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Mar 31, 2013

TSS: Happy EASTER! | Bookish Memes

Sunday, March 31, 2013
The Sunday   
Visit Svea's blog at The Muse in The Fog Book Review to start linking up your Sunday posts; Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea whose purpose is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week.

It's here! Easter Sunday! A VERY SPECIAL day for so many reasons, but for me peronally, this day symbolizes the day my children are worthy of Christ =) Baptisms and First Communion this weekend, but boy oh boy I am ready for my life to get back to normal. It's been so busy with all the prep work involved, but it's been for a good cause of course. This day also means my Lenten Fast is OVER!! You have no freaking idea how much I'm craving hamburger/tacos/beef.

I've finally remembered to post something at the end of a month regarding my reading totals:

According to Goodreads:
You have read 16 books toward your goal of 50 books.
16 of 50 (32%) Great work, you're 5 books (9%) ahead of schedule.
That's 6,103 pages. I'll be adding another 2,000 to that when I finish reading the Study Bible, which I am aiming to do by the end of April.

I'll get right on to the Bookish Fun, cuz we've got lots to cover!!

 Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted by Mari at MariReads. The Story Siren also hosts IMM, so we can find some cool YA titles there as well.

a very gorgeous hardcover with gold trim.. this  pic doesn't do it justice

The Secret Magdalene by Ki Longfellow
Raised like sisters, Mariamne and Salome are indulged with riches, position, and learning-a rare thing for females in Jerusalem. But Mariamne has a further gift: an illness has left her with visions; she has the power of prophecy. It is her prophesying that drives the two girls to flee to Egypt, where they study philosophy, mathematics, and astronomy in the Great Library of Alexandria.

After seven years they return to a Judaea where many now believe John the Baptizer is the messiah. Salome too begins to believe, but Mariamne, now called Magdalene, is drawn to his cousin, Yeshu’a, a man touched by the divine in the same way she was during her days of illness. Together they speak of sharing their direct experience of God; but Yeshu’a unexpectedly gains a reputation as a healer, and as the ill and the troubled flock to him, he and Magdalene are forced to make a terrible decision.

This radical retelling of the greatest story ever told brings Mary Magdalene to life-not as a prostitute or demon-possessed-but as an educated woman who was truly the “apostle to the apostles.”

I had a nice delivery of a box of books, so I'll show you half now, and half next week:

The Mistletoe and the Sword by Anya Seton
From a fascinating corner of history, comes a thrilling story of England in the time of the Romans. Quintus Tullius, a young standard bearer for the Ninth Roman legion, vows to properly bury his grandfather who had been killed by the Druids. In the strange foreign country of the Britons, Quintus meets lovely Regan, the mysterious foster daughter of the Warrior Queen of the Iceanians. Once, he saves her, and then in a daring scene, she rescues him. They are at once bound into history in a time of magic and mystery.

Beyond the Blue Mountains by Jean Plaidy
This is a story set against a late eighteenth and early nineteenth century background, telling how the evils of their time affected the lives of three generations of women. Kitty Kennedy loses her lover before Carolan is born; Katharine, Carolan's child, chooses what must inevitably be a life of danger; but it is Carolan, sensitive and proud, bold and reckless, who must suffer most deeply and who is the central figure around whom events revolve.

Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett
Pawn in Frankincense is the fourth in the legendary Lymond Chronicles. Somewhere within the bejeweled labyrinth of the Ottoman empire, a child is hidden. Now his father, Francis Crawford of Lymond, soldier of fortune and the exiled heir of Scottish nobility, is searching for him while ostensibly engaged on a mission to the Turkish Sultan. At stake is a pawn in a cutthroat game whose gambits include treason, enslavement, and murder.

Grave Goods by Ariana Franklin
When a fire at Glastonbury Abbey reveals two skeletons, rumor has it they may belong to King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. King Henry II hopes so, for it would help him put down a rebellion in Wales, where the legend of Celtic savior Arthur is strong. To make certain, he sends Adelia Aguilar, his Mistress of the Art of Death, to Glastonbury to examine the skeletons.
At the same time, the investigation into the abbey fire will be overseen by the Bishop of St. Albans, father of Adelia's daughter. Trouble is, someone at Glastonbury doesn't want either mystery solved, and is prepared to kill to prevent it...

The Serpent's Tale by Ariana Franklin
When King Henry II's mistress is found poisoned, suspicion falls on his estranged queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The king orders Adelia Aguilar, expert in the science of death, to investigate-and hopefully stave off civil war. A reluctant Adelia finds herself once again in the company of Rowley Picot, the new Bishop of St. Albans...and her baby's father. Their discoveries into the crime are shocking- and omens of greater danger to come.

To Die For by Sandra Byrd
Meg Wyatt has been Anne Boleyn's closest friend since they grew up together on neighboring manors in Kent. So when twenty-five-year-old Anne's star begins to ascend, of course she takes Meg along for the ride.

Ghost on Black Mountain by Ann Hite
Told in the stunning voices of five women whose lives are inextricably bound when a murder takes place in rural Depression-era North Carolina, Ann Hite’s unforgettable debut spans generations and conjures the best of Southern folk-lore—mystery, spirits, hoodoo, and the incomparable beauty of the Appalachian landscape.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.
April 9, 2013

Roses Have Thorns by Sandra Byrd (book 3 in Ladies in Waiting)
In 1565, seventeen-year-old Elin von Snakenborg leaves Sweden on a treacherous journey to England. Her fiance has fallen in love with her sister and her dowry money has been gambled away, but ahead of her lies an adventure that will take her to the dizzying heights of Tudor power. Transformed through marriage into Helena, the Marchioness of Northampton, she becomes the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. But in a court that is surrounded by Catholic enemies who plot the queen’s downfall, Helena is forced to choose between an unyielding monarch and the husband she’s not sure she can trust—a choice that will provoke catastrophic consequences.

Vividly conjuring the years leading up to the beheading of Mary Queen of Scots, Roses Have Thorns is a brilliant exploration of treason, both to the realm and to the heart.

Featured eBook Download:
Feb. 2013
All For A Song by Allison Pittman (I had seen this one making the rounds, and then finally the Kindle edition was on sale! A wise $1.07 purchase!)
Dorothy Lynn Dunbar has everything she ever wanted: her family, her church, her community, and a budding romance with the young pastor who took over her late father's pulpit. Time spent in the woods, lifting her heart and voice in worship accompanied by her brother's old guitar, makes her life complete . . . and yet she longs for something more. Spending a few days in St. Louis with her sister's family, Dorothy Lynn discovers a whole new way of life-movies, music, dancing; daring fashions and fancy cars. And a dynamic charismatic evangelist . . . who just happens to be a woman. When Dorothy Lynn is offered a chance to join Aimee Semple McPherson's crusade team, she finds herself confronted with temptations she never dreamed of. Can Dorothy Lynn embrace all the Roaring Twenties has to offer without losing herself in the process?

