Monday, August 30, 2010

Driftwood Lane by Denise Hunter


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 clichĂ©. 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.

Highly recommended.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Raven Saint by M.L. Tyndall


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).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Announcing Launch of Harbourlight Books

Here at Net's Book Notes, I like sharing behind-the-scenes news in Christian publishing. Today, I'm excited to announce the launch of Harbourlight Books.

Here's more information:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Lisa Dawn, Marketing Director
Harbourlight Books
A division of Pelican Ventures LLC
PO Box 1738
Aztec NM 87410

http://www.harbourlightbooks.com
lisadawn@harbourlightbooks.com

Pelican Ventures offers new opportunities in Inspirational fiction through Harbourlight Books.

Aztec, NM –July 27, 2010 – Nicola Martinez, founder of Pelican Ventures, LLC, a New Mexico media company, announced today that the company has launched a new publishing venture. Harbourlight Books will publish Christian fiction that ranges in length from 25,000 words to 80,000. This announcement comes just nine months after the company acquired White Rose Publishing, a Christian romance publisher of electronic and print titles.

Harbourlight Books seeks to publish all genre of Christian fiction, Martinez said. “Everything but romance.” Martinez said. “Romance will still be handled exclusively by White Rose Publishing.” According to Martinez, there is a need for the expansion of eBook availability within the Christian fiction community. Harbourlight Books will fill that niche, bringing general Christian fiction to the eBook arena where White Rose Publishing fills the gap on the romance side. The popularity of eBooks is on the rise as “…evidenced by the recent Amazon press release that announced eBooks for Kindle outsold hardbacks,” Martinez said. In addition to electronic books, Harbourlight will publish print editions of novels. Submission guidelines are available on the Harbourlight Books website.

Harbourlight Books is dedicated to providing quality inspirational fiction that adheres to mainline Christian teachings. Currently Harbourlight Books is accepting unagented submissions for short stories and novels that are already complete. The company launch its first release in 2011.

Harbourlight Books titles will be available for purchase directly from the Harbourlight Books website and through various retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others. Bookstores wishing to stock Harbourlight titles may contact the publisher directly, or use Ingram Distributing. Titles will also be available to retailers and at several public libraries as electronic downloads through OverDrive Media.

For information: http://www.harbourlightbooks.com or
Contact: lisadawn@harbourlight.com

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Author: Allie Pleiter

My friend Allie Pleiter's latest book released just a few days ago. She's here to tell us more about it. Welcome, Allie!

Tell us about the inspiration for your latest release, Mission of Hope.

You’re writing a romance during what?

Lots of eyebrows raised when I told people I was working on a romance novel set in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires. I got lots of looks that broadcast, “Well, if you can crank a happy ending out of that, good luck to you.”

What better place to portray how love really does conquer all? Did you know that a record number of marriage licenses were issued in the aftermath of the disaster? While lots of things were destroyed beyond repair, lives are never so damaged that they cannot be redeemed. Especially when God is involved.

Quinn and Nora both know their lives are forever changed, but both also recognize that God holds new futures for them. Both sense God’s larger plan is just out of sight, and the vital part of the love story is that they bring out the best and strongest in each other. What drama could be more compelling? The scope of their romance demanded an epic backdrop like the earthquake.

So yes, I am writing a romance set during the 1906 earthquake. I wouldn’t have it an other way.

Here's the summary:

No one knows who he is or where he’s from. But witnesses throughout San Francisco report a masked man in black is bringing supplies--and badly needed hope--to homeless earthquake survivors. Some believe that the city’s gallant rescuer is a gentleman of wealth. But others whisper that he is a working class man with courage as great as his faith. And rumor has it that one of the city’s most spirited society belles is helping him against her family’s wishes. What can be confirmed is that the masked messenger will need more than a miracle to escape those on his trail--and win the woman risking everything to save him...

