Saturday, March 30, 2013

Actors from Hobbit & Lord of the Rings

Sometimes you need a break from the steady run of book and movie reviews...and that's what today is getting -- a break. Without too much further ado, here is a fun collection of the actors from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Can you identify those who don't have their character pictures by them?

I found all these randomly on the web or on Pinterest. Speaking of which...come find me there by searching for Charity U! Hope to see you there. Anyway, here we go! Feel free to click to view larger.


That one just makes me laugh. Actually, all the ones of the four of them do. And now a few from Hobbit...
I highly recommend viewing the above at a larger size! Or just go view the whole thing here, as it looks a little cut off:

Now that you're back in the mood for a little Hobbit related my Middle-Earth movie reviews at the links below:

Friday, March 29, 2013

Zondervan Blog Tour: Captives

Author: Jill Williamson

Genre: Future, life, adventure

Series: The Safe Lands

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5 high

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 382

Time period: Future

Publisher and price: Zondervan, $9.99 (see! You can afford it!)

Passage from book: “When eighteen-year-old Levi returned from Denver City with his latest scavenged finds, he never imagined he'd find his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed by enforcers, and many---including his fiancee, Jem--taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Land, a walled city that seems
anything but safe.”

My overall opinion: I enjoyed it even more than I’d hoped to! Previously I read Replication – that was while I was gone for the summer last year, so my blog never got a review, though GoodReads got a brief one. I didn’t love it, but was fascinated by it. But this one? Really good! I’ve read a couple of dystopian series, but this one promises to be my favorite – after all, it’s futuristic, but God is still in it! Indeed, it was very futuristic (2088) but also quite believable – yup, a little scary I’ve gotta admit. I found myself empathizing with the characters, and was quite caught up in the story!
Though I had to put the book down multiple times, and sometimes was forced to go several days without reading, I was always able and eager to pick it up again.

There were also several literature/classic references that I caught, including: Princess Bride quotes and names (what’s not to love?), Anne of Green Gables quotes (so cool!), a reference to Anna and the King of Siam (a book I’ve read). Also, and I don’t know if this was coincidence or not, the woman who redesigns the woman who are in the city is named Tyra. Anyone who’s ever watched “America’s Next Top Model” will recognize that name as belonging to Tyra Banks, host of that show. Anyway, catching references like that always makes me happy.

The only thing that bothered me much/at all about this book was the horrible punctuation throughout. However, I’m 95% sure that this will all be fixed in the final edition – I received an ARC for review. There are also some things that will be better for more mature readers -- learn a little more detail about what in this review. Overall? I’d say anyone who enjoys dystopian and futuristic fiction should definitely give this book a try! And it’s cheap enough to buy too.

**Many thanks to Zondervan for sending me an ARC copy of this book in return for my honest review. I received no other compensation. All opinions and thoughts are my own. I wasn’t required to post a positive review.**

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another Giveaway!

I have long-promised that when Austenitis reached 51 likes, I'd give away a book. Well, Austenitis hit that point in the last week here (and indeed, made it to 52!) and so I've posted the giveaway. The book? Avenged by Janice Cantore.

Want to win? Just follow this link to the Facebook, like the page, and get started with your entries!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Movie: Return of the King

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 10

Genre: Fantasy, adventure, life, romance

Series or set: Lord of the Rings

Number in series: 3rd

Primary actors: Basically the same ones I listed in my Two Towers review…so go there if you don’t know them automatically. :)

Length: About three and ½ hours

Based on: Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

Time period: Fantasy

Year it came out: 2003

My overall opinion: Well, here it is folks! The third and final movie in the Lord of the Rings trilogy – and my favorite. And this will be the longest review yet, on account of my having precisely twice as many notes as for the other two – or combine my notes from the other two reviews, and you’ll have as many as I do for this one review. So, now that you’ve been fully warned, let’s go! And please – pull up the comment box at the bottom of this post even before you read so you can comment as you go. Because comments related to this have got to be one of the world’s awesomest things. Have fun!

Opening scene: Wow, is there anyone who realizes what this is and doesn’t think it’s totally freaky and disgusting and horrid and perfect for the opening scene? That heartbeat of poor Deagol…enough to give a girl goosebumps, and not of the pleasant kind. It’s down-right unnerving how much Smeagol looks like Gollum (I know, it makes sense) and also like Andy Serkis (I know, also makes sense). It’s still freaky.

