Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I hit the jackpot when I brought Dining With Joy along on our Christmas vacation. No, it’s not a seasonal novel—but it’s so much fun! A great getaway read.
Let's begin with the back cover copy:
"Chef" Joy Ballard longs for a simpler life. But when a good-looking outsider arrives and spices things up, life becomes deliciously complicated.
Host of a regionally syndicated cooking show, Joy Ballard has a little secret: she can't cook. But when her show is picked up by a major network and given a prime time slot, her world heats up faster than a lowcountry boil.
Enter Luke Redmond: handsome, creative, and jobless after having to declare bankruptcy of his Manhattan restaurant. When her producers ask him to co-host the show, Joy sees Luke as her way out. But Luke sees much more than just a co-host in Joy.
Their relationship begins to simmer on and off set. Until Joy's secret is revealed and her reputation is ruined on national television by her rival, Wenda Devine.
But could Devine's cruelty be a divine gift? Losing Luke--and her sister--forces Joy to consider where her worth really comes from. Could God be cooking up an even bigger adventure from the mess? And will Joy hang on long enough to find out?
And now, my review:
God is good. God is love.
Those two phrases carry the heroine through some uncertain times. Great motto for readers too. Rachel excels with these Jesus-factor moments. I found myself applying this phrase to my own life a few times, between chapters.
Feeling is healing.
Don’tcha love when you unearth a shining nugget? The hero resists alcohol’s numbing effects and chooses to feel the pain of healing. Another motto for life.
Rachel Hauck’s blend of delicious romance (hello!) with recipes and setting rocked. Let’s camp on the romance a moment, shall we? Rachel has a knack for blending subtexts and passion in such a satisfying way. You’ll want this couple together.
I read a lot, especially romance. I have to say Rachel’s book is definitely near the top of my list of faves for 2010.
Don’t miss this great read. And feel free to devour it without having read the other two Lowcountry novels first. You won’t be lost.
Enjoy the romance, the quirky characters, the fun, the romance (*grin*), the cooking and the Jesus-factor.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Let's begin with the blurb:
Peer behind the closed doors of a Wisconsin tourist town gone dormant for the winter season. Watch as the drama and romance start to heat up--just as Lola the florist promised her four single friends a year ago when she gifted them with her prayers and a Christmas cactus. Will each woman find love--along with cactus blooms--as promised?
And now, here's my review:
There’s nothing like reading Christmas fiction at Christmastime. In this book, you get immersed in a lovely Wisconsin locale and you get to dive into the lives of some varied characters. We watched grandparents get together, as well as young singles. My favorite novella was Rachael Phillips’ Ride With Me Into Christmas. In September, 2009, I was there at the America Christian Fiction Writers’ conference when Rachael was surprised by Barbour’s contract offer. This is her first published fiction. What a thrill for her and her writing buds!
I’m unfamiliar with the setting of Door County, but these authors take you there. These sweet stories swallow you up in Christmas romance. Throw in some symbolism via the Christmas cacti, and you're in for a nice read on those cozy, wintry evenings.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Here is the list of new Christian fiction releases as compiled by ACFW. More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW website. Read on!
1. Aloha, My Love by Deborah Kinnard -- A Romance from Desert Breeze. A second chance at love mixes with trade winds in a winter vacation.
2. An Amish Love by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, and Kelly Long-- A Romance from Thomas Nelson. Two of today's most popular genres--Romance and Amish fiction--together in one volume.
3. Christmas Bodyguard; Gardians Series, Book 1 by Margaret Daley -- A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. Slade Caulder, a businessman, hires bodyguard, Elizabeth Walker, to protect his daughter, but can Elizabeth save both Slade and his daughter from a killer and keep herself from falling in love with him?
4. Cowboy Daddy by Carolyn Aarsen -- A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. When a woman calling herself the aunt of his nephews comes to try to take them away, Kip learns a lesson in love and letting go.
5. Driven by Shellie Neumeier -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Risen Books. Robyn can't help but notice the new guy at school, but what she misses could cost her dearly--a demon has been sent to destroy her.
6. Love Finds You in Sun Valley, Idaho by Angela Ruth -- A Romance from Summerside Press. Emily Van Arsdale returns home to film a movie and falls for the rafting consultant who has a grudge against celebrities ever since his fiancee left him for fame and fortune.
7. Maggie and the Maverick; Book 3, Idaho Brides by Erica Vetsch -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Maggie goes undercover to break up a ring of thieves, but finds herself falling for her prime suspect.
8. Michigan Brides by Amber Stockton -- A historical from Barbour. Relive Michigan's industrial boom alongside three women who must change their way of viewing the world before they can realize love.
9. Mail Order Cowboy; Simpson Creek Brides by Laurie Kingery -- A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. An enterprising miss in a bachelor-less post-Civil War Texas town organizes the unmarried ladies to bring mail-order grooms to town.
10. Praying for Rayne by Elizabeth Goddard -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong Presents. Rayne Fleming loves her job designing water fountains, but when Jack Kostner joins the company all her plans for success struggle to survive, including the blossoming love between them.
11. Singing in Babylon by Ann Gaylia O'Barr-Breedlove -- General Fiction from Oak Tara. Life in the "enchanged kingdom" is nothing like she thought.
12. The Camera Never Lies; Hometown Mysteries by Elizabeth Goddard -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Barbour. When Polly Perkins’ camera finds a murder victim, her ability to read emotions through a camera lens could prevent another murder while giving her reason to hope in lasting love.
13. The Lawman’s Christmas Gift; Alaskan Bride Rush, Book 6 by Linda Goodnight -- A Romance from Steeple Hill Love Inspired. Love, faith, and a Christmas miracle come to a dying Alaskan town just in the "Nick" of time.
14. Touched by Mercy by Tina Pinson -- A Romance from Desert Breeze. The west seems to hold all the answers to Samantha Northam's dreams, but is it far enough away to protect her from her nightmares?
15. Wasatch Love by Lauralee Bliss -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong Presents. The Wasatch Mountains of Utah holds the key to a young woman's unhappiness and a man's desperation.
16. Yuletide Defender by Sandra Robbins -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense. A determined reporter, a protective cop, and a threatening gang war are headed for a showdown, just in time for Christmas.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Don’tcha just love a good romantic comedy??
Trish’s characters are fun and her story well-crafted. This is a light read—playful and romantic. And at times, laugh-out-loud funny.
The teashop setting is delightful. What’s not to love about teas, scones and a quaint little shop of quirky characters?
Steph left everything to elope with Rick. But when she arrives in town to meet up with him, he has bailed. She breaks down directly across from Millicent’s Tea Shop. And Milly comes to the rescue. She can offer the town’s newest resident a temporary job, enough to get her started on her new life. And Milly happens to know a couple of young women who are looking for a roommate. Pretty soon, Steph is set. For now. She still needs a more permanent job. And then there’s that void in her love life.
Enter Kendall—handsome owner of the Fox and Hounds inn. But Steph isn’t in a position to consider a new relationship after being jilted. And just to mix it all up, Rick comes back.
No surprise to me, (I've loved her earlier books) Trish’s latest novel is a delight. Lovers of romance, tea and comedy will enjoy this cheery ready. I'm looking forward to more books in The Tea Shop Series.
Monday, November 1, 2010
More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW website.
