Saturday, December 31, 2011

LoaW's Month in Review - December 2011

Posted by Katie Garvin at 11:28 AM 3 comments
Today is the last day of the last month of the year. Wow, how time flies sometimes! :-) I hope everyone is planning to have an awesome New Years Eve celebration. For me, that includes bringing in the new year with some very special, and awesome, friends. :-)

But for today's post, it's time for my "Month in Review" post. I got this idea from Crystal over at Just Another Book Lovin' Girl. Thank you bunches, Crystal, for letting me join in!

Many of the book titles or interviews are linked. If you see it highlighted, you can click on it to go and read the review, blog tour, or interview that I did, just in case you missed it when I originally posted.

Legacy of a Writer's Month in Review - December  ~

Books I Read:
Daughter of Helaman - Misty Moncur
F.A.I.R.I.E.S: Baptism of Fire - M.C. Pearson
Kingdom's Quest - Chuck Black (Reread!)
The Merchant's Daughter - Melanie Dickerson
Princess of Glass - Jessica George Day
Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland - Roseanna White
Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
Unlawfully Wedded Bride - Noelle Marchand
Kingdom's Reign - Chuck Black (Reread!)
The Mercenary's Marriage - Rachel Rossano
Race Against Time - Kimberly and Kayla Woodhouse
Don't Look Back - Lynette Eason (Reread!)
Holding Out for a Hero - Stacey Netzel
Wayward Son - Tom Pollack
Shadowed in Silk - Christine Lindsay
Daughter of Twin Oaks - Lauraine Snelling (Reread!)
Daughter of Time - Sarah Woodbury
Sisters of the Confederacy - Lauraine Snelling (Reread!)

Author Interviews Done:
Serena Miller - The Measure of Katie Calloway
Roseanna White - Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland
Rosslyn Elliott - Fairer Than Morning (Ends Tomorrow!!)
April Gardner - Warring Spirits (Still Open!)

Reviews Posted:

Blog Tours Participated In:
FIRST Blog Tour - F.A.I.R.I.E.S: Baptism by Fire
TNT - The Merchant's Daughter
GlassRoad Blog Tour - Wayward Son

Special Events/Posts:
- LoaW's 1st Bookswap
- Christian Fiction Book Club for She Walks in Beauty
- LoaW is hosting the Contentment Reading Challenge for 2012 (Sign up if you haven't!)
- I won 1st place in GTW's Writing Prompt Contest for 2011 (Read some of my favorite prompts!)
- Read my Top Ten favorite books I read in 2011
- I'm planning LoaW's 2nd Birthday Party. Help me spread the word!
- I published a Christian historical fiction novelette! Check out my post to find out where you can buy it!
- 7 stories, 7 authors....7 Hours. This book is gunna be awesome!

My Reading Goals for 2011:
1) Challenged myself to read 200 books this year......COMLETED!! (Read 208 Total :-)
2) For the Contentment Reading Challenge Amber hosted this year, I challenged myself to reread 20 books in 2011. And I.....completed this challenge last night!!

Favorite Book of the Month:
Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland by Roseanna White
Favorite Reread? Don't Look Back by Lynette Eason


Well, there you have it. That's what took place for me (book-wise) for the month of December. How about you? What books did you read this month?

Friday, December 30, 2011

7 Hours Can't Come Soon Enough!!

Posted by Katie Garvin at 12:03 PM 4 comments
If you didn't see my "big news" announcement, follow this link to check it out. Yeah, yesterday was a very exciting day for me, and thanks to everyone who stopped by and left their thoughts. Your support is awesome!

And to top off the day, I was so excited and humbled to read the very first 'official' review for A Time to Remember on Faye's blog, Labor Not in Vain. If you were wondering about my novelette, check out her review to hear her thoughts. Thanks, Faye, for taking the time to write up a review. You made my day!

Today I really didn't have anything planned. But, since I haven't talk about my reading challenges I set for 2011, I figured it's time I do that! :-) But! Before I get into that, I have something really exciting to announce! See this guy below?

His name is James Wilson. And, to put it simply, he's pretty brilliant. Why? Well, he had this super awesome idea to bring six of the best Christian suspense writers together, to each write a novella on the same main idea, and publish it as one book called 7 Hours. What authors? Well, besides James Wilson, there's also Ronie Kendig, Mike Dellosso, Rene Gutteridge, Robin Parish, Tom Pawlik, and Travis Thrasher.

Pretty awesome group, eh? So, yep...7 stories written by 7 different authors will make 7 Hours, which is set to publish sometime in 2012 from Tyndale. It's gunna be awesome, I just know it!! :-)

Don't know what I'm talking about? Or just want more information? Check out the webpage, 7 Hours, to find out all the details. And if you are on Facebook, MAKE SURE you like their FB page!! Seriously! If they hit 500 likes, each of the authors will be giving away copies of their current books. Pretty sweet deal, no?? :-)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Big News!!!!

Posted by Katie Garvin at 2:22 PM 22 comments
Sorry to keep upping the suspense. I had originally planned to post about this earlier today, but grocery shopping got in the way, and I ended up going with two of the younger ones (which made shopping take longer) and...yeah, I am just now getting the chance to sit down on my laptop. :-) Okay, so you ready for the big news?

I've published a novelette on Kindle!!!

Yep, I have! It's called A Time to Love and it's a historical fiction, set in the years after the War Between the States. Publishing a Kindle was a very interesting experience, especially since I had to do everything myself (format, book cover, etc.), but it was fun! And now see the results!!

