Thursday, April 24, 2014

Character Meet & Greet w/ Monica Scott from Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith

It's always fun to do something a little different, and today you're in for a real treat! Monica Scott from Love's Promises is stopping by! I hope you enjoy this chance to get to know her better. (You can read my review of Love's Promises here.)

i blog 4 books: Hi Monica! I know you're a busy woman, so thank you for stopping in and visiting with me today! For anyone who hasn't read your story in Love's Promises, please tell us a little about yourself.

Monica Scott:
Hi Brooke, thank you for inviting me to visit with you. I’ve lived an interesting life, traveling the world with my famous architect father, Armand Scott. After graduating from university, I was encouraged to work with him on his building projects. The last one we worked on before he passed away was in Malaga, Spain. He built a beautiful condominium complex overlooking the Costa del Sol.

It's been tough since his passing. I’ve been at a loss. But then going through his things, I found the plans for a designer house at Lake Tahoe. I’ve come here to build that house in memory of him and his work.

ib4b: I'm a sucker for a good love story, so give us some dirt! :) What were your first impressions of Greg?

MS: Oh my goodness. Greg took my breath away in spite of the fact I was furious and ready to battle the bureaucracy he works for. He kind of took the wind out of my sails when I saw him.

Then his idealism grated at my resolve to build my father’s house. He is so dedicated it made it difficult to fight him. He truly does believe in his cause and I think his efforts are in fact, protecting the beautiful environment he loves.

Of course when I first met him, that very idealism annoyed me immensely. And it was pretty annoying that his sense of humor tickled me even as he was preventing me from accomplishing my goals.

ib4b: How did you know you were in love with Greg? What made you fall in love with him?

MS: I started to realize I was in love with him when I discovered that he had been trying to help me all along.

I also grew to love him when I met his family in San Francisco. His mom is amazing, and I saw how her love for Greg’s dad thrived. And when I saw the tenderness and respect his dad had for his mom, it helped me to not be so afraid of love for myself.

ib4b: Switching gears a bit ... caring for the environment is one of the main themes of Love's Promises. What are some practical applications that you hope readers will take away after reading about your experiences in Tahoe?

MS: Well, to be honest, I wasn’t thinking much about the environment when I started out on the project to build my father’s house. Although, I should have, since one of the features my father was renowned for was his incorporation of the surrounding landscape in his designs.

It was Greg who pointed out to me that the beauty that attracts the tourists to Lake Tahoe is not to be taken for granted. With the high use of the area, great care needs to be taken to preserve the natural beauty. Careless over-development will damage the lake and surrounding terrain to the point that it will no longer be a wonderful place that people will want to visit. So it is in the best interest of the economy as well as the ecology to be mindful.

ib4b: Of course I loved reading your story, but I thought Sandra did a fabulous job making me fall in love with Lake Tahoe too! If I were to visit Tahoe for a long weekend, what should I make sure to do while I'm visiting?

MS: It would depend upon what time of year you are going to visit. If you visit in the winter, you will want to book your stay in one of the fabulous ski resorts in the area. Even if you don’t ski, it is fun to sit in the lodge and watch the skiers race down those steep trails.

If you book during the summer months, you will want to explore the state beach parks in Nevada and California. There are great beaches to enjoy, boats to rent, historical museums, etc. You might want to plan a hike. The seventy-two mile drive around the lake is always a fun day spent with breathtaking views of the lake and delightful restaurants to enjoy.

I have to say though that my favorite time to be there is in the fall after all the tourists go home. It is like the trees heave a big sigh and there is silence. Here is a good website to see some of the scenery and activities that are there.

ib4b: Finally, before you have to go, I know you're very well-traveled and have lived all over the world. (I love to travel too, by the way!) What are some of your favorite places that you've ever visited, and what makes them your favorites?

MS: I have to say that Spain has a special place in my heart because it was where I was living for the last time with my father. He passed while we were there, but he had finished several projects and we met some wonderful people. My parents had a villa along the Costa del Sol, so there are many family friends there as well.

Another place I really enjoyed was Costa Rica. My father built some fabulous resorts along the beach. We had a pet sloth that made me laugh.

ib4b: A pet sloth? You'll have to tell me more about that next time. :) Thanks again for taking the time to visit with us today! I can't wait for everyone else to read your story!

MS: Thank you Brooke. It has been fun chatting with you. I hope you enjoy your trip to Lake Tahoe.

About the Author
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball.

Sandra Leesmith Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends May 1. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below.

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Love's Promises by Sandra Leesmith (Blog Tour & Review)

Love's Promises
by Sandra Leesmith
Fiction / Contemporary / Romance
Available March 2014
320 pages

About the Book
For Monica Scott, building her late father’s house at Lake Tahoe isn’t an option—it’s a necessary distraction from confusing memories and an uncertain future. But a handsome planner working for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) is keeping Monica from moving forward with the project. Never mind that he’s young and charming with a great sense of humor. No one is going to stop Monica from making her father’s dream—and her own—a reality.

All Greg Linsey wants is for his work to mean something. His job at TRPA gives him the opportunity to fight for the environment he loves and make a difference in his small corner of the world. But with the sophisticated Monica Scott’s arrival, his dedication is tested as never before, especially when Monica turns to his unscrupulous nemesis for assistance.

As Greg and Monica’s animosity turns into something far sweeter, can they learn to accept each other’s promises and avoid the growing danger to their lives and hearts?

Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
Sandra Leesmith has again written a story that makes me want to take a vacation! She has a way of making her settings come alive and draws readers in to make them want to stay a while. In Love's Promises, we meet Monica and Greg and get an insider's view of what life is like in Tahoe. There are instant sparks when these two meet, but Sandra does a great job of allowing the relationship to develop a little slower (but not too slow!).

