Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guest Author: Allie Pleiter

Allie Pleiter is here today to share about her latest release and how she included real-life lessons in her story. Welcome back to Net's Book Notes, Allie!


“I’m so glad to see you haven’t lost your bounce!”

Someone said that to me earlier this year, reflecting on how our family has survived several major challenges. It remains one of my favorite compliments, even if it did make me wonder how many people think of me as “Tigger.”

It goes deeper than a glass-half-full attitude. Some days simply can’t be attached to a silver lining. Some bad news can’t be gilded. While plots should always make sense in my books, life doesn’t always hand us the opportunity to say, “Oh, that’s why it happened that way.”

I admit, humor plays a key role. Even if you have to dig very, very deep, I believe you can find something amusing in almost any situation. I’ve been known to crack jokes in the most dire of circumstances—mostly because it’s my way of saying “I’m not done for yet!” Life has also taught me to seek out funny people if my own sense of humor has gone sour.

I’ve learned that what others might call “optimism” is really trust. Trust to stand firm in the belief that God hasn’t turned His back. To declare, even when you can’t see a sliver of evidence, that God is still in control. I love the saying “It’s going to be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it’s not the end.” That’s true optimism. My definition of Heaven? The place where it all becomes “all right.”

I sent my character Jeannie Nelworth on the same path to trust. Her optimism fails her, and she spends so much energy trying to ignite her sunny nature that she ignores her trust muscles. She forgets the basic truth that sometimes the best faith we can display is to turn and look straight at the dark place in front of us. To walk through the fire in the knowledge that God never stops caring for us, protecting us, and seeing to our growth even if it means watching us in pain.

As an author, I have the privilege of ensuring that Jeannie gets her “all right” at the end of the story. All the little pieces don’t line up in perfect order—after all, real life doesn’t work that way—but they do line up to the trustworthy path God has laid out for her. It’s my prayer that every reader sees a little farther down their own path of trust when they close my book.


Falling for The Fireman recently released from Love Inspired.

There's something achingly familiar about the look in fire marshal Chad Owens's eyes. Widowed mom Jeannie Nelworth knows firsthand what it is: loss, hurt and yes—bitterness. Ever since the fire that changed their lives, Jeannie's young son has borne that same look, pushing everyone away. So she's grateful when Chad tries to get through to the boy with the help of his trusty fire station dog.

But the man who's all about safety and prevention keeps himself protected—from loving and losing again. Seems as if Jeannie will have to add his kind, guarded heart to her rebuilding efforts.


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, fourteen novels, and various national speaking engagements on faith, women’s issues, and writing. Visit her website at or her knitting blog at


For your convenience: print copy link and e-book links included below (in that order). 


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Accidental Bride by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter's latest Big Sky Romance novel released in January. I love her cowboy stories!

Listen to this premise: two people who were planning to marry years ago, had even signed their marriage license on the court steps but never married, participate in a re-enactment for their town’s historical celebration portraying other people and end up actually married. This is the predicament Denise Hunter’s characters find themselves in. And though Travis is hip to the idea, Shay is not. She’s been rejected too many times, including painfully by Travis. But Travis prayed for a second chance and now has it! If only he could win Shay over before their self-imposed trial period ends. The tender pursuit is on. It may be one-sided, but like Hosea, Travis is committed to Shay for the long haul. In this way, this character is a picture of Jesus.

I like stories that include the married element. Writers can explore more in the romance between the characters than usual. And to the reader's delight, Denise does.

The story deals with trust issues and is very relatable in that. There were a few believability issues, but I chose to overlook them because the story was so enjoyable. Plus, the author addresses them in the author's note. The pacing keeps you reading; I had a hard time putting the book down.


I've reversed things today. Here are the official summary and the links (print and e-book format, in that order).

When a wedding reenactment turns real, Shay finds she's an accidental bride.

Shay Brandenberger is raising her daughter in Moose Creek, Montana, on her childhood ranch, nestled against the Yellowstone River. Despite the hard work, she can't seem to keep her head above water-and now the bank is threatening to foreclose. She prays for a miracle, but the answer she receives is anything but expected.

Having agreed to play the bride in the Founders' Day wedding reenactment, Shay is mortified to be greeted at the end of the aisle by none other than Travis McCoy, her high-school sweetheart-the man who left her high and dry for fame and fortune on the Texas rodeo circuit.