Price: $2.99

About A Time to Love: Four years of war, two years of reconstruction…and still her husband is missing.

With the War Between the States over, Leah Williams waits for her husband’s return. But that never happens. With no word if he’s alive, dead, or simply abandoned her, she struggles to go on. With the mortgage payments due and people pressuring her to remarry, does she have the strength to hold on? Or should she even wait for a man who might never return to her?

With so many unanswered questions, Leah must learn to lean on God implicitly. But will her blind faith be enough? Will God provide a way?

Places to Purchase:

At Smashwords, you can buy and download my novelette in just about any format you want, including Kindle. Check it out. Their options are pretty sweet! And if you can spread the news of my novelette in your circles via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc, that'd be pretty awesome!

Ohh, I'm so excited right now! :-D If you've got the time (and a spare three bucks!) I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. So if you do purchase it, feel free to leave a comment here, email me, or post a review of my novelette on Amazon, Smashwords, or Goodreads! :-)

Book Reviews - Warring Spirits

Posted by Katie Garvin at 7:22 AM 2 comments
I have some exciting news to share with you....but not yet. Later today, hopefully. I just wanted to let you know so you'll keep your eyes peeled to this blog, so when I do post about my big'll know! :-) I am SO excited about this 'big news'! Talk to you later today!!!

About the Book: In 1816 Georgia, escaped slaves control the land just beyond the American border in Las Floridas. Lost somewhere between white and black worlds, Milly follows hope to the only place that can offer her refuge—the place Georgians are calling Negro Fort. The first, sweet taste of freedom convinces Milly that surrender is not an option. Death would be more welcome. 

Major Phillip Bailey has orders to subdue the uprising and return the runaways to their masters. Forced to fight alongside Creek warriors—the same who etched the scars into his mind and flesh—Phillip primes himself for battle. But inside, a war already rages—return for the woman he thought lost to him or concede her to the enemy she loves; follow orders or follow his heart.

My Review - 5 Stars: Warring Spirits completely swept me off my feet! Revisiting characters from Wounded Spirits and discovering new ones, this next book in the Creek Country Saga is sure to win April Gardner new fans everywhere! It’s always a wonderful surprise when the second book turns out even better than the first (which was awesome to begin with! ;-), and that’s exactly what I discovered in Warring Spirits. That first scene drew me into this fantastic adventure alongside two amazing characters—Phillip the soldier and Milly the slave.

For Phillip Bailey, shackled to his haunting past, he understands and quickly come to sympathize with Milly—the young slave girl who looks every bit like a white person except for her frizzy hair. Throughout Warring Spirits, both Phillip and Milly are taken on a wild adventure as each struggles to find peace in a war-torn land. The ultimate journey for freedom seems to be continually thwarted for Milly, and no amount of Phillips secret aid helps her. It isn't until these two give the prize they both long for—freedom—to the Lord, that He returns it to them ways they could never have imagine.

Everything about this book was delightful. From the very accurate, if gruesome, details of the history, to the believable characters. April isn’t a cliché author, that’s for sure—everything within this book is as close-to-life as possible for a book, and I love it even more for that. An issue that is present in this book is the use of beautiful slave girls for their masters. While April does an outstanding job of not going into too much detail, a slavegirl is raped within the book, though the actual incident takes place “off scene”. This isn’t an easy matter to write about, I am sure, but I commend April for not steering away from the reality of that time period—as slaves were often used for such depravity by their masters.

From cover to cover Warring Spirits is a powerful, action-packed, romantic, emotional book with a message that will remain with you for a long time to come. April Gardner is a gem of an author worth setting alongside the other amazing historical fiction writers on my shelf (Jody Hedlund, Kaye Dacus, and Laura Frantz, to name a few!). Loved every moment I spent in Warring Spirits and was sad to see it come to an end!

I reviewed this book for the author. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Help me Spread the Word!!

Posted by Katie Garvin at 10:59 AM 22 comments
I've been pretty busy this past week, working on several different things. One of them is my blog party. Yep, in January, I will have been blogging for 2 years, and such an accomplishment needs a celebration, wouldn't you say?

Of course! :-D

I am not going to give you too many details about the party, as I am still making plans and--*shrug*--it's kinda fun keeping y'all in the dark until--bam!--the party is here! :-D Okay, so the party begins January 9th, and goes the entire week until the 14th.....which will make it two years to the day that I began posting. :-) There will be some great authors there with their books to giveaway...and some other people! But that's part of the surprise! *wink* So don't miss out! I promise to make it worth your while to stop by!

But before the party gets here, I need you! 
Can you help spread the word? 


Okay, so here's what you need to do. See this button below? Well, if you copy the code, take it over to your blog, and put it in the sidebar, come back here and let me know. I'll be sure to keep track of who puts my party button on their blog, and I'll give them an two extra entries into each giveaway I hold that week.

(And trust me, you will want the extra chances at winning these awesome books! ;-)

So, if you snag my button and stick it on your blog, be sure to come back here and let me know. Otherwise, I won't know to give you the extra entries! Thank you SO much for your help on spreading the word. This blog party is gunna be a blast!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Interview & Giveaway - April Gardner

Posted by Katie Garvin at 3:04 PM 21 comments
I am SO sorry about being this late in posting my review. I got caught up in something all morning and haven't had time till now. What was I working on? Hopefully, soon, I'll be able to show you! *wink* Yeah, I know, I'm keeping you in suspense...but it's kinda fun! For me, at least.