1. A Daughter for Christmas; Helping Hands Homeschooling Series by Margaret Daley -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Can Dr. Max Connors make his dream of a family come true when he must tell the widowed mother of the daughter he never knew he had who he really is?
2. A Suitor for Jenny; Rocky Creek #2 by Margaret Brownley -- A Historical from Thomas Nelson. Jenny Higgins is determined to find husband for her two younger sisters and nothing, not even a handsome marshal, will stand in her way.
3. Behind the Scenes; Tabor Heights, Ohio Series by Michelle Levigne -- A Romance from Desert Breeze. Surrounded by crises, best friends transition to life partners, to their own surprise and the amusement of those who love them most.
4. Betrayal in the Badlands by Dana Mentink -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Steeple Hill. Isabel Ling and Logan Price must battle an enemy more deadly than the mighty Badlands.
5. In All Things, Sequel to “No Other” by Shawna K. Williams -- A Historical from Desert Breeze. Jakob and Meri never imagined that the tragedies of their past would one day be transformed into something wondrous and beautiful.
6. Lassoed in Texas by Mary Connealy -- A Romance from Barbour. A three-in-one of romantic comedy with cowboys.
7. Long Time Coming by Vanessa Miller -- Women's Fiction from Abingdon. Two women from different worlds find hope together in this heart gripping story of faith, forgiveness and reconciliation.
8. Mail Order Cowboy; Simpson Creek Brides by Laurie Kingery -- A Historical from Steeple Hill. A small-town Texas spinster finds love with an unlikely mail order groom.
9. Masquerade Marriage by Anne Greene -- A Historical from White Rose. When Lady Megan MacMurry chooses a husband from a secret list, she opens her broken heart to a Highland warrior's fight for life.
10. Soaring Home by Christine Johnson -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. A small-town girl plans to be the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.
11. Tales of the Dim Knight by Adam Graham and Andrea Graham -- A Sci-fi/Fantasy/Futuristic from Splashdown Books. Mild-mannered janitor and superhero fanboy Dave Johnson gets all his wishes at once when an alien symbiot gives him supernatural powers.
12. The Blacksmith's Bravery; #3, Ladies' Shooting Club
by Susan Page Davis -- A Historical from Barbour. A former saloon girl proves she can drive a six-horse hitch--and drive her boss crazy.
13. The Silent Order by Melanie Dobson -- A Historical from Summerside Press. A Cleveland detective pursues the Mafia family responsible for murdering the woman he loved until he meets an Amish woman with a secret that changes his life.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Welcome, Sandra. Good to have you here again. Tell us about your novel, Love Finds You in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.
Drawing inspiration from Hollywood classics, Annie Gray decides to start living the life of her dreams. So she moves into a picturesque bungalow and becomes a private investigator's assistant. When her screen-worthy plan starts to crumble, she lands in the arms of a leading man who is NOT Humphrey Bogart!
We’d love to know more about how you came up with the idea for your book.
Well, I’d pitched something for the Love Finds You series set in Shepherd, Montana, which they bought. However, Carlton Garborg, the owner of Summerside, had taken a golfing vacation to Carmel and came home with visions of a book set there. For some reason, maybe because I’m from California, he asked if I would consider changing the setting from Shepherd. Frankly, I thought he was out of his mind, and wondered if he’d been hit in the head by a golf ball! My book was all wrong for Carmel, or so I thought. But once I visited the place myself, I realized immediately that this was a divine connection. My book was meant for a location like Carmel! It didn’t take long to rewrite it, filtering in those dreamy ocean spots and the amazing artists’ culture of Carmel village. By the time I did the final read-through, I couldn’t even remember anywhere else but Carmel-by-the-Sea!
Tell us more about Annie Gray, your main character.
I adore Annie. She has a lot of me in her. She has a passion for classic films, she’s a little odd, but her deepest desire is to have a life that means something. And she has a key influence in the guise of her faithful dog, which of course I do as well. She also has a circle of very close friends, each of them contributing something vital to her growth and, over the course of the book, she learns a lot about the realities of love in comparison to her girlhood fantasies of what it should be.
What is your favorite scene in your novel?
Hands down, it’s the scene where Annie has just started her new job as a private investigator’s assistant. On her first stakeout, she makes the key mistake of interacting with the person she’s following. While she’s doing so, her dog goes missing from her car and, when she finds him (based on the true-life antics of a friend’s beagle) … Well, let’s just say I loved writing that scene!
I’ve read that you have a new devotional for women coming out in the spring, also published by Summerside Press. Tell us about it.
Thank you so much for asking! Last year, I worked with Debby Mayne, Andrea Boeshaar and Loree Lough to put together Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry. It was a pretty big hit with people, and Summerside asked me if I’d be interested in putting another one together with a new group of authors. So together with Diann Hunt, Kristin Billerbeck and Trish Perry, Debby Mayne and I co-authored Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days. Like the first one, a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund. I am a survivor of the disease, and it was particularly poignant this time around because Diann Hunt was going through chemo treatments for ovarian cancer during the writing process! I’m a 6-year survivor of stage 3 ovarian cancer, and I had no good reason for surviving except for the intervention of a healing and grace-giving God. To this day, there is still no reliable diagnostic tool for the disease, so it’s a cause very near and dear to my heart. The cherry on top of all of this is that Diann was declared cancer-free recently. It’s been such a rewarding experience, on so many levels.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing the sequel to January’s novel, The Big 5-OH!, which will be called The Big 4-OH!, followed up next year by The Big 3-OH! I’m really excited about the series, and it’s been so great getting reacquainted with the characters from the first book.
Thanks for visiting, Sandie! Always a pleasure to host you!
To learn more about Sandie, visit her website.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Karen Witemeyer is a skillful new author--one to watch! What's not to love about that cover??
Let's begin with the summary:
Adelaide Proctor is a young woman with her head in the clouds, longing for a real-life storybook hero to claim as her own. But when a husband-hunting debacle leaves her humiliated, she interviews for a staid governess position on a central Texas sheep ranch and vows to leave her romantic yearnings behind. When Gideon Westcott left his privileged life in England to make a name for himself in America's wool industry, he never expected to become a father overnight. And five-year-old Isabella hasn't uttered a word since she lost her mother. The unconventionality of the new governess concerns Gideon--and intrigues him at the same time. But he can't afford distractions. He has a ranch to run, a shearing to oversee, and a suspicious fence-cutting to investigate. When Isabella's uncle comes to claim the child--and her inheritance--Gideon and Adelaide must work together to protect Isabella from the man's evil schemes. And soon neither can deny their growing attraction. But after so many heartbreaks, will Adelaide be willing to get her head out of the clouds and put her heart on the line?
And now, my review:
Karen used symbols well in her novel—clouds, Gideon’s story from the Bible, and even Esther’s famous line, “For such a time as this.” In the course of the story, all of these worked.
She’s a skilled romance writer. Though there were a few places which lagged in the story, I felt overall the pacing kept me interested. Not only that, but she threw in just enough twists to surprise me.
Her heroine is a witty, strong, capable teacher-turned-governess whom we get to watch mature from flighty to competent. Our hero is well-drawn. What’s not to love about a man who adopts an orphan, in order to honor a dying stranger’s request?
