Guest Blog w/ Dina Sleiman. Talk about “YaHooo!!!”

I am really excited to  announce that Dina Sleiman  is guest posting today on my blog!! As you know, I just did a review on her awesome new book, Dauntless. We also had a fun Face-Off. Look!! There she is with her books!!!!! Hurry and head on over to Amazon to pick it up!!! It’s such a fun, great read.

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From Bethany House Publishers
Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior, prepare to meet your historical counterparts!

 

Hello and thanks for having me today. I would like to share with you about my YA inspirational medieval adventure/romance series.Dina Yeah, that’s a lot of adjectives. LOL. This series is pretty unique, especially in the Christian market, and so requires quite a bit of description. But let me start by sharing a little of how it came about. A few summers ago I saw a picture of a female knight, strong and courageous, bold and valiant, and I realized that somewhere in my many years of marriage and raising children, I had lost my fight. And you know what: I wanted it back!

Meanwhile, I had been considering trying my hand at a young adult medieval romance series for several years, but I didn’t have a strong idea. Quite a few more months would pass before everything came together for me. I was walking and praying about a series concept, when the BBC’s new Robin Hood came to mind with its bold Maid Marian who is a crusader for the poor in her own right, its female Djaq, and its tough villainesses. That’s when it hit me. Put strong, young medieval women in legendary male roles, et voila, my Valiant Hears Series was born.

dauntlessI’m so thankful for this opportunity to create strong and courageous role models for young women. I feel that all too often Christian girls are sent mixed messages. “You can be whatever you want to be, but you should be…” (insert small box of your denominational choosing here.) I want to inspire young women to be all that they can be and empower them to reach their full potential in Christ.

“What is a Valiant Heart heroine?” you might ask. A young woman who is both feminine and strong, vulnerable and tough, gentle and passionate. She is fearless, intelligent, and full of life. A heroine who contains within her both the tender beauty of a blossoming flower and the fierceness of a lioness. One who uniquely reflects her creator God and is willing to pursue her dreams with all her heart. A woman who is open to love, but not defined by a man.

Each book in the Valiant Hearts Series will feature a strong, young medieval woman in a traditionally male role as she lives out a story of adventure, romance, and faith. The series is geared toward teens, but will appeal to adults as well
Shown above is Merry Ellison, my heroine for the Robin Hood inspired Dauntless. Merry will go to any length to save the outlawed children of Ellsworth from the treacherous King John. Dauntless is available now online, as an ebook, and in local bookstores.

Click here to pick up at Amazon.

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Thanks so much, girl!! You had me at Katniss and Tris!!!!!!!!

Ok, guys! Go support Dina and pick up a copy of her book. You won’t regret it.

Check out what’s coming in September…. Chivalrous (Valiant Hearts)

woooo hoooo!!!!!!

Looks so good (: Can’t wait!

Don’t forget!! Enter while you can. These books are SUPER HOT right now!

Dawn has very graciously agreed to giveaway a copy of this book. SQUEEEE!!!!! I know, totally exciting. Go ahead and just yell it. You know you want to!

For those of you that just can’t wait to get your hands on a copy, just click on the pic. It’ll take you right to Amazon!

However, if you are incredibly patient and can hold out to see if you win a free e-book copy, simply follow this link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Alright Guys! Let’s get to it!!


Today is an exciting day for the awesome Jocelyn Green!! Her new book, Spy of Richmond (Heroines Behind the Lines)is released today!!! I reviewed it a few days back, so you can read more about it there. Believe me, especially you homeschool moms, you want this book! It is so enriching and full of good, solid history! I made my 15 year old son read it a couple weeks ago and he really enjoyed it because of all the Civil War history. It’s not just a romance. In fact, that is really just a side story to life during the time. So, let’s make it an awesome day for her!!!

Another new author, Dina L. Sleiman, had her new book, Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1), come out last week! This is a Young Adult book, but I LOVED it!! I reviewed it a couple days back, so you can see what it’s all about!! (:

So, momma’s, pick up these two books for you and your kiddos!!!Support these awesome Christian ladies that are stay at home mom’s making a living writing incredible books.

The Hesitant Heiress (Review and GIVEAWAY!!)

by Dawn Crandall

The Hesitant Heiress (The Everstone Chronicles Book 1)

So, when was the last time that a first time author completely knocked it out of the park? Oh, let me tell you. August 1, 2014. That’s when. Dawn Crandallhas completely declared to the world that she can write! And, boy can she!!

The Hesitant Heiress is so many things. It’s centered around Amaryllis Brigham and her life full of inconsistencies, mystery and betrayal. Who can be trusted? Who can love her for all the stigma attached to her name? When she doubts her own worth, how can she trust that anyone would find her to be more. To be worthy?