Aragorn: Love him so much. I know some of you don’t agree here…but he’s awesome, though not perfect (see? I admitted it!). But yup, I love him in this film.

Pippin and the Palantir: Poor Pippin. If only he’d never even touched the Palantir to begin with! His life would have gone much differently if he had never encountered it.

Arwen’s vision: I love how she has a vision, for lack of a better way to describe it, of Aragorn as an old man with that little boy, who is a delightful and perfect mix of Aragorn and Arwen. And Aragorn looks so good with a little gray. It’s a great scene. {{And yes, this painting is a painting -- and I had SO much trouble finding one at all that a painting must suffice.}}

Anduril and Elrond: As you know, Anduril is Aragorn’s sword. Remember when Elrond brings the sword to him when he’s camped out with an army? Good scene. And great sword.

Quotes: There are SO many quotable awesome memorable quotes in this movie. I’m including a few farther on in this review, but encourage you to check IMDB for more.

Denethor: Ooooo…how I abhor this man. He’s SO awful. SOSOSOSO awful. I can’t stand him. He may actually be my least favorite character from the entire trilogy. Even more than Wormtongue and Sauron and Saruman. I mean, seriously. The way he acts towards Faramir? It’s enough to make anyone’s heart hurt. Such blatant favoritism towards Boromir is heart-rending. I always feel so sorry to Faramir…even back before I really decided I liked him. But Denethor? Anyone wanna join a hate-on-Denethor club?!?

The Winding Stairs: And Frodo and Sam journey up and up and up…all those dreadful stairs. Steep and treacherous – I wonder who built them? Anyone know? Anyway, that’s quite the journey, and the way that Gollum works to turn Frodo against Sam is sad.

Osgiliath take 1: The fall of Osgiliath to those frightful orcs. Ah, I feel so sorry for those guys who
fight for it, but quickly see that it’s a useless venture and retreat to safety, saving as many as possible. BUT! They return. We’ll come to that presently. But Osgiliath is quite an amazing location and there’s a couple of remarkable battles in/around it.

Beacon lights: Admit it, the beacon lights that are used to signal from Minas Tirith to Rohan are pretty cool. All across those high snowy mountains and all. I love watching that part every time, it’s so cool! And I love how Pippin climbs up to light the first one…and it takes him a minute to realize that he’s actually standing on the burning pile. :)

Riders of Rohan: They present an impressive display! So many of them and all mounted. Yeah, pretty awesome. And their arrival at Pelennor Fields is also impressive.

Pig Sponge: Or maybe Sponge Pig. Or maybe he has a real name, I’m not sure. But you know what Osgiliath orc I mean? He’s got a face that’s quite piggish and also remarkably similar to some sponges I’ve seen. On second thought...that side of his face might be more like rising bread dough. MOVING ON. But he’s brutal and ugly and despicable and oh so awful and you know what? I still hate Denethor even more. Which is saying something, because this guy is super creepy.

Gandalf’s Rescue: AAAHHHH! I love this scene – it’s such a clear portrayal of good shooing away the evil. You know the one – where Faramir and his fighters are retreating from Osgiliath and the orcs are being awful to them and the Black Riders are swooping overhead; all hope looks lost. But then, out of Minas Tirith comes Gandalf with a light radiating from his staff, scaring back all the Black Riders and saving Faramir & Co! Oh happy day. I love Gandalf there – he’s a savior!

Faramir’s Attack Back on Osgiliath and Pippin’s Song: I couldn’t think of a better way to sum it up. Oh my word, this has to be one of the most tear-jerking scenes in the entire trilogy. The way that Faramir and his riders go to Osgiliath…while back at home, Denethor is heartlessly eating tomatoes and chicken and making Pippin sing. UGH. Did I mention I hate Denethor? *sigh* He drives me nuts. And Faramir! So strong, so brave, so determined to prove himself. And you know he hasn’t got a chance – but he sure does give it his best shot. I like that guy. Then Pippin’s song is so sweet and good and he sings so sadly…it’s like oh-what-do-they-call-those-songs. I know there’s a word for it. The ones they sing as they go to their deaths. Because you just have a feeling deep within you as you watch that those guys are all going to die. So sad. And the horses run and the song is sung and the arrows fly…oh dear. I’d better move on before bringing myself to tears. First though, the scene itself...

