FIRST Wild Card Tour: F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire by M.C. Pearson

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author & illustrator is:

and the book:

FIRST Wild Card Press (December 5, 2011)

***Special thanks to M. C. Pearson of FIRST Wild Card Press for sending me a review copy.***


M. C. Pearson graduated from San Jose State University with a B. A. in art, served as a multi-media illustrator in the United States Army, earning the rank of sergeant, and spent four years as a house parent for at-risk youth. Now married over 20 years, she homeschools her two children, volunteers with her church youth group, and runs a book review blog alliance (FIRST Wild Card Tours) while writing and drawing. F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire is her first novel.

Visit the author’s website.


Unwittingly chosen to join an army of fairies, who fight for the Light of the One, a teenaged girl learns about spiritual warfare as she attends a military academy with fantastical beings.


Here lies a most precious treasure,
Awaiting one Chosen to deliver.
Seek out the red cousins in the East,
For on this your greed mustn’t feast.
The wealth of a species now in your hands,
Do with it as the light demands.
Give them your gift to unite,
For it is the darkness we all must fight.


“Imagination runs wild in F.A.I.R.I.E.S. Pearson brings young readers through a looking glass and into a world bursting with adventure, heroism, and fascinating creatures. Readers will be inspired to be true to the One and left with anticipation of more to come.”
–Jill Williamson, award-winning author of
By Darkness Hid, and other books

“Sprinkled with delightful illustrations, and brimming with a full bestiary of magical creatures, F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is a fun, clever romp through the alternate landscape of the most magical world of all, our own. Read, and take up the call: ‘Defend and Emancipate!'”
— D. Barkley Briggs, author of
The Book of Names, and other books

F.A.I.R.I.E.S. will appeal to readers who love the interplay of fantasy and reality. A rich cast of eccentric characters and exotic settings make this a fun addition to the folklore of the battle between good and evil.”
–Mike Hamel, author of

F.A.I.R.I.E.S. is one of those rare gems I want to tell everyone about. It’s highly imaginative, packed with adventure, and full of hope. A must read for kids and for kids at heart. Even better than Narnia! I was thinking about Pearson’s wonderfully memorable characters for days.”
–C.J. Darlington, author of
Thicker than Blood

“Ms. Pearson’s extravagant and imaginative F.A.I.R.I.E. kingdom will surely delight the young and the young-at-heart in this tale of good and evil, light vs. darkness. The fantasy-loving reader will not be disappointed!”
–Linore Rose Burkard, award winning author of
Before the Season Ends, and other books

I interviewed M.C. Pearson and am giving away a copy of  F.A.I.R.I.E.S.: Baptism by Fire by M.C. Pearson. Giveaway is open internationally!!!

Product Details:

  • List Price: $17.99
  • Paperback: 482 pages
  • Publisher: FIRST Wild Card Press (December 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615530222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615530222


Four thousand seasons shall pass while our swords grow rusty.

Where once one chose to divide, another shall be chosen to unite.

One changed the past, the other shall change the future.

One must emancipate the other to allow the light its dominion.

The realm, now torn, allows the shadow to abide, as humanity lies blind to its peril.

The bond of friendship must endure, for the army of shadows awaits another tear.

Dust off your swords.

Unite the realm.

Destroy the strongholds.
Foretelling of Didasko Gnome Digdeep





Off and Running

t was an accident!” Mellie yelled, not caring who heard or stared. Tears streaked her face as she fled down the Santa Cruz coastline, away from her family.

You don’t need them, a voice hissed in her ear, Escape. Run away.

Scorching sand burned at her feet and bitterness ate at her heart. Mellie pumped her legs as fast as they would go. Her feet pounded with the rhythm of her emotions, beating a tempo with the crashing waves. Run-a-way. Run-a-way. Run-a-way. Adrenaline pulsed through her veins, quickening her step.

Why did I have to be the youngest? Only 12 years old. Never smart enough. Never athletic enough. I just wish they loved me.

Once, just once, she wanted to do something that would make her sisters see that she wasn’t the stupid, awkward, ugly, little baby sister.

As she ran, she wiped away some tears with the palm of her hand. Her fingers settled on her large nose, a gift from her dad’s Hungarian ancestry.

Chelsea got the ski-slope shaped nose. I had to get Half-Dome. It just isn’t fair.

Her hand dropped to her side and she pinched at her stomach. It still had some of its baby fat.

Ugh, why are my sisters so perfect? What happened to me?

Pushing her short bangs from her forehead in disgust, she mumbled, “Maybe I’ll find treasure. I’ll be the rich one, and then they’ll have to accept me.” But she knew better. California didn’t hold any more undiscovered treasures.

The sand, hot and coarse, cut at her feet. I wish I had remembered my shoes. She wore only a black, one-piece swimsuit and a San Jose Sharks sweatshirt tied tightly around her waist.

Breathing rapidly, she began to tire. She slowed her pace to a walk and looked back across the beach. The sand was so hot that waves of heat rose from it and blurred her view. A lone seagull screeched overhead.

Her sisters were nowhere in sight.

Man, I thought for sure that Chelsea was going to chase me down and kill me.

She had to admit that it was a little gratifying to see the sand fly from her foot, covering Chelsea’s sub-sandwich and freshly oiled stomach. Grinning slightly, the tears stopped flowing. She rubbed her eyes.

Mellie looked in the direction of her sisters. “You guys can never take a joke.” Flipping her golden hair, she turned her head back toward her chosen path. She no longer smiled as she stomped her feet in the cold surf, remembering the hateful words that had been said.