There are many characters in this book, which would normally be an annoyance to keep up with. However, Dawn has found a way to intertwine them all and cause you to care, in your own way, about each one. The romance is maddening and beautiful. There couldn’t be a more perfect hero. IMG_5535He reminded me very much of Captain Wentworth of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. *sigh*

I absolutely loved it!!  I am excited to be able to review the next two books in the series over the next two months.

NOW, to the good news. What you’ve been waiting for!!!! Dawn has very graciously agreed to giveaway a copy of this book. SQUEEEE!!!!! I know, totally exciting. Go ahead and just yell it. You know you want to!


For those of you that just can’t wait to get your hands on a copy, just click on the pic. It’ll take you right to Amazon!

However, if you are incredibly patient and can hold out to see if you win a free e-book copy, simply follow this link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, so much, Dawn! I had a great time (: Looking forward to the rest of the series!

and a few Cheapies that are WELL WORTH the cheapness (:

To Whisper Her Name (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel Book 1)To Whisper Her Name (A Belle Meade Plantation Novel Book 1)

Olivia Aberdeen, destitute widow of a man shot as a traitor to the South, is shunned by proper society and gratefully accepts an invitation from “Aunt” Elizabeth Harding, mistress of Belle Meade Plantation. Expecting to be the Harding’s head housekeeper, Olivia is disillusioned when she learns the real reason Elizabeth’s husband, Confederate General William Giles Harding, agreed to her coming. Not finding the safe haven she expects, Olivia is caught off guard by her feelings for Ridley Adam Cooper, a Southern man who seems anything but a Southern gentleman.

Branded a traitor by some, Ridley Cooper, a Southern son who chose to fight for the Union, is a man desperate to end the war still raging inside him. Determined to learn “the gift” that Belle Meade’s head horse trainer and former slave, Bob Green, possesses, Ridley harbors secrets that threaten both their lives.

As Ridley seeks to make peace within himself for “betraying” the South he loved, Olivia is determined to never be betrayed again.

The Covered DeepThe Covered Deep

Bianca Marshal is holding out for the perfect husband. Finding a man that meets the requirements of her “must-have” list in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains has proven impossible. Bianca’s mama insists that there’s no such thing as a perfect true love, and that Bianca’s ideal man is pure fiction. On the eve of
her twenty-fifth birthday, Bianca discovers a devastating statistic: her chance of marrying is now only eighteen percent. Unwilling to accept spinsterhood, Bianca enters an essay contest that propels her into a whirlwind search for her soulmate. Via the opulence of London and the mysteries of the Holy Land, Bianca’s true love will be revealed, but not without a heavy price.

To Win Her HeartTo Win Her Heart

Do They Have a Fighting Chance at Love?

After completing his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father’s knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past.

Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs in the town her father founded. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she’s reluctant to trust him. Yet as the mysteries of the town’s new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.

Eden believes she’s finally found a man of honor and integrity. But when the truth about Levi’s prodigal past comes to light, can this tarnished hero find a way to win back the librarian’s affections?

Butterfly PalaceButterfly Palace

Elegance and wealth. Privilege and politics. The extravagance of the Butterfly Palace
overwhelmed Lily’s senses and nearly smothered her painful memories. She pushed
away her misgivings . . . She was perfectly safe in this huge house.

Austin, Texas—1904: Abandoned by the love of her life and still mourning the loss of
her mother, Lily Donaldson has turned her back on the pain and come to Austin for a fresh start, working for the Marshall family as a kitchen maid in their luxurious mansion, the Butterfly Palace. The tasks before her are legion, and her mistress less than pleasant, but at least Lily’s new life will be, if nothing
else, distracting.

But one night, while serving at a dinner party, Lily recognizes the man who abandoned
her, Andy, her liaison from the livery stable, the blacksmith’s son . . .
sitting among the distinguished guests. Though he recognizes her, Andy does not
acknowledge her aloud, and Lily is left reeling, flabbergasted, and
irate.

But before she can get an explanation, the path of the Servant Girl Killer swerves
very close to the Butterfly Palace, sowing terror among the maids. Having come
to Austin to start anew, Lily suddenly feels trapped in a spider web. How can
she know who to trust in a house where lies come dressed in fine suits and
deceit in silk gowns the colors of butterfly wings?

Excitement Abounds!