The other issue is the orphaned girl is a five-year-old mute who has experienced great tragedy in her young life. I enjoyed this psychological aspect in the story as well, how the author wove in some deeper elements this way.
The author’s use of humor had me lol-ing a few times.
Overall, a very entertaining read. Lovers of historicals and romances will enjoy this second book by Karen Witemeyer.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Every now and then you run across a story that is so true-to-life, with characters real and layered up with history. This was such a book.
Let’s begin with the back cover copy:
Centered on a real landmark on the coast of North Carolina, The Mailbox blends intriguing folklore and true faith with raw contemporary issues that affect every woman.
When Lindsey Adams first visits the Kindred Spirit mailbox at Sunset Beach, she has no idea that twenty years later she will still be visiting the mailbox--still pouring out her heart in letters that summarize the best and worst parts of her life.
Returning to Sunset for her first vacation since her husband left her, Lindsey struggles to put her sorrow into words. Memories surface of her first love, Campbell--and the rejection that followed. When Campbell reappears in her life, Lindsey must decide whether to trust in love again or guard herself from greater pain. The Mailbox is a rich novel about loss, hope, and the beauty of second chances.
And now, my review:
I’m a sucker for beach stories. Oh, and letters. This novel has both. You’ll experience the youthful love of the hero and heroine, watch them grow up and lose their way in relationships, and then be drawn back to the beach where they re-encounter each other.
Through letters, Lindsey’s been reaching out the Kindred Spirit every summer since she was fifteen. (How cool is this real-life mailbox??!) She’s looking for help, intervention, a listening ear. Eventually, she learns Jesus wants to offer this to her. As a Christian reading the book, I was reminded of the wonderful access we have to God, the invitation to tell Him of our hurts and problems.
Campbell was human and real. I think readers will appreciate how relatable he was—he wants to be competent, but he’s weak. Lindsey will be hard-pressed to trust him after everything he’s done. And readers will eat up their interactions as adults, revisiting the mailbox, revisiting their past.
I like “reunion romances”—where the hero and heroine get another chance at love. So, this love story appealed to me. And perhaps it was the fact the story covered a long span of time, or the setting, or the mailbox, but this book engaged my imagination in ways few do.
Whalen does a great job of writing fiction. (Learn more about her co-written nonfiction book here and here.) She’s skilled at story-telling. I look forward to seeing more by this author.
If you enjoy contemporary romances, beach reads and/or love-letter stories, you’ll enjoy this novel.
Saturday, October 2, 2010
1. A Simple Amish Christmas by Vannetta Chapman -- A Romance from Abingdon. Will Annie find acceptance in the Amish community she left behind?
2. Brides of Arkansas by Janet Lee Barton -- A Romance from Barbour. Thwarted by mystery and mayhem, three women in historic Arkansas are roused by love when and where they least expect it.
3. Embers of Love; Striking a Match Series by Tracie Peterson -- A Romance from Bethany House. Deborah Vandermark desperately wants to fit into God's plan and 1880's Texas, but can the two coexist?
4. Emily's Chance; The Callahans of Texas, Book 2 by Sharon Gillenwater -- A Romance from Revell. Will cowboy and builder Chance Callahan be able to convince Emily Rose Denny that she can have love and a career?
5. First Love; Tombstone Treasures, Book 2 by Michelle Sutton -- A Romance from Desert Breeze. Two former high school lovers play the roles of socialite and preacher as Tombstone actors and are reunited after four years of separation; but can they rebuild their love on a new foundation, this time around without falling into past behavior?
6. Legacy of Lies by Jill Elizabeth Nelson -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Steeple Hill. When a cop's widow discovers the bones of an infant buried in her grandparent's back yard, she teams up with the local police chief to help clear her family name.
7. Love Finds You in Silver City, Idaho by Janelle Mowery -- A Romance from Summerside Press. Whoever said trouble comes in threes has never been to Silver City, Idaho, where peace and acceptance face off against chaos and rejection, and the winner is not always clear.
8. Love is Grand; Walk in the Park, Book Three by Annalisa Daughety -- A Romance from Barbour. National Park Ranger Ainsley Davis returns to her job at the Grand Canyon, a widowed mother who has become fearful of everything, including love.
9. Mirrored Image by Alice K. Arenz -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Sheaf House. The uncanny resemblance of a murder victim to eccentric newspaper columnist Cassandra Chase gives Detective Jeff McMichaels the haunting suspicion there is a link between the two women . . . a link that may only exist in the murderer's mind.
10. Mistletoe Prayers by Betsy St. Amant and Marta Perry -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Two heartwarming Christmas tales from your favorite authors.
11. Nipped in the Bud; Hometown Mysteries by Susan Sleeman -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Barbour. After Paige Turner finds a dead body on her construction site and the police think she killed him, can she prove her innocence and stay out of jail?
12. Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar -- A Historical from Moody Publishers. Rahab vowed never again to trust a man. God had other plans. Salmone was a man of faith, honor, and an enemy. An impossible marriage: an unforgettable journey of healing.
13. Prairie Courtship by Dorothy Clark -- A Historical from Steeple Hill. Emma Allen never knew, until she joined Zachary Thatcher's wagon train to Oregon country, what being a doctor really meant---or how much it could cost.
14. Seek Me With All Your Heart; Land of Canaan Series by Beth Wiseman -- A Romance from Thomas Nelson. Emily and David each come to terms with a past that follows them, testing their faith and resolve.
15. Seeking His Love: Love Inspired Series 593 by Carrie Turansky -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Haunted by false accusations, a former teacher tries to build a new relationship without revealing her troubled past.
16. The Preacher's Bride by Jody Hedlund -- A Romance from Bethany House. A young Puritan maiden determined to save a motherless baby... and a grieving preacher who doesn't want another woman in his life.
17. Whisper on the Wind; Great War Series, Independent Read by Maureen Lang -- A Romance from Tyndale. Isa Lassone sneaks into occupied Belgium to rescue the man she loves; when he refuses to go, she joins his secretive work˜praying it won't cost both of their lives.
18. Wrangler in Petticoats: Sophie's Daughters Book 2 by Mary Connealy -- A Romance from Barbour. When the two of them see an elk, she reaches for her rifle, he reaches for a sketchpad, the word DRAW means completely different things to them.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Read any great WWII fiction lately? Seems to be a theme around here. *grin* First Love Finds you in Victory Heights, Washington, and now Sarah Sundin's A Memory Between Us. They're running a contest. Read on to learn more.
Let's begin with the book's summary:
Major Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge—until he meets army nurse Lieutenant Ruth Doherty. When Jack lands in the army hospital after a plane crash, he makes winning Ruth's heart a top priority mission. But he has his work cut out for him. Not only is Ruth focused on her work in order to support her orphaned siblings back home, she carries a shameful secret that keeps her from giving her heart to any man. Can Jack break down her defenses? Or are they destined to go their separate ways? A Memory Between Us is the second book in the WINGS OF GLORY series, which follows the three Novak brothers, B-17 bomber pilots with the US Eighth Air Force stationed in England during World War II.
And now, my review:
Sarah Sundin has done it again. Last time around I was so impressed with her debut novel: A Distant Melody. A Memory Between Us is her sophomore offering, and it’s even better than the first book, in my opinion.
