Monday, January 31, 2011

Review: The Fire in Ember

The Fire in Ember by DiAnn Mills

Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Historical/Christian Romance/Western
ISBN-13: 9780310293309

(Received for review from Nancy Berland PR)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

DiAnn Mills on the Web: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from The Fire in Ember
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Book Blurb):


Bert believed returning a stolen horse was the right thing for her to do. But she never imagined ranch hands would mistake her as a horse thief, then sentence her to hang. She couldn't tell them the truth. Neither did she want to die.

Deputy John Timmons's middle name is responsibility. He's been caring for his mother and younger brothers on his ranch for five years. He thought he was saving a boy from a hanging - his duty. But when he learns Bert is a girl, a whirlwind of emotions send his heart spinning.

Cattle rustlers have invaded the northern Colorado ranches, leaving murder in their wake. Bert is a suspect, especially when she refuses to give her real name or reveal what she's running from. John knows she's afraid of something, but what? He sees a sweet spirit, not a woman who's deceiving his family.


Twists, turns, and unforgettable characters make this action-packed page turner a historical romance with fire.


DiAnn Mills takes readers back to northern Coloado in her latest release, The Fire in Ember. John Timmons, as well as several other characters appear in the novel " A Woman Called Sage, also written by Mills. John is an older and wiser man in this book, as the author takes readers on a Western adventure filled with mystery, love and faith.

John Timmons has the weight of the world on his shoulders. He is responsible for his ranch and taking care of his five brothers, which leaves little time to pursue matters of the heart. In the course of his duty as a deputy, John breaks up members of the Wide O ranch as they attempt to hang a horse thief. What initially looks like a young boy named Bert, turns out to be a beautiful young woman named Ember, who has secrets of her own. Ember was only trying to return the horse her brother took from the ranch owner when she was caught and almost killed. John finds himself immensely attracted to Ember despite the fact that she refuses to tell him what she running from. With a rash of robberies and murders taking place in the area, John races against time, to find the killers and prove the Ember is innocent of any wrong doing before it's too late. With both their families causing trouble, John stands to loose more than just his heart.

I'm a big fan of inspirational fiction and this book really hit the spot for me. Western themed historical romances are a wide staple for the Christian Fiction industry and usually I find them somewhat trite and focusing on the same themes over and over. The Fire in Ember was a refreshing change from the norm. The characters a very well developed. We have some back story of course from Mills' other novel, A Woman Called Sage. During that book we meet John for the first time and this book really expands what we know about him and his family.

The author does a wonderful job of incorporating mystery along with a very tender romance and spiritual influences. This book will appeal to large range of readers from historical and Christian romance lovers to mystery fans. At just over three hundred pages this is a great weekend read that has a fast pace and an interesting plot. Ember's secrets are one of the more interesting parts of the book. The reader is kept wondering what she is really hiding from, what could have happened in her past or with her family to make her choose the life she has? There is a lot of family drama in this one as siblings of both John and Ember create a bit of chaos that adds to the sparks between them.

Mills also has a knack for creating just the right amount of twists and turns to keep the reader a little off balance. Just when you think you had it figured out everything changes. I like a novel that keeps me on my toes and this one provided just enough edge to do that. I think readers will fall in love with both Ember and John as characters. John is faithful and loving. He's a protector, a cowboy, every woman's dream. Ember is young woman with guts and tenacity, able to strike out on her own and find a life for herself. The romance between the two is heartwarming and full of tender moments the reader will find themselves a little misty over.

The Fire in Ember is available NOW from you favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Award-winning author DiAnn Mills has fifty books in print and has sold more than a million and a half copies. She was a finalist for the 2008 Christy Award for her novel, Lightening and Lace. She is the recipient of the Inspirational Reader's Choice Award for 2005 and 2007. DiAnn and her husband have four adult sons and live in Houston, Texas.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Simply Marvelous Monday

Shelia at, One Person's Journey Through a World of Books, gets all the credit for this one...

On Simply Marvelous Monday's here at Debbie's Book Bag, we want to know... What are you reading?


