Monday, January 26, 2015

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread

GIVEAWAY

HATHAWAY, MARY JANE
PERSUASION, CAPTIAN WENTWORTH AND CRACKLIN' CORNBREAD

A lively Southern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, featuring Lucy Crawford, who is thrown back into the path of her first love while on a quest to save her beloved family home.

Lucy Crawford is part of a wealthy, well-respected Southern family with a long local history. But since Lucy’s mother passed away, the family home, a gorgeous antebellum mansion, has fallen into disrepair and the depth of her father’s debts is only starting to be understood. Selling the family home may be the only option—until her Aunt Olympia floats the idea of using Crawford house to hold the local free medical clinic, which has just lost its space. As if turning the plantation home into a clinic isn’t bad enough, Lucy is shocked and dismayed to see that the doctor who will be manning the clinic is none other than Jeremiah Chevy—her first love.

Lucy and Jeremiah were high school sweethearts, but Jeremiah was from the wrong side of the tracks. His family was redneck and proud, and Lucy was persuaded to dump him. He eventually left town on a scholarship, and now, ten years later, he’s returned as part of the rural physician program. And suddenly, their paths cross once again. While Lucy’s family still sees Jeremiah as trash, she sees something else in him—as do several of the other eligible ladies in town. Will he be able to forgive the past? Can she be persuaded to give love a chance this time around?


My Review:

I can't begin to convey how much I've loved this series. Revisiting Austen in the South with Hathaway's unique spin has been reading nirvana for me. And I do believe that Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread is my favourite of the three. I just loved Lucy and Jem's story even though it was angst riddled to the very end...or maybe because it was. Carefully plotted and flawlessly executed, every precious word built up sights and sounds and smells and oh, so many emotions in my mind. A total escape read -- so much so that it was surreal to be jarred out of it when real life got in the way.

If I never get my blood pressure down, I'm blaming Lucy's family. I was foaming at the mouth over some of their antics. Gah! I wanted to shake that girl for capitulating so many times. All that Southern breeding has made her a tad too biddable.

Stalwart Jem, hurt by past rejection but still drawn to the girl who broke his heart. There is something about a sensitive hero who struggles to stay on an even keel. These two have such history -- and it goes way beyond personal. Their past is cluttered with societal expectations, class consciousness and even racial prejudice. The heart of this story is the hero and heroine's willingness to create something enduringly beautiful from the shards of their shattered pasts.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday February 1 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

January Giveaway - Week Four

Before we move on to this week's winners I just wanted to let you know I'm adding a new feature to the blog starting next week thanks to all the great book recommendations y'all gave me during Reader's Choice Week. So keep an eye out for retro Saturdays -- the day I'll be reviewing books from years past. The thing about Retro Saturdays is that it will be totally random depending on my reading time and personal whims.  :-) In other words I won't necessarily post a retro review every Saturday. And if I do, it won't necessarily also be a giveaway. Sounds confusing? LOL. Not really. Just remember to stop by on Saturdays and check it out. If the book reviewed is also being offered as a giveaway you'll see the familiar colour book graphic with the caption 'giveaway' underneath. Because of the randomness of Retro Saturdays, I won't post them in the next week giveaway preview graphic. It'll be just a random surprise...so stay tuned.








As always, I will contact the winners by email however thanks to the nefarious ways of the Internet my email might land in your spam folder so keep your eyes peeled! :-) If you haven't heard from me by Monday evening please email me your snail mail address at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca From time to time winners and I don't seem to connect, so I have a month time frame. If I can't reach you within four weeks your win will be forfeited.

LOOKING AHEAD TO NEXT WEEK'S GIVEAWAYS:



Friday, January 23, 2015

Plain Peril

GIVEAWAY

STONE, ALISON
PLAIN PERIL

Killer in Amish Country

After her sister is found dead and her brother-in-law goes missing, Hannah Wittmer rushes back to the Amish community she abandoned to care for her young nieces. Although she makes every effort to blend in, she's still seen as an outsider and quickly attracts the attention of a killer. She knows Sheriff Spencer Maxwell is fast on the murderer's tracks, but the Amish townspeople are as suspicious of him as they are of Hannah. As threats escalate now targeting Hannah and the handsome sheriff they'll follow any trail to uncover a vicious criminal. Even if that trail leads them right to their own backyard.

My Review:

This enthralling mystery carries a distinctly sinister tone. Apple Creek is definitely not your warm and fuzzy Amish community. In fact the Amish are downright unapproachable. Very different from the typical Amish stories out there. This community is closing ranks and they treat Hannah as an unwanted outsider even though she grew up among them. That leaves her struggling not only with her grief over her sister's untimely death, but with the harsh rebuffing of former friends and neighbours. With incredible courage, Hannah bears their overt scrutiny as she endeavours to live within the strict boundaries of the ordnung so that she can care for her abandoned nieces. And if that isn't challenging enough, she has to contend with escalating threats from someone who is trying to force her to leave. Talk about page-turning suspense!

