Check out my debut novel on GoodReads!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Writer's Review of “All the Tea in China" by Jane Orcutt

{My Review}

I truly enjoyed reading this book upon having it recommended to me by a writer-friend of mine. Being that I write historical romance from first person point of view, I am always on the lookout for such books to read. I loved that it was written strictly from the point of view of the heroine, Isabella, and that the reader gets to know Phineas Snow right along with her.

For the first 75% of this book I was COMPLETELY in love with it. I loved the characters, the writing, the plot... but then the last 25% was so much more telling, and mainly about the hero's mother and the heroine. It was still a good story to the end, but it just seemed like a much different book during that last quarter. What I liked most was that it was written in the kind of first person POV that I love best--at least for most of it. 

I do wish there were more of this kind of book in the Christian publishing market. All the Tea in China was published back in 2007, and soon after that the author unfortunately passed away. I bought this book (here) because I adored that first 75% so much.

All the Tea in China by Jane Orcutt currently has a rating of 3.66 out of 5 stars (from 406 ratings) on Goodreads.

{Blurb from GoodReads}

The good young Englishwoman knows that her destiny depends upon a good marriage match. But Isabella Goodrich is not your typical good young Englishwoman. After an encounter with those less fortunate than she, witty and fun-loving Isabella makes a shocking decision. Against everyone's advice and wishes, she is going to become a missionary in the Far East. Fighting against cultural expectations, common sense, and a mentor who is not as he seems, Isabella leaves her predictable Oxford life behind and sets sail to a new world fraught with danger. Can she trust the mysterious missionary Phineas Snowe? Or will her adventure end before it even begins? This first novel in the Rollicking Regency series will delight readers who like high adventure, twisting plots, and a fun bit of romance.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Writer's Review of “Mom's Night Out” ~ The Two Books and the Movie

{My Review of Mom's Night Out}

I love a good movie, and I love when there's a book to go along with it. And I have to admit, I watched the movie first. I couldn't help it! It looked so good--and since I've recently entered the world of "motherhood", I was super excited about seeing it. This will be my life for the next twenty years??? Yes!!!! But, boy do I love my new little boy! He is worth it! 

Apart from being base on a great movie, this was a great book! Tricia Goyer has a reputation in the Christian publishing market (CBA) for writing best-selling novels of a few different genres. She did an amazing job taking the story from the screen to the page.
{About the Book}

Moms' Night Out is a novelization of the hilarious family comedy that celebrates real family life--where everything can go wrong and still turn out all right. 

All Allyson and her friends want is a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation . . . a long-needed moms' night out. But in order to enjoy high heels, adult conversation and food not served in a bag, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours-what could go wrong?

Chronicling one night out gone awry, three harried moms, their husbands, a sister-in-law with a misplaced baby, a tattoo parlor owner, a motorcycle gang, and a bewildered cabbie all learn to embrace the beautiful mess called parenting. This book spotlights the unfulfilled expectations and serial self-doubts many moms feel . . . then reassures us that the key is raising kids in a loving home. Mom's Night Out is an endearing, true-to-life comedy. 

Purchase a copy HERE.

{About the Author}

USA Today best-selling author Tricia Goyer is the author of over 35 books, including the three-book Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series and Lead Your Family Like Jesus (co-written with Ken Blanchard). She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like and She is the host of Living Inspired, a weekly radio show. Tricia and family live in Little Rock, Arkansas. They have six children. 

Connect with Tricia: website, Twitter, Facebook 


{My Review of Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss . . .} 

This was also a very good book! I'm not quite to the point of having as many of the mommy-issues as someone who has multiple, or older children--but I know from the two and a half months that I have been a mom that it's hard work! And amidst the chaos and busyness of being a mom, we need to STOP and recoup. This was a very nice devotional to go along with the novel and movie.

{About the Book}

As a Mom, couldn't you use a good laugh? 

Inspired by the endearing, true-to-life movie Moms' Night Out, comedian Kerri Pomarolli has created this light, yet inspiring devotional that will definitely make you laugh, but will also help you discover that indeed you are not alone, and that God's gracious provision of love and faithfulness is at work in your life and of your loved ones.

Whether you're running full-speed-ahead or disappointed that it's Monday (again), you'll find joy in these devotions where Kerri shares hilarious stories and insights on daily life. Messy homes, messy kids, lost pets, never ending casseroles, forgetful husbands, and the desire to just take a long bath . . . This world can be a funny place, and these stories are bound to prove it. Read a devotion to brighten your morning, or catch a few words to make you smile before bed. There's never a bad time for a good laugh, and as a Mom, you need a Moms' Night Out and Other Things I Miss: Devotions To Help You Survive. 

