Wednesday, August 29, 2012

BIG WINNER #5 Save My Paper Books Giveaway!!!!

For those of you who didn't get entered in the SAVE MY PAPER BOOKS GIVEAWAY back in July, you're probably darn tootin' ready for me to be finished with announcing the winners.

I get it. And... today is the last day. So, without further ado, we'll announce our last winner and bid this stream of posts adieu. (Sorry, it's just fun to say.)

Today I am pleased to announce our latest winner: 
Here is how she answered the questions posed to make for a valid entry:

1. What is a non-review topic you'd like to see addressed at Edgy Inspirational Romance?
Margaret: I always like posts with debates and opinions; as in e-readers vs. paperbooks, self-pubbed vs. traditional, etc.
Serena: We're not too shy around here about stating our opinions, but I don't think we've ever done a debate. That might be fun. Even now, topic possibilities are going nutso in my head! Thanks for the great idea, Margaret! And stay tuned! I have a feeling you might see some debates coming to the blog later this year!

2. If you were to name a pet after a fictional character, who would it be?
Margaret: Darcy. (Except I do not have a pet.)
Serena: Ahh... Darcy. I can only surmise that is from Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, love of my life. I mean, from Pride & Prejudice. What other Darcy is there???

3.. What are your Top 2 Fave Inspy Romance sub-categories?
Margaret: Historical and chick lit
Serena: Awesome! Girl, I've got you covered!

Here are the books MARGARET will receive!
(images are from & book descriptions, unless otherwise noted, are from

by Beth K. Vogt

Kissing the wrong guy days before her scheduled wedding leads Allison to become a runaway bride. But can it also lead to happily ever after?
Allison Denman is supposed to get married in five days, but everything is all wrong. The huge wedding. The frothy dress. And the groom.
Still, kissing the groom’s brother, Daniel, in an unguarded moment is decidedly not the right thing to do. How could she have made such a mistake? It seems Allison’s life is nothing but mistakes at this point. Daniel’s adventures—chronicled through a collection of postcards—have always appealed to Allison’s well-hidden desire for something more. But how can betraying her fiancÉ’s trust lead to a true happily ever after?
Can Allison find her way out of this mess? Recognizing she doesn’t have all the answers won’t be easy because she’s used to being in control. To find her way again, she will have to believe that God has a plan for her—one outside her carefully defined comfort zone—and find the strength to let Him lead.

by Jocelyn Green

It's April 1861, and the Union Army's Medical Department is a disaster, completely unprepared for the magnitude of war. A small group of New York City women, including 28-year-old Charlotte Waverly, decide to do something about it, and end up changing the course of the war, despite criticism, ridicule and social ostracism. Charlotte leaves a life of privilege, wealth-and confining expectations-to be one of the first female nurses for the Union Army. She quickly discovers that she's fighting more than just the Rebellion by working in the hospitals. Corruption, harassment, and opposition from Northern doctors threaten to push her out of her new role. At the same time, her sweetheart disapproves of her shocking strength and independence, forcing her to make an impossible decision: Will she choose love and marriage, or duty to a cause that seems to be losing? An Irish immigrant named Ruby O'Flannery, who turns to the unthinkable in the face of starvation, holds the secret that will unlock the door to Charlotte's future. But will the rich and poor confide in each other in time?

Wedded to War is a work of fiction, but the story is inspired by the true life of Civil War nurse Georgeanna Woolsey. Woolsey's letters and journals, written over 150 years ago, offer a thorough look of what pioneering nurses endured. 

by Lisa T. Bergren

When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery. (This description doesn't do the book justice. For more info, see my review!)

& thanks to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Big Winner #4: Save My Paper Books Giveaway

Congratulations to ELIZABETH the 4th Big Winner of the contest designed to keep my burgeoning piles of books from being consumed by my puppy, Albus.
Albus looks like he could be a reader,
but his style of devouring literature
is a little more destructive.

To enter, readers simply had to answer a few questions. The past few days we've heard from our other big winners: Kandra, Erynn, & Melody. So let's see what Elizabeth had to say when the same questions were posed to her!