I am delighted to inform my personal readers that I have secured an interview with the honorary Lord Theophilus Darcy Tuesday next. You will be amiss if you cannot be in attendance as I shall proceed to delicately inquire of the relations between a certain Miss Bennet (I shall not name her in fear that she will be most distraught) and a gentleman that Theo (we have become intimate in our friendship that I may call him by his Christian name) is closely acquainted with.

Do not fear when I say that our friendship has become intimate. I cherish his friendship, but am most decidedly infatuated with a Mr. Andrews, whose name I may declare with highest regard. Nay, infatuated is not an appropriate definition. I am bewitched, captivated and hereby besotted for the rest of my days with Mr. Andrews. So, fear not, ladies. Theo is quite available.

I have it on great authority that this is the latest painting of Theo. Now, you see?

You shan’t desire to miss this interview!

IMG_5535

Dauntless

by Dina Sleiman

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Ahh. What to say?! Where to start? Coming off of my Divergent high, the name of this book obviously intrigued me. It’s a YA book with some major girl kicking butt power!!

Lady Merry has lost her family under the cruel reign of King John (Yup! Like Robin Hood’s arch-nemesis). She and some other children had escaped and lived in the forest for 2 years. They lived off what they could find, or steal, and learned how to defend and take care of themselves.

This is such a fun book. I know it is a YA novel, but I think it will be passing through quite a few Mommas’ hands before making its way to their kiddos. It’s an adventurous story, the characters are deep and you really care about them. I enjoyed watching the way God was working in multiple lives throughout the book. Usually that is not the case. Dina found a way to show different characters struggling to make sense of God and what He was doing in their lives without it being too much of a side story, or too preachy.

Love it! Make sure you read my face-off post to get to know Dina a bit more and then head on over to Amazon and get yourself a copy of Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1)!! Make haste! It’s a great price and won’t stay for long (:

Thanks, netgalley, for this great book. As always, this is my honest opinion. Here’s to many more!!

Face-Off with Dina Sleiman

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It’s that time again!! It’s time for me to face off against Dina Sleiman! Woot Woot! I’m going for a WIN!

The rules are simple. I ask Dina some random questions. She replies and then I give my answers. Each winning answer is worth one point and I get to decide whose answer is better.

It’s my blog.

Here we go!

1. What fairy tale is your favorite?

Dina – I think I’ve always loved Cinderella the best. The girl who is rescued from poverty by the handsome prince. The dress, the carriage, the ball, the fairy Godmother. But as I’ve gotten older, I see it through different eyes. We live in a day when a young women can stand on her own feet and rescue herself. In the today’s world, that sort of rescuing mindset can lead to a controlling or even abusive relationship. Yeah, I know, I’m a party pooper, but this is just too important to ignore. I think a woman should be strong on her own before she enters marriage. My Valiant Hearts Series features strong young women, who might want marriage, but who will be fine either way. And don’t be surprised if they rescue their guys from time to time. Now, my favorite fairy tale is the Ever After version of Cinderella in which Cinderella saves herself.

Charity – ohhhh! I do LOVE Ever After. Cinderella was always my favorite too.

— Ok, Dina totally stole that point by getting all smart and political and … smart.

Charity 0 / Dina 1

2. If you could choose any other profession, what would you like to do?

Dina – Sometimes I wish I had gone into medicine. In high school I hated the smell of formaldehyde and often got sick in science class, so I never seriously considered medicine. But I’m very enthralled by the human body and all the resources God has put in nature to heal. I think I would have enjoyed being a doctor or even a nurse midwife or chiropractor. My sister is a physician’s assistant and her husband is a doctor, so at least I get to talk medicine with them. Someday I hope to write books with a midwife and an herbalist as heroines.

Charity – OMGosh. You have to stop showing off! lol (: I always pictured myself in a corporate job, unmarried and no children. God knew better. Married, have children and I stay home and homeschool them (:

— Smarty Pants

Charity 0 / Dina 2

3. As a VA Beach resident, do you find yourself vacationing there, or do you go to the Outer Banks instead?

Dina – As I’m sure you can imagine, we do a lot of “staycations.” In addition to the beach, we have Busch Gardens, Water Country, and Colonial Williamsburg nearby. If we actually go away, my kids love to head to the mountains for hiking, caving, rafting, and assorted other adventure sports. Or else we hit major amusement parks in other areas.

Charity – I guess our answers are a lot the same (living in the same area). We really do have it all here. Our extended family does a week at Duck, NC (a quaint little town) every year. Mostly, we do the things you named: Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, the beaches and amusement parks. (and trips to Ikea as often as I can!!)

— tie?