“Oh, waa waa, you stupid cry baby! Go tell mommy! Maybe she’ll feel sorry for her ugly, fat baby. Why don’t you grow up? We don’t want you near us. Can’t you understand English? You are so dumb. Look at her mouth open. Oh wait, here she goes…come on, baby…cry!”

Mellie knew she couldn’t go back. They would only ridicule and torment her further. Her mom would never believe it was Chelsea’s fault. No, the evidence was on Chelsea’s side. Who was the one with the sand all over her oily, coconut-smelling body? Who was the one who had a sandwich full of sand? Mellie walked on.

After her temper finally cooled, it occurred to her that she had never walked so far alone.

How far have I gone?

A shadow passed over her, and she looked up. Nothing was there. A cool breeze from the ocean created a stark contrast to the scalding sand. She shivered but kept walking, lost in her loneliness.

Not until she stubbed her toe on a large broken clamshell did she look at the beach. A chill snaked up her back. Nothing appeared familiar. The sounds of the surf were still there, yet something was decidedly different. She felt dizzy. Looking around, she could not quite pinpoint the change. Then it struck her.

No people.

Where did everybody go?

Even though she could see no one, Mellie could swear that she felt eyes staring at her.

She looked inland across the sand, saw movement near some eucalyptus trees, but decided that the wind must have caused it.

Trees? So close to the beach?

Something shook the trees again, causing goosebumps to stand out on Mellie’s arms. Alarmed, she checked the skyline. The sun was close to setting. She hoped that the police weren’t out looking for her.

Suddenly cold, she pulled at the arms of the sweatshirt still tied around her waist. It fell to the sand. Bending to pick it up, she once again saw a blur of movement, except this time it came from a rocky outcrop by the waves. She shook the sand out of the sweatshirt and hurriedly tugged it over her head.

“Okay, I’m seeing things.” Mellie yanked at her hair, pulling it out of the sweatshirt. She stared at the sinister rocks. “Hel-lo?” Her voice cracked as she spoke louder. “Is someone the-ere? Hello?” No answer. The shadowy rocks seemed to quiver with excitement, beckoning her closer.

Hmm…probably just a seagull.

Even if it was a bird, she did not want to see it.

There’s no way I’m going over there.

The wind picked up and blew her hair into her eyes. The sand spun with the wind.

Yes, definitely time to move. I need to find a road.

She turned back toward the sweet smelling, oddly placed trees.

Mellie arrived at the base of the first, colossal eucalyptus tree. Without warning, one of the branches fell in front of her, then seemed to get up from the ground and pose its bottom stems in a military-like stance.

Mellie screamed and jumped back. “Branches don’t stand.”

“They do if they are walking sticks.” The eucalyptus branch chuckled, stretching to its full height, considerably taller than Mellie’s meager five feet.
She gasped, grabbed the branch, and threw it like a javelin, as hard as she could.

As she took off running, she heard a bark and halted. Turning, she saw a golden retriever bounding toward her with the stick in his mouth. The dog dropped it at her feet. She watched the dog run into the grove of trees and disappear before she fearfully turned back to the possessed stick.

It had already gained its footing again and stood over her. Mellie was too frightened to move this time.

A face emerged from the skinny twig and took on the characteristics of a male human, but none like Mellie had ever seen. He had hair made up in rolls as if it were a powdered, green-silver wig, the same color as the leaves that grew all around his skinny body. His face was long and his forehead high. The twiggy man smiled and said in a distinctly British, albeit breezy, accent, “Do not worry, you are safe.”

Mellie couldn’t answer.

“Ahh…I love new recruits. They are so easily addled.”

Feeling more confused than threatened, Mellie found her voice. “What? What do you mean, new recruits?” She rubbed her eyes, shaking her head. “Okay, I’m talking to a stick now. Yes, I have lost it. I have gone totally mental.”

“Oh, I say, am I to understand that I am the first to be revealed to you?” With round, leathery leaves, the branch resembled a toddler toy with rings stacked on one another.

She dropped open her mouth and nodded.

“Well, let me do this properly, then. Ahem. Mortal, made of clay, you have been Chosen to join the Fantastical, Aerial, International, Reasonably Inconspicuous, Emancipation Squads.”

“What? What are you? You look like a stick…but you can talk.”

“Yes, child,” the stick replied with a sigh. “But, I think we are quite past that by now. Have you not heard me? You have been Chosen.”

Mellie opened her mouth wider, closed it, frowned, and opened it once more. “Chosen? For what?”

“You did wish to be different? To change who you were? ’Twas an especially strong desire, yes?” The branch crossed its arms and tapped its twiggy foot.


“Dear me, this is highly unusual. You made a choice to run away from a miserable life and asked to be set free? Correct?”

“Well, I, ah…yeah. I guess so. What did you say about recruit for some squad?”

“Humph. I see that I was not understood. Yes? Let me elucidate. The Fantastical, Aerial, International, Reasonably Inconspicuous, Emancipation Squads , or shall I say F.A.I.R.I.E.S.? have accepted you into their organization. You asked. You were answered.” The branch attempted a smile, but looked impatient instead.

“Fairies? I don’t believe in fairies.” Mellie winced, half expecting him to fall down and writhe in pain until she clapped her hands.

“Quite right. You are not supposed to. If humans truly believed we existed, we would never get anything accomplished.”