Then the unthinkable happens. Thanks to a well-meaning busybody and an absentminded preacher, the make-believe vows result in a legal marriage. But before Shay can say annulment, Travis comes up with a crazy proposal. If she refuses his offer, she may lose her home. If she accepts, she may lose her heart.

Shay isn't sure if the recent events are God's will or just a preacher's blunder. Will trusting her heart to the man who once shattered it be the worst mistake of her life? Or could their marriage be the best accident that ever happened?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Letters -- a Valentine's Read

Looking for a romantic Valentine's Day read? Perhaps you'd like to read a romance built around a married couple. Check out this $1.00 e-book!

Randy Ambrose has penned scores of love letters to his wife, but she's never seen them. He fears she won't receive his affections, and her rejection would destroy their marriage. He also fears strong emotions, including passion. For ten years, he has kept his heart hidden. Jordan Ambrose is trying to pretend Randy's emotional distance doesn't hurt. She has erected walls to protect her heart. When she finds a box of ardent letters written from R to J, she hopes they're to her. Randy has some explaining to do, and their tenth wedding anniversary is right around the corner. Can he rescue his marriage by taking an unprecedented risk and making a crucial confession? 

I love reading books on my Kindle. Love Letters is an e-book novella with a great price: $1.00 (down from $4.50). Here's what Julie Lessman had to say about this story:

First class romance: As a lover of romance, nothing is more romantic to me than a love story between two people married to each other. And in her tender and touching novella Love Letters, Annette Irby fans the embers of Randy and Jordan Ambrose's lukewarm marriage into a flame that's sure to keep the home fires burning for a long time to come. With easy prose, natural dialogue and a plot certain to resonate with romance lovers married or not, Love Letters is a poignant glimpse into a marriage rekindled and hearts restored. A beautiful story!

Check out other reviews here. Find Love Letters on Amazon here (and via the link below). Happy reading!

Monday, February 6, 2012

By the Light of the Silvery Moon by Tricia Goyer

I’ve always loved studying about the Titanic, but I’ve never read fiction around the tragic sinking. Tricia gives us a very engaging story, and though you know what’s about to happen to the ship, you don’t know how these characters will fare. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

This book releases March 1, 2012 from Barbour Publishing. Here’s the summary:

Remember the Titanic 100 years after its doomed voyage with Tricia Goyer’s fictional portrayal of one woman’s journey. To Amelia Gladstone, this ship means promise of seeing family again. To Quentin Walpole, the Titanic represents a new start in America…if he can get onboard. All seems lost until Amelia offers him a ticket, securing his passage—and bringing him face-to-face with his railroad tycoon father and older brother, Damian. As Amelia works to reconcile father and son, she finds herself the object of both brothers’ affection. Can she choose between two brothers? Or will she lose everything to the icy waters of the Atlantic?

And now, my review:

What an enjoyable story! Tricia’s novelization of the great tragedy is a fulfilling, compelling read. She gives updates as to what day of the voyage we’re on and though her characters are fictional (the main characters anyway), it’s as if they really existed. We get to see what it might have been like to be a passenger on the Titanic, as compared with the documentaries that show the more technical aspects of the sinking and normally revolve around the crew and the specifics of the ship's damage. Tricia interweaves her character’s lives together from before they boarded, though we only learn of it once we’re on the big ship. I loved seeing how the characters tied together, as well as watching them deal with their issues.

The heroine is torn between her unknown future and her attraction to the downtrodden hero of the story. She has a drive to help others. I liked this part of her characterization. Through her, the author was able to include strong faith elements with phrases that had double-meanings, especially where the love and forgiveness of a father character were concerned. When the heroine gave us with thoughts like, If only he could trust in his father's love and forgiveness, readers are left to ponder that concept in their own lives where God is concerned. It’s a little blatant, but nonetheless impactful. 

The other obvious element was the tie-in with a specific and popular parable of Jesus found in Luke 15. I appreciated this inclusion, though it was rather transparent, right down to the biblical quotes coming from the character’s thoughts or words. I haven’t read this kind of obvious treatment of biblical parables in fiction before, so it intrigued me. The parable certainly lent itself to a powerful retelling in this novel. 

I recommend this story both to Tricia’s fans and those who haven’t read her work before. I was attracted by the Titanic connection, given this is the 100th year anniversary of the great tragedy. But lovers of wholesome romance and servant-hearted characters will enjoy this historical. 

I was provided a free copy in exchange for my unbiased opinion. For your convenience, here are the amazon links for print and e-book versions (in that order).