Fatal Judgment (Guardian's of Justice - Book 1) by Irene Hannon (My Review)
Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (My Review)
Evermore (Immortals - Book 1) by Alyson Noel (My Review)
Military Brats: After Burn (Military Brats - Book 1) by Sherry Ficklin (My Review) (Giveaway)
Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson (My Review)
Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood - Book 1) by J.R. Ward (My Review)
A Most Sinful Proposal (Husband Hunters Club - Book 2) by Sara Bennett (My Review)


This will be the final day that the January link will be active for The 2011 Cozy Mystery Challenge. Don't forget to get your reviews linked, so I can give you credit for it.

The Military Brats: After Burn Prize Pack Giveaway from Sherry Ficklin


The Fire in Ember by DiAnn Mills (For review from Revell Books)

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (For review from TLC Tours)

Stars Collide (Backstage Pass - Book 1) by Janice Thompson (For review from Revell Books)

Committed: A Love Story by Elizabeth Gilbert (For review from Penguin)

The Case for Falling in Love: Why We Can't Master the Madness of Love - and Why That's the Best Part by Mari Ruti (For review from Sourcebooks)

All That's True by Jackie Lee Miles (For review from Sourcebooks)

Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampires - Book 1) by Charlaine Harris (E-book from the Library)

Wow: A Handbook for Living by Zen Ohasi & Zono Kurazono (For Review from the authors)

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Just a couple of reminders this week!

1.) The Military Brats Giveaway

2.) Please link your January Reviews for The 2011 Cozy Mystery Challenge before the end of the month.

Have a great weekend!

Review: A most Sinful Proposal

A Most Sinful Proposal (Husband Hunters Club - Book 2) by Sara Bennett

Publication Date: April 2010
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN-13: 9780061339172

(Received for review from Harper Collins)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-A-Million, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Sara Bennett on the Web: Website, Facebook

from A Most Sinful Proposal

Synopsis (Barnes & Noble):

A most wicked education...

Marissa Rothchild has always behaved as a proper lady should, and it has done absolutely nothing for her. Now she has made a most sinful proposal. She wants to live only for pleasure, and she wants Lord Valentine Kent to instruct her in the ways of love and lust. Caring not for scandal and the whispers of society, she craves his every wanton touch.

It is every rakes fantasy.

Lord Valentine Kent has never been so tempted. Though his every bit the gentleman, from the moment Marissa arrives at his country estate he can think of nothing but her wild, dark curls and luscious curves. But submitting to passion must wait until he completes the search for an ancestral treasure.

It is a most honorable endeavor.

But Kent and Marissa soon discover that even the best of intentions is no match for a desire as desperate as theirs...


Sara Bennett brings us the second book in her Husband Hunters Club series, A Most Sinful Proposal. This is a historical romance with an interesting premise. Bennett's flare for a great plot twist gives this book an edge on the competition. This novel pacts the heat as well as a unexpected adventure. Readers will enjoy the search for the Crusader's Rose almost as much as the sensual relationship that develops between the main characters.

Marissa Rothchild informs the other members of the Husband Hunters Club that she has found the man she intends to marry, George Kent. The Husband Hunters Club was established by several girls from Miss Debenhan's finishing school. The girls had heard too much of terrible marriage relationships that were entered into for money or position and they decided they would hunt their own husbands, ones they could love and cherish despite what society had to say about it.

Marissa is in for a surprise when she turns up at George's country estate, to find him gone and only his brother, Lord Valentine Kent and his servants to attend her. Marissa quickly figures out that she and Valentine are very attracted to one another and she fears she may have picked the wrong brother. Valentine's life has been spent in scientific pursuits, chief among them the search for a family heirloom of sorts, known as the Crusader's Rose. Marissa wants nothing to do with science because her parents are both botanists and she has enough trapsing around the countryside looking at moss. But the search for rose captivates her almost as much as Valentine. Valentine's past may keep him from finding not only the rose, but the love of his life...

This was an engaging historical romance. Set in the mid 1800's in England, A Most Sinful Proposal gives the reader a sense of the decadence of the period as well as the sensuality. The author not only gives us a very sexy romance, but a very interesting adventure as well. Valentine's search for the Crusader's Rose adds a dimension to the story that was unexpected, with a great villain and some very good supporting cast members.

Marissa is a young girl on a mission to find the husband she wants. She doesn't want to marry someone just because he is prominent member of society or because it would be a good match. She wants to marry for love. She is going against convention in doing so. I thought her character was interesting. Her parents were botanists and she didn't want anything to do with that. I thought it cool that in the end she found that she was more interested in science than she thought. The search for the rose and the fact that Valentine was a leading expert in his field was a nice touch by the author.

