August 31, 2011

Review & Giveaway: Ransome's Quest by Kaye Dacus

About Ransome's Question:
The pirate El Salvador has haunted the waters of the Caribbean for almost ten years. When he snatched Charlotte Ransome, it was a case of mistaken identity. Now Charlotte’s brother, whose reputation in battle is the stuff of legend, is searching for him with a dogged determination. But another rumor has reached El Salvador’s ears: Julia Ransome has been kidnapped by the man feared by all other pirates—the pirate known only as Shaw. The violent and blood-thirsty savage from whom El Salvador was trying to protect her.
When word reaches William of Julia’s disappearance, his heart is torn—he cannot abandon the search for his sister, yet he must also rescue Julia. Ned Cochrane offers a solution: Ned will continue the search for Charlotte while William goes after Julia. William’s quest will lead him to a greater understanding of faith and love as he must accept help from sworn enemy and have faith that Julia’s life is in God’s hands.
My thoughts:
Ransome's Quest is a swashbuckling, high adventure with plenty of action and high intensity scenes that sweep you into a world of danger and intrigue upon the high seas. Seriously, this book was a lot of fun and kept me turning the page with gripping kidnappings and naval battles. One thing Kaye Dacus can do is write authentic battle scenes. She has the verbage down and knows her ships! I was swept away  into another world and felt as if I could taste the salty air.
Another thing I loved in this book were the villains. First we have El Salvador, who is a surprising gentleman aboard  his pirate ship, and then we have Shaw, as evil and unwholesome a character as I've ever come by. These two made for great contrasts and added depth to the story.
Kaye's use of secondary characters made the story fun for me. I loved Declan, El Salvador's first mate. In fact, it sure would be nice to have another book featuring him. *hint, hint* The ship hands were interesting characters and very visual. I felt like they were friends.
I think if I had one thing about the book that wasn't as top notch as Kaye's other books was that it was not quite as romantic as her others. I suppose it had to do with the fact that both heroines already had their hero at the very beginning of the book. Of course, I love to read romance where the characters grow in their love for one another, so maybe that is why this one fell a little flat for me. Otherwise, this book is a great read and thoroughly enjoyable. It would make for one awesome movie, to be sure!
Check out Kaye's other books at her website HERE.

Because I love Kaye and her books so much, and because it's my birthday, I am giving away a copy of Ransome's Quest to a lucky commenter! Please leave your spam-free email in the comment section. ie: sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com. A winner will be drawn Sunday, September 2, 2011. 

*Contest is only open in the U.S. and void where prohibited. Chances of winning are based on the number of entries and winner is draw from a non-biased third party- I am not responsible for any lost or damaged items for said prize.

August 30, 2011

Oh Yeah...The Secondary Character

I'm blogging over at The Writer's Alley today about secondary characters.  Stop by for a peek into The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass to see what he says about secondary characters.

August 29, 2011

My Secret Challenge

I've challenged myself to do something during the month of September. I thought I would share it, but I've decided not to, mainly because I am so afraid I'll fail. It is something I've attempted before without success. A part of me thinks I'll jinx myself if I say it out loud. So mum's the word until I've accomplished what I've set out to do.

October 1st I will share my accomplishment IF I really did get it done. If not, then I'm hoping everyone has forgotten about this silly secret challenge.

August 24, 2011

Wednesday Review: Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie

Overview:  When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.

My Review:

Swashbuckling adventure. Breath-taking romance. Dreamy Hero. Fiesty Heroine. Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie has it all. This fast paced adventure kept me turning the page and caused me to lose some sleep, but it was worth it.

Jamie Carie takes a strong-willed, beautiful woman and puts her on a ship with a heart-wounded captain, setting the stage for some flying sparks and interesting dialogue. These two are immediately drawn to one another and yet, struggling with their past and their future, they put up barriers. The way Carie builds their relationship is believable and I was thoroughly routing for both of them.

There are plenty of villains to keep the conflict going, and Carie kept raising the stakes with every scene. Such adventure and such drama! And all the while, the romance builds. I loved this book and will definitely be purchasing more of Carie's books.

 *With thanks to B&H Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.*

* Book releases September 1, 2011.*

August 22, 2011

Estrogen Minority

I am now the minority in my house. The lone female - all because we dropped off our daughter off at the University of Texas in Austin. She is in the oldest and smallest dorm on campus, but I betcha anything it has the biggest rooms. Her dorm room is huge, with a lot of room to move around. The floors are hardwood and there is a built in dresser and shelves.

She is on the top floor...4th story, and there is no elevator. I carried a bag up those stairs and decided I better stay up there and start getting the bed looking good. Besides, it was like 105 degrees outside. I didn't want to keel over and embarrass my daughter, right?

She didn't want us to stay and help her get things put away, so after we got her bedding on the bed, we hugged goodbye (I only got teary eyed.) and headed for the car. It was only when I got to the car that I really broke down. It didn't last too long, and I had gummy bears to ease the pain.

She is doing great. She is happy. She called Sunday afternoon and shared about the church she visited, which makes my heart full. She is a good girl and I am so very proud of her. She is starting her own journey, and I know she will glorify God in whatever she puts her hand to.