This book has so many textures, so many layers. Sarah skillfully (as always) teaches us non-pilots what it’s like to fly a B-17 bomber in WWII. She throws in some humor, deals with some tough subjects, and generally entertains the reader with a great story. Readers will feel these characters actually lived.
Her writing skill also impressed me so much. She is adept with every aspect. I loved her theme of trusting God with the hard stuff—with life, really. Her heroine must overcome some serious issues from her past. Readers will relate with her regrets and will care about her heartache.
And oh, the romance. You rarely read such a well-penned romance. Both her hero and heroine had some growing to do and we watch both of them face their issues or flesh, and change.
Sundin also blends humor into the story at just the right times. I thoroughly enjoyed this story for so many reasons. Highly recommended.
“Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
And now contest information:
Sarah Sundin presents The Movies and Memories Giveaway in honor of book 2 in the Wings of Glory series. A Memory Between Us is available for purchase wherever fine books are sold. From the English countryside to the perilous skies over France, A Memory Between Us takes you on a journey through love, forgiveness, and sacrifice.
To celebrate Sarah is giving one lucky winner A Movie and Memory Prize Package! One grand prize winner will receive:
* Make-your-own-photo book from Mypublisher.com (Capture your own Memories)
* Netflix Subscription (New or Nostalgic Movies delivered right to your house)
* Starbucks gift card (To keep your engine revvin’)
*Gourmet chocolate (A favorite in the 1940’s and now)
* British specialty teas in carved wooden box (Timeless tradition)
* Miniature model of a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber & C-47 cargo plane (Everyone needs a few toy planes)
*Big Band music CD (Break out your dancing shoes)
* WWII authentic poster playing cards (Cards – a perfect game for two)
* Keep Calm and Carry On (Uplifting sayings WWII, a boost for troubled times)
To enter simple click on the icons below (contest runs 9/27 - 10/17!)
Friday, September 24, 2010
From Julie Lessman’s first book (A Passion Most Pure), I’ve really enjoyed her novels! Plus, she’s a great person. So, it’s my pleasure to review her latest release: A Hope Undaunted. Read on to learn more about her contest and other great ways to connect with Julie.
First, here’s the summary of A Hope Undaunted:
The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman--smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jake fits all of her criteria for a husband--good-looking, well-connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Luke McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well-laid plans to marry Jake? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever? A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the WINDS OF CHANGE series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story.
And now, my review:
This book picks up where the Daughters of Boston Series left off, following the happenings of Katie, the O’Connor’s youngest daughter. But one of the best parts of Julie’s books is her inclusion of her cast of characters from her earlier books. She layers in relationships, including romance, sisters, parents, even following the storyline of Katie’s siblings’ continuing lives. This is fun. I’d recommend reading her earlier books to get the most out of this aspect.
One of the elements I liked, too, was that her characters (as heroic as they can sometimes be) were “real,” flawed, imperfect, but in complex ways. She weaves their motivations and stories together in an expert way, which is very satisfying for the reader.
Her spiritual elements of trusting God and waiting on Him were well written in the context of the hero and heroine’s relationship. Which brings me to the romance. Julie is an adept romance writer. I liked her ability to show the budding relationship of the hero and heroine, as well as convincingly present the marital relationships between her other “cast members.” She understands hearts and motivations. Readers pick up one of her hefty tomes *grin* and know they’re in good hands. (Julie once told me she cannot write a short book.) Lovers of historical romance will devour this next offering of Julie’s.
I have a secret hope, speaking of undaunted hope. I wish for Julie’s next book to center on Sean and Emma. Shhh . . . let’s wait and see how that turns out. *smile*
Give yourself some time to read this one (it’s 505 pages!). Sit back with some tea and relax. You’re in for a great read.
And now, here's the promised contest info:
Visit the Roaring 20’s with Julie Lessman in the Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway! Julie’s latest series has just ‘shimmied’ it’s way onto the scene with book 1 in The Winds of Change series, A Hope Undaunted! The fun begins September 20th! A Hope Undaunted
Find out more about the book, Julie here.
Enter The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway!
One Grand Prize winner will receive a KINDLE preloaded with Julie Lessman's latest title. The Prize Pack (valued at over $150.00) includes:
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form and be sure to tell your friends about the contest. Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 7th.
Not only is Julie hosting the fabulous KINDLE giveaway, but also a FACEBOOK PARTY and a BOOK BOMB!!!
Are you ready for PRIZES GALORE??? Then come to the Facebook Party!
How does a gift certificate and a signed book given away EVERY 10 minutes during an hour-long Facebook party sound? (Yeah, we think it sounds pretty great too!) On October 7th at 5pm PST (6:00 MST, 7:00 CST, & 8:00 EST) Julie is inviting you to attend the A Hope Undaunted Facebook Party! She'll announce the winner of the KINDLE and in addition to the prizes every 10 minutes, she'll also be giving away great prize baskets filled with even more Romance and Technology (Netflix, Starbucks, Amazon.com, Champagne body Lotion, Pearls, & more!)!
BUT WAIT … there’s more (and no, this is not an infomercial … it’s WAY better!). If you participate in the Book Bomb on October 7th you’ll be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com. All you need to do to participate is buy a copy of A Hope Undaunted on October 7th and send your receipt (just transaction number from store, store name & date) to email@example.com! Each book purchased equals one entry, buy 10 books get 10 entries!
All this fun begins with Revell’s blog tour SEPTEMBER 19-25, when 122 blogger/reviewers will post reviews about A Hope Undaunted, followed by the Book Bomb and Facebook Party!
So mark your calendars with these important dates:
September 19-25: A Hope Undaunted will be making an appearance on blogs across the country (and beyond!) in Revell's blog tour!
September 20th: The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway launches (contest runs 9/20 - 10/6)
October 7th: Book Bomb Day (where everyone is encouraged to buy the book online at the same time!) and Facebook Party - meet and chat with Julie, win some great prizes & find out who won the KINDLE!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I don’t often review non-fiction books, but every now and then one will cross my desk which I can’t resist. Anytime a book supports the concept that God delights in us, my interest is piqued. So, I gladly signed up for this blog tour.
Let’s begin with the summary:
In Daddy's Delight, Karia Bunting reminds women that they are God's workmanship, His masterpiece, His "poema." That God has intricately woven together every fiber of their being and created each one special and unique. That God, having completed His work of art, gave her to mankind as a gift.
Evident in this great care God took in fashioning woman is the importance and value of each one. So why do so many women struggle with God's design, wishing they could change just this or that one thing about themselves?
Bunting challenges each reader to accept and embrace the fact that, in whatever season of life, she is God's masterpiece--not her own work of art. When God sees her, He sees His beautiful creation. A creation that yes, has some wrinkles needing to be smoothed out and yet, is one in whom is His delight to love to perfection.
And now, my review:
Following an opening chapter chock full of affirmation, Dr. Karia Bunting takes readers through advice, beginning with fruits of the Spirit. Very useful information, especially for a new believer. She also covered various stages of a woman’s life: singleness (including widowhood), marriage, motherhood, career, ministry, etc. These were discussed rather thoroughly, as if the author were mentoring the reader.