Valentine is definitely a gentleman, but Marissa certainly doesn't make it easy for him. He is a widow and had a very traumatic experience with his wife, Vanessa. She constantly degraded him and he doesn't want to ever marry again because he feels unworthy. Despite his past he begins to have serious feelings for Marissa. It quickly becomes more than just lust and he is uncertain how he wants to proceed. I thought his character was clever and not your average scientist. I loved the fact that he was a rose expert and that he wanted to find a very rare specimen that once belonged to his family. He was very protective of not only Marissa but of all the people he had in his life.

I loved the supporting characters like Marissa's Bohemian grandmother and Valentine's friend Jasper. They added a lot of zest to the story and Von Hautt the villain added mystery and madness. This was a great story. Even though I had not read the first book in the series, this one was fine as a stand alone. It didn't require any serious details from the first book and the story itself was captivating and different. I recommend this one to those of you who love historical romance.

A Most Sinful Proposal is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Sara Bennett has always had an interest in history, and to survive a series of mind-numbing jobs, she turned to writing historical romance. She lives in an old house with her husband and two children in the state of Victoria, Australia, where she tries to keep the house and the garden tidy, but rarely succeeds - she'd rather be writing or reading.

Review: Dark Lover

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood - Book 1) by J.R. Ward

Publication Date: September 2005
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Vampires
ISBN-13: 9780451216953

(Received for a guest review on Cherry Mischievous' Blog) Check it out!

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-A-Million, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

J.R. Ward on the Web: Website, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from Dark Lover
Book Trailer: This is a fan made trailer, which I liked a lot!

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors who are defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing more than Wrath, the blind leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

The only purebred vampire left on earth, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But, when one of his most trusted fighters is killed - leaving his half-breed daughter unaware of his existence or her fate - Wrath must usher her into the world of the undead - a world beyond her wildest dreams...


I had been hearing about The Black Dagger Brotherhood for a long time and when Cherry Mischievous was offering the book for a guest review on her blog, I decided to give it a try. She sent me a copy of the book with the gorgeous UK cover. I decided to post the US cover on the main part of the review because most of my readers are in the US, but I wanted you to see this beautiful UK cover as well.

Wrath is the blind leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, a collection of warriors who are charged with protecting the vampire race against vampire slayers. When Darius one of Wrath's closest friends and warriors is killed, Wrath knows that he is probably the only person who can protect and save Darius's daughter. Beth has no idea she's about to go through a change that could end her life without help from another vampire. Beth is a half-breed, her mother human and her father a vampire. It is uncertain if she will survive without the blood of a purebred vampire. Wrath isn't prepared for the feelings he begins to have for Beth and he will stop at nothing to protect her and make her his queen.

I fell in love with J.R. Ward's writing style from the very first page. Sometimes when I first start reading a book it takes me a little while to warm up to to, and then there are some that just grab my attention and I know they are going to be novels that I won't soon forget, Dark Lover was definitely one of these. It was engrossing and hard to put down. I stayed up long into the night reading it and I can't wait to read Lover Eternal the second book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

Ward had a very different idea of vampires than I was used to and I thought it was refreshing and interesting. Most of the books I have read portray vampires feeding only on humans. I found it very intriguing that Ward's vampires fed on the blood of the opposite vampire sex. Male vampires feeding on female vampires, etc. The whole vampire world in this book was engaging and I found myself looking forward to the parts of the novel that told more about their world and how it functioned.

Instead of fighting against humans, the vampires were up against vampire slayers or lessors. The dregs of society who have basically given their souls for the opportunity to kill vampires and wreck havoc on the world. Mr. X is one of the leaders of the lessors, but there is a higher power, so to speak, called the Omega. The vampires have a overall leader as well called the Scribe Virgin. All of this was so new and interesting that I just fell in love with the book and the series.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood itself is made up some really cool characters. Wrath the leader and the King is blind. I thought that was a genius move by Ward. He was a big, strong man, but he had this serious vulnerability that made him seem less daunting. He was strong in spite of his disability. He was the ultimate brooding hero. His relationship with Beth was full of heat. The love scenes were well written and not full of a lot of unnecessary stuff. Beth is definitely are great character as well. She holds her own against a supporting cast of warriors. She is determined and fearless.