The Fatal Crown (The Queens of Love and War #1) by Ellen Jones (yup, gotta love a novel with cumbrous in its description! And then I ADORE this paperback image of it)!!
In this cumbrous historical novel, Jones postulates a turbulent love affair between the English princess Maud (born 1102) and her cousin and rival to the throne, Stephen of Blois--their passion complicated by political strife. Granddaughter of William the Conquerer, the historical Maud was wed at nine to an aging Holy Roman Emperor, later recalled from Germany as a widow of 25, named heir to the crown of England and married to 14-year-old Geoffrey Plantagenet. The novel dramatizes Maud's purported adulterous liaison with Stephen, who, despite their passionate involvement, angrily challenges her right to the throne when her father dies: their rivalry did in fact erupt into a devastating civil war; Stephen won, reigning until his death in 1154, whereupon Maud's son acceded to the throne, becoming the skilled administrator Henry II, husband of Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I started my read along title of The Miracle at St. Bruno's.. thankfully there is no real time frame for this read along as we all want to read it but we have other books to read as well. So we are taking it chapter by chapter and discussing as we read it on Goodreads. This is a novel by a penname of the prolific Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt and so far it is reading quite well. It's sort of a gothicky tale as 'commoners' are forced to undergo changes as King Henry chooses wives.

Also started reading Jody Hedlund's newest A Noble Groom which features a noble guy forced to flee England, and he lands on a poverty stricken farm in America. He doesn't know the first thing about farming, but doesn't mind helping out the widowed woman and her young one while he can.

Mar 25, 2013

Shattered by Dani Pettrey

Monday, March 25, 2013
Heart-pumping action with a strong faith theme

Shattered (Alaskan Courage #2) by Dani Pettrey
Bethany House, January 2013
Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense
Review copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: 4 stars, Really liked it!

A Thrilling New Romantic Suspense from the Genre's Newest Star
Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him.
Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career.
With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.

After attending a chat with a few authors last year, I was introduced to Dani Pettrey's debut novel Submerged when I won the novel as a result of the virtual chat. I gave the novel a college try - I don't normally read contemporary romantic suspense - and I loved it! I was so glad that I had then agreed to review Shattered because I really enjoy Dani Pettrey's writing style. There is a huge element of the Christian theme, and because of that there are those who would not enjoy the series, but if you enjoy faith based novels this suspenseful novel was a lot of fun; it would be great for a Young Adult market as well.

Shattered involves the younger of the McKenna siblings, Piper. Piper and Landon's romance was kindled in book one, and now we get to watch as these two as they try to clear Reef McKenna's name. Most of Reef's family and friends know that he is innocent from the murder of the athlete Karli, but some intense sleuthing had to take place before he could be cleared. A murderous villain was on the loose, and he was hot on Piper's and Landon's trail. Disaster after disaster struck, but the McKenna siblings are like energizer bunnies and able to get up and keep going. It was a bit similar to Bruce Willis walking away with explosions going off behind him. There was a lot of action going on, and many paths that we went down before we could decipher the mystery, so it kept me guessing.

Intriguing suspense took a front row, but the next story in the series had to be set up. We are introduced to the reporter Darcy St. James as she helps the group with the sleuthing, and the next book will focus on her and Gage McKenna. Those readers who enjoyed the first book of Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series will enjoy Shattered as well. It is fast paced and well written, and I love how the author makes her characters so likable. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order for those interested in reading from this fresh new voice in Christian fiction.

Thank you to Bethany House for my free review copy.

Edited to add that Submerged was a  2013 Christy Award Finalist! Congrats!

Mar 24, 2013

TSS & Mailbox Goodies | Results from 'To Review' Questions

Sunday, March 24, 2013
The Sunday   
Visit Svea's blog at The Muse in The Fog Book Review to start linking up your Sunday posts; Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea whose purpose is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week.

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted by Caitlin @ chaotic compendiums. The Story Siren also hosts IMM, so we can find some cool YA titles there as well.

Housekeeping: For those of you who get these posts in your inbox, if you ever want to unsubscribe please use the link provided at the bottom of the email. If you mark it as spam, that alerts the newsletter folks and puts me on a watch list, and they could block my site altogether. Please don't do that! That goes for most of the emails from bloggers, but my mailing service MailChimp has just updated their privacy policies, so I wanted to make sure you realized the implications for us poor bloggers if you mark us as spam.

Also, since google reader is going away, you can follow me on Bloglovin'.

Follow on Bloglovin

I have taken down my Google Reader Button on the sidebar, and added a bloglovin' one instead. 26 followers there so far, woohoo! =)

This week has been quite busy as I posted a few things that may be of interest:

You'll see that the commentary post on Reviewing did get some attention (over 300 hits as well as folks emailing me off-site about the hot topic), as my Facebook friends and fellow bloggers were eager to chime in with their agreement that we should be able to post reviews no matter if they are negative or critical in nature, regardless of our source of the book. I had written this post as a way to get it off of my chest - to get it out there- that marketers/authors should not have the right to dictate to us how we review a book. If we feel negatively about a book, we should feel free to point out those flaws, and feel free to 'publicly' review books that are worthy of only two stars. I had come across a conversation on facebook yesterday where a reviewer was explaining to the owner of the group that she didn't really like a book she was given for review, and it may not be able to get three stars from her. He then told her to not review it if that was the case (grrr!). I was also part of a group that also says if the book review is not going to show at least three stars, do not review it (I reviewed once for them and left the group). I have also seen other bloggers state they will not review a book if they would have to be critical of it.

Bottom line, if I am taking my time out to review a book, that is exactly what I am going to do, regardless of it being a positive or negative critique. There were some great comments on the post, go and see what your fellow readers and bloggers expect from bloggers such as myself : Honesty.

Someone even copied my post over to their blog as well with some more comments over there, which annoyed me to no end. The blogger took large chunks of my original post and without asking created their own post. I am slightly perturbed, especially since my blog contains a script that will be pasted with whatever they just copied from my blog
"Original from:
Copyright - All Rights Reserved" 
which immediately alerts that blogger that what they are doing is NOT OKAY as they copied the rest of my text.

He responded to my comment with
 "Marie - Do you understand Fair Use?

My use of an excerpt from your site is clearly within the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright Law."

He is moderating comments so don't waste too much of your time posting there. Which is why I created the follow up post questioning his behavior. I ended up having to input a no-right click code, but there are still ways to get around that. I can only do so much to protect my words.