1. What is a non-review topic you'd like to see addressed at Edgy Inspirational Romance?
ELIZABETH: How to write a historical romantic suspense and what makes a novel?
Serena: I'm very excited to share with you and all our readers that we have some exciting guest posts coming up this fall. Stay tuned for those announcements!

2. If you were to name a pet after a fictional character, who would it be?
ELIZABETH: XENA, a rottweiler and Gabriella, a cat.
Serena: Awesome. A Warrior Princess and her girly,witty sidekick.

3.. What are your Top 2 Fave Inspy Romance sub-categories?
ELIZABETH: Historical, suspense, and Amish
Serena: For you, dear Elizabeth, I have 2 historicals and one Amish/wild west romance! Enjoy!

Here are the books ELIZABETH will receive!
(images are from & book descriptions, unless otherwise noted, are from

by Ann H. Gabhart

By 1849, Jessamine Brady has been in the Shaker Village for half her life, but in spite of how she loves her sisters there, she struggles to conform to the strict rules. Instead she entertains dreams of the world outside. When Tristan Cooper seems to step out of those dreams to entice her into the forbidden realm beyond the Shaker Village, her life turns upside down. Will Jessamine be able to survive the storms of the world? Or will she retreat back to the peace of Harmony Hill?

The thousands of loyal fans of Gabhart's Shaker novels will love this entrancing story of learning to trust the gifts God gives us and let him guide us through life.

The Heart's Frontier 
by Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith

An exciting new Amish-meets-Wild West adventure from bestselling authors Lori Copeland and Virginia Smith weaves an entertaining and romantic tale for devoted fans and new readers.
Kansas,1881--On a trip to visit relatives, Emma Switzer's Amish family is robbed of all their possessions, leaving them destitute and stranded on the prairie. Walking into the nearest trading settlement, they pray to the Lord for someone to help. When a man lands in the dust at her feet, Emma looks down at him and thinks, The Lord might have cleaned him up first.
Luke Carson, heading up his first cattle drive, is not planning on being the answer to anyone's prayers, but it looks as though God has something else in mind for this kind and gentle man. Plain and rugged--do the two mix? And what happens when a dedicated Amish woman and a stubborn trail boss prove to be each other's match?

Pompeii City on Fire
by T.L. Higley

Pompeii, a city that's many things to many people. For Cato, it's the perfect escape from a failed political career in Rome. A place to start again, become a winemaker. But when a corrupt politician wrongfully jails Cato's sister, he must oust the man from power to save her.

For Ariella, Pompeii is a means to an end. As a young Jew, she escaped the fall of Jerusalem only to endure slavery to a cruel Roman general. She ends up in Pompeii, disguised as a young man and sold into a gladiator troupe. Her anger fuels her to fight well, hoping to win the arena crowds and reveal her gender at the perfect time. Perhaps then she will win true freedom.

But evil creeps through the streets of Pompeii. Political corruption, religious persecution, and family peril threaten to destroy Ariella and Cato, who are thrown together in the battle to survive. As Vesuvius churns with deadly intent, the two must bridge their differences to save the lives of those they love, before the fiery ash buries Pompeii, leaving the city lost to the world.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to see who our 5th and final winner is in the 

Monday, August 27, 2012

BIG WINNER #3!!! Save My Paper Books Giveaway

I feel a little like Santa lately. And not just because I've been consuming a whole lotta cookies. No, while that bad habit will surely help my mirror agree with the comparison, it's the fun of giving out some books that's got me all jolly and bright.

Last week Kandra and Erynn both got the news that they were winners in my evil plan to take over the world SAVE MY PAPER BOOKS GIVEAWAY.

To be entered in the contest, readers just had to answer a few questions and give me their email addy.
Easy Peazy Lemon Squeezy, right?!