Okay, before we get into today's interview with April Gardner, I have a winner to announce for Serena Miller's giveaway of The Measure of Katie Calloway. And that person is...

Diane (estrella8888@...)

Congratulations, Diane! :-) I will be sending you an email tonight to get your snailmail! :-) To everyone else, don't forget the giveaway that is still going on -- Rosslyn Elliott's debut, Fairer than Morning!!

Welcome back to Legacy of a Writer, April! I am so excited about your second release in the Creek County Saga, Warring Spirits. (Which is SO good, folks!) To get this interview going, can you tell us a little about yourself? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?  Who or what inspired you?

Hi Katie! I’m thrilled to be back at Legacy of a Writer. It hardly seems like it’s been a year, but wow! It has, and I’m giddy with excitement to present the second book in my Creek Country Saga.

I first considered being a writer in Ms. Davy’s class my senior year of high school. She introduced me to the love of creative writing, but it was nearly a decade before I got the courage to give it a real try.

What was your journey to publication like? How long did you write before you were published? 

Don’t hate me, but my journey was rather short cared to most. I started writing in 2005 and had a contract with Vinspire Publishing by 2008. It’s all God’s doing.

Hate you? Never!! Simple, short stories to publication are awesome!! How many books have you published?  What are their names, and who are they published by?

Vinspire Publishing has published my adult romance series, the Creek Country Saga. So far, it has two books—Wounded Spirits and Warring Spirits.

Recently, Astraea Press took on the first book in my Channel Islands Resistance series. Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang released last month, just a week after Warring Spirits. My Lizzie book is middle grade historical adventure (ages 9+).

Wonderful! Folks, both of her adult romance books are awesome! Check out my review for Wounded Spirits if you want my opinion. :-) How did you get the inspiration for Warring Spirits?

History books are usually my inspiration, and for Warring, it was no different. After writing four chapters of the book, I ran across the account of Negro Fort and knew I had to write that story instead of the one I was working on. So I ditched my entire plot and started from scratch. I’m so glad I did!!

Ditched your entire plot after you started? Wow, that must've taken some courage! But I'm glad you did, as I loved learning about Negro Fort. What was the hardest part to write?

The ending!! I put it off for months then rewrote it four times. Ugh. But it was worth all the work. I’m happy with it and hope my readers are too.

The ending turned out to be absolutely beautiful! So, all the headache was worth it. ;-) Which scene or chapter do you just love to go back to and reread?

The first scene in the book, which happens to be the last one I wrote. LOL. I added it on as a special request from my beta readers. It freshens book one in the memory of those who read it and gives a peek into Phillip’s secret struggle with what today we call post traumatic stress disorder.

Haha, so the ending was the hardest to write and the beginning is your favorite. Too cool! What message(s) do you want to be clear to your readers? What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

As in Wounded Spirits, Warring Spirits tackles the evils racism on various levels. Milly is white except for her kinky hair, which gives away her diluted African heritage, but it’s enough to condemn her to slavery. On a spiritual level, she must come to terms with herself and her value before God, regardless of what men call her and how they treat her. Just as we all must.

I got the message loud and clear...and loved it! Very powerful! If Warring Spirits was turned into a movie, which actors do you think would best portray what you imagined for your main characters, Phillip and Milly? Can you describe a few main physical features that they have?

Fun question! I imagine Milly to look like a slightly lighter skinned Halle Berry
Phillip is definitely Matt Damon. Just add a scar across half his face.

What are you writing right now? Any upcoming releases we should keep our eye out for? Any sneak-peaks on what it’s going to be about?

I’m not currently writing anything, but come January, I’m going to dive back into a book I’m co-authoring with Michelle Massaro. I’ll also be as brain-storming for book 3 in the Creek Country Saga, which will probably fast-forward twenty years to Creek Indian Removal.

Ohh, a book 3? YAY!!! I was wondering about that. :-) Here’s a fun question I wanted to throw in: If you could pick any historical figure from history to chat with, whom would it be and why? (Besides Jesus! ;-)

Fun?! This is tough! There are too many to pick from, but since we’re talking about my Creek Country Saga today, I’ll keep the focus on my books.  I’d choose to talk to Surgeon Marcus Buck. I’d ask him what Negro Fort was really like. Did I come even close?

Do you like to read as much as you like to write?  Who is your favorite author?

I LOVE to read, but since I usually put it off to get “just one more scene” written, I’d say writing wins out on this one.

Haha, yes, I can image it would. :-) What are two things that people wouldn't normally know about you as a writer and or person?

I have very bad penmanship, and it’s rather embarrassing. It’s a part of dyslexia I’ve never been able to straighten out. It keeps me humble! :-)

I abhor dirty feet and will often wash them before getting in bed and when I get up. And yes, I’m a weirdo.

You sound like my mom. Haha! She can't stand dirty feet, socks, or shoes anywhere in her house. Ever. :-P Anything else about writing, yourself, or your books you’d like to add? Where can people find you?

If you’re looking for a good family read-aloud, check out my children’s adventure series, Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang.

Readers can find me here:


Alrighty, April has agreed to give away one copy of her newest release, Warring Spirits. While this is the second book in a series, you can read this one without having read Wounded Spirits first. April does a good job with that! 

