I'm so excited to be off on my first solo road trip!! I'll be making the one-day drive (about 7 hours) up to Oregon tomorrow to attend my first roommate's wedding on Saturday and to spend close to a week with my second roommate and her husband. So blessed to have this chance to celebrate and make new memories with these wonderful friends!
Don't worry, though - I've heard all the warnings and cautions and tips from my parents, so I'm set! *wink* (But seriously, I wouldn't mind any prayers for safety, and for my parents' peace of mind. I'm grateful they're allowing me to take one of the cars and giving me this chance to test my independence a bit, and I don't want them to worry too much about me.)
So I'll be bringing the GPS, clothes and necessities, a wedding gift, etc.... But even though I'm new to this sort of thing, I believe a road trip also requires:
I love listening and singing along to music while I'm driving! Here are the CDs I'm bringing with me:
That last one is assuming that it arrives today... Don't let me down now, Amazon Prime 2-day shipping!
I'm also bringing along Heist Society by Ally Carter on CD (audiobook), which I've been saving for this occasion, so there's that, too!
How can you go on a vacation without one...or two...or a ton of these?? I'm planning on bringing Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson, as well as Falk's Claim by Jon Humboldt Gates (research for Bleeding Heart!) and my Kindle (which has a nice variety of reading options on it).
I realize I probably won't have a lot of time for reading... But it's better to make like a Boy Scout and be prepared than to be left hanging somewhere with no reading options!! (At least, that's my opinion on the subject. You all agree, right?)
In the meantime, I still plan to share a book review next Tuesday (Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade, for the Litfuse Publicity blog tour), and the Love's Miracles blog tour will still be in full swing. Don't forget to follow along and check out all of the fun interviews, giveaways, and reviews! You can keep up-to-date by visiting the blog tour page.While I might not be around on social media sites quite as often as I generally am, I'm still planning on checking in on things while I'm gone and spreading the word about the blog tour and all that jazz!
And when I get back? The winner(s) from the blog tour will be announced on May 31st, and I'll wrap up the tour then. And on the following Monday, June 3rd, I'll be revealing the cover for my debut novel, Bleeding Heart, along with a new blog especially for the book!!! So excited!!! (Huge thanks to all those who are helping me with the cover reveal!)
Well, that's it for now! Just be sure to stay off the sidewalks tomorrow - and don't mind the girl rocking out to her tunes as she travels the highways and Interstates. ;)
(Disclaimer: Despite the pictures of Cars Land, I'm not actually going to Disneyland...at this point in time, anyway! Still holding out hope for a family vacation there later this summer. Maybe! Regardless, I thought the pictures from last year's trip were fitting for a road-trip post, don't you think?)
I'm so excited to announce the beginning of the Love's Miracles blog tour! Sandra Leesmith has been a wonderful client to work with - we've had so much fun figuring out the details and navigating this crazy thing called self-publishing. And Sandra has been very patient with me as I've learned the steps right alongside her!
(I should also take this moment to thank the amazing Lena Goldfinch for her unending willingness to answer my questions, and for designing the beautiful cover! You're awesome, Lena!!)
Now, here's the lowdown about this super cool blog tour...
First things first: If you ever feel "lost" at any point during the tour, or if you want to catch up on posts you missed, or if you want to learn how to help us spread the word, visit the blog tour page. Links to all of the participating blogs are there (which will be replaced with direct links once the posts are published), along with other pertinent information, just so we can keep things organized. (I really, really love organization - what can I say?) The blog tour buttons (like the daisy one in my sidebar) all link back to that page, as well.
Here's the schedule, so you can see all the posts we have to look forward to:
If, for some reason, this schedule doesn't end up going exactly as planned, you can blame me for sending too many e-mails and confusing the bloggers, LOL! But seriously, Sandra and I are very grateful for their participation!
Giveaways and Freebies!
That's right - lots of goodies for you all during this blog tour! I'll start by showing you the big prize package Sandra's offering to one U.S. resident:
a Rafflecopter giveawayNote: For the "Leave a Blog Post Comment" entry, you can leave a comment on any of the stops along the tour. This same form will be on various blog tour posts, but no matter where you enter, your entries will be counted. If you need further clarification on any of the other ways to enter, please feel free to leave a comment here or e-mail me at email@example.com.
