Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bout of Books 11.0 | Sign Up & Goals

Bout of Books

Bout of Books 11.0 starts TOMORROW! I haven't gotten around to signup yet (eek!), so it's better late than never, right?!

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. — From the Bout of Books team

I'm hoping that this will give me a chance to make some great progress on my summer reading goals, but with several other things on the calendar for the week, we'll just have to see how it goes!

The Goals ...
Read at least 1 hour per day
Read 1000-1500 pages

The Books ...
Not sure which of these I'll start with (or perhaps I'll add others to the mix!), but these are next up on my TBR list. :)

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cover Reveal | How a Star Falls by Amber Stokes

It's time for another cover reveal from none other than blogger friend Amber Stokes! Amber has teamed up with cover designer Lena Goldfinch again to design the cover of her newest book How a Star Falls, which will be available in November. I don't know about you, but I think the results are stunning! This cover is different from Amber's other books—because the book is going to be different than her other books. I actually think it might be my favorite so far!

About the Book
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.

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

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 at

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Blog Tour & Review)

The Butterfly and the Violin
by Kristy Cambron
A Hidden Masterpiece Novel, Book 1
Christian Fiction / Contemporary / Historical
Available July 2014
Thomas Nelson
336 pages

About the Book
A mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz—and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire for distraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a young girl—a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths with William Hanover, the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul, who may be the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together, Sera and William slowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinist Adele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: in the grim camps of Auschwitz and in the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.

Buy a copy  |  Read an excerpt  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
It's not often that I pick up a book that strikes such a powerful chord within me. The Butterfly and the Violin tells a moving story of Adele, a young woman living in Austria and later as a prisoner at Auschwitz during World War II. However, the story also bridges the gap between past and present by introducing us to Sera and William in the present day as they search for an obscure painting of Adele that holds great meaning for both. It's often difficult to span two time periods and tell two stories at once, but Cambron does an amazing job at representing both well.

The characters are amazing. The stories are simply beautiful. And I found it difficult to stop reading for mundane tasks such as going to work or sleeping! I am eagerly anticipating the remaining novels in this series and highly, highly recommend this book!   [5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Kristy Cambron has been fascinated with the WWII era since hearing her grandfather's stories of the war. She holds an art history degree from Indiana University and received the Outstanding Art History Student Award. Kristy writes WWII and Regency era fiction and has placed first in the 2013 NTRWA Great Expectations and 2012 FCRW Beacon contests, and is a 2013 Laurie finalist. Kristy makes her home in Indiana with her husband and three football-loving sons.

Kristy Cambron Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook

Monday, August 4, 2014

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  ...
Yay! I remembered to post this week. Perhaps I'm getting back into a routine? Well, regardless, this is what I read last week. 

What I'm Reading Now ...

What I Hope to Read Next ...

I'm taking it a day at a time right now, but there are some great books on my list! Hoping to get to quite a few in the next few weeks ... before the summer is completely over!

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Husband Maker by Karey White (Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway)

The Husband Maker
by Karey White
The Husband Maker series, Book 1
Available June 2014
256 pages

About the Book
Charlotte’s a girl with nicknames. She may not love being called Charles or Chuck, but the hardest nickname to take is the one she was given in college, the one that’s followed her now for too many years. They call her “the husband maker” and sadly, it fits. Every guy she’s dated since high school has become his next girlfriend’s husband. Not hers. Not three girlfriends down the road. The next. Is she doing something wrong or is she just cursed?

When Kyle Aldsworth enters the picture and sweeps her off her feet, Charlotte begins to hope that maybe she’s not destined to be single forever. A senator’s son with political aspirations of his own, Kyle’s wealthy, handsome, and in need of a wife. Will Charlotte be disappointed yet again, or will she finally be able to make a husband for herself?

Buy a copy  |  Find out what others think

My Thoughts
I've now read two books by Karey White, and she is one talented author! The idea of reading a story about a woman who is a "husband maker" intrigued me immediately. I had a friend like that in college (where every person they dated married their next boyfriend), so I know the pain that comes from that, the wondering "what's wrong with me". And it's definitely a different story than what you normally read!

And what a great story it was! I felt HORRIBLE for Charlotte from the very beginning. She has amazing family and friends around her who care about her a great deal. But other people are terrible to her, mostly behind her back. It was just so unfair and sad. I could feel her pain.

As the romance in the book picked up, I LOVED Charlotte's relationship with Kyle! There were so many funny things that happened to them. And Kyle was such a great guy!

I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that I'm very glad this is the first book in a series (that needs to be read in order!). I'm looking forward to reading more of Charlotte's story ... and hopefully sooner than later! [4.5 stars]

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

About the Author
Karey White grew up in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Missouri. She attended Ricks College and Brigham Young University. Her first novel, Gifted, was a Whitney Award Finalist.