Mellie laughed and looked around for a hidden camera, thinking this must be a joke. “Right. Ah…heh…okay, bud, brilliant costume,” she said, imitating the branch’s accent. “Where’s the zipper?” She reached toward him and touched a soft leaf.

The branch slapped her hand away and stamped its foot with a loud cracking noise. “I beg your pardon. I have not been a bud for over 800 springs!” He paced, his leaves crumpling, mumbling to himself about humans and why, in the One’s name, did he listen to that confounded gnome who told him that he needed to stand gate duty. With his rank!

“I’m sorry I upset you. Please, I’m very confused. I’m lost, and I just want to go home.” Mellie bit her lip.

The branch stopped mid-pace. “Home? Earlier, did you not wish for a new life? And riches? I know you wished for treasure, hmm?”

“How do you know that?” Mellie furrowed her brow. “Have you been reading my mind?”

The twig man didn’t answer her questions, asking his own instead. “Ahh, so, you admit this, yes?”

She narrowed her eyes. “Yes, but…well, this really isn’t what I had in mind.”

The branch threw up its twiggy fingers. “Oh, well, of course you did not have this in mind. After all, we are reasonably inconspicuous, especially to humans. How could you have this in mind? However, is it not superior of the One to think that this is what you would have chosen had you known about us? Anyway, ’tis irrevocable now. So, if you would just follow me, we shall get you signed in and enrolled for training.”

The branch marched off between the trunks of two large eucalyptus trees.

Mellie slid uncontrollably after the walking stick. She planted her feet firmly, refusing to budge, but she slid after him anyway. Grasping at branches of nearby trees, she panted heavily as she struggled to resist following the branch. Some kind of invisible tie connected her to him. He seemed to pull her along with his every step.

Mellie thought about her sisters and how mad they were at her. I’m dead meat if they find me. Mellie quickly gave up her battle and ran after the eucalyptus branch, barely keeping up with his stride.


The sand changed to coarse dirt, with pebbles and sticks. More and more trees filled Mellie’s vision. Bushes scraped against her bare legs and slapped her face as she moved deeper inside a forest of eucalyptus and redwood trees. She winced in pain as a razor-sharp rock sliced her foot. Stopping to nurse it, she wished once again for her forgotten shoes.

“Excuse me, sir?” Mellie looked around. She could not see the branch anywhere.

“Do not call me ‘sir’, I work for a living.” The branch peeked out from around one of the gigantic trees. “And please, try to keep up. We need to reach the gateway.”

Mellie limped up to him. “Sorry, sir…I mean…umm, what should I call you then?”

“Oh, well, we did skip that. Did we not? Yes, all right, an introduction then.” The branch man seemed to enjoy formal etiquette for he gave an elaborate wave and bowed. “My name is Regnans, family of Myrtaceae, born member of the F.A.I.R.I.E.S., Britannia Wing, rank of Master Nymph Dryad.”

“Nice to meet you, Reg…Reg?” Mellie chewed on the inside of her mouth. Never good at remembering names, she knew she would offend him with her lack of manners.

Sure enough, the dryad raised an eyebrow and pursed his lips. “Regnans.” He gave a hurt sniff, then drolly sneered. “If you find that a difficult name, you should meet the rest of my family, all seven-hundred thirty-four of them.”

“Sorry, I just…well, it is a lot to remember. It’s a nice name, though. My name is Maryellen Goodwin of Bret Harte Middle School, San Jose, California. But everyone calls me Mellie.” She stuck out her hand, intending to shake. Regnans stared at her.

“That is a strange curtsy. However, I guess ’twill do. We must get moving now. The shadows abound, you know.” Regnans made an about face and marched off faster than before.

Another hour passed, and still they strode along the forest floor. Mellie’s feet were now cut, blistered, and bleeding. She kept up as best she could with Regnans’s long stride. Whenever she tried to stop, he would pull her on with that invisible force of his.

Stupid, pompous, magical Star Wars freak.

She whimpered as she limped. Darkness and mist now covered the woods. As she was about to plead for a break, Regnans stopped. Except for her heavy gulps of air, all seemed quiet.

Regnans stiffened even more than usual. Nothing on him moved, apart from his eyes, which darted around quickly.

“All is safe, we may proceed.” He held up a twiggy finger to his woody mouth. “Please do not speak, and try not to breathe so abominably loud.”

Mellie nodded with a disgusted frown. Sweat dripped from her bangs. She tried to calm her breathing, even though her vision blurred, and her legs wobbled. Her blisters had popped by now and oozed wetness.

Regnans moved again, yet this time he took slow, deliberate steps, all the while scanning his surroundings. He walked up to a massive redwood tree and stroked its bark.

A breeze stirred up, rattling the leaves, sounding almost like spoken words. Mellie thought herself crazy again. However, the longer she stood there, the more she sensed that it really was the tree’s language, as if she had never listened to trees properly before. It said, “If you love, you will say the one true love that leads the way.”

Regnans whispered in a leaf rustling voice, “Ah-gaw-pay.”

A loud grumbling sound, as if someone awakened after a long sleep, shook the grove. The redwood tree opened two eyes, each the size of Mellie’s head, and blinked. A great fissure erupted below the eyes in the shape of a crescent, and redish-brown wooden teeth emerged. A long, knobby branch pushed its way out above the mouth and inhaled deeply.

The tree chuckled. Instead of the whispering leaves, a low, rumbling utterance of human speech came from the redwood tree. “Regnans? What brings you to my neck of the woods?” He blinked again. “And who is this? A new recruit? A human? A Chosen?”