Want to learn a bit more about the prizes?
About the Book: "Dr. Margo Devaull came
to Dominic Zanelli's mountain retreat confident that she could help this
Vietnam veteran overcome the torment that kept him apart from the
world. But her training as a psychologist had not prepared her for the
tragic, explosive contradictions brewing inside him. For here was a
sensitive artist who could be gentle – and a man whose eyes flashed with
violence and pain when he told her to leave and never come back. Yet
Margo did come back, slowly gain his trust, and awaken the sleeping
needs of his heart. Only by reliving her own wounded past and helping
Zane confront a terrible memory from the war could she set them both
free – and save their last chance for love."
About the Book: "Janelle Edwards is a
sultry singer who's nursing a perpetually broken heart. Everett Jamison,
III is a handsome workaholic with no time for love on his busy agenda.
Both have sworn off relationships and marriage...but on a cozy steamboat
cruise up the Mississippi River, the two keep crossing paths. They try
hard to ignore the growing attraction, even as family and friends urge
them on. But when danger threatens the ship, Janelle and Rett must make a
decision: continue running from their emotions - or let the tides of
passion sweep them away. A light Southern romance sweetened with a
splash of humor, Current of Love blends brilliant storytelling with
endearing characters to make even the biggest skeptics believe in love
About the Book: "Sterling Wade, a
successful professional cyclist, finds the one thing he's missing in
lifea woman to love. But Debra Valenzuela refuses to allow a
relationship with any man to interfere with her determination to become a
When Debra is seriously injured during a
race, her ambition and wish to succeed and win her father's love are put
to the test. With Sterling at her side during her rehabilitation, Debra
learns that love is not a race to be won, but something to be earned.
Can Sterling help Debra follow her dream and in the process discover new
purpose for his own life? Will they accept the price of victory?"
Made by Christy, owner of Belle on a Budget, this bookmark was specially designed for this giveaway. It matches the book's cover, featuring a daisy - which plays an important, symbolic role in Love's Miracles and ties in with the title. (As a side note, I've purchased one of Christy's bookmarks, and I love it! Dainty and very pretty.)
In addition to the prizes above (and the Amazon.com gift card, which is rather self-explanatory), Sandra will order the winner an "I Love Our Troops!" tote bag from the Green Beans Coffee Custom Store. This fits for three reasons: 1) It's a tote bag - what better way to carry your new books around?? 2) It says "I Love Our Troops" - fitting in with the military theme of the book. 3) Green Beans Coffee has a great program called Cup of Joe for a Joe that we want to draw attention to...
I first learned about Cup of Joe for a Joe on the Seekerville blog, I believe. It was over two years ago when I decided to send a cup of coffee and a note to one of our soldiers overseas. He wrote me back, and we became e-mail pen pals for a short time. (You can read a message he once forwarded to me HERE.)
We didn't stay pen pals for very long, but it was still a special experience for me. I did, however, find a long-term pen pal via K.C. Frantzen (author of the "May the K-9 Spy" books). She introduced me (through e-mail) to the soldier she became pen pals with through the same program, and he and I started e-mailing. Our e-mails have become sporadic, but we're still in touch despite the fact that he's finished his time in the Army. I'm grateful for his friendship, and our fun book swaps. :)
All this to say, all it takes is $2.00 and a little note to brighten a soldier's day and maybe make a new friend. So, if reading Love's Miracles or following this blog tour makes you want to do something for a soldier, I recommend this program!
Other Giveaways and Freebies
Be sure to visit all the stops along the tour during the next two weeks - there might be little surprise giveaways in there!
As for the "freebies," Sandra is offering Love's Miracles for FREE on Kindle during the Memorial Day weekend: May 24th through May 27th. So mark your calendars and spread the word! If you're looking for a Memorial Day read, Love's Miracles - with its Vietnam-vet hero and its sympathetic look at the struggles of war veterans - is a great choice. And you can't beat that price!