Purchase a copy HERE.

{About the Author}

Called Hollywood's "God Girl," Kerri Pomarolli is an accomplished actress, comedian, published author, Christian speaker and veteran of television---with credits that include 29 appearances on The Tonight Show and Comedy Central.

Connect with Kerri: website, Twitter, Facebook 

{About the Movie}

The Moms' Night Out film features Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy), Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy), Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), Alex Kendrick (Courageous), Robert Amaya (Courageous), Andrea Logan White (Revelation Road), Kevin Downes (Courageous), and platinum-selling country recording artist Trace Adkins (The Lincoln Lawyer).


Motherhood can sometimes seem like survival of the fittest. Every day brings its own troubles, and by the end of the day, you’re spent. Between school, soccer practice, cleaning, laundry, cooking dinner, putting away dishes, and keeping your kids from going at each others’ throats, the last thing on your mind is getting away for an evening. If that’s you, you’re invited to take part in Tricia and Kerri’s No More Frumpy Mommy challenge.

Tricia and Kerri will choose 10 winners to receive a Fandango gift card to see Moms’ Night Out, as well as copies of Moms’ Night Out (the book) and Moms’ Night Out and Other Things I Miss. One grand-prize winner will receive $200 to put toward her own moms’ night out or her own moms’ night out “ride” (getting her car detailed and cleaned).

Moms' Night Out: Official Trailer

Moms' Night Out: Official Trailer

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A Writer's Review of “Daisies are Forever” by Liz Tolsma

{My Review}

Daisies are Forever is the second book in a new WWII series by new author, Liz Tolsma. I really enjoyed the first book, Snow on the Tulips, although I wasn't really into reading books set during WWII. However, these books have changed that. It's been very interesting to learn more about the war that ravaged Europe from the perspectives of characters living in different countries.

The plot of Daiseis are Forever, from what I read of the book's blurb on GoodReads, seemed like one I would enjoy even more than the first, however I never quite felt the same connection to the characters as I did in the first book. I was actually surprised I liked the first book so much back when I read it; it's such a different genre than what I usually read. This book was a well-written, with a good romance involved, and I think anyone looking for a good WWII historical will be pleased and blessed by reading Daisies are Forever.

Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma currently has a rating of 4.20 out of 5 stars (from 49 ratings) on Goodreads. I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

This book came out May 6, 2014.

{More About the Book}

Gisela must hold on to hope and love despite all odds in the midst of a war-torn country.

Gisela Cramer is an American living in eastern Germany with her cousin Ella Reinhardt. When the Red Army invades, they must leave their home to escape to safety in Berlin.

However, Ella is a nurse and refuses to leave, sending her young daughters with Gisela. During their journey, Gisela meets Mitch Edwards, an escaped British POW. She pretends she is his wife in order to preserve his safety among other Germans, especially one wounded German soldier, Kurt, who has suspicions about Mitchs identity. Kurt also has feelings for Gisela and tries to uncover the truth about her “marriage.”

Their journey to Gisela's mother in Berlin is riddled with tragedy and hardship, but they strive to keep Ellas daughters safe so they can reunite with their mother. During the journey Gisela and Mitch begin to develop feelings for one another beyond friendship. They reach Berlin, but their struggles are far from over. Gisela and Mitch must learn to live for the day and find hope in the darkest of circumstances.

In this moving, historically accurate portrayal of WWII Germany, the characters learn that, even with destruction all around them, some things last forever.

{Raving Reviews}

“Daisies Are Forever is a compelling and fast-paced tale about the atrocities and tremendous losses endured by those marked forever by World War II. Recommended for fans of Rosamunde and Robin Pilcher, Kate Morton, and historical romances.” —Library Journal

“Tolsma isn
t afraid to detail the horrors of war as she depicts how tragedies can be obstacles to one's Christian beliefs.” —Romantic Times, 4-star review

“Excellent storytelling, accurate historical reporting and gritty, persevering characters make this WWII-era novel a must-read.” —CBA Retailers + Resources

Purchase a copy: 

{About the Author}

New York Times best-selling author Liz Tolsma is the author of Daisies are Forever, Snow on the Tulips, and the contributing author of A Log Cabin Christmas. When not busy putting words to paper, Liz enjoys reading, walking, working in her large perennial garden, kayaking, and camping. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and children, who were all adopted internationally.