Charity 1 / Dina 3

4. Scariest moment in your life (or one of them).

Dina – Oh, that’s easy. I was stuck in Lebanon in 2006 (with my husband and three kids) when Israel and Hezbollah started fighting. We were so close to the Hezbollah camp that the house was shaking and we could see smoke. After some prayer, the family decided to hightail it to the far side of Beirut, even though the trip itself was pretty scary. Once there we were able to chill until the U.S. started sending refugee ships a week later.

Charity – OMGOSH! Are you kidding me right now?! That is CRAZY! One of my scariest moments was when my oldest son was about 11 and he wasn’t feeling well. I was on the board of our MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and had to be at the meeting. So, I set our alarm on the house and got him all set up. Halfway through the meeting, I get a call from the alarm company saying that someone had come in our home and my son was beeping in, so when I answered his call, he was hiding under the table freaking out. He said he could hear footsteps in the bedrooms and then all the sudden, he hung up. I was like 15 minutes away and somehow, God gave me a real peace. I called him back because I didn’t know what else to do. He didn’t answer for a few times, but I kept trying. Finally he answered and said to stop calling because it wast too loud. I said, get up and RUN STRAIGHT OUT THE FRONT DOOR and go to our neighbors house. Don’t stop for anything!! So, he did. The phone starts ringing again and it was the alarm company telling me that someone else was in the house now. There were two breaches. I called the police and they met me at my house.

When I finally got home, I realized that I had set the alarm to away. When my son woke up, he got out of bed and triggered the alarm. The footsteps were all in his head. When he ran out the front door, it triggered the alarm again.

heart. attack.

— You definitely take the cake on this one though. Your scare was FOR REAL and not a mess up on your part. ha ha

Charity 1 / Dina 4

5. Best prank you played on someone?

Dina – That would go all the way back to childhood. When I was about 8 and my brother was about 5, he was driving me nuts on April Fool’s Day. He kept saying ridiculous things and then, “April Fools!” Part of the appeal for him was that he was so scrupulously honest the other 364 days of the year. Finally I got so sick of it, when he pulled his next joke I turned to him with an utterly appalled look on my face. “You lied,” I said. “I can’t believe you just lied.” And of course he was like, “No, I didn’t. It’s April Fool’s Day.” Then I said something like, “April Fool’s Day ended at 4:00. It’s 4:02,” or whatever it was. LOL. Then he had a meltdown and cried, and I got in trouble. But you know, sometimes it’s just worth it.

Charity – ha ha. That is awesome. Definitely worth it. I have two I can’t decide between. When I was in college, I really hated the dean (I wasn’t so mature…) so I broke into his office one night after he went home and I put all his furniture in the elevator. Set it up in there all nice like an office….. That didn’t go over so well. But, “sometimes it’s just worth it”.

The other one was a couple years ago. My son had a friend over for the night. So, my husband and I decided to prank them. We turned the shower on and shut the bathroom door so it looked like my hubby was in there. I sat on the couch and turned the tv on like nothing was happening. My husband went outside and started scratching on the window to the room they were in (about to go to bed). They come RACING OUT saying that they think someone is at the window and they assume it’s us. But then they notice that the shower’s on and I am sitting in the living room. So, I tell them it’s probably the wind. They go back in and this time he starts really messing with the window so that it sounds like he’s trying to open it. They charge out to the living room and are freaking out. I said, no way, let’s go check. So, went in with him and we looked out the window and my husband made sure they saw him running away. They were screaming like little girls. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. We finally told them because we were laughing soo hard.

— I think I win that one!

Charity 2 / Dina 4

6. Do you have any great holiday traditions? (any holiday)

Dina – We have a big blow out “Girls Christmas Weekend” for all the females on my mom’s side of the family every year. It involves shopping, eating out, Christmas lights, presents, and card tournaments. The winner of the tournament gets a tiara and an engraved gift. Meanwhile the loser has to wear the “Looser” sash, an old ugly pair of grandma pajamas, a rain cap, and leopard socks on their hands. Then they have to do the “loser march” down the street…to music…while twirling an umbrella. We laugh until we fall out of chairs and can hardly breathe. These are all ridiculous traditions that have been added over the years, many of them involve silly things my grandmother did during her lifetime.

Charity –  Ok, wow. I have nothing that can even compete with that. ha!!!! I want to be your borrowed sister!!! We always have a 99 days until Christmas Party. That’s a lot of fun. We watch Elf,do small gifts and put up a some Christmas decorations (even a little tree).

— There’s no way my 99 days party compares!!

Charity 2 / Dina 5

7. Most embarrassing movie that you like? (embarrassing because you would feel weird if any knew and now they will)

Dina – I love “10 Things I Hate About You,” which is a true teeny bopper romance flick. I can watch that again and again and never get tired of it. Can I defend my choice by mentioning it is somewhat of a parody of Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare? And…it has a very strong and spunky heroine!