That brings me to our hero, Sheriff Spencer Maxwell. Be still my heart! He tries to keep a professional distance but he can't ignore the fact that he's immediately drawn to Hannah. There's a crackle of romantic tension right from their first meet and as the story progresses, so does their relationship. And that makes Spencer's investigation personal. Tension and danger abound as this fast paced suspense races to a surprising conclusion.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Plain Peril please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 25 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Dakota Love

GIVEAWAY

ZEDIKER, ROSE ROSS
DAKOTA LOVE

Modern South Dakota individuals use quilting to bring them joy and comfort, but suddenly quilting is leading them to romances they didn’t even know they wanted. Caroline and Rodney have each been loaded with many worries, but a tattered quilt could bring them together to share their burdens. Sarah and Mark embrace their independence until a quilting class throws them together and reveals their need for companionship. Lil is outgoing where Walt is private, but as they use quilting for physical therapy, an old secret could be revealed that will expose just how different they really are.
 
My Review:
 
 Dakota Love is the compilation of three novels originally published under the Heartsong Presents line. Bound by a central quilting theme they also share the commonality of 'mature' love stories. The heroines are all over forty and Zediker does a marvelous job of showing that romance isn't only for the young.

The strength in this author's writing is in the realism that infiltrates every scene. She delivers emotionally charged stories about real people facing real challenges. Nothing is sugar coated but each story is laced with hope.

Bound together by a quilting theme, Zediker explores the courage and resiliency of men and women willing to embrace the season they are living in. Tender and heartwarming, these stories celebrate God's presence in every aspect of our lives..
 
GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Dakota Love please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 25 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brentwood's Ward

GIVEAWAY

Grieps, Michelle
Brentwood's Ward

It takes a criminal to find one, and Nicholas Brentwood is just the man for the job. Reformed in more ways than one, the rough-around-the-edges Brentwood is a member of the Bow Street Runners, London's early nineteenth century fledgling police force. There's none better than Brentwood at catching the felons who ravage the city's streets, and there's nothing he loves more than seeing justice served.

Beautiful and beguiling, Miss Emily Payne is not the sort of miscreant Brentwood usually hunts down. When he is assigned as her bodyguard. he vows to protect her for her father's enemies, who will stop at nothing to carry out their mission fueled by greed and revenge.

All her life, Emily has longed for love, but it remains beyond her grasp. This season she's determined to find a husband, which is quite the undertaking with a hound-dog guardian like Brentwood watching her every step. If he would just give her some measure of freedom, she is sure she could win the heart of society's most eligible bachelor.

Emily's headstrong persistence, challenges Nicholas in ways he doesn't expect, but of one things he's certain -- of all the cunning criminals he's dealt with in the past, this time he's met his match.

My Review:

This was such a fun read in a menacing sort of way! A Regency that packs a wallop. If you combined Dickens with Austen and added a dash of Sherlock Holmes you'd come close to describing Griep's writing style as her imagination runs rampant through the pages of this book. She certainly grabbed my attention -- from the complex, sinister plot to the rapid fire pacing, I could barely catch my breath. Just when I'd think things were calming down...they weren't! The author definitely reveals the darker side of Regency London in an all too realistic way. Honestly, my head was spinning and my voice was hoarse from shouting dire warnings at the oblivious heroine.

Miss Emily Payne could be a...well, real pain. When we first meet her she is sheltered, definitely spoiled and extremely obstinate. As circumstances change and real life infiltrates her protective bubble she stretches and grows into a woman of strength and compassion and....okay she stays obstinate but that's Nicholas's problem now.

Speaking of the hero -- insert swoon here. I was smitten the minute we met. Rough around the edges yes, but there's a noble heart beating in that manly chest. He believes in justice (though not always mercy) and is passionate about his work as a Bow Street Runner. That whole angle is utterly fascinating and at the roots of an organized police force in London. History in the making.

Brentwood's Ward has received rave reviews from a multitude of big name authors and I heartily agree with their assessment. I only wish the publisher had given the author another thirty pages or so because the ending did seem to come upon me in a rush. Some of the threads had to be tied up with  dialogue after the fact rather than the reader actually witnessing them first hand.

All in all a brilliant (and edgy) blend of suspense and historical and I enjoyed every minute of the read.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Brentwood's Ward please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 25 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Healing the Widower's Heart

GIVEAWAY

MASON, SUSAN ANNE
HEALING THE WIDOWER'S HEART

A Child's Only Hope

When widower Nathan Porter brings his grieving son, Zach, to Wyndermere House's camp, he is desperate for a lifeline. Nathan's hoping the change of scenery to the woods of upstate New York will help mend his son's heart. But the counselor assigned to his son's care seems too young—and too pretty—to be qualified. Paige McFarlane's learned what loving someone—and losing them—costs. But soon her efforts with Zach reveal that to help the son she must also help the dad. As Nathan and Paige work together to mend the boy's broken spirit, they realize the walls around their own hearts could be crumbling, as well.