I'm so thankful God has allowed me the privilege of being her mother. She is special.

August 15, 2011

My First Writing Event

I had a first. I went to my first writing "event" Saturday. My friend from church, Ava, who just finished her first book, heard about an ACFW chapter here in our area that meets once a month. I'd heard of them, but had been too intimidated to go by myself. She wanted to go and I jumped at the chance to go with her.

We met at La Hacienda Ranch at 11:00 a.m. and were welcomed with open arms by the DFW Ready Writers group. They were warm, friendly, and very helpful. Lena Nelson Dooley is a member and she presented on the topic of Layering. Extremely interesting, that woman!

I will definitely be going back, because it is good for me. It is good for me to step out. It's good to challenge myself. And it is even better to come away inspired.

Thanks, Ava! I love you, friend!

August 12, 2011

Lawsuit Over eBook Pricing

And so it begins. With the vast new territory to explore in the eBook industry, it was just a matter of time before lawsuits came into play. According to GalleyCat's article HERE, a consumer rights firm called Hagen Bermans is suing Apple and six other big publishers saying that the agency model for eBook pricing is in violation of the Sherman Act (again, see GalleyCat's article for a little more about this).

Evidently, sometimes eBooks are being sold for a higher price than their hardback/softback counterparts. Granted, you would think that an eBook would be cheaper. No paper, no ink, to copy setting, to overhead, etc...

What do you think? Should eBooks be cheaper than paper copies? Should we have rules to enforce this kind of pricing?

August 10, 2011

Wednesday Review: Out of Control by Mary Connealy

Wrangler in PetticoatsI love Mary Connealy. And I really love her books. They are so funny, so fast paced, and so romantic. What's not to love about an earth-shattering kiss in complete darkness, down in the depths of a cavern? Mary knows how to write strong, independent women and strong, but vulnerable men. And Out of Control is as good as it comes.

About the book:  Julia Gilliland has always been interested in the natural world around her. She particularly enjoys studying the fossils and formations in the magnificent cave near her father's house. The cave seems plenty safe--until the day a mysterious intruder steals the rope she uses to climb out.

Rafe Kincaid is a man used to being in control--of himself, his brothers, and his family's ranch. The last thing he expects is to find a woman trapped in the cavern on his land--or to be forced to kiss her!

Rafe is more intrigued by Julia than any woman he's ever known. But when their developing relationship threatens a reconciliation with his brothers, will Rafe have to choose between his family and this new love that could heal his troubled heart and secure his happiness?

My thoughts:  I like how Mary Connealy takes a setting and makes it almost a character in itself. The cavern plays in heavy in this book, and breathes life into each and every chapter. And then we have the other characters: Julia, who finds the need to spend her time exploring the cavern: Rafe, who had a harrowing episode with his brothers in the cavern: a wild man who lives in the cavern; an insane man intent on hunting down Julia to find treasure her father supposedly stole; and a pregnant woman ready to give birth. What a varied list of characters! This is the reason Mary keeps me turning the page. The characters are unique, kirky, and real.

Rafe and Julia have such great chemistry, and from the very first chapter we see the sparks fly. There's some wonderful romantic scenes, and a couple of breathtaking kisses that Mary does so well. I love the humor, the misunderstanding, the vulnerability, and the sweetest of their times together.

If you like to read about cowboys and the women they love, you will love this book. It is the first in the Kinkaid Brides series by Bethany House. Look out...there's more brothers that need a wife!

Check out the trailer:

Find out more about Mary Connealy HERE.
You can purchase Out of Control HERE.

* I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. 

August 05, 2011

Meeting an Online Friend Face To Face

Today was a special day for me. I had lunch with fellow writer and Alley Cat, Angie Dicken, and let me tell you...she is cool. Not only does she have four kids, like me, but two of her kids share the same names as two of MY kids! We both have a Thomas and a Caleb. How about that? We also have three boys and one girl. Cool, huh?

Angie is beautiful and smart. She's easy to talk to and I really enjoyed talking "shop" with her, talking about our projects and throwing out ideas. It's strange that someone that I have never met, someone who I've never spent time with, could encourage me like she did. It was good for my writer's soul to get to be with her.

Thank you, Angie, for taking the time to meet me for lunch! I loved it!

August 02, 2011

A Look At Return To Me, The Movie

It's Blockbuster Week at The Writer's Alley and I'm talking about the movie Return to Me, with David Duchovny and Minnie Drive. Hilarious and beautiful movie, with some great insights into writing. Check it out at...

August 01, 2011

Reading, Reading, Reading

I've been reading alot this summer and I have loved everything I've read. The problem is I'm behind on my reviews. So today I am giving you a glance at the books I've read and then hopefully I can spit some of these great reviews out over the next week or two.

Menu for Romance (Brides of Bonneterre, #2)Stand-In Groom (Brides of Bonneterre, Book #1)

Pirate of My Heart: A NovelSurrender the Heart (Surrender to Destiny, #1)

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck: A NovelOut of Control (The Kincaid Brides, #1)

 I love summer reading! So what have you been reading?

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