My Blog, My Way

It’s been so long since I last posted on my blog, I had to go back and review my previous posts, just to get my bearings a little. It was a good exercise, because looking at past posts helped me decide if I want to go in a new direction, or keep posting on the same topics I’ve dealt with in the past.

When I started this blog, my purpose was share my thoughts about, and my love for books. I think I’ll continue on in the same vein.

There are some bloggers who write book reviews, which I love to read. But I don’t want to write book reviews (although I sometimes leave reviews on book retailers’ sites).

There are some bloggers who participate in book promo tours, and kudos to them. I love reading about new titles from my favorite authors, as well as learning about authors who are new to me. But I prefer to leave book promotion to the professionals, so you probably won’t see any future blog posts from me on the subject.

What do I like to blog about? Books (which I love to read), Colorado (my home state; please visit, if you can), and stuff that happens in my life. And since that’s what I like, that’s what I’ll blog about—unless I run out of things to say, or stop reading books worth talking about. And, seriously, what are the chances of that happening?

 

A New Tracie Peterson Series!

I have been a fan of Tracie Peterson’s books since—Well, for as long as I can remember! Her first novels were published by Barbour’s Heartsong line in the 1990s. Each title was short (about 170 pages) and centered around a budding romance between a man and a woman who grow in faith by the story’s end.

In those days I was a Heartsong subscriber, so Tracie’s books automatically arrived my doorstep. She quickly became one of my favorite authors. I’ve been a constant reader of her stories ever since; in fact, six of her novels figure prominently on my keeper shelf.

Fast forward twenty years later, and I’m still an avid reader of Tracie’s books.

Her latest series is “Brookstone Brides,” about a traveling Wild West show comprised of all-female performers. I love the premise!

The first book in the series, When You are Near, released earlier this month, and automatically appeared on my Kindle (we’ve come a long way since the 90s!).

You can click on the cover to read the book description.

When You are Near had everything I’ve come to expect from a Tracie Peterson book: strong characters, a complex story, surprise twists, and an historical setting so well written you think you’re living the time period.

As soon as I finished reading it, I wanted more, and began searching for information about the next book in the series.

The good news is, I don’t have long to wait long to read it. Wherever You Go (Book 2) comes out in June.

It’s already available for pre-order on Amazon. Here’s a link, if you’d like to read the book description. 

Breaking News!

I just found out that Book 3 in the series, What Comes My Way, will release in October.

You can click on the cover to read the description.

By the way, aren’t the covers beautiful? They really capture all the little details that help make the time period come to life.

If you love reading about strong, determined women, the old west, and vulnerable hearts learning to trust God and His Will, then Tracie’s new series just might be for you! I hope you’ll check it out.

Enjoy!

To All the Men I’ve Loved Before

In the early 1980s singers Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias recorded “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” a song that paid homage to the many, many women they loved and lost (or dumped) over the courses of their lives.

I’ll say straight up, I’m not a fan of the song; but for some reason, it’s been stuck in my head for the last 48 hours. So I decided, if I can’t get the song out of my mind, I might as well repurpose it in a way that makes sense to me.

So, I’m taking a page from Willie and Julio’s book, and presenting to you a list all the book heart-throbs I once loved.

My First Love was Bert Bobbsey, oldest of the two sets of twins in the Bobbsey family household.

 

Now that I think back on it, Bert was really more of an admired older brother than a crush, but I thoroughly hero-worshipped him until I found . . .

My second crush, Frank Hardy. Level-headed, smart, and brave, he was the hero of more than one thrilling book adventure in my grade-school years.

Plus, he was handsome and a sharp dresser. I’ve loved pull-over sweaters on men ever since.

Then, in more or less chronological order, there was:

Laurie from Little Women. Theodore “Laurie” Laurence set the standard for me when it came to the man I thought I’d like to fall in love with.

Laurie and Amy March in an illustration from my 1939 edition of Little Women.

He was smart, rich, playful, good at keeping secrets, and heart-throbbingly loyal. I was a little troubled to see how quickly he transferred his affections from Jo to Amy, but since everyone in the book ended up happy (with the sad exception of Beth, of course), I was willing to overlook Laurie’s change of allegiance.