The other brothers are introduced in this book as well. Rhage has a beast within him that takes over and basically destroys most anything in his path. I can't wait to learn more about him. Vicious is the computer mastermind, but his touch can kill. Each warrior has his own little problem. Phury and Zadist are twin brothers, Phury has taken a vow of celibacy, hard for a vampire, I'm sure and Zadist is full of anger and a little madness from being a slave, but he has the voice of an angel. My favorite was Torhment. He was more laid back than the other brothers and added a lot of strength to the cast. He seemed the most level headed.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this one. It was a wonderful new look at vampires. I can't wait to read more from J. R. Ward. I loved her style and her world building skills. Her backstories for the characters were well done and did not take away from the Wrath and Beth's story. It just gave the book more depth. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal romance or vampire stories. It's a different perspective on a very popular myth.

Dark Lover is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one a very big 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

J.R. Ward lives in the South with her incredibly supportive husband and her beloved golden retriever. After graduating from law school, she began working in health care in Boston and spent many years as chief of staff for one of the premier academic medical centres in the nation.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Review: Never Been Kissed

Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson

Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group/Revell
Genre: Christian YA
ISBN-13: 9780800732592

(Received for review from Revell)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Melody Carlson on the Web: Website, Facebook

Excerpt from Never Been Kissed, courtesy of

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

New school = new chance for that first kiss

Summer is ending, and for once that doesn't seem like such a bad thing to Elise. She's hoping that starting fresh at a new high school will turn her first-kiss prospects around. New guys, new friends, and a new lease on life.

What she wasn't counting on was all the new pressure - to hang with the right crowd, wear the right clothes, and date the right guy. Just when it seems she's on top of the world, everything comes crashing down. Could one bad choice derail her future?


Award-winning author, Melody Carlson brings readers yet another outstanding young adult novel. Carlson's ability to speak to young people is unprecedented. She has a way with words and stories that just seems to resonate with teens and tweens and Never Been Kissed is one of her best. Tackling issues like cyber-bullying, the dangers of the internet and peer pressure, this book is a great read.

When Elise Storton's mom takes a new job, Elise finds herself in a new school, trying to make new friends and just fit in. She's sixteen and never been kissed and now she has a great opportunity. When she meets a guy named Asher Gordon right before school starts she thinks he might be the answer to her prayers, but he makes it clear he has a girlfriend. When Elise starts school she finds herself in with the "A-list" crowd, trying to make sure she wears the right clothes, says the right things and has the perfect boyfriend. Things don't turn out quite the way she plans, when she's framed for something she didn't do and starts a e-mail relationship with Asher despite her worries.

Carlson brings us a book that will inspire young girls to do what they believe is right in spite of peer pressure and bullying. Carlson takes current issues like these and brings them to life in this book. Her characters are expressive and easy to relate to. They are facing issues that most teens and tweens are going through today. It's a whole different world from when we were teenagers. Bullying has become a really serious issue in schools today and I think this book really shows the extent it has progressed, into texting and e-mails which can be just as harmful.

Elise finds herself in a situation she is totally unprepared for. She thinks that a new school and new friends will be an adventure. But when things turn for the worst she goes to the right place, her faith in God. Even though Elise isn't perfect she knows right from wrong and what she needs to do to get through this. I loved her strength and her faith. She is a great example for young girls who think they are at the end of their ropes. She got her head back on straight and moved forward. She didn't let all the bad stuff get to her. I really felt like she learned a lot about herself throughout the book. She showed teens and parents how easy it is to get caught up in something. It happens very quickly and I hope that by reading these kinds of books with my daughters, they will be able to make the right choices.

Bullying, peer pressure, sexting are all issue our kids are facing and I think Carlson really hit the nail on the head with this book. Her writing is simple and brings great clarity to the situations she is trying to address. This book is very inspirational and i would recommend it to any young girl. Parents will also love this book.

Never Been Kissed is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than two hundred books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series, the "TrueColors" series, and the "Carter House Girls" series.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Military Brats: After Burn

Military Brats: After Burn by Sherry Ficklin

Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Genre: YA, Mystery
ISBN-13: 9780983151647

(Received for review from the author)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, OmniLit

This book is in e-book format.