Today I am pleased to announce our latest winner: 
Here is how Melody answered my questions:

1. What is a non-review topic you'd like to see addressed at Edgy Inspirational Romance?
Melody: How to create an APP for cookbooks? (that way you'll have my cookbook on your IPAD or phone and can just look up the recipe at the grocery store!)
Serena: That's a great question and... I wish I could help you out, but... I can barely flip a lightswitch and am still amazed that you can put a needle on a piece of black vinyl and end up with music.
What's that? You say no one listens to records anymore? Oh, I know. CDs are where it's at. What? They're not? MP3 downloads, you say? Oh, dear.
Well, Melody, I may be exaggerating a bit (other than the amazement part) when it comes to music technology. But other tech, you can see, I'm clueless. Luckily for my own needs, I'm either related to or good friends with several techies. But...probably not going to be much help on the "need-a-nerd" front. But thanks for asking! Perhaps in the future we can feature some guest posts by self-pubbing authors who can give us some hints to that app creation. In the mean time, I suggest you check out Amazon's $Free$ Building Your Book for Kindle and James Scott Bell's inexpensive e-book, Self-Publishing Attack! The 5 Absolutely Unbreakable Laws for Creating Steady Income Publishing Your Own Books

2. If you were to name a pet after a fictional character, who would it be?
Melody: Rooster Cogburn was a miniature sheltie we had. And Eula
Serena: Funny! Two characters from True Grit! And that explains a lot about your fave sub-cat, too: Western.

3.. What are your Top 2 Fave Inspy Romance sub-categories?
Melody: I love inspirational romance in any time period! Do I have to pick 2? Western and Historical, then.
Serena: Ahh, yes. Western is always popular and I've had a lot of Historicals come my way this year, so... I've got you covered, girlfriend!

Here are the books MELODY will receive!
(images are from & book descriptions, unless otherwise noted, are from

THE BRIDE WORE BLUE: The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek—Book 3 
by Mona Hodgson

Headed toward a fresh start but tethered by her past, Vivian longs to break free, to find forgiveness and love.

At last, the sisters are reunited! The youngest Sinclair, the family“ baby”, is moving from Maine to Cripple Creek, Colorado and joining Kat, Nell, and Ida. But Vivian is a young woman with a will of her own, and made some decisions back in Portland that have begun to haunt her. Will she be able to live up to the expectations of her three perfect and now happily-settled sisters?

The sisters warmly welcome Vivian to the mountain west, but the wild-and-woolly mining town isn’t ripe with opportunities for a respectable young woman. The youngest Sinclair sister is determined to make her own way, so
when she’s off ered a job as a hostess in a sporting house, she takes it, thinking the position is appropriate for a tainted, unlovable woman like herself. Although she’s convinced she’ll never be asked to entertain privately, Vivian
keeps her employment a secret from her sisters, knowing they’d be mortified—as will Carter Alwyn, the kind and godly sheriff ’s deputy who’s sweet on her.

Vivian is descending into a life of secrets, lying to the very people who love her and could help her heal from her mistakes. Will an outpouring of grace remind her that she is still God’s beloved and that her past can be washed as clean as Rocky Mountain snow?

by Tessa Afshar (this overview came from
The prophet Nehemiah's cousin can speak numerous languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve great mysteries. There is only one problem: she is a woman.
In her early childhood years, Sarah experienced the death of her mother and her father's subsequent emotional distance and she came to two conclusions: that God does not care about her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth - the measure of her self.
Sarah, the talented scribe and cousin to Nehemiah, is catapulted into the center of the Persian court, working too many hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and solving intrigues for the Queen. Ironically, it isn't failure but success that causes Sarah to lose her only source of external validation.
Sarah soon learns that she has something of worth to offer beyond her ability with languages and sums - her very being proves to be a blessing to others.

by Olivia Newport

Lucy Banning may live on the exclusive Prairie Avenue among Chicago's rich and famous, but her heart lies elsewhere. Expected to marry an up-and-coming banker from a respected family, Lucy fears she will be forced to abandon her charity work--and the classes she is secretly taking at the newly opened University of Chicago. When she meets an unconventional young architect who is working on plans for the upcoming 1893 World's Fair, Lucy imagines a life lived on her own terms. Can she break away from her family's expectations? And will she ever be loved for who she truly is?Readers will love being swept away into a world of mansions, secrets, and romance as they follow Lucy through the streets of the Windy City during one of the most exciting times in the city's history. From opulent upper-class homes to the well-worn rooms of an orphanage, Olivia Newport breathes life and romance into the pages of history--and everyone is invited.