She loves to travel, read, bake treats, and spend time with family and friends. She and her husband are the parents of four great children. She teaches summer creative writing courses to young people and is currently working on her next book.

Karey White Online
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Sneak Peek
Mrs. Shelton’s words bounced around in my head. They call her the husband maker.

“That’s quite a frown you’ve got going there.”


Angus dipped his head, forcing me to make eye contact with him.

“Don’t be sorry. Just talk to me.”

“Have you heard anyone call me the husband maker?”

Angus leaned back in the booth and shook his head. His dark, worried eyes watched me. “Who told you about that?”

“So you have?” When he didn’t immediately speak, I knew the answer. I sighed and leaned back against my seat as well.

There we sat, both of us slouching against our seats, looking at each other.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” I whispered.

“Now why would I do that? Why would I purposely tell you something that would hurt your feelings?”

I should have appreciated his desire to spare me, but at the moment, I wasn’t sure what to think. “Wouldn’t a real friend be honest with me?”

“I was honest. If you’d ever asked me, I’d have told you. I wouldn’t have lied to you. But I don’t think a real friend would jump at the chance to share something hurtful. Wouldn’t a real friend be protective?”

I shrugged.

“Who told you?”

“No one.”

“Then how—?”

“I overheard Hannah Shelton’s mom in the restroom. She was telling some other woman that everyone calls me the husband maker.”

“Not everyone, Chuck.”

“You know what I mean. And why shouldn’t they? There I was at Harrison’s wedding. I guess I just made him a husband. I guess I made Skyler a husband. And CJ and Jerry and . . . I can keep going if you want me to.” I would have kept going to illustrate my point, but my voice was starting to quiver, and in a minute, I’d only have two options—cry or yell at Angus. As upset as I was that he’d never told me, I knew he didn’t deserve to be yelled at. He was here for therapy, after all.


His voice was full of concern, and he used my given name, so I knew he wasn’t kidding around.

“What?” My voice cracked.

He shook his head. “Don’t worry about what people say. You’ve had bad luck. That’s all. It isn’t your fault.”

The waitress brought out our food. “Can I get you anything else?”

“This is great, thanks.” Angus wasted no time piling food on his plate. “I hope you’re hungry,” he said after she left.

“I can’t believe we’re eating this much food at almost ten.”

“If the food doesn’t take your mind off all this junk, the heartburn will.”

I laughed.

Angus’s voice turned serious again. “If you wish I’d have told you, I’m sorry I didn’t.”

I nodded. I wasn’t sure I wanted the answer, but I had to ask. “Have you ever called me that?”

“Of course not.”

As part of the blog tour, there's a giveaway! The prize? A $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash! Ends August 15. Enter through the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*** Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Inspired Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.  ***

Monday, July 28, 2014

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 over the Last Three Weeks ...

What I'm Reading Now ...

What I Hope to Read Next ...

It's hard to say! I've been reading a little of this and that and tons of books from my own shelves and the library this summer. I'm going with more of a "whatever strikes my fancy" way of reading this summer, and it's been great!

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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

World Watch List | India

Open Doors USA
[ World Watch List Challenge #28 India ]
Pray for India


Five years ago, Pastor Rasiya Damore was illiterate and unable to read his Bible. Then he joined an Open Doors sponsored Adult Literacy program, becoming one of 350 adults in the Jhabua district whose life has been powerfully impacted by learning how to read, write, and do basic math. Since 2009, the Adult Literacy Program has held evening classes in 10 mostly Christian villages throughout the Jhabua district. The district is known for having the lowest literacy rate in the state an appalling 36.9%, compared with India's national average of 65%.

Once Rasiya learned to read and write, he began to teach his church congregation the importance of education. In this region, it is common for illiterate people to be taken advantage of. "Those who take out loans from local contractors are often deceived and paid a smaller amount than what is written on the receipt," Rasiya explains. According to the literacy coordinator of this project, a special emphasis is placed on teaching the students how to count money so they will be able to verify their wages.

After completing the program, Rasiya went on to become a volunteer in the literacy training centers, where approximately 150 students are now registered in classes.

Since the establishment of this program, the community has seen many positive changes. Approximately 60% of the students entered the government literacy exam in the spring of 2013 to qualify for the third grade board exams. Many of these were poor children who dropped out of school to care for cattle and tend to their families' farms. Students also included adults who had never attended school: pastors, lay leaders, men, women and young people.

According to the literacy coordinator, the best part of volunteering with this project is seeing the students learn to read the Bible. "Most of all it is a joy to see our students read the Word of God in their own language, which so far they had only heard!"

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

Share This Story India
Map of India

Quick Facts on India

Rank: 28
Previous Rank: 31
Leader: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Government: Federal Republic
Religion: Hinduism
Population: 1.3 billion (59 million Christians)
Source of persecution: Religious militancy
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