Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CFBA: Dangerous Mercy by Kathy Herman

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Dangerous Mercy
David C. Cook (October 1, 2011)
Kathy Herman


Suspense novelist Kathy Herman is very much at home in the Christian book industry, having worked five years on staff at the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and eleven years at Better Books Christian Center in Tyler, Texas, as product buyer/manager for the children’s department, and eventually as director of human resources.

She has conducted numerous educational seminars on children’s books at CBA Conventions in the U.S. and Canada, served a preliminary judge for the Gold Medallion Book Awards of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association , and worked as an independent product/marketing consultant to the CBA market.

Since her first novel, Tested by Fire, debuted in 2001 as a CBA national bestseller, she's added sixteen more titles to her credit, including four bestsellers: All Things Hidden, The Real Enemy, The Last Word, and The Right Call.

Kathy's husband Paul is her manager and most ardent supporter, and the former manager of the LifeWay Christian Store in Tyler, Texas. They have three grown children, five almost-perfect grandchildren, a cat named Samantha. They enjoy cruising, deep sea fishing, and birdwatching—sometimes incorporating these hobbies into one big adventure.


Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. —Matthew 5:7

When eighty-five-year-old Adele Woodmore moves to Les Barbes to be near the Broussards—and her namesake, their daughter—she wants nothing more than a comfortable, quiet life. Employing men from Father Vince’s halfway house for the homeless to do odd jobs and landscaping, she delights in the casual conversation she has with them, the fledgling friendships, and the idea that she is helping them get back on their feet.

A series of murders in Les Barbes has cast a pall over the town and, in fact, one of Adele’s handymen becomes a person of interest to the police. But Adele cares for these young men, she knows them, and continues to show them kindness in spite of her friends’ concern. And then one day a murderer walks through Adele’s defenses, sits down at her kitchen table...and they begin to talk...

If you would like to read the first chapter of Dangerous Mercy, go HERE.

I have not read this book yet because I have not received this one. Is there anyone else who hasn't received their copy yet? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

COTT: Winner's Article

Congratulations to Delia Latham for taking the crown in last week's Staff Clash. Two anonymous COTT staffers went into the ring and readers had another hard choice to make. Some said:
  • "This was a cruel choice!! LOL! They were both excellent."
  •  (About Delia's excerpt): "Beautiful words expressing emotion and making the reader want more."
  •  "Intense emotions on both excerpts! Great job!"
  •  "Terrific excerpts!"
  • (About Katie's excerpt): "I need to know Wulf better! I have a feeling he's dreamy."
  • "Awesome clash with two well-written, emotion-packed scenes! Great job, authors!"
Of course, nobody knew at the time that those authors were Delia Latham and Katie McCurdy.
Both are recent additions to the staff. Delia has come on board as a Blog Alliance Correspondent, and Katie is the official Talent Scout. (Looks like COTT scouted some talent when they found these two gems.)
This fun excursion was a great interjection into the usual good times shared at Clash of the Titles. This week sees another fierce challenge with nameless authors nominated by COTT staff. Be sure to head over there and vote now!
And in just 2 weeks, the party begins! Mark your calendars for October 10th and be ready to play for extra prizes all month long as COTT celebrates it's first anniversary. Your vote will determine which of the year's winning authors will receive the ultimate honor: the Laurel Award.
* by Assistant Editor of COTT, Michelle Massaro 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

CFBA: Captive Trail by Susan Page Davis

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Captive Trail
Moody Publishers (September 1, 2011)
Susan Page Davis


From Susan: I've always loved reading, history, and horses. These things come together in several of my historical books. My young adult novel, Sarah's Long Ride, also spotlights horses and the rugged sport of endurance riding, as does the contemporary romance Trail to Justice. I took a vocational course in horseshoeing after earning a bachelor's degree in history. I don't shoe horses anymore, but the experience has come in handy in writing my books.

Another longtime hobby of mine is genealogy, which has led me down many fascinating paths. I'm proud to be a DAR member! Some of Jim's and my quirkier ancestors have inspired fictional characters.