I have already read this book, but have not posted my review yest. I will on Thursday, though! If you curious as to my thoughts right now, check out my Goodreads review. :-)

The rules are the same as they've always been -- you must be a follower to enter and you must leave your email address. If you don't, your entry can't be counted. USA only, please.

Mandatory Entry: 
Answer this question from April:
If you could choose your own Native American name, what would it be? I’d be Butterfly Woman, because my brain is easily distracted by the beautiful, colorful things of life and flitting from one thought to the next.

Extra Entries:
- Subscribe to this blog(+1)
- Tweet about this giveaway(+1 per tweet) Only one tweet per day. Leave a link.
- Post about this giveaway on your blog(+2)
- Comment on a review on Book Reviews by Lady Katy(+2 per comment) 2 reviews max, total of 4 extra entries

This giveaway closes on January 8th at midnight.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Top Ten in 2011

Posted by Katie Garvin at 2:40 PM 23 comments
I did this last year, and thought it'd be fun to do it again. For me, this year I read a lot of books that made it onto my favorites bookshelf. And lots of other books that really left an impression with me that didn't. So, instead of listing my top ten favorites, per se, I listed the top 10 books I read in 2011 that made an impression on me. That make sense? After listing the book, I'll explain my reasons.

(And just because the other 5-star reviewed books--or those on my favorites shelf--idn't make it onto this list doesn't mean they weren't just as good. I'm serious when I say there were some AWESOME books published this year! The ones below just left a wee bit bigger impression on me then others. :-)

If any of y'all want to join, feel free to list your top ten favorites in the comment section. Or if you posted it on your blog, leave me the link so I can check it out!

Okay, lets get started! Starting from the top, as the number one...

Top 10 in 2011

River of Time series - Lisa Bergren

Okay, I know this is THREE books, and not just one...but to me, they are all clumped together as one book. Waterfall, Cascade, and Torrent all came out this year, and they were the most-looked-for-release. As soon as I read Waterfall, I knew I was going to LOVE the rest. And I did. Totally and completely! Why did it leave such a HUGE impression on me? Because it mixed so many of the things I love -- suspense, action, medieval, romance, sword-fighting, timetravel, and close sisters -- into one awesome series! This series will forever and always remain an all-time favorite!

The Bishop - Steven James

Where to begin with this one?? put it simply, I was blown away with this one. As y'all know by now, I am crazy about thriller/suspense novels. Really crazy. I'm, like, a suspense-aholic. So while The Bishop is a 500+ page book, I read it all in one day. I could NOT put it down! Impossible!! This book is not for the faint of heart, to be sure, and even I got grossed or creeped out in places. But what made the biggest impression on me was how real James kept it. He doesn't hid the gritty details of hunting down deranged, twisted serial killers. And even the more down-to-earth things like a father and step-daughters relationship, questions about God, and what happens after death. It all just had such a strong, gritty ring of reality...that it felt like I could flip on the news channel and hear about Patrick Bowers adventures to stop the sadistic killers.

Wolfsbane - Ronie Kendig

This book was my first try in the Military Suspense genre, and it still remains my favorite of all the MS I have read. The writing is crisp, bold, and takes you right into the scene. And the adventures that this secret, special ops team, Nightshade, gets totally awesome!!! Just the thing for this thriller lover! If you read this series, I am sure you will fall in love with each member of the Nightshade team, just as I did. They are a one-of-a-kind group of heroic men! The reason it left such an impact with me was because of Dani's story in all this. Her struggle to overcome the weeks of rape and torture, and her determination to see them brought to justice, made for an intense, and memorable, read. Unforgettable!

The Doctor's Lady - Jody Hedlund

This book is my top favorite historical of the year. And the reason why is probably because of the edge of suspense and intensity that is woven into the historical. Yes, you heard me, suspense! This book is labeled as a Historical Fiction, so I wasn't expecting the adventure and suspense that filled nearly every page. But was completely delighted! And I just loved the way Jody handled Eli and Priscilla's 'business partners' relationship and showed how they slowly began to grow to love each other. It was beautiful! Stunningly beautiful. The book had just the right amount of two things I love -- suspense and history -- that I found it impossible to stop reading and finished the book in almost one sitting. Yes, I really loved this book! ;-)

Deliver Me from Evil - Kathi Macias

This one. Wow, what a heavy read. It was, in a word, heart-wrenching. Deliver Me from Evil told such a sad, but all too true, story--young girls forced to be prostitutes. The use of sex slaves is very real here in America, and this book really brings it to the forefront of your mind. I almost labeled this book as a "favorite" of mine...but after much thought, I didn't. This book was just so...different. I felt it would almost be a sin to call this book a favorite when it tells the story of so many young girls that are, right now, enduring a living hell. For those who have read this book by Macias, I'm sure you will agree with me that this book made a big impression on you. I dare you to read this and not be filled with a desire to help these girls. But be warned -- Deliver Me from Evil is not for the faint of heart.

Don't Look Back - Lynette Eason

I just finished rereading this book, and enjoyed it all over again. Kinda like Steven James' books, in that Jamie has a serial killer stalking her, this book grabbed me from page one and didn't let go. What about the book left such a big impression with me? Because of Jamie and her road to recovery after she escaped her serial killer so many years ago. Her journey was anything but easy, but I so loved seeing how she kept God as her rock of strength and trusted Him with blind faith, knowing that He did all things well and would be with her always. Even when she finds herself in the familiar surroundings of her killers lair once again. I just loved the strength she portrayed. An intense read, to be sure!