In The Mail:
I was very excited to be able to get my hands on this book, as I am just now studying the Gospels, and I love that this is offered in my favorite NKJV:

 March 5, 2013
One Perfect Life: The Complete Story of the Lord Jesus by John MacArthur
This gorgeous chunky hardcover is available now from Thomas Nelson Publishers

Read the best news the world has ever been given about the most significant life in all history--Jesus Christ. In "One Perfect Life," Dr. John MacArthur shares with us the complete story of the Eternal Christ from Genesis to Revelation. Using Matthew as the base text, Dr. MacArthur blends the gospels and other biblical material about Jesus into one continuous story that will help you better understand Scripture and grow stronger in your faith. No other harmony of the Gospels includes such extensive study notes to help you unpack the meaning of each verse.
Features include:
Verse-by-verse explanations from one of the most important pastor-teachers of our time 
Every verse connected to Christ from Genesis to Revelation 
A harmony of the Gospels that demonstrates the inerrancy of Scripture
New King James translation

Also for review (squeee!):
April 1, 2013
A Noble Groom by Jody Hedlund (I loved, adored, cherished and favorited her last novel!)
Recently widowed Annalisa Werner has the feeling her husband was murdered but can't prove it. Alone with her young daughter in 1881 Michigan, she has six months left to finish raising the money needed to pay back the land contract her husband purchased, and the land is difficult to toil by herself. She needs a husband. With unmarried men scarce, her father sends a letter to his brother in the Old Country, asking him to find Annalisa a groom.

For nobleman Carl von Reichert, the blade of the guillotine is his fate. He's been accused and convicted of a serious crime he didn't commit, and his only escape is to flee to a small German community in Michigan where he'll be safe. He secures a job on Annalisa's farm but bumbles through learning about farming and manual labor.

Annalisa senses that Karl is harboring a secret about his past, yet she finds herself drawn to him anyway. He's gentle, kind, and romantic--unlike any of the men she's ever known. He begins to restore her faith in the ability to love--but her true groom is still on his way. And time is running out on them all.

David and Bathseba (Song of Solomon #1) by Roberta Kells Dorr
(I am assuming this is a reissue of Bathsheba from 1980)

David and Bathsheba is a spellbinding story of a gifted king and the woman he loved but could not have. Told from Bathsheba's perspective, author Roberta Kells Dorr bring to life the passion that almost cost David his kingdom and tested a people's courage and faith in God. "David and Bathsheba" is colored richly with details of Bible-era Israel - from the details of the everyday way of life to details of the Jewish religion. Dorr brilliantly merges reality with folklore as she tells the story of two great characters of the biblical era. The book starts out with Bathsheba as a young girl and David as a strong willed rebellious military leader. It details the way they meet and follows them all the way through their difficulties.

April 9, 2013

Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman I was very excited to be offered this one because the last novel I'd read by this author had made it to my favorites/Best of 2011 List.

From the author of Wildflower Hill, this breathtaking novel travels more than a century between two love stories set in the Australian seaside town of Lighthouse Bay.

In 1901, a ship sinks off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The only survivor is Isabella Winterbourne, who clutches a priceless gift meant for the Australian Parliament. This gift could be her ticket to a new life, free from the bonds of her husband and his overbearing family. But whom can she trust in Lighthouse Bay?

Fast-forward to 2011: after losing her lover, Libby Slater leaves her life in Paris to return to her hometown of Lighthouse Bay, hoping to gain some perspective and grieve her recent loss. Libby also attempts to reconcile with her sister, Juliet, to whom she hasn’t spoken in twenty years. Libby did something so unforgivable, Juliet is unsure if she can ever trust her sister again.

In these two adventurous love stories, both Isabella and Libby must learn that letting go of the past is the only way to move into the future. The answers they seek lie in Lighthouse Bay.

A Memory Between Us by Sarah Sundin
I've read two of Sundin's other novels which prompted me to find her others.
Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge--until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways?

A Memory Between Us is the second book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.

Mrs. Tuesday's Departure: A Historical Novel  (Kindle Edition) by Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
A heart-wrenching historical novel spanning fifty-years, two continents, and a an imagined story that holds the power to create a safe future for a young girl. This page-turning family saga soars to a breathtaking ending that redefines the meaning of love.
When Natalie and Anna, sisters and life-long rivals, hide an abandoned child from the Nazis, their struggle re-opens a star-crossed love triangle, threatening their safety and testing the bonds of their loyalty.
Hungary's fragile alliance with Germany insured that Natalie, a best selling children's book author, and her family would be safe as World War Two raged through Europe. The Holocaust that has only been whispered about until now becomes a terrible reality for every Jewish family or those who hide Jews.
Beautiful but troubled Anna, a poet and university professor is losing her tenuous hold on reality, re-igniting a dangerous sibling rivalry that began in childhood.
The streets of Budapest echo with the pounding boots of Nazi soldiers. Danger creeps to the doorstep where the sisters' disintegrating relationship threatens to expose the child they are trying to protect. In one night, Anna's rash behavior destroys their carefully made plans of escape, and Natalie is presented with a desperate choice.
Interwoven with Natalie and Anna's story, is Mila's. The abandoned child whose future Natalie lovingly imagines in a story about an old woman named Mrs. Tuesday.
Mrs. Tuesday's Departure is an inspirational historical novel spanning two generations, exploring the unbreakable bonds of sisters, and the power of love to create new futures.

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Playing catch up will be the theme of my month of April.. (as we prepare for Easter my attentions are elsewhere). I must remember this time next year so that I do not get myself into another reading abyss next year during Lent.

Book one
book two
I did manage to post my review for Dani Pettrey's debut novel Submerged, which means I needed to read book #2 soon! I should finish with Shattered this week. So far this is going to be a four book series following a group of siblings in Alaska. I was pleasantly surprised at the historical tidbit that was added to the climax of Submerged!

 I started reading Shattered as soon as I finished Regina Jennings' Love In The Balance, and you can find my review of Love In The Balance here.This was a story where I wondered if I was going to enjoy it or not, as you needed to really feel empathy for the main character. Molly could come off as a feather-head or a spoiled twit, but I was able to see through that exterior and find the goodness in her heart. I read this one very quickly as it was such a page turner. I love Regina Jennings writing, I am looking forward to book three!

Just in case I wasn't slammed enough, there is a read along starting at Goodreads this weekend of Philippa Carr's Miracle at St. Bruno's. It's an open group with no rules to read along, so come visit if you are a Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt/Philippa Carr fan! I started reading it since I'm the silly twit who came up with this insane idea, and it reads quite well. My edition is older than me by half a year, it makes me feel young. Ha.