Mellie knew she looked silly, standing there with her mouth in an ‘O’ shape, but she couldn’t move. This was simply impossible. There is no such thing as fairies!

“Yes, yes. Please open the gate, we must not dawdle here…they may be watching.” Regnans looked agitated.

A deep laugh resounded from the redwood. “Oh, Regnans. There are none who watch here.”

Regnans mumbled something about hamadryads and their pride, then proclaimed in a slightly louder voice to the tree, “We must be sober, be vigilant, because the shadow walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour.”

The hamadryad looked chagrined. “You speak true, dryad. Forgive me for acting like an arrogant seedling.” He glanced at Mellie, and with a lowered voice asked, “And what is your name, little human?”

Mellie managed to squeak out, “Mellie Goodwin.”

“Ah, ’tis always nice to have a Good Wind.” The hamadryad laughed heartily.

“Sorry to interrupt this lovely tete-a-tete,” Regnans said, “but would you please open the gate? I left Westside completely unguarded.”

An annoyed creak came from the base of the redwood, followed by a sigh. “Yes, Regnans. Agape you said, and agape it is. Go with the light, my friends.” The large, joyous eyes closed, and the hamadryad whispered in his leaf rustling voice, “Until we meet again, Good Wind.” His face disappeared, and his roots lifted and pulled apart, exposing a tunnel within his trunk.

Regnans grabbed Mellie’s hand with his rough, wooden one, and pulled her inside the opening. The tree closed itself abruptly and left them in total darkness.

Regnans cleared his throat and said, “Let there be light.”

A burst of dazzling brightness sparkled from the tunnel’s wall. Mellie glanced around and noticed a long, winding stairwell leading down into the ground.

“Shall we, then?” Not waiting for a reply, Regnans started down the steps.

Available at and Barnes &

Blogaholic Designs”=

A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

What happens when the boy she loved to hate becomes the man she hates to love?

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O’Connor is the epitome of the new woman—smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband—good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and eating out of her hand. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face-to-face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever? 

I GIVE THIS BOOK: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

Katie O’Connor is a spunky young woman with high standards for herself and the man she will marry. But when she breaks her father’s curfew with Jack one too many times, she finds herself punished for the summer. Her punishment? Spend the summer volunteering at the Boston Children’s Aid Society, which she finds makes her childhood nemesis, Luke McGee, her boss.

I LOVED reading A Hope Undaunted! Katie, being the baby of the O’Connor family, was always a minor character and seeing her all grown up now was unbelievable. 

A Hope Undaunted was a wonderful book and I highly recommend it. I would strongly suggest that you read the Daughters of Boston Series before you read this book – as this story is a continuation of a family saga. Julie Lessman’s books are my all-time favorites, ones I can read again and again!

Purchase at Amazon

Blogaholic Designs”=

A Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman

Ten years ago, Emma Malloy fled Dublin for Boston as a battered woman, escaping the husband who scarred her beautiful face. The physical and emotional wounds have faded with time, and her life is finally full of purpose and free from the pain of her past. But when she falls for her friend Charity’s handsome and charming brother, Sean O’Connor, fear and shame threaten to destroy her. Could Sean and Emma ever have a future together? Or is Emma doomed to live out the rest of her life denying the only true love she’s ever known?

Filled with intense passion and longing, deception and revelation, A Heart Revealed will hold readers in its grip until the very last page.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

Since the first time I read about Emma Malloy, I have wanted to see her with a happy ending and I am glad to say it has finally come! The story didn’t end the way I expected, but it was exceptional! I loved how the story included sub-stories with Charity & her husband and newlyweds Katie & her husband – since Charity is my favorite character this made it extra special.

I always wanted Emma and Sean to get together, ever since their first meeting I felt a spark between them, but because the ring on her hand belongs to another man that was never a possibility.

The trials Emma has gone through are heart-breaking and I learned in this book that Sean has gone through many of his own too. I knew of Emma’s abusive husband before I read this book, but this story goes into much more of the details of that abuse – nothing too graphic, but you see how crazed with unfounded jealousy he was.

‘A Heart Revealed’ is Julie’s best work to date – though my personal favorite is still ‘A Passion Redeemed’. Julie just keeps getting better and better as an author and I can’t wait to read her next book – which sadly is going to be the last book in this series. I highly recommend this book, but since all her books to date are about the same family, be sure that you read all three books in the ‘Daughters of Boston’ series and then book one in the ‘Winds of Change’ series first – so you won’t spoil any of it for yourself.

Purchase at Amazon

Blogaholic Designs”=

A Passion Denied by Julie Lessman

Has she fallen in love with a man who cannot love her back?

Elizabeth O’Connor has been like the little sister John Brady always wanted, sharing his love of literature and his thirst for God. But in the throes of the reckless Roaring Twenties, Lizzie has grown up. Suddenly she wants more from the man who has been her friend since she was a child. When this shy little bookworm blossoms into a beautiful young woman bent on loving John, she discovers that his past won’t let him return that love. But Lizzie refuses to give up–until his shocking secrets push her away.

Can true love survive the betrayal and deceitful of a painful past . . . or will it be shattered like the fairy-tale dreams of a girl in love?

Brimming with romance, longing, and redemption, A Passion Denied, will quicken your pulse and gladden your heart with a riveting story of the true power of love.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

It’s the Roaring 20’s and Elizabeth, or Lizzie as she goes by now, is all grown up. She has changed her look to accentuate the fact that she is a woman now, not a little girl – bobbed her hair, figure flattering dresses, make-up, etc. She is longing for Brady to notice her as the woman she is and to stop treating her like she is the little sister he never had.

