Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fade to Blue



How do you restore a soul? One brush stroke at a time ...

Suz Mitchell is a determined dreamer, and won't allow her ex-husband's jail sentence to ruin their young son Jeremiah's life. An accomplished artist, Suz moves with her child across the country to California's central coast, and lands a job restoring priceless art for the historic Hearst Castle overlooking the sea.

But even dreams have shocking twists. To her surprise, a serious old flame, Seth, works at the castle and jumbles the new aspirations in Suz's heart. While sorting through their past and a palette of spiritual differences, an even bigger brush with yesterday awaits.

Suz must learn to let God be the true restorer of all that once seemed lost.

My Review:

A fresh, breezy summer read. I love the Otter Bay community and the fact that I got to reacquaint myself with characters from the series. But even though Callie and Gage play prominent roles in Fade to Blue -- this is Suz's story. Caught between a rock and a hard place she battles with doing the right thing and making right choices. Her life hasn't been easy and it isn't about to get any easier. Especially with Seth (a past love) unexpectedly showing up.

Carobini writes thoughtful, soul-searching stories that mesh the harsh realities of life with the awe-inspiring hand of God. Sometimes the two seem at odds but Carobini has a way of showing how God will prevail if we open ourselves to His will.

There's angst and romance, an adorable dog and an equally adorable child and an entire of cast of characters who come alive and make me want to hop a plane and head for California. Perfect escape reading for a lazy summer day.

 Giveaway: If you would like a chance to win a copy of Fade to Blue leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTcom. The draw will be held on Sunday, July 3. Open internationally.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Sweetest Thing



Anne "Perri" Singleton's world is defined by the security of family, the camaraderie of friends at an exclusive Atlanta girls' school, and an enviable social life. She isn't looking for new friends when Mary Dobbs Dillard arrives from Chicago. Besides, "Dobbs", the passionate and fiercely individualistic daughter of an itinerant minister is her opposite in every way.

But just as the Great Depression collides disastrously with Perri's well-ordered life, friendship blossoms -- that friendship that will be tested by jealousy, betrayal, and family secrets.

With her endearing characters and poignant storytelling, Atlanta native Elizabeth Musser vividly re-creates the charm of her beloved city amid the poverty and plenty that shaped the 1930s.

My Review:

If you only read one more book this year, make it this one.

Stunning doesn't begin to describe the spellbinding combination of unforgettable characters, exquisite word choice and a rich, deep plot that will leave you mulling it over long after you close the book.

Musser's 'voice' is so clearly southern that it is a pleasure to read each finely-crafted word. She creates pictures and atmosphere with them and tells a timeless story you'll be better for having read.

This is an epic coming-of-age tale. Two girls as opposite as can be, meeting during one of the most unsettled times in the history of the United States. Musser captures the desperation and despair but also the hope, courage and dignity of people forced to face the unthinkable every single day. Dobbs and Perri take turns telling their story -- each girl's distinctive voice building both plot and tension.

The spiritual threads in The Sweetest Thing are profound. It's the age old struggle of finding faith and keeping it. Musser does it justice in a gritty, real, honest way. And oh -- this book is filled with so much hope! It really made my spirits soar despite the harsh realities that can be found throughout the plot. Just like real life.

Can you tell I loved this book? ! If you'd like a chance to win a copy see below.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Giveaway: Leave a comment if you would like a chance at winning a copy of The Sweetest Thing. The draw will be held on Sunday July 3. If Blogger doesn't let you comment you can also email at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca.

June Giveaway Winners -- Week Four

My Apologies for being late posting the winners of last week's draw. We had horrendous storms Friday and Saturday and I lost my Internet connection. I had to wait until I came to work to post.

Also, since I didn't post my review of The Sweetest Thing last week (it will be up later today), I am going to pick two winners for the first two books in the River of Time series.

The Winners of both Waterfall and Cascade are:
Amber and NS
I will contact you both via email to get your snail mail addresses. If you don't hear from me by Tuesday morning please contact me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca


Thursday, June 23, 2011




What if you not only fell back through time...but fell in lover too?

Gabi knows she's left her heart in the fourteenth century, and she persuades Lia to help her to return even though they know doing so will risk their very lives.  When they arrive, months have passed, and all of Siena longs to celebrate the heroines who turned the tide in the battle against Florence -- while their enemies will go to great lengths to see them dead.