"I was born in the September of 1523, nine months after the monks had discovered the child in the crib on that Christmas morning. My birth was, my father used to say, another miracle: He was not young at the time being forty years of age . . . My mother, whose great pleasure was tending her gardens, called me Damask, after the rose which Dr. Linacre, the King's physician, had brought into England that year."
Thus begins the story narrated by Damask Farland, daughter of a well-to-do lawyer whose considerable lands adjoin those of St. Bruno's Abbey. It is a story of a life inextricably enmashed with that of Bruno, the mysterious child found on the abbey altar that Christmas morning and raised by the monks to become a man at once handsome and saintly, but also brooding and ominous, tortured by the secret of his origin which looms ever more menacingly over the huge abbey he comes to dominate.
This is also the story of an engaging family, the Farlands. Of a fathr wise enough to understand "the happier our King is, the happier I as a true subject must be," a wife twenty years his junior, and a daughter whose intelligence is constantly to war with the strange hold Bruno has upon her destiny. What happens to the Farlands against the background of what is happening to King Henry and his court during this robust period provides a novel in which suspense and the highlights of history are wonderfully balanced.
Here's the link to the read along of the first chapter.

Hope you all have a blessed Palm Sunday! Are you ready for Easter? It's going to be a busy busy Holy week for us, but I hope that I feel peace when I recognize the sacrifices that were made for me.

Mar 23, 2013

To Post or Not to Post, That is the Question

Saturday, March 23, 2013
I recently wrote an article about blogging and reviewing, and the merits of the three star review versus the five star review. Also discussed was whether bloggers should be told how to review, as in which review should go live if it is indeed a negative review.

I got so much attention on this post! Thank you so much for your comments, and I wanted to take this chance to express to all of you how happy I am to hear that everyone prefers honesty in their reviews, regardless of what that rating of the book is.

Along with honesty that is to be expected in the blogosphere, as bloggers we appreciate and EXPECT respect. We write these articles to get those comments, to have a discussion on our blog, to feel the love from fellow readers. We do NOT expect to be copied verbatim on to someone else's blog so that other person can benefit from the blog hits and then garner a discussion on their own site. If my content is getting taken 'fairly' for someone else's site, why should I bother posting anything?

This happened to my "To Review or Not To Review; That is The Question" post. Fellow blogger, yet a lawyer, so he knows the law -- took my post, and even the title of the blog post, and reposted my thoughts on his site. 

YES.. he linked back to my original post. So it is not plagiarism. As he was very quick to point out in response to my comment requesting permission or a heads up:

Marie - Do you understand Fair Use?

My use of an excerpt from your site is clearly within the Fair Use provisions of U.S. Copyright Law.
Passive Guy

I feel slighted and abused in the way this unethical lawyer behaves. As a blogger one expects that their words would belong to themselves. I would not mind if my reviews were posted anywhere with a link back, but this was clearly a discussion post, meant to gather readers in one spot (on MY blog) which he did not ask me for permission to use.

He is moderating comments on his blog, so feel free to leave your thoughts here. On MY blog.

Be careful out there folks, it's a slippery cliff we are heading towards.

Mar 22, 2013

The Percy Saga by Carol Wensby-Scott

Friday, March 22, 2013
The Percy Saga

(and one more...)

I recently acquired these titles by Carol Wensby-Scott which come highly recommended. They feature the Percy family as they feud against the Neville's during the reign of Edward II and ending somewhere when the first Tudor takes the throne. The following descriptions are from Goodreads:

Book 1: LION OF ALNWICK (1980)
Against a rich backcloth of chivalry, romance, treachery and plague in Medieval England is set the magnificent saga of the Percy family who planted the seeds which grew into the Wars of the Roses.
This is the story of Harry Percy – descendant of kings, confidant of kings and eventual maker and destroyer of kings, and his defiant love for the fair Margaret Neville,
From the war-torn Scottish border to the glitter and intrigue of London the first Earl of Northumberland is drawn inextricably towards a violent destiny.

Book 2: LION DORMANT (1983)
Medieval England – a rich tapestry of chivalry and romance, of treachery and brutality, splendidly embellished by the exploits of a cast of characters as colourful and flamboyant as their backcloth.

For generations, the Percys had dominated the northern marches of England. But following the disgrace of Harry Percy and the death of his son Hotspur, they were stripped of their power, which fell to the Nevilles, deadly rivals and mortal enemies of the whole Percy clan. When a dynastic marriage – to a Neville – brought Hal Percy back from exile, the whole brutal saraband was to start again: Percy at the throat of Neville whether campaigning with Henry V, or skirmishing round the throne held so tenuously by Henry VI. In an age when calculated brutality and a talent for intrigue were the basic building blocks of survival, the savagery of the Percy/Neville contest was a by-word.

LION DORMANT – the second volume in the blood-stained saga of one of the families that made England great.

Book 3: LION INVINCIBLE (1984)
Medieval England: a cauldron of dynastic ambition, of unexpected chivalry, of ruthless treachery, where self-seeking and self-sacrifice could mark the same man, and family enmities were pursued to the third and fourth generation. Against this flamboyant backdrop is set the majestic saga of the Percy family, whose turbulent affairs – and unrelenting feud with their neighbors, the Nevilles – influenced the fate of kings and the history of a nation.

Released after nine cruel years in the Tower, Harry Percy is restored to his northern estates, and with quiet ruthlessness takes up once more his family heritage: the quest for the ruin of the Nevilles. To this end he forges a strange pact with Richard Plantagenet, pledging to support the House of York against the Lancastrians. But in a fateful revulsion of feeling he finds on the very eve of Bosworth Field that he cannot love the King of England as he had loved the Duke of Gloucester. And so the last of the Plantagenets fell to Henry Tudor, and English history lurched into a path entirely new.

The fourth book shown in the picture is Proud Conquest (1984, stand alone novel)

William the Bastard, Duke of Normandy, Conqueror of England. A man cruel and ruthless, even by the standard of his times.

And Matilda, the proud, willful daughter of the Count of Flanders, no woman to bend the knee under compulsion, charm the mighty never so wisely.

She hated him, would take the veil rather than submit to him. He was ready to defy the Church and risk his immortal soul to win her.

Against the turbulent background of intrigue, ambition, and military adventure, against the struggle for the crown of England, won and lost on the field of Hastings, their love, passionate, tortured, betrayed and always consuming, created, each for the other, a PROUD CONQUEST.

Goodreads reviewers seem to be favorable towards these for their historical value and I look forward to digging into these! The publication dates shown here are for the issues that I own, but it shows the author first published them a few years earlier, and probably only in the UK. However, you can locate the different publications of the novels through used books sites like this one quite inexpensively. It looks like there are two more historical novels by the same author: Rich Beyond Our Dreams and Coal Baron.

