Dear Mr. Knightley | Katherine Reay

“All the furnishings are comfortable with a hint of bold. Exactly how I want to be.”

Apparently I have a thing for letters. Two of my all-time favorites (Dracula and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society) are both written in letters and/or journals. So you can imagine my delight in having the opportunity to read the fabulous debut by Katherine Reay, written in that very same way. Dear Mr. Knightley is hands down one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.





If you enjoy contemporary fiction, Jane Austen, creativity, ice cream, hugs, or puppies, you need to read this book. Perhaps a few of those things have nothing to do with this story, but I wanted to make sure everyone was included. I promise you’ll absolutely adore this one.

How do I love Dear Mr. Knightley? Let me count the ways…
1. The cover people. THE COVER.
2. It deals with foster care and adoption, so you’d be right in saying I cried.
3. All the references made me happy.

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Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.





But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

All the references to classical literature, from Great Expectations to Austen to Narnia, could have indeed snobified the novel (you’re welcome for that new word), but Reay uses them with such talent and creativity, you understand Sam and the characters on a deeper level because of them.

What did I love most about this book? Sam’s transformation. Of course you eventually find out who our dear Mr. Knightley is, but that’s not the driving force of the novel or why you keep turning page after page. You keep reading simply because you can’t stop.

(Thank you Litfuse and Thomas Nelson for the advanced readers copy. I received a copy for my honest opinion)





Oh wait! There’s more!!

Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.

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Beloved | Robin Lee Hatcher

Stories of forgiveness and redemption always get me.There’s something so beautiful about the power of redemption and how forgiveness can change a person. Those make some of the greatest stories and movies. I dare you not to cry in any of those scenes! I’m helpless against them.

It’s in this same theme that Robin Lee Hatcher sets the third installment of the Where the Heart Lives series. Beloved follows Diana, the youngest of the siblings in the series.

Diana Brennan came west on the orphan train and was given a home with a loving couple who cherished and spoiled her. At 17, she fell hard for Tyson Applegate, the son of a wealthy mine owner. After a whirlwind courtship and marriage, Tyson took off for adventures around the world, including fighting with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Receiving no word of him for seven years, Diana’s infatuation with her dashing husband died an ugly death, and she is ready to move past the old pain and marry again, just as soon as Tyson is declared legally dead.

But when her husband returns, supposedly a changed man, he wants to reunite with his wife and run for the senate. While Diana suspects the election is his real reason for wanting her by his side, she agrees to maintain his home and to campaign with him, but when it is over, win or lose, she wants her freedom. He agrees with one condition—-she must give him a chance to change her mind about him.

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I really enjoyed the first, Belonging, and I feel the same way about this one. It was a sweet story, that, as I mentioned, displays how wonderful forgiveness can be. Diana is sweet and compassionate and Tyson is honest and real. Hatcher also does a fine job showing that while a person can change, it doesn’t mean the consequences disappear. But some things are worth going to battle for. Plus there’s secondary characters you’ll really like too (and can I count animals as secondary characters?? :) )

If you’ve enjoyed this series so far, you’ll definitely like this one. Beloved can work as a stand alone as well, so if you haven’t read the first two, there’s still plenty to enjoy with this one!

Be sure to check out the lovely opportunities below to win some radness!

Robin Lee Hatcher is celebrating the release of her latest novel, Beloved, with an iPad Mini giveaway!

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One winner will receive:

  • An iPad Mini
  • Beloved by Robin Lee Hatcher

Don’t miss out! The giveaway ends on November 15th. Winner will be announced November 16th at Robin’s blog. Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Robin’s blog on the 16th to see if you won. (Or, better yet, subscribe to her blog and have the winner announcement delivered to your inbox!)!

(Thank you Litfuse and Zondervan for the Advanced Reader Copy! I was provided a copy in exchange for my honest opinion).

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4 Questions with Bestselling Author Rachel Hauck

Guys! I’m sooooo excited to have the bestselling Rachel Hauck on the blog! Not only is she a fabulous writer (she wins awards and stuff), but she’s also awesome. She gives plenty back to the reading community, not only by connecting with fans, but helping fellow writers out! She was recently awarded the 2013 AFCW (American Christian Fiction Writers) Mentor of the Year.

So if you haven’t, I suggest you grab one of her books and dive in! You can connect with Rachel on Facebook, Twitter and her website!

Rachel Hauck is an award-winning, bestselling author of critically acclaimed novels such as the RITA nominated The Wedding Dress and Love Starts with Elle, part of the Lowcountry series. She also penned the Songbird Novels with multi-platinum recording artist, Sara Evans. Booklist named their novel, Softly and Tenderly, one of 2011 Top Ten Inspirationals.