And in place of a review, here's an excerpt:

She looked right into his eyes, and Quinn felt his stomach drop out through what was left of the soles of his shoes. “You’ll probably think it’s silly, but you’ve been such an encouragement to me. Here I was thinking God had left me alone, and you do all those things—those little but very big things—that let me know He’s still minding my path. You’re an answer to my prayers, Quinn Freeman. How does that make you feel?”

He knew the exact moment his heart left his body. The exact instant it disobeyed all the good and solid reasons he had for not pining over Nora Longstreet and left to follow her of its own accord. He stared at her, knowing his affections had just overstepped all kinds of bounds and not caring. He no longer had any choice in the matter. “I’m thinking it might not be wise to answer that, Miss Longstreet.”

~~~~~

An avid knitter, coffee junkie, and devoted chocoholic, Allie Pleiter writes both fiction and non-fiction. The enthusiastic but slightly untidy mother of two, Allie spends her days writing books, buying yarn, and finding new ways to avoid housework. Allie hails from Connecticut, moved to the midwest to attend Northwestern University, and currently lives outside Chicago, Illinois. The “dare from a friend” to begin writing has produced two parenting books, twelve novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at www.alliepleiter.com or her knitting blog at www.DestiKNITions.blogspot.com

Friday, August 13, 2010

Licensed for Trouble by Susan May Warren


I'm thrilled to feature another of Susan May Warren's books on NBN today. The blog tour coordinators are also offering a contest--a Kindle giveaway! Read on!

Let's begin with a summary of Licensed for Trouble:

PJ Sugar receives shocking news that she's inherited the Kellogg family mansion. Though she has no idea why, the timing is perfect-PJ has clearly worn out her welcome at her sister's house. Unfortunately, the mansion is in shambles, and PJ is short on cash. Rescue comes in the form of Max Smith, a mysterious handyman willing to trade his services for PJ's investigative skills. But PJ already has a full docket with cramming for her PI license and nurturing a growing romance with her boss, Jeremy Kane. Can she take on Max's case without dropping the ball?

Find out more about book one, Nothing But Trouble and book two, Double Trouble.


And now, my review:

PJ Sugar is a kick. I’ve enjoyed watching her “get into trouble” throughout the entire series. How cool, though, to watch her discover that trouble is not her identity. Boone has always called her NBT—nothing but trouble. And the books are all named around her uncanny ability to attract trouble and get herself into all kinds of messes. Cue Jeremy, her boss. He doesn’t see her as trouble. Well, okay, maybe a little. But what if her identity isn’t all about her attracting trouble, but rather about her relationship with God? What if she’s a daughter of the King who’s trying to find her way? What if she just needs a little grace?

What if she’s a whole lot like us?

Readers are totally going to relate with this heroine, more than ever.

She’s called into her new identity, to see herself with a new name. And she’s called to leave the past, and all the stuff attached to it, behind.

Susan, the author, also shows the heroine as competent. She’s going after her dreams—to become a P.I. But she’s also in pursuit of a good pizza. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. I can’t tell you how many times I craved pizza while reading about PJ’s favorite food of choice.

Using symbolism of inheritance and royalty, Susan shows us the character's true identity in Christ.

The suspenseful aspect of the story also rocked in Licensed for Trouble. Kept me turning the pages, especially from about 1/3 way through to the end. These books don’t exactly stand alone because I think readers might get lost in who’s who. So I recommend reading the entire fantastic series.

As usual, you can’t go wrong with Susie’s books. She is a skilled author who knows how take readers deep into the hearts and minds of imaginary friends—er, I mean characters—and watch them grow through a series of well-timed events.

I highly recommend Licensed for Trouble and the entire PJ Sugar series.

~~~~~~

Susan May Warren is the RITA award-winning author of twenty-four novels with Tyndale, Barbour and Steeple Hill. A four-time Christy award finalist, a two-time RITA Finalist, she’s also a multi-winner of the Inspirational Readers Choice award, and the ACFW Book of the Year.

Susan's larger than life characters and layered plots have won her acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. A seasoned women’s events and retreats speaker, she’s a popular writing teacher at conferences around the nation and the author of the beginning writer’s workbook: From the Inside-Out: discover, create and publish the novel in you!. She is also the founder of www.MyBookTherapy.com, a story-crafting service that helps authors discover their voice.

Susan makes her home in northern Minnesota, where she is busy cheering on her two sons in football, and her daughter in local theater productions (and desperately missing her college-age son!) A full listing of her titles, reviews and awards can be found at her Web site.

And now, for the contest info:

Enter PJ Sugar's "Sweet" Giveaway

Enter PJ Sugar's

Licensed for Trouble, Susan's brand new PJ Sugar novel, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, we’re giving away a Kindle!! You can enter using Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail using the icons below.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a A SWEET Kindle prize package that includes:
  • A brand new Kindle (Free 3G, 6”, Latest Generation)

  • The entire PJ Sugar series by Susan May Warren
To enter, simply click on the icon above to fill out the entry form, then tell 5 or more friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on September 2nd.

Be sure to check out the blog tour here or purchase a copy of Licensed for Trouble here!

Licensed for Trouble, Susan's brand new PJ Sugar novel, is in stores now! To celebrate the release, she's giving away a Kindle!! You can enter using Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail using the icons below.

One Grand Prize winner will receive a A SWEET Kindle prize package that includes:

A brand new Kindle (Free 3G, 6”, Latest Generation)
The entire PJ Sugar series by Susan May Warren
To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form. Don't forget to tell your friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! We’ll announce our super sleuth winner on September 2nd.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Steadfast Soldier by Cheryl Wyatt

Steadfast Soldier is the next book in the "Wings of Refuge" series by Cheryl Wyatt.

Here's the summary:

Rescuing people is his job...

But the one person pararescue jumper Chance Garrison can't seem to help is his own ailing father, who refuses his much-needed physical rehabilitation. That is, until Chance hires unconventional occupational therapist Chloe Callet. To his surprise, Chloe and her sweet black Lab, Midnight, work wonders. And not only on the elder Garrison. Chance just may have met the woman who can get through his own toughened exterior. Can he persuade the lovely Chloe to take a chance--on him?


And now, my review:

I’ve never seen a stuttering hero, but it’s very endearing and original (to me).

Cheryl Wyatt’s Wings of Refuge series continues with this story of a pararescue jumper and an occupational therapist who both want to see the soldier’s father recover from his stroke.

I loved Cheryl’s wisdom and how it came out in the relationships throughout the story. Her heroine uses a dog to overcome her patient’s excuses. Pretty soon, Mr. Garrison is cooperating and recuperating.

And Chance would love nothing more than to win Chloe’s heart. But she’s got a business to launch and her mother’s words challenging her about not letting a man get in the way of her goals. Still, she’s undone by Chance’s gentleness.

One of the greatest appeals of this series is the soldier aspect. For all of its other great qualities, it’s very romantic. I highly recommend this series.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Swinging on a Star by Janice Thompson

Who doesn’t love a good romantic comedy?

Here’s the summary:

Bella Rossi's life is nearing perfection. Not only does she have the perfect guy, but she's also running a successful wedding-planning business and is about to plan its most ambitious wedding yet--a Renaissance-themed fairy tale come true, complete with period costumes and foods, horse-drawn carriages, and even a castle. There's only one hitch. The best man just happens to be Hollywood's hottest and most eligible bachelor, and he's showing an interest in Bella. Oh, and did we mention he's staying at her house to avoid the paparazzi?

With all the pressure surrounding this wedding, Bella's not sure she's going to make it through. Add her starstruck sister and her feuding aunt and uncle, and you've got a recipe for disaster--and a lot of laughs.

And now, my review:

Toss together a wedding coordinator with an eccentric Italian family, a famous actor, and a noisy supposed-to-be-evangelistic bird name Guido, and you’re in for some fun.

Oh, and don’t forget the heroine’s fiancĂ©.

And her need to prove herself.

With her signature humor and pizazz, Janice Thompson delivers another delicious romantic comedy. Her characters are fun to watch and because we’re in first person (which I love), we get to go along for the ride.

There’s a fairy tale wedding, a knight in shining armor and a lady-in-waiting. Romance readers, enjoy!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Christian Fiction Releases: August 2010

Here are the new releases as compiled by American Christian Fiction Writers for August, 2010.

1. Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman-- General Fiction from Thomas Nelson. Angels eagerly watch over Anne Fletcher's every move. She just doesn't know it yet.

2. Assignment: Bodyguard; CHAIM series, Book Four by Lenora Worth -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Steeple Hill. Fast-paced romantic suspense.

3. Be Not Afraid; The Samantha Cain Series Book 1 by Deborah Lynne -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from OakTara Publishing. Samantha Cain witnesses a serial killer in action and is now his next target.

4. Beautiful Bandit by Loree Lough -- A historical from Whitaker House. An old-fashioned "Wild West" tale that puts trust, faith, family loyalty, and love to the ultimate test.

5. Detours; Tabor Heights Series by Michelle L. Levigne -- A Romance from Desert Breeze. It's a long and winding road from "some enchanted evening" to the first date, let alone the promise of a lifetime.

6. Exposing Amber by Elizabeth Goddard -- A Romance from Barbour Heartsong. Amber McKinsey interns under museum director Brandon Selman and finds a kindred spirit who loves the science of God's creation, but they must confront their pasts to have a future.

7. Fear No Evil by Robin Caroll -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from B&H. A new policeman must protect a young social worker from big-city gangs making their evil way down south.

8. Hometown Proposal; Book 2 in Kellerville Series by Merrillee Whren -- A Romance from Steeple Hill. Finding family, community and love in one small town.

9. Hope's Promise; The Sierra Chronicles, Book 2 by Tammy Barley -- A Romance from Whitaker House. While trying to prove their unconditional love for each other, the Bennetts must defend against attacks, deeply rooted doubts, and an unknown force that could destroy all they hold dear.

10. Killing Time by K. Dawn Byrd -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Desert Breeze. "I was framed!" Drew Stone has heard it before, so why is he tempted to believe Mindy when she tells him the same thing?

11. Lost Island Smugglers; The Sam Cooper Adventure Series - Book # 1 by Max Anderson -- A Suspense/Mystery/Thriller from Port Yonder Press. Three boys, a monster storm, Lost Island, and smugglers?

12. Love Remains; The Matchmakers, Book 1 by Kaye Dacus -- A Romance from Barbour. Circumstances pulled them apart fourteen years ago--will two young professionals allow themselves to discover if love remains?

13. Mission of Hope by Allie Pleiter -- Romance from Love Inspired Historical. The gallant, romantic sequel to Pleiter's San Francisco historical, "Masked by Moonlight," featuring an unlikely hero helping the city heal from it's massive earthquake.

14. Never Without Hope; Sacred Vows Book 1 by Michelle Sutton -- Women's Fiction from Sword of the Spirit Publishing. Succumbing to temptation often decimates marriages, but with God, restoration and healing is within reach.

15. Sarah's Christmas Miracle by Mary Ellis -- A Romance from Harvest House. A Plain and loving story of hope and redemption, one that will be a welcome addition to the joy of the Christmas season.

16. Surrender The Heart; Surrender to Destiny, Book 1 by MaryLu Tyndall -- A Historical from Barbour. A lady, desperate to save her family and a man, desperate to please his, are caught in the brink of a war that could change the course of history forever.

17. The Bridge of Peace; Ada's House Series by Cindy Woodsmall -- A Romance from Waterbrook. Love alone isn’t enough to overcome the obstacles between a man and a woman.

18. 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.

19. Twilight Seranade; Book 3 by Tracie Peterson -- A Historical from Bethany. Britta Lindquist must decide whether to settle for a peaceful future or fight for the love of her life.

20. Vanishing Act by Liz Johnson -- A Romance from Love Inspired. Eighteen months ago, Nora James vanished, but she's about to be discovered by a ruthless assassin ... and an FBI agent afraid of risking his heart.