Charity – No need to defend yourself!! I love dystopian movies like I love my children. ha ha. I also love the Twilight movies.

— Ahh, it’s all good. No winner here.

8. Go to recipe that everyone raves over.

Dina – Hmm…I try to pretend that I can’t cook most of the time. So revealing a recipe here would be a bad move. If people think you can cook, then they expect you to do it. I actually don’t mind cooking for my family, but cooking for parties, etc… totally stresses me out. Beyond that, I’m not a recipe person. I like to play and experiment with food.

So I’m going to turn this around on you with something I like that relates to my book. Dauntless includes a fun acrobatic twist, so when’s the last time you did a cartwheel? Or at least a roll? I’m 44, and I did a few last year. In fact, I’m getting up to do one now so I can say I did one this year.

Yep, a little messy since I didn’t stretch first, but it worked.

Charity – Oh my goodness. I am totally peeing my pants. Girl. If I tried to do a cartwheel, I would be in the hospital. FOREVER. no, seriously. I can’t even RUN to the end of our street and we live on the corner.

— Now, that was embarrassing…

Charity 2 / Dina 6

9. Favorite era of History?

Dina – That would be the medieval period. I just find it so fun. Knights, ladies, castles. Of course the reality is that most people were peasants, but I’ve spent a lot of time studying this era, and I completely fell in love with it. Perhaps my favorite part is the medieval saints. The church in general was pretty corrupt at this time, but there were hidden pockets of devout monks and nuns, and I adore their poetry and writings. They had true vibrant, intimate relationships with Christ that blow me away.

Charity Well, some of those guys definitely had some good stuff to say. In fact, this is a direct quote from Martin Luther, “I am of a different mind ten times in the course of a day. But I resist the devil, and often it is with a fart that I chase him away. When he tempts me with silly sins I say, “Devil, yesterday I broke wind too. Have you written it down on your list?”. So, you know….I get what you are saying. (:

— I win.

Charity 3 / Dina 6

10. Weirdest thing a fan has ever said or done? Hopefully nothing like in the movie Misery! 8-/

That scared me just typing it!!!

Dina – One time I got an unusual email from a fan. She had just read my book and was poking around on my website and somehow noticed that I wear a tiny crystal nose stud. I have no idea how she even saw it. But it turned out she really wanted one and had all this religious angst about getting one, and so she sent me a list of about 50 questions concerning nose piercings. I’m thinking, “Great, so this is what I’m going to be famous for? The nose ring expert?” But I thought it was really funny, so I answered them all, and she did end up getting one. I think I spied a hoop in some bloggers nose recently…

Charity – Oh my! ha ha. That’s amazing. And yes, when I see bloggers, or authors, with nose rings, it totally gets on my nerves…

— too funny

Charity 3 / Dina 7

11. How is God being brought the most glory in your life?

Dina – I guess the two main areas are my books and my children.  I certainly pour a lot of myself into my writing, and I really hope it will touch hearts. A major theme throughout my books is intimacy with Christ. In Dauntless, this is seen best in the character Allen, and he will be the hero in book 2, Chivarlous. Also, through the Valiant Hearts Series, I truly hope to empower young women to think outside of the box and develop into all that God has destined for them to be.

But, my kids are all pretty awesome too! I’m not a clingy, controlling parent who has tried to mold their personalities and beliefs to my preferences. For me parenting has been an amazing journey of meeting these super cool people that God has placed in my life and guiding them as they discover who God has called them to be. My three kids are ages 12-20, and each is so unique and wonderful in their own ways. They are all serving God and doing great in school and in life in general. I can’t wait to see where their stories will take them.

 

Charity – That is so awesome (and I was totally hoping Allen was in the next book!!!). I agree though. Seeing our kiddos love God is what I feel brings Him the most glory. Being that example of how to deal with problems in a Godly way puts a lot of pressure on me, but it’s good. I want them learning from us how to seek God in all things. So, when the car breaks down, it’s not about me, it’s…ok, how can we bring God glory in this situation. I want my kids growing up with that mentality. That nothing is about them.
 
Final: Charity 3 / Dina 7
 
Un-believable. That is THE WORST I have ever done!!!! You just wait until the next time, missy!!!

 

 

Thanks, so much, Dina! I had a GREAT time with this face-off. Love the book!! Review is soon to follow. All of you need to run out and pick up a copy of Dauntless (Valiant Hearts Book #1). Get it while it’s HOT! There is an excerpt below…Check it out (:
 Make sure you check this out!!!!!!!