Paths of the Dead: Off goes Aragorn to muster the Army of the Dead, and it’s a good thing too. Gimli has a great quote at the beginning of this scene, about an elf being more willing than a dwarf to go underground. Love it! Wow, what a massive cave it is under there! And with his sword, Anduril, Aragorn conquers the King of the Dead and brings them out. Hooray!

Eowyn riding with Merry: Ah, she is a wonderful girl! Out goes Eowyn with the Riders of Rohan. She’s so strong and determined to go along despite her father’s protests. And taking Merry with her! Of course, we know that it turns out she has a big part to play in the Battle of Pelennor Fields – so it’s a wonderful thing that she went along. And she fights so bravely! Yay Eowyn!

Head catapult: Can I say…disgusting? Rather brilliant if it’s your side doing the catapulting I suppose, but still so gross and really wrong, I think. I don’t like it. But it accomplishes their purpose. You remember, the catapulting of the heads of the brave men who rushed out to regain Osgiliath – to their detriment.

Peter Jackson’s kids: We hereby interrupt your regularly scheduled programming to say…I think they’re Peter Jackson’s kids? At any rate, I know I saw the same wide-eyed little darling in both the 1st and 3rd movies, and I feel like at some point I read that PJ’s kids were in all three of the movies. I’m assuming she’s one of them!

Black Riders: YES! Eowyn killed the bad guy! That makes me so happy every time…and the guys all enjoy the short view of pipes in the creature’s neck. ;) But it’s really wonderful when Eowyn whips off her helmet and says “I am no man.” Such an awesome part! And then, with Merry’s slight assistance, she kills him.

Rhinos and oliphaunts: What horrible beasts of war the enemies have! I’m quite sure that there were some way over-sized rhinos charging through, and of course the oliphaunts are also most impressive. Interesting to see how they’re taken down, especially by Eowyn (prior to her killing the Black Rider) and Legolas (awesome as usual).

Shelob’s Lair: Has to be one of the most disgusting parts in the entire movie. Seriously. All that spider-web? Yikes! And of course, Shelob herself – a ponderous and menacing body, legs, hissing, dripping venom, and eyes within eyes. Gollum/Smeagol betraying Sam and Frodo to her is quite terrible, though I can’t say I don’t understand why he did it. AND ALSO. That picture is scaring me half to death. So much freakiness.

Frodo and Sam: Frodo, naturally, gets himself caught and all wrapped up in a cocoon – oh my word, SO gross. I don’t like that part much. And then SAM TO THE RESCUE! You wouldn’t necessarily expect so much of Sam…but somehow he manages to enter the orc-filled tower past those utterly freaky watchers (those heads – occupied by evil spirits) and rescue Frodo – and save the ring through all of that. Yay for Sam! I really do almost like him here. :)

Faramir: isn’t dead after all, but alive! Oh, I’m so glad he didn’t get killed at Osgiliath and only his head returned. But here he comes back nearly dead, and what does Denethor do instead of checking him for signs of life? Pronounces that he’s going to BURN HIM and promptly begins to carry it out, intending to burn himself as well! I. Hate. Denethor. Poor Faramir. And he nearly is burned to death, and it’s only by Pippin’s speed that he’s saved! Pippin gets Gandalf, Gandalf comes, and even then if Pippin hadn’t jumped on the pyre, Faramir might have died! But Pippin jumps and saves him, and then of course, we have Denethor’s death (FINALLY!!!! *celebrates*). Very dramatic, quite horrible really, even for such a guy as himself. But Faramir has survived without too much harm! Oh happy day. {{Also, don't worry -- more better Faramir pix to come.}} Anyway, moving on…

Theoden’s Speech to the Riders of Rohan: I love it! Right before they ride into battle, you know. Here it is: “Forth, and fear no darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day... a red day... ere the sun rises!”

