creek. Toes in the sand and head in the clouds, she is now living the dream in Hawaii with her husband, Steve.

Teaser Tuesday (41)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along. Just do the following:

Grab your current read.
Open to a random page.
Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and the author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

I generally do things a little bit differently. I read and review quite a few books each week and I like to pose a teaser from each book, whose review will post this week.

Valeria's Cross by Susan Wales and Kathi Macias, page 22. As they continued down the limestone hallways, they passed room after room filled with papyrus. Prisca stopped at the door of one of the rooms and asked, "What is written upon all these papyruses?"

Deadly Night by Heather Graham. "That's it?" Aidan asked him. "No investigation? You're just going to dismiss it out of hand?"

Heart of Stone by Jill Marie Landis, page 84. As she pressed her initialed stamp into the hot wax, she could almost hear her old partner Collier Holloway chiding her for pouring money down a rat hole. But Collier cared for one one in the world save himself. He'd told her so on more occasions than she could count.

The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan, page 221. Neither Doc nor I had slept all night, but the book electrified our senses so that sleep, at least immediately, was not necessary. What was necessary was to understand exactly what was in our possession and why we had it.

A Bloody Field in Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter, page 76. He sat on a couch of deerskin, under the awning of his tent, a long sinewy man in the prime of his powers, forty-eight years old, black of eye and black of hair, but for the first frostings of grey at temple and lip.

Emily's Chance by Sharon Gillenwater, page 130. He drew Will sprawled on his backside on the bank, digging in his heels and clinging to a rope that he'd thrown over the bull's head. "He had to make a great big loop to go over those horns, didn't he?"

Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs. Still birthday cake was something altogether different: one sweet slice fed the spirit as much as the stomach. And Gus relished the perfect triumph.

Petra: City of Stone by T.L. Higley, page 244. "What is it, Tabatha?" He had not noticed her missing from the group, but remembered now that she had been in the palace this morning, waiting to help Marta carry Cassia's boy in the basket of washing. Had she only now heard about Marta's death?

Secret's of a Scandalous Bride by Sophie Nash, page 312. He had never paid any attention to the words uttered during the scant number of weddings he'd been forced to endure. In the hushed atmosphere of the chamber, he absorbed every nuance of every phrase.