Brady has a past that has haunted him for years, one that he has yet to deal with and makes him feel unworthy of being with Lizzie. When a man from his past visits him, it all threatens to come to light.

I loved seeing a more in depth view of Lizzie,
 because she was only a minor character in the first two books and an adolescent at that. I feel as though I know her so much better now.

A Passion Denied was a wonderfully enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it! I would strongly suggest that you read A Passion Most Pure  and A Passion Redeemed before you read this book – as this story is a continuation of a family saga.

Purchase at Amazon

Blogaholic Designs”=

A Passion Most Pure by Julie Lessman

She’s found the love of her life.
Unfortunately, he loves her sister.

As World War I rages across the Atlantic in 1916, a smaller war is brewing in Boston. Faith O’Connor finds herself drawn to an Irish rogue who is anything but right for her. Collin McGuire is brash, cocky, and from the wrong side of the tracks, not to mention forbidden by her father. And then there’s the small matter that he is secretly courting her younger sister. But when Collin’s affections shift, it threatens to tear her proper Boston family apart.

Book 1 of the Daughters of Boston series, A Passion Most Pure will carry your heart from the sophisticated streets of Boston to the green hills of Ireland as men go off to war and women long for their return. Full of passion, romance, rivalry, and betrayal, it will captivate you from the first page.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

Julie Lessman is an AMAZING author! I can’t believe that this is her debut novel! Let me tell you, it is a book that you will not want to put down – so make sure that you start it when you have enough time to finish it in one sitting!

Faith O’Connor is a woman who has a strong faith in the Lord. A faith that was forged by the many trials she had to face as a young child, such as her twin sister dying from Polio. Faith was stricken with the same disease and was near death, but she survived and the only thing that remains is her slight limp.

Colin McGuire is the man that Faith has had a crush on since she was young, but no one knew – least of all Colin. So when Colin began dating Faith’s younger sister Charity, sparks flew – in more ways than one!
With sister set against sister and WWI fast approaching, will this family survive?

I fell in love with these characters almost immediately and, by the time I reached the end, I wanted to pick up the next book right away – unfortunately for me, I had to wait almost a year to do it! The twists and turns in this novel are fantastic! I highly recommend that you read ‘A Passion Most Pure’ and make sure that you have ‘A Passion Redeemed’ ready to pick up as soon as you finish it!

Purchase at Amazon

Blogaholic Designs”=

A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman

Graced with physical beauty, though shallow of heart, Charity O’Connor is a woman who knows what she wants. She sets her sights on the cantankerous Mitch Dennehy, editor at the Irish Times, who has unwittingly stolen her heart. And although the sparks are there, Mitch refuses to fan the coals of a potential relationship with his ex-fiancée’s sister. But Charity has a plan to turn up the heat and she always gets what she wants–one way or another. Is revenge so sweet after all? Or will Charity get burned?

Full of intense passion, betrayal, and forgiveness, A Passion Redeemed will delight Lessman’s fans and draw new ones.

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

‘A Passion Redeemed’ definitely redeemed Charity with me! I will tell you, had I known this book would have been focused on Charity when I finished ‘A Passion Most Pure’, I probably wouldn’t have been anxiously awaiting this book. I love how Julie takes a character that I despised and turned her into a character that I now adore – I would have to say that is nothing short of AMAZING!

In ‘A Passion Most Pure’ I can honestly say that I couldn’t stand her and many times just wanted to slap her! I couldn’t imagine how I could possibly like this book, because of who the main character was going to be. But this book has definitely changed my view of Charity and, in fact, she in now my favorite character.

In this book I learned that while Charity may be beautiful and able to wrap men around her finger, she most desires her father’s love and attention – the way he treats her sister, Faith. This among a few other things explains why she behaves the way she does.

‘A Passion Redeemed’ is wonderful and has become my favorite novel! I highly recommend this book – but make sure you read ‘A Passion Most Pure’ first, otherwise you might spoil the story for yourself.

Purchase at Amazon

Blogaholic Designs”=

Stay Tuned Blog Tour: My Review

What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it?

For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle.

But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch.

Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target.

What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out…

I Give This Book:1 star1 star1 star1 star

My Thoughts:
‘Stay Tuned’ was a fun story, but when it jumped ahead I didn’t like that it didn’t say the dates – I found it confusing. It could have at least said “two weeks later” or something like that when it jumped ahead. It is for this reason alone that I gave it four stars.

Melissa is a forty year old woman, whose daughter had recently left home to attend college. Melissa’s marriage is a shadow of what it once was. Her husband and her barely have time for each other, both are so busy with their careers, that they communicate through post-it notes – which sometimes only have a brief message.

Melissa’s mother was a lady who rubbed elbows with the who’s who of Hollywood back in the day, and she wrote many books about them. When at age forty she became pregnant with Melissa, she didn’t hide the fact that it was an unplanned pregnancy. Now Dementia has taken a hold of her and she has a hard time even recognizing her daughter. This is just devastating to Melissa, when all she even wanted was her mother’s love and affection – which she never got.

When station anchors, Alyssa and Tim, are fired, Rick Roberts comes back to the station and Melissa fills in until they can find another woman to fill the job. Melissa begins to realize that she loves being in front of the camera instead of being behind the scenes, but will she be allowed to keep it? Will her marriage survive her husband’s distant behavior and her growing attraction to her co-host?  Will Melissa ever know whether or not her mother cared for her?