Sherry Ficklin on the Web: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Barnes & Noble):

Reece Barnet and her father have just relocated to sunny North Carolina, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point to be exact. It's another new town and another new school. To make matters worse, just as Reece is starting to fit in a rash of bomb threats rock's her fathers experimental aircraft squadron. When the authorities track the threats to Reece's school, she decides to do some investigating of her own. Unfortunately, the more Reece digs, the more it looks like her new boyfriend might be the culprit.

When Reece's father is nearly killed, it becomes a race against time as Reece fights to protect her father, clear her boyfriend, and discover the surprising truth of the person behind it all.


Sherry Ficklin's new YA series, "Military Brats" starts with a bang, literally. After Burn introduces us to Reece Barnet, self-proclaimed military brat. Ficklin uses her experiences growing up in a military family and later becoming a military wife to bring this story to life. Readers will be fascinated by the military world Reece lives in and on the edge of their seats when the action hits close to home.

Reece Barnet is starting a new school, making new friends and falling in love. When Air Station Cherry Point begins to get bomb threats that seem to be originating from someone in Reece's school she begins to worry. When her father is nearly killed she decides to take matters into her own hands. But, what she finds out could cause her to question everything. Could it be her new boyfriend? Is he responsible for what happened to her father?

After Burn is a book with lots of facets. Ficklin gives readers a inside look into the life of a military teen. Moving around a lot, new schools, trying to make new friends. The difficulties that are a part of military family. It takes a certain kind of person to devote their lives to the freedom of our country and it's not easy for them or their families. Ficklin shows this in detail, while still giving the reader the sense of purpose and reason behind it.

Reece's character is a typical teenage girl. She wants to go to school, have friends, meet a great guy, fall in love. All the things that most other girls want. But she also wants to help support her father in his work. She is loyal and shes determined, and has a healthy dose of teenage curiosity. When she figures out that the threats are coming from her school she doesn't shy away from her duty to herself and her family. She starts to dig into things. Being a student she knows she find out things that the authorities can't. I liked her character a lot. She didn't seem to think of it as a game, she was very serious about finding out what was going on.

You know me, I love a good mystery and Ficklin was able to provide that for me in spades. I have only recently become more interested in reading more Young Adult fiction and this one was a good fit for me. A lot of YA these days is based on the paranormal after the great success of Twilight. But, this one was something different. It was refreshing and interesting. The military world is a great setting for this series and I look forward to reading more. I recommend this one to readers who love mysteries and those who are looking for something different in YA fiction.

Military Brats: After Burn is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Check out Sherry's guest post for a chance to win a great prize pack.

A former military brat and later military wife, Sherry grew up all over the country. Now transplanted in Colorado, she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and houseguests. When she's not busy writing, Sherry can often be found haunting the racks of her local bookstore with a white hot chocolate in one hand and a stack of books in the other. Sherry received the 2010 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers PEN Award for debut fiction and is a 2010 Whitney Award nominee. She is the author of the "Gods of Fate" Trilogy and the "Military Brats" series.

Guest Post and Giveaway: Sherry Ficklin

Sherry Ficklin has taken time out of her busy schedule to join us today at Debbie's Book Bag! Sherry is promoting the release of her latest novel, Military Brats: After Burn. She is also sponsoring a giveaway for a prize pack to one lucky commenter, see details at the end of the post!

Top Ten Things To Do If I Become A Huge World Famous Author

Being an author, there is a certain level of expectation from the people I meet. As soon as they find out what I do they assume I’m rich and famous. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Early on in my career even I had these preconceived notions about the life of a writer. I remember the day I got the call that I’d sold my first book. I was in the middle of doing laundry and I hung up the phone thinking, ‘I’m an author now. Shouldn’t there be someone doing this for me?’

Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but the sad truth is I still have to clean my own house, pick up the doggie poo in my yard, and even clip coupons. The life of a writer isn’t a glamorous one. Actually, it’s exhausting. But we do it because we love it. Which is lucky since we may never strike it rich with our books.

There are exceptions to this rule and it’s not impossible that my next book might land me a *big fat advance and major publishing/movie deal. The odds of me being struck by lightning may be close to the same, of course. But it’s possible.
And with that in mind I’ve compiled a list of the stuff I’m gonna do if ever I become a HUGE WOLRD FAMOUS AUTHOR.