Even in the midst of the battles, Gabi's heart is increasingly drawn to Marcello, just as Lia's is to Luca. In medieval Italy, the sisters discover things inside themselves that they couldn't seem to find in the present -- connections with their mom, courage within, and the understanding that a life well lived often means encountering sacrifice. But in a world long past, many things still keep Gabi from giving Marcello her heart forever...and one thing in particular calls all three of the Betarrinis home.

My Review:

I don't think there is an effective way to express how much I love this book...this series! I'm almost at a loss for words!

The action is non-stop, the romance is toe-curling, the heroines are a winning combination of courage, vulnerability and tough-girl humour and the heroes...THUD. Everything you ever dreamed about in a medieval knight and then some. Marcello and Luca prove that chivalry is not least in the fourteenth century!

Bergren has enough surprises up her sleeve to keep the pages turning faster and the ending...the biggest surprise of all. Never in my wildest imagination did I see it going there! Have I piqued your curiosity yet? I hope so, because this is a book (and a series) that you don't want to miss!

GIVEAWAY: Because I love both Waterfall and Cascade so much and because you won't really appreciate Cascade until you have read Waterfall, I am giving away a copy of both book one and book two in the River of Time series. If you want to be entered in the draw please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. The draw will be held on Sunday June 26. Open internationally.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

June Giveaway Winners - Week Three


The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo
won by Joy Tamsin David

Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann
won by Charity

I will contact the winners by email but if you don't hear from me by Monday evening please contact me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTcom with your snail mail address.

Looking Ahead to this coming week's Giveaways:

Cascade by Lisa Bergren -- I loved the first book in this series, Waterfall and now Gabi and Lia are traveling back in time to Medieval Italy for more adventure and romance. I've just started this one and am loving it so far!

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser -- an intriguing Southern historical -- perfect for a hot, sultry summer read.

If you are interested in winning a copy of either of these books check back and comment once I've posted a review. Or you can email me with the title of the book you are interested in reading since I know that blogger doesn't always play fair.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Second Chance Ranch


Former soldier and rodeo rider Zachary McClure's war injuries are far deeper than physical. Skeptical that anyone can reach the dark place in his soul, he visits an Albuquerque equine therapy ranch with no expectations. How can horses possibly mend his physical and emotional injuries when nothing—and no one—else has? He finds the answer when he meets Sophie Powell, an ex-army medic with a sunny smile, gentle touch and a determination to help others through horse therapy. But behind her big hopes and cheerful attitude lurks pain—and Zachary is just the man to change that. He can make Sophie's dreams a reality…and she may be the woman to heal this wounded hero's heart.

My Review:

Packing multiple emotional punches, Second Chance Ranch lives up to its is all about second chances. I always enjoy stories that feature animals  -- and horses Sam and Prince Charming shine as great supporting characters. They offer silent empathy and an understanding ear to both Zach and Sophie. Harris did an amazing job of conveying the hope and humour that comes with the companionship of therapy animals.

I appreciated the veteran angle as well. I know I'm guilty of not giving enough thought (and prayers) to soldiers who are suffering the aftermath of their service overseas. Kudos to Harris for highlighting one man's struggle and in doing so, honoring the service of soldiers everywhere.

Bonus: Second Chance Ranch is one of ACFW's book club choices for June. Discussion starts on June 20.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All



Two sisters set out on a walking tour of Jane Austen's England and uncover her long-lost diary -- and the truth of how her relationship with her sister Cassandra inspired Sense and Sensibility.

Ellen and Mimi Dodge have never been close, but their mother's dying wish sends them on a walking tour of Hampshire, England, that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen.  Their mother also left them something: a mysterious diary that belonged to Jane's sister Cassandra. These private pages shed light on the secrets that nearly tore the Austen sisters apart and inspired one of the greatest love stories of all time.

As the Dodge sisters visit sites that were important to the Austen sisters, from Steventon Rectory to Chawton Great House to Winchester Cathedral, they are drawn together in ways they never expected. They also discover that Cassandra's diary holds clues that will ultimately lead them to the holy grail of Austen lore: Jane's own diary. But someone doesn't want the Dodge sisters to discover Jane's secrets and will stop at nothing to keep Ellen and Mimi from finding the truth.

As the sisters stumble along their own paths toward love, they discover how Jane and Cassandra inspired the characters Marianne and Elinor Dashwood, and Ellen and Mimi come to realize that despite their very different sensibilities, they are a vital part of each other's happy endings.

My Review:

Opening up this book was like greeting an old friend. The Formidables are back! And Mrs. Parrot!!! I squealed when she made her appearance! You needn't have read either of the first in the series, Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart, but you might just appreciate this one a little bit more if you have.