Why does it feel like I just wrote an essay? LOL. I hope you'll have fun browsing all of the information above, as well as learning more about Sandra and her re-release at the different stops along the tour. Again, please don't hesitate to leave a comment or e-mail me if you have any questions about the tour!
"In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiancé has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle.
But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between her unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.
A rich, tautly woven tale of love, deception, and grace, Roses Have Thorns vividly conjures the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots and is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart."
Sandra Byrd's "Ladies in Waiting" series is a three-course banquet of historical delicacies. The research is rich and the scope is solid. Roses Have Thorns, the conclusion to the series, is similar in flavor to its two predecessors but is also a well-written tale in its own right.
Part of that similar "flavor," if you will, made it a little difficult for me to be completely swept away by these stories. I admire them and I enjoyed them, but the determination to cover so much time and so many events made the books feel more like documentaries with extended anecdotes than, say, Saturday-night movies. Certainly interesting, but not quite as personally captivating as it might be if the reader had more focused time with the characters in one place vs. always being on the move from one place to the next and from one year to the next.
But that's the nature of these books and these characters - there's just so much to tell in such a short amount of time! And Byrd tells it well. Roses Have Thorns covers about twenty-five years of Queen Elizabeth's reign (close to forty if you count the epilogue). And yet, while that may seem rushed, the flow of the story actually feels a little slow - not really in a slow-paced way, but in the sense that it's so epic and feels so long. At least for me, it took a while to finish the book.
The journey is certainly rich, though. Recurring themes, admirable sacrifices contrasted with very human emotions and tendencies, interesting myths and fables, uncertain loyalties, mystery, romance...it's all mixed in there, with the religious divisions and confusion of a kingdom serving as a suspenseful and fitting backdrop to personal divisions and confusion.
Elin's/Helena's love life kept me intrigued and often took surprising turns. The men in her life didn't always do right by her, in my opinion, but then, Helena wasn't always perfect, either. Byrd does a great job of showing how all of those in such high positions were truly human. (Although I must add that I don't know if I could handle the workings of high society and court life back then! So much to remember...so much to watch out for and to hold back...)
Roses Have Thorns is a long but beautiful glimpse into the end of the Tudor era. It uses lofty language and grand imagery to convey a story of flawed characters who don't get things perfectly, but who try to do the best that they are able as they seek faith and love and duty.
*With much gratitude to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
You can purchase the book now on Amazon.com! And there's an awesome giveaway on Sandra's blog that goes through the end of the month, so be sure to check it out!
It was a close call, my friends... I thought I might have to extend the giveaway deadline and e-mail Jocelyn Green for help! I guess it's been too long since I've done a "Mondays for the Military" post, because I don't think I've ever had a giveaway where I didn't get any entries at all! (Or maybe I'm choosing to block out those times from my memory, LOL.)
In any case, I'm so pleased (and relieved!) to announce that we do have a winner of the Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs...
She has two nieces who are military wives, so it's wonderful to know that this will find a good home. =)
If you know of any military wives or happen to be one yourself, you can check out this post to learn more about this edition of the New Testament, the editor, and a special offer!
And thanks again to Zondervan for offering this giveaway!
Serena Chase's "Eyes of E'veria" Blog Tour continues! You can click the button above to see the page on Serena's website dedicated to the tour, or you can visit her Facebook page to get all the updates. And if you missed it, be sure to check out my review of the first book in the series, The Ryn, HERE (post includes a Rafflecopter giveaway form!).
"PURPOSED by birth. DESTINED by prophecy. REVEALED by Truth.
Now, her time has come.
Having come to terms with her long-hidden identity, Princess Rynnaia E’veri is ready to take her rightful place. But before she can join her father at Castle Rynwyk, she must endeavor to fulfill a 200-year-old prophecy and defeat the Kingdom’s ancient enemy, the Cobelds. Joined by her faithful knight, Sir Julien de Gladiel, and a gifted group of friends, Rynnaia must trek a dangerous path through canyons, forests, and into the very depths of a mountain where, if the prophetic scrolls prove correct, she will face an unknown foe, alone. Treacheries will be discovered, sacrifices will be made, friends will be lost, and love will be tested, but if even one line of the riddled prophecy is misinterpreted, Rynnaia will fail . . . and the Kingdom will fall.