10. Cry on Oprah.

9. Refer to myself in the third person.

8. Sell my used crap on Ebay for a small fortune.

7. Buy a tiny dog and carry him around like a purse.

6. Use my name to get better tables in restaurants.

5. Throw a diva tantrum about the actress playing me in my lifetime bio-pic.

4. Hire someone to scrub my toilets.

3. Have a haircut named after me.

2. Walk into McDonalds and demand a Whopper with cheese.

1. Sneak into random bookstores and sign copies of my own books.

*big fat advances may be a figment of your imagination.

And since it’s Military Brats: After Burn release week, I’m giving away a cool prize pack to one lucky commenter. You tell me, what’s the one thing you’d do if you were suddenly rich and famous?

Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!


Sherry is sponsoring a giveaway for a prize pack to one lucky commenter. This prize will be sent out by the author.

I've decided to make this a really simple one.


Please leave your e-mail address along with a comment on this post answering Sherry's question: What's the one thing you'd do if you were suddenly rich and famous?

The deadline of this giveaway is
Midnight EST February 17th.

U.S. and Canadian entries only.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winner: The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the giveaway for two copies of Mary Lydon Simonsen's book, The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy which ended at Midnight EST on January 24th.

These books will be sent out directly from the publisher, Sourcebooks who was gracious enough to sponsor the giveaway.

I used to choose the winners. Winners will be notified by e-mail.

Without further ado, the winners are:

Victoria Zumbrum



Review: Evermore

Evermore (Immortals - Book 1) by Alyson Noel

Publication Date: February 2009
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Genre: YA, Paranormal
ISBN-13: 9780312532758

(E-book from my collection)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Books-A-Million, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Alyson Noel on the Web: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Fantastic Fiction

Excerpt from Evermore
Book Trailer:

Synopsis (Author's Website):

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school - but everything changes when she meets Damen.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head - wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into to her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she 's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is - or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.


I have seen so many reviews of YA fiction lately that really look appealing to me. I have read the Twilight books and really enjoyed them and I wanted to branch out a little bit and read some other YA authors. I decided that Alyson Noel's "Immortals" series looked interested because I love paranormal fiction and this seemed to be a good fit.

Alyson Noel's first book in the "Immortals" series, Evermore introduces readers to some really great characters. Ever is young girl who has been through a really traumatic experience. Her parents and sister were all killed in an accident which she survived. The after affects of the accident leave Ever with some very interesting abilities including being able to hear the thoughts of others, which is confusing and hard to deal with. Her character essentially shuts herself off from the rest of her classmates other than a couple of special friends. Ever is tormented with guilt over the accident and has to come to terms with her involvement in it. She is your typical teenager with lots of baggage.

I thought Noel did a wonderful job making Ever seem normal even though she was anything but. I think it's hard for some people to understand the pressures that teenagers are under in today's world and Noel was able to explore that in this book. One of the things that I found most interesting about this book was the way that the author dealt with death and crossing over to the afterlife. Many people believe in spirits and 'ghosts' if you will. I thought Noel really captured those beliefs in this book in the character of Riley, Ever's dead sister who can't seem to move on. It explored the idea of how people can essentially "hold on" to those who need to cross over. It was just a really interesting idea.

Damen's character was really interesting. He was a little dark, but throughout the book as a reader we are unclear who or what he really is. Those coming into the series late like myself, knew from the beginning what the series was about "immortals" but in my case, I wasn't sure just what kind of immortal he was. He could have been a vampire, he could have been someone like the highlander for all I knew, so it was still somewhat of a mystery as I was reading. Damen was handsome, cultured and very different from the other boys Ever came in contact with, it's no wonder she was attracted to him. He seemed to have a nurturing or protective aspect to him which was endearing as well.

The supporting cast really added a lot of edge to the book, from Haven, Ever's best friend who is searching desperately for a place to fit in to Damen's former lover who is a very vindictive and not very nice. All the characters were very well developed and I really felt like I knew who they were and what they wanted by the time I finished this book. I really liked it a lot and I look forward to reading more from Alyson Noel and the "Immortal" series.