Gilbert Blythe.
I have the full collection of Anne of Green Gables books, as well as the beautifully filmed mini-series by Sullivan Productions (I never get tired of watching it!). One reason I love the series so much is Gilbert Blythe.

Gilbert was introduced in the book as a . . .

Tall boy with curly brown hair, roguish hazel eyes and a mouth twisted into a teasing smile.

From the moment he first set eyes on Anne, and he winked at her, you knew he liked her. He really liked her.

For me, the entire Anne series is as much about Anne and Gilbert growing up together and recognizing their feelings for each other, as it is about Anne Shirley coming of age. Yes, she’s the main character in the books, but I still get misty-eyed when I read the scene where Gilbert—after receiving Anne’s rejections again and again—proposes marriage to her for a second time:

“I have a dream,” he said, slowly. “I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of a home with a hearth-fire in it, a cat and dog, the footsteps of friends—and you!”

Anne wanted to speak but she could find no words. Happiness was breaking over her like a wave. It almost frightened her.

“I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today, will you give me a different answer?”

Merddyn Gryffydd.
Richard Llewellyn’s 1939 novel How Green was My Valley chronicled the life of Huw Morgan as he grew to manhood in a Welsh mining town. It’s been my all-time favorite novel since I first read it when I was 12. There are many memorable scenes in the book, but for me, some of the most poignant and beautifully written moments are between Huw’s older sister Angharad (pronounced an-HAR-ad) and the Reverend Mr. Gruffydd (pronounced Griffith).

It’s clear that Angharad is in love with him, but does he love her in return?

Mr. Gruffydd is a gentle, well-spoken, man of God, who daily demonstrates his high ideals. When he discovers that a rich young man has been courting Angharad, the woman he loves, he decides to put his own feelings aside so she can have a better life than the one he can offer:

“I am afraid that you will go threadbare all your life. That you and me will have to depend upon the charity of others for most of our good meals, and on my living for enough to exist. Do you think I want to see the white come into your hair twenty years before its time? Shall we see our children growing up in the cast-off clothing of others? Shall we thank God for parenthood in a house full of bits and presents that had outlived their use to the givers? No, Angharad. I am a man. I can bear with such a life for the sake of my work. But I think I would start to kill if I saw it having an effect on you.”

I loved Mr. Gruffydd for trying so hard to do the right thing by the woman he loved, yet getting it so wrong.

Those weren’t all my book boyfriends, but they were the ones that made impressions on me at a young age. As I grew older, I fell in love with Gabriel Oak (Far from the Madding Crowd), Sidney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities), and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice).

But Bert, Frank, Laurie, Gilbert and Mr. Gryffydd have a very special place in my heart.

How about you? Did you ever have a crush on a fictional character? I’d love to know who! 

It’s a Bad Thing in a Good Way

Silly me, I thought I was making significant progress in getting my To-Be-Read mountain whittled down to size of a decent hill. You see, I went on a reading binge in December, which I carried over into January. I knocked a couple dozen books off the top of my TBR pile, and was feeling pretty smug about, too.

But then it happened. On Friday I got an e-mail from American Christian Fiction Writers with a list of 24 new releases from their member authors.

Member authors whose books I love. Hallee Bridgeman, Kara Isaac, Michelle Griep. Need I say more? Of course, these are must-have books.

And this one caught my eye, too:

Sandra Ardoin is a new author to me, but I couldn’t resist pre-ordering her novella. We’re talking mail-order bride, Alaska gold-rush, and a hero with emotional baggage, which means it, too, qualifies as a must-have book.

Some of the books on the ACFW list haven’t released yet, and that’s good news! Good because I have some time to make further headway on reducing my TBR before I start adding to it again.

Have you seen the ACFW’s new release list? (You can view it here) I’d love to know what books caught your eye.

 

A Christmas Duet and a Giveaway!

Authors Rebekah Morris and Faith Blum have teamed up for a fun Christmas Duet Blog Tour!

Why Christmas Duet? Because the titles of both books have to do with a Christmas song!