Mar 21, 2013

To Review or Not To Review; That is the Question

Thursday, March 21, 2013
Ethics of Blogging

Of late, I have seen so much discussion as to whether or not to review a book. I'm referring to the book bloggers who receive Advance Review Copies, and not the leisurely lucky readers who get to read from their own libraries and could pick and choose at whim which book to read. I believe those readers review some of those titles, but not all of them. Depends on their mood and if they want to talk about the book.

I am thinking of the specific situation where the Author/Publisher/Publicist contacts you to see if you would be interested in reviewing the book and you say yes. Halfway through the book, you are beginning to worry about the author's feelings because you know you could not rate this book higher than three stars (of a standard five).

What to do?

Do you bother finishing the book? Do you tell yourself at the halfway mark you've given it enough of your time and it's time to move on? Do you contact the author/publicist?

What if you do finish the book, and decide maybe it is a 3 star book, technically meaning 'average' or 'it was ok'? For some reason, the golden (hidden) rule has been this magic 3 star mark. I have been a part of a tour group that specifically said if it does not get a 3 star review, please don't post that review. Keep that news to yourself, they ask. So what if something really was a 2.5 star for you, and you end making it 3 stars so you could actually 'be allowed' to post the review?

What happens to that week that I spent my time reading that book? All that time that I devoted to reading this book because I was gathering content for my blog. And if it was truly a 2.5 star book, that means I am not allowed to share my thoughts on the book. I am not talking about a rip-apart stomp down on the author, simply a critical review which explains the good things and the bad things of the dynamic of the book which I spent every minute of my spare time reading for that past week so that I could compose a thorough and honest review. Throwing all those half star points/stars out the window, what it boils down to is the question of what we should be allowed to post on our personal sites. If I want to talk about a book, in a professional manner regardless if I LIKE the book, shouldn't we be allowed to do so, even if we are reviewing for a publicist/publisher/virtual tour company?

Isn't this where we get to the point of why Amazon has a reputation that you cannot trust, because all the reviews for such-and-such a book all were rated with high marks? You believe ALL those reviews and therefore spend your own cash on a book and turns out you picked a book that was not at all like you expected. Wouldn't you have appreciated it if you had seen the reviews from everyone, which included the ones that didn't gush about it? (Now the FTC Guidelines are starting to trickle down to ethically minded bloggers and are notating in their reviews if they have received a review copy, but I guarantee you that family members will not be so up front).

I will say there are a few marketing/publishing companies that I have come across that specifically tell us if you don't like a book, that's ok! Their first priority is to garner the buzz for the book and everything will go towards building the author's brand. Those are the type of marketers I don't mind endorsing.

One of the publishers I currently review for specifically states this while pitching a book to me: "And let me assure you that I have no expectation for your reviews--if you don't like the book you received, feel free to review it negatively." I have no qualms about reviewing for this publisher because they are not going to censor my thoughts on the titles they offer for review, and yes, I still get offered future titles from them.

I understand the mantra if you have nothing nice to say don't say it at all. But we are talking about reviewing books that you were asked to review. Your compensation for your time, since most book bloggers do not get any form of compensation other than an Advance Reader's Copy (ARC), is the content for your blog. Many bloggers feel they review books as a service to their readers/followers/fellow bloggers. If there is something critical that needs to be pointed out about a book, why should I hold that back?

What's the point of reviewing if we are all going to crank out positive reviews for the rest of our lives? If you come to the blog of Burton Book Review absolutely KNOWING beforehand that EVERY SINGLE book you'll find here will get a good review, will you bother coming back? Or would you prefer a balanced review system, here and elsewhere? The point of reviewing a book is to give an honest review, not simply a positive review. Otherwise, aren't we all robots cranking out 'good' reviews?

In case you are wondering, yes, there was one time where I sent a book back to the publicist since I absolutely knew without a doubt that I could not stand the book. I made it to almost a halfway mark - taking me days to get there - and quite frankly I did not want to spend another minute of my life with it. The next reviewer loved it. Case in point, we are all different. If I am asked specifically to post a review on Amazon I will do so upon request, but I do not post all of my blogged reviews there. As book bloggers, we follow other bloggers knowing what to expect from that blogger: an honest review. When I might hate a book, others will love and gush about it. I am okay with it. What I'm not okay with is being told to only post reviews of titles that would receive at least three stars from me.

Fellow book bloggers, I am curious to know your thoughts on this. Do you only post positive reviews? Do you worry about offending an author while writing a critical review? Does that somehow unconsciously effect  how that review is worded?

How do you feel about being told what you can or cannot post?

Mar 20, 2013

Love In The Balance by Regina Jennings

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Love in The Balance
Faith, romance, intrigue blended into a terrific story!
Love In The Balance by Regina Jennings
Paperback, 360 pages
Bethany House Publishers, March 1st 2013
Review copy provided by LitFuse, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating: 4.5 stars- Highly Recommend!

Molly Lovelace dreams of a life without cares in Lockhart, Texas. She also dreams of handsome wrangler Bailey Garner, her ardent but inconsistent beau. The problem is, with Bailey's poor prospects, she just can't fit the two dreams together.

Then mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont sweeps into town--and her life--and for the first time Molly wonders if she's met the man who can give her everything. But he won't be in Lockhart long and while he talks about their glorious future together, she can't quite get Bailey out of her mind.

What's a girl to do with all these decisions when love is in the balance?

I really enjoyed Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings last year, so I knew I would want to read her second novel, Love in the Balance. I was surprised that the main characters from Sixty Acres could be found as side characters in this telling, which was a treat. Love in the Balance features Molly Lovelace and Bailey Weston (cousin to the Weston in the previous novel) who truly adore each other, but society and etiquette stand in their way of happiness. If I'm recalling correctly, Molly was the self-centered one in the last novel, and so now I want to go back and read Sixty Acres all over again!

With skillful storytelling, Jennings portrays these characters as warm-hearted sensitive individuals who only want to do what is right for their families. Molly's family is struggling financially, and she feels a duty to help save her ailing father's sawmill. When an opportunity presents itself with Edward Pierrepont, Molly rushes towards it without realizing its implications. Bailey watches the love of his life slip through his fingers, but will he do anything to stop it?

Intriguing side stories are included, from a thieving employee at the sawmill to another death at Anne Tillerton's ranch. For some reason, it felt there was a lot more of a western feel to her previous novel, but this story was very much character and faith driven. One line from the book "How could she be godlier yet less accepted than before?" illustrates the turmoil that Molly was going through, with Bailey noticing her sweet virtues yet having to hold back; an example of how the novel was tenderhearted and introspective.

Another favorite quote, coming from a lonely widow regarding our main character, Bailey, "That Bailey Garner carries himself above the fray. People may betray him, they try to drag him down, but he's got his eyes fixed on Jesus."