I think what left such a huge impression, for me, with this book is that it's the first Love Finds You book that was more than a "fluff read", as I call them. In Love Finds You in Annapolis, Maryland, White's character's have amazing depth and each of them go through hard trails, learn some gritty lessons, and come out changed. If you haven't been able to read any of White's are really missing out! And I highly recommend you start with this one. The writing is bold and vivid, and there's even a threat of humor woven in, making me chuckle several times. But, even with all these great things about the book, my all-time favorite aspect of the book was Wiley. I LOVE seeing a strong brother-character in books. Watching how Wiley looked after Lark so protectively and loved her so devotedly....*sigh*'s what ever girl wishes for in a brother! (And something I got in my two protective brothers!)

A Tailor-Made Bride - Karen Witemeyer

I read this on my kindle, but after finishing it had to get the book. It's just that good! As I read this debut book, I was really blown away by Witemeyer's talent. The writing was splendid! The plot and everything that takes place well thought out and seamlessly woven together. And not only that, but what left the biggest impression on me was the lesson the characters learn. Especially J.T. when he read Proverbs 31. That was one of my favorite parts! I loved the way that Witemeyer showed how a woman can be beautifully adorned without being immodest or vain. Great lessons!

Warring Spirits - April Gardner

I had the very special honors of reading this book pre-publication, and completely enjoyed the sweeping adventure that Gardner writes in Warring Spirits. The history is rich, the descriptions vivid, and the trails the characters endure heart wrenching at moments. Almost instantly, you are sympathetic toward Milly, a slave who has such light skin, she can be mistaken as a white...except for her kinky hair that gives her away. And for those who read the first book in this series, you will love seeing Phillip again and reading his story of redemption after all he's been through. And we even see Adela and Totka again! Loved that! What left the biggest impact on me was that Gardner kept things so...realistic. For example, there is one time when the hero, sadly, doesn't make it to the heroine on time. And, while my heart ached for Milly, I loved that she did it this way because, in real life, we can't always make it "just in the nick of time". But even if this is the case, God is always there and helps sustain us through everything we have to endure. :-) Great job, April!!

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

I waffled for a while on whether or not I should add this one to my list. I have a kinda mixed love/hate relationship with this series, if that makes any sense. But, since that thinking was more aimed to the rest of the series, and not the first book, The Hunger Games (which I totally enjoyed), here it is, bringing in the tail end of my top-ten books for this year. :-) What left such a big impression on me was the unique plot that had plenty of action and suspense. What's the plot? It has a gladiator-type of setting and the main character, is teenager Katniss who must go into an arena with 23 other teens and fight to the death. Only one person, the victor, leaves the arena alive. Talk about a neat story plot, eh?! I didn't like how the book ended -- with her at odds with Peeta -- but I am holding out for a happy ending for these two. We shall see, I suppose! :-)

There you have it! My top ten books that left the biggest impression on me in 2011. This year brought out a lot of awesome books, and (trust me!) picking out just 10 of my favorites was HARD! And something tells me that next year it will only be harder. ;-)

What are yours? List them below, or if you posted them in a blogpost, leave the link!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Book Review - Fairer Than Morning

Posted by Katie Garvin at 8:10 AM 6 comments
Wow, I can't beleive Christmas Eve is already HERE!! :-D This is a day early, but I wanted to give a shout-out to all my followers...

Merry Christmas!!!

I pray the Lord blesses you in these last few days of 2011!

And now, on with the review! Remember, I have a giveaway for Fairer Than Morning going on right now! Be sure to check it out!

About the Book: Ann dreams of a marriage proposal from her poetic suitor, Eli...until Will Hanby shows her that nobility is more than fine words.

On a small farm in 19th-century Ohio, young Ann Miller is pursued by the gallant Eli Bowen, son of a prominent family. Eli is the suitor of Ann's dreams. Like her, he enjoys poetry and beautiful things and soon, he will move to the city to become a doctor.

Ann travels to Pittsburgh, accompanying her father on business. There she meets Will Hanby, a saddle-maker's apprentice. Will has spent years eking out an existence under a cruel master and his spirit is nearly broken. But Ann's compassion lights a long-dark part of his soul. Through his encounters with Ann's father, a master saddler, Will discovers new hope and courage in the midst of tremendous adversity.

Check out the author's website - Inspiration Historical Romance Books by Rosslyn Elliott

And don't miss the trailer!

My Review - 5 Stars: It’s always great coming across great reads, especially when said book is from a debut author. So much talent in their first work promises a lot for their future books! And so it is with Rosslyn Elliott’s debut, Fairer than Morning.

Ann Miller was a spunky, hardworking, and mature woman that put family before herself. Getting to know her and the sacrifices she went through for her father and sisters made Ann come alive for me. Even if she was an overzealous romantic—especially where Eli and poems were concerned—there’s so much strength in her character! And Will Hanby’s story was so amazing. Heart wrenching, really. After going alongside him as he endured so much by the hand of his master, my heart was singing as God opened his darkened heart to see the light of the world.

Rosslyn knows how to write believable, deep characters. And she knows how to spin a story! I kept trying to guess how everything would work out, but I was continually surprised by the twist the plot would take. After a while, I buckled down to read till the end, simply because I just had to find out how Ann and Will can ever get their 'happy ever after'. And the bits of suspense, action, and adventure that were thrown in added an awesome tone to the book.