Slow motion: Small interlude. There are proper places for an occasional slow motion moment in battles, sword-fights, etc. There’s one TV show (Legend of the Seeker) that has a ton of these – you don’t know how annoying they can get. I was extra thankful as I watched this that PJ didn’t use a whole bunch of those shots, because that can totally ruin a perfectly nice sword-fight. So…thank you, Peter Jackson!

Theoden’s death and Eowyn’s victories: Eowyn is awesome. And Theoden isn’t all bad. We already talked about this a bit earlier, but I’m so happy with how Eowyn killed the bad Black Rider and triumphed! And the horrible dinosaur monster thing dead too. Of course, Theoden’s death is quite sad, and Eowyn’s sorrow over it is easy to feel…there are sadder things in the movies, I think, but this was certainly a sad moment.

Arrival of the Dead: Hooray! I tell you, having the dead on your side in a battle like this is a definite plus – they are, after all, quite impossible to kill. I love it how Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli pull up apparently having piloted the boat up there all by themselves – they leap out and then a whole freaky army materializes behind them. It’s a wonderful thing! And of course, this army totally dominates everything.

Legolas and the Oliphaunt: I LOVE how Legolas kills his own oliphaunt. Vaulting, throwing, shooting – all perfectly coordinated, and all to the ultimate detriment of the oliphaunt and everyone on it. Love that part so much! And I also just love how Legolas and Gimli and still competing with each other over how many of the enemy have been killed. Those guys rock my world.

Frodo and Sam: They’re such cute little orcs as they travel along. As much as hobbits-pretending-to-be-orcs can be cute. They are.

Gimli’s quote: Because it HAS to be included: “Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?” Oh Gimli…I love that guy. He’s hilarious.

Frodo and Sam again: And so they travel across that dreadful waste-land. And I’m once-again super glad I’m not with them.

Short interlude to say… Guess what? We’ve made it through page 1 of my notes! Just 2/3 page left. :)

Aragorn’s Speech before Morannon: IT’S SO AWESOME. He is an epic speech giver. For your reading pleasure…I reproduce it here. “I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me! A day may come when the courage of men fails! But it is not this day! A day may come when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship! But it is not this day! An hour of wolves and shattered shields when the age of men comes crashing down! But it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand! Men of the West!”

Gimli: I love that he finally fights side by side with an elf. His quote with Legolas…and I merely reproduce from memory here, but… “I never thought I’d die fighting side by side with an elf.” Legolas: “How about side by side with a friend?” And then they’re friends. :)

Sam: And a quote from Sam, in which he is heroic and perhaps a little to epicly quotable to be believable… “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!”

Aragorn, Pippin, Merry starting the battle: Okay, right here? We have Merry and Pippin at my favorite time. They all stand – the battle is about to begin. And then all of a sudden, Aragorn takes off charging and right on his heels are Merry and Pippin. And then everyone else. But I love that scene SO much.

Gollum: And he’s back. Everyone groans, but everyone knew he HAD to come back. He adds some amazing drama, I admit! But we musn’t jump too far ahead…

Eagles: They are so awesome! I have some friends who want dragons…I want a giant eagle. Of course, they play an important part a little further on when they rescue Frodo and Sam, but even during the battle they are clearly an asset to Aragorn’s side.

Frodo, the ring, Sam, and Gollum: And they keep struggling up Mount Doom. One thing I noticed?
The color contrast in this section is amazing. It flashes back and forth between inside Mount Doom (orange, red, yellow, bright, hot) and outside the Morannon (gray and drab). Pretty cool! Inside Mount Doom is really impressive, actually – how in the world did they build that, you wonder?

Sam again: And he saves Frodo yet again. After Gollum’s dramatic finger-biting, and Frodo’s equally dramatic fall off the cliff…Sam saves Frodo. Barely. But yay!

Sauron’s tower and the lava: And this is where you just sit and watch with your mouth gaping. Lava pouring out of the mountain and all over everything – such amazing effects! And Sauron’s tower totally caves in – the bit of slow motion is SO neat! It’s stunning how it falls. Another favorite part!

“I’m glad to be with you, Samwise Gamgee, here at the end of all things.”

Reminiscing: I love how Frodo and Sam sit there and talk about home and Rosie and food. It’s so sweet. And then! HOORAY! The eagles are here again! They are so much cooler than most dragons…just saying. But the eagles turn up and they are rescued and all seems well.