I also enjoyed reading about the challenges of developing property in this area. Set in the 80s, the story takes place when people were just beginning to think about their impact on the environment. It's definitely a struggle to find the balance between progress and conservation, but it was interesting to see how Monica and Greg worked through this challenge—and how it nearly derailed their personal relationship. On a deeper level, Monica is facing tons of challenges personally. I don't want to give too much away, but I loved how things were resolved in the end. Perfect!

If I could change one thing about this book, I wish that Greg wasn't quite so perfect. He seemed a little too good to be true at times, but every girl needs a knight in shining armor, and he makes for a good one. :)

Overall, Love's Promises is a great book. I definitely recommend it if you enjoy contemporary romance! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for my fair and honest review.

Note: While this book is written for the general market, it's a very clean read!

About the Author
Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball.

Sandra Leesmith Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

Monica Scott, one of the lead characters in Love's Promises, stopped by to visit today! Be sure to check out our chat here.

Sandra is offering one reader a taste of Lake Tahoe with a sweet prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Love's Promises, a journal, a Lake Tahoe coffee mug, a pound of Millstone Velvet Chocolate coffee, and a Hulet Glass chocolate drop! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and ends May 1. You can enter to win via the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win a “Women Helping Women” $200 Shopping Spree from Emily Wierenga | “A Promise in Pieces” Giveaway!

The latest Quilts of Love release, A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga is receiving glowing reviews.

Emily is celebrating the release of her debut novel with a "Women Helping Women" shopping spree giveaway.


  One winner will receive:
  • $200 to spend at Emily's favorite shops, Noonday Collection & Vibella (Click through to learn more about how these companies exist to make a difference in the lives of women!)
  • A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga
  • A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson
  • Rival Hearts by Tara Randel
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 10th. Winner will be announced on the Quilts of Love blog on May 12th. Then be sure to stop by the Quilts of Love Facebook page on May 29th for the "Quilting Bee" Facebook party with Emily and other Quilts of Love authors. RSVP for an evening of book chat, quilting tips & tricks, prizes, and more!

Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday | Silenced

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is ...

Silenced by Dani Pettrey
Bethan House | May 1

About the Book
Jake Knew Something Was Wrong. But He Never Guessed How Wrong.

A relaxing day of rock climbing takes a disturbing turn when Kayden McKenna's route brings her face-to-face with a dead climber. Is it a terrible accident or something darker? When the case is handed to overburdened sheriff Landon Grainger, he turns to Jake Westin for help. With Jake's past now revealed, he's ready to use his talent for investigation again--but he could never prepare for where the mystery will take him.

Kayden's climbing expertise soon leads her and Jake to the realization that the death was no accident. And worse, it seems the killer is onto them. When strange things begin happening in Yancey, Jake is terrified that once again his world may put someone he loves in danger. But the truth is far worse than he could ever imagine.

Why I Can't Wait to Read It
How could you not want to read a new novel by Dani Pettrey? I love romantic suspense, and I've LOVED Dani's other three novels. Plus, I'm excited to finally read Jake's story!

Monday, April 21, 2014

New from Popular Author Dan Walsh!

Untitled Document
will surely touch your heart and soul What Follows After
  Dan Walsh offers profound insight into the heart of a hurting child, and he reminds us that a time will come to look back on hard times and smile, because we'll know that what follows after is not what we expected at all.   Buy Now Facebook Twitter Pinterest

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?!

"It's Monday! What Are You Reading?" is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey where we share what we're reading and our goals for the week.

What I Read Last Week ...
This week has been super busy, but I still managed to squeeze in a little reading time. These were all SO good!!!

What I'm Reading Now ...


What I Hope to Read This Week ...

That's what I'm hoping to read this week. What are you reading?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

World Watch List | Nigeria

Open Doors USA
[ World Watch List Challenge #14 Nigeria ]
Pray for Nigeria


Open Doors researcher, Isaac, shares about an encounter which reminded him of the importance of prayer:

I left Jos on a Friday to visit three widows of pastors who had been killed by Boko Haram in Yobe State. One of these women, Pauline Yusuf, had been so severely traumatized by watching the gunmen kill her husband and her son, she stopped talking altogether.

As I set out, I knew that it was a dangerous journey. Just the week before, Boko Haram members killed hundreds of people in the state capital. These widows did not live far from there.

Suddenly, a minibus drove by us. We noticed that all the occupants wore hijabs (Islamic veils), and we knew there was trouble. These were men camouflaged as women. It is a well-known tactic Boko Haram employs to slip through security check points. We passed the minibus in an effort to put some distance between us and them. But a strange noise from the engine had us praying hard. This was not a good time for a breakdown. It is a dangerous stretch of road where many travelers have met their end. We needed God’s intervention.

And like so many times before, the Lord showed Himself faithful. We pressed on, and finally reached our destination with the car running, despite the worrying noise. The widows were waiting for us. We spent a precious few hours together, distributing the aid and encouraging them in the faith.

The joy on their faces was very encouraging.

"God is great," Paulina Yahaya said. "Taking a big risk to put a smile on my face is something that will live with me forever. I am touched, and feel a joy that knows no bounds. For someone to risk his life to come and support me and my family is nothing but the pure love of Christ. The Lord will bless the ministry in the name of Jesus Christ."

I am deeply thankful for God’s protection, and am reminded once more that God hears the prayers of all those praying for us.

*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes

Share This Story Nigeria
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Quick Facts on Nigeria

Rank: 14
Previous Rank: 13
Leader: President Goodluck Jonathan
Government: Federal republic
Religion: Islam/Christianity
Population: 175 million (89 million Christians)
Source of persecution: Islamic extremism
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