Congrats, Melody! 
I'll be emailing you soon to get your mailing address so I can get these books on their way to you.

Readers, come back tomorrow when I will announce WINNER #4!!!! 
Stay tuned... it could be you!
Santa & cookies image courtesy of:
Image credit: <a href=''>joebelanger / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Lemon squeezy image courtesy of:
Image credit: <a href=''>ambro / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Big Winner #2: Save My Paper Books Giveaway!

So, I'm a book reviewer. I get a lot of free books. 
Yes, I love my job. 
I mean, free books? Oh... y e a h.
...they're taking over my house.

Unless something drastic happens like, oh, I don't know, a MAJOR BOOK GIVEAWAY or something, I may soon be able to stack them, throw a couple of cushions on top, and call it a couch.

But that's a silly use for books, don't you think?

Back in July my puppy was teething pretty badly and several book covers ended up ripped, bite-marked, etc. In response to this outrage, and to keep myself from resorting to the whole books-as-furniture concept, I hosted the SAVE MY PAPER BOOKS GIVEAWAY. Yesterday, you met KANDRA, who was the first big winner of that giveaway. Kandra will soon receive 3, yes, THREE books, just for showing up and answering a few questions. 

But I'm not through yet! All told, there will five winners in this showcase showdown of book madness. So let's get to it, a'ight?

Our 2nd Big Winner is ERYNN 
and here are the questions she answered:

1. What is a non-review topic you'd like to see addressed at Edgy Inspirational Romance?
Erynn: What makes a good hero/heroine. Or... your pet peeves/things you can't overlook in a hero/heroine.
Serena: Great idea! Expect that post to show up soon!

2. If you were to name a pet after a fictional character, who would it be?
Erynn: We have two cats and we like to turn their names into all manner of celebrity/character names. For instance, Misiu's nickname is "The Shrew," but he gets called: Shrewfus Wainright, Shrewticus Finch, Dwight Shrewt, etc. If we were to get a dog, we would probably name it Eustace Scrubb.
Serena: Eustace Scrubb is one of my all-time favorite fictional characters! I had to laugh at your nicknames. My puppy, Albus, has a lot of those, too... though they're not nearly as respectable as his real name. I've called him several variations of "McFluffy", my husband calls him, "Bus-bus" (from some cartoon, I think.), and sometimes, especially in the evenings, we call him Stinky. He has digestive issues. 'nuf said.   

3.. What are your Top 2 Fave Inspy Romance sub-categories?
Erynn: I like Romantic Suspense and YA, but I'm good with really anything except historical and Amish.
Serena: I'm not a fan of Amish fiction either, but you'd be surprised how much still comes my way, even though I've been fairly (ahem) vocal about how much I despise it. No worries, Erynn. I won't send any bonnet-and-buggy books your way! Instead, I'm sending you some Inspy YA!

Here are the books ERYNN will receive!
(images are from the and book descriptions are from
FINALLY & FOREVER by Robin Jones Gunn
What was she thinking? Katie Weldon wonders if she was crazy to spontaneously fly off to Africa on a mission trip. Suddenly she is dealing with a new culture, a world she's never experienced---and Eli, a friend who is quickly becoming much more. It's all overwhelming ... and exciting. As her life turns topsy-turvy, however, she begins to think this might be exactly what she needs. Here, God might give her a glimpse into His will for her life. But just as Kenya and its people find a place in her heart, and her relationship with Eli begins to get serious, Katie is faced with unanswered questions from her past and unresolved issues with Eli. Is she really headed down the same path into the future he is? It doesn't look like it. Why can't she finally and forever settle into a set direction? Living in this new and captivating place, one thing she knows for sure: anything might be possible. Finally and Forever is the final book in the Katie Weldon Series.