Two people end up sleeping together, but it happens ‘off scene’ and consequences follow. The proposal scenes weren’t my favorite, personally. Twice, Ann was proposed to and then, when she was wavering in her decision, the man kissed her passionately before repeating his request. I felt it was a bit unfair of the guy to coerce her into a decision when she was so obvious befuddled by the kiss. 

But, again, that’s just my personal thoughts and didn’t take away from the delightful story that I enjoyed from cover to cover. Will was my favorite—I almost felt as if he rose up from the pages. The author paints his dark story so vividly through her words. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for the next book in the Saddler’s Legacy. Historical romance readers everywhere would do well to pick up Fairer than Morning. Rosslyn has penned one sweeping romance! 

I reviewed this book for the author. It was not required that I give a positive review, but solely to express my own thoughts and opinions of this book, which I have done.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

GlassRoad Blog Tour - Wayward Son

Posted by Katie Garvin at 8:25 AM 6 comments
I apologize ahead of time for not having this book read. As you will see (I explain myself below), I fell a little behind on getting this rather large (500 pages) book read. But I should be finishing it up soon, Lord willing. So check back for my full review. Meanwhile, my partial review is below...

UPDATE -- My review is posted! :-)

About the Authors: Tom Pollack (center) has a passion for sailing, which led him to a friendship with Roy Disney, and ultimately to the release of Walt Disney Pictures' critically acclaimed motion picture, Morning Light. Tom graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a bachelor's degree in political science.  He resides in Dana Point with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children.  Tom serves as President of the Mission Basilica School Foundation in San Juan Capistrano and the Chairman of ExplorOcean, Newport Beach's popular nautical museum.

Jim Alves (left) recently completed a 25-year career in bond sales and trading.  He graduated from The University of Massachusetts with a bachelor's degree in finance and economics.  He currently is Chief Executive Officer of Prometheus Holdings, a financial consulting firm.  Jim resides in San Clemente, California with his wife Jackie and their two young boys, having successfully launched two older sons from the nest.

John Loftus (right) spent 23 years at Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), where as a Managing Director he focused on new product development and marketing. A graduate of Stanford University and the Stanford Graduate School of Business, his writings have been published in various financial journals and textbooks.  Now President of Cascada Productions, John is also active in philanthropy and the non-profit sector.  An Ohio native, John resides in Newport Beach, California, with his wife, Lori.  They have three grown children and two grandchildren. 

Check out these authors at their website --

About the Book: Buried near Italy's Mount Vesuvius is a remarkable observatory containing artifacts dating to the earliest record of human events. Only one person-the Getty Museum's Amanda James-can unlock the mysterious doors that guard the chamber.

But once inside, Amanda is shocked to discover evidence left behind by a notorious biblical killer-who long ago wandered off the pages of history.  

The first novel of a series, Wayward Son takes the reader on an amazing voyage, where epic adventures in Egypt, Greece, China and Rome collide with modern-day intrigue and suspense. 

My Review - 3 Stars: Journey with Amanda James in Wayward Son as she uncovers a vast amount of artifacts hidden away and that, eventually, leads her to the story of Cain. Yes, Cain—the first man born on earth and the first man to murder. This was an interesting character to pick to follow throughout history, but these three authors take the idea that part of Cain’s curse was longevity, and spun that into this masterful adventure that will please many history lovers.

Amanda James was so much fun to get to know, that I must admit I was really sad and confused when, not long into the book, she disappeared from the pages of this story as Cain took the front seat. The authors portrayed Cain in a very different light then what, I think, people normally view him as. To put it simply, they showed how human Cain really was. Which I thought very neat. The idea that Cain survived so many centuries was a little far-fetched for me (especially that he was able to stow away on board the Ark), but, hey, its fiction. Just gotta stretch your imagination a bit more for this one. 

There are a few bad words, and since Cain has such a long lifespan, he marries several women over the ages. Once or twice sleeping with a woman given to him, but who's not his wife. Not much detail is given in the scenes, though, so I didn't have any problem with them.

I guess what didn’t hit off so well with me in Wayward Son was that the whole plot wasn’t really what I was expecting. The continual jumping back and forth from historic times, to modern day, to days in Amanda's past was very abrupt and, honestly, confusing. It wasn’t until toward the end of the book that I finally figured out why they kept jumping back and forth. I think I would’ve rather liked to read this book as a biblical read, strictly from Cain’s perspective, instead of the modern day wove in. But, that’s just me!

The writing was good, details on the lifestyle, artifacts, and people very minute. Maybe too much at times—at least for me. This book spans a very long time, and through the courses of its pages, really makes you think. Even though I am not crazy about the book, I did enjoy reading it. And while I won’t read it again, I do recommend it to other readers. If you enjoy a mild-paced adventure with a twist on the Bible that takes you back in time and through the ages with Cain, I encourage you to try Wayward Son.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Writing Prompt is over...and I made it!!

Posted by Katie Garvin at 8:35 AM 5 comments
So yesterday it was officially announce that I won the Go Teen Writer's Writing Prompt contest for 2011.

*shout of joy*

Yeah, I'm excited! SUPER excited, to be exact. This contest was a year-long event, and with so many great young writers I was up against...I am so honored and humbled to have been able to retain my hold of first place. The writing prompts have been a HUGE help to me in my writing, forcing me to think outside the box, get creative, and learn how to get my readers attention from the first line.

