Sunday, August 25, 2013

Critical Pursuit: A Giveaway!


I have no idea how I got two of these books. I think I bought one and then got one through the Tyndale Summer Reading Reward program.
Anyway, I'm giving it away this week. I haven't read it yet, but I have read a few by the author and enjoyed them.

To enter to win, leave a comment about something you are pursuing. I'm pursuing that second book....I've got about 17,000 words written, which isn't bad but not where I want to be.

I can only ship to the US. I'll pick a winner next week.

Happy first day of school to all of you who go back to school or have kids go back tomorrow. I'm eager to have kids back in my library!

Always the Baker, Finally the Bride: A Review

After designing hundreds of cakes for brides, it's finally Emma Rae's turn to create her own wedding cake....except she can't decide. And when fiancé Jackson is offered an amazing amount of money to sell the hotel that brought them together, it's more than Emma can take and her health suffers. Is being a bride more than she can take?

Fans of the series will enjoy this book that features all the couples from the previous books. They're back and funny as ever with disastrous receptionists and a rogue kid on the loose in the hotel. Each character is highlighted and given closure. I've loved Emma and Jackson since the first book, and I liked seeing their story come to a happy conclusion.

Sometimes the book seemed to have the same thing happening over and over as Jackson wrestled with his decision, but enough was going on that it didn't become tedious.

My favorite part is Fee with the rogue hotel stowaway, who has the tenacity and spunk to one day have her own book. I don't want to give too much away about the plot, but it was heartwarming.

I recommend this series to Christian fiction fans who like romance with a touch of humor.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Giveaway--Gone South

Congrats to Cindi for winning Stealing the Preacher. I'm impressed with everyone's clean record. :)
Today, I'm giving away Gone South. It's a cute read. To enter to win, leave a comment with the best place you've gone. I loved Boston. It's my favorite city. I loved Colorado. It's beautiful.
But, the best place I've gone is a little orphanage in the Mexican desert. I went two summers in a row, and it forever changed me. In fact, I used it as the model for the mission trip my characters take in my first book (releasing February 4, 2014)!
To get a second entry, follow the blog and leave a second comment telling me you do.
I can only ship to the US. I'll pick a winner next week.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bending Toward the Sun: A Review

Although everyone around her is falling in love and settling down, Emilie is focused on continuing her education and helping her father run their store. When a childhood friend returns from fighting in the Civil War, Emilie is forced to rethink her plans even if it means defying her father.
Novellas are sometimes hard for me because I'm a character-driven reader, and it's hard to get to know characters in such a short time. However, I liked Quaid and Emilie a lot. They were sweet.
I also enjoyed getting to know the various characters. Small towns are always full of colorful characters who have their own story to tell, and I enjoy the historical aspect as well as the community.
Fans of Christian Historical Fiction will enjoy this novella. It's the second in the series, but I read it without having read the first one and had no problem.
I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Anomaly: A Review and Interview


I wanted to read this book just to see how different it was from the author's other books. I'm not a huge fan of dystopian storylines, but I loved this book that reminds me of The Giver or The Uglies with a Christian element.

The main character Thalli is strong and curious in a world that demands structure and uniformity. After nuclear war, the group of scientists were the only ones to survive, creating a society of followers. When Thalli feels more than is allowed, she becomes the target of brain experiments and possible elimination. Will Berk, the friend of her childhood, be able to help her rescue herself?

I thought the author's writing was great. The short, terse sentences and limited description added to the cold feeling to the book and created a contrast to Thalli's deep feelings. The element of music was also well done.

There were enough twists and hints of what was to come to keep me reading long after I said I would put the book down. Fans of Christian fiction, YA fiction, or dystopian novels will enjoy this first book in what I think is going to be a break-out series for Krista McGee.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.

Here's an interview with the author, Krista McGee.
Q: Your earlier books are modern adaptions of the biblical stories of Esther, Rebekah and Ruth. Where did you find your inspiration for Anomaly?

While this novel isn't based on a particular biblical character, there are shades of Noah, Moses and David in here. My inspiration, though, is probably a combination of a couple of my favorite classic dystopian books: Brave New World and 1984. I've always read those works thinking, "What if this kind of story were told from a distinctly Christian worldview?" My ideas for this story stemmed from the answer to that question.

Q: Thalli knows her curiosity and emotions make her unique. What can teens learn from Thalli about their differences?