For many years I worked for the Central Maine Morning Sentinel as a freelancer, covering local government, school board meetings, business news, fires, auto accidents, and other local events, including a murder trial. I've also written many profiles and features for the newspaper and its special sections. This experience was a great help in developing fictional characters and writing realistic scenes. I also published nonfiction articles in several magazines and had several short stories appear in Woman's World, Grit, and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

My husband, Jim, and I moved to his birth state, Oregon, for a while after we were married, but decided to move back to Maine and be near my family. We're so glad we did. It allowed our six children to grow up feeling close to their cousins and grandparents, and some of Jim's family have even moved to Maine!

Our children are all home-schooled. The two youngest are still learning at home. Jim recently retired from his vocation as an editor at a daily newspaper, and we’ve moved from Maine to Kentucky.


Captive Trail is second in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896.  Although a series, each book can be read on its own.

Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family’s teepee.  The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted.  She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station.  They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.

With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu identity. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. Through Taabe and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.

If you would like to read the first chapter of Captive Trail, go HERE.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club Presents The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

The Preacher's BrideThe Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

*WARNING* This discussion may contain spoilers that someone who has not read this book yet may not want to have spoiled for them! 

Today, Lydia over at The Overweight Bookshelf is hosting the Christian Fiction Book Club featuring Jody Hedlund's The Preacher's Bride. I'm not an overly huge fan of "bonnet" books but this one really grabbed me from chapter 1. I did not know until the very end of this book that it was written on the life of John Bunyon.

This book is full of tragedy, love (sometimes pretty sensuous!), and determination! I was amazed at John's inability to accept Elizabeth's help after the passing of his wife. How did he think that his children would receive the care they needed from their elder sibling, Mary, who is at the tender age of 8 and blind? I'm not saying she couldn't have done it but it would have been nearly impossible for her to care for the newborn in need of milk. Elizabeth steps in and finds the baby a wet nurse against Mrs. Grew's desires and wishes. For me, Mrs. Grew represented the old aunt (played by Angela Lansbury) in Nanny McPhee! I really admired Elizabeth for standing up to Mrs. Grew and for keeping her faith throughout the story.

I was disturbed by the lack of caring John gave to his children, especially his newborn child. While I can see where his heart was (and that is not a crime!) I felt that he was being somewhat hypocritical by caring so little for his family.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for lots of suspense, determination, and love!

Discussion Question

When Elizabeth lost her baby, she felt abandoned by God and by John. Have you ever felt abandoned by God or someone you love? How did you recover? What do you think of Sister Norton's statement "Hardships are the Lord's greatest blessings to a believer. Without them we would love the Lord only for what He does for us. Our troubles teach us to love Him for who He is"?

This scene in the book was incredibly difficult for me to read. I have lost a baby and I have gone through the emotions that Elizabeth expressed. I was so angry at God for a very long time. I was also angry at myself for "allowing it to happen." I have now grown to realize that this wasn't my fault and that God needed my baby more than I did. It took many months for me to overcome my hurt, grief, anger, and feelings of guilt. I was even more angry when I became extremely ill after the miscarriage and had to endure painful medical tests for many months following. I kept asking God why He was continuing to punish me. Hadn't I given Him enough? Today, I do not feel that God punished me or my husband and the entire situation has brought me closer to God. After all, He gave His ONLY Son...why should I complain? I had two healthy children already. 
I don't know that anyone ever "recovers" from a loss, you learn to live and function while that hole in your heart is always there. Going through all of this has made me a stronger person. I have a greater appreciation for my Lord and everything He endured. I appreciate my family and friends more. While the hole is still there in my heart, I know I'll meet my baby in the most glorious place ever created...HEAVEN! God has taken much better care of that baby then I ever could and for that, I simply cannot complain. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CFBA: Naomi's Gift by Amy Clipston

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Naomi's Gift
Zondervan (September 12, 2011)
Amy Clipston


From Amy:

A native of New Jersey, I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. I often joke that my fiction writing “career” began in elementary school as I wrote and shared silly stories with a close friend.

In 1991, I graduated from high school, and my parents and I moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia. My father retired, and my mother went to work full-time. I attended Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, and I graduated with a degree in communications. I met my husband, Joe, during my senior year in college, a few days after my father had a massive stroke. Joe and I clicked instantly, and after a couple of months we started dating. We married four years later.

After graduating from VWC, I took a summer job with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Norfolk District, which turned into an eleven-year career. I worked in the Public Affairs Office for four years and then moved into Planning as a writer/editor.