I thought it'd be fun to highlight some of my favorite prompts I did throughout the year. So, here are four of them! :-) (The sentence in bold was my prompt that I had to work with)

Won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place
They say I'm innocent, but I know better. I’m guilty. Tainted.
Huddled in the corner of my room, lights off, shades drawn, that night eats at my soul. Like an ancient army besieging a crumbling castle, shame and guilt tear me apart inside. A shudder runs down my spine as the memories return, vivid, relentless.
Cold asphalt against my skin. His weight grinding rocks and sticks into my bare back. His rough hands. Then the overwhelming disgrace…
Sobs shake my chest. Why’d I trust him? Why’d no one warn me against playing with fire? It seemed so harmless then.
Too late, I learned my lesson. Fire burns. Bad.
Won 2nd and 3rd place
Icy vapors billow around my face as I crouch in the dark alley. I scan the snow-covered streets for soldiers—deserted. The house where the hostages are being held is two doors down. I slip my gun out. My mission is simple.
Kill the soldiers. Release the prisoners. Get out.
The front door of the house bangs open. My breath catches. Twelve soldiers pour out, hustling along two bound men. Something’s not right—they weren’t supposed to be moved tonight!
They pass my hiding place. If only they could see me nowto know they’re not abandoned.
I blink into the darkness. I need a Plan B. Fast.
 Won 1st place
I turned on the light, then blinked in disbelief. The bottle of wine looked out of place on my kitchen counter—I never bought wine anymore. Something wasn’t right.
Movement to my right caught my attention. I wasn’t alone. My pulse quickened.
“Hello, Courtney.”
Nerves on edge, I whirled toward the voice…and froze.
He was here. Gerald, my spurned lover and unforgiving tormentor. Slivers of fear pierced my chest. The witness protection program had promised safety…and yet, he had found me.
“The boss has another job for you.” He grinned in sick pleasure.
Panic clutched my heart as I found my voice. “No…I won’t kill for you again.”
Won 2nd place (Freewrite)
Wulf had always been vigilant, never caught unawares.
Until now.
He’d lingered at the village too long, growing lax with the routine of normal life. And now, in consequence of his carelessness, here he was.
He glanced at the men riding on either side of him—they stared straight ahead. He flexed his arms, straining the leather straps that bound his wrists behind his back. They didn’t budge. A low, frustrated growl vibrated the back of his throat.
Focus, Wulf. You were trained for this. Wait for the opportunity.
A large castle appeared from behind a veil of trees. He hadn’t lived in Trinovia long, but knew the castle must belong to one of the dukes of the land. ‘Twas too grand for anyone else. But why would a duke want him, of all people? And why by force?
The group of riders passed beneath the gate and halted in the courtyard. One of the men fisted a handful of his tunic and yanked him off his mount. Another prodded his back with the hilt of a dagger, urging him forward. They reached a door that led into a large, long corridor stretching both ways. They turned right.
No one spoke. In fact, no words had been spoken since they captured him the day before. Wulf wasn’t the type to plead or ask questions, and the men hadn’t offered anything. Which suited him fine.
Now that they had arrived, all would soon be explained. And he would take appropriate action.
True, they’d taken his sword and bow. Removed all his daggers.
But they’d missed one.

So, there you have it. Just a few of my favorites from this past year. That last one -- the free writer -- is the first 265 words of my book that I am currently working on, The Princess' Assassin. What do you think? I'd love your feedback on it. Good? Bad? Okay?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Interview & Giveaway - Rosslyn Elliott

Posted by Katie Garvin at 11:03 AM 29 comments
Sorry this is so late. I wasn't feeling well this morning, so I didn't get on the computer till late. But here it is! Thanks, Rosslyn, for doing this interview with me at Legacy of a Writer! :-)

Rosslyn! Welcome to Legacy of a Writer! So lovely to have you here today. To begin with, can you tell us a little about yourself? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Who or what inspired you?

I knew I wanted to be a writer after I created my first real poem when I was little. I did it to entertain myself during a grown-up farewell party for one of our military family’s many relocations. There was a fountain at the party venue and I thought the scene was so beautiful and peaceful that I wanted to capture it in words.

How long did you write before you were published? What was your journey to publication like?

I think all writers have to pay their dues, one way or the other. I paid mine by going to grad school for seven years to study American literature. I didn’t learn novelcraft there, but I absorbed a huge number of great books into my bloodstream. I still had to learn the craft of writing, because writing a novel is so different from appreciating one. But I picked it up quickly because of my background. 

I wrote one novel (now called Sweeter than Birdsong) which will be published chronologically as the second novel in my series). Agent Rachelle Gardner read it, saw the potential, and offered me representation. That novel *almost* made it to publication. The second novel I wrote was Fairer than Morning, and that was the novel that earned my contract with Thomas Nelson. 

It all worked out perfectly since Fairer than Morning needed to be published first anyway. And Sweeter than Birdsong went through almost a complete rewrite to bring it up to the level of my mature writing. If I have one piece of advice, it’s to be very careful about submitting a first novel for publication! First novels take a LOT of work to get them in shape. That extensive rewriting was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I couldn’t have done it without my editors, but I’m happy and pleased with the novel now. :-)

Wow, how funny/neat that the second novel you wrote was the first in the series. Too cool! How did you get the inspiration for Fairer Than Morning?