Initially, I thought there wasn’t going to be any swearing in this book because the first few times, instead of using a swear word, it just said that they couldn’t repeat what was said when a person was supposed to be swearing. I was hoping that would continue – it did not. I don’t like the use of swear words in a story. Even though there wasn’t a lot of them, I just don’t like books containing swear words – I feel that it takes away from a story. Even though I personally found it offensive, since this isn’t a Christian book, I did not let it affect my rating, and am only mentioning it in case others might be offended as well.

Overall I liked the story and had it not had the swearing in it I would recommend it. So if you don’t mind books with that in it, I think you would enjoy Stay Tuned.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done.***

As part of this special promotional extravaganza sponsored by Novel Publicity, the price of the Stay Tuned eBook edition has dropped to just 99 cents this week.

What’s more, by purchasing this fantastic book at an incredibly low price, you can enter to win many awesome prizes, including lots of Amazon gift cards (up to $100 in amount) and 5 autographed copies of the book. Be sure to enter before the end of the day on Friday, December 2nd, so you don’t miss out.

The Featured Events include:

Monday, Radio Interview with Novel Publicity! We’re kicking-off on the Novel Publicity Free Advice blog. We interviewed Lauren on our radio show Sunday night and have embedded the full podcast and blogged about its highlights. Give it a listen and then leave a comment on the blog post. This is a great chance to get to know more about this fun and bubbly author. One commenter will win an autographed copy of
Stay Tuned. Don’t forget to enter for the other contest prizes while you’re over there!

Tuesday, Twitter sharing contest! A tweet is tiny, only 140 characters. But on Tuesday, it could win you $50. Send the following tweet across the twittersphere, and you just may win a $50 Amazon gift card. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. The winners will be announced Wednesday morning.

Here’s the tweet: Take a break from the holiday frenzy, and read Stay Tuned. It’s fast, fun, and reduced to just 99 cents! #whirlwind

Wednesday, Google+ sharing contest! Yup, there’s yet another awesome opportunity to win a $50 Amazon gift card, and this time it just takes a single click! Visit Google+ and share Emlyn Chand’s most recent post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). On Thursday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. Two chances to win with just one click! How about that?

Thursday, Facebook sharing contest! Stop by Novel Publicity’s Facebook page and share their latest post (you’ll see the Stay Tuned book cover included with it). It’s ridiculously easy to win! On Friday morning, one lucky sharer will be $50 richer. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs.

Friday, special contest on the author’s site! Are you ready for some more fun? Take a picture of yourself with your copy of Stay Tuned either in paperback or on an eReading device, tag Lauren Clark’s Facebook page, and you can enter to win one of three Amazon gift cards! A $100 prize will go to the most creative photo, $50 to the best BFF photo, and $50 to the photo with the most people in it. An autographed copy of Stay Tuned is also up for grabs. If you need help learning how to tag a
photo, you can visit Lauren’s Facebook page for detailed instructions.

Remember, it’s all about the books!

About Stay Tuned: What happens when a #1 news team becomes the top story instead of reporting it? For TV producer Melissa Moore, crisis management comes with the job. From employee disputes to her high-maintenance boss, there’s not much she hasn’t seen or can’t handle. But no one—including Melissa—expects a fistfight during the ten o’clock news. When sexy-but-crazy Alyssa Andrews lands a punch on her co-anchor’s face, Melissa jumps on set to help. She’s determined that WSGA’s reputation won’t be destroyed on her watch. Both anchors are fired and Melissa agrees to fill in—but not before polishing her look from haircut to heels. While the new Melissa wows WSGA viewers, her personal life starts fraying at the edges. Melissa’s husband is away more than he’s home, leaving cryptic Post-it notes in his wake. Her mother’s antics spiral out of control at the nursing home and a stalker decides Melissa is her next target. What happens next? Stay Tuned to find out… Get it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: Lauren Clark has been a voracious reader since the age of four and would rather be stranded at the library than on a desert island. In her former life, she worked as an anchor and producer for CBS affiliates in Upstate New York and Alabama. Lauren adores her family, yoga, her new Electra bike, and flavored coffee. She lives near the Florida Gulf Coast. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads

To Win the Prizes:

1. Purchase your copy of Stay Tuned for just 99 cents on Amazon or Barnes & Noble (You’ll need it for

the big contest on Friday)
2. Fill-out the form on Novel Publicity to enter for the prizes
3. Visit today’s featured event; you may win an autographed copy of the book or a $50 gift card!
…And I can win too!
Over 100 bloggers are participating in this gigantic event, and there are plenty of prizes for us too. The blogger who receives the most votes in the traffic-breaker poll will win a $100 gift card as well. So when you visit Novel Publicity’s site to fill-out the contest entry form, don’t forget to say that I referred you, so I can get a point in the poll. 

Blogaholic Designs”=

FIRST Wild Card Tour: The 365 Most Important Bible Passages for You by Jonathan Rogers

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

FaithWords (November 10, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist | FaithWords & Center Street | Hachette Book Group, for sending me a review copy.***


No matter what he is writing, Jonathan Rogers is motivated by the astonishing reality of God’s transforming grace in the lives of human beings. He is passionate about seeing the truths of Scripture bear fruit in the lives of students – lives of integrity, purpose, and joy. That passion is reflected in his books, including Words to Live By for Teens, What Really Counts for Students, and his Wilderking Trilogy of adventure novels – The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking. Jonathan holds a PhD in English literature from Vanderbilt University. He lives with his family in Nashville Tennessee.