Beginning at the point THE RYN ended, THE REMEDY concludes an epic re-imagining of the classic Grimm fairy tale, Snow White & Rose Red, but the Eyes of E’veria series is only beginning . . ."
The Remedy is an ultimately exciting sequel to The Ryn, continuing the epic tradition of its predecessor and leaving just enough tantalizing hints about the future of certain secondary characters to leave the reader eager for more of the "Eyes of E'veria" series!
The beginning was a little rough for me in comparison to the great beginning of The Ryn. The pacing starts out sort of slow, and there's quite a bit of recapping from the first book. (That might be more helpful to those who haven't read The Ryn, however. It just kept me from really being drawn into the flow of the story for a while.) After all the foreshadowing and planning in The Ryn, I guess I was just eager for the actual journey to get started. *wink*
The plot really picks up close to halfway through the book, and from then on it's a thrilling, harrowing, surprising adventure as Rynnaia and her faithful companions seek the Remedy for the sake of the kingdom and all those they love. Lots of unexpected twists and lessons in humility along the way! The characters are spared very little of the danger and suffering such an undertaking entails. But the ending is completely satisfying and extra special for those who have read both parts of the story.
It's a pleasure to rejoin this great cast of characters, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Chase takes some of them in future novels. (If I wasn't already excited by the references in The Remedy to the potential plot of the third book, this Pinterest board would have me curious!) Chase offers a great "remedy" in this series for bookshelves deficient in a sweet mix of fairy tales and fantasy (with some romance, of course!).
*With thanks to the author for providing me with an ARC e-version of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*
You can purchase The Remedy (Kindle e-book) now at Amazon.com!
Happy Wednesday, everyone! I have a few unrelated announcements and whatnot today...
In case you haven't already seen this, you can follow my blog via Bloglovin'! This is just an option as a way to keep tabs on this blog once Google Reader is out, if you'd like. And I'm just posting this link here because I apparently have to do so in order to "claim" my blog on Bloglovin'. So there you go! ;)
Yes, I did it. I created an account on Pinterest! I was a little hesitant to join the craze at first because of potential copyright issues (not to mention that Twitter, Goodreads, and blogging were enough to keep me busy, LOL!). But I've been trying to give credit where credit is due through links and such, so hopefully I'm doing this right!
Anyway, my cover designer (the lovely and talented Lena Goldfinch, who's also now on Pinterest!) decided to create a "secret" board for us as an easier method for communicating cover ideas, and let me tell you, it's been fun! But, of course, as soon as I got into that I just had to keep going with other boards...
(Speaking of Bleeding Heart, I just got edits back a couple of days ago!! I'm so blessed by Elizabeth Ludwig's assistance and friendship, and I'm excited to fix and polish BH so it's ready to present to others. My current hope is to have a cover reveal in June and a blog tour at the beginning of August, but we'll see how it goes! Do feel free to e-mail me if you're at all interested in being a part of either of those when the times comes: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastly, I noticed my dear blogging friend, Rissi, updated her blog's look:
Her update reminded me that it was high time my own blog got dressed up for a new season! It's been wearing its spring clothes since mid-winter, LOL. So I've given it what I hope is a more summery look!
The new background and color scheme speak of sunny days and clouds made for dreaming and floating upon through one's imagination. The main picture above is one from our trip last summer to Sunriver, Oregon - the Big Obsidian Flow near Bend. I like the matching blue sky and clouds (hope they fit pretty well with the background!), but I also like the symbolism in the picture. It speaks of adventure and new territory. There are rocks and shadows that suggest struggles during a journey, but the whole scene is one of hope with the expansive sky and the brightness in the distance. I'm hoping that, if it's the Lord's will, my upcoming journey with self-publishing will be an exciting adventure, with the shadows and rocks along the path only strengthening my trust in Him and the sweetness of His gifts.