Told from both sisters' point of view, the chapters flip from one first person POV to the other. It was easy to follow and interesting to see their different takes on certain situations. And of course there's romance...and a wee bit of intrigue amidst the English countryside! Perfect combination for a cozy summer read.

And dare I mention the book binding and quality of the paper? (LOL -- it's the librarian in me, I can't help it.) Does anyone else feel books? You know how some of the covers feel richer, smoother..okay, maybe you don't, but trust me this one is high quality. And the pages are thicker and the binding...a librarian's dream. This book won't fall apart after multiple readings. Sorry...I just had to get that out of my system.


Giveaway: If you would like a chance to win a copy of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. The draw will be held on Sunday June 19. Good luck!

Monday, June 13, 2011




In a clash of light and darkness, can courage prevail?

Rescuing a toddler from the jaws of a mountain lion, Trevor MacDaniel, a high-country outfitter, sets in motion events he can't foresee. His act of bravery entwines his life with gifted sculptor Natalie Reeve -- and attracts a grim admirer.

Trevor's need to guard and protect is born of tragedy, prompting his decision to become a search and rescue volunteer. Natalie's gift of sculpting comes from an unusual disability that seeks release through her creative hands. In each other they see strength and courage as they face an incomprehensible foe.

When a troubled soul views Trevor as archangel and adversary, Redford's peaceful mountain community is threatened. Together with Police Chief Jonah Westfall, Trevor presses his limits to combat the menace who targets the most helpless and innocent.

My Review:

Heitzmann has crafted another bestseller with her latest gritty and hard-hitting offering. Gripping suspense, puzzling clues, intriguing characters all cloaked in mystery make this a read to devour. I couldn't put it down. I love the unique spin Heitzmann puts on a suspense -- I was way off course when trying to put the pieces of this puzzle together and that's one of the reason it made reading Indelible so much.

Love the depth of her characters too. From main to secondary, they are all fleshed out with exacting detail. Relationships are never simple but Heitzmann makes it worth the struggle. I had never heard of Natalie's disability before but found her story inspiring. And the way Trevor broke down barriers until he could totally accept it and therefore a relationship with Nattie. Wow. Real-life stuff that breathes fresh life into romantic suspense.

Trevor isn't without his own baggage. He's a tortured soul who struggles with the consequences of past choices. He can't forgive or forget and he's the one he blames. But still, he's made a good life for himself and found a way to bring some normalcy to his life as he commits himself to helping others. The proverbial rescuer. What Heitzmann does with these two characters as she guides them into a relationship is absolutely stunning.

There is nothing typical or predictable about Indelible. It stands on its own as a must read if you love romantic suspense...and even if you don't.

Giveaway Opportunity! : If you would like a chance at winning your own copy of Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann, leave a comment below. The draw will be held on Sunday June 19. Open internationally. And if Blogger is messing with your brain (or your log on) just email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca and let me know you'd like your name added to the draw.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

June Giveaway Winners - Week Two

There's nothing like spending a rainy weekend curled up with a good book! I should know -- I've had way too many of them the last few months!  Luckily I keep lots of good books on hand so I never run out. And I get to share some of them with you! are the winners of this weeks draw:

The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus
Won by Rebecca 

Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson
Won by Michelle 

My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
Won by Jennifer

I have all of your email addys so I will contact you today for your snail mail address. If you don't hear from me by Monday evening, please contact me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If I can't reach you by Saturday June 18 I will select another winner and announce it on Sunday June 19.
Looking ahead to what I'm reading and giving away this coming week:
Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann -- I'm nearly finished this one...intriguing suspense!
The Dashwood Sisters Tell All by Beth Pattillo -- Just found this one at the store yesterday. I didn't know it was coming out. It's by the same author who wrote Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart and I loved both of them.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Chasing Sunsets



Sometimes you get a second chance at your first love.

Kimberly Tucker's life hasn't turned out the way she thought it would. While her ex is living it up, she struggles to understand what went wrong. When her two sons end up spending five weeks of the summer vacation with their father, Kim plans a respite at the family vacation home on tiny Cedar Key. As she revisits the long-forgotten past, she discovers that treasures in life are often buried, and sometimes you do get a second chance at love.

Let yourself be swept away to an island retreat of warm tropical breezes, sandy beaches, and the most glorious sunsets you can imagine.