A Diamond Estates Novel Join conflicted sixteen-year-old Olivia Mansfield on her journey to hope and healing as she leaves her messed-up life behind and moves into Diamond Estates, a home for troubled teens. This brand-new novel for teen girls will not only entertain, but also promises to capture your heart and challenge your faith.


Can love really heal all things? If Sam Carroll hadn't shown up, she might have been able to get to her mother in time. Instead, Allie Everly finds herself at a funeral, mourning the loss of her beloved mother. She is dealt another blow when, a few hours later, she is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Beatrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. 

Poetry and letters written to her mother become the only things keeping Allie's heart from hardening completely. But then Sam arrives for the summer, and with him comes many confusing emotions, both toward him and the people around her. As World War II looms, Allie will be forced to decide whether hanging on to the past is worth losing her chance to be loved.

These books will soon be on their way to you.

Hey, readers! Come back to visit us Monday 
when I'll reveal BIG WINNER #3 
in the SAVE MY PAPER BOOKS Giveaway!
Stay tuned... it could be you!

Girl with glasses and books 
Image credit: 
<a href=''>aboikis / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Friday, August 24, 2012

Big Winner #1! Save My Paper Books Giveaway

One of the great benefits of being  a book reviewer is, of course, FREE BOOKS! I get quite a few. Sometimes as many as 4-6 a week. As you can imagine, they are piling up.

I also got a puppy and gave him a literary name: Albus. I'm just that kind of girl. (Remember, I once had a cat named Mr. Knightley, so this pet-naming process is nothing new in my world.)

Unfortunately, puppies have a tendency to chew on stuff and, as you can imagine, some of these books got chewed on.

Several weeks ago I sponsored a multi-book, multi-winner contest entitled SAVE MY PAPER BOOKS to get some of these books out of my house, out of danger, and into your hands. This is the first of 5, yes FIVE posts that will announce our 5, yes FIVE winners.

After using to choose winners, I began the process of sorting through my titles and matching them with the reading preferences of the entrants, which they so kindly left in the comments section of that post, along with the answers to a few questions.

Our first Big Winner is Kandra 
and here are the questions she answered:

1. What is a non-review topic you'd like to see addressed at Edgy Inspirational Romance?
Kandra: How to write great, natural-sounding dialogue
Serena: I am in the process of booking an author to guest post on the topic!

2. If you were to name a pet after a fictional character, who would it be?
Kandra: Mrs. Bennet!
Serena: Oh-my-gosh-I-love-that-idea! Especially for a vocal, finicky cat!

3.. What are your Top 2 Fave Inspy Romance sub-categories?
Kandra: Suspense is my latest addiction!
Serena: Well, that's only one, but I've got you covered. I think you will enjoy the books coming your way!

Here are the books Kandra will receive!
(images are from the and book descriptions are from

THE NEXT TARGET by Nikki Arana
It only took one bullet. Austia's friend and student fell dead. And with a glimpse of a newspaper headline, the young and recently widowed Austia knows more about what happened than the police. From that fatal night, Austia’s secret outreach to the U.S. Muslim community—in the guise of English language classes—becomes a target. Local Muslim extremists set their sights on ending her ministry and even her life. And the women she ministers to will be next.

A thick web of deceit closes in around Austia, and her circle of friends becomes smaller by the day, even as she finally opens herself to the idea of falling in love again. But who can she trust? Facing a spiritual battle that proves more treacherous than it at first seemed, Austia’s convictions are tested to their limits and her heart becomes primed for breaking. She must ask herself: how much she will risk to stay true to her herself, her faith, and to the lives of the women she serves?

It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that. 
Promise, a talented young singer with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging sorceress and art collector in search of immortality. 
When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that she may hold the key to eternal life.

Enter Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and fascinates her with his mysterious visions and drawings.

Soon, all are plunged into a confrontation over the mystery and the cost of something even greater than eternal life...eternal love.

A PLAIN DEATH by Amanda Flower
Welcome to Appleseed Creek, the heart of Ohio’s Amish Country, where life is not as serene as it seems.