I was able to see past Molly's shortcomings, but Edward Pierrepont was easy to dislike, as well as the execution of the story line as far as the relationship between Edward and Molly goes. I can't explain further without giving the plot away, but that was pretty much my only complaint and thus the half star deduction. I loved how Bailey and Molly's on again and off again courtship was portrayed; Bailey was a fantastic character to root for. The previous novel had an obvious biblical correlation, but this story focuses on themes from redemption to grace to forgiveness. I would highly recommend Love in the Balance to most Christian historical fiction readers who enjoy great writing and storytelling - as long as you can get past Molly's poor choices you should enjoy this story of renewal, and of love conquering all.

Purchase a copy here. Read an excerpt here. Thank you to LitFuse for providing me with a free review copy in exchange for my honest review of the book.

Regina Jennings is as doll:

Mar 18, 2013

Submerged by Dani Pettrey

Monday, March 18, 2013
Submerged (book one Alaskan Courage) by Dani Pettrey
Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense
Bethany House, April 2012
Book from my personal collection
Burton Book Review Rating: 3.5 stars

A sabotaged plane. Two dead deep-water divers.Yancey, Alaska was a quiet town . . . until the truth of what was hidden in the depths off the coast began to appear. Bailey Craig vowed never to set foot in Yancey again. She has a past, and a reputation--and Yancey's a small town. She's returned to bury a loved one killed in the plane crash and is determined not to stay even an hour more than necessary. But then dark evidence emerges and Bailey's own expertise becomes invaluable for the case.Cole McKenna can handle the deep-sea dives and helping the police recover evidence. He can even handle the fact that a murderer has settled in his town and doesn't appear to be moving on. But dealing with the reality of Bailey's reappearance is a tougher challenge. She broke his heart, but she is not the same girl who left Yancey. He let her down, but he's not the same guy she left behind. Can they move beyond the hurts of their pasts and find a future together?

and its successors follows the path of the McKenna family, a tight-knit group of young adults who own a small diving store in Yancey. The story is very Christian in nature, as Submerged focuses on a return of Bailey ("as a new creation in Christ") to Yancey following the death of her beloved aunt. Bailey is forced to confront the past that she ran away from, and Cole McKenna is the one man she was never able to get out of her mind. Turns out the feeling is mutual, and so the two battle their own insecurities as they work together to solve what turns out to be a huge murder mystery.

As I began Submerged, it was getting to the point that I was going to need a spreadsheet to keep up with who was who. There are the McKenna family members who all play a role as well as their various friends, and since it's a mystery there are lots of other names dropping to keep your mind going in circles. Bodies start turning up in the small community, and the McKennas and Bailey help the sheriff  with the investigation since it focuses on a bit of treasure buried in the sea. There is an evil mastermind at work, climaxing with a  historical twist that I didn't expect, and it ended up being an interesting story of faith, romance and mystery.

I definitely think this series should be favored by the young adult crowd; the romance is squeaky clean as well as its message of faith that is prevalent throughout. It kept me guessing, and I enjoyed the story which is a rarity as I normally do not care for contemporary characters because of contemporary themes as well as characters' selfish outlooks. Since this novel focuses on a great group of folks who like to help others, it was a nice breath of fresh air. I'd say it was 80% mystery, 15% faith, 5% romance. One complaint was that I  had no real feel for how old the main characters were. I assumed early twenties. There is an older brother that is briefly mentioned, and turns out he will be featured in book two.

Submerged boils down to whether the folks of Yancey can solve the murders and get to the bottom of the mystery of lost diaries, orbs and forgotten heirs to the Russian throne coinciding with the theme of romance of Bailey and Cole finding love after so much heartache. Now I am ready for book two in the Alaskan Courage series, Shattered, which will focus on the younger McKenna sister Piper (who really tried to steal the show in Submerged!) and I can't wait to see the romance between Landon and Piper blossom!

This just in from Bethany House:
Congrats Dani Pettrey on being an ECPA Christian Book Award Finalist for fiction! Way to write a rockin' debut novel!

Mar 17, 2013

TSS: St Patrick's Day Bookish Memes!

Sunday, March 17, 2013
The Sunday   
Visit Svea's blog at The Muse in The Fog Book Review to start linking up your Sunday posts; Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea whose purpose is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week.

This week I posted my review of Queen's Gambit a debut Tudoresque novel from debut novelist Elizabeth Fremantle. The writing was very well done, and made up for some of the fictional forays the author took with the royal figure of Queen Catherine Parr.

I did a St. Patty's Post some years ago, here is the link if you want to check it out! It is still relevant three years later. (And I did find a tenth cousin through that post!)

Top of the morning to ya! Fancy Schmancy news on this St. Patrick's Day!  This week I was honored to be interviewed by Mary Tod at A Writer of History. Please come take a gander at the interview and leave me some love, if you haven't already! Thank you so much to you guys, for making the blog worthwhile. Those of you who are reading this, thank you. I appreciate you for making my hobby of bookish dorkiness so fun! And I welcome new followers who have found the blog through that interview.

I was also busy trying to get my comments to go through on this inflammatory article by Lev Raphael against book bloggers, but Huffington Post kept deleting my comments. Censorship reigns. I was sure to add his latest lame book to my Stay Away From Shelf on Goodreads, you should do the same. Since he was disparaging all the hard work the bloggers had done during his blog tour, I simply suggested that those bloggers really ought to delete all the reviews or posts they had ever done for him, then he would not get to complain about our writing style, would he? But, my comments were deleted pretty quickly.

Happy St. Patty's Day!

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted by Caitlin @ chaotic compendiumsThe Story Siren also hosts IMM, so we can find some cool YA titles there as well.

This week in the mail:
I've finally completed my collection of the Mary Tudor trilogy by Hilda Lewis, so here is the complete collection in all its glory:
I Am Mary Tudor (1971)

Mary The Queen (1973)

Bloody Mary (1974)

These titles are described as an epic look at Mary the woman as it explores more of her character as opposed to the actual Tudoresque events told from Mary's perspective. As historical fiction, I am hoping it will be an entertaining character study of the Catholic Queen who felt so threatened that she ordered the burning of "heretics", but I gather that Lewis' prose is subdued, as in keeping with Mary's serious character.

And I'm still working on the MaryLu Tyndall Collecting Spree so I picked this one up:

The Falcon and the Sparrow by MaryLu Tyndall

The intrigue and passion of The Falcon and the Sparrow will leave you breathless. Follow the trail of Dominique Dawson, a reluctant spy who is forced to betray England or never see her brother again. As she takes a position as the governess of a Rear Admiral's son, her real mission is to gather intelligence information for Napoleon. Chase Randal, irresistibly drawn to his son's new governess, reluctantly allows the attraction to grow. Is there a future for the spy and the rear admiral? Or will Dominique's deception crush any prospect of a lasting happiness?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

Currently Reading:

Submerged by Dani Pettrey
This is a rare contemporary novel for me, but since it was a romantic suspense that lots of readers enjoyed, I wanted to try and sneak it in. I have book two in this Alaskan Courage series to review anyway, so I wanted to do it justice by reading book one before book two, since they follow the same group of characters. Submerged is reading quite well, I haven't had a lot of time to devote to it, but I am enjoying it. Turns out I need to probably set it aside  ....