When widower Nathan Porter brings his grieving son, Zach, to Wyndermere House's camp, he is desperate for a lifeline. Nathan's hoping the change of scenery to the woods of upstate New York will help mend his son's heart. But the counselor assigned to his son's care seems too young—and too pretty— to be qualified. Paige McFarlane's learned what loving someone—and losing them—costs. But soon her efforts with Zach reveal that to help the son she must also help the dad. As Nathan and Paige work together  to mend the boy's broken spirit, they  realize the walls around their own hearts could be crumbling, as well.

My Review:

Have to start with a side note here: This is an author to keep on your radar. A year ago Susan Anne Mason was unpublished. Today she is a multi-contracted author with three (yes three) publishing houses! Her contemporary romances are published by  Harlequin's Love Inspired and White Rose Publishing while her debut historical romance from Bethany House comes out this summer. I love hearing mega success stories like this.  And, woot, she's Canadian to boot!

Healing the Widower's Heart is a just a little bit different from the other Love Inspired romances I have read. And I think that's a good thing. Refreshing actually, though definitely angsty! Truth be told, I didn't take to Nathan Porter right off the bat. Part of him has given up and he holds himself back from nearly everyone and everything. And I'll be honest, his troubled relationship with his son really bothered me.

In contrast, Paige is like an open book. Vibrant, alive, and living life to the fullest...except in the romance department. She has no intentions of going down that painful road again. Wills clash from this hero and heroine's very first meeting and I'll admit to being on Paige's side from the get go. However, Mason very cleverly shares glimpses of Nathan's past as the story progresses. My heart softened towards him as more is revealed until I could clearly see the wounded man beneath the 'uptight' exterior. Talk about reader meltdown!

In many ways, Paige is Nathan's strength until he can come to grips with his past and move forward with confidence into the future. Ironically, during the process, he becomes her strength from time to time and there's this beautiful meshing of give and take that is so true in any working relationship. Loved the realism in this story and the faith in God that made their happily ever after possible.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Healing the Widower's Heart please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 25 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Take a Chance On Me

GIVEAWAY

WARREN, SUSAN MAY
TAKE A CHANCE ON ME

Darek Christiansen is almost a dream bachelor—oldest son in the large Christiansen clan, heir to their historic Evergreen Lake Resort, and doting father. But he’s also wounded and angry since the tragic death of his wife, Felicity. No woman in Deep Haven dares come near.

New assistant county attorney Ivy Madison simply doesn’t know any better when she bids on Darek at the charity auction. Nor does she know that when she crafted a plea bargain three years ago to keep Jensen Atwood out of jail and in Deep Haven fulfilling community service, she was releasing the man responsible for Felicity’s death. All Ivy knows is that the Christiansens feel like the family she’s always longed for. And once she gets past Darek’s tough exterior, she finds a man she could spend the rest of her life with. Which scares her almost as much as Darek learning of her involvement in his wife’s case.

Caught between new love and old grudges, Darek must decide if he can set aside the past for a future with Ivy—a future more and more at risk as an approaching wildfire threatens to wipe out the Christiansen resort and Deep Haven itself.

My Review:

Yes, I have been reading these backwards. Take a Chance On Me, the first in the Christiansen family saga makes for a powerful start to this stunning series. I'm not quite sure where to begin this review. Perhaps to say that this story portrays one of the most moving testimonies of forgiveness that I have ever read. And the strength of the story is in the fact that the author shows the far reaching effects withholding forgiveness has. Not only for the individual harboring resentment and anger, but for all the people surrounding them, both family and friends and even neighbours. In fact, in a way, an entire community has born the burden of one man's unwillingness to forgive. And that man is our hero, Darek Christiansen.

Tormented doesn't begin to describe Darek. Mired in past mistakes that led to a fatal tragedy, his unwillingness to forgive extends towards himself as well as a friend turned arch enemy. Bitterness and anger are beginning to twine themselves around Darek's heart but he doesn't see it. Not until Ivy Madison shows up on his radar. And mercy, don't get me started on Ivy because she is exactly the wrong person for Darek, or maybe the right person going about it all the wrong way? However you look at it, be prepared for emotional angst that will churn up your tummy and cause you, the hapless reader, no end of heartache.

This is a true-to-life love story with none of the gnarly bits edited out. But there's incredibly tender moments too. Along with toe-curling love scenes and larger than life family times. And oh the joy of victory! The Apostle Paul's admonishment to "fight the good fight and finish the race" comes to mind when I think of Darek's journey. Not because he did it particularly well, but because he clung on to shrapnels of truth wherever he could find them. Because he was willing to soften his heart as a result. Because he might not have always" kept the faith" during that difficult journey, but he found it again. Truly inspirational.

GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITY:

If you would like an opportunity to win a copy of Take a Chance On Me please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you post a comment and add your email address, please use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in the address to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email please remember to put the title in the subject line so that it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday January 25 2015. Offer open to international readers. Good luck!