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Hello, everyone! Author Kathryn Cushman is hosting a massive giveaway (we’re talking over $600 in prizes), but it ends on October 3rd! Because I’m nice, I’m letting you know about it before it does.

You’re welcome. 😉

Here’s the skinny:

Chasing HopeIn author Kathryn Cushman’s newest novel, Chasing Hope, Sabrina Rice is a gifted runner and Olympic hopeful who’s had her dreams shattered by a devastating diagnosis. One forfeited scholarship and several years later, she’s focused on building new dreams. Dreams that have nothing to do with running.

Until the day she sees Brandy Philip running across the community college campus, easily outpacing security. Sabrina immediately recognizes world-class speed, and it’s all the more painful that it belongs to a teenage graffiti artist.

When a chance encounter brings the two young women together, Sabrina gets the uncomfortable feeling her life plans are about to be toppled…again. And that God may be asking her to help this troubled but talented girl see her dreams past the starting block.

To celebrate the story, author Katie Cushman and Bethany House Publishers are pleased to present the CHASING HOPE Giveaway, and your chance to win one of three fabulous prizes connected with the story!

Timeframe & Notifications:

This giveaway starts September 16, 2013 and ends October 3, 2013 @ 11:59 pm (PST). Entry is open to US residents only, age 18 and over. Winners will be selected Friday, October 4, 2013, and announced at KatieCushman.com.

Chasing Hope GRAND PRIZE:
CHAMPION’S CHOICE PACKAGE

Nike, Grand PrizeNike’s motto is: Just Do It, and Sabrina Rice of Chasing Hope lives out this attitude despite tremendous obstacles. But chasing dreams is hard work, and every champion needs fuel for their journey.

To celebrate everyday champions like Sabrina, we’re offering our Grand Prize winner the chance to fuel up, and have some fun as they chase their dreams.

The winner of this package will receive a $200 shopping spree to the Nike Online Store, and a 1-Year subscription to Runner’s World Magazine.

Chasing Hope SECOND PRIZE:
NEW STRIDE PACKAGE

2nd PrizeIn Chasing Hope, Brandy Philip has world-class talent, but she needs a fresh start, and a little extra help to get her on the right path. Just like Brandy, we all need a boost now and then, especially when it comes to our health and fitness goals!

While we can’t all have a personal trainer like Sabrina to help us meet those goals, our Second Prize winner will receive the next best thing: This prize includes a $175 value Nike + FuelBand accelerometer, which tracks each step taken and calories burned (and tells the time of day), and The Courage To Start running book, written by popular life coach and former self-proclaimed “couch potato”, John Bingham.

Chasing Hope THIRD PRIZE:
REST & RECHARGE PACKAGE

3rd PrizeIn Chasing Hope, Sabrina and Brandy find that even the strongest runners also need time to rest.

Whether you run marathons, a carpool, or just weekly trips to the grocery store, you can always use a little you-time, and a chance to recharge!

Our third prize winner will get that chance with a $50 gift card to Spafinder.com, plus an inside look at the life of Eric Liddell, (Sabrina’s hero and inspiration), through the ‘Complete Surrender’ biography book, and the Chariots of Fire DVD, featuring Ben Cross.

How to Enter:

Go to http://www.katiecushman.com/chasing-hope-giveaway/ and complete the entry box, anytime between September 16 and October 3.

Gone to Ground, CollinsTitle: Gone to Ground

Author: Brandilyn Collins

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In the small town of Amaryllis, Mississippi, everyone knows everyone and most don’t even bother locking their doors. That is, until the murders start happening.

In the past three years five unsolved murders have occurred within the town. All the victims were women, and all were killed in similar fashion in their own homes. And just two nights ago, there was a sixth.

As panic floods Amaryllis, three women are certain they know who the killer is and will stop at nothing until he’s caught. The only problem? They each suspect a different man.

Who is right?

Who is wrong?

And who is dead?

Brandilyn Collins has become one of my favorite authors, and Gone to Ground is a fantastic example of why I love her writing so much. At this point I’ve read four novels by her, and I can pretty much guarantee that if you pick up anything of hers you’ll be hanging onto the edge of your seat until the story finishes. Her books are fast-paced and almost impossible to put down, and Gone to Ground is no exception.

Not only was I completely immersed in the story, but I could not figure out who-dun-it. I enjoy books that make you think and keep you involved in the mystery, and with this particular novel I was guessing until the very end.

Throughout the book Collins’ uses the viewpoints of three different women who are certain they know who the killer is. I’d read one viewpoint and was certain I knew, too. But then the other woman would get a chance to tell her story and show her evidence, and I was certain she was right. And so it went the entire book.

Collins is a master at both suspense and cleverly woven twists, and Gone to Ground had a twist I never saw coming.

The characters in this book were even more well-rounded and defined than I’d seen before in any of the other books I’ve read by Collins, and their voices were so uniquely crafted that I think you would know who was speaking even without the chapter headings at the top. I also really appreciated the fact that Collins went a little deeper than she normally does with her characters’ faith.

Because of the perfect balance Collins struck between an excellent plot and characters you felt as if you’d known all your life, Gone to Ground may be my favorite of hers yet.

So if you haven’t guessed already, I’m highly recommending you check out this book!

Let’s Talk Book: What’s your favorite surprise ending or twist you never saw coming? Just this once, I’ll even let you use a twist from a movie if you want. But just this once! 😉

P.S. You can leave a comment by clicking on “Leave a comment” up at the very top of this post. It’s small and a little hard to find, but just keep looking to the right after all the tags at the top, and you’ll find it there!

SovereignTitle: Sovereign (Book #3 in “The Books of Mortals” series)

Author: Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In this grand finale of a stunning series, Dekker and Lee team up once again to bring readers on an epic journey they won’t soon forget.

Hiding beneath the city, Rom and his small group of 36 Sovereigns are desperate to survive. The world has been split into four basic factions: the Sovereigns, the Immortals, Corpses, and Dark Bloods. With enemies on all sides, Rom and the rest of the Sovereigns will have to figure out how to bring life to a dying world before time runs out.

Do you remember when movie trilogies such as “Harry Potter,” “Lord of the Rings,” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” were the newest and biggest things? Trilogies hadn’t often been done before, and movie-goers both rejoiced and despaired when each movie left them on a cliffhanger. But since they had to know what would happen, they ran to the theaters in droves only to patiently wait in line for hours.

“The Book of Mortals” trilogy reminds me of that feeling. Each book takes you on an epic journey that leaves you breathless and on a cliffhanger, desperate to know what happens next. You have no other choice than to buy the next book. The classic clashes between good and evil together with heroes and heroines you can cheer for all combine for a unique edge-of-your-seat thriller.

However, none of the books in the series are stand-alones. You’ll have to read from the beginning if you want to understand the full scope of the story. Even waiting a full year as I did from the second book in the series to the third, I got a little lost. But each book is well-worth the time and money you might spend on them. The books can be a little dark and graphic (think more “Lord of the Rings” than “Chronicles of Narnia”), so if those kinds of reads bother you, I’d recommend skipping this particular series.

But if you like thrillers, Dystopian fiction, or stories filled with rich allegorical meaning, then don’t miss out on Dekker and Lee’s newest collaboration.

Let’s Talk Book: Which do you prefer? Stand-alone novels, or series?

P.S. You can leave a comment by clicking on “Leave a comment” up at the very top of this post. It’s small and a little hard to find, but just keep looking to the right after all the tags at the top, and you’ll find it there! 🙂