One day while surfing the Internet for a professional editor’s group, I accidentally found a local fiction writing group, Chesapeake Romance Writers. I attended a meeting and I met writers in all stages of their careers. The group helped me realize that I did want to be an author, and it was my dream to see my name on the cover of one of my novels. Through Chesapeake Romance Writers, I learned how to plot, write, and edit a novel, and I also learned how to pursue an agent. I signed with Mary Sue Seymour at the Seymour Agency in 2006, shortly before Joe and I moved my parents and our sons to North Carolina.

My dream came true when I sold my first book in 2007. Holding my first book, A Gift of Grace, in my hands was exhilarating and surreal.


Take a trip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, where you'll meet the women of the Kauffman Amish Bakery in Lancaster County. As each woman's story unfolds, you will share in her heartaches, trials, joys, dreams ... and secrets. You'll discover how the simplicity of the Amish lifestyle can clash with the 'English' way of life---and the decisions and consequences that follow. Most importantly, you will be encouraged by the hope and faith of these women, and the importance they place on their families. Naomi's Gift re-introduces twenty-four-year-old Naomi King, who has been burned twice by love and has all but given up on marriage and children. As Christmas approaches---a time of family, faith, and hope for many others---Naomi is more certain than ever her life will be spent as an old maid, helping with the family's quilting business and taking care of her eight siblings. Then she meets Caleb, a young widower with a 7-year-old daughter, and her world is once again turned upside-down. Naomi's story of romantic trial and error and youthful insecurities has universal appeal. Author Amy Clipston artfully paints a panorama of simple lives full of complex relationships, and she carefully explores cultural differences and human similarities, with inspirational results. Naomi's Gift includes all the details of Amish life that Clipston's fans enjoy, while delivering the compelling stories and strong characters that continue to draw legions of new readers.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Naomi's Gift, go HERE.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

CFBA: Here's to Friends by Melody Carlson

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Here’s to Friends
David C. Cook (September 1, 2011)
Melody Carlson


Over the years, Melody Carlson has worn many hats, from pre-school teacher to youth counselor to political activist to senior editor. But most of all, she loves to write! Currently she freelances from her home. In the past eight years, she has published over ninety books for children, teens, and adults--with sales totaling more than two million and many titles appearing on the ECPA Bestsellers List. Several of her books have been finalists for, and winners of, various writing awards. And her "Diary of a Teenage Girl" series has received great reviews and a large box of fan mail.

She has two grown sons and lives in Central Oregon with her husband and chocolate lab retriever. They enjoy skiing, hiking, gardening, camping and biking in the beautiful Cascade Mountains.


Once upon a time in a little town on the Oregon coast lived four Lindas—all in the same first-grade classroom. So they decided to go by their middle names. And form a club. And be friends forever.

Decades later, they're all back home in Clifden and reinventing their lives, but the holidays bring a whole new set of challenges. Abby’s new B&B is getting bad reviews and husband Paul is acting strange. Still grieving for her mom, Caroline is remodeling the family home, but boyfriend Mitch keeps pressuring her to go away with him. Artist Marley, distracted by a friend's family drama (and a touch of jealousy), can't find her creative groove. And Janie’s drug-addicted daughter has just appeared up on her doorstep! When a long-planned New Year's cruise turns into a bumpy ride, they learn once again that, in your fifties, friends aren’t just for fun—they're a necessity!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Here’s to Friends, go HERE.

Monday, September 19, 2011

CSFF Touring Andrew Peterson's "The Monster in the Hollows"

I'm very honored this week to be touring along with the fine folks of the Christian Science Fiction and Fantasy blog group. This week we are featuring Andrew Peterson's "The Monster in the Hollows." This is the third book in the Wingfeather Saga and one that I am really enjoying!

I have not had an opportunity to finish this book yet but I'm getting into it at a pretty rapid pace. I'm hoping to have a full review for you by the end of the week.

For those of you who may be new to Andrew Peterson as an author (he's also an accomplished singer/songwriter), you should really start reading this series from the beginning. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten are the prequels to The Monster in the Hollows. I'm having to go back and refresh my memory a bit on what some of the characters are in this book as it's been awhile since I've read North! Or Be Eaten. Read my review of North! Or Be Eaten and check out the author spotlight from a previous tour while you are here visiting! After having said this about reading the series from the beginning, I realize (and am ashamed) that I *still* have not read On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness! I own it, just haven't had the opportunity to fit it into my schedule. *hangs head*

While you await my review, these other bloggers have their thoughts about this book posted. Please be sure to visit and interact with them on their blogs!