Rebekah and Faith are giving away copies of their books, so be sure to read to the bottom of this post to see how you can win!

First, let’s talk about Rebekah’s book:

His Law is Love

Book Description:

Will hate and fear drown the song of Christmas love?

Amelia is eagerly anticipating her first Christmas in the west, but she soon finds that her brother-in-law’s worry and her sister’s exhaustion reach far deeper than the cares of a ranch and a family. A rash of fires and cattle thefts is plaguing the area, and the three young orphans they’ve sheltered are under suspicion from their prejudiced neighbors.

As hostilities mount, Amelia seizes every opportunity to help and encourage, but how much can one girl do? Will Reverend Brown win the community over to the true spirit of love? And will help arrive before everything they hold dear is destroyed?

Excerpt:

Here’s an excerpt from His Law is Love, by Rebekah A. Morris:

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Ware,” Matt said, bowing slightly. “I hope we will be seeing more of you. There aren’t many young ladies around here and very few as lovely as you are.”

Amelia felt her cheeks grow hot but hoped it wouldn’t be noticed. “I don’t know if I’ll be in town much, I’m afraid,” she replied, glancing down the street.

“That’s a pity,” Nick said. “Where does your sister live?”

“At the Macy ranch.”

A sudden silence filled the street. Had she said something wrong or strange?

“Have you been to the ranch yet?” Matt asked at last.

“No, I’ve only just arrived.”

The young men seemed visibly relieved. “Then perhaps you can talk some sense into your brother-in-law and sister.”

Amelia raised her eyebrows. Sense? What were these men talking about?

“They’ve taken in some half-breeds, but everyone knows they can’t keep them.”

“Why not?”

“The whole town is against it. All Indians do is cause trouble, and there’s been talk,” Matt took a step closer and lowered his voice, “that the half-breeds have connections with some other Indians who are burning barns and stealing cattle.”

“Indians can’t be trusted, Miss Ware,” Nick put in. “It’s sad to say it, but it’s the truth.”

Want to read more? You can read a preview here; just click on the left or right arrows to navigate:

About the Author:

Rebekah A. Morris is a homeschool graduate, an enthusiastic freelance author and a passionate writing teacher. Her books include, among others, Home Fires of the Great War, The Unexpected Request, Gift from the Storm, the Christmas Collection series, and her best selling Triple Creek Ranch series.

Some of her favorite pastimes, when she isn’t writing, include reading, playing with her seven nieces and nephews, and coming up with dramatic and original things to do (sometimes with the nieces and nephews!) The Show-Me state is where she calls home.

My Two Cents:

I couldn’t wait to read this book! I read it through in one sitting and enjoyed it so much. You can read my 5-star review on GoodReads by clicking here. 

Now let’s take a look at the second book in the Duet:

O Come, All Ye Faithful

Book Description:

This collection of short stories is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit:

O Come All Ye Faithful
Edwin wanted to be home, but instead he crouched in a trench. The English on one side of No Man’s Land and Germans on the other. What a way to spend Christmas. Could anything make it better?

Peace on Earth
Emmie and Elana are estranged sisters, torn apart by an old boyfriend five years earlier. Will they survive a night in the same hotel room after a blizzard forces them together or will peace on earth go out the window?

Silent Night
Christmas decorating had never gone this wrong. Jenna had just started when a crazy, gun-waving woman, walks right in the front door and ties her up in her own Christmas lights. Will Jenna even see her family this Christmas?

The Gift Goes On
Four friends and a year to reflect on. The year had been good for Carlotta, but Priscilla, Remus, and Newton all had at least one trial through the year. A mysterious giver the previous year had helped them all out, though. What would this year’s gifts bring?

O Christmas Tree
Gareth loves Christmas. But more than that, he loves Christmas tree hunting. As the family prepares for their annual trip, Gareth can barely contain his excitement. But what are all the spray bottles for?

Excerpt:

The Christmas lights corded tightly around Jenna’s ankles and wrists. The crazy woman had even plugged them in, giving her body an absurd prettiness considering the situation.