Visit the author’s website.


This year-long devotional is both unique and simple by targeting the general reader, both men and women. Features include:

–A comprehensive overview and accompanying meditation for each passage;

–Daily encouraging and engaging scriptures that focus on the Bible passages that reveal the divine character of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit; and

–Insightful comments and applications to daily life.

My Thoughts:

I think this is a great book to have on those days when you only have 5-10 minutes for devotions. I would have liked it even more if it would have been KJV instead of one of nine versions (CEV, ESV, HCSB, Message, NASB, NCV, NIV, NKJV, and NLT), a random version everyday. Overall, I would recommend it.

Product Details:

  • List Price: $15.99
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: FaithWords (November 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446574996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446574990


Blogaholic Designs”=

Blog Tour: Marian’s Christmas Wish by Carla Kelly – Review, Author Interview, and GIVEAWAY!

Marian's Christmas WishMiss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady. She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man. And she is certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing. But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected— a young and handsome English lord.

I Give This Book: 1 star1 star1 star1 star

My Thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading ‘Marian’s Christmas Wish’. Marian was definitely an unconventional young woman! Her father allowed her to be educated in subjects normally reserved for men at that time and she excelled at them.  When the time came for each person to make a wish on the Christmas pudding, Marian made a wish for another person – which showed her unselfishness and caring spirit.

Marian’s sister, Ariadne (what a name!), was in love with the rector, Sam Beddoe. At first Ariadne seemed more meek and reserved, as though she didn’t have a will of her own, or at least not a very strong one. But later in the story you see a deep strength in her.

I found Marian’s younger brother, Alistair, quite adorable even though he was a trial at times. He secretly arrived home earlier than expected, due to the fact that he was expelled from Eton. Throughout most of the story he appeared quite immature; but, towards the end he had become quite a mature young man.

Marian’s older brother Percy was a Diplomat. He was coming home from Belgium and was bringing two gentlemen with him, Sir William & Lord Ingraham. Sir William was a short, fat but wealthy gentleman. He was the type of man who thought he knew everything and had no problem stating his opinions on matters that were none of his concern. Lord Ingraham was also a Diplomat and a man of many secrets. He hadn’t seen his family in years, ever since an accident had left him scarred. I don’t know why, but I never really felt connected to him.

The story begins with Marian and Ariadne decorating their home for Christmas. This is the first Christmas they are celebrating since their father passed away a little over a year ago and most likely the last that will be celebrated in their ancestral home. The Wynswich family has had to tighten their purse strings since his death, because he left them with a mountain of debt, and they may have to move out of the only home they have ever known. But not if their mother, Lady Wynswich, has her way.

Lady Wynswich is plotting to marry off Ariadne to a wealthy gentleman, Sir William, who is a great deal older than she is (quite disgusting). She doesn’t care that he is so obnoxious and condescending to their family, or that Ariadne cares for another man – she just wants to be able to keep her rank in society.

There were several occasions, when Marian and Lord Ingraham were alone together, that I thought would not have been acceptable behavior for a single woman at that time. Also towards the end of the story, Lord Ingraham’s behavior was quite inappropriate and a bit shocking. I can’t give the particulars because it may spoil the story for you.

Overall I thought it was an endearing story – especially to read over the holiday season. I would recommend this book to those looking for a sweet, light Christmas story.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done.***

View all my reviews

Product Details:

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc. (September 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599559536
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599559537
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.4 x 0.8 inches

Carla, welcome to Hardcover Feedback! Would you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 64, like water aerobics, never read romance fiction, because I prefer really good crime fiction. I have two degrees in history, and have written a few what I call footnote works. My scholarly backround is military history, with emphasis on the Indian Wars and Napoleonic Wars at Sea. I’m really near sighted, and a good interviewer (years and years of that with my various jobs). I like to write. Favorite movie is Yojimbo, directed by Akira Kurosawa. Favorite musicians are Michael Martin Murphey and Ian Tyson, cowboy singers. 

What are you currently working on?

I’m finishing up my current three-book contract with Harlequin. It’ll probably be my last with then, since I have several novels in the work for Cedar Fort. Also, Signet is interested in having me write for them again, so I’ll go in that direction. For my own fun, I’m also working on a little book set in the Royal Colonel of New Mexico in 1725. Don’t have a home for that one yet, but I probably will.

What or who made the biggest influence on you wanting to become a writer?

No single person. I just like to write. The person who gave me the most help was my high school journalism teacher. She taught me a lot about plain, factual writing, which is still pretty much what I write. More important, she instilled in me a stewardship for words. They matter, and the right word matters even more.

What was the first book you ever wrote about and was it ever published?

I wrote a novel about the Nez Perce exodus in 1877. Never published. My first published novel came next, Daughter of Fortune, set in the Royal Colony of New Mexico in 1680. It will be coming out in ebook form soon.

Do you have any writing habits that people might find unusual?

Not really. I sit at my computer and write. I do have a wonderful photo over my desk that I look at from time to time, of a 1948 trail drive in Sunlight Basin, Wyoming, from the Two Dot Ranch.  My dad was from Cody, and knew the Two Dot Ranch folks, the Taggarts. I love that photo.

I have heard that many authors listen to music while they write. Do you? If so, what do you usually listen to? 
No, I don’t listen to music. I find it distracting.