While her Cleveland friends relocated to Southern California and Italy, 24-year-old computer whiz Chloe Humphrey moves with some uncertainty to Appleseed Creek to direct technology services at a nearby college. Her first acquaintance is Becky, an ex-Amish teenager looking for a new home.

While driving Chloe’s car, Becky collides with a buggy, killing an Amish elder. But what looks like an accident is soon labeled murder when police discover the car’s cut brake line.

Now, Chloe must take on the role of amateur sleuth to discover who the real intended victim was before the murderer makes a second attempt. Becky’s handsome Amish-turned-Mennonite brother, Timothy, a local carpenter, comes in handy along the way. With God’s help, they’ll solve the mystery that’s rocking this small community.

Congratulations, Kandra!
Tomorrow's post will announce the 
SAVE MY PAPER BOOKS Giveaway's Big Winner #2. 
Stay tuned... it could be you!

Image credit (girl standing on books): 
<a href=''>3dclipartsde / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Friday, August 17, 2012

Muse Chasing while Cookie Baking (& Other Writing Adventures I Wouldn't Recommend)

So there I was in my happy place... 
in the midst of writing a new scene. 

I was into it. 

Arrows were flying, mountain lions were attacking, the Hero was in mortal peril and then, all at once, I smelled it.


I sat oblivious as my fingers danced over the keys and my heart pounded along with my characters' as Death stared them in the face. So "there" as I was, chasing the Muse driving my keystrokes, I never dreamed that same villain, though in different form, might stalk into my kitchen and attack something so dear to my heart.

But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself, here. Maybe you need just a little "taste", as it were, of backstory so we're on the same page. So here goes...

Now you have to understand: I've been craving oatmeal coconut cranberry cookies for well over a week. But rather than bake them for me as I gallop toward the next deadline, my teen daughter has claimed the need for a social life and has abandoned me to snacking on graham crackers (they're gone now) marshmallows (also, gone.) and nutella (almost gone.) So I decided today, while she is off pursuing whatever it is nice, wholesome teen girls do these days, to go ahead and bake my own stinkin' cookies.

Well, I generally burn at least one batch. Usually the last batch. And, while my burned batch is usually fairly crispy, it's still quite edible if you dunk them in coffee. (And who wouldn't???) This time, however, I went a little beyond the norm. But it wasn't my fault, really... was it?

I blame The Muse.

When I put that last batch  in the oven, I turned back to my laptop, conveniently perched on the kitchen table, and resumed creating the scene that, before today, was just a note in a margin.

Suddenly, mayhem broke out. A mountain lion! (I did not see that one coming!) And it's dark! And they're in a forest! Someone could die! Danger! Danger! My fingers flew across the keys. In what seemed like no time at all, (certainly not enough time to fully bake a batch of cookies!) a mouthy young girl with a quick wit and a steady  bow brought down the beast, saved the day, and our Hero's life. 

As I finished the scene, I noticed that my battery was running low. So, I moved the laptop to my office. Just as I attached the power cord, however, the scent that had come on so gradually while I brought down the beast, made it through to the right brain receptors.

That wasn't the smell of imminent fictional death. That was the real thing.

Umm... oops.

I raced to the kitchen only to discover the blackest, most coal-like hunks of ruin that had EVER touched my poor cookie sheet. And in that moment, I came to the sad realization that chasing the muse and baking cookies should probably be adventures kept independent of one another in the future. Yes, I met (exceded, woot!) my word count goal for the day, and the Hero may have been saved; but my cookies?

Not so much.

The baking sheet is now sitting on my back steps while the smoke clears. The stench of cookie death is being carried outside through the stove vent and an open window. The good news? It was the last batch. So, at least for the next scene... I'm set for snackin'.

What sort of multitasking gets you in trouble with the oven? I'd love to know... leave your comments below!

