October 21, 2016

Lena's Triple Trick-or-Treat Cover Reveal {+ Giveaway!}

Today I get to share some pretty new covers with all you lovely people! I figured it was high time for something a little different around here and when Amber asked if I'd be interested, I said 'absolutely'. :D

So! Before we get to the covers themselves, I figured I should mention that I haven't read two of these books yet, but I did read Songstone back a few years ago. I just have to say that I definitely like this new cover much better than the old one. And now I'm intrigued enough to want to try Haunting Joy: Book 1 and Haunting Joy: Book 2. The covers for those two are pretty eye-catching! Let's see what you think...

All three together are pretty striking, right?? :) I do love those crisp colors...

About the books

In celebration of Lena Goldfinch’s upcoming release, HAUNTING JOY: BOOK 2, she’s revealing three brand-new book covers! The two HAUNTING JOY books are light paranormal stories, and SONGSTONE is a fantasy romance. All three books are sweet—and slightly spine-tingling—young adult reads, perfect for cozy autumn nights!


“A sweet and charming ghost story that completely won me over.”
—Lena Coakley, Witchlanders

Joy’s new dress has a secret—one with a little supernatural history, one that’s a little more than she expected.

It all starts one ordinary afternoon, when seventeen-year-old Joy tries on some thrift-store clothes. The little white dress fits perfectly. Trouble is, now it won’t leave her alone. Soon Joy is swept up in an extraordinary journey to help a ghost complete some unfinished business.

If only that didn’t involve Joy driving through dangerous intersections...
Or calling up her high-school crush, Nick...
Or getting stuck in a cemetery after dark.

Just how much is Joy willing to risk to uncover the truth?


Joy’s story continues with another ghost, this time a boy who seems intent on disrupting her senior year…


“An original fantasy world inhabited by superstitious tribal nations and intriguingly developed characters.”
—Serena Chase, USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog

A dark, twisty tale of sorcery, tummy-tingling romance, and adventure, inspired by the folklore of New Zealand's Māori people.

Kita can meld song into stone—a skill called “storytelling,” which is greatly honored in a world with no written word. But Kita is slave to a sorcerer who practices black magic using drops of her blood. She fears he’ll use her beautiful gift for a killing spell, so she conceals it. Yet each day, his magic tightens around her neck like a rope.

Then Pono, a young journeyman, arrives from the other side of the island. He’s come to fulfill a pact between their villages: to escort a storyteller back to his village. Finally, in Pono, Kita sees her one slim chance at freedom—and she’ll risk her life to take it.

Kindle | Nook | Kobo | Paperback

About the Author

LENA GOLDFINCH writes sweet historical western romance/inspirational romance and books for teens. She’s always been a sucker for a good old-fashioned romance, whether it’s a novel or short story, young adult or adult, fantasy or realistic, contemporary or historical. Lena has been a finalist in several national writing contests, including the RWA Golden Heart and ACFW Genesis contests. She enjoys life in a quiet, small town with her husband, two kids, and two very spoiled Black Labs.


No tricks with this giveaway—just a treat for three lucky winners! Each winner will get a copy of one of Lena’s featured books (winner’s choice): Haunting Joy: Book 1; Haunting Joy: Book 2; OR Songstone.

Note: Paperback copies are only available to winners who are US residents. Ebook versions are available to all winners.

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October 20, 2016

Review: A Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

Seriously, can anyone else write such swoony, royal romances like Ms. Hauck? I think not! I have been a fan of her Royal Wedding series ever since book one, Once Upon a Prince, and this one is just as wonderful as the rest. I mean, we have another chemistry-laden couple who bicker a little and fight their attraction, a past romance that helps to complicate the present, we catch up with Nathaniel and Susanna's happily ever after, plus it all takes place in Brighton Kingdom at Christmas time (well, mostly)!!! What else do you need to know to convince you to read it?? ;)