Gillian Adams
Red Bissell
Jennifer Bogart
Thomas Clayton Booher
Beckie Burnham
CSFF Blog Tour
D. G. D. Davidson
Cynthia Dyer
Amber French
Nikole Hahn
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Mirriam Neal
* Eve Nielsen
Joan Nienhuis
Donita K. Paul
Sarah Sawyer
Chawna Schroeder
Tammy Shelnut
Kathleen Smith
Donna Swanson
Rachel Starr Thomson
Robert Treskillard
Fred Warren
Phyllis Wheeler
Nicole White
Rachel Wyant

Please stop by later this week to see if I've finished this great book! I do hope to have it finished by Friday!

In conjunction with the CSFF Blog Tour, I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts. Thank you!

COTT: Happy Anniversary!

Tourney Banner 2

Happy Anniversary, Clash of the Titles!

It's been almost a year since COTT opened its voting-booth doors and invited everyone in. Over the past twelve months, readers have chosen 25 Clash winners and received 48 free books. And along the way, a family formed. That family consists of the voters, authors, staff, and the 25+ blogs who have banded together in mutual support with COTT.

This is cause for major celebration! So COTT is doing it up to the nines.

Clash of the Titles' first annual Tournament of Champions begins next month! Over the course of four weeks, past winners from the previous year will compete in a series of clashes for the ultimate prize: the Laurel Award. The Laurel, COTT's most prestigious honor, is awarded by public vote to a single author among the year's champions.

Voters are expected to turn out in droves to support their favorites and participate in games just for readers. Each week, COTT sponsors—consisting of various authors and staff—will issue fun challenges to readers along with the chance to win gift cards, critique services, a business card design, and more. A dozen sponsors are lined up for the event so far. That's a lot of prizes!

Throughout the month, details and updates on the Tournament of Champions will be shared on the COTT website and featured within the Blog Alliance. To help spread the word, please grab the special Tournament Button (below) to display on your site. Then send a link to your page to: contactcott at gmail dot com to enter the special COTT Shout-About drawing. The drawing will take place during the first week of the Tournament and the winner will receive a Clash of the Titles mug.

Please also consider Tweeting or sharing this article on your Facebook wall.
(it only takes a second--just click the share button.)

Mark your calendars and spread the word. This BYOV (Bring Your Own Vote) party begins on October 10th!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: Captain Jack's Treasure by Max Elliot Anderson

Captain Jack's TreasureCaptain Jack's Treasure by Max Elliot Anderson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain Jack is an intriguing man with a ship that needs to be cleaned up. Luckily, Sam and his friends Tony and Tyler are in a position to help out. Every day, as long as their chores are caught up, the boys will join Captain Jack at his ship to get it back into sailing shape. The boys long to hear Captain Jack's stories at the end of the day over an order of pizza. What they don't realize is that Captain Jack is giving them stories in the form of parables, or life lessons.

This is a book of love, redemption, honesty, and most importantly, hope. The overlying theme is to not store treasures here on earth, but rather store your treasures in heaven. While this book isn't overly religious, it does speak of focusing on heaven and the eternal life rather than this temporary earthly life.

I recommend this book to youngsters, especially those who like a good adventure!

Thank you to Chila Woychik and Port Yonder Press for providing a review copy of this book.

For a sneak peak into this book, check out my introductory post for Captain Jack's Treasure.

View all my reviews

Friday, September 16, 2011

BBAW: Interview Swap #4

I have really enjoyed BBAW! I know that there were other activities scheduled this week besides interviews but I felt that the best way I could promote and be a community player would be to have a few extra interviews on my blog.

I'm super excited to have the fabulous Rel from Relz Reviewz with me today. I'm so glad that I ran into Rel on Twitter. Like my other interviewees, we can be found chatting up Ronie Kendig books, along with several others, on any given day on Twitter!

Without further ado, here is Rel!