What is something that you have always wanted to do, but just haven’t gotten around to it yet?

I’ve pretty much done – career-wise- what I wanted to do: ranger, adjunct history prof, contract researcher for ND Historical Society, PR writer for a major Missouri hospital, daily newspaper feature writer and columnist. And mom.  I would like to study for a year at Oxford. The closest I came to that was writing “Miss Grimsley’s Oxford Career” for Signet. 

All the music in the world is being destroyed and you can only save one album, what would you save and why? 
Handel’s Messiah, without question. That’s a total no-brainer. I consider it the high water mark of Western civilization. And probably Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club album, if I could save two.

Borrowed LightDo you have a favorite character or one that is especially close to your heart?
It’s usually the characters I am currently working on. I do have a real fondness for Julia and Mr. Otto in Borrowed Light, because I do like stockmen. (All my own years in Wyoming.) It was nice to revisit them in Enduring Light. (They’re doing well, BTW) Currently, I’m happy with Paloma Vega and Marco Mondragon of the Chama Valley in 1725. So it goes.

What is the best gift you have ever received and who gave it to you?
My husband gave me a first-edition, boxed set of Paul Horgan’s two-volume history of New Mexico. So nice of him. I use it, and love the gorgeous prose. My oldest son gave me a first edition of a book by Jim Corbet, game warden in India during the British Raj.  And daughter Mary Ruth gave me a first edition of Kate Seredy’s The Good Master, one of my favorite books that I read to my kids. Both of those books were a thank you for all the books I read to them when they were little. They mean the world to me, because they opened a world of reading to my kids.

What are three things (not people) that you wouldn’t want to live without? 
Hot water. That’s about it. When I worked at Fort Laramie NHS as a ranger, we did living history. I discovered quickly that working in a kitchen without hot water is a pain. Book. Add books.

What is your all-time favorite book? What is your favorite book you have read this year? 
I have three, and the order shifts: War and Peace, A Town Like Alice, and The Lawrenceville Stories.  Favorite book this year?

 Fiction, it would be Richard Bradford’s “Red Sky at Morning.”  Great book. Can’t believe I didn’t read it years ago.
Enduring Light
What do you like to do in your spare time?  Spare time? Not much of that. Travel and visit old friends, but the trusty netbook is always with me for writing.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? 
Early bird. I start writing about 4:30 a.m. And night owl, if the writing is going well. 

If you were throwing a dinner party and you could invite five people (fictional or real, dead or alive) who would you invite? 
John Marshall, the Great Chief Justice; Custer– just what did happen, sir, when you took Medicine Tail Coulee? The truth now; Admiral Chester Nimitz; Bob Kisthart, a ranger friend of mine, alive and interesting; the Duke of Wellington.

You are given a ticket that will bring you anywhere that you want to go, at anytime in history. Where would you want to go and why?

Philadelphia, for the debates on the Constitution. And then probably Waterloo. Wish I could visit some strands in my family history, which runs through all the royal houses of Europe. Some real nasties there.

Where can people connect with you online? H’mm. I have an ego-sounding email address  Can’t guarantee how much time I’d have to reply.

Thanks you so much Carla for being on Hardcover Feedback!
You’re welcome. I think I’ll get that dinner party ready now. What fun that will be.  Do you think John Marshall will like enchiladas?

Make sure to visit the other blogs participating in this book tour. For a complete listing of them go HERE.

Blogaholic Designs”=

A Sound Among the Trees by Susan Meissner

A Sound Among the Trees: A NovelA house shrouded in time. A line of women with a heritage of loss.

As a young bride, Susannah Page was rumored to be a Civil War spy for the North, a traitor to her Virginian roots. Her great-granddaughter Adelaide, the current matriarch of Holly Oak, doesn’t believe that Susannah’s ghost haunts the antebellum mansion looking for a pardon, but rather the house itself bears a grudge toward its tragic past.

When Marielle Bishop marries into the family and is transplanted from the arid west to her husband’s home, it isn’t long before she is led to believe that the house she just settled into brings misfortune to the women who live there.

With Adelaide’s richly peppered superstitions and deep family roots at stake, Marielle must sort out the truth about Susannah Page and Holly Oak— and make peace with the sacrifices she has made for love.   

I GIVE THIS BOOK:1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star

‘A Sound Among the Trees’ is the second book by Susan Meissner that I have read and I enjoyed every page of it! I love the fact that this book is set in both present day and the Civil War era – it’s like getting two stories in one!

I was intrigued when I was reading about the house being haunted and couldn’t wait to see what was really going on. So many people were convinced that Holly Oak was haunted by Susannah Page. However, Adelaide thought that it was the house, not Susannah, that was causing the problems.

The story begins with Marielle and Carson’s wedding reception at Holly Oak. It is during the party that Marielle first hears about the rumors of the house being haunted. At first she doesn’t believe it, but slowly doubt begins to creep into her mind. So she tries to uncover the true reason misfortune comes to all the women of Holly Oak and the reason will surprise you!

I loved ‘A Sound Among the Trees’ – it was such a wonderful story! I think that almost anyone would enjoy reading this book. Alhough it is a contemporary novel, it has historical elements. If this is something you like, you should enjoy ‘ Sound Among the Trees: A Novel‘ by Susan Meissner.

*** I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books to review. I was asked to give my honest opinion of the book – which I have done. ***

Product Details:

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307458857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307458858
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Blogaholic Designs”=