After I finished my grad work, my daughter was only 3, and I didn’t want to go to work full time. I figured it was the perfect opportunity to write novels. I decided to visit a local house-museum in Westerville, Ohio, where I lived at the time, to research nineteenth century artifacts. To my surprise and wonder, I found that the minister’s family who had lived in that historic home captured my imagination, as they had lived very dramatic and romantic lives based on their strong faith. It was a providential moment when I was handed the true story that God had equipped me to write. I still get chills thinking about it.

Yes, the fact that these people you wrote about are real...makes the book that much more awesome! Your debut book, Fairer Than Morning, has been out for several months. How exciting! Is being a published author what you thought it’d be like?

The best part about having a book published is exactly what I expected—having others read my work and hearing that they have been encouraged, uplifted, or moved by the story and the deeper themes behind it. This is every writer’s dream, to touch people and perhaps even help them in some way. But being a published author is harder than I thought because deadlines can become much more intense than they seem!

Oh, yeah, I bet they are! What scene was the hardest for you to write?

I cried a lot while writing Fairer than Morning. But most of the time, that was a good feeling because I knew I was telling the story with the passion it deserved. “Hardest to write” for me usually means most difficult to get onto the page. In that sense, I find it most challenging to write a good love scene. They’re very hard because almost everything romantic has become a cliché. So I work to keep it fresh, to make it real for the characters, not just a stale exchange of compliments or caresses.

Yes, I can't count how many books with love story in them that I read and go "Okay, yeah, Ive read that fifty times before". But I am happy to tell you that you did a superb job keeping yours unique and fresh! Is there a certain scene or chapter that you just love to go back to and reread?

My favorite scenes are the ones in which someone shows compassion, or experiences grace. So I like the scene in which Ann weeps over Will in the barn, because her heart is tender. (I’m trying to answer this without spoilers!) I also like the scenes between Will and Ann’s father, Mr. Miller, because there’s a fatherly love there that I don’t often see in novels.

Oh yes, I LOVED that scene between Will and Mr. Miller. Awesome! What do you hope your readers will get out of the story?

I am inspired by the Hanby and Miller families.  I hope readers will be swept away by this very romantic story, and uplifted by the example of these ordinary, real people who displayed unusual courage and compassion for others even in difficult circumstances.

If Fairer Than Morning was turned into a movie, which actors do you think would best portray what you imagined for your main characters, Will and Ann? Can you describe a few main physical features that they have?

I first envisioned Ann as a young Sally Field. But when my cover design came out, the model looked just like Natalie Portman! I was very pleased with that cover choice. Natalie Portman also has the naturally-beautiful, fresh look that I wanted for Ann. And Natalie also has a reputation for being intelligent, which fits Ann’s character too. Ann is petite, with chestnut brown hair and brown eyes

It was harder to find an actor who resembled Will. I ended up choosing Casey Affleck, but he has blue eyes and Will has brown. Still, I liked Casey’s look because he looks tough but not brutish. Will’s life has made him very tough, but beneath the surface, he is compassionate and gentle by nature.

Do you have any other books in the making? Can you give us a lil’ sneak peak of what it’s going to be about?

Sweeter than Birdsong, the sequel to Fairer than Morning, will release in February 2012 and is already available for pre-order on and Amazon! Here’s the back cover description for Sweeter than Birdsong:

Westerville, Ohio, 1855: Kate Winter’s dreams are almost within reach. As the first woman to graduate from Otterbein College, she’ll be guaranteed her deepest wish: escape from the dark secret haunting her family. But with her mother determined to marry her off to a wealthy man, Kate must face reality. She has to run. Now. And she has the perfect plan. Join the upcoming musical performance--and use it to mask her flight. 

Ben Hanby, Otterbein College’s musical genius, sees Kate Winter as an enigmatic creature, notable for her beauty, yet painfully shy. Then he hears her sing—and the glory of her voice moves him as never before. He determines to cast her in his musical and uncover the mystery that is Kate. Still, he must keep his own secret to himself. Not even this intriguing woman can know that his passionate faith is driving him to aid fugitives on the Underground Railroad. 

A terrifying accident brings Kate and Ben together, but threatens to shatter both their secrets and their dreams. Kate can no longer deny the need to find her courage—and her voice—if she is to sing a new song for their future.

I am really looking forward to that ones release! Aside from writing, what takes up most of your time?

Equestrian vaulting, which is like gymnastics and dance on horseback. I don’t actually vault, my daughter does, but I help out a lot with the horses.

Ohhh! That sounds TOO cool! :-D What are two things that people wouldn't normally know about you as a writer and or person?

I can dance and I have rhythm, which doesn’t really fit the stereotype of a writer. ;-) I don’t use those abilities much, though they come in handy sometimes for my work in the children’s ministry.
And I love British chocolate, a legacy of the three years I lived in England as a child.

British chocolate sounds yummy! Where can readers find out more about your books?

Please come visit me at my website,, where I keep a weekly blog, a contact form, and more information about my novels. And I always love to get new Facebook friends, so look me up there too!


Rosslyn has agreed to do a giveaway on LoaW. One copy of Fairer Than Morning will be given away to one of my followers. I have read this book, and completely enjoyed it. I haven't posted my review yet, but check back here on Saturday and you'll find it! :-) For now, you can read my first thoughts on my Goodreads review.

The rules are the same as they've always been -- you must be a follower to enter and you must leave your email address. If you don't, your entry can't be counted. USA only, please.

Mandatory Entry: 
Answer this question from Rosslyn:
What are the most inspirational movies you’ve ever seen?

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This giveaway closes on January 1st at midnight.

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