Dr. Bunting doesn’t hold back. She gets real, but she’s dignified about it. She breaks down the issues that real women face in a way that is honorable, honest, and insightful. Though at first I felt this book might apply as a whole more to new believers, as I read on, I saw that women at whatever stage would benefit from reading this book. She’ll give it to you straight and bookend the message with affirmation. And the message of God delighting in His kids is one we all need to hear about more often, believe more fully, and exist in. Dr. Bunting will give you the tools to do just that.
For other blog tour stops, click here.
Friday, September 17, 2010
Books are just more fun when they’re written about lake settings or beaches. *grin* And what’s not to love about that cover? I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: covers matter.
Welcome to the latest stop for the blog tour of Making Waves by Lorna Seilstad.
Here’s the book’s summary:
When spunky Marguerite Westing discovers that her family will summer at Lake Manawa in 1895, she couldn't be more thrilled. It is the perfect way to escape her agonizingly boring suitor, Roger Gordon. It's also where she stumbles upon two new loves: sailing, and sailing instructor Trip Andrews. But this summer of fun turns to turmoil as her father's gambling problems threaten to ruin the family forever. Will free-spirited Marguerite marry Roger to save her father's name and fortune? Or will she follow her heart--even if it means abandoning the family she loves? Author Lorna Seilstad's fresh and entertaining voice will whisk readers away to a breezy lakeside summer holiday. Full of sharp wit and blossoming romance, Making Waves is the first book in the LAKE MANAWA SUMMERS series.
And now, my review:
Marguerite Westing struggles with two sizable character flaws: lack of assertion and willingness to compromise when it comes to telling the truth.
Both of these weaknesses get her into trouble over and over again. She holds the key to her own freedom but fails to assert herself, then feels like a victim as life happens to her, and she waited for someone else to rescue her. Loved this message—we often hold the key to our breakthrough, we just have to assert ourselves.
And, as many a clever novelist will do, Lorna ties this together with her other theme—honesty. I’ll let you read the book to find out how.
Lake Manawa, Iowa, in 1895 was a happening place, apparently. I felt like I was strolling around the lake, hearing the splash of revelers who were trying to escape the heat while camping.
Can you imagine taking multiple tents, servants and real furniture with you and camping next to other wealthy families for an entire summer? In the Iowa heat?? *grin*
Then, there’s the sailing fun. Lorna gives us creative, quirky characters and a slew of troubles to navigate in this enjoyable romance.
Reading Making Waves feels like a double escape—both because of the history and the lake setting. Enjoy!
Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Note from Janice Hanna Thompson, author of LOVE ME TENDER:
Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by to share in the excitement of LOVE ME TENDER, my latest inspirational romance. When I heard about the new “When I Fall in Love” line at Summerside, I flipped! Why? Because I love the ‘50s, and I love music! (The line is based on song titles from the 1930s to the 1970s.) I happen to be a playwright with a really fun musical comedy titled JOHNNY BE GOOD, a story that’s near and dear to my heart. I decided to put a twist on that stage play and turn it into a rockin’ romantic novel! With that in mind, I hope you enjoy this “Hollywood Heartthrob” interview with four of the main characters from the novel.
Hollywood Heartthrob, “Man About Town” Column
Welcome, readers! This is Sunset Sam, columnist for Hollywood Heartthrob magazine, here to interview several characters from LOVE ME TENDER, a new book by author Janice Hanna Thompson. I read the book in preparation for this interview and had a hip-hip hoppin’, be-be-boppin’ time reading about the characters down at Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe in Laguna Beach. I’ve been to Sweet Sal’s many times, of course. Everyone in Hollywood knows it’s all the rage. Where else can you get a big, thick cheeseburger, hot, salty fries and the thickest chocolate malts in the country? Now that I’ve enticed you with the food, let’s have a little chat with some of the key players in our story. We’ll start with Debbie Carmichael, daughter of the owners of Sweet Sal’s.
Debbie, could you tell us a little about what your day-to-day life is like?
Most of the girls my age are in college, but I decided to stay in Laguna Beach and help my parents out at our family run soda shop. I have the best life ever! I live across the street from the Pacific Ocean, and love spending time at the cliffs, watching the waves lap the shore. When I’m at the soda shop, the jukebox is always playing. I’m gaga over Elvis’s new song, “Love Me Tender.” It’s all the rage with teen girls right now. Of course, I’m also head over heels for Bobby Conrad, but don’t tell my friends, okay? They think I’m more mature than most of the other teen girls who hang out Sweet Sal’s. Of course, I’m a little distracted by that new guy, Johnny Hartman. He’s so sweet and handsome, and I hear he’s a great singer, too!
Johnny, I read in another article that you came all the way from Topeka, Kansas to Hollywood to make it big. How does Hollywood compare to Topeka?
There’s really no way to compare Topeka to Los Angeles. People out here (in California) are more up on current styles, the hottest tunes and the hippest actors and actresses. Back home, folks are so grounded. That isn’t always the case here in L.A. I hope I don’t sound too stuck up when I say that back in Topeka, I was a big fish in a small pond. And because my dad’s a pastor, I had plenty of opportunities to sing in church. But out here in L.A. no one even knows who I am. My agent, Jim Jangles, is working hard to get me a gig on television. I’m auditioning for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts soon. Say a little prayer for me!
Bobby, I understand you were slotted to sing at the fundraiser at Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe, but had to cancel. Could you explain your sudden departure?
Yes, I was scheduled to sing at the fundraiser, but just got word that I’ll be filming my new movie that same weekend. I was really disappointed to have to tell the Carmichaels the news, but hopefully they understand. I think it’s going to be okay, because my agent, Jim Jangles, is sending his latest prodigy—a kid from Topeka named Johnny Hartman—in my place. I hear he’s quite a singer.
Sal, could you tell our readers about some of the Hollywood stars you’ve met over the years?
First of all, thanks for including me in this interview! It’s been decades since I was a teen, but I still secretly read Hollywood Heartthrob magazine. (Shh! Don’t tell my husband, Frankie, or my daughter, Debbie!) I’m blessed to be the co-owner of Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe in Laguna Beach, and I’ve met a lot of stars who’ve come through on their way to places like Dana Point and San Diego. Here’s a list of some of my favorites: Doris Day, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Ozzie and Harriet. There are dozens more, of course. I want to personally invite all of your readers to stop by Sweet Sal’s Soda Shoppe so that they can see the photos on our walls! And while you’re here, why not enjoy a creamy chocolate malt?
Debbie, a little birdie told me that you and the other girls in Laguna Beach are gaga over Elvis, Pat Boone and Bobby Conrad. Now that you’ve gotten to know (and love) Johnny Hartman, what would you say sets him apart from the other great singers you’ve known?
Oh, no doubt about it . . . Johnny isn’t just a great singer, he’s got a heart of gold. I especially love his strong faith. Unlike so many of the other singers in town, he doesn’t put himself first. With Johnny, it’s God first . . . all the way! And when he sings . . . man! That voice! It’s a smooth as velvet. (And it doesn’t hurt that he’s so dreamy! Talk about handsome!)
Johnny, you’ve been asked to fill in for Bobby Conrad at the Laguna Beach fundraiser. Can you tell us how you’re feeling as you look forward to the big day?
I don’t mind admitting I’m a little nervous. Who wouldn’t be? Thousands of girls from Orange County and beyond are looking forward to seeing Bobby Conrad in person. Now I’ve been asked to fill in for him. I’ll be lucky if they don’t boo me off the stage or toss rotten tomatoes at me! Hopefully my new love song—the one I wrote for the gorgeous Debbie Carmichael—will win them over. I hope so, anyway!