1. Who or what inspired you to blog? Why?

Rel: I’d begun to do some book reviews for my local Christian bookstore and wanted somewhere to store them so started a blog.  I had no idea the amazing ride that would follow in terms of books, bloggers and especially, authors!

2. How long have you been blogging?

Since September, 2006 so just over five years ~ wow!

3. What do you find most enjoyable about blogging?

Having the opportunity to “meet”, support and encourage authors who put their heart and soul into their stories for our enjoyment and being part of a community of friends who love books like I do.   Also, it is through my blog, that the opportunity arose for me to write for the brilliant FamilyFiction digital magazine - I am their Romance and Historical correspondent.

4. What is your favorite genre of book to blog about?

My blog is dedicated to Christian Fiction, although I do read more widely than that.  My head would simply explode if I tried to add more to the blog commitments I already have.  Within that I would have to say Romantic Suspense is my favourite genre - high on the suspense!

5. You are going on a long trip and are only allowed to take one book. What would it be and why?

Does one Kindle work.....with LOTS of books on it?!
Me: I have begun to wonder whatever will I do when my Kindle is too full...I'm already contemplating asking for another for Christmas! :) 

6. You have the privilege of dining with any book character you wish. Who would it be and why?

Mmmm....Marshall “The Kid” Vaughan.  Why?  Read Ronie Kendig’s Firethorn releasing in January, 2012 and you will know why ;-D

Me: I'm hoping to get into this one soon! Ya'll should check out Ronie and Rel's interview with the hunky Marshall!

7. What would you serve at the dinner with #6?

Whatever he wanted - hehehe!

8. What is one of your biggest bookish pet peeves?

Cover art that differs from the descriptions in the book and incorrect historical details.

9. Favorite author?

Can’t limit it to just one!  So I’m cheating by doing it by genre and I’m still leaving out favs:

Romantic suspense ~ Ronie Kendig
Romance ~ Denise Hunter & MaryLu Tyndall
YA ~ Lisa T Begren & Jenny B Jones (or anyone who uses their middle initial - LOL!)
Historical romance ~ Laura Frantz, Julie Lessman & Jody Hedlund
Historical ~ TL Higley
Thriller ~ Robert Liparulo
Contemporary ~ Nicole Baart
Spec Fic ~ James Rubart & Karen Hancock
Biblical Fiction ~ Tosca Lee
Legal thrillers ~ Randy Singer

10. E-reader or physical book in your hands?

There is nothing like a physical book but I also love the convenience of my e-reader

11. Favorite blog to read?

Jenny B Jones’ - no one can make me laugh like she can!

12. What one book from the past 12 months would you most like to see made into a movie?

Lisa T Bergren’s Waterfall ~ time travel, hot 14th Century Italian knights and sword wielding, arrow flinging girls from the 21st century!

Me: I'm going to have to add this one to the TBR pile!

13. How many books do you own?

Well, over 2000 CF books plus a whole lot more!  Let’s just say my husband is a BIG fan of my Kindle - LOL!

Me: WOW...I think I may have close to that. I haven't counted lately! My hubby threatens to burn my books when he gets mad at me. He knows the whole house would go though! LOL

14. What do you do when you are not reading and/or blogging? 

Spend time with my man and three girls, work and sleep!

15. Several high school students read my blog. What is one piece of advice you could offer to them?

Live in the moment and hug your mum!

16. What attracts you most to a book? 

The author first, then blurb, then cover.  I know that covers don’t always reflect the content or quality of the writing inside!

17. What book are you currently reading?

The Queen by Steven James

18. What was the last book you read?

The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund

19. Is there a character you love to hate? Who and why?

I’ve got this love/hate thing going on with Lord Rodolfo Greco from Lisa T Bergren’s Cascade and Torrent.  I’m undecided whether to throw myself at his feet or spit on his fine Italian boots.....maybe both!  Read the series and you will know exactly what I mean!

Me: I love you Rel but seriously, that's 3 books you've added to the TBR pile since we got started!! LOL

20. Have you ever preferred a movie or tv series over a book? If so, which one(s) and why?


21. How would you plan the perfect holiday?

Any holiday where there is time to read is a perfect holiday to me!

22. What are five items on your wish list?

More hours in the day
A trip to Texas to visit two of my favourite people (you know who you are!)
A black labrador
A personal library room
Peace and quiet!