{Connect with Liz}

One winner will receive: 

~ A Kindle Fire HDX 
~ Daisies are Forever by Liz Tolsma

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 31st. Winner will be announced June 2nd on Liz’s website.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Liz’s website on June 2nd to see if you won.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

It's Time to Collect Influencers for my Debut Novel, The Hesitant Heiress!!

Do you love to read? Do you love inspirational historical romance with a touch of suspense thrown in? With the release of The Hesitant Heiress—my debut novel—a little over two months away (August 1st!), I’m gathering a team of readers / bloggers who would love to help me spread the word.

As a member of this team, you will receive a PDF Advance Reader’s Copy of The Hesitant Heiress [book #1 of the three book series, The Everstone Chronicles] in about 3 to 4 weeks. I will email you with links to the book cover and graphics, and author pics. As a part of this team of "influencers" your goal will be to spread the excitement of The Hesitant Heiress’s release. This can be done in the following ways:

~ If you have a blog, post a review and/or ask me for an interview [preferably in July or August].

~ Prepare a list of tweetables and tweet!

~ Talk about the book on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, GoodReads or other social media sites. If you wrote a review, post your link.

~ Like my Facebook Author Page and comment, like or share my posts to your friends and followers.

~ If you belong to a book club, suggest The Hesitant Heiress. Let them know I’m available to book clubs for online video chats. 

~ Share your enthusiasm with your Bible study, prayer group, civic groups or other organizations that you belong to.

~ Pin the book cover or other book graphics from my website, or those I share with you, to Pinterest. You can also share The Hesitant Heiress Pinterest board I’ve created.

And if you receive and read The Hesitant Heiress and find it’s not your style book? That is okay. Not all books are for all readers. If you don’t like it, feel free to do absolutely nothing.

If you would like to be on this influencer team for The Hesitant Heiress email me at dawncrandallwritesfirst (at) gmail (dot) com.

If you’d like more information about what an influencer does, author Jody Hedlund has a few blog posts about it here and here

**And in other news.... the winner of Dani Pettrey's book, Silenced, is Brittany Stump!!! [who was unable to comment on the post, but told me so through facebook].

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Writer's Review of “God's Daughter” by Heather Day Gilbert

{My Review}

One look at this stunning cover, and the knowledge that it was written in first person perspective was all it took for me to buy this book when it was marked down to a few dollars on Amazon soon after it was released. And yes, it did take me a while to read, but that was because I was literally the most tired pregnant person to ever walk the earth and had nothing to do with the story or writing.
I really don't think I've ever read any kind of book--fiction or non--about Vikings before. And I have to hand it to the author; she definitely knew what she was writing about. I could tell she did her research, and that she has a definite passion for this particular ancient people-group... and especially this woman named Gudrid, who had a real place in history.

As a reader, I really liked reading Gudrid's character. As the first and only Christian in her group of people--and one who had, beforehand, been trained in the Vikings own magical sort of religion, she really had a difficult time making sense of a lot of things... like men. By the time she was in her early twenties she had already been widowed multiple times and was still torn between her growing love for her newest husband and the other men-friends who have been attracted to her. The author deals with these situations very tastefully and obviously, from what she says on her website, has a passion to write characters stuck in a place that she knew real women readers were dealing with.    

God's Daughter by Heather Day Gilbert currently has a rating of 4.36 out of 5 stars (from 74 ratings) on Goodreads. I bought a copy of this book for myself and wanted to write a review. 

This book came out November 1, 2013.

{More About the Book}

One Viking woman. One God. One legendary journey to North America.

In the tenth century, when pagan holy women rule the Viking lands, Gudrid turns her back on her training as a seeress to embrace Christianity. Clinging to her faith, she joins her husband, Finn, on a voyage to North America.

But even as Gudrid faces down murderous crewmen, raging sickness, and hostile natives, she realizes her greatest enemy is herself--and the secrets she hides might just tear her marriage apart.

Almost five centuries before Columbus, Viking women sailed to North America with their husbands. God's Daughter, Book One in the Vikings of the New World Saga, offers an expansive yet intimate look into the world of Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir--daughter-in-law of Eirik the Red, and the first documented European woman to have a child in North America.

{About the Author}

Heather Day Gilbert writes character-driven novels that go beyond the vows, capturing the triumphs and heartaches unique to married couples. A graduate of Bob Jones University, she's been married to her sweet Yankee husband of seventeen years.
After ten years of homeschooling and six years of writing, she really doesn't have many hobbies. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, she believes that bittersweet, generational stories are in her blood.Heather's contemporary Appalachian mystery, Miranda Warning, releases West Virginia Day, June 20, 2014. Her debut Viking historical fiction novel, God's Daughter, is an Amazon bestseller.