Reunion: I’m so glad that the movie doesn’t just end after the climax…that would’ve been awful. Instead, it keeps on going, for some of the other best parts! There’s a little of best parts in this trilogy. But the reunion is one of the absolute awesomest! Frodo wakes up and there’s Gandalf! And here he didn’t even know Gandalf was still alive! What a happy beginning. And then one by one the remaining members of the fellowship (all except Boromir) come in. And Aragorn smiles. That scene always makes my day. And Gimli and Legolas are so cute, and the hobbits are so talkative! It’s funny and sweet and so good.

Aragorn’s Kingship: At last, Aragorn is made king! While I confess that I prefer his looks when he has rather dirty hair, and a little blood here and there…which sounds really weird. ANYWAY. I don’t like his kingly looks as much, but he still rocks. Arwen appears…and at long last, the music culminates for their kiss. And they obviously live happily ever after! But before we’re done…another speech from Aragorn!

“This day does not belong to one man, but to all. Let us together rebuild this world that we may share in the days of peace.”

Faramir and Eowyn: I’m so glad they finally find happiness. I heard the other day that Peter Jackson
had actually filmed their wedding – but the footage isn’t released yet. Great sorrow and sadness! But they look happy in the three seconds you see them at the wedding. :) Also, check Austenitis' Facebook for more pictures of them being adorable together! I found a few through intense research. :)

Hobbits return: And they finally return home, wiser and older for their journeys. And is a big deal made of them? No indeedy. A pumpkin is clearly much more important to everyone except perhaps Rosie, who is giving Sam special looks. Ah, they are such a cute couple. :)

A wedding: And finally, here at the end, two weddings: Aragorn & Arwen, Sam & Rosie – for those girls who need a wedding in every movie. And besides, Sam and Rosie have some adorable children too! Actually, A&A do as well, if the son that Arwen sees in her vision is really one who they have.

Many partings: Here’s where it gets really sad. I can usually not cry…in fact, this time I didn’t cry at all – until this part. This and Boromir’s death are what always get me. But now! Bilbo, Frodo, Gandalf, Elrond, Galadriel, and Celeborn all board the ship to sail away. And poor Sam and Merry and Pippin! How they all hug Frodo and look so sad. Oh dear. Must move on before I cry. But I still love this scene – it’s a good ending.

Sam once more: Home he goes to his cute little wife and adorable little kids. So it ends on a happy note after all!

And the credit song: Into the West by Annie Lennox. I don’t love it, except for that fact that it’s in this movie. And I associate it strongly with crying. But what a great final song. I’d prefer one by Enya, but you know what? I like this.

Well folks. There you have it. My over-complete analysis of the third Lord of the Rings movie. I gave you fair warning that it would be long! Approximately 3095 words. THAT is a lot.

So, enjoy it? I hope you did. I had a blast writing it, even if it DID take forever. Please do leave a
comment, even if it’s just a few words! Comments make my day. :)

Thanks for reading!

Finally...for those of you who would like just another two minutes...a few deleted scenes. The first video has seven short scenes, each labeled clearly. The second video has better quality and more, but isn't labeled, so watch in order. See the notes on both for clarification.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Movie Quote

"I had a bad experience."

Left Ear, Italian Job, 2003
Because I quote that particular line often. It's just so quotable! Though me, a white's not quite the same as him saying it. I don't have the right accent. Oh well!
And once again...I'm doing this with Micah Elisabeth aka Little Lady from "In Sunshine and Shadows."
And because we can't have a post tagged "Italian Job" without a picture of Charlie...

Interview & Giveaway with Lena Nelson Dooley!

Readers! Please join me in welcoming Lena Nelson Dooley to my blog today! Enjoy this interview, and at the bottom, make sure to enter the giveaway for one of Lena's books. There are lots of ways to get entries (and lots that you can do every day if you like!). Have fun, and enjoy!