23. Is there a book that you would rewrite the ending to? What book and why?

Yes, but I can’t say - it hasn’t released yet ;-)

Me: Ok, you are scaring me with this one. I know what you are referring too....

24. How many books do you read in a typical year? 
That is one thing I have never done, kept count of the books I have read!

25. Where can we stalk you?

Twitter: Relz
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rel.mollet
Goodreads: goodreads.com/Relz
Blog: http://www.relzreviewz.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

CFBA: The Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Doctor's Lady
Bethany House (September 1, 2011)
Jody Hedlund


Jody has written novels for the last 18 years (with a hiatus when her children were young). After many years of writing and honing her skills, she finally garnered national attention with her double final in the Genesis Contest, a fiction-writing contest for unpublished writers through ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers).

Her first published book, The Preacher’s Bride (2010 Bethany House Publishers), hit the CBA Best Seller list on two different occasions and has won multiple awards.

Her second book, The Doctor’s Lady, released this September. She has completed a third book which will be released in 2012. She’s currently busy researching and writing another book!  


Priscilla White knows she'll never be a wife or mother and feels God's call to the mission field in India. Dr. Eli Ernest is back from Oregon Country only long enough to raise awareness of missions to the natives before heading out West once more. But then Priscilla and Eli both receive news from the mission board: No longer will they send unmarried men and women into the field.

Left scrambling for options, the two realize the other might be the answer to their needs. Priscilla and Eli agree to a partnership, a marriage in name only that will allow them to follow God's leading into the mission field. But as they journey west, this decision will be tested by the hardships of the trip and by the unexpected turnings of their hearts.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Doctor's Lady, go HERE.

Watch the book trailer:

I just finished reading The Preacher's Bride a couple of days ago and will start this one soon. If The Doctor's Lady is anything like The Preacher's Bride, I'll definitely enjoy it! Join me on Sept. 24 for the Christian Fiction Book Club tour of The Preacher's Bride

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBAW: Interview Swap #3!

I have recently "met" Lydia through my conversations about Ronie Kendig books. Today, I'm honored to have her visiting my little corner for a few minutes!

Lydia, The Overweight Bookshelf

1. Who or what inspired you to blog? Why? Forget the Lone Ranger, I was the lone reader. Throughout my childhood I was proud (and still am) of my classification as the quintessential bookworm. What bothered me was that I didn’t have anyone with whom I could share and discuss the books I was reading. I had so much pent up excitement with no outlet through which to expel it-until I discovered book blogs.

2. How long have you been blogging? I started out as a lifestyle blogger in 2007. In effect, it was a trial to find my blogging “voice” and niche. In 2010 I decided to move my book reviews (the majority of my posts) over to a subject-specific blog tailored for book addicts like myself. And so, The Overweight Bookshelf was born.

3. What do you find most enjoyable about blogging? Book blogging is all about building relationships through books-whether it is with readers, bloggers, authors, or publishers. The book blogging community has allowed me to meet amazing people from around the world, who I consider my friends.

4. What is your favorite genre of book to blog about? My favourite book genre is inspirational fiction. I adore inspirational fiction because it ministers, encourages, provokes, and draws readers to a closer intimacy with God. The purpose of inspirational fiction is the not solely to entertain, but to interact with readers through insightful writing and an inherent message of hope.

5. You are going on a long trip and are only allowed to take one book. What would it be and why? This will sound terribly clichĂ© but it is true-my Bible. Books are my travel companions and I cannot think of a better travel companion than the Word of God. It doesn’t matter how many times I read a particular verse or chapter because it always speaks to me in a different way.  The Bible has something for everyone-the adventurer, the philosopher, the romantic, the theologian, the historian, and the searcher.

6. You have the privilege of dining with any book character you wish. Who would it be and why?
I am going to be completely indulgent and humour the hopeful romantic in me and say....any of Ronie Kendig’s leading men. LOL

7. What would you serve at the dinner with #6?

8. What is one of your biggest bookish pet peeves? I have two-one related to books and the other to book blogging. Firstly, cookie-cutter plotlines annoy me to no end. Having a plot that is inspired by the classics-such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice-is perfectly alright. However, if the adaption doesn’t bring something new to the table, than, in my mind, it is intellectual plagiarism. Creativity needs to be celebrated. 