 Image credits:
1Image credit: <a href='
 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
2. Image credit: <a href='
and-crossbones-illustration-in-vector-format.html'>lhfgraphics / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
3. Lil' Ol' Me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Me, M.K. Gilroy, and The Dread Pirate Roberts

If you're boppin' around the old world wide webbage today and looking for a bit o' fun, scoot on over to author M.K. Gilroy's blog to see an excerpt of an interview I did with him a few weeks back. We chatted about men, romance, and men writing romance. I even managed to quip a line from The Princess Bride, arguable the BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME.

Mark's novel, Cuts Like a Knife, was one of my faves this spring. In fact, I said this about his heroine:
Kristen Conner is a quirky, movie-ready mash-up of Castle Detective Kate Beckett's brains and beauty and the half-masticated witty charm of Special Agent Gracie Hart … about midway through her Miss Congeniality makeover. What's not to like? I'm sold on this heroine – and her ability to drive a series.

The sequel, Every Breath You Take, is coming out in October (I can't wait to read it! It's burning a hole through my shelf!), so if you haven't met Kristen Conner yet, get on it, peeps!

In the meantime, drop on by Mark's website and say "hi."

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Review: Rebel by Linda Windsor

Brides of Alba series, book 3

The Brides of Alba series by Linda Windsor is a fantastical mix of early church history, early science, and, of course what we love best here at EIR: romance.  


 With Merlin dead, the succession undecided, and the Celtic church on the defensive from Rome, intrigue sweeps the court of the High King Arthur. But it’s battlefield news that consumes Queen Gwenhyfar’s young scribe, Kella O’Toole: her fiancĂ© is dead and her father gone missing. Determined to find him at all costs, Kella defies the queen’s orders and sets out for Pictish territory. Her foster brother Alyn, a disillusioned priest who questions his calling, agrees to help her. The journey itself is perilous. But it’s their secrets that land Kella and Alyn in a viper’s nest of treachery that threatens both their lives and the future of Albion. Can they summon the love and faith they need to find their way not only out of danger, but into happiness? Brilliantly researched, vividly imagined, and movingly written—a memorable climax to the Brides of Alba series.


The romance comes AFTER the wedding. Loved how it developed, loved how sensitive Alyn was to Kella's needs. Loved how Kella's character arc accomplished what needed to be done to make it all gel in a believable way.

This romance is edgy. There's an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, irritating clergy & royals, non Christians who are actually not villians (wow. go figure!), pagans who convert... and those who don't.

And finally: Strong. Female. Leads. (amen.) and Men. Who. Get it. (yes!)


Some of the historical spellings were a little difficult to get used to, but after a while they settled down in my head.


This book is LONG and will be a big time commitment, but if this time period intrigues you, it's totally worth it. If, however, you're seeking a cool easy read for that last weekend by the pool, you might want to look elsewhere.

Brides of Alba Book 1
I committed to reading REBEL, released this past June, because I read the first book of this series a while back and LOVED it!  I couldn't, however, commit to writing my usual sort of review, because I could not wrap my mind around how to do it in a spoiler-free way. Hence, this format! 

Brides of Alba Book 2
This sort of book isn't for everyone, but for those of you who love all-things-Arthurian and those who are fans of historical fantasy, I'd give this series a hearty recommendation. 

Keep in mind, however, that the "fantasy" aspect is more early science combined with miraculous spiritual intervention than "magic." This isn't the Merlin you know from other Arthurian tales. <grins>But I like this version better than many I've seen. 

It isn't necessary to read the other two books in the series in order to like this one, but if you have or are willing to start at the beginning of the Brides of Alba series, you might find the Brittania in Rebel a little more comfortable place to live. 

And just FYI: the guys are pretty swoon worthy, too. Sword and staff-wielding hero types. Ahhhh.

And PS: a big WOOT! to Linda Windsor for allowing a certain young priest to grow out his hair. Well done. Not sure I could've loved him as well if he'd kept the tonsure. Shallow, I know, but there it is!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

My Book Boyfriend: NICK FARNSWORTH

My book boyfriend for this week is one that I can only imagine will linger in my mind for a very long time. He's just. that. yummy. So yummy, in fact, that the heroine of the novel refers to his eyes as "chocolates." Mm-hmm.
My Book Boyfriend is an original meme created by Missie atThe Unread Reader. For more information on the guidelines for using this meme on your blog, go to THIS DIRECT LINK.  