Bobby, many Christians have a hard time hanging onto their faith once they achieve stardom. You seem so grounded. What’s your secret?
I always try to honor God in everything I do—whether it’s movies or songs for the radio. There’s a verse that I love, and it’s one I try to live by: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The way I look at it, if I make a choice to put God first, He’s going to bless me above and beyond anything I could ever ask for, anyway. Even if He didn’t bless me, though, I would still serve Him. It’s really the only way to live a fulfilling life. (And trust me when I say that people out here in L.A. are looking for ways to live a fulfilling life!)
Sal, we were sorry to hear about your husband’s health problems. How is he doing now?
Praise the Lord, Frankie seems to be doing a little better. His heart attack several months ago really shook us up. And we got behind on the mortgage, which has made me a little nervous. Still, I choose to trust God. And now that everyone in town is banding together to put on the fundraiser to save the soda shop, I’m feeling more hopeful than ever!
Debbie, is there anything you’d like Hollywood Heartthrob readers to know as we end this interview?
Yes, I would like people to know that it is possible to live in Hollywood—to be a big star, even—and still be a person of faith. I’ve witnessed it in Bobby Conrad’s life, and in Johnny’s, too. I’d also like to share that putting your trust in God is really the only way to go. Some problems are just too big for us to handle on our own. When my dad got really sick, I made up my mind to try to “fix” the situation. What I’ve learned is this—only God can truly “fix” anything. And trust me when I say that His “fix” is far greater than anything we could ever dream up!
Thanks so much, folks! It’s been a great interview.
Well, there you have it, Hollywood Heartthrob fans. This is Sunset Sam, signing off for this week. See you next time!
GIVEAWAY INFO: Janice Hanna Thompson is hosting a giveaway on her facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/jhannathompson). To enter, leave a comment on her page with the name of your favorite ‘50s star (movies or music) and explain why you liked him/her. The drawing to win the Be-Boppin’ ‘50s Basket (filled with great ‘50s memorabilia) will take place on the weekend of October 29th – 31st. Why? Because that’s the same weekend Janice is directing a local (Houston) production of JOHNNY BE GOOD the musical comedy that served as inspiration for LOVE ME TENDER.
To visit Janice’s webpage, go here: www.janicehannathompson.
Thanks for visiting, Janice! I'm looking forward to reading Love Me Tender.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Let's start with the book's summary:
They say you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. But who would want a cake they couldn’t eat? Just ask Emma Rae Travis about that. A baker of confections who is diabetic and can’t enjoy them? When Emma meets Jackson Drake, the escapee from Corporate America who is starting a wedding destination hotel to fulfill a dream that belonged to someone else, this twosome and their crazy family ties bring new meaning to the term Family Circus. The Atlanta social scene will never be the same!
Hi Sandie. Welcome! Tell us about Always the Baker Never the Bride.
This book has been an absolute joy! Even before it hit bookstores the first of September, the reviews have been phenomenal. Something about these characters really appeals to readers on a broad level. It’s receiving four- and five-starred reviews, we’ve taken a couple of queries about the possibility of translating the book to film, and I’ll be doing interviews for the likes of Walmart and Southern Living magazines. It’s been so exciting to see Emma and Baker develop a life of their own.
Tell us why you decided to pursue a career as a writer.
Well, I’m not sure there was ever a time when I didn’t know I wanted to write. However, I was a big fan of film, and the writing I wanted to do was for the movies. I moved to Los Angeles in my twenties, and went to film school to learn my craft. Just about the time I started to make a little headway, my mom became ill in Florida and I had to give up my life in California so that I could move there and take care of her. At the time, I thought my life was pretty much over. But what I found was that God had a plan for my life that I hadn’t quite found yet. When I walked into a local chapter meeting of RWA writers in Tampa, I knew I’d found it. Some of my best friends and supporters to this day came out of that little meeting room in the back of a Picadilly restaurant more than ten years ago.
What did you love about writing Always the Baker Never the Bride?
When I finished writing Baker, it was excruciating to leave the characters behind. Emma Rae is a diabetic baker who can never eat her own creations. From her family to the hero and his family, it was an absolute hoot to write!
What is your most difficult obstacle as a writer?
My greatest obstacle these days is trying to hold down a 40+ hour a week “day job” to pay the bills while building a writing career. It’s quite a challenge to compartmentalize all the areas of my life and keep all the plates spinning at the same time.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
Quirky is my middle name, I am sorry to tell you. I’m the kind of person who can find humor in anything, even the most UNhumorous things. Fortunately, I have a couple of friends who are just like me, so we can giggle together at a funeral or laugh through tears at our misfortunes. It’s not so bad being an oddball when there’s someone else just as strange as you are to share it with … or at least someone who understands!
Are there themes you like to include in your books?
I’m a big fan of destiny. I think it comes from the belief that was developed in me very early on that there are no real accidents in life. God whispers a direction in our ear, and then opens up the path for us with road signs all along the way. I LOVE to write about those unexpected, often unrecognizable signs that point the way.
What else are you working on right now?
I’m collaborating with Kristin Billerbeck, Debby Mayne, Diann Hunt and Trish Perry on a devotional for Summerside Press. It will be titled Delight Yourself in the Lord…Even on Bad Hair Days, and like last year’s Be Still…and Let Your Nail Polish Dry, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.
When the devo is all pulled together, I’ll jump right to The Big 4-OH!, the second in my Abingdon series about the life and loves of three sisters, ten years apart in age.
Thanks for visiting Sandie! I can't wait to read this one!
Sandra D. Bricker has been publishing in both the Christian and general market for years with novels for women and teens, magazine articles and short stories. With 11 novels in print and 4 more slated for publication through 2012, Sandie has carved out a niche for herself as an author of laugh-out-loud comedy for the inspirational market. Sandie was an entertainment publicist in Hollywood for 15+ years. Her first comedy for the inspirational market, Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas, garnered three readers’ choice awards in 2009, and Love Finds You in Holiday, Florida has followed up with two more in 2010. Check out her blog here.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Almost twenty years ago, when my now husband and I were planning our wedding, choosing music and dreaming about the future, we heard a song by Steven Curtis Chapman about commitment: “I Will Be Here” This seemed like such a meaningful and appropriate song for our wedding, so we asked a friend to sing it for us. What a special memory.
And through the years, we've listened to other SCC songs, enjoying his albums. So, when the news of Maria’s tragic death came through Spirit 105.3 in Seattle in May, 2008, I began praying immediately for this precious family while my heart broke in two.
And now, over two years later, what a privilege it has been to read Mary Beth’s account of not only her family’s grief in the wake of Maria’s home-going, but also her transparency as a Christian on her own journey with God. Her courage astounds me, and I applaud her willingness to usher us into the secret places of pain and doubts and perseverance.
God is glorified in this true story of loss and suffering. As a mom myself, I cried as I read the account. I could relate with Mary Beth’s honesty and poignancy. She doesn’t uphold an image. She’s down-to-earth about her life and pain.
The book reads fast, by design. Chapters are short, and you won’t feel bogged down in details.