Welcome, Lena! I’m delighted to have you here today to talk about your newest book, Catherine’s Pursuit. Looking forward to learning more about it. First, could you please give us a short auto- biography?
Bio: Award-winning author, Lena Nelson Dooley, has more than 700,000 books in print.
Helping other authors become published really floats her boat, with over 20 signing their first book contract after her mentoring. Three of her books have been awarded the Carol Award silver pins, and she has received the ACFW Mentor of the Year award. The high point of her day is receiving feedback from her readers, especially people whose lives have been changed by her books.

Her 2010 release Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico, won the 2011 Will Rogers Medallion Award for excellence in publishing Western Fiction. Maggie’s Journey appeared on a reviewers Top Ten Books of 2011 list. It also won the 2012 Selah award for Historical Novel. Mary’s Blessing released in May 2012. It recently appeared on a review site’s Top Five Reads in 2012 list. Catherine’s Pursuit is coming in February 2013.

In addition to her writing, Lena is a frequent speaker at women’s groups, writers groups, and at both regional and national conferences. She has spoken in six states and internationally. She is also one of the co-hosts of the Gate Beautiful blog radio show.

Lena has an active web presence on Shoutlife, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin and with her internationally connected blog where she interviews other authors and promotes their books.
Find her online here:
Other blogs where she’s a regular contributor:
Please tell us a little bit about the plot of Catherine’s Pursuit and the McKenna’s Daughters series.

McKenna’s Daughters series is about identical triplets born on one of the last wagon trains on the Oregon Trail. Their mother dies giving birth, and they are separated. They don’t find out they have sisters until near their 18th birthday. Each book is about one of the sisters.

In Catherine’s Pursuit, the daughter Angus McKenna kept pursues finding her sisters.
Here’s the back cover copy:
"A heartwarming tale filled with history, adventure, faith, and love." --Lisa Wingate, bestselling and award-winning author of Dandelion Summer and Firefly Island
The search for her sisters will become a spiritual journey for the entire family.
Raised by her father, Catherine McKenna has never lacked for anything, surrounded by people to take care of her every need. On her eighteenth birthday she discovers that not only did her mother die when she was born, but she has two identical sisters. Although her father vowed not to look for his daughters, Catherine made no such promise. Setting out on her own with one clue and her maid in tow, she's determined to find her sisters.
Collin Elliott has seen better days. After losing his ship to a violent and unexpected storm, he is trying to recover--physically and emotionally. When Angus McKenna sends him to find, follow, and protect his daughter, he wants nothing more than to finish his task and return home. Can he help her find her sisters?
And will the discoveries they make along the way teach them both what's most important in life?

What was your favorite part of Catherine’s Pursuit to write?

There were several scenes I just loved. One was when Catherine is in Oregon City, and someone recognizes her as her sister Mary. I loved writing the scenes between the hero Collin Elliott and Mary’s fiancĂ©. And the scenes on the ship with Catherine and Collin were fun to write. But I really enjoyed watching this story develop as I wrote it. God gave me some deep insights into the characters as we went along.

What kind of research did you do, specifically for Catherine’s Pursuit?

My historical books are known for their historical authenticity, as well as for the characters who grip reader’s hearts. I do extensive research into the settings, the language of the time period, clothing, modes of transportation, society, etc. In my book, the only things that are fiction are my characters and their stories and homes. Streets, businesses, etc., not owned by my characters are all real businesses and streets at the time the book takes place.

What gave you the idea, or inspired you to write the McKenna’s Daughters series?

I know that God dropped these stories into my heart. In addition to the romantic threads of the stories, there are many issues that people today experience—bitterness, unforgiveness, lack of trusting God, a poor self-image, difficulty keeping a commitment, many frailties of the human condition.

Which of the three books in the McKenna’s Daughters series is your personal favorite? Which cover is your favorite?

I can’t pick a favorite book. Each one is individual, just as our children are individuals, and we love all of them equally, but maybe in different ways because of their uniqueness.

About the covers, when the design team created the first one, I loved it. Then when the second one came out, I loved that cover even more. And now with Catherine’s Pursuit, I love it even more. It helps that many of my favorite colors are on this cover. But more important to me and I believe to readers is that every detail of each cover perfectly fits the stories.

Do you have another book in the works yet?

I am writing book one in my Love’s Road Home series. My agent has a couple of editors who have expressed an interest in it.