Evermore is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review: Save the Date

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones

Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Christian Fiction/ Contemporary Romance
ISBN-13: 9781595545398

(Received for review from Thomas Nelson)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan County Public Library

Jenny B. Jones on the Web: Website, Blog, Facebook, Twitter

Excerpt from Save the Date

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom.

Save the date... and say your prayers.

When the funding for Lucy's non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir to Sinclair Enterprises - the primary donor to Lucy's non-profit organization.

Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants.

Alex has it all... except for the votes he need to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart - on the line.

Save the Date is a spunky romance that will have readers laughing out loud as this dubious pair try to save their careers, their dreams... and maybe even a date.


Jenny B. Jones has written a novel that is full of romance and laughter. With her trademark style blending Christian principles with laugh out loud humor, Jones gives the reader a book that will touch the heart and tickle the funny bone. Save the Date is a contemporary romance that transcends the Christian fiction genre. Jones conveys her message with grace and mirth, while immersing the reader in a great happily-ever-after story.

Lucy Wiltshire has devoted her adulthood to making life better for young girls. As founder of Saving Grace, a non-profit organization that provides a shelter for girls who are too old for the foster care system but not yet ready to be on their own, Lucy is changing the world a few lives at a time. When her biggest donor, the
Sinclair Hotel chain plans to reduce it's funding by 40% Lucy is forced to confront closing the shelter due to lack of money. Determined to save her dream, Lucy confronts Alex Sinclair, former football star, Congressional candidate and owner of Sinclair Hotels in hopes of getting the money she desperately needs. But is she prepared to help Alex lose his playboy reputation by pretending to be his fiancee in order to get it?

I was skeptical about this book at first. I'm not a fan of reading books about politicians and the like, but this one was definitely worth it. Jenny B. Jones has crafted a book that gives the reader a glimpse into the political world without going overboard.

Alex's bid for Congress is in danger due his habits and reputation as a playboy. He needs a stable relationship to a woman who the community will adore. That's where Lucy comes in. Alex's character is brash, authoritative, and somewhat cynical when the book begins. He almost jaded. But as he begins to have feelings for Lucy he starts to see things from a different perspective. He lightens up a lot. I liked the character and I thought Jones did an excellent job of showing how much Alex grows throughout the book.

Lucy's character is really what carries the book, along with a great supporting cast, in Julian and Jose and several others. Lucy is tenacious and fun and very determined. The messes she gets herself into, really provide a lot of comic relief and humor throughout the story and of course Alex is the knight in shining armor that keeps getting her out of the scrapes she finds herself in. The chemistry between the characters is very believable and comes across as real. It isn't rushed or too intimate before it needs to be.

I loved the ebb and flow of the book and the great characters and I would recommend this one to lovers of a great happy-ever-after as well as Christian Fiction lovers. It's a great love story, that is at times heartwarming and at times very poignant. The Christian aspect of the story is told through church attendance and prayers, but is not overpowering.

Save the Date is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Jenny B. Jones writes Christian Fiction with equal parts wit, sass, and untamed hilarity. When she's not writing, she's living it up as a high school teacher in Arkansas. Since she has very little free-time, she believes in spending her spare hours in meaningful, intellectual pursuits, such as watching E!, going to the movies and inhaling large buckets of popcorn, and writing her name in the dust on her furniture. She is the four-time Carol Award-winning author of Just Between You and Me and the Charmed Life series for young adults.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Fatal Judgment

Fatal Judgment (Guardians of Justice - Book1) by Irene Hannon

Publication Date: January 2011
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Genre: Christian Fiction/ Romantic Suspense
ISBN-13: 9780800734565

(Received for review from Revell)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository,, IndieBound

If you live in Morehead, KY or the surrounding area:
Purchase from our local independent bookseller: CoffeeTree Books
Borrow from our local library: The Rowan Country Public Library

Irene Hannon on the Web: Website, Twitter

Excerpt from Fatal Judgment

Synopsis (Book Blurb):

U.S. Marshal Jake Taylor has seen plenty of action during his years in law enforcement. But he'd rather go back to Iraq than face his next assignment: protection detail for federal judge Liz Michaels. His feelings toward the coldhearted workaholic have warmed in the five years since she drove her husband - and Jake's best friend - to despair... and possibly suicide.