A graduate of Ohio State University with a degree in Journalism, Rachel worked in the corporate software world before planting her backside in an uncomfortable chair to write full-time in 2004.

She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers and leads worship at their annual conference. She is a mentor and book therapist at My Book Therapy, and conference speaker.

Rachel writes from her two-story tower in an exceedingly more comfy chair. She is a huge Buckeyes football fan.

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1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
Five years ago I would’ve never imagined myself in a different house, one with a freshly built (I can still smell the new lumber) two-story, octagon shaped “tower” with hardwood floors and trim as my writing office. Everyday I climb a curving staircase to the second floor, where the surrounding trees almost make me feel like I’m in a tree house, and I sit down to write novels. How fun is that?

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
Wow, that’s a hard question. There are things in my past that I would do differently now that I have the perspective of time, but I think I would’ve cheated myself of the beauty and pain of my journey to have changed anything. Maybe I’d have been more serious about following Jesus in my college years but that season taught me a lot about myself and life. I needed those days to unlock areas of my heart that helped to get me where I am today.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
I have a lot of happy moments. When I met my husband. When I got married. When I sold my first book. I’ve probably never laughed as hard as I did in college. Man, my friends and I laughed a lot. Like, fall down on the sidewalk laughter. Growing up with my family. I still hold dear one Christmas when we were waiting for my grandparents to arrive and my dad played a girl’s hand game with me. Awesome treasures.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Freedom isn’t free. Don’t depend on government hand-outs to complete your life. Get away from fear and anxiety. We have so many fears in our society. Work hard. Find solutions to your own problems through prayer, friends and resourcefulness. America is a great nation. Take advantage of the foundation set forth by our founding fathers.

Above all, love Jesus with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.

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Thank you so much Rachel! Like I said, so glad you could join the 4 Questions project!

I kinda want to give something away today, so I vote let’s! I’m giving away one of Rachel Hauck’s books of your choice (international winners can choose any e-book version). I can’t wait to read The Wedding Dress and loved what I’ve read so far, so I promise you want to enter!

To enter all you have to do is leave a comment on this post! If you want to earn extra entries, here’s a few easy ways (just leave a comment each time you do).

  • Share on Twitter and/or Facebook. Feel free to use this tweet: Want to win a copy of one of @RachelHauck fantastic novels? Check out 4 Questions and enter here! https://ow.ly/pZK9V via @jamielynne82
  • Follow Books and Beverages Feed, and/or Facebook (if you follow already, thanks! Just let me know!)

Be sure to leave a comment! Leave one by 10/31/13 at 11:59 (CST).

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3 Bibles & 4 Reasons to Grab Them

You know what I love? Creativity and the chance to express yourself. That’s one reason why I love some of the latest bible editions from the ever wonderful Zondervan. Whether you’re looking for one for yourself or as a gift, there’s plenty to choose from!

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Also, there may even be a giveaway at the end. That’s all I’m saying.

So here’s a little about each one and 4 reasons to buy them!

Sports Collection Bible, NIV (Football)
The Sports Collection Bibles in the New International Version (NIV) offer fans of basketball, soccer, and football a way to show their enthusiasm for both the Bible and their favorite sport! This version—specially geared for football fans—includes: Presentation page for gift giving and personalization, thinline size with easy-to-read print, perfect to take anywhere, Words of Christ in red and ribbon marker.
1. It’s the perfect size to take to bible study or church. As much as I love my study bible, that thing weighs 37 pounds. Plus there have been occasions where my phone fails me and I have no bible.
2. Jesus’ words are in red. I’m partial to bibles with red letters (Thank you DC Talk), as I find it rather helpful.
3. To all my single ladies who love sports – You come with a football cover bible to church, guess what? You’ll grab the attention of fellows who love football. I kid people! I kid! So I guess that’s not a real reason, but it’s fun and if someone decides to talk football with me because of it – bring.it.on. I’ll talk about the Saints all day baby allllll day! (Except last Sunday’s game. That game is dead to me).
4. It also comes in two other versions: the best sport of the universe (soccer) and basketball.

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Animal-Print Collection Bible, NIV (Zebra Print)

Perfect for kids and teens on the go! Ideal for home, school, or church use, the Animal-Print Collection Bible, NIV offers the following features: Complete text of the New International Version, Words of Christ in red, ribbon marker and handy elastic closure.
1. This little guy is perfect to keep in your purse or work bag.
2. Look how cute this is?!?
3. Y’all it comes in Giraffe and Pink print. Do you know how much I heart giraffes? I’d have a pet one if, oh it wasn’t illegal and I didn’t live in an apartment. Although, it’s two stories, so I think one would fit…
4. This one also shows red letter love.

zondervan zebra print bible

Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens, NIV: Build and defend your faith based on God’s promises
Feeling uncertain about your life? The world? Your future? Looking for something secure to hold onto in turbulent and confusing times? Wanting to know more about God? Address your questions and build a steadfast foundation for your faith with the NIV Rock Solid Faith Study Bible for Teens. Find traction for your beliefs and promises for your future. Discover constant and concrete truths rooted in the unchanging love and promises of God.