Thalli doesn't feel like she fits in anywhere. I think all of us --- young and old(er) --- can identify with that feeling. My prayer is that, as my readers get to know Thalli, they see her differences as making her special, and through that, they see their differences make them special, as well.

Q: How did your passion for writing teen fiction develop?

I have worked with teens for more than a decade, as a youth leader and as a high school English teacher. My desire is to see the young people I work with understand how much God loves them and to love Him wholeheartedly in return. My writing is an extension of that ministry and that desire.

Q: What lessons do you hope readers take away from Anomaly?

I want my readers to know that God is more powerful than any government, any idea, any disaster. I want them to see that every individual is fearfully and wonderfully made.

Q: Without giving away too much, what else can you tell us about the Designer?

He is the great I AM. In this novel, world forces have done all they can to make Him disappear. But no force on earth is more powerful than Him.

Q: How has being a teacher impacted the way you approach your novels?

Because I have the privilege of spending my days with some of the most amazing teens on the planet, I have learned that life as a teenager today is amazing, difficult and overwhelming. Teens have so much expected of them, so many pressures thrust on them. Knowing this informs my characters and my plots.

Q: As Thalli learns more about herself and the world, she questions if there is more to life. Do you think it's OK for teens to question God and why he has made them unique?

I have a son named Thomas, and the reason we chose that name was because of a Bible study lesson I heard while pregnant with him. Our teacher pointed out that when the apostle Thomas questioned Jesus, Jesus could have responded with anger or frustration, a "Seriously, dude? I just rose from the dead and am standing in front of you, and you want to see my hands??" But He didn't say that. He simply held out his hands so Thomas could see and believe. Jesus recognized His followers will doubt, will question --- even when proof of His existence is so obvious --- and he responds to that doubt with grace and love. I love that our Savior loves us like that! I love that we can ask Him tough questions and find that He responds in ways that make our weak faith stronger.

Q: How does Anomaly compare to popular teen series like The Hunger Games and Divergent? Will readers drawn to those books enjoy Thalli's adventure, too?

Definitely! There are several similarities between those books and Anomaly --- a world that is radically different than ours, a government that tries to suppress its people and a girl who stands out from everyone else. Like those, there is also romance and adventure and quite a few surprises, as well.

Q: Are there special connections from Thalli's pursuit for a greater purpose for her abilities and our different roles in the Church?

Christians are called the body of Christ, and the body is made up of different parts --- all necessary for a healthy body to function. The rulers of Thalli's world reject such a notion, choosing to believe instead that sameness is best for mankind. But Thalli is different --- an anomaly. And we find, through her journey, that differences really are best and that God's design is perfect.

Q: Will Anomaly be part of a new series? What are you working on next?

Yes, this is the first in a trilogy of books about Thalli's journey and her world. The next book will be released in February 2014, and the final book will release in August 2014.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Gone South: A Review

Tish McComb longs to return to the past, and buying her ancestors' home in Noble, Alabama, seems the perfect way to connect with those who came before her. When she arrives, she finds out her ancestors were the town's outcasts, making Tish one too. Will she find a place to belong, or will she be pushed out of town like her namesake was?

Being a Southern girl, I love stories set in my neck of the woods. I liked Tish, George, and Calv, who were unique and well developed.

My favorite was Mel, another town outcast who ran away at the age of 19. Her story to redemption was fantastic. She got on my nerves at time, but her inner turmoil was perfectly captured by the author.

Even though there was a conclusion, I felt the end wasn't quite settled between Tish and the town although I was satisfied with how things ended....not a total happily ever after but a realistic happy.

Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this book. This is the first book I've read by Moseley, but I'll check out her other books.
I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.


Sunday, August 11, 2013



Today I'm giving away a copy of Stealing the Preacher, which is super cute.
To enter to win, leave a comment about whether or not you've ever stolen anything.....I have to say I never have, not even as a kid. I had other vices....hahaha!

So, I'll tell you why I like my new pastor so much. It's because while the sermons dig deep in the word of God, they apply to every day life. On Wednesdays, it's a smaller group and a little more relaxed. Through the sermons, he's been giving us tips on our quiet prayer time with the Lord and keeping a prayer journal. I like that a lot.