Secondly, a book review should not be a summary of every high and low point of the plot. If your review needs the tagline “Approach with caution,” then it is not truly a review. You are risking the reader’s enjoyment and disrespecting the author’s hard work.

Okay, rant over.  

9. Favorite author? Anyone I have every given a rating of 9 or 10 on my book scale.

10. E-reader or physical book in your hands? I am undeniably a lover of the physical book-the cracking sound the binding makes when you open a new book, the musty smell of a well loved novel, the little notes made in the margins of particularly thought-provoking page, the dog eared corners of works in progress, how beautiful they look lined up on shelves or stacked on bedside tables. But, I have recently succumbed to the e-reader craze out of necessity. I infamously (at least in my family) filled a carry-on rolling suitcase during one of my extended trips visiting my parents and nearly wrenched my arm out of its sockets lifting that sucker into the overhead compartment. My Kindle is quite convenient when I travel, and I love that I can download books instantly. However, there are certain authors that I have to have a hard copy of their books. My bookshelves would not look complete without a physical copy of their newest release.

11. Favorite blog to read? There are too many to list, but I do have a page on my blog listing all of them.

12. What one book from the past 12 months would you most like to see made into a movie?

Lisa Bergren’s River of Times series would push all of the Twilight movies of their pedestal. Not that I’m biased or anything ;)

13. How many books do you own? Hundreds. Over the years I have had to edit down my collection by keeping only books I truly adored and would read again. I don’t believe in throwing books out; if you don’t like it, donate it.

14. What do you do when you are not reading and/or blogging? Eat and sleep. Just kidding. I like to joke that I am a teacher by day and blogger by night, but I do have other hobbies. I also run a makeup and beauty blog that allows me the opportunity to attend collection releases seasonally-but that’s blogging so it doesn’t count.

On a more personal front, I come from an Italian family. Does that require more explanation? Let’s just say we like to spend time around each other eating, laughing, and being merry.

I also enjoy candlelight dinners and long walks on the beach...

15. Several high school students read my blog. What is one piece of advice you could offer to them?

16. What attracts you most to a book? That depends if I am on a spontaneous book run or not. I'm a shallow book reader. If a book doesn't look aesthetically pleasing, I am not as eager to pick it up. Sad, but true. It can be overwhelming standing in a stack of books and looking for “The One.” Otherwise, I have an ongoing “To Be Read” list that I update regularly based on suggestions from fellow readers and bloggers that I know have impeccable reading tastes. I like books that push the envelope and dare to take risks, especially in the inspirational market.

17. What book are you currently reading?
I have a few going at the same time, but I am really enjoying The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones. I love her books because they are full of Southern charm and provoking characters.

18. What was the last book you read?

19. Is there a character you love to hate? Who and why?
What is it with “bad boys”?! Lisa Bergren’s Lord Greco has me twisted, confused, and intrigued.

20. Have you ever preferred a movie or tv series over a book? If so, which one(s) and why?

21. How would you plan the perfect holiday? I am only capable of sitting idle for two days maximum, so beach centered vacations and I don’t mesh well. I love taking day excursions, visiting museums and historical sites, people watching while sitting in an outdoor cafĂ©, hunting through used bookstores, taking pictures of old doors...clearly I have watched too many Nora Ephron movies...

I was bitten by the travel bug and I am constantly adding to my “Future Destination” list. I actually have a file on my computer filled with places I want to see, activities I want to do, and things I want to eat all around the world.

22. What are five items on your wish list?
1.    A vintage Jane Austen (preferably Sense and Sensibility)
2.    A library to revival the one in Beauty and the Beast
3.    Open ended tickets to fly anywhere in the world
4.    Coldplay Tickets
5.    My own “Happily Ever After”

23. Is there a book that you would rewrite the ending to? What book and why?

24. How many books do you read in a typical year? 100-150. I haven’t really counted until Goodreads. It sasses me when I get behind on my Reading Challenge goal.

25. Where can we stalk you?
            Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/overweightbooks
            Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/My-Perfectly-Imperfect-Life/149345135087297
            Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?trk=hb_tab_pro_top
            Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/4230224-lydia-overweight-bookshelf?ref=header
            Blog: http://overweight-bookshelf.blogspot.com/