Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Megan Reviews YA Christian Dystopian JUPITER WINDS by C.J. Darlington

Find JUPITER WINDS by C.J. Darlington at Amazon
What it's about 
(from publisher Mountainview Books):

In 2160, a teenager becomes the bait to capture her missing revolutionary parents she thinks are long dead.

Grey Alexander has one goal—to keep herself and her younger sister Orinda alive. Not an easy feat living unconnected in the North American Wildlife Preserve, where they survive by smuggling contraband into the Mazdaar government's city zones. If the invisible electric border fence doesn't kill them, a human-like patrol drone could.

When her worst fear comes true, Grey questions everything she thought she knew about life, her missing parents, and God. Could another planet, whose sky swirls with orange vapors and where extinct-on-Earth creatures roam free, hold the key to reuniting her family?

Megan's Thoughts:
 The author did a fabulous job revealing the descriptions of the planets (and places on earth) where Grey and Orinda lived in small doses. I never felt overloaded with the new scenes around me, and was quite able to picture life in this futurist time. The plot held my interest, suspense came at the correct times, and I totally enjoyed the sprinkles of Biblical themes throughout. 

...and did I mention there were "Zorses" ??? Yep, zorses. I was introduced to several original creatures, including the horse and zebra combination.

There were a couple times I thought (and hoped) an extra character may be used for a romantic subplot, but that wasn’t the case. The ending does leave promise for a second book. Perhaps the author may take that route in the future--hint, hint! But even though there was no romance, love isn’t lacking in the story. My favorite part was the connection between the two sisters. I felt the burden of Grey being the eldest, sacrificing many times in order to protect her sister. Yet when the time comes for Orinda to take a step into the unknown, she does so without missing a beat. And whatever they faced, they did it for each other. The display of their family’s bond was refreshing.

Dystopian story + Christian themes = A win-win to me!

If you are a fan of Cress by Marissa Meyer (see Megan's EIR review  of Cress here), I definitely recommend Jupiter Winds.

STORY: 4.4 Stars
CONTENT: EDGY, for violence

Friday, August 15, 2014

New Inspy Romance from Susan May Warren WHEN I FALL IN LOVE (Christiansen Family Novel, 3)

Find When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren at Amazon
What it's about (from publisher Tyndale):
Hawaii was the last place Grace Christiansen ever imagined she'd vacation, much less fall in love. But when her family surprises her with a cooking retreat in paradise, she is pulled—or maybe yanked—away from her predictable, safe life and thrown headfirst into the adventure of a lifetime.
Max Sharpe may make his living on the ice as a pro hockey player, but he feels most at home in the kitchen. Which is why he lives for the three-week culinary vacation he takes each year in Hawaii. Upon being paired with Grace for a cooking competition, Max finds himself drawn to her passion, confidence, and perseverance. But just when Grace dares to dream of a future beyond her hometown, Max pulls away.
Wrestling with personal demons, Max fights against opening his heart to a love he knows he should never hope for. And as his secrets unfold, Grace is torn between the safe path in front of her and what her heart truly desires. If love means sacrificing her ideal happily ever after, Grace's faith will face its toughest test yet.
Why you should read it: Reading this series out of order will give you a few mild spoilers for the first two books, but this contemporary romance stands perfectly well on its own. For those of you who have already met the very confident lead characters in book one (see my rec of Take a Chance on Me) and book two of this series (see my rec of It Had to be You), you might be surprised to meet Grace, a Christiansen who lacks the drive of her previously written-about siblings. And yet … I'm pretty sure you're going to love her.
Unlike many "wallflower" protagonists who bloom into rock-star personalities over the course of a story, Grace's transformation is gradual, believable, and isn't so much a change of personality as a straightening of the spine. She is well matched with hockey pro Max Sharpe, and the romance sweetly builds as each character struggles with the obstacles, secrets and dreams rising between them. Throw in a reality-TV-style cooking competition and a lush, tropical locale, and you have the recipe for really fun romance. Highly recommended!
(this rec originally appeared at USA Today's Happy Ever After blog)
STORY: 4.3 stars
CONTENT: EDGY (for Christian romance) and yet quite sweet :)

Monday, August 11, 2014

BLOG TOUR! PROTECTIVE INSTINCT by Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee (plus excerpt & GIVEAWAY!)

Gliterary Girl Book Tours presents the blog tour for the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Book #4 in the Time After Time Saga, by Authors Lynette Endicott and Tami Dee.
Protective Instinct
ProtectiveInstinctCoverArt72dpi__94617.1402191584.1280.1280Sabrina Bridges clings to her birthright as a Heartmark woman, convinced she will overcome the time-traveling enemy that plagues the women of her family. She is certain she will obtain true love with the man she gives her heart to. But how will her trusting heart survive when she learns that very man has deceived her since the moment they met?

Nicolas Mitchell's loyalty to family and country are tested by the woman who may lead him to one who threatens all he holds dear. Nick must steel his heart against her, and deny his protective instinct for the woman who speaks of an ancient family legend and her belief that together he and she will forge a love that will last forever. Will Nick be able to complete his last mission as a spy for the Crown or will he betray his country for the sake of love?