Our main couple is definitely the highlight of the story. Avery and Prince Colin have a history that proves just as potent in their present. When the two of them are in close proximity neither can see anyone else! No matter how much they both deny it, their chemistry speaks for itself. Yet their past is not so easily overcome. Pain causes Avery to withdraw, while duty does the same for Prince Colin, and they have to work to rebuild trust in each other. Still, ignoring isn't an option since familial relationships mean they are required to spend time together. We all know where their story is going to end, but it's each hard conversation, as well as giddy moments filled with sweetness, that makes the journey so fun. Plus when they needed the push, a certain centuries-old tradition involving a bell decides to help. I loved all the supernatural bits added in, true love will not be denied!

All the side characters are just as interesting, especially since we get to spend more time with Nathaniel and Susanna, who end up being voices of much needed reason. And I so appreciated how Avery and Susanna, along with their mother, were honest about their grief for their father. Losing someone you love is difficult, it changes every aspect of your life, which is something I know well. So to see the sisters, especially Avery, working through the emotional upheaval was poignant. Ms. Hauck described the unknowns and emotions of grief very accurately. It was true and honest, and heartfelt.

The fairytale-like elements are another part of this story that I loved. What young girl hasn't dreamed of marrying a prince at some point? Ms. Hauck takes that idea and brings it to life for us again and again. Which just makes me *happy dance*! I read through the story with a constant grin on my face. I would certainly not be opposed to more books in this series, Ms. Hauck! More swoony romance please! :)

**I received a complimentary copy via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Sad thing about losing your parent is a door to your childhood closes. One you didn't even know was open.

October 18, 2016

Review: Unblemished by Sara Ella

This was quite a fun adventure! But I have to confess that I did not realize it was going to be part of a series so when I got to the end, I was a bit....unprepared shall we say. Because I am a very impatient reader! :) Hence I decided I should clarify that first, lest any other unsuspecting readers choose to try this book expecting for everything to get resolved by the final page. It doesn't! I'm just going to put that out there right now. However. There were a lot of my questions that did get explained, at least enough to satisfy me for now, so that helped. There's a bit of a cliffhanger, but it's not too terrible. As someone who hates to wait a long time for the next book in a series, I truly hope the wait isn't forever though!

Anyhoo, on to the good stuff. I liked Eliyana, but it did take a bit for me to warm up to her. Perhaps she's a bit too teenagerish for me? That's not a complaint, I just think I was expecting her to make adult decisions sometimes, which isn't fair because she's not an adult yet. I simply had to remind myself that she's only seventeen. Yet I could definitely understand the myriad of emotions she felt at the beginning, grief for her mother, confusion and fear as things began happening around her, not to mention all the anger and pain that heartache brings, which she has no time to even begin to process. She has a huge amount of new information and new people (some of whom are trustworthy and some not, neither of which is easy to decipher) thrown in her path in quick succession. Thus I could cut her a little slack at moments when she frustrated me.

The world building is pretty wonderful. I liked the fact that we get a map in the beginning (maps are always so helpful when it comes to fantasy worlds!), and I really liked that much of the storyline takes place in a different, yet still kind of recognizable New York. I appreciated having familiarities to ground me when things got a little crazy! And boy did things get crazy. There's so much going on and we, along with Eliyana, get thrown right into the mix of things with little explanation. It served to intrigue me and keep me turning pages. (Well done, Sara Ella!) As things move at a pretty quick pace right from chapter one, it's best you put your seat belts on and hang on for the ride. :D

There's a lot of familiar tropes in the story, as well as several times I had to go back and reread a paragraph to be sure I understood what just happened! Kudos to the author for surprising me with unexpected plotlines and character decisions. I really loved the way some of the characters were so ambiguous. I loved it and I hated it. What a quandary, right?! ;) When an author inspires FEELings in me, I know that's a really good sign! But I also must tell you that there's the dreaded love triangle. *heaves a big sigh* I am not a fan of those. At all. I do have a preference, but future books (?) will have to tell me if I'm right or not. Which is why I don't like love triangles! I like to know who to root for, okay? Also! What is with parents and/or guardians of these "special snowflake" main characters who never explain what's going on? They always talk about how "it's for your safety", but come on. Is it really? I, for one, think a little communication prior to where our story starts would go a long way to preventing some of the chaos! But then, I suppose we wouldn't have a lot of the story, would we? Nevermind then.