1. What a wonderful time my teenage years were, except not. Let’s throw our hands up for a decade of awkwardness! No really, I would win. Between braces and my stellar wardrobe choices, guys, I got this covered.

But it’s easy to forget what it’s like to be a teenager, especially during this day and age. First, let’s all take a moment to THANK THE LORD social media didn’t exist when I was ages 11-college. Lord knows what kind of mischief I would have gotten into. But it adds a whole new level for teenagers today and it’s scary! Scary where they search for their value and scary all the messages they are constantly bombarded with. But with a solid foundation based on beautiful Truth, those teenage years can be fulfilling and amazing. With everything else included in this Bible, it’s a great place for teens to start!
2. The “extras” in this bible are great. Whether real life examples of other students, deeper looks into God’s promises, encouragement about God’s word, His principles and all around truth, this is an awesome bible for students to dive into!
3. It has a hard cover so can take a beating in a backpack.
4. There’s plenty of room to add notes and highlight favorites passages!

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Aren’t these great?! To end I want to host a giveaway! Why? Because these are all fantastic bibles and I want to get the word out about them because nothing can change a life like His Word :) . All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and you’re entered to win the bible of your choice! If you want to earn extra entries, here’s a few easy ways (just leave a comment each time you do). P.S. On a random note if you’re curious why I don’t use rafflecopter, it’s because it hates me. It never works on my computer – tried everything they suggested too. Apparently we’re not meant to be. Rude right? ;)

Be sure to leave a comment! Leave one by 10/23/13 at 11:59 (CST).

(Thank you DJC Communications and Zondervan for the copies to review!)

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4 Questions with Bestselling Author Mona Hodgson

My favorite types of books are ones signed by the author. Call me cheesy, but the signed copies I do own have a special place on my bookshelf. And I count myself lucky to have one of Mona Hodgson’s signed, tucked away in my bookshelf!

So excited she’s on the blog today and be sure to enter to win!

Married forty-one years to her leading man, Mona from Arizona lives in the Southwest where trees have arms instead of branches and salsa is a staple. When Mona Hodgson isn’t writing or speaking, she’s playing Wii games with her Arizona grandson, spending time with her mom, picnicking, texting her sisters, or chatting on Skype with her grandchildren in Africa.

Hodgson is the author of nearly 40 books, historical novels for adults and children’s books, including her popular Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, The Quilted Heart novellas, and upcoming Hearts Seeking Home Series. Her children’s books include bestseller, Bedtime in the Southwest, six desert and princess Zonderkidz I Can Read books, Real Girls of the Bible: A 31-Day Devotional, and her six I Wonder books. Mona’s writing credits also include several hundred articles, poems and short stories, which have appeared in 50 different publications. Mona is a speaker for women’s groups, Christian women’s retreats, book clubs and reading groups, schools, and conferences for writers and librarians.

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1. What is something about your life right now that you would never imagined 5 years ago?
Inheriting three more grandchildren through a daughter’s wedding.

2. What is one thing that you would go back and do differently if you could?
I wouldn’t have let the doctor induce my labor and rush into a C-Section for the birth of my firstborn daughter.

3. What is one of the happiest moments of your life?
My one-year wedding anniversary.

4. What is one thing you want the next generation to know?
Kindred spirit friends are few and far between, and oh so valuable.

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Be sure to pick this up when it releases in August!!

Thank you so much Mona!! And because my brain is daft on many occasions, I own two copies of Twice a Bride: A Novel (The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek). If you’re wondering how this happened, I have no clue. But there’s two just hanging out on my bookshelf. So I need to give one away! I don’t want to be nominated for Hoarders or anything you know? (In case you think this was a one time occurrence, nope. I can already think of another book where I own two copies).

Want to win? All you have to do is leave a comment! Also, be sure to connect with Mona on her website, Facebook and twitter!

  • Share on Twitter and/or Facebook. Feel free to use this tweet: Check out 4 Questions with @MonaHodgson over at Books & Beverages! You can win one of her books! https://wp.me/p2iMBs-Br via @jamielynne82
  • Follow Books and Beverages Feed, and/or Facebook

Be sure to leave a comment! Leave one by 7/12/13 at 11:59 (CST). UPDATE: Congrats to Karen G for winning!!

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