Well, that's all for today! Hoping to have some new book reviews to share with you soon! In the meantime, how are you all doing? Any fun new addictions, blog designs, or what-have-you that you'd like to share?
Happy Monday, everyone! It's been a long, long time since I've shared a "Monday for the Military" post, but when Rachel from Zondervan contacted me regarding a giveaway opportunity, I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
If you're a military wife (or you know of one), this giveaway is for you!
About the Military Wives' New Testament
"When a woman’s husband serves in the military, she is required to sacrifice as well, adding a level of strain to everyday life that most people can’t understand. Frequent moves, unpredictable schedules, extended deployments, reintegration—and, in some cases, caregiving—all make a military spouse hungry for the stability and peace found in God’s Word.
The NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs is designed to address the unique needs, hopes, fears, struggles, and insecurities of military wives.
With 90 devotionals written by military wives and edited by Jocelyn Green, a former military wife who actively ministers to wives whose husbands are serving, this New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs is designed so that women in this unique situation feel as if they have a companion on their journey.
The NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs includes:
• Devotions that provide hope, encouragement, and spiritual growth
• Preface written by Jocelyn Greene
• Scripture from the New International Version
• Topical Index and other study helps
'The military wife fights battles of their own with unseen enemies: loneliness, weariness, fear, discouragement,' said Green. 'The truth of God’s Word is both her weapon and her shield. With special devotions written by and for fellow military wives, this New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs serves as soul armor for the heroes at home.'
As military wives serve their country in their own way, the words of Green and other seasoned military wives bring help and hope, alongside God’s Word, to encourage and embolden them."
Did you catch that name? The devotionals included in this version were edited by Jocelyn Green! I had the pleasure of interviewing Jocelyn twice in the past for my "Mondays for the Military" feature regarding the devotionals Faith Deployed and Faith Deployed...Again. (You can read those interviews HERE and HERE.)
But if you weren't aware of her non-fiction, it's quite possible you've heard of her recent fiction releases, Wedded to War and Widow of Gettysburg. I haven't yet read them (although they're both on my Kindle), but I've heard good things about them!
You can learn more about Jocelyn and her works at her website.
Buy 1, Give 1 Free!
In addition to the giveaway below, Zondervan wants to share this special offer:
With every purchase of the NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs, you will receive an additional copy to share with a friend for free!
Add 2 copies of NIV Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs (9780310421078) to your cart
Enter promo code BD5W11 at checkout
Offer valid 5/1/2013 through 5/31/2013
Now, to enter the giveaway for a copy of the Military Wives' New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs...
Leave a comment with your e-mail address.(The e-mail address is required so I can contact you if you win.) If you've read one of Jocelyn's books, I'd love to hear your thoughts! Or you can just say why you'd like to win (i.e. "I'm a military wife," or "I have a friend who would be blessed by this," etc.).
A winner will be chosen via Random.org and announced on the blog next Monday, May13th.
Good luck! And thank you so much to Zondervan for offering this giveaway!
The title of this blog refers to a poem I wrote entitled Seasons of Humility. In the poem I express the struggle I have had with wanting my own way. I want to hold on to my own dreams, my own plans for my life. But I know that God has a plan for my life, one that will bring Him glory and will be even better than my dreams. So while the autumn and winter "seasons" of learning to let go can sometimes be painful and long, when the spring comes it is wondrous indeed. And through it all God never leaves me. The intent of this blog, then, is to share my thoughts as I continue on this journey of striving to be humble before my Lord. My hope is that my thoughts will encourage you on your journey, as well, whether my thoughts are on my day or on the books I have been reading!
Winners are chosen randomly using the List Randomizer at Random.org. In special cases readers can gain extra entries in the drawings - these cases will be noted on the giveaways posts.
In all giveaways where I personally ship the book or item, only U.S. residents are eligible to win.
When guest authors give away books (etc.) on this blog, readers must carefully read through the giveaway posts and note where the author is willing to ship the items. In most cases the giveaways are for U.S. residents only, but all other cases will be clearly stated.
Please take the time to read the rules for each giveaway so that you are aware whether you are eligible to win or not.Thank you!