Upcoming Reads:
Silly me should not have started reading Submerged, because I found out pretty late in the game that my review for Jennings' Love in The Balance is due on Tuesday (& I have just now picked it up). I thought I would be able to swiftly wing through Submerged, but I haven' t had much time to devote to reading with all the Girl Scout cookie selling and what not. I already missed one read along, and there is another coming on 3/23/2013 that I  just don't know if I can swing it. Definitely need to stop accepting review copies pronto, as I've obviously got other things to do.

I am onward to the New Testament and have just finished Matthew and reading Mark now. I am loving that my first full study of the whole bible is starting now, the same time as the History Channel show, and my return to the church. And with just a few more weeks till Easter that means my kiddos will be baptized, and Morgan will have her first communion! Pretty cool all this is happening the same time we get ourselves a new Pope also. (Her first confession on Palm Sunday!) What fun!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Mar 13, 2013

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
Simon & Schuster: June 11, 2013
Historical Fiction
Hardcover 464 pages
eGalley copy downloaded from Edelweiss
Burton Book Review Rating: 3.5 stars= I enjoyed it despite its minor quirks

This brilliant historical fiction debut takes you into the heart of the Tudor court and the life and loves of the clever, charismatic Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife. 
Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, Katherine Parr finds she has fallen deeply for the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love. However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of another: the ailing, egotistical and dangerously powerful monarch Henry VIII, who dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the continent. No one is in a position to refuse a royal proposal so, haunted by the fates of his previous wives—two executions; two enforced annulments; one death in childbirth—Katherine is obliged to wed Henry Tudor and become his sixth queen.
Committed to religious reform, Katherine must draw upon all her instincts to navigate the treachery of the court, drawing a tight circle of women around her including her stepdaughter Meg, traumatized by events from their past that are shrouded in secrecy, and their loyal servant Dot, who knows and sees more than she understands. But with the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position in the new regime, Katherine’s survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.

A must-read for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Queen’s Gambit brings to life the remarkable story of Katherine Parr as she battles with those intent on destroying her, but also with her own heart.

Readers who would rather go swim with alligators instead of reading yet another Tudor themed historical.. please don't dive in yet...I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would. It did start off with more of a bang for me, as I felt the characterizations of Katherine Parr and her step-daughter Margaret Neville were pretty awesome. I then loved the jutting around from person to person, getting a little bit from everyone from the dying Latymer to the physician Huicke, to the loyal servant of Dot. All these characters helped shape a well-rounded story (that we all think we know) yet the author has added some clever plot twists that had me sucked in from the beginning.

As fat old King Henry has his way and Katherine Parr is no longer Lady Latymer but instead Queen Katherine, we get a full sense of the religious turmoil that was taking hold of England at the time. Catholics could very well take offense at some of the remarks that were being made (I am Catholic) but I was able to forgive those slights. The tone of the book shifted a bit, as there was a focus more on the policies of England as opposed to the character driven start, and since I pretty much knew what was going to happen I felt my attention drifting.

The charm to the book was the witty prose with the details of the period that were enough to make the book not too fluffy but not too much to bore this Tudor fan out of her mind. I wouldn't say this novel is of the epic dazzling quality that some reviewers have painted it as, since especially my interest was waning after I hit the 80% mark, but I will say that it is a piece of Tudor fan-fic that was well done and I recommend it to those who are still eager to read more of the period and the struggles concerning the sixth wife of Henry VIII.

Some of the quotes that I posted on Goodreads from my eGalley (technically not supposed to quote from the book, but I feel justified as I would like to offer a feel of the tone of the narrative in an attempt to help sell it):

"By rights she should have been married long ago to some magnificent foreign prince, borne him a flock of princelings, and allied England to some great land, but she has been pushed from pillar to post, in favor, out of favor, legitimate, illegitimate. No one knows what to do with her, least of all her father." - can you guess the poor Princess this refers to?

"You can’t scratch an itch around here without everybody knowing about it one way or another, and Anne Stanhope’s bulbous eyes watch everybody constantly so she can feed her husband, Hertford, little snippers of information: who is allied to whom, or who has argued with whom, which ladies are sporting new jewels, and suchlike." - Those bulbous eyes belonging to Edward Seymour's wife

"Elizabeth puts a spell on people, that is her way. She puts them under her magic, takes them if she wants them and gets rid of them when she is bored." - of that princess who would be Queen.

Elizabeth Fremantle employs the use of dramatic license with several of the plot twists, and those unknown plot points were very intriguing in the beginning of this fresh look upon Katherine Parr (which started from her marriage to Lord Latymer to the King and then to Thomas Seymour). Towards the end, I was slightly disappointed that the author did take it as far as she did as far as the twists go, so those readers who do not appreciate copious amounts of re-imagining the events will not appreciate this title. It is evocative, and is a sort of a no-holds barred type of read when you consider the amount of fiction that the author inserts, and yet I enjoyed it as a whole. I hate comparing things to Philippa Gregory since everyone else does it, but I can say that readers who enjoy Gregory's works should find no fault with this impressive debut novel.

Edit to add this link to a very enjoyable piece from the author over at Waterstones.

Mar 10, 2013

Sunday Monday Bookish News

Sunday, March 10, 2013
The Sunday   
Visit Svea's blog at The Muse in The Fog Book Review to start linking up your Sunday posts; Suddenly Sunday is a weekly event hosted by Svea whose purpose is to share all the exciting events that have occurred on your blog throughout the week.

Mailbox Monday is a meme originally from Marcia's Mailbox and is being hosted by Caitlin @ chaotic compendiums. The Story Siren also hosts IMM, so we can find some cool YA titles there as well.

In the Mail: Lots of book twos!!!!!!!
AMAZING 1973 cover, lol
Henry of the High Rock (Henry I book 2, Of The Ring of Earls was first) by Juliet Dymoke
When Rufus is murdered after William the Conqueror dies, Genry wins the throne, acts contrite, and wins love as well.

Lucky me I got the first book in time for this post:
Another fabulous 1973 cover!
Of the Ring of Earls by Juliet Dymoke
In the darkness rain had begun to fall...He was drained, exhausted, could hear nothing, see nothing but Telham ridge and the silent dead lying in the darkness-Leofwine staring sightless at the sky, Harold sprawled among the broken axes and smashed shields, and somewhere the dragon banner trampled into the bloodied ground by Norman hooves'. William of Normandy had come, had triumphed. Many of the English nobility lay dead, and for the survivors, including Waltheof of Huntingdon, the future could hold no certainties.