To get a second entry, follow the blog and leave a second comment letting me know you follow.
I can only ship to the US.
I'll pick a winner next week.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CrossReads Book Blast: Keeper of Reign by Emma Right

Keeper of Reign By Emma Right

About the Book

Books written in blood. Most are lost, their Keepers with them. A curse that befell a people. A Kingdom with no King. Life couldn’t get more harrowing for the Elfies, a blend of Elves and Fairies. Or for sixteen-year-old Jules Blaze. Or could it? For Jules, the heir of a Keeper, no less, suspects his family hides a forgotten secret. It was bad enough that his people, the Elfies of Reign, triggered a curse which reduced the entire inhabitants to a mere inch centuries ago. All because of one Keeper who failed his purpose. Even the King’s Ancient Books, did not help ward off that anathema. Now, Gehzurolle, the evil lord, and his armies of Scorpents, seem bent on destroying Jules and his family. Why? Gehzurolle’s agents hunt for Jules as he journeys into enemy land to find the truth. Truth that could save him and his family, and possibly even reverse the age-long curse. Provided Jules doesn't get himself killed first.
Emma RightEmma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast of the USA. Besides running a busy home, and looking after their five pets, which includes two cats, two bunnies and a Long-haired dachshund, she also writes stories for her children. She loves the Lord and His Word deeply, and when she doesn't have her nose in a book, she is telling her kids to get theirs in one. Right worked as a copywriter for two major advertising agencies and won several awards, including the prestigious Clio Award for her ads, before she settled down to have children.
Follow Emma Right Website | Facebook | Twitter

Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

Enter below to enter a $50 amazon gift card, sponsored by author Emma Right!
This book blast is hosted by Crossreads. We would like to send out a special THANK YOU to all of the CrossReads book blast bloggers!

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Congrats to Sarah for winning a copy of Heiress. Today I'm giving away a copy of In Broken Places, which I thought was a moving read even though it was sometimes hard to read because the topic made me want to jump into the pages and do something about it! 
To enter to win, leave a comment about a place you love to go. Boston is my favorite place to far. There are so many places I want to visit one day when I get out of debt--Nantucket, Alaska, the rest of the states I haven't been to, and that's just the US.
Get a second entry by following my blog and leaving a second comment letting me know you do. 
Be sure to leave an email.
I can only ship to the US.
I'll pick a winner next week. 
Have a great week!

Friday, August 2, 2013

It's out there....a little bit


It's always exciting when you get an email from your publisher. Today, I got the news that my book is listed on Goodreads and Amazon. How fun!
Of course, with a common name like Laura Jackson, I knew there was bound to be another author with my name. Thankfully, the other Laura Jackson writes biographies, so it should be easy to tell us apart. So, if you find my book on Goodreads, if you click the name, it takes you to the other Laura's page.
I emailed Goodreads and hope to have my account associated with my book soon.

Hopefully, there will be a cover reveal soon too. I'm so eager to see what it will look like!

So, if you're on Goodreads, check it out. Thanks to my friend Chelle for already marking it to-read. (I hope one day I'll be able to do the same for you!)

Here's a link:


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Wonder: A Review

I'm late to the Wonder party, but I'm so glad I still came. This book is fantastic! I had heard that it was great, and I was happy to see it on the Texas Bluebonnet List.

Told from various points of view, readers take a journey with ten-year-old Auggie (real name August) as he journeys to school for the first time. Born with facial disfigurement, Auggie is prepared for people to stare at him, but school turns out to be harder than expected---not just for Auggie but for his family and friends.

What I find amazing is that the author captures so many different characters perfectly: their voice, their feelings, their background. Each character is unique and adds to Auggie's story while telling their own.

Add them all together, and you get a beautiful story of friendship and triumph and, most of all, acceptance.

I'm going to promote this book at school this coming year and encourage teachers to use it in their classrooms. The book's theme of choosing to be kind is one that is much needed in today's society for both the young and the old, and Palacio shares that lesson in a thought-provoking, wonderful way.

In Broken Places: A Review


This book is hard to read. Not because it's not well written because it is. Not because the characters are boring because they aren't. Not because the plot is contrived because it's not.

It's hard to read because it tackles child abuse with open and often raw emotion. Shelby's still suffering from her father's abuse even though he's dead. In his will, he left her his child from his second wife. Fleeing to Germany to teach, Shelby takes the girl and together they find their way with the help of a patient man.

Although it's a tough read, it's a good read. The writing flows with ease between the past and the present, and while there are no "on the edge of your seat" scenes, it's a beautiful tale of a woman finding out how to not only survive but also to flourish.

Fans of Christian fiction will enjoy this novel. It's not a beach read, but it's an excellent read.
Its theme and compelling characters will stay with me long after I finish this review.

I was given this book in exchange for my review. My thoughts are my own.