Only recently have I taken an interest in this genre of autobiographic books and Mary Beth’s and Ellen Vaughn’s work ranks up there with the best. Very well done. While reading, I laughed and of course, cried. (Don’t miss Mary Beth’s rafting trip account. A great emotional release before the later chapters.)
For the hope in the pages, for the way God is honored in good times and bad, I highly recommend this book.
“Available September 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
Friday, September 3, 2010
My dear friend and critique partner, Ocieanna Fleiss, has teamed up with Tricia Goyer again with the Summerside Press offering Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington. I recently had the privilege to read the entire novel. What a great book! (Read on to learn about the contest Tricia is holding as part of the blog tour.)
Here's my review:
Rosalie’s trying to prove herself and atone for her past (as if she could). Because she didn’t love Vic, the fallen soldier and her former fiancé, she feels she must work extra hard in the war effort. She’s a record-setting riveter with a plane load of guilt. And she’s certainly not going to entertain another relationship any time soon.
Enter reporter Kenny Davenport, who’s on assignment to write a series of articles on Rosalie, calling her “Seattle’s own Rosie the Riveter.” From the very beginning, these two are destined to be singled out, together, and whether it’s working side by side on an old Victorian home for his aunt or research for those articles, they have plenty of fun. Too bad Rosie’s adamant about not trusting reporters like her father, who let her down when she was a child.
She’ll have to overcome her self-reliance, projections and release her past to the Savior in order to consider a relationship with Kenny.
I appreciated how the authors didn’t follow pre-set formulas. They threw in some twists, like not leaving conversion scenes to the end. I loved the history. Seattle is a great setting, and I feel the authors really highlighted the city, taking us into its historical neighborhoods and businesses.
The cast of characters were well drawn and served the hero and heroine well, especially Birdie, and Kenny’s father.
Love Finds You in Victory Heights, Washington is a rich novel full of romance, regrets, patriotism, and redemption. Readers will enjoy the setting and history as they’re immersed in a time of giving one’s all for our country, whether at home or abroad. I recommend this book and look forward to future collaborations by these authors.
About Tricia Goyer: Tricia Goyer is the author of twenty-four books including Songbird Under a German Moon, The Swiss Courier, and the mommy memoir, Blue Like Play Dough. She won Historical Novel of the Year in 2005 and 2006 from ACFW, and was honored with the Writer of the Year award from Mt. Hermon Writer's Conference in 2003. Tricia's book Life Interrupted was a finalist for the Gold Medallion in 2005. In addition to her novels, Tricia writes non-fiction books and magazine articles for publications like MomSense and Thriving Family. Tricia is a regular speaker at conventions and conferences, and has been a workshop presenter at the MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) International Conventions. She and her family make their home in Little Rock, Arkansas where they are part of the ministry of FamilyLife. For more on Tricia visit www.triciagoyer.com
About Ocieanna Fleiss: Ocieanna Fleiss is a published writer and has edited six of Tricia Goyer’s historical novels. She lives with her husband and their four children in the Seattle area. For more about Ocieanna visit her blog.
Tricia's holding a contest, as well. Check out the details here.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Here's the list of new Christian fiction releases as compiled by American Christian Fiction Writers.
1. Across the Cotton Fields; Mississippi Brides, book 1 by Diane T. Ashley and Aaron McCarver-- Romance from Barbour. Alexandra Lewis must find a husband before a family scandal follows her to Mississippi, but where does God fit into her plans?
2. A Door County Christmas; The Heart's Harbor by Cynthia Ruchti, Ride With Me Into Christmas by Rachael Phillips, My Heart Still Beats by Eileen Key, and Christmas Crazy by Becky Melby, A collection of four Christmas-themed romance novellas from Barbour. A Door County innkeeper guarantees four single women that her Christmas cactus gifts˜and love˜will bloom by Christmas. As December nears, will barren plants and romances blossom into holiday joy? (Watch NBN for my review.)
3. A Hope Undaunted; Winds of Change series, book 1 by Julie Lessman -- A Romance from Revell. While on a summer law internship, a sassy and modern woman of the Roaring 20s butts heads with her lawyer boss, a stubborn pest from her past. (Watch NBN for my review coming up this month!)
4. A Memory Between Us; Wings of Glory, Book 2 by Sarah Sundin -- An historical from Revell. During World War II, B-17 pilot Maj. Jack Novak has never failed to meet a challenge - until he meets Lt. Ruth Doherty, a striking nurse with a shameful secret. (Watch NBN for my review.)
5. A Prairie Christmas Collection by Deborah Raney, Tracie Peterson, Tracey V. Bateman, and six others -- A collection of nine Christmas-themed romance novellas from Barbour. An instant holiday treasure, this fiction collection is penned by nine multi-published authors. Each novella promises a sweet Christian romance on the historical American Great Plains.
6. A Riverwalk Christmas by Elizabeth Goddard, Martha Rogers, Lynette Sowell and Kathleen Y'Barbo-- A collection of Christmas-themed romance novellas from Barbour. Four young women find love in the most unexpected places at Christmas.
7. A Very Private Grave; #1 The Monastery Murders by Donna Fletcher Crow -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Kregel. Felicity thinks she knows everything, until a brutal murder teaches her she doesn't know anything.
8. A Woodland Christmas by Janelle Mowery, Tamela Hancock Murray, Darlene Franklin and Ramona Cecil-- A collection of Christmas-themed romance novellas from Barbour. Experience a nostalgic Christmas in the Piney Woods of East Texas where a traveling wood-carver dispenses wisdom that brings four couples to realize the gift of love.
9. Alpha Redemption by P.A. Baines -- A Science Fiction/Fantasy/Futuristic from Splashdown Books. In man's pursuit of knowledge, artificial intelligence was created. In the pursuit of love, artificial intelligence found God.
10. Baby Makes A Match; Love Inspired/Chatam House Series by Arlene James -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. A rodeo cowboy rescues a stranded pregnant girl and with the help of three matchmaking aunties….well what else do you need?
11. Christmas Mail Order Brides by Vickie McDonough, Susan Page Davis, Therese Stenzel and Carrie Turansky-- A collection of Christmas-themed romance novellas from Barbour. Ride the transcontinental railroad as marriage arrives by mail-order-and just in time for Christmas.
12. Finding Becky; Book 3 Winds Across the Prairie by Martha Rogers -- An Historical from Realms/Strang. Rebecca comes home with a new attitude, but Rob wants to find the Becky he's loved since their youth.
13. Formula for Danger by Camy Tang -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Love Inspired Suspense. Dermatologist researcher Rachel Grant is pursued by an enemy trying to take her latest research and her life.
14. Head in the Clouds by Karen Witemeyer -- A Romance from Bethany House. When a recovering romantic goes to work for a handsome ranch owner, her heart isn't the only thing in danger.
15. High-Stakes Inheritance by Susan Sleeman -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Claiming an inheritance turns deadly when Mia Blackburn returns to her hometown.
16. In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- An Historical from Bethany House. Claiming an inheritance turns deadly when Mia Blackburn returns to her hometown.Three best friends, three cherished dreams, three searching hearts...
17. Judgement Day by Wanda Dyson -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Random House/Waterbrook. One reporter's love of sensationalism leads to a horrifying story and someone willing to kill her to keep her quiet.