Your biggest fan and supporter is… my husband, and my children are close behind, and now my grandchildren are big fans, too. Even my brother has read all my books. This is wonderful, because not all authors have such strong family support, and I thank God for it.

If you could live in any time period, which time period would it be?

I sometimes think about living in other time periods, but I don’t think I could do without the conveniences we have in this age and time. I know God chose this time for me, so I’m happy here.

Is there a random fact about you that most people don’t know?

I love purple, because as a daughter of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, I can wear the royal color.

What is one thing you dread doing?

Going to the doctor.

What are you currently reading?

Mystery of the Heart by Jillian Kent.

What’s your favorite classic book?

Gone With the Wind

So fun to learn more about these books, Lena! Thanks so much for taking the time to come be with us. Do you have a website where our readers can learn more about you? and I interview other authors and promote their books on my blog:

Charity here...check out these extras about Lena's books!

Review of Maggie's Journey:
Cover Focus on Maggie's Journey:
Review of Catherine's Pursuit:

Again, thanks for coming, Lena! And also thank you for offering a giveaway for our readers. 

Ready for the giveaway everyone? It's for...Mary's Blessing! This is the book in this series that I haven't yet had opportunity to read -- so one of you will get to read it before I do! Enter via the Rafflecopter below. Best of luck! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Litfuse Blog Tour: Grave Consequences

Author: Lisa T. Bergren

Genre: Life, family, adventure, romance

Series: Grand Tour

Number in series: 2nd

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 443

Time period: Early 1900s

Publisher and price: David C. Cook, $14.99 (worth every cent!)

My overall opinion: Hooray! This second book in the Grand Tour series by Bergren did most certainly not disappoint in the least! It was absolutely riveting…I couldn’t stop reading. The story moves along quickly and smoothly through several fascinating European locations, following the travels and yes, drama, of Cora and her companions. It’s full of well-thought-out plot twists and turns that you most certainly will not suspect. Between those enthralling locations (can I go?! Please?!), gripping suspense (you won’t be able to put it down either…), and unexpected surprises, this book come together as a must-have for any Bergren fan. Just make sure you read Glamorous Illusions, book one, first…it’s crucial to understanding this one. Be warned – it doesn’t end with everything neatly wrapped up! There’s still a dose of mystery (and we have to wait HOW LONG for Glittering Promises?!). Overall, it was an amazing book and I did love it.

**Litfuse Publicity Group supplied me with this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to post a positive review, nor was I paid in any way other than the book.**

Celebrate the release of Grave Consequences with Lisa T. Bergren by entering to win an iPad Mini!


One "grand" winner receive:
  • A brand new iPad Mini
  • Grave Consequences and Glamorous Illusions will be pre-loaded onto the Mini!
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on March 23rd. Winner will be announced on March 25th at Lisa's website.

Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Revell Blog Tour: Scent of Lilacs

Author: Ann H. Gabhart

Genre: Life, childhood, kids, family, growing up

Series: Heart of Hollyhill

Number in series: 1st

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 8.5

Type: Fiction

Number of pages: 346

Time period: 1960s

Publisher and price: Revell, $14.99

Passage about the book: It’s 1964 in small-town Kentucky, and Jocie Brooke is curious.  As she digs up answers to her questions about her family, the results will impact Jocie’s life forever. 

My overall opinion: I enjoyed this one even more than I’d hoped to! The first half was easy reading, smooth, and overall a gentle, expectable story. Very well-written, the whole book was. But the second half! Wow, the pace really picked up as the story whipped through unexpected twists and turns, with even more unexpected stories and storms thrown into the mix. I couldn’t put it down during that second half! So glad it was a Sunday afternoon, when I had time to finish it. :) I absolutely flew through reading like mad. I grew to really like and empathize with the characters, especially in that second half. I am so looking forward to the next book now! The end was complete enough to finish, but left the end open enough to allow for a sequel (or several). God has a prominent part in this story, but it doesn’t feel forced, either into the story or onto you, the reader. I would definitely recommend this book! I’d wanted to read a Gabhart for a while, ever since I saw and loved the cover of Words Spoken True. Therefore, when this book came up for review I snatched it up – and I’m so glad I did! Great book. 

Available March 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

**Revell supplied me with this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to post a positive review, nor was I paid in any way other than the book.**