Monday, June 27, 2011

A Texan's Promise by Shelley Gray

This was a very different inspirational romance, and better for it. Though it won't release until October, I wanted to share my review with you so you can watch for it. First, tell me what’s not to love about that cover? Covers absolutely influence buyers. And this cover wins!

Let’s begin with the summary:

Past promises will be tested as new ones are given...

When Clayton Proffitt, foreman of the Circle Z Ranch in Texas, discovers Vanessa Grant crying in the barn late one night, he first thinks she’s gotten herself into another scrape. But when he spies the marks on her back and hears about her stepfather’s advances, Clayton knows he must spirit Vanessa away to safety.

As they make their way west, it becomes apparent that there’s something special between Vanessa and Clayton— far more significant than mere friendship or his sense of duty. Unfortunately, also heading west are Vanessa’s brother Miles and her stepfather Price Venture. Price wants Vanessa back for obvious reasons; Miles wants to earn his stepfather’s respect. Eventually, unexpected confrontations reach a harrowing conclusion. As their family begins to heal, their journey and trials they've faced helps them realize their future is in God's guiding hands.

And now, my review:

The author’s means of naming her characters did not go unnoticed. Price Venture is the conniving antagonist, and he is rightly named.

But, let’s begin at the beginning. I was immediately hooked in the first lines and remained committed the entire story. This is the first in a series, which is very exciting. Can’t wait for the rest.

From their first scene, the hero is in kind, affectionate, protective mode with our heroine. These two have a history, which lends itself to the story in beautiful ways. Usually we have to wait through 75-90% of the story before the hero can use endearments—not here. Since they had a history, he used them right from the beginning. Loved that! The author’s method here helped us see the hero’s motives, the heroine’s safety, and their past. Well done.

There were two specific acts of violence committed around the story, but both happened off screen. One of the things that I respect about this author is she handled them tactfully, without glorifying them. She even brought her characters healing despite their hardships, an inspirational element readers will appreciate.

I will be watching closely for books two and three in this series. If you like something a little edgier, with a heavy dose of romantic tension, you’ll love this one. I did.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Surrendered Hearts by Carrie Turansky

I don't know about you but now that I own a Kindle, I love, love, love reading e-books! That's one of the reasons I was eager to read this book for review.

In 2006, Carrie published Along Came Love through what was then Steeple Hill Love Inspired (now known as Love Inspired). Surrendered Hearts is the sequel. Here's the summary:

Jennifer Evan’s life changes forever when a gas pipeline explodes, starting a fire at her apartment. Losing her home and beloved dog are terrible blows, but the ugly scars that cover her arm, neck and shoulder steal her confidence and cause her fiancĂ© to desert her. With her funds depleted and her job on hold, she heads for Vermont where she hopes to reconnect with her brother and find a way to rebuild her shattered life. Bill Morgan, a strong and quiet man whose faith runs deep, challenges her view of God and faith. Will she hold on to the pain of her past, or will she surrender her heart and find the faith and love she seeks?

And now, my review:

Carrie Turansky has a way with words and storytelling. She has published traditionally, and now her first e-book shines with a strong hook, story, and characters. One of her strengths, so evident with this book, is showing her heart in the story. She dealt with some serious issues (like living with deformities) with tact, care, and heart. Kudos for that!

It’s so easy for romances to become formulaic, but Carrie bucked that trend too. For example, she took the issue of not being in a relationship with a nonbeliever to another level and used that element in an interesting way in the story, very effectively. She layered in elements I didn’t expect and handled all of it like the pro she is.

Her characterization was strong where her hero and heroine were concerned. I understood each of them as they shared their point of view and we got inside their heads and hearts.

For those reasons and more, I recommend this entertaining, heartfelt, out of the ordinary romance. You’ll be glad you downloaded this one. Looking forward to more e-books from this author. 

Surrendered Hearts
Sequel to "Along Came Love"
Contemporary Inspirational Romance
Flowing Stream Books, April 2011
eBook available online, $2.99
ISBN 9781-888685-40-4

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Stephen Bly

I logged on to our library’s website today and put two books on hold. Westerns. Not my usual read. Why? In honor of a kind man and author, Stephen Bly, who passed away this week while battling cancer.

I’d only interacted with him occasionally, and always online. He and his wonderful wife Janet Chester Bly were always so gracious, and kind.

The e-loops I belong to, the Facebook pages, are all burning up with expressions of love and mourning for this great man. No matter what we're called to do, that’s the kind of legacy we want to leave behinda legacy that goes beyond our calling to the type of person we are were.

See you on the other side, Stephen. You are missed.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Christian Fiction Releases: June, 2011

This list was compiled by American Christian Fiction Writers. More in-depth descriptions of these books can be found on the ACFW FictionFinder website.

A Vision of Lucy by Margaret Brownley -- Romance from Thomas Nelson. Trouble may follow Lucy wherever she goes, but with the help of God and the rugged, reclusive David Wolf, she'll never face adversity alone.

Behind the Badge by Susan Sleeman -- A Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense. Can a rookie sheriff's deputy find a killer before the killer takes the lives of the people she loves?

Beyond All Measure by Dorothy Love -- General Fiction from Thomas Nelson. Unless she can let go of her fears and learn to trust again, Ada may lose the heart of a good man.

Broken Wings: A Novel by Carla Stewart -- General Fiction from Faith Words (Hachette). One woman clings to her memories. The other wants to erase hers. A story of an unlikely friendship birthed in providence and bathed in grace.

Forever After (A Hanover Falls Novel) by Deborah Raney -- General Fiction from Howard (Simon & Schuster). A series of arson fires at Hanover Falls rebuilt homeless shelter threatens its residents and casts new suspicions about the original fire.

Home Sweet Home by Kim Watters -- Romance from Love Inspired. Finding a home is all Abby dreamed about, until she discovers the man she falls in love with has a less permanent agenda.

Idaho Brides by Erica Vetsch -- Romance from Barbour. Experience the Wild West through the eyes of the three McConnell brothers who long to overcome their troubled childhood as drunkard’s sons.

Love Finds You in Amana, Iowa by Melanie Dobson -- Romance from Summerside Press. As the rest of the nation is embroiled in the Civil War, the Amana Colonies have remained at peace—until now.

Protecting Her Own by Margaret Daley -- Thriller/Suspense from Love Inspired Suspense. Protecting her own father when an assailant targets him, bodyguard Cara Madison with Connor Fitzgerald, an ex-boyfriend, searches for a would be killer while fighting her feelings toward Connor.

Purple Knot by Raquel Byrnes -- Romance from White Rose. With her faith shaken and her world cast in shadows, can Reyna trust the God she believes abandoned her?

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond -- Romance from Thomas Nelson. How could a marriage possibly work when the couple has only exchanged a few letters?

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo -- Romance from Waterbrook/Multnomah (Random House). Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away

The Irresistible Earl by Regina Scott -- A Romance from Love Inspired Historical. If Chase Dearborn, the powerful Earl of Allyndale, found Meredee Price's family in Scarborough, surely he'd continue his quest to challenge Meredee's stepbrother to a duel. Meredee is determined to avoid the earl at all costs.

The Story in the Stars, Gateway to Gannah, Book 1 by Yvonne Anderson -- Fantasy from Risen Books. The inhabitants of the planet Gannah are known as bloodthirsty savages who once tried to conquer the galaxy. Now a plague has ravaged the planet and only one survivor remains.

The Sweetest Thing by Elizabeth Musser -- General Fiction from Bethany House. The Sweetest Thing is the story of two girls--opposites in every way--fighting for the same thing: survival amidst tumultuous change.

The Wedding Season: The Gentleman Takes a Bride by Louise M. Gouge -- Romance from Love Inspired Historical. Surely Elizabeth Moberly was born to be a nobleman's bride. She can't possibly be attracted to the untitled stranger who interrupts her cousin's wedding.

Under a Desert Sky by DiAnn Mills -- General Fiction from Summerside Press. A race from danger...straight into the arms of love.