18. Lily and the Lawman; Idaho Brides, Book Two by Erica Vetsch -- An Historical from Barbour. A wary woman has no choice but to join forces with a local lawman to rescue her kidnapped niece.
19. Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe by Anita Higman and Irene Brand-- A Romance from Summerside Press. Two heartwarming stories of Christmas past and present.
20. Lydia's Charm by Wanda Brunstetter -- A Romance from Barbour. Will the anonymous gifts left for Lydia bring her hope for a new life, and when tragedy befalls her yet again, will the mysterious gift giver be there to support her?
21. Making Waves; CHAIM series, Book Four by Lorna Seilstad -- An Historical from Revell. After Mr. Boring presses for an engagement, a witting debutante meets an intriguing sailing instructor who is everything her hum drum suitor is not.
22. McKenzie; Montana Skies Series by Penny Zeller -- An Historical from Whitaker House. She wanted to change him and mold him into the man she was supposed to marry. Instead, she was the one whose heart was changed.
23. Medical Error; Prescription For Trouble (book two) by Richard L. Mabry, M.D. -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Abingdon. Identity theft isn't normally fatal, but this time it was.
24. More Than Words; Daughters of Amana #2 by Judith Miller -- An Historical from Bethany House. Will Gretchen Kohler's one impulsive decision cause tragic consequences for the entire Amana Community and cost her everything, even the love of her life?
25. Second Chance Brides; Texas Boardinghouse Brides #2 by Vickie McDonough -- An Historical from Barbour. When the man they came to town to marry weds someone else, two mail order brides must find a way to survive in Texas--or find another man to marry.
26. Secret of the Shroud by Pamela Billings Ewen -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from B&H Publishers. A powerful Bishop reaches for revenge when he's suddenly confronted with the secret of the Shroud and a choice that can destroy him.
27. Tender Vow by Sharlene MacLaren -- A Romance from Whitaker House. When John Evans is killed in a skiing accident, his brother, Jake, reaches out to his widowed sister-in-law, but Rachel will have nothing to do with his charity, particularly since they have a "history" she'd rather forget--but God has other plans.
28. The Columns of Cottonwood; The Alabama River Heritage Series by Sandra Robbins -- A Romance from Barbour. When a handsome stranger purchases a woman's plantation for back taxes, she vows to recover her land, but they discover God has a greater solution--a compromise to benefit both.
29. The Doctor's Blessing; #2 in The Brides of Amish Country by Patricia Davids -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. A nurse-midwife to the Amish and the new doctor clash over her home deliveries.
30. The Healer's Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson -- A Romance from Zondervan. The Sleeping Beauty fairy tale comes to life when Rose, the apprentice to the town healer, falls in love with Lord Hamlin, the betrothed son of a duke.
31. The Newcomer by Laurie Alice Eakes -- An Historical from Barbour. Marigold sacrifices things precious to her, for the sake of her young charges and isn't willing to let their uncle take over when danger follows in his wake.
32. The Perfect Blend; The Tea Shop Series by Trish Perry -- A Romance from Harvest House. A jilted bride encounters chaotic jobs, overbearing society matrons, and charming suitors in her quest for love, independence, and the occasional glimpse of God's will.
33. The Wolf of Tebron by C. S. Lakin -- An Science Fiction/Fantasy/Futuristic from AMG/Living Ink. A young blacksmith goes in search of his missing wife, journeying to the four ends of the world and solving riddles with a faithful wolf at his side.
34. Where Hearts Are Free; Darkness to Light Series, Book #3 by Golden Keyes Parsons -- An Historical from Thomas Nelson. In the freedom and promise of the New World, Bridget Barrington and Philippe Clavell fall in love, but nothing about their love seems possible, apart from God's intervention.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Escape to the beach.
I just finished reading Denise Hunter’s Driftwood Lane. I devoured this final installment in the Nantucket Love Story series in a weekend.
First, let’s begin with a summary:
Meridith can handle anything: guardianship of three distant siblings, a dilapidated Bed-and-Breakfast, even an ever-present handyman who's dismantling more than her fireplace--or can she?
When the death of Meridith's estranged father leaves her with custody of three siblings she's never met, she reluctantly goes to Nantucket to care for them--but only until their uncle returns from his trip. Little does she know, the uncle is already there under the guise of her friendly handyman, with plans of his own.
Will the love that grows between them be strong enough to overcome the secrets that brought them both to Driftwood Lane?
And now, my review:
Denise Hunter has a way with words and storytelling, characterization and setting. In her Nantucket series, setting acts like a character. You feel like you’re staying in a B&B on the beach. That’s a delightful aspect of this series and this story.
From the beginning of this series, I’ve enjoyed Denise’s allegories. She demonstrated God’s love through her characters, through their trials and their responses and her depictions of their romance. In Driftwood Lane, a major theme was freedom from fear. And somehow, without portraying her heroes as perfect, she gives us glimpses of God’s love as He helps us get free and release ourselves to His love.
It’s rare to find a romance which doesn’t bow to all the confines of formula. I feel Denise makes the most of them. The path she takes is intricate and enjoyable. Her scenarios aren’t cliché. And this couple's first kiss? Goosebumps. And I’m not talking about the characters.
I highly recommend this entire series. You don’t have to read the books in order. They stand alone. But I wouldn’t miss one of them. So enjoyable. Denise’s books teach you something about God’s love--it's fiction that leaves you feeling more open to God, perhaps closer to Him, warmed by His love.
Friday, August 27, 2010
The third book in the Charles Towne Belle series is a strong conclusion to the trilogy.
Let's begin with the summary:
Join bestselling author M. L. Tyndall for another seafaring historical full of romance, intrigue, action, and adventure. Grace Westcott has piously served God her whole life. Captain Rafe Dubois cannot pass up the opportunity to earn more gold toward the hospital he’s building for the poor by kidnapping Admiral Westcott’s youngest daughter. But when the missionary and the mercenary meet, it’s full-sail-ahead into tumultuous waters! Find out what happens when a bitter mercenary who’s sworn off God falls in love with a pious woman determined to change him.
And now, my review:
From near the beginning of the story (with the help of the title’s clue) readers can see the heroine’s fatal flaw—she’s a Pharisee. She’s self-important and holier than thou. The problem with this prideful position is she won’t be of much use until she’s humbled. So, when obstacles come her way, and God doesn’t seem to answer her prayers, she has to look inside and examine herself.
I related to the heroine’s struggle to hear from God. She prayed and prayed, but didn’t receive what she was asking for. I believe readers will relate with this. Later in the story, the author balanced this with the heroine’s victories in the midst of her trials. I believe this element will encourage readers who may themselves be going through a tough season.
One element you can count on with M.L.’s fiction is her acknowledgement of spiritual warfare. She uses symbolism to show her characters are involved in an unseen battle. Though her heroine was pharisaical, she still had discernment, which came in handy in the midst of the story’s progression.
Another impressive element in M.L.’s writing is her astounding grasp of all things ships on the high seas in the 1700’s. Her description of the workings of the ships is detailed, and she comes across as an expert. This adds to the overall experience of reading her historical fiction.
This third book in the Charles Towne Belles trilogy is a great conclusion. On November 1st, Barbour will release the trilogy in one volume. I recommend reading the entire series, though if you read them separately I don’t believe much is lost (i.e. I don’t think you’ll be at a loss to figure out who is who).