Full of epic adventure, swoony romance (yes, even with a love triangle ;),  and excellent writing that pulls you in, this is a wonderful story! Even if I have to wait ages, I will definitely be looking forward to more!

**I received a complimentary copy from Thomas Nelson and Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

"Could you explain this whole Calling thing to me? I'm getting a little confused."
"We've got hours until the others wake. Might as well. What do you know?"
I relay what I've learned from Joshua, Robyn, and Wade. I stride beside Ky, keeping a respectful distance, our pace unhurried. The cottages are dark. It's a ghost town, minus the gunslingers and saloons. Even before night fell, the Village was dead. Is this how these people live? In constant fear? The Haven is large, but it's still a prison. No matter the breadth between, walls are still walls.

October 17, 2016

Review: Since You've Been Gone by Christa Allen

It's interesting to me how some people who've gone through a difficult death in their life can read books about characters who are going through similar feelings, while others cannot. I can see where both ways would be very natural. Right after my mother passed away, I don't think I could have read a story such as this, I would have been way too emotional. But now? Now I completely connected with Olivia and so much of what she deals with emotionally in this story! I'm not sure I would have even wanted to try this book prior to experiencing a loss in my life. Maybe, maybe not. But either way, I'm so glad I tried it now.

It was really the emotions that Olivia goes through, from anger and frustration to grief and heartache to all the myriad of feelings that are almost indescribable even to the one feeling them, that captivated me throughout this novel.  Emotions are so very personal and we never know how we're going to react to certain situations. Olivia's emotional upheaval felt very real to me, they fluctuate and come and go, they don't even make sense sometimes, which is very true to life.

As for Olivia herself? She's not very likable in the beginning. Yet that's part of her journey, realizing the parts of herself that need changing, and by the end I was solidly on her side. She has a lot of growth to go through and begins to realize how lost she is, how much she cannot do on her own. Her relationship with her parents, especially, is quite turbulent. I have to admit that I didn't really like Olivia's mother. I think that was the point, but she reacted so judgmentally. I really wanted her to see that how she was acting was not coming across as loving at all, hence why Olivia reacted so strongly in retaliation. But Ruthy, Olivia's grandmother, on the other hand? I loved her! She was a breath of fresh air every time she entered the scene, imparting wisdom and truth into her granddaughter's life. Working through her family relationships is not easy and requires much patience as each step forward seems to come with a half step back. But little by little, Olivia's chaos begins to settle and I was happy to see it!

Ms. Allan's writing flows easily, although I did think some of the flashback scenes, especially in the beginning, got a little confusing since we jumped back and forth between them and present day with not much explanation. As the story went on, things smoothed out a little better, which I appreciated. The romance is quiet and in the background, with just enough sweetness to keep me grinning. I liked Evan quite a bit! All in all, it's a simple story with lots of layers. As they peel back one by one, there is a lot of heart to be found and enjoyed! :)

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

If God were as compassionate as my mother believed Him to be, then He'd dole out tragedy on a rotating basis. You'd stand in line, then He'd reach into His bushel of adversity, hand one over, and you'd go to the back of the long stretch of mankind. You'd have time to deal with it, dress it in different clothes, ignore it, shove it someplace in your heart before your number was up again.

I didn't cry.
I sobbed.
Because when someone knew that all the chaos in your spirit was reflected in the mess that surrounded you and quietly restored your dignity, how else could you thank them?

"I really believe it's true...what my sister says about people coming along to help. They're not always who we expect them to be, but they show up."


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