My Review:

A beautiful read that goes layers deep to draw emotion to the surface. I felt it all; sorrow, despair, anguish, fury, desperation, fear...all of which were tempered with flashes of hope and understanding and, of course, love.

Kimberly's journey into the past brings her full circle into the present. The path she walks isn't an easy one and Everson pulls her readers in with a staggering emotionally-charged opening chapter that had me hooked. I ached for Kim  -- I ached for me aching for Kim as I compulsively devoured her story.

Everson plays with point of view in an unusual way. While this is primarily Kim's story (told in first person), it is riddled with flashbacks from multiple perspectives. Some are Kim's, some other characters'. This makes for a dynamic and intriguing read and while, Kim's story has an ending...and not the pure happily-ever you'll find in fairy tales...there are many unanswered questions which I hope will be answered in a sequel some day.

With characters that are rich and compelling and a setting perfect for a sultry, summer  read, Chasing Sunsets will make a great addition to anyone's vacation TBR pile.

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Giveaway: Leave a comment below if you would like to be entered in a draw to win a copy of Chasing Sunsets.  Or you can email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. Draw will be held on Sunday, June 12 -- so you'd better hurry!!! Giveaway open to everyone -- regardless of what country you live in. Good luck!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Art of Romance



Misconceptions arise when meddling matriarchs connive

Sassy Evans and Perty Bradley are determined to get their older grandchildren married off, but when twenty-eight year old Dylan comes home after being fired from his teaching position because of the betrayal of his ex-girlfriend, Perty knows her grandson has more important issues to deal with first.

Sassy understands her friend's reservations about timing, but she also sees so many ways in which Dylan would be the perfect match for her thirty-four year old granddaughter Caylor. With his record of acclaimed paintings and Caylor's bestselling novels, they could complement each other's talents and provide each other support and encouragement. And there's no denying the spark of attraction between the English professor with the untamed red hair and the painter with the unusual tattoos.

But neither grandmother realizes the secrets both Caylor and Dylan are keeping from each other. Will pain and embarrassment from the past keep Caylor and Dylan apart, or will they develop the courage to be truthful with each other and discover the true art of romance?

My Review:

Clever, clever, clever ending...but don't start there, begin at the beginning and trust me when I say you'll be impressed by the clever, clever, clever ending. :-)

This isn't your typical romance. It's full of surprises -- like the age difference between Caylor and Dylan with Dylan being younger. I think it was a pretty gutsy move on the author's part but she pulled it off. Then there's Dylan's background and more importantly how it affected his self-esteem and the way he reacted around others. He doesn't come off as your typical strong, take-charge hero.  He had a past that left him with issues and in a way they emasculated him to some extent. Another gutsy move by Dacus but again she more than pulled it off by fleshing out Dylan's history, gradually feeding us the information we needed to understand him. And then she gives him a lion's heart for determining change and we get to watch as he struggles and conquers issues that have all but crippled him in some areas of his life.

Though this book is rich in relationships, the focus isn't on romance...not for the first half of the book anyway. The intent is there -- Caylor and Dylan's attraction for each other is evident but there are too many obstacles in their way and Dacus takes us on a journey over months as they both work on themselves -- Dylan in particular. Another gutsy move for a romance.

We first met Caylor's friends, Zarah and Flannery in Love Remains which was Zarah's love story. They are back - and there is lots of girl time in The Art of Romance.  In fact one of the highlights of the book for me is Zarah's Say-Yes-to-the-Dress-like visit to New York City with entourage in tow.

Not to be out done, Dylan has some quality guy time with his brothers and I wonder if Dacus has plans for another series featuring the three Bradley brothers.

All in all this was an unexpected read but an enjoyable one. Kudos to Dacus for striking away from the  usual romantic formula.

Giveaway:  If you would like a chance at winning a copy of The Art of Romance please leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca.  Giveaway isn't limited by boundaries. I'm in Canada and will ship anywhere. Draw will be held on Sunday June 12.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Foolish Heart



When it comes to love, sometimes you have to be a little foolish.

Unknown to her quaint town of Deep Haven, Isadora Presley is the star host of My Foolish Heart, a popular syndicated talk radio show. From her home studio, she gives listeners advice on romance even though she's never had a date.

It's not that she doesn't want to, but since a tragic accident took her mother's life, panic attacks have trapped her inside her small neighbourhood. And though she always reminds listeners that their perfect love could be right next door, it can't possibly be true for her.  Especially when a new neighbour moves in. Sure he's handsome, but with his unruly dog and Neanderthal manners, Caleb Knight is the last man she'd ever fall for.