As the danger mounts and Jake gets to know Liz better, he's forced to revise his opinion of her. And when it becomes clear that an unknown enemy may want her dead, the stakes are raised. Because now both her life - and his heart are in danger.

Full of suspense and romance, Fatal Judgment is a thrilling story that will keep you turning the pages late into the night.


If you loved Irene Hannon's "Heroes of Quantico" series you'll really love her new series, "Guardians of Justice". Hannon once again brings readers adventure, suspense and tender romance. Her storytelling blends true to life crime drama, with Chrisitan influences and heartwarming romance. Readers will be up late into the night with this one. It's a real page-turner from the very first sentence.

Jake Marshal has just returned from Iraq, to his home town of St. Louis, when he is given his new assignment: protecting Judge Liz Michaels. The judge's sister was recently killed and authorities believe it may have been a case of mistaken identity. They believe Liz was the target and someone is out to get her. Jake isn't too happy about this assignment since Liz was the wife if his best friend and Jake believes she treated him badly and drove him to take his own life. He will have to come to terms with how he feels about Liz if he wants to do the best job he can at saving her life. When he starts to get to know Liz better he realizes he may have been completely wrong about her. When her life is on the line he may lose more than just his heart!

Irene Hannon's latest book, Fatal Judgment is full of suspense and thrills. From the very first page of the book readers will be drawn into the plot. This book is very true to life as we see public officials being targeted every day, as in the case of the attack on Arizona Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords earlier this month. Hannon really brings to the forefront situations and circumstances that are happening in today's society with great clarity and purpose. With over thirty-five novels to her credit, Hannon's romantic suspense storytelling is at it's best with this book.

The characters are extremely well developed throughout the book. Jake Taylor's character is the kind of man that women want to find. He's a strong man, patriotic and loyal to his country and to his job as a law enforcement officer. He is loving and caring with his family and his friends and open to finding someone special. He is taken aback when he is forced to protect a woman he feels caused the death of his best friend. But, he still does his job, because that's the kind of man he is. Liz's character is a remarkable women, albeit misunderstood. Being a judge is not an easy, especially in today's political climate. Her strength and resolve are the only thing that has gotten her through her sisters death and the fact that someone wants her dead. When Jake begins to realize he may have been wrong about her the romance starts to bloom.

This book definitely has Christian influences but does not come across as 'hounding' the reader or putting undue emphasis on matters of faith. Hannon uses just the right amount of grace to get her point across without being too demanding. In my opinion Christian Fiction is all about giving the reader something to ponder, showing them something they could have themselves. It isn't about pushing a religious agenda or forcing someone to believe something. I think Hannon pulls it off with style in this one.

I would recommend this book to readers of Christian fiction and Romantic Suspense. It has just right blend of adventure and love.

Fatal Judgment is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

RITA-award-winner (and four-time finalist) Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than thirty-five novels, including Against All Odds, An Eye for an Eye, and In Harm's Way. A former corporate communications executive with a Fortune 500 company, Irene now writes full time from her home in Missouri.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Simply Marvelous Monday

Shelia at, One Person's Journey Through a World of Books, gets all the credit for this one...

On Simply Marvelous Monday's here at Debbie's Book Bag, we want to know... What are you reading?


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakthrough by Ruth Pennebaker (My Review)
I Dream of Genies by Judi Fennell (My Review)
Kiss at Your Own Risk (Soulfire - Book 1) by Stephanie Rowe (My Review)
The Search (Lancaster County Secrets - Book 3) by Suzanne Woods Fisher (My Review)
Savor The Moment (Bride Quartet - Book 3) by Nora Roberts (My Review)
Dewey The Library Cat: A True Story by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter (My Review)
The True Love Quilting Club (Twilight, Texas - Book 2) by Lori Wilde (My Review)


The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy Giveaway


Fatal Judgment (Guardian's of Justice - Book 1) by Irene Hannon (For review from Revell)

Save the Date by Jenny B. Jones (For review from Thomas Nelson)

Evermore (Immortals - Book 1) by Alyson Noel (E-book from my collection)

Military Brats: After Burn by Sherry Ficklin (For review by the author)

Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson (For review from Revell)

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood - Book 1) by J.R. Ward (From my collection)

A Most Sinful Proposal by Sara Bennett (For review from Harper Collins)