Shattered (book 2 Alaskan Courage) by Dani Pettrey
A Thrilling New Romantic Suspense from the Genre's Newest Star Piper McKenna couldn't be more thrilled that her prodigal brother, Reef, has returned to Yancey, Alaska, after five years. But her happiness is short-lived when Reef appears at her house covered in blood. A fellow snowboarder has been killed--but despite the evidence, Reef swears he's innocent. And Piper believes him. Deputy Landon Grainger loves the McKennas like family, but he's also sworn to find the truth. Piper is frustrated with his need for facts over faith, but he knows those closest to you have the power to deceive you the most. With his sheriff pushing for a quick conviction, some unexpected leads complicate the investigation, and pursuing the truth may mean risking Landon's career. With Piper waging her own search, the two head deep into Canada's rugged backcountry--and unexpected complications. Not only does their long friendship seem to be turning into something more, but this dangerous case is becoming deadlier with each step.
(I actually have book 1, which I want to read first).

A Bloom In Winter (Summerset Abbey book 2) by T.J. Brown
The highly anticipated second installment in the Summerset Abbey series, which picks up just after the climatic conclusion of book one. After Prudence’s desperate marriage and move to Devonshire, sisters Rowena and Victoria fear they have lost their beloved friend forever. Guilt-ridden and remorseful, Rowena seeks comfort from a daring flyboy and embraces the most dangerous activity the world has ever seen, and Victoria defies her family and her illness to make her own dream occupation as a botanist come true. As England and the world step closer to conflict, the two young women flout their family, their upbringing, and their heritage to seize a modern future of their own making. 
(now I need book 1, I think this was from Shelf Awareness and of course I didn't realize there was a book 1).

Another fun oldie but goodie::

Lilith by Jean Plaidy/Victoria Holt
Mistress and servant, they shared a grandfather, friendship, adventures, and a surprising destiny. There's actually a lot more on the backflap.. If I remember I'll try to post some of it here..

The Scarlet Cloak by Jean Plaidy
In the years 1572-1578, when the faith and fanaticism of one man - King Philip II of Spain - trouble the whole of Europe, His Most Catholic Majesty's plans against accused heretics meet with stubborn, angry resistance. Dashing Blasco Carramadino and his devout older brother, Domingo, live in the quiet province of Andalusia, where the king's fanaticism is rarely felt. But soon they will be caught in a web of intrigue, as Philip plots the overthrow of England and its return to the one true faith. It is a period when the clash of ideals breeds great courage and stoutly adventurous spirits, a time that will test the mettle of the two brothers, and of the Protestant women they have come to love.

Love in the Balance by Regina Jennings (I absolutely LOVED Sixty Acres and A Bride, but somehow the reviews on GR are already dipping below the favored four star mark. I am concerned.)
Molly Lovelace dreams of a life without cares in Lockhart, Texas. She also dreams of handsome wrangler Bailey Garner, her ardent but inconsistent beau. The problem is, with Bailey's poor prospects, she just can't fit the two dreams together. 
Then mysterious stranger Edward Pierrepont sweeps into town--and her life--and for the first time Molly wonders if she's met the man who can give her everything. But he won't be in Lockhart long and while he talks about their glorious future together, she can't quite get Bailey out of her mind. What's a girl to do with all these decisions when love is in the balance?

Currently Reading:
It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

The What Are You Reading meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we keep track of what we are currently reading and plan to read.

I have slowed the pace down with the reading of the novels as I am reading devotional type titles during lent. After finishing Forsaken Dreams (Escape to Paradise) (I reviewed it here, loved it!) I started to read The End of the Point: A Novel by Elizabeth Graver. It is somewhere in between literary and historical as a family deals with the war effort that is going on basically on the front porch of their summer home. I am not sure I am cut out to appreciate the depressive nuances of literary novels, and this narrative is just weird with basically giving out the ending as the narrator is explaining a person. I am so ready to be done with it and move on. Definitely not as fun as Forsaken Dreams was, which you should read if you like Christian Historicals at all.
 I also completed my review for Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge even though I haven't finished it yet since it's a passage a day type of thing. (I had to post something by a certain date so it's there in a nutshell). A very good inspirational tool to use as a daily mini-devotional, it is a keeper and I bring it back and forth to work with me. All of these titles are available now.

Coming Up...

This week my review of the newest Tudor novel, The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle, will post. It's got lots of lovely reviews on Goodreads thus far, you can see if I agree or not.

The review pile is actually creeping up on me again. And today starts the Read Along of Snare of Serpents over at the Victoria Holt Goodreads group so I think I may not be able to participate. If I was at my normal reading pace I probably would have been fine, but I just feel like I've been so busy lately plus the newest crud factor in my head that is making me want to sleep forever. Love in the Balance (pictured above in my mailbox feature) is going to be read next for review, and I wanted to try and sneak in both of Dani Pettrey's books. But I can say that I am keeping up with the daily Bible Study, as that is my first priority. I am about halfway through the Prophetic books as I type (I never would have thought that Jonah and my husband were similar in nature!). And then it's on to the New Testament!!! Very excited. I can't say enough about the study bible that I am using, I love it and highly recommend it, and this informative book is why I haven't been reading a lot of other stuff lately =)

Big kudos to the Goodreads group who keeps me on top of my bible plan.

Speaking of Goodreads, I just noticed that there is a challenge of Christian Historical Books for 2013 that I joined. No hoops or posts required, you just create a shelf for your 2013 CHF titles, and those will be counted towards the challenge. Here is the link to challenge, where you can set the challenge up with the number of books you want to try and read. As you read a title on the 2013 CHF shelf, your tally will get updated.

There are two Bookish Photo Challenges going on for March via Instagram right now. #estellagram and #bsmphotoaday and you can find my entries under @BurtonReview. If you are participating, leave me your handle!

OH, also a shout out the History Channel with the two new progams, The Bible and the Vikings! Loved them both! A nice change of pace for them, since every time I turn that channel on it's all about The Pawn Stars.

Over on my other blog I am running a giveaway for Elizabeth Chadwick's Shadows and Strongholds. This is a book I read in January and I loved it, it's my favorite of the seven of hers that I've read thus far. Elizabeth Chadwick has been kind enough to answer questions on the giveaway guest post also, so go check that out here!

Edit to add.. since I just finished The End of The Point, goodreads says I've read 5,142 pages in 2013! This doesn't included currently reading, such as the Bible.. and I've now made it to Matthew!! I am so excited to have reached this milestone!!! SQUEEE!!