To Issy, love isn't worth the risk. Until she starts to have feelings for a caller -- a man she's never even met but finds honest, charming and sensitive.

A man she doesn't realize lives right next door.

My Review:

I got a delicious thrill every time I opened this book. That may sound strange and I can't quite put my finger on why but I was just plain excited every time I started to read.

My Foolish Heart is pure romance and it was refreshing to read a story where the plot focused on just that -- the romance between Caleb and Issy. This doesn't mean the story is shallow or lacking in any way. In fact the simplicity of it allowed Warren to go deeper into the hearts and lives of two people struggling to overcome past tragedies. She does it so well that I can totally see this play out on the big screen -- it's the kind of feel good, triumphant story with a  mega football game ending that would move you to tears in the theater. Honestly, it would be a hit at the box office.

Football? I HATE football. I don't understand it, don't want to and have absolutely no interest in anyone who does...until Caleb...and Issy. I actually read the football talk! I actually got the football jargon!  That in itself is a miracle!

You will meet the most endearing furry, four-footed beast in the pages of this book. Roger/Duncan provides humour and comfort and a major goosebump moment. And secondary characters who steal the spotlight at times as they struggle...and conquer...their own troubled pasts.

And then there's Issy. Warren approached her condition with compassion and understanding and somehow got into Issy's heart and then shared it with her readers. I was really touched by Issy's struggle and paralleled it with some of my own. Not that I have ever suffered from a full blown panic attack, but I have certainly experienced selected 'mini' ones. Haven't we all? And being able to connect with that and watch Issy's battle somehow made me feel stronger too.

This is a wonderful, inspiring read and one you won't want to miss!

GIVEAWAY : If you would like a chance to win a copy of My Foolish Heart (and who wouldn't?!) leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTcom if Blogger is giving you grief with comments. Also, please note that this offer is good for anyone living anywhere. There are no boundaries over the love of good books!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

June Giveaway Winners - Week One

 Congratulations to the winners of our first June Giveaway draw and the unclaimed prizes from April and May Giveaways!
The Lady of Bolton Hill
By Elizabeth Camden --won by Amber

A Killer Among Us
by Lynette EasonMerry

Deep Trouble
by Mary ConnealyCourtney

 by Cathy Marie Hake - Betsy

If you do not hear from me by Monday morning please email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca with your mailing address. If we can't connect by Wednesday, June 8 I will draw for another winner.
Looking ahead to giveaways for this week:
The Art of Romance by Kaye Dacus
 My Foolish Heart by Susan May Warren
Chasing Sunsets by Eva Marie Everson

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Lady of Bolton Hill



When Clara Endicott and Daniel Tremain's worlds collide after twelve years apart, the spark that was once between them immediately reignites into a romance neither of them thought possible.

But time has changed them both.

Daniel is an industrial titan with powerful enemies. Clara is an idealistic journalist determined to defend underprivileged workers.

Can they withstand the cost of their convictions while their hearts - and lives - hang in the balance?

My Review:

Totally unexpected! Part Austenesque and part Dickensish, Camden has created a niche for herself in the historical romance genre. Mesmerizing read. The story starts off the way I anticipated it would and then takes a surprising turn that revved up the angst and changed the feel of the whole book. Absolutely brilliant!

I've always been fascinated by stories set during the industrial revolution. The lack of social justice -- especially where children are concerned -- is a high interest so I immediately identified with Clara. She is a heroine after my own heart, though she makes a huge blunder that had me screaming "noooooooo!" at the top of my lungs! (I know I've found a special book when I start talking to the characters! LOL) I did more than talk though, I berated Clara a time or two. Camden had my stomach in way too many knots for this to be a comfortable read but it was certainly a riveting one!

Daniel is the perfect tragic hero. Rough around the edges, fiercely stubborn and that arrogance! Oy! How can I find it both compelling and infuriating all at the same time? At least it I'm not alone in that. Clara was of like mind and had her hands...and her heart...full when trying to deal with her childhood friend on a completely different level. And oh the romance!!!!! Sublime is too tame a word.

 Camden has woven a strong spiritual message throughout her story. Revenge vs forgiveness and the battle is fierce. You'll want to sit down and devour the last hundred pages or so uninterrupted. This is Elizabeth Camden's debut novel and I'm praying it won't be her last!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

Giveaway Opportunity: If you would like a chance at winning a copy of The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden leave a comment below. Or, if blogger is giving you fits, email me at: kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca Draw will be held on Sunday, June 5. Good luck!