1st pubbed in 2006
Stealing Adda is a novel Tamara Leigh first published (cover, left) in 2006, but updated and re-released with a fresh new cover this past May(below, right.) I wish I would have discovered back then (consider this a 5 couples endorsement, y'all!) but am so glad that I found it now. So before we get into why the man in this book is my pick for fave fictional boyfriend of the week, let me tell you a bit about the novel I had SO MUCH FUN reading this past weekend.

Re-released May 2012
Adda Sinclair is a bestselling romance novelist. After a nasty divorce she's embraced single life. And by single life, I mean holing up in her apartment with her laptop. So... not a lot going on to inspire another bestseller. And there is where we meet her. In between battling writer's block, rumors of a hot relationship with a sexy romance cover model, allegations of plagiarism, and the daily concern of whether or not her nails are in tip-top form, Adda is being courted by a new publisher: Intrepid and its handsome president, Nick Farnsworth, who doesn't believe in  mixing business with pleasure.

I loved loved loved this novel and recently gushed that Nick is one of the best-written, most believable heroes I've fallen in love with in quite some time. I loved Adda's voice and found her entirely authentic thanks to the quirky habits and honest heart that define her. And I certainly loved Nick, who broke right into my imagination and stole my heart. So, without further ado, here's why Nick Farnsworth from Stealing Adda is my book boyfriend this week.

STATS: How does Nick Farnsworth measure up?

And, just FYI: Hugh Jackman would be my pick to play the part of
NICK FARNSWORTH in Tamara Leigh's Stealing Adda
(for a great photo, visit IMDb

Tops six feet. Broad shouldered. Jet black hair, silvered at the temples. Early 40s. "a breath-stopper." Brilliant white teeth, and a left cleft dimple when he smiles. Eyes: chocolate. Yes, chocolate. And once she decides to name them, rarely again will she refer to his "eyes"; instead, Adda refers to his "chocolates." Ahhhh.

Oh, and he always pulls out a lady's chair for her.

Nick is the president of Intrepid Publishing. He's the "black sheep" of his family; the youngest son of the Farnsworth Publishing empire (Adda's current publisher!) who, years ago, left Farnsworth Publishing under bad terms and now seeks to acquire one of their top-selling author's for Intrepid Publishing's new line. Yep, Adda. He just has no idea what he's getting himself into.

When he grabbed me: 
Well, he had me at that dimple, without saying a word. Yep. Breathtaking. And the few words leading up to that ill-advised first kiss in his office... whew! Since my hunky hubs just turned 44, I guess you could say I'm into guys that age! (Well, one of them anyway... no worries, Dave!)But you younger gals need not worry about thinking he's too old. This guy is sexy. And Adda knows it.

If you like chick-lit romance and have been missing it, check out this novel ASAP... and Nick! (PS: The updated Kindle version is only $2.99 on Amazon! Money well spent!) Be prepared to laugh out loud and to let your heart get tugged a little, too. You'll also enjoy some particularly awesome kiss scenes and be glad for the tastefully edgy way Tamara Leigh pens desire.

And while you're over there buying your copy of STEALING ADDA, check out Tamara's other recent Kindle release, DREAMSPELL -- a time-travel fantasy romance that has an entirely different feel from this novel, but is also a total MUST READ! (for more on that, read my REVIEW and MY 2-part INTERVIEW with the author!)

Missie is taking a break from hosting the MY BOOK BOYFRIEND meme, but you can join in the fun by visiting Lesley at MY KEEPER SHELF who is taking over MBB hosting while Missie is on an educational sabbatical. My Keeper Shelf will have links to all the MBB posts of the week for the next several months, so make sure you tell her "hi!" and that us gals here at Edgy Inspirational Romance sent you!

Meanwhile, make sure you check out Missie's My Book Boyfriend  "thank you contest" by heading over the THE UNREAD READER.


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