The gun-waving woman gave a slow, self-satisfied smile. “Oh, I must have been good this year. Santa has given me a lovely gift. Many of them, actually.”

Jenna closed her eyes. “Santa isn’t real.”

The woman glared at Jenna. “Of course he is. He’s always brought me either presents or coal. Every year, even when I have no one else around in the house. I was told by all the kids about those fairy tales of Santa not being real, but how does that explain how I always got a present even when neither of my parents had been in the house with me for weeks? Or as I got older and moved away and had no one living with me, I always ended up with presents under my tree. Why are you decorating so late in the season, anyway?”

Jenna’s eyes flew open at the question that came directly into her ear. “I… I recently moved out of my parents’ house and didn’t want to get anything unnecessary like decorations. I also thought Christmas would be at their house, but they decided to come here, so now I need to decorate.”

“When are they arriving?”

Was it a sin to lie under duress?

Want to read more? You can read a preview here:

My Two Cents:

I’ve selected this book to read this weekend, and I’m looking forward to it! The Christmas stories in this collection sound charming, and since they’re each set in different places and time periods, this book is certain to appeal to all readers!

About the Author:

Faith Blum is a small-town Wisconsin girl. She’s lived in, or outside of, small towns her whole life. The thought of living in a city with more than 60,000 people in it scares her, especially after some interesting adventures driving through big cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.

Faith currently resides in the middle of the state of Wisconsin with her husband and their cat, Smokey. She is blessed to be able to have writing as her full-time career with household work and cooking to do on the side. She loves to paint walls as long as she doesn’t have to do hallways or ceilings.

When not writing, you can find her cooking food from scratch due to food allergies (fun), doing dishes (meh), knitting, crocheting, sewing, reading, or spending time with her husband (yay!). She is also a Community Assistant for the Young Writers Workshop and loves her work there. She loves to hear from her readers, so feel free to contact her on her website.

And now for that giveaway I promised you!

Just like Rebekah and Faith teamed up for this tour, they have also teamed up on the giveaway!

Grand Prize: Paperback of each (US only)
1st Prize: eBook of each (International and US)
2nd Prize: eBook of choice (International and US)

Click Here to Enter the Giveaway!

And be sure to join Rebekah and Faith on the rest of their tour, for interviews, reviews, and to see if you won one of the giveaway prizes:

November 29
Frances Hoelsema’s Blog – Two Book Spotlights
Rebekah Ashleigh – Review of His Law is Love and Book Spotlights
Novels, Dragons, and Wardrobe Doors – Book Review and Spotlight
Salsa And Tea – Author Interviews

November 30
Purely by Faith Reviews – Two Book Reviews
Once Upon An Ordinary – Author Interview and Book Spotlights
In the Bookcase – Excerpts

December 1
Books, Life, and Christ – Two Book Reviews
Maidens for Modesty – Two Book Reviews
Chosen Vessels – Two Book Reviews
Harvest Lane Cottage – Two Book Reviews
Jessica Greyson – Book Spotlights
Twin Thoughts – Book Spotlights
Heart of the Rose – Two Book Reviews
Read Another Page – Book Spotlight and Review

December 3
Bookish Orchestrations – Giveaway winner

Good luck in the drawing, and enjoy the books!

My First Christmas Read and a Giveaway!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I’m ready to concentrate on making my house sparkly and my season bright by reading some great Christmas-themed books.

On Friday I chose the first book to read to get me in the holiday mood:

His Law is Love by Rebekah A. Morris.

I read the book in one sitting (couldn’t put it down!), and I’m glad to say that it was the perfect story to kick off my Christmas season reading list.

This story of faith, loving others as Christ taught us, and standing by your principles no matter the cost, really kept me on the edge of my seat.

I enjoyed the book so much, and I’m happy to tell you that I’ll be hosting a stop on the author’s blog tour later this week.

Please join me here on Wednesday for . . .

Excerpts of His Law is Love and a chance to win your own copy of this delightful book!

In the meantime, you can read my review of His Law is Love by Rebekah A. Morris. Just click here to read the review on Goodreads!

See you Wednesday!