Working with Gliterary Girl Media, EIR is pleased to share this interview with 
Lynette Endicott, co-author of Protective Instinct

Serena: Describe your lead characters in three words. 

Lynette: Sabrina is innocent, fearless and true. Nick is gorgeous, conscientious, and confused. Mildreth is shrewd and powerful but resigned.

Serena: What is the greatest challenge your lead character must overcome in this novel? 

Lynette: Nick has orders that he cannot obey and still be true to the innocent young woman he cares for.

Serena:  If your character had a theme song, what would it be? Why?

Lynette: For Sabrina, Sara Paxton’s "I Need A Hero" because she was in great danger until Nick came along. Even if he didn't feel much like a hero…

Serena: If you had the opportunity to spend the day with your lead characters, where would you go and what would you do? 

Lynette: I would ask them for a tour of the Mitchell Hall, Nick the main parts of the structure and Sabrina what is behind the scenes.

...and speaking of behind the scenes, here is an excerpt from this upcoming novel!

(from Protective Instinct by Lynette Endicott & Tami Dee)

Nick shook his head and patted the horse’s neck. “This is Mr. Simmons.”

Sabrina beamed that smile at him, a ray of sunshine not dimmed by the battled condition of her face. She took a step away from the horse, tilting her head from side to side as she looked over his companion.
Nick studied her, looking past the scrapes and bruises he could see, and those he couldn't. He knew that there were many more of the like hidden beneath her torn clothing and a surge of rage at the men who’d harmed her momentarily turned his vision red. His cloak sat half on, half off her slim shoulders, the brooch pressing into the delicate line of her neck.

Her hair hung in a copper rope down her back, its silken strands askew with small leaves still captured within them.

He narrowed his eyes, trying to get a better look at the small mark just beneath the outer side of her right eye.

A freckle? Mole? Birthmark?

She brushed a strand of loose hair behind her ear, giving him an unobstructed view, and he was surprised to see that the tiny mark was in the shape of a heart. Flush with her smooth skin, it could not be a mole, so a freckle then, or birthmark.

He fisted his hands at his sides, the desire to touch the mark almost too strong to ignore.

Something bumped his feet.

Nick looked down as the little calico cat that had been with Sabrina in the shed twisted its lithe body between his legs. The cat looked up at Nick with eyes that seemed to see way too much. Nick gritted his teeth. He already had a horse that seemed to see right into his soul. He surely did not need a cat doing the same thing.

Nick raked a hand through his hair. Horses and cats looking into his soul? Maybe it was not the girl that was daft, but him!

“Look,” he said with a bit more abruptness than he’d intended, “it’s likely to start snowing again at any time. We need to find shelter.”

Her hand stilled on Mr. Simmons’s nose and those wide, thick lashed eyes met his. “You’ll accept the dagger?”

He looked at the dagger in his hand. He’d forgotten he even held it, and let out a resigned sigh. “Aye, I’ll accept your gift,” he conceded, “but I’ll also show you how to use it, should the need arise again.”

Which it surely would, when he set out to slay her.

Nick puffed his cheeks and blew out a breath. What a bloody mess.

She smiled so wide, the cut on her lip began to bleed, a crimson trickle against snow white skin. Nick took his handkerchief from his inner pocket and dabbed at the wound.

Her breath hitched and the pupils of her eyes widened. Emotion he refused to acknowledge darkened the blue of her eyes.

If the ache in his heart and the tremor of his hand were any indication, he was in trouble.

A lot of trouble.
ABOUT Lynette Endicott

Lynette Endicott grew up in Illinois, met her husband in Western Nebraska, lived 25 years in Kansas where their daughter was born, and has been in Fresno, California since 2000. She has a son-in-law (who lives with her daughter nearby), and has rescued a dog, a bird and three cats. She and Ollie, her terrier mix, volunteer as a team at the local library, where children read to the dog.
Lynette EndicottAt a youth camp when she was 14 the editor and teacher of a writing class challenged her to submit something to his youth magazine. She did and it was the first of 10 articles and stories accepted by the publication over the next few years.
Nothing like front end success to keep her writing! Lynette enjoys reading contemporary romance and speculative fiction and writes both. Her debut book, Starting Over Book One: More Than A Job, and two more books in that series, The Return of Joy and Finding Her Voice are available now. The first three of the Time After Time Saga with Tami Dee are available now, including Animal Instinct, Survival Instinct and Pioneer Instinct. The fourth in the series of six, Protective Instinct, will release in August 2014.
Because she didn't have pets until after her 50th birthday the animals she enjoys find their way into all her books. Usually you will also find a character with a disability as part of the day-to-day fabric of the story. In More Than A Job, Paige works in services to people with disabilities until she loses her job and starts over. In The Return of Joy, Atlas, the yellow lab, becomes a Therapy Dog. In the Time After Time series animal helpers assist the hero and heroine in all six of the books in the series.
Lynette loves hearing from her fans! Please connect with her on:

ABOUT Tami Dee
Becoming an author was a dream I never really thought would come true for me. I have dyslexia, yet, despite the struggle, I adore weaving stories for others to enjoy.
I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Desert Breeze connections, RWA San Francisco Area Romance Writers, RWA Scriptscence, and RWA Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.
You can connect with Tami on:

To celebrate the release of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT, Lynette and Tami will be giving away a $20.00 Amazon Gift Card to one grand prize winner, a $10.00 Gift Card to either Starbucks or Teavana to the second runner up and an ecopy of PROTECTIVE INSTINCT to the third runner up. Enter the giveaway every day for more chances to win. All entries must be received by August 18th before midnight.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Cover Reveal + Amazon Gift Card Giveaway! HOW A STAR FALLS by Amber Stokes

The EIR team is excited to be a part of the cover reveal for our blogger-friend-turned-author-friend, Amber Stokes and her upcoming New Adult novella, How a Star Falls

I love the emerging NA category of romance, but there is an overwhelming number of NA novels that are very sex-focused and/or dark. That's why I am sooooo excited about this new book, since it is from an author I trust! And it sounds absolutely fantastic!

Check out the book blurb:

How does a star fall?

Quickly. Completely. Unexpectedly.

Derrick Knolane escapes to Trinidad Head most evenings, avoiding his apartment and planning for the day he’ll break free of Humboldt County. Working in a music store might be fine for a while, but it’s far from the goal he had in mind when he got his college degree. Not to mention the fact that his roommate is a jerk and his family won’t stop trying to run his life.

Then Brielle falls into his world.

She claims to be a star. Not from Hollywood, but from heaven. He thinks she’s crazy. Certainly delusional. Yet, he can’t just leave her alone on the cliffs. So he takes her home.

And his whole world falls apart.

A heartfelt and fanciful contemporary romance novella, How a Star Falls explores the uncertain season of new adulthood and shows that sometimes the worst inconveniences make for the best miracles of all.

WOW! That sounds really intriguing, doesn't it??? I can hardly wait to download it to my Kindle!

To celebrate this cover reveal, Amber is giving away a $10 Amazon.com gift card! You can enter using the Rafflecopter form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Amber Stokes works as a content writer for Harvest House Publishers and writes inspirational fiction depicting the seasons of life and love. Her passion for books compelled her to earn a bachelor's degree in English and to run her own freelance editing and publicity business for over a year. Happily, the next step in her career lies in the Pacific Northwest—a part of the world she's always considered home. Learn more about her indie-author adventure at www.SeasonsofaStory.blogspot.com.

About the Cover Designer

Lena Goldfinch writes fantasy and romance for teens and adults. She's a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it's a novel, novella, or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Elements of romance, fantasy, and mystery have a way of creeping into her writing, even when she's writing something light and contemporary. Learn more about Lena, her books, and her cover designs atwww.LenaGoldfinch.blogspot.com.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Karen Reviews ALL MY BELONGINGS by Cynthia Ruchti

Review by Karen Collier, EIR Regular Guest Contributor
Book Description:
(from Publisher Abingdon Press)

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti
is available at Amazon
A new identity can’t protect Becca from a past that refuses to go away.

Where do you turn when changing your name doesn’t give you the anonymity you want? When running hundreds of miles away isn’t far enough? When your search for a place to belong lands you right back where you began?

One phone call destroys all hope Becca Morrow has for a life beyond the shame of her past. Further discredited by the death of her elderly, ailing patient—the mother of the influential businessman, Isaac Hughes—Becca’s new life is shattered and her longing for love slips away. Working to clear her name, Becca must learn to see the beauty in the ugliness of dying, to accept the precious tenderness in forgiveness, and—at last—discover that where she belongs isn’t as much about her family history as it is about her faith in the One to whom she’ll always belong.

Karen’s Thoughts:
I love it when a book can make me wipe tears from my cheeks at one point and laugh out loud at another.  All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti did exactly that.  No exaggeration. 

This is a love story with all the elements of a romance.  It’s also a poignant tale, dealing with the loss of a parent and other somber issues.  The story is plenty thought provoking (perfect for a book discussion group), and yet, it doesn’t get weighted down, retaining a hopeful outlook all the way through to the end. 

I loved the witty banter between Isaac and Becca and the creative and encouraging ways Becca finds to respond to some truly bizarre Alzheimer’s-prompted conversations.  I also enjoyed the author’s creative descriptions of people, places, and feelings throughout the book.  She avoided clich├ęs and kept things delightfully fresh, at times bordering on poetic.

Both hero and heroine are highly sympathetic characters, with a touch of vulnerability that makes you want to hug them and then root for them all the more in their search for where they belong.  Then of course, there’s a lovely ending for a lovely book.  But I can’t spoil it for you.  You’ll just have to see for yourself

RATING: 5 stars
CONTENT: Mild, almost edge-free being written from a Christian worldview.  Any edge would come from a secondary character’s participation in “mercy killing,” which the lead characters do not condone.

Thank you to Abingdon Press for providing EIR with an Advance Reader’s Copy of this book for review purposes.  And to Serena for passing it along to me (Karen) to read and review.  (Yay!)

For more from guest-reviewer and aspiring author Karen Collier, check out her Web site at www.karencollier.com.


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