Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dining With Joy by Rachel Hauck

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.

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Door County Christmas by Eileen Key, Becky Melby, Rachael Phillips & Cynthia Ruchti

Readers, if you enjoy curling up with a holiday read at Christmastime, you'll love this four-in-one offering from Barbour.